Super Simple Enchilada Casserole

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I love Mexican food. I love authentic Mexican food, kinda sorta Mexican food, trashy street Mexican food, you name it, I’ll probably eat it. However, Mexican food is not always friendly food to those of us who have to eat gluten and dairy-free. Especially the traditional gooey, cheesy, yummy saucy things that I like to order. This gluten-free and dairy-free enchilada casserole (I’m sure someone’s Mexican grandma is rolling in her grave right about now) is simple and delicious and even my gluten and dairy loving husband likes it.

Super Simple Enchilada Casserole

Pre-heat oven to 375°

1 Package Corn Tortillas (check the ingredients, sometimes they have additives)

1 1/2 Cans Rosarita Enchilada Sauce (It’s gluten-free)

1 1/2 Cans Rosarita Low Fat Refried Black Beans

1 Package Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

1 lb. Ground Beef

1 Yellow Onion, diced

1 Red Jalapeno Pepper, diced with seeds and membrane

Open re-fried beans and set aside. Place the enchilada sauce in a small sauce pan and heat until warm. Place the hamburger, onion, and jalapeno in a large skillet and cook until meat is done, drain oil if necessary.

Spray a 9×11 baking dish lightly with non-stick spray and layer four tortillas on the bottom.

Pour a ladle of sauce over the tortillas.

Add about 1/2 can of the beans and spread them out a little bit.

Add about 1/3 of the meat mixture.

Sprinkle with a little cheese and then do the process all over again until you run out of ingredients. I think I did three layers with about a cup of sauce left over. You don’t want it too juicy. The picture below is after the third layer before going into the oven. The third layer gets a more generous helping of cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven until bubbly, about 3o-35 minutes or so. Top with green onions and tomatoes before serving.

Chicken & Veggie Flat Bread

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This flat bread is gluten-free and dairy-free. Super easy and very versatile. I’ve made it numerous times with different types of ingredients for dinner, lunch, parties, you name it. The flat bread can be made ahead of time which makes assembling the other ingredients and cooking it a breeze if you’re hosting a party.

1 Bag Chebe Focaccia Mix

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Eggs

5 Tablespoons Almond Milk

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Garlic

(Your favorite veggies and meats, dairy-free cheeses, olive oil.)

Place all of the above ingredients in a medium bowl.

Stir with a fork until mixture starts to come together.

Remove the fork and knead with one hand until dough is completely incorporated and formed into a smooth ball.

Measure a piece of parchment to fit a baking sheet and cut.

Remove parchment from pan, sprinkle with a little gluten-free flour (I used almond flour) and pat dough out into a small circle.

Flour rolling pin and roll dough out thinly, to about the size of the parchment.

Prick with a fork and brush with about 1 Tablespoon of chopped garlic and several Tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 16-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

At this point you can cover it and set it aside to build later, or you can go ahead and start adding ingredients. This time I added spinach, peppers, mushrooms, chicken, tomatoes, drizzled it with more olive oil and sprinkled Daiya mozzarella style “cheese” all over it, then put it back in the oven and baked it until the cheese was melted. Or as melted as dairy-free cheese ever gets. In the past I’ve used goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce…there are many different ways you can do it. Just use the basic guidelines and add your favorite ingredients and you really can’t go wrong.

Finally!

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Finally, a canned gluten-free and dairy-free soup that is palatable. Not only palatable, but actually quite good. I can’t tell you how many canned GF and DF soups I’ve tried only to be left disappointed and well, gagging. I think I’ve tried maybe 6 different brands (there aren’t many) and every single one of them tasted weird, smelled weird, and even looked weird. Not this one though! Evidently Wolf Gang Puck knows a thing or two about making a superior canned soup.  And I didn’t have to stand in the isle for 20 minutes reading all of his cans either. Right on the front of the can, his gluten-free soups say…Gluten Free clearly. Can you imagine? Seems easy enough but believe me, typically those of us who eat gluten-free have to spend a lot of time reading ingredient labels. All I had to do was skim quickly through his ingredient lists to make sure there wasn’t any dairy and less than 1 minute later, two of his soups were in my cart. They are pricey like most “specialty” foods, but the one I had yesterday for lunch was delicious and worth it.

