Spicy Sausage and Bean Soup & Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

4 Comments

DSC_6849

I could live on soup.

In fact, as long as I had a nice variety, I literally would eat soup every day of my life for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have no idea why I feel this way about soup, but really, what’s not to like about it? Your options are endless. You can make a light soup or a hardy soup. You can make a puree or you can make one with all kinds of yummy texture and flavor. All I ask is that you don’t eat it out of a can.

Soup is easy to make yourself (not as easy as opening a can…but not much harder)  and the payoff is huge. Just the fact that you’ve created something delicious from scratch all on your own is a plus. The fact that you can control what’s in it…that’s the important part. No chemicals, creepy thickeners, hidden allergens, or crazy genetically modified who knows what for you. Just simple organic ingredients that are beneficial for the whole family.

Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup 

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Small Onion, chopped

1/2 Cup Celery, sliced thinly

2 Garlic Cloves, chopped

About 2 Cups of your favorite GF/DF sausage, sliced (I used Hot Italian Pork & Sweet Italian Chicken)

4 Large Tuscan Kale Leaves (rib removed) rolled, cut in half, and sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/2-1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)

1 15 oz. Can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

8 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot and heat. Saute the onion, celery, garlic, sliced sausage, kale, thyme, and red pepper until the sausage is cooked through and the onion and celery are becoming translucent. Add the beans, broth, and Old Bay Seasoning and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

DSC_6845

Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

*Super easy and a perfect way to use up leftover hamburger buns.

2 Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter Spread

Garlic Powder

Dried Oregano

Open the buns and spread with butter. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and dried oregano. Place under the broiler until golden.

DSC_6851

 

Fail! Organic Black Bean Pasta

9 Comments

DSC_5335

I ran across this pasta in the co-op the other day and was intrigued by its color. The black bean aspect intrigued me too, but black pasta?

Cool!

images

I had no idea how it would turn out, but I had my heart set on pesto and that oh so good salty sheep’s  Pecorino Romano I bought the other day. I had a beautiful picture in my head of what it would look like on the plate, drizzled with a lovely extra virgin olive oil. The contrast of the pesto and cheese with the black noodles….the drizzles of olive oil around the dish….ahhhh.

I should have taken note of the picture on the front of the bag.

 My pairings were totally wrong for these noodles and the photos turned out nothing like I had created in my mind.  It’s probably a better noodle for soup and Asian cuisine. It reminded me very much of the texture of Top Ramen noodles. Except more earthy flavored and almost the same color as something you might find slithering around in the soil in your garden.

Mmmmm appetizing!

DSC_5331

There are probably a lot of people out there looking at food blogs who don’t blog themselves who have never considered how many fails it takes to create great recipes. With Pinterest right at the tip of everyone’s fingers, it’s clear to see after a short look-see, food can be ART and they make it all look so easy.  And don’t get me wrong, I love looking at beautiful food just as much as the next person, maybe more!

But, it’s also nice to see the struggles and the not so artsy every now and then. Because realistically, all of us are not sitting down to a three course meal worthy of a gallery wall every night.

DSC_5338

It’s easy to just call it a loss and only post the fantastic and beautiful recipes. I mean, you would never know!

But I’m here help you learn and to help you love being allergen free, not fib about how easy it is. This is only just one of many, many, of my recipe “fails”. It can be frustrating (and expensive) but if you look at it on the positive side, they really aren’t fails if you’re figuring out how to use new products and experience new things. And one oops out of about 10 YAY’S!! really isn’t a fail, it’s just a good try.

So here it is in all of its ugly and very unsavory glory!

Ha!

Better luck next time.

Meatloaf For Two

5 Comments

DSC_5277Meatloaf For Two

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 pound of Organic Hamburger

1 Organic Egg

2 Tablespoons of Organic Onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Dried Organic Basil

1 Tablespoon of Dried Organic Oregano

1 teaspoon of Organic Bragg’s Sprinkle Seasoning

2 Tablespoons of Sugar Daddy Sugarhouse Special BBQ Sauce

1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

4 Grinds of Fresh Pepper

4 teaspoons of Organic Tomato Paste

Bragg’s Sprinkle Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a large bowl.

DSC_5263

Mix with one hand until thoroughly combined. Not too much! I like my meatloaf light and fluffy. If you mix it too much it will be dense and have a weird texture.

