glutenfreebymarriage

September 8, 2014

This Week’s Menu – Back in the Blogosphere

Filed under: Cooking Light, menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 14:38
squirrel sitting in grass surrounded by fallen leaves

image from Tim Horn (slinkydog) via http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1369442

It’s funny how the rest of the world thinks of New Year’s Day as the time for new beginnings, but when I plan a do-over I look to September.

Here in the northern hemisphere January is cold, the days are short and I seem to spend a lot of time shoveling snow or raking my roof and planning big projects isn’t something that I have the energy for.

On the other hand, September is the perfect time to take on new challenges.

The nights are cool, the days still sunny and warm and it’s a perfect setting to start new projects and gain the momentum you need to take you through winter.  On top of all that most of us have spent at least twelve years associating autumn and the start of the school year with new beginnings so the habit is already ingrained.

So what do you think?

Do you find that projects started in the autumn fare better than those started in January?

Menu 9/7/14 – 9/13/14

Sunday: GF Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Summer Squash and Onions and Peccorino-Black pepper Breadsticks (from Cooking Light – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pecorino-black-pepper-breadsticks-10000001654655/)

Monday: Baked Louisiana Dirty Rice and Beans (from Cooking Light – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/baked-louisiana-dirty-rice-beans-10000001662873/)

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Corn and Two-Bean Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup (from Cooking Light – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/corn-two-bean-burgers-with-chipotle-ketchup-10000000689962/) with Simple Tomato and Avocado Salad (from southern chef in Louisiana – http://www.food.com/recipe/simple-tomato-and-avocado-salad-94520)

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: chef’s choice

Saturday: out

Misc.: GF Glazed Cinnamon-Raisin Tea Bread (from Cooking Light – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/glazed-cinnamon-raisin-tea-bread-10000001654679/), Ginger Cookies (from Cooking Light – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/ginger-cookies-10000001654714/)

Lunch: leftover GF Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Summer Squash and Onions, Easy Lemon Lentil Soup (from Angela Thompson – http://vegangela.com/2013/06/06/easy-lemon-lentil-soup/)

Note:

GF Glazed Cinnamon-Raisin Tea Bread: This quick bread was amazing.  Even substituting my usual GF flour blend the bread came out very light and airy and the apple glaze supplied just the right amount of sweetness.  I didn’t have time to take a pic, but it’s definitely worth your time follow the link and try the recipe.

Peccorino-Black pepper Breadsticks:  I made this recipe last night and while it did not turn out as expected, it was still quite good.

It only made nine 6″ breadstickes and the GF flour didn’t have enough elasticity to make ropes, but the small breadsticks we ended up with were flavorful and had a surprisingly nice texture that was crisp on the outside and slightly chewy inside.  I would make this again, but would double the recipe and slice it like crostini instead of trying to force it into slender breadsticks.

July 29, 2013

This Week’s Menu – We’re Still Here…

Filed under: gluten-free, menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 19:04

I wish my tomatoes looked like this.  Between the excessive rain and aggressive bees I haven’t been near my plants for a couple weeks.   The few plants that haven’t been trapped behind the bee line (a couple rows of plants that the bees seem to swarm to and get really testy if you get too close) lost all their blossoms in the last series of storms.  Oh well, I haven’t had time to work in the garden anyway.  At least the bees and squirrels should be happy.

Menu 7/2813 – 8/3/13

Sunday: Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes

Monday: Ham & Potato Salad

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: GF Pizza Rolls (love, love, love this recipe!!!)

Thursday: Chicken & Avocado Wraps

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea

June 2, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Guess who got a Lodge pan

Filed under: Cooking Light, menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 10:08

large cast iron skillet

Cooking in a very hot kitchen!

Can you tell that we wrote this week’s menu on day three of 90o temps?   Everything can either be cooked quickly on the stovetop or out on the grill, which is really appealing when you live in a house without central air conditioning.  Even better, it gives me a chance to test my brand new cast iron skillet!

Yes, I did it.  I finally bought a Lodge pan.  After Mr. GF’s last attempt to “help” with dinner, my favorite non-stick skillet is no longer non-stick and possibly permanently fused with charcoaled bits of burnt chicken.  (He only cooks on high heat.)  I’ll keep trying to clean it up and re-season it, but it’s not looking good.  In fact, it’s bad enough that I was able justify replacing it.

Mr. GF was dubious about my choice of cast iron over modern ceramic or teflon, but how can you not love a pan that is Made in USA, can be used (with care) on my ceramic cooktop, in the oven or on the grill, is virtually indestructible and only costs about $20?   I’ll admit that it’s really heavy, it’s kind of inconvenient that it can’t be soaked in water, but it’s worth it.   At least I hope it is.   Worst case scenario is that I hate it and it is relegated to grill duty.

Keep cool!  Tomorrow we are testing a recipe for Blackberry Sorbet.  (lactose free of course)

Menu 6/2/13 – 6/8/13

Sunday:  Grilled Cheddar Sausage Patties

Monday: Olive-Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005, p. 204) – The olive part is a tapenade and is quite good!

Tuesday: Chicken and Blue Cheese Slaw (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005, p. 212)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Corn and Two Bean Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005, p. 324)

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea, Blackberry-Buttermilk Sherbet (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2008, p. 159) and Oil & Vinegar Potato Salad

May 28, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Where the Heck Have I Been?