As you know Wolfgang Puck is a famous chef and owns numerous restaurants and has a nice product line of all kinds of foods. They have kind of dubbed him the King of television chefs because he basically pioneered the whole idea of bringing cooking shows to our living rooms. What amazes me is that someone who isn’t even “in” the gluten-free world could make such a good product after I’ve tried numerous things from companies whose main focus is gluten-free or dairy- free and their products are hideous. I’m going to speak for myself and the whole gluten-free world when I say that Wolfgang’s gluten-free soup gets a very excited two thumbs up.

This is what it looks like when the can is opened…always a somewhat exciting and unsettling adventure for me. Looks like a “normal” can of soup and doesn’t smell funky either. Yay! So far so good.

This is what it looks like when it’s cooked and ready to eat. Just like normal soup and delicious!

Almond Milk Yogurt

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On the days I have to do “big” grocery shopping I always set aside enough time to kind of meander around the store and see if there’s anything new. New as far as dairy-free or gluten-free products go. It seems like each store carries a different variety of things. Occasionally, I luck out and run across something new, or at least new to me. Last week when I was up at our local organic and health food store, Huckleberry’s, I bought some goat’s milk yogurt. I forgot to take pictures of it and do a review, but that’s OK because I never made it past the first bite. Basically, it tasted exactly like tart goat cheese and fruit…but smooth. Ugh. Way too “goaty”  in the morning for me, so I tossed it and basically threw away $2.00.  That happens a lot in the dairy-free and gluten-free world, unfortunately. I always have high hopes when I find something new that I can eat, but honestly, 80% of the time it’s a disappointment. Kind of like the “Panko Style” gluten- free bread crumbs I ran across last time I went grocery shopping. $5.99 and they were awful, not even crisp right out of the bag. Had to toss those too.

But yesterday must have been one of those 20% days where I buy something new and it’s actually delicious. Quite the breakfast surprise this morning, let me tell you. Yesterday when I was searching for my usual coconut milk yogurt at our local Fred Meyer (they can’t seem to keep anything in one place for long in the health food isles for some reason), I was just about to give up when I realized they had moved the whole yogurt section…once again. Anyway, right below the coconut milk yogurt I found a new product (or new to me) called Amande Cultured Almond Milk. I was so happy! It’s the little things in life you know… So, I took my chances and bought a cherry and a peach almond milk yogurt.

This morning, cringing while I’ll peeled the top off, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it not only looked normal but smelled normal. It’s also nice and thick, not runny like coconut yogurt, and tastes fabulous! It has no artificial ingredients or preservatives, is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, fruit juice sweetened, has 6 live cultures, and zero GMO ingredients.

If you click here, and then on the store finder at the top of their page, you can find a store near you.

Peanut Butter Swirl Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chunks

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I’ve been staring at some very, very, ripe bananas for the last few days sitting on my kitchen counter. I cannot bring myself to toss overripe bananas because I know that they morph from a firm semi-sweet breakfast item or snack, into something unbelievably sweet and flavorful when they are at their ugliest. For some reason that’s just a miracle to me and it seems like a complete shame to miss out on what they have to offer.

So last night as I was tossing and turning wide awake at 1:00 AM (a traveling husband and a semi-empty nest will do that to you), I was thinking about all of the things I could do with those hideously ugly bananas that kept calling my name. Banana bread of course, is usually the first and certainly the easiest choice. I didn’t feel like doing the same old thing though so I tried to think of all the things that would work well with a banana bread base. There’s a lot actually…it’s amazing the work your mind can do when you don’t have anything else to do and can focus on just one thought. However, I kept coming back to peanut butter and chocolate and I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. Not a huge stretch I know. Oh well, who needs to stretch when bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate are a marriage made in heaven?

Peanut Butter Swirl Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chunks

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

2/3 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 Large Organic Eggs

1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 3/4 Cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Organic Cinnamon

1 tsp. Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

3 Very, Very, Ripe Organic Bananas

3 Squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, roughly chopped

About 3/4 Cup Organic Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter, warmed for about 1 minute and stirred

Add all ingredients to an electric mixer, except the chocolate and peanut butter. Mix just until ingredients are fully incorporated. Add chocolate and stir to combine. Line a muffin pan with papers, squirt each one with a small amount of non-stick spray, and fill each paper 3/4 full. Put about 1 1/2  teaspoons or so of the warmed peanut butter on top of each batter filled cup and stir it around lightly with a skewer or chopstick.

Next, place the muffins in a pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes. Do not over cook them.

You can serve them hot out of the oven or cooled. Store in an airtight container.