DSC_5268

Spoon it into oiled ramekins, pat down, and smooth with the back of a spoon.

DSC_5270

Top each meatloaf with 2 teaspoons of tomato paste and spread with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with Bragg’s Seasoning.

DSC_5271

Place on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.

I served mine with smashed potatoes and pan gravy. You can either eat it right out of the ramekin, or take it out and slice it like I did.

DSC_5276

For the smashed potatoes:

Organic Red Potatoes

Almond Milk

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter

Salt

(The amount will depend on how many people you’re cooking for.) Boil and drain the potatoes. Mash by hand with a potato masher. Warm milk and butter and slowly mash/stir into the potatoes. Salt to taste.

For the pan gravy:

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter

Mama’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

Organic Beef Broth

Kosher Salt

Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle Seasoning

Heat the beef broth. Place butter and flour in a pan and whisk to create a roux.  Slowly add the beef broth whisking the entire time until the gravy is to the consistency you want it. Season with salt and Bragg’s seasoning.

DSC_5281

We Like To Call It “Linner”

3 Comments

For some strange reason, we like to eat a large meal at about 2:30, especially on the weekends.

We call it Linner.

You know – lunch & dinner. 

DSC_4947

Typically, we eat breakfast at a normal time, before 8:00 and then we get busy, run errands, do yard work, or head out on day trips.

Linner is perfect for those days. 

Tonight we’re headed to a movie, which would interrupt dinner, so Linner is just right. Then we can have popcorn and snacks for “dinner”. 

See how that works? We’re grown-ups now so if we want to have Junior Mints and popcorn for dinner…so be it. 

~Here’s What We Had For Linner~

Grilled Salmon

Penne with Pesto

Bruschetta with Goat Gouda

Peach Tranquility Tea from Teavana

DSC_4946

You can find my vegan pesto recipe here. I like to make a large batch of it and then freeze it in smaller batches to use whenever I like. You can find my bruschetta recipe here. It’s SO easy. This time I topped it with Trader Joe’s Goat Gouda.  A-MAZING. If you can tolerate goat’s milk cheese and you haven’t tried it, it’s an absolute MUST. It’s delicious. It stays somewhat soft after broiling, the perfect texture. It’s not too “goaty”, it’s mild, creamy, I really can’t say enough good things about it.

We’re off to the movies. Hope you all are having a fabulous Saturday!

DSC_4948

King Crab Salad with Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing

8 Comments

DSC_4239

A couple of weeks ago I Googled recipes for salad dressing made with avocados. I made the mistake of trying the recipe right before we were going to eat and the very expensive, organic dressing ended up being poured down the drain. It was too vinegary, too acidic, and I couldn’t detect avocado anywhere in the dressing except in the color. In fact the dressing had no flavor at all. I hated to waste two organic avocados but down they went.

So yesterday when I was contemplating what to do with our leftover Mother’s Day King Crab legs, I thought I’d give an avocado dressing another try.

This time, I made up a recipe. It took all of 5 minutes and it tasted fantastic.

DSC_4243

King Crab Salad

*Makes 2 large personal sized salads.

2 Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach

1 Head of Organic Romaine Lettuce, sliced

A Few Slices of Organic Red Onion, thinly sliced

1 Organic Tomato, chopped

1 Organic Avocado, chopped

2 Medium Organic Carrots, grated

Juice of 1/2 Organic Lemon, for drizzling over the avocado after it’s on the salad

About 1 1/2 Cups King Crab, chilled

Gluten Free Croutons

Divide the first 7 ingredients between two plates. Top with the crab (I pulled mine apart into bite sized pieces), sprinkle with croutons. Top with Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing.

DSC_4244

Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing

DSC_4236

*Makes about 1 Cup

1 Organic Avocado

1 1/2 teaspoons of Organic Dry Dill, you can use fresh if you have it

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon Granulated Sugar

Juice of 2 Organic Lemons

1/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Organic Almond Milk

2 or 3 Grinds of Fresh Pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

DSC_4229

Stuffed Yams

3 Comments

DSC_4004

I am saddened to say that for about the first 40 years of my life, I only had yams once a year. Typically on Thanksgiving and usually swimming in Karo syrup, brown sugar, and pineapple juice.  Just a little slice because I liked the brown sugar.

Now however, I could eat them every single day.

