Gluten Free Pasta

Tinkyada Spaghetti Style, Fettucini Style, and Spinach Spaghetti Style Pasta

I’ve tried several different types of gluten free pasta and so far the Tinkyada brand is the best. The texture is wonderful, there’s no after taste and most of their pastas are simply made with brown rice, rice bran, and water. Good for you too. Their pasta comes in all different shapes and sizes to fit every one of your pasta needs…even lasagna noodles. I’ve used Tinkyada’s pastas for numerous different recipes and I find that if I follow the cooking directions on the package and use plenty of water, I get a perfect al dente pasta every single time.

Steak & Shrimp Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

There are weeks when I have a menu planned that I’m excited about for every single night and then…there are weeks like this one. Today was one of those chilly, lazy, days where I didn’t even want to face going outside let alone going to the grocery store, again. Not knowing exactly what I would find in the freezer, I set out to see if I could come up with something edible for dinner. Way in the back I found one steak (One? There’s three of us, why would I only have one steak?) and a bag of frozen shrimp. Searching through the fridge I came up with a few veggies, grabbed some pasta from the pantry, and this is what I came up with. No going out in the cold, no schlepping through the grocery store. More time for me to work my way through the plate of sugar cookies on my counter and enjoy my new book…


1 – 16 0z. Ribeye Steak

1 Bag Medium Uncooked Shrimp (about 50 count)

About 10 – 12 oz. Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, spaghetti style

2 Bunches of Asparagus

Olive Oil

4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped

4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped for asparagus

1/2 Sprig of Rosemary, leaves removed, chopped

1 Medium Sweet Onion, cut in half and sliced

1 Tsp. Thyme Leaves, heaping, chopped

1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced

1 Cup Spinach Leaves, roughly chopped

About 3/4 cup Semi-Dry White Wine

About 2 Generous Tbsp. of Butter (I used dairy free)

Steak Seasoning

Sea Salt & Pepper

Peel shrimp removing tails and rinse. Set aside.

Season the steak with a bit of olive oil, sea salt & pepper, and steak seasoning. I used Chicago Chop and Steak Seasoning. Set aside. Pre-heat grill.

Slice the onion and pepper, chop garlic and herbs, and rough chop the spinach. Set aside. Place steak on grill and cook to your liking. I cooked mine medium-rare, probably more on the rare side. You don’t want it too done because you’ll add it to the hot shrimp mixture later and it will cook a bit. Once it’s off the grill set it aside to rest.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and prepare the asparagus by trimming the ends. Drizzle with olive oil and about 2 Tbsp. of chopped garlic. Sprinkle about 1/2 Tbsp. of sea salt and about 7 grinds of pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. While the asparagus is roasting, thinly slice the steak and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil in a skillet and saute onions and garlic on medium to medium-high heat until lightly golden. During this process, boil your pasta water. Cook pasta according to package directions (15-16 minutes) and drain.

Once the onion and garlic are a light golden color, add the red bell pepper and cook for 5 more minutes. Add shrimp, spinach, herbs, and season with about 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Saute until shrimp are almost cooked through.  Slide mixture to the side and add butter, scraping the bottom of the pan.

Next, add about 3/4 cup wine, de-glazing on medium-high until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and add steak, tossing carefully.

Taste, season a bit more if necessary and serve over pasta with the asparagus on the side.

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

Mama's Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

I cannot rave enough about this flour! Mama’s Almond Blend all purpose flour is made with a mixture of white rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, and almond meal flour. This is my “go to” all purpose flour for baking, frying, dredging, and the number one flour I use when converting gluten recipes to non-gluten recipes. It has perfect texture, perfect flavor, and absolutely no weird after taste like a lot of other gluten-free all purpose flour mixes. I purchase mine at a local grocery store but if you’re unable to find it at yours, Gluten Free Mama has a website where you can check out all of her products and even try some of her gluten-free recipes. She also has a new cookbook out (her 2nd) and you can order products right from her website.

Sugar Cookies

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Frosted sugar cookies are by far my all time favorite cookie. I have a long list of cookies I love, but sugar cookies are always at the top in the #1 spot. You can eat them plain, or frost them, sprinkle them with sugar, or make them into little pockets filled with preserves, you can sandwich them together with luscious fillings, or cut them into a million different shapes and sizes, dip them in chocolate, or sprinkle them with toasted coconut, and give them as beautiful gifts. So much variety from one very tasty dough recipe.

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I was overjoyed when I figured out how to tweak my all time favorite Betty Crocker recipe and make it gluten-free and dairy free!

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Gluten Free/Dairy Free Sugar Cookie Dough

*Makes 64 3″ cookies

2/3 cup Dairy Free Butter

2/3 cup Spectrum Shortening

4 1/2 cups Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, plus more for rolling

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups of Granulated Sugar

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp. of Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Beat butter, shortening, and sugar in mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds until fluffy scraping down bowl once or twice. Add about half of the flour, the eggs,  baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour.

Divide dough in half and flatten to discs, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight before using, or freeze for later use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Flour surface where you’re going to roll out the dough. Let the dough warm up on the counter for about 15 minutes, 30 if it came out of the freezer. Roll out half of the dough at a time. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes and let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Decorate as desired when completely cooled.