Guacamole for Two

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This recipe is a tweaked version of Christina Ferrare’s guacamole. When I make it for two, I use two avocados, when I make it for a crowd, I use at least eight. I love the addition of chopped, sun-dried tomatoes. It makes a healthy snack or a great lunch, maybe served with side salad for two.

Guacamole for Two

2 Ripe Avocados

1/2 Jalapeno with seeds and membrane intact, diced

2 Tbs. Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

2 Tbs. Red Onion, finely chopped

2-3 Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped

1 Lime

Sea Salt & Pepper

Chop the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, and tomatoes. Cut the lime into quarters. Place the avocado flesh in a bowl.

Mash the avocado with a fork until almost smooth. I like mine a little chunky. Add the jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and sun-dried tomatoes, stir. Squeeze all four quarters of lime into mixture and stir. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve with corn chips, vegetables, or anything you like.

Peanut Butter Granola Bites

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I should be packing my clothes and doing other numerous things to prepare for our camping trip tomorrow. It seems that regardless of whether one camps in a tent or a trailer, the preparation for these types of vacations is labor intensive. But for some reason, I thought that creating a new recipe and blogging about it in the middle of all of that sounded better than hauling things out to the trailer. And really, all the items needed for making Red Mojitos were packed last night. So the most important things have already been accomplished, right?  The other things like clothing and food can wait just a little longer.

Ever since I made the Granola Bars – Movita Style, I’ve had oatmeal on the brain. What I mean is, I keep thinking about all of the endless ways to make different types of granola treats with different ingredient concoctions. Simple, tasty, little treats that aren’t hugely time-consuming and that taste good.

Here’s today’s invention. Super easy but packed with flavor and texture. A perfect little snack or pick me up. They seem to hold together quite well and I think they would also be nice for traveling, hiking or mt. biking.

Peanut Butter Granola Bites

Preheat oven to °350 (Makes about 24 balls)

3/4 Cup Slivered Almonds

3 Cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats, heaping

Place the almonds and oats on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Toast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until you can begin to smell the oats and they are just slightly starting to turn color.

While the nuts and oats are roasting, measure out the following ingredients and set aside:

1/4 Cup Honey

1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

3/4 Jar of Gluten Free, Organic, Crunchy Peanut Butter

2 or 3 Squares of Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (Yes, it’s gluten and dairy-free), roughly chopped

Remove oats and nuts from the oven and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the honey, brown sugar, sea salt, vanilla, and peanut butter. Stir well until all ingredients are combined. Quickly fold in chocolate.

Form into balls and place back on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool (or, eat them hot…equally delicious!). Store in a plastic zipper back.

Whole Grain, Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Bagels

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I am in love. I have recently come across a bagel that makes me moan and sigh with pleasure when I eat it. It’s amazing. “Exciting! Is it new?”, you say. Um…well, here’s the thing. It’s been right under my nose the whole time. Years ago I looked at a couple of Udi’s products and noticed that all of the items I looked at had dairy. I thought, “Well, that’s a bummer.” and moved on. But the other day I had time to wander through the frozen section in one of our local over priced grocery stores and I ran across Udi’s bagels. Even frozen and in a bag they looked delicious. So, taking a chance on being disappointed I read the label. I read the label not once, not twice, but three times. I looked at every single word on the entire bag. Gluten-free and dairy-free? How can this be!? Is it real? Not wanting to get overly excited because I’ve tried GF hockey pucks…I mean bagels, in the past, I bought a bag and brought them home.

So here’s where the love comes in. I take one out of the bag and it’s not heavy like previous hockey pucks. Even in its frozen state it looks good, smells good, and doesn’t seem to have anything weird going on with it. I separate the sides easily, no breaking off or crumbling, pop it into the toaster and a couple of minutes later I’m greeted with a miracle. I slather it with dairy-free butter and the first bite is heavenly. It’s fluffy and crisp. Not dense and heavy like even a regular bagel but not too light either. No slippery, freaky texture. No weird scent, no weird twang of flavor that makes you say “gluten-free”. In fact, this bagel tasted so good and so real like wheat bread, that it scared me. I then proceeded to read the label and the entire bag two more times just to be certain. The angels sang, trumpets from heaven were playing my song. It’s real alright and I now have a new addiction. If you can’t find them in your local grocery store, order them online. They freeze well and are worth every, single, bite.