They’re delicious, what’s not to like? It turns out they’re extremely good for you and if you eat even one little cup once a week it has been shown to reduce the risk of lung, skin, and prostate cancer dramatically.

DSC_3984

They’re versatile.

You can stuff them with whatever you like or just have them with a drizzle of heart healthy olive oil and salt and pepper. You can slather them with dairy free butter and sprinkle them with brown sugar…my personal favorite, and they’re even good plain.

DSC_3979

DSC_3972

Have you ever been confused by the whole Yam Sweet Potato thing? We call the orange ones Sweet Potatoes. I don’t know why, but that’s how I was raised. I always thought the yellow fleshed ones were the Yams. Turns out I was wrong. If you don’t believe me, you can go here and scroll down for a visual and an explanation. So technically, that Sweet Potato pie that looks like pumpkin pie, is really made with Yams. Doesn’t sound as good though…Yam pie.

DSC_3990

Call them whatever you like, and make sure you don’t miss out on them for 40 years like I did simply because the sound of Sweet Potato or Yam grosses you out.

DSC_4012

Try stuffing them with all kinds of different things.

Then serve them with your favorite gluten free beer.

DSC_4015

You might just be surprised.

DSC_4009

Here’s how I prepared them tonight:

Lay the potato(s) on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder, and oregano. Roll them up tight and place them in the oven seam side up. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and cool enough that you don’t burn yourself when you unwrap it and cut it. Once cooled, unwrap and slice vertically. Using a fork, rough up the flesh, sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside.

On a gas grill or in a grill pan, grill boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The amount will depend on how many people you are serving. I placed 1.5 chicken thighs on each potato.

In a separate pan, saute onions, bell pepper, kale, and sun dried tomatoes. (Or any combination of any vegetable you like)

Layer the chicken on the potatoes first, then add the sauteed vegetables. Top with sliced buffalo mozzarella (made from buffalo milk), sprinkle with kosher salt, a few grinds of pepper, and dried oregano. Place under a pre-heated broiler until cheese is bubbly and begins to brown. But not too much or the mozzarella will become tough.

Serve with gluten free beer.

Baked Halibut and Sweet Potato Fries

7 Comments

I only have one photo today of our lunch. Although I’m using it twice.

I took several but evidently something happened between taking them and saving them. When I went to upload, all were just plain white, except one. With all the positives of fantastic technology, also come a few negatives.

The fish was fantastically flaky and delicious. I’m sorry you had to miss it!

My husband has a huge aversion to oil. He hates greasy food and particularly liked this fish because “it gives you the sense that you’re eating something fried but it’s not overly oily”. I would have to agree with him. This meal feels like you’re really indulging, but in reality, it’s all baked and has very little fat. What fat it does have are pretty healthy fats; the mayo is even made with olive oil.

It feels like we’re finally settling in to our new home and getting into somewhat of a routine. The one thing we can’t seem to acclimate though, is dinner time. We’re hungry for breakfast a later time than usual, then end up missing lunch, and are ready for dinner around 2:30. That would be 11:30 Washington time, which I guess is actually lunch… See what I mean about time acclimation? Amazing how firm our inner clocks are set, isn’t it? This is why it appears that we are having dinner for lunch…because we are. It’s probably better that way anyway. Then we aren’t full when we go to bed and we can have dessert for dinner. See how that works out so nicely? Yay!

For those of you who are visiting for the first time, in November we moved almost 3,000 miles away from our home town in Washington State to southern New Hampshire.

DSC_3484

We love the new house, the neighborhood, the surrounding area, and the abundance of fresh seafood. I’ve probably eaten more mussels and clams in the last three months than I have in my entire life.

But I would have to say that the people of New Hampshire are what really have made all the difference and have taken the sting out of what would normally be a rather stressful experience. They are just so nice. I know it sounds odd, and maybe even kind of dorky…and you may think I’m exaggerating, but I kid you not. In the three months we’ve been on the east coast, I can say I have not seen one person in public be rude to another person, I haven’t seen anyone flip each other off in their cars or yell, people actually stop for you to cross the street whether you’re in a cross walk or not and they don’t get angry about it, and they don’t invade your personal space at the check out stand (all things that happen frequently in our home town). They stop and talk to you and shoot the breeze as if they don’t have any thing better in their day to do than really chat with you and find out how you’re doing. And they are incredibly patient people.

