Category Archives: Gluten Free

Chili Roasted Pineapple Fries

Some recipes are barely recipes.  They are more about me needing something to go with something, and well, I have this pineapple…

This dish defies any predetermined meal placement.  I served this with a side of BBQ chicken, but it would be just as good with a scoop of ice cream for dessert, or alongside a couple of scrambled eggs for breakfast.

One of my favorite Mexican restaurants is this little place in my home town, run by a Mexican lady who is always singing.  Last time I ate there, she gave me a couple of little tins of spices that she’s planning to start selling. I scored ground cinnamon and this wonderful ground chipotle pepper.  I’ve been putting it on everything!  You may think peppers and pineapples don’t go together, but you’d be wrong!  The kick from the peppers and the sticky sweet touch of honey is the perfect combo.

Chili Roasted Pineapple

Chili Roasted Pineapple

Chili Roasted Pineapple Fries

Fresh Pineapple
Honey
Ground chipotle pepper (or any ground chili/red pepper powder)

Preheat oven to 400˚. Slice pineapple up into whatever shapes you like.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Lightly brush tops of pineapple with honey and sprinkle with ground chili pepper.

Cut into whatever shapes you like.  I prefer little stick shapes.  When I cook these on the grill, I do big sticks, the height of the whole pineapple.  Or you can do skewers of chunks if you prefer.

Cut into whatever shapes you like. I prefer little stick (french fry) shapes. 

Roast for 10-15 minutes, until just starting to turn brown. If you prefer grilling to roasting, these are perfect on the grill!

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Pizza Stuffed Peppers

I came across these giant red bell peppers the other day and they were so pretty (and so on sale!) that I just had to buy them.  And with so many spring colds going around, this seemed like the perfect way to get an extra dose of vitamin C. Did you know red bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges?

Since the peppers were such a nice shape and good size, stuffing them seemed like the thing to do.  But stuff with what?  As it happens I had all the makings for homemade pizza, except crust.  You know, sometimes things just fall into place.  Obviously a pizza filled pepper was the solution to all my problems.

Now when you’re making a stuffed pepper, you’re faced with two choices:  lop off the top and stuff them whole, or cut them in half and make boats.  Since my peppers were so tall I opted for boats. This has the added benefit of being able to pick it up and eat it like pizza if you so desire (and if you’re willing to wait a bit for it to cool).

These were delicious.  I’m not anti-crust myself, but if you’re searching for a more healthy, low-carb or gluten-free solution to pizza, give this a try!  Feel free to vary the pizza toppings to your liking. I am not listing quantities because really it depends on how big your peppers are and how many you want to eat.

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

3-4 large red bell peppers (or any color)
Red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of basil, coarsely chopped
Mushrooms
Mozzarella
Pepperoni (optional)
Salt & pepper
Dry or fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stuff peppers with veggies, pepperoni (if using) and cheese.  I went for random placement so I could have a bit of everything in each bite.  Don’t overfill or it will just melt everywhere.  Lightly sprinkle with salt & pepper & oregano.  Bake for 20 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.

Yum.  Pick it up to eat or slice it up and eat it with a fork.  Up to you.

Yum. Pick it up to eat or slice it up and eat it with a fork. Up to you.

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Roasted Zucchini Boats on a Creamy Polenta Sea

Last week it was raining in Oregon.  I know, it’s a shocker.  This month I’m doing a 30-day walking challenge, which means instead of enjoying the gentle tapping of raindrops on my roof, I was out slogging away in it, getting drenched in the process.  It’s not all bad.  It smells good.  It’s not very cold.  Things could definitely be worse.  However, all that rain made me wish for a boat.  Since I had no boat, I decided to set sail on zucchini boats instead.

If you haven’t tried polenta, this is a simple but delicious recipe to get you started.  It might look basic, but it was the perfect rich, creamy counter balance for my crunchy, zesty zucchini boats.   If you have any left over, put it in a dish or pan in the fridge and it will set up solid.  Then slice and pan fry, grill or bake it for a crunchy little cake.  It’s like two foods in one!

I made this as a main dish, but if you want something a little heartier, it would be great with a side of chicken or fish or pork chop or…you get the idea.

Zucchini Boats on a sea of creamy polenta.  Mmmm.

Zucchini Boats on a sea of creamy polenta. Mmmm.

Roasted Zucchini Boats on a Creamy Polenta Sea

4 zucchini
1 cup chopped tomato
4 oz. goat cheese
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
3-4 green onions, sliced and divided
1 cup dry polenta
4 cups water or broth
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Slice each zucchini lengthwise. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop the seeds out of your zucchini.