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Fruity Chocolates With Sea Salt

When I realized I needed to go dairy free it didn’t take me long to understand that there would be no more “quick” chocolate fixes in my future. No more grabbing a chocolate bar at the grocery store or stopping by See’s Candies for a dark chocolate caramel or pecan log pieces when I felt the need to have a little sweet satisfaction. Unless of course I wanted to gnaw on a chunk of super dark chocolate, which isn’t quite what I was used to. Luckily, as time went by I was either introduced to dairy free chocolate choices from other people seeking the same thing, or through research online and searching the grocery store shelves was able to find some very tasty alternatives. I used Baker’s All Natural Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares for this recipe. I also keep a 5lb. bag of Enjoy Life dairy free miniature chocolate chips in my pantry. Living with food allergies can be frustrating I know, but if you’re willing to have a little patience and do a little research, well…it pays off in a big way. I am gluten and dairy free but there are very few things that I have to go without. Life is much too short to live without chocolate.

Fruity Chocolates With Sea Salt

24 oz. (3 pkgs.) Baker’s All Natural Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares

1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules

1/4 cup dried, wild blueberries

1/4 cup mixed dried berries, chopped (I used cherries, cranberries, and strawberries.)

1/4 cup gluten-free pretzels, lightly smashed

1/8 cup coarse sea salt

about 40 miniature candy paper cups

Measure out blueberries, chop mixed berries, crush pretzels, and unwrap chocolate squares.

Pour sea salt onto a small dish, place 40 candy wrappers on parchment paper.

Place chocolate squares in double broiler over medium-low heat. Add instant coffee granules.

Melt, stirring occasionally until smooth.

After chocolate is completely melted, slowly add the blueberries, chopped mixed berries, and pretzels, incorporating one at a time. Stir until completely combined and remove from heat.

With a teaspoon, carefully fill paper cups about 3/4 full. Stir the chocolate in the double broiler as you go so that you have an even amount of fruit and pretzels in each paper cup.

After the paper cups are filled, sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt. Allow to set.

Organic Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Homemade chicken soup. Doesn’t just the thought of sitting down with a steaming bowl and a warm roll with butter instantly relax you? Go ahead, close your eyes and imagine it. I’ll wait.

It doesn’t surprise me that several different Universities have done studies on the effects of chicken soup on cold and flu viruses. I mean really, how many of us were raised with mothers or grandmothers who believed that soup was the best possible thing for us when we were sick or tired from an endless week of Mondays? Scientific studies done at the University of Nebraska show that chicken soup is full of excellent nutrition and even has natural anti-inflammatory properties. They believe that chicken soup may actually trigger a cold and flu-fighting reaction in the body, that the steam helps to soothe your sinuses, and when someone you love prepares it for you, you get a therapeutic psychological boost that promotes healing. Wow, all that in a bowl of homemade chicken soup? I’ll take that over a flu shot any day.

Homemade Organic Chicken & Vegetable Soup

1 Whole Organic Free Range Chicken, rinsed, keep innards

3  32 oz. Boxes of Organic Free Range Chicken Broth (gluten free)

6 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Organic Sweet Onion, roughly chopped

1 cup Organic Sweet Onion, diced

3 Organic Carrots, roughly chopped

1 Cup Organic Carrots, sliced bite size

4 Organic Stalks of Celery, roughly chopped

1 Cup Organic Celery, sliced bite size

6 Organic Medium Size Red Potatoes, cut bite size

4 Organic Cloves of Garlic, whacked, peeled and left whole

4 Organic Cloves of Garlic, peeled and diced

10 Sprigs of Organic Thyme, left whole

6 Sprigs of Organic Thyme, leaves removed and saved

1 Sprig of Organic Rosemary, left whole

3 Leaves of Organic Sage, torn in half

3 Leaves of Organic Sage, chopped

2 Whole Organic Bay Leaves

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

For The Stock

Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large stock pot, warm on medium-high heat. Add the roughly chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add the 10 sprigs of whole thyme, 1 sprig of whole rosemary, and 3 torn sage leaves. Saute just until the onions begin to turn translucent.

Next, add the whole chicken with parts (neck, liver, etc.), about 1 tsp. sea salt, 6 grinds of pepper, and 2 boxes of the chicken broth.

Bring to a boil, cover lightly with an opening, lower heat, and simmer slowly for 1 hour and a half. Simmering slowly stops the chicken from becoming overdone and tough.

Next, remove chicken carefully from broth and place in strainer over large bowl. Allow to cool about 15 minutes and remove chicken from bones, discard bones. Place chicken in bowl and set aside.

Pour broth from stock pot into strainer over large bowl, discard stock vegetables. Allow to cool slightly and skim some of the fat off of the top. Set aside.

For The Soup

Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cup sliced celery, and 4 diced garlic cloves. Saute until onions are translucent.

Add potatoes, thyme leaves, chopped sage, bay leaves, strained stock pot broth plus 1 more box of broth, and bring to a boil. Boil lightly until potatoes are fork tender.

Add chicken pieces, warm for 5 minutes and serve. The leftovers freeze very well. I like to freeze mine in individual sized containers.

Mama’s Pancake Mix

Mmm…pancakes slathered in butter (dairy free for me) and pure maple syrup, sprinkled with blueberries and walnuts. Definitely a delicious way to start the day. I’m still searching for the “perfect” dairy-free and gluten-free pancake mix, but so far, Mama’s Pancake Mix gets a thumbs up over all the others I’ve tried for flavor. I added vanilla to the batter this time for a little extra kick and it was quite nice. Probably my one complaint about all gluten-free and dairy-free pancake mixes is that they don’t get very fluffy and most of them are either too bread like or kind of slippery. Mama’s has a pretty good texture along with great flavor. I would recommend trying it, and then experiment to add your own flair. Next time I’m going to separate the eggs, beat the egg whites and fold them in. That might lend to a fluffier pancake.