And these are the strangers, people we don’t even know!

Just a few days ago I stood in the gluten-free isle at Hannaford’s and talked to a couple from Massachusetts for about a half an hour (we’re only a few miles from the border).  The wife has Celiac and the husband does all of the cooking for her. I would say they were in their early 60′s. They were shocked to hear that we love the east coast so much and when I told the husband that I was amazed by how genuinely friendly people are, the man was taken aback and thanked me and told me that he considered that quite a compliment.

Moving almost 3,000 miles across the country and starting a new life in our mid 40′s has been an adjustment to say the least. But it is also a fantastic adventure and I’m incredibly thankful we were smart enough to set all the “what-if’s” aside and take the leap!

 “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

And I’m going to have to say, Amen Eleanor! Amen!

DSC_3484

Baked Halibut with Sweet Potato Fries

You can find the recipe for the sweet potato fries here.

You’ll want to start the sweet potato fries about 30-40 minutes ahead of baking the fish, which only takes about 20 minutes.

For the dipping sauces:

Tartar Sauce

About 3/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

2 Baby Sweet Gherkins, finely diced

1 teaspoon Maple horseradish Mustard (Dijon would be fine too)

About 1 Tablespoon Gherkin Juice

About 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

Dash of Tabasco

Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Red Sauce

1/2 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons GF Ketchup

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Dash of Kosher Salt

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

For The Fish

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

1 Halibut Steak, skin removed and boned

(This will depend on how many people you are feeding, you can also use any other type of firm fish that you like)

About 1 Cup GF Bread Crumbs

A Generous Pinch(s) of Kosher Salt

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

About 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

About 1/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

About 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Baking Sheet, Cooling Rack, Aluminum Foil

Remove the skin and bone from the halibut if necessary, this will leave you with four pieces. Dry each one off with a paper towel and set on clean paper towels.

Place the bread crumbs, salt, oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish and stir with a fork until completely combined. Set aside.

Melt the butter and olive in a shallow dish in the microwave for about 30 seconds, not until it’s boiling, just melted.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a cooling rack.

Take the fish and roll it in the butter, then roll and cover completely in bread crumbs. Set on rack and repeat until all of the fish are dipped and covered in bread crumbs.

Next, take any remaining butter and olive oil mixture and drizzle it with a spoon over the breaded fish. Sprinkle a little more bread crumbs over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Don’t over cook or the fish will become rubbery. You want it to flake nicely with a fork.

Serve with the sweet potato fries, lemon wedges, and a dollop of both dips.

Chicken and Dumplings

6 Comments

DSC_3375

We finally made it down to Nashua, a little over an hour from where we live. What’s so exciting about Nashua? Well… the town we live in has a population of 6,000 and Nashua has a population of 87,000. Which means of course, they also have some decent shopping. (Keep in mind, we moved from a city of 500,000.)

We were in search of a barbecue grill, which translated, means my husband was in search of a BBQ grill. I was in search of a Barnes & Noble where I could stock up on books (heaven forbid I run out!) and a Trader Joe’s where I could stock up on buffalo mozzarella, organic chicken, and organic olive oil, and a Red Robin where we could stuff ourselves with a gluten-free burger, a mountain of gluten-free fries, and tartar sauce.

I love Trader Joe’s whole organic, free range, chickens. Organic meats really do taste better. I think they have more flavor and knowing we’re not consuming an animal that’s been treated improperly, shot full of hormones and antibiotics, and fed genetically modified food and who knows what else…makes it even better. Do some research on what our country does to non-organic chickens and I dare you to ever eat one comfortably again. We could talk for days I’m sure, on the sad state of what the FDA thinks is appropriate, so we’ll save that topic for another time.

DSC_3382

I like to keep single serving home-made chicken soup containers in the freezer. It’s great to have on chilly days, when we’re feeling under the weather, or when I don’t feel like cooking when Tony is traveling. I’ve also been thinking about chicken and dumplings. Must be because we’re stuck in winter. Every week is like a skipping record (snow, cold, sun, wind, and…repeat) and I guess my body isn’t ready to get out of comfort food mode until it sees some kind of true sign that spring is on its way.