A little zucchini canoe.

A little zucchini canoe.

Fill your boats with tomatoes, cheese and half the green onions.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until zucchini is tender.

While the zucchini boats are cooking, bring 4 cups of water or broth to a boil.  Add one cup of polenta.  Cover and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in butter, cream cheese and the rest of the green onions.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Ladle some polenta onto a plate and top with zucchini boats.  Serves 4.

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Potato Palooza! My Top 20 in Spuds

This week marked two years since I started this blog. It started with a 30-day vegetarian challenge issued by my daughter, Claire.  From there it has become a fun way to share my love of food and cooking with my family and friends (even the friends I’ve never met!), an online recipe box for myself and an ongoing cooking project for me and my kids to work on together.

To celebrate, I thought I would highlight my favorite food – the potato! I know National Potato Day is in August, but let’s be honest.  If you know me, you know it’s always National Potato Day at my house.  Maybe it’s my Irish side, or maybe just because they are irresistible, but I love them.  And apparently, so do you, since some of these rate among my most popular posts over the last couple of years.  I thought it made sense to have a collection of these favorites all in one place.  So I give to you my top 20 in spuds.

One of the most fun things about potatoes are all the incredible ways to cook them.  Which is your favorite?  It’s so hard to choose! Just click on the photo caption to go to the corresponding post.

The #1 most popular potato post on my site, and in the top five of ALL my posts, you can’t go wrong with this fancy presentation of an old favorite.

Like salt & vinegar potato chips?  You will LOVE these zippy roasted potatoes!

Who says potatoes are a side dish?  Grab yourself some big spuds and let them shine as a main course.

Forget frozen french fries.  Leave the chemicals behind and make them yourself!  Easy and oh so good.

Work out your aggression and enjoy a tasty side dish with these delightful smashed and baked potatoes.

One of my very favorites and a cure-all for just about everything.  Restaurant quality hash browns right in your own kitchen.

Spanish tortilla. One of my favorite tastes of Spain and such a beautiful presentation too!

Easy to throw together for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  And you can even use up your leftovers!

My favorite camping food – but perfect for a lazy evening at home too.

Not your mama’s scalloped potatoes.  No cans of soup here.  Just unbelievably good comfort food.

Breakfast anyone?  Easy baked eggs with a little potato and cheese.

Lemony potatoes, perfect side dish for fish or chicken.  I can eat a whole batch of these by myself. Scroll down past the fish recipe for the potatoes (but the fish is worth stopping for too!).

 

The most perfect side dish with just about anything, but especially if you are a “meat & potatoes” type.

A very veggie version of Shepherd’s Pie.

The best – and most unusual – stuffed peppers you will ever eat.  A touch of heat and Indian spices make these irresistible.

A classic potato salad to make your grandma (and mine!) proud.

A not-s0-classic potato salad.  This hearty spinach salad features tiny potatoes that steal the show.

Put your leftover baked potatoes to good use in this hearty, comforting soup.

Cheesy, with a southwestern kick.  This is a great spin on the classic potato soup.

Who says potato soup isn’t healthy?  Get your veggies for the day without evening noticing in this delicious concoction.

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Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

Lentils are misunderstood.  They get such a bad rap for being boring, or mushy, or tasteless.  But I love them .  The wonderful thing about lentils is they are so versatile.  Beautiful in soup, but light and small enough to work well in salads as well.  I think part of the problem is that people tend to overcook them.  When boiled to mush, lentils can be underwhelming.  But I cook them just long enough to soften (usually about 25 minutes), leaving them tender but firm.  They have a nice delicate flavor that is enhanced by pretty much anything you combine with it, and they work well with a variety of spices and flavors.  Add to that the health benefits of this high-fiber, high-protein, gluten-free, low cal, zero fat food and in my mind, you’ve got a winner.

You can use any kind of lentils for this salad (I went with the typical greenish brown French lentils).  If you are in a hurry and you are lucky enough to live by a Trader Joe’s, they even sell steamed lentils in their refrigerated section that are delicious and ready to toss into whatever soup, salad or other creation you have in mind.  It just doesn’t get any easier than that.

