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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chicken and Tagliatelle soup recipe...



I believe that soup is delicious any time of the year. Its quick, tasty, and filling. It is believed that those who eat a small bowl of soup at the beginning of the meal will consume smaller portions during the main course. A great tip if you are watching your weight...It is one of those comfort foods that I just enjoy most anytime.

This is a pretty basic down to earth recipe that is virtually fail proof, even for a novice. The preparation is quick and easy, with delicious results....


Ingredients

4 cups College Inn Chicken Broth (or other gluten free broth of choice)
Generous dash ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 cup UNCOOKED Schar brand Tagliatelle noodles
1 cup shredded COOKED chicken OR turkey
 
 
Cooking Directions
 
Heat broth, black pepper, carrot and celery in 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Cooking veggies until just tender-crisp.
Stir noodles and chicken into saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
 
With the cold weather now upon us this is a great soup to have on hand. Double the recipe for extra portions, as I always like my soup better the second day. Add some crusty gluten free bread, a salad, and you have a delicious comforting dinner against the cold elements of the outdoors!
 
Enjoy!
Sharon

Friday, October 25, 2013

New "Nuts" Affiliate added......

There has been a new Affiliate site added today for your gluten free pleasure. The products are delicious! So if your nuts about nuts... stop by and check them out, and enjoy what they have to offer!!! This company boasts healthy benefits in their line: They’re filler-free, organic, gluten-free and 100% Vegan, and the mix of nuts and seeds is high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Twist on plain ol grilled cheese....

Let me be the first to admit that I sometimes like different...I have been known to throw a breakfast or lunch together with what ever I seem to have in the pantry or refrigerator. Sometimes I just cant decide what it is that I have a hankering for, and other times I am just to lazy to make a run to the store for ingredients, and actually have to use my imagination on these occasions... What ever the reasons are, I just like a change in my cuisine from time to time.
 
Grilled cheese is a all time favorite "go to" food in my house, but it can be just plain boring. Recently I came across a recipe for a Spinach-Artichoke grilled cheese sandwich  that caught my eye. The pic looked delish and I just knew that it was a must try....
 
I have to say the ingredients have such a smooth blend, and the taste was out of this world. So if plain old grilled cheese has left you in a rut, give this recipe a try.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon gf flour (rice is fine)
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup (about 5 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (6.7 ounce) jar marinated artichokes, chopped
8 slices gluten free bread
butter, for spreading
 
Directions:
 
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook one minute, if your paste gets too thick add a little more milk. Remove from heat.
 
Add cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan and pepper flakes. Stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in the Greek yogurt until smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Stir to combine. Dip will be pretty thick at this point!
 
Heat a skillet,or griddle, oven medium-low heat. Butter the outsides of every bread slice, then spread about 3 tablespoons of the spinach and artichoke dip on the inside (the non-buttered side) of each slice of 4 pieces of the bread. Top off with another slice of bread, buttered-side up. Cook until each side is golden and crisp and cheese is melted, then gently flip and do the same.
Slice and serve.
 
If you  have any leftover spinach and artichoke dip you can use it for sandwiches or as a yummy dip the next day!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Flour Tortillas that are gluten free...

Lately I have had a craving for a good Mexican burrito, or a great  sizzling hot fajita, or taco's...yum. I am so over most of the pre-made gluten free tortilla shells that you find in the stores, as I find most of them tough and tasteless. So I decided I must try to make my own. Although these take a little effort they are soft, pliable, and rather tasty. Hope you will give them a try and let me know what you think.

Although I use my own flour blend mix I am sure most gluten free all purpose flour blend mixes on the market would do.

Ingredients:

2 c. Gluten free all purpose flour mix
2 Tbsp. shortening (may sub lard or butter)
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water

Add all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cut the shortening, lard, or butter into the flour so that it’s evenly distributed. (I use a pastry blender, and prefer shortening)

Add the cup of warm water to the bowl and mix the dry goods into the water with your hand. Just squish it all up until all of the dry ingredients are no longer dry.  If you think it is too dry at this point add a little more water, as all flour blends are NOT created equal :-)

Separate the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place all but one of the dough balls back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to work with them.

Sprinkle a clean, flat surface with a bit of rice flour and then roll you dough ball into a roughly circular shape. Get is as thin as possible. I roll mine between parchment paper taped to my counter for easy cleanup.

Place each rolled tortilla onto a hot griddle, one at a time, with just a bit of shortening or oil, and let it cook approximately 1 minute or until it has started swelling up and the bottom side is getting puffy brown spots. Flip the tortilla over and cook the other side until it is toasted as well.

Repeat until you have cooked all 8 tortillas. Recipe makes 8 nice size shells...

Enjoy!!!
Sharon 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pure Maple syrup substitutions...

There are basically two main maple syrup baking substitutions, although a few
others exist as well. The simplest form is to use an equal measurement of honey
in the recipe which calls for maple syrup. Basically a 1-1 exchange.

A slightly more involved substitute is using a corn syrup mixture made with
butter and maple extract. Lets say that a recipe calls for 1 cup of maple syrup,
combine 3/4 cup of corn syrup with 1/4 cup of melted butter, plus 1/2 tsp. of maple
extract.