DSC_3358

So as I was making a big pot of home made chicken soup yesterday, I thought, why not use some of it to make chicken and dumplings? 90% of the work has already been done and then I can have the best of both worlds. Chicken and dumplings for dinner and enough home made soup leftover to store a few servings in the freezer.

I used the artisanal flour mix again for this recipe. I would highly, HIGHLY, recommend their cookbook, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski. Tony bought it for me while on a guys ski trip in Utah last month. I already have 22 recipes earmarked that I can’t wait to try. Including puff pastry and home made pasta!

2012-11-21-GFCookingBook-1_rect540

Chicken & Dumplings

1 Batch of Home Made Chicken Soup (I added carrots and broccoli during the final process)

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

About 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour (for thickening broth)

Kosher Salt

For the dumplings:

1 1/2 Cups Artisanal Flour Blend (I use arrowroot instead of cornstarch)

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme, minced

1 1/2 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter, melted

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 Large Egg

In a medium stock pot or dutch oven, add about 2 heaping cups of strained solids from the chicken soup (chicken, carrots, etc.). Add about 2 1/2 cups of the chicken broth, just enough to almost reach the top of the chicken and vegetables. Add the 1/4 cup almond milk and stir. Salt to taste. Set aside.

DSC_3365

In a medium bowl, whisk the artisanal flour blend, baking powder, salt, and thyme. In a measuring cup, add the almond milk and egg and whisk with a fork until combined. Melt the butter. Add the egg mixture and butter to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Don’t over mix, or the dumplings will be too dense when cooked.

DSC_3366

Bring the chicken mixture to a boil. Add the two tablespoons of flour to a small cup, add enough broth to make it liquid, stir the lumps out with a fork and add to the chicken mixture. Boil for 2-3 minutes and reduce to a low simmer.

Spoon heaping Tablespoons of the dumpling dough over the simmering mixture.

DSC_3367

Cover and allow to steam on simmer for 23 minutes. No peeking!! They will expand while cooking. You will want them to be done on the inside, but somewhat soft and moist on the outside.

DSC_3384

DSC_3370

Chicken Tetrazzini

11 Comments

I used to make turkey Tetrazzini every year with Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey leftovers. Of course that was prior to going gluten-free and dairy-free and those Tetrazzini dishes included a lot of cream and probably three kinds of lovely cheese, along with gluten bread crumbs.

Our mornings are chilly now and that always gets me thinking about comfort food. I love fall and even winter (as long as it snows a lot! Yes you read that right…) and I look forward to baking pies, roasting things, and having my house smell like comfort food.

I don’t even know what was on television in the bedroom this morning while I was getting ready, but I heard the word Tetrazzini and thought, “YES!”. I had forgotten all about Tetrazzini! When you’re allergic to dairy you kind of get used to not thinking about cheesy, creamy, delightful, comfort food. Luckily, with more and more people becoming aware of food allergies and more people being tested, the whole food world is opening up with new products and new ideas for those of us that can’t eat traditional things.

I couldn’t remember how I used to make it exactly so I Googled Tetrazzini. Honestly, what did we ever do without the internet? After reading through several recipes it all started coming back to me and I realized that each recipe was different. Really different. So I just winged it and did what I thought sounded good. Giada De Laurentiis puts peas in hers. I thought that sounded good too and I could have sworn I had frozen baby peas, but no such luck. Her recipe also had about 30 ingredients. Seriously?

I just went with what I had on hand and it was fantastic. Total comfort food. So creamy and delicious, even I was shocked! Ahhh… the satisfaction of another traditional meal tackled and made into something that can fit my needs! Remember the movie Bruce Almighty where Jim Carey says, “It’s goooood”? For some reason that just popped into my head. Odd the things that rattle around in there…

I love having a good (or “gooood”) challenge. This recipe was challenging because I didn’t know if it would really work. That always bugs me a little because it’s not cheap to be dairy free and gluten-free. If it doesn’t turn out, it’s horrible to watch all of that $$$ going straight into the trash bin. Plus, dairy free cheese is a little weird sometimes. Occasionally it can make the texture of something really unappealing. Also, there’s a lot of steps. I was taking pictures in between steps and different parts of the recipe and not cleaning up, so my kitchen looked like a bomb went off.  But as soon as I had everything in the oven, it all cleaned up quickly and believe me…all the steps and all the prep work to get it into the oven was worth every-single-bite.