Rustic spinach lentil salad

Rustic spinach lentil salad

Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

1 cup lentils
4 cups water
Olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms (I used half baby bellas and half button mushrooms), cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Salt & pepper
2 cups baby spinach

Bring the water to a boil, add lentils.  Turn down to medium low and cook 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender.  Drain and transfer to a salad bowl. Set aside to cool a bit.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.  Add half the mushrooms (don’t crowd the pan).  Allow to cook a couple of minutes without stirring to get some good color on them.  Stir and cook another couple of minutes.  Remove from pan and repeat with the other half of the mushrooms.  Add first batch of mushrooms back in, add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook an additional minute.  Add to lentils.  Add lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt & pepper, and a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Stir to combine.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.  Add spinach, toss and serve.

Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

Rustic Spinach Lentil Salad

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Apple-Baked Pork Chops

Well here we are in the first week of January.  Resolutions abound and I admire all of the chubby joggers and people eating up their veggies like troopers, working hard to meet their goals.  I hope they stick with it.  Some years I join in with the efforts.  Admittedly, I make and pursue my own throughout the year.  But this year, I’m not so much doing it by the calendar.  And for me, it’s all about moderation.  I’ll happily eat my fruits and veggies, but sometimes they taste even better with a pork chop!

These are one of my favorite fall/winter pork recipes.  Sweet, savory, but healthy too!  It was perfect with a generous serving of roasted root vegetables and salad.

Apple-Baked Pork Chops

Apple-Baked Pork Chops

Apple-Baked Pork Chops

Pork chops
Sliced apples
Cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp. per chop)
Brown sugar (about 1/2 tsp. per chop)
Fresh sage, minced (or you can use dried if you prefer)
Salt & pepper
Butter

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Place pork chops on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and some minced sage.

I don't usually measure the spices, just sprinkle to your heart's content.

I don’t usually measure the spices, just sprinkle to your heart’s content.

Peel and slice apples and cover the surface of each chop with apples.  Top with a pinch of cinnamon and brown sugar and a small pat of butter.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender and browned and chops are done in the middle.  Slice into one to check or use a meat thermometer – internal temp should be at least 145˚.

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A Few Of My Favorite Things – Holiday Goodies!

A couple of months ago, I teamed up with two of my cousins and we had ourselves a bake-a-thon.  The thought was to finish all of our holiday baking in one fell swoop!  We each came armed with recipes and ingredients for 4-5 things, and we made double batches of everything, which we divided into freezer bags, took home and piled in the freezer to be brought out as needed for holiday parties and such.

Well, as you can imagine, most of it didn’t make it to Christmas.  But it sure was nice to have on hand for company, last minute things to take to a potluck, and family dinners.  And of course, some just called to us in the evenings and had to be eaten.  I was very happy to discover that EVERY SINGLE THING froze beautifully and tasted fresh when thawed out.

Although I have a few things left up in freezer town, I am going to do a little more baking this weekend for Christmas.  So I thought I would put together a few of the recipes I will be pulling from for the holidays, in hopes of helping those of you in need of ideas.  Merry Christmas to each and every one of you out there!

Simply click on each recipe to go to the post.  Any of these will make a wonderful gift or a welcome addition to any holiday party.  Happy baking!

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Rich and indulgent, I love these!

Inside Out Peppermint Patties

Incredibly easy and only a few ingredients!

Classic Chocolate Brownies

My go-to foolproof brownies.  I make these all year long.

Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies

Always a holiday favorite.

Flourless Double Chocolate Cookies

Decadent, chewy, and gluten and dairy free (and you won’t miss either one)!

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I know it sounds weird, but these were delicious!  They also come down on the healthier side of holiday treats at a fraction of the calories of regular brownies.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

My bumped-up version of banana bread.  So good!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with a Twist

My favorite cookies, soft, rich, with a twist of orange and cinnamon.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

A delicious twist on an old favorite!

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheesy Crostini

It was around 20 degrees when I woke up this morning.  With a bit of snow.  That’s right folks!  It snows in Oregon!  Which makes this a stellar day for working in jammies, enjoying the fireplace and eating soup!

One of the only soups I still buy in a can is tomato soup.  Until now, that is.  This was the easiest, tastiest homemade tomato soup I have ever made. I’ve made tomato soup before but have always used canned tomatoes. This recipe uses fresh tomatoes, roasted in the oven.  It was so easy and added a depth of flavor that was just spectacular.  I may never buy another can of Campbell’s soup again.

The recipe I used to make this also included grilled cheese bites as croutons.  You can do that if you want to, but although I love grilled cheese, soggy bites of it didn’t really appeal to me.  I made cheesy crostini instead.  Crunchy, gooey, and perfect for dipping.  This is comfort food at its finest!

Roasted Tomato Soup.  Perfect.

Roasted Tomato Soup. Perfect.