Many cooks believe refined sugar can replace maple syrup in many baked goods.
Use 1 cup of granulated sugar to replace 3/4 cup of maple syrup. Then increase the
amount of liquid in the recipe by 3T for each cup of sugar that was used as a replacement.

Brown rice syrup could be another option. Brown rice syrup is created by fermenting
brown rice with enzymes to break down the rice's starches. The liquid is then strained and
cooked to a syrup like consistency. Brown rice syrup is organic and known to contain
complex sugars that are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, helping to stabilize one's
blood sugar levels. It is amber in color with a light flavor similar to that of butterscotch.

Molasses is another sweetener that can be used, although the darker the color of the
molasses the stronger the flavor. So if its a lighter flavor you want, try the lightest
colored molasses you can find.

Pancake syrup is most  likely the first maple syrup substitution that comes to
mind. After all, pancake syrup is widely available, frequently used, as a  inexpensive
maple syrup alternative for use on pancakes and waffles. Please note however that
pancake syrup is basically a corn syrup with added  artificial flavoring. You can use
it on waffles and pancakes in place of pure maple syrup or in your baked goods in a 1-1 ratio.

Just like with all gluten free baking, substituting real maple syrup can be a hit and miss if
you are new to this lifestyle. I recommend making 1/2 a recipe for a test batch, and if
you like the results then go ahead and make the full recipe the next time. Cutting recipes
in half has been a real money saver over the past years for me personally when I am trying
something new.

I hope this information helps in your future baking. I would love to hear your comments
and feed back about how these substitutions worked in your recipes.


Have a great gluten free day!

Sharon

Friday, October 4, 2013

Gluten Free You and Me, guten free bread mixes...

Last week someone posted on my Face book page about how we should cater to local businesses in our areas. Seemed quite logical to me because if we purchase locally it is a win, win, situation. We grow as a community, keep our money locally, improve our neighborhoods, and make friends in the process. Besides I am a country girl at heart and don't like traveling on busy highways. As my husband always says..." You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl". Okay, so he wasn't the first to ever say it, but it never the less holds true in my case.

I was raised in the country where we had to catch a school bus to school. I never really got to join any clubs or participate in after school activities because we didn't have public transportation where I lived. Yet I did come home to fresh baked goods and breads every Friday after school. I am hooked for life...

Okay...I do agree that while living a gluten free lifestyle that never again will I have as good a bread as my mom use to make. Gluten free baking is more complex in nature because the flours used contain no gluten whatsoever, so the taste, rise, and texture will never measure up to what we were use to in our days before becoming gluten free. You will never find a loaf that even vaguely resembled that good ol loaf of homemade bread,  or even that of the famous "WONDER" bread many of us grew up on. Yet there are loaves that are just as delicious and satisfying!

I have been obsessed with finding that perfect loaf of gluten free bread over the past few years. I have tried many boxed mixes, some good, some just so...so...I have made dozens and dozens of loaves from scratch using numerous different gluten free flours which I have purchased then mixed into different flour combinations. Many loaves ended up in the trash. Some were salvageable, but only because I hate to waste money!

I have bought the "frozen" loaves that many of us on a gluten free diet have fallen subject to as that final last resort. Some of which I couldn't believe had even made it to the market as they were almost inedible! Then I came upon a local company right here in Columbus Ohio called Gluten Free You & Me. Figuring I had nothing else to loose...except more money...I ordered three mixes. Italian Herb, Mock Rye, and French White. All you add is 1 1/3 cup water, 2 T oil, and mix for 3 minutes. Simple enough...

I received my mixes today in the mail, and as usual since I had no bread in the freezer I preset my oven and got to mixing.  Even with my arm aching, this I could handle! I decided to make the Italian loaf first since pasta is tonight's dinner choice with a fresh salad. I was purely flabbergasted to see that the loaf was actually LOADED with herbs. This I thought is going to be a delight to dip in fresh olive oil. Yum!

I let the loaf raise for the specified 40 minutes then popped into the oven. Another thing that impressed me was the rising and baking time. Most mixes I have used in the past have taken over a hour to rise, and anywhere from 50-60 minutes to bake. You only have to let the dough rise in the pan forty minutes and bake between 35-40 minutes depending on which variety of loaf you make.

I let the dough rise the 40 minutes as stated on the directions and found it had rose to perfection. I put the loaf in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes at which time I covered  it with foil so it didn't over brown. After just 40 minutes of baking I pulled the loaf out and tested the center with a thermometer to make sure it had reached 220 degrees, to insure a perfectly done loaf. The smells of Italian spices filled the kitchen. I really had to struggle with myself to let the loaf  rest the allotted hour of cooling time on the rack!!! Oh the agony of it!!!

I was so excited by time dinner rolled around that I actually ate more bread than pasta!!! This bread was a true treat! My husband who is Italian, as you well know by now, didn't do too bad in devouring his share as well...Now that's a compliment in itself!

This is one of the easiest breads I have made to date, and probably the only one I will be stocking my pantry with from now on. You can order the mixes at their home site http://www.glutenfreeyouandme.com  if you would like to give them a try. I highly recommend them even if you don't live a gluten free lifestyle, as they are that good!!!

Well that's it for today's post. Until next time...have a great gluten free day!
Sharon