Another recipe challenge overcome! Hmmm…what’s next?

Chicken Tetrazzini

Bacon Drippings, or olive oil if you don’t have drippings on hand

2 Chicken Breasts, cooked & cubed or shredded into large pieces

1 Medium Onion, diced

About 6 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced

About 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

About 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme

1 Head of Roasted Garlic

About 1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Seasoning

About 1 Cup of White Wine

3 Cups of Almond Milk

About 2 Cups Gluten Free Chicken Broth

1 Cup Diaya Cheddar Style Cheese

1/4 Cup Buffalo Mozzarella

1/4 Cup Vegan Parmesan

Dairy Free Butter

About 1/3 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

Gluten Free Bread Crumbs, seasoned with oregano, basil, garlic powder, vegan parm, & kosher salt

About 12 oz. of Tinkyada Gluten Free Pasta, cooked aldente

1.  In a large skillet melt about 2-4 Tablespoons of bacon drippings. Add chicken breasts and brown on both sides just until they are done. About 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

2.  Add the chopped onion and mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to brown a bit. Add the thyme leaves. Add salt to taste.

3. Add the wine to de-glaze the pan and continue to saute over medium-high until the wine evaporates. Remove mixture to a large bowl. Set pan aside.

4. Dice or shred chicken and add to the bowl. Add the cheeses, roasted garlic, and Bragg’s.

5. Using the same pan, melt about 4 Tablespoons of dairy free butter. Add the flour and whisk together.

6.  Add the almond milk and chicken broth whisking quickly as to not allow lumps. Cook over medium-high until the mixture begins to thicken. Mine became very thick so I added a bit more chicken broth. You want a medium thick consistency. Salt & pepper to taste, add the dried thyme, set aside.

7. Cook pasta according to directions. I removed mine 2 minutes prior to “done”. Drain.

8.  Lightly coat a 9×11 baking dish with olive oil spray or dairy free butter.

9. Add the pasta and sauce to the large bowl of other ingredients. Toss well and pour into the baking dish.

10.  Coat the top with gluten-free bread crumbs (see below), and dot with butter.

11. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until sauce bubbles. Serve with gluten-free french bread.

* I always toast (in the oven) and throw all uneaten or stale bread into a bag in my freezer. It makes it very easy whip up bread crumbs or croutons when I need them.

For bread crumbs I just add the toasted bread to a food processor. Add dried herbs, kosher salt, and  just a bit of olive oil. Pulse until it turns into crumbs and the herbs are incorporated. For this recipe I added basil, oregano, garlic powder, kosher salt, vegan parmesan, and added a drizzle of olive oil at the end so it would all come together a bit.

Finally Time For a Home Cooked Meal

4 Comments

Life has been absolutely crazy around here. Tony is traveling and changing time zones twice a week, and the house viewing traffic is picking up dramatically. That last part is a good thing, but it puts us in the position of having to be able to leave our house quickly. That makes it very hard to cook a real meal.

This is a very unhappy Chloe, stuck in a crate at my mom’s house while we wait for people to finish a walk through at our house. She’s not quite as happy as Romeo and Abigail to be at Grandma’s house.

I’ve been trying to make this dish since Thursday and finally on Sunday night, even though we were completely exhausted after having five viewings of our house over the past three days, I forced myself to make a decent dinner. Please forgive the pictures…I wasn’t going to even blog about it but Tony asked if I was taking pictures and was sweet enough to run upstairs and get my camera. The recipe will also be one of those “about this much” recipes, unfortunately. I didn’t write anything down, but you all are so smart and amazing in the kitchen, I know you won’t have any trouble making your own version.

Waiting at Grandma’s house for “kitty, kitty” the new kitten to come out and play with her. Penelope, my mother’s other cat is just around the corner growling and hissing at Chloe in the crate.

Lately we’ve been living on Jimmy John’s un-which sandwiches, black bean salad, gluten-free organic hot dogs and chili, cereal more cereal, peanut butter toast, and Red Robin’s California chicken sandwiches. Did you know they now carry gluten-free buns and will make your fries in a separate fryer from gluten items? We are addicted. Next time I eat one I’ll take a picture for you. And the tartar sauce (which is gluten-free & dairy free)…so delicious and addictive I should probably just be slathering it on my thighs because I’m sure that’s right where it goes after it leaves my mouth.