Roasted Tomato Soup
(slightly adapted from getoffyourtushandcook.com)

3-4 lbs plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 yellow onion, cut into large dice
6 cloves of garlic (4 left whole for roasting and 2 minced for sauteeing)
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/3 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp.  balsamic vinegar
6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped (plus a little extra for garnish)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup half-n-half (0ptional)

Preheat oven to 375. Lay the tomatoes, onions, and 4 garlic cloves onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment or foil.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
No need to peel anything.  Just cut in half and throw on the pan with the onion and garlic.

No need to peel anything. Just cut in half and throw on the pan with the onion and garlic.

Roast for 50 min to 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool.
Roasted to perfection.

Roasted to perfection.

Once the roasted tomato/onion/garlic mixture has cooled a bit, transfer it to a blender and puree until smooth.
In a soup pot over medium heat, add 1 T olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook a minute or so until garlic is fragrant but not brown.
Pour in the pureed tomato mixture and cook about 5 minutes. Then add the tomato paste, chopped basil, red wine, chicken stock and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Cheese Crostini.  Perfect for dipping!

Cheese Crostini. Perfect for dipping!

Cheesy Crostini
1 baguette
Shredded cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
Heat oven to 425˚.  Slice the baguette on a bias to create long oval pieces.  Lay out on a baking sheet and top each with a little pile of cheese. Bake for a 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and edges of bread are starting to brown.  Remove and serve with soup!

 

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Spinach-Feta Omelet with Pine Nuts

I’ve given up buying cereal.  Whenever I do, we each have a bowl and then watch it sit on the shelf thereafter, slowing going stale.  Suffice it to say none of us are big fans of the stuff, in spite of the occasional craving.  I feel better and less hungry throughout the day when I have a bit of protein in the morning instead.

This delicious omelet makes a perfect breakfast or lunch.  The pine nuts add a nutty touch that works beautifully with the spinach.  Add them near the end of sauteing the veggies, since they burn easily.

Spinach-Feta Omelet with Pine Nuts

Spinach-Feta Omelet with Pine Nuts

Spinach-Feta Omelet with Pine Nuts

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tsp pine nuts
2-3 tbsp. feta cheese
2-3 eggs
Salt & pepper

Beat eggs with a pinch of salt & pepper and set aside.

Heat a medium skillet (I prefer a 10″ skillet for omelets) over medium heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and rub around skillet to coat entirely.  Add onion and sauté 2-3 minutes, until tender.  Add spinach and pine nuts.  Cook, stirring frequently another minute or two, until spinach is slightly wilted.  Remove veggies to a plate.

Cooking the veggies.  I only cook until the spinach is just barely cooked.

Keep an eye on the veggies so your pine nuts don’t burn!

Add eggs to the skillet.  Swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan.  Using a spatula, push or lift the edges of the egg, tilting the pan so the runny egg fills the empty spot.  Keep doing this until there is no runny egg.  You will end up with a bumpy, moon crater surface of an omelet, with the egg mostly cooked but still glossy on top.

Scatter cheese all over the surface, and then put the veggies just on one half.

Yum!

Yum!

Cook a minute until cheese starts to melt, fold omelet over, slide out of the pan and serve immediately.

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Herb-Roasted Root Veggies

I’ve been LOVING the fall veggies this year.  That means much experimenting with cooking and combining them in different ways with awesome results!  This is a simple mixture of roasted root veggies that you can mix and match however you’d like.  I used beets, white sweet potatoes and carrots, but if you like something else better (or don’t like some that I used), any root vegetables would work great in this.  I do this all the time with regular potatoes or just carrots, but this is definitely a nice twist.  The sweeter veggies actually caramelize as they cook, making this a sweet and savory treat indeed.  My kids gobbled up huge piles of these.  If you’re looking for an interesting but easy side dish for Thanksgiving, look no further.  These are as gorgeous to look at as they are delicious.

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies.  As beautiful as they are delicious!

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies. As beautiful as they are delicious!

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies

1 large white sweet potato
2 large beets
6 large carrots
Olive oil
Fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme and sage), chopped
Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400˚.  Peel vegetables and chop into similar size pieces (about the size of a french fry).  Lay out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Scatter herbs on top, add a dash of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Toss about with your fingers and spread out evenly.

All ready to roast.  Minimal tossing will prevent the beets from turning everything pink.

All ready to roast. Minimal tossing will prevent the beets from turning everything pink.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.  Veggies are done when they are tender and starting to brown on the edges.  Serves 4.

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