Tony stayed home an extra day today to take advantage of a motorcycle track day. The kind of track day that makes me cringe and I have to remind him that I really don’t want to know how fast he went and how many people had to be hauled off in an ambulance. He left early this morning, so this is what a lazy Sunday looks like for some of us…not me of course, I have a whole list of things to do!

Yes, we allow them to lounge on the furniture…

I’m used to cooking whole meals at least four days a week and baking something delicious at least twice a week. But lately, our new way of  living on “whatever is easy and doesn’t make the house smell weird” is getting to me. It’s leaving me feeling unsatisfied and rather unhealthy.

So last Wednesday while I was lying in bed wide awake at 2:30 in the morning because we’ve had a weird rash of car break-ins in our neighborhood, the recipe for Italian Sausage & Pesto Roll Ups was born. Maybe a little bit of fear does help with creativity? Or maybe it was the fact that I was sleeping with my gun and that enabled me to calm my mind enough to think about food. Either way, I also had to figure out when exactly I could find the time to actually make the recipe that was making my stomach growl and getting me excited for real food.

I tried Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to make this meal and it seemed like the dinner God’s were against me. And even though we had two more showings on Saturday, I managed to squeeze in a small nap and muster the energy to cook a nice meal on Saturday night, throwing caution to the wind and not caring if our house smelled like garlic and pesto on Sunday morning. I even managed to make an easy Kalamata olive & garlic loaf.

Italian Sausage & Pesto Roll-Ups

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

About a pound of gluten-free, dairy-free Italian Sausage

Hot Pepper Flakes, I like my sausage spicy

Homemade Vegan Pesto

1 Large Block of Sheep’s Milk Cheese, I buy mine in the white and blue container at Trader Joe’s

About 2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano

About 2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil

Freshly Ground Pepper

About 1/2 Cup Diaya Mozzarella Style Shreds

About 2 Tablespoons Dairy Free Parmesan Style Cheese

1 Jar Ready-Made Pasta Sauce, I used Newman’s Marinara, or homemade of course

1 Package Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles, cooked aldente (follow pkg instructions), rinsed, and separated immediately

Cook pasta, rinse, separate, and set aside. Fry the Italian sausage and pepper flakes (to your taste) until done, drain fat, set aside.

Drain the sheep’s cheese and place the entire block in a mixer. Add the fresh herbs, other two cheeses, and the fresh herbs. Mix on medium until it comes together and begins to look somewhat sticky. I was also going to add 1/2 cup chopped spinach to this mixture but forgot!

Oil a 9×9 inch square baking dish with olive oil. Spoon a small amount of sauce over the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Lay out a lasagna noodle on your work surface. Spread either with a knife or the back of a spoon about 1 to 1/2 Tablespoons of the pesto along the entire noodle. Add about 2 Tablespoons (or so) of the cheese mixture to the end of the noodle nearest you, add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the sausage, and roll up, tucking in any filling that falls out of the sides as you go. Place the roll upright in the prepared pan. Continue until you have used all of your fillings.

Once the pan is full, pour the remaining sauce over the top, spreading with a spoon. Sprinkle with a little more of the mozzarella style cheese and the parmesan style cheese. Oil a piece of aluminum foil and cover.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes covered, remove foil, and bake for 10 more minutes.

Kalamata Olive & Garlic Loaf

With this recipe, I made two small plain loaves and 1 medium olive and garlic loaf. I simply separated the dough and took out the plain loaves first, then added the ingredients for the olive and garlic loaf.

1 Box Gluten Free Pantry French Bread Mix (make using directions on back of box)

Kalamata Olives, about 15 sliced in half lengthwise

Garlic Cloves, about 8 sliced in half lengthwise

About 1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano

1 Egg for Brushing

I wasn’t in the mood to run to the basement to fetch my french bread pan, so I simply lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. It works just fine, but the loaves spread out a bit.

Depending on how you want to separate the dough, do that part first, leaving the amount of dough that you want to use for the olive and garlic loaf in the mixer. Then, add the olives, garlic, and oregano and mix until combined.

Dollop and spread it on the baking sheet or in the french bread pan, brush with whisked egg, and cover with oiled plastic. Allow to rise for about 40 minutes in a warm place

Bake for about 30 minutes (I use convection). You may need to cover lightly with foil if it begins to brown too quickly.