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 08:30

baked beans

In case you can’t tell, I’m not a prolific blogger…

It’s 8:30 AM and the baked beans have been in the slow cooker for an hour and a half.  I don’t have the time to be a super blogger, but I do  manage to make homemade,  non-processed, low sodium, gluten-free with minimal dairy meals on a daily basis.  If I had more free time I’d be all over the blog-post-a-day thing, but I don’t.

Things are busy with work, I’m trying to tame the urban wilderness that I call a garden and thanks to a generous gift of new flooring, we have decided to move up the kitchen demo plan.  (It was on the calendar for fall, but I can’t live with the stacks of wood that have morphed into stacks of wood and tile taking up half the space in my dining/kitchen areas.)

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of my day-to-day world, suffice it to say that some days I have more on my plate than others and that right now that plate is overflowing.

Looking ahead, summer is creeping up on us and with all the fresh veg it’s a great time to share easy to make, budget friendly gluten free recipes.  In the mean time here is this week’s menu.  As you can see, I didn’t even finish it.

Menu 5/26/13 – 6/1/13

Sunday: Cookout

Monday: Leftover Sloppy Joe (from Saturday)

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Slow Cooked Baked Beans and Oven Fries

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Pork Chops

Friday: TBD

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Chocolate Chip Muffins for coffee/tea

April 9, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Spring Clean Up

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 11:32

tulip bulb peeking up through the ground

A quick peek out the window is all I need to know that it’s time to start cleaning up the yard for spring.  This week’s menu reflects easy prep so that I can spend some extra time outside.

Menu 4/7/13 – 4/13/13

Sunday: Spaghetti with Sausage and homemade marinara

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: Chicken and Avocado Sandwiches (Bake the chicken the day before, it’s much easier to handle and slice when it’s had ample time to cool)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Pork Chops with Baby Sweet Potatoes (Rub the chops with mustard and spices and pop in the oven)

Friday: Turkey Burgers with Oven Fries (Make the patties the night before and you can just toss them on the grill or in the broiler.  Same for the fries.  Prep and half bake the night before.  If you’re feeling ambitious you can even half-bake and freeze a few batches for later.)

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea

April 8, 2013

Extreme Pita – not quite a review

Filed under: gluten-free faker, restaurant, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:13

Happy Monday Everybody!

Today’s post is a rant about a new franchise restaurant called Extreme Pita that lures people in with the promise of a gluten-free pita, but doesn’t deliver.

Mr. GF and I made a rare trip to the mall a few weeks ago and noticed a new restaurant in the food court called Extreme Pita.

I wouldn’t normally consider a restaurant with “pita” in the name as a reasonable option for a gluten-free meal, but they had a big free standing sign in front of the counter stating that they value their customers and offer a gluten free menu.

Who am I to question it.   You can buy or make gluten-free breads, buns, wraps, bagels, waffles and pretty much any other bread-like item so why not a pita?

There was a line and we weren’t hungry so we didn’t stop to investigate, but we did grab a menu and made a point of looking at their website when we got home.

It was definitely the right call.  Not only did they not have gluten-free pitas, but their gluten-free menu was limited to a choice of a basic salad or three sandwiches, Philly Steak, Veggie or Tuna, without the bread.

3 Sandwich options: Philly Steak, Veggie and Tuna without the bread???

I know, beggars can’t be choosers and at least they made an effort to single out the few items on their menu that wouldn’t actually make someone with Celiac or gluten sensitivity sick, but really, it just wasn’t good enough.

To be fair, Extreme Pita does seem to be genuinely interested in making a safe dining experience for patrons with food allergies and did a nice job highlighting which menu items contain known allergens, but they outright lied when they said they had a gluten-free menu.

Extreme Pita GF menu-details

A Philly Steak Pita with the bread removed can’t really be called a pita, can it?  I mean how do they serve it?  Do they just wrap the meat and cheese in the same paper wrapper they use for the pitas?   Wouldn’t a Veggie or Tuna Pita without the bread just be a salad?  And what exactly do they do to the grilled chicken that it doesn’t show up as a pita or a salad option on the gluten-free menu?

Shame, shame, shame on you Extreme Pita!

I’m tired of restaurants trying to capitalize on the gluten-free craze by claiming gluten-free menus that don’t exist.

If you are a specialty restaurant known for one specific type of food, like a pita, then you need to actually have a gluten-free pita on the menu before you can reasonably claim to cater to customers with gluten sensitivities.  Until then you are just another restaurant rationalizing that because some food items are naturally gluten-free you can claim to offer a GF menu.


pdf of Extreme Pita Gluten-Free Menu

For more information or find an Extreme Pita in your area: http://www.extremepita.com/locations/

March 17, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Happy Spring!

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:04

nuthatch on bare branch

Menu 3/17/13 – 3/23/13

Sunday: Tuna Wraps

Monday: Lentil & Rice Stew (yes, another version of this recipe)

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Beef Stir Fry

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Tex-Mex Corn Chowder (from Sharon Fleming’s blog: Around the Table )

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea

March 10, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Easy Classics

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:25

green grapes

Menu 3/10/13 – 3/16/13

Sunday: leftovers

Monday: Omelette with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Tuesday: Baked Chicken and Quinoa with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Wednesday: Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Dinner Out – Corned Beef and Cabbage

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea, GF Chunky Monkey Cookies

 

About the grapes…

I recently realized that other than the bananas I use for baking, I almost never buy fresh fruit in the winter.  Once I realized the error of my ways I started adding fruit to the shopping list.  We started with honey tangerines.  They were tasty, but oh so messy.  Definitely not the sort of thing you can eat on the go or at your desk.  This week’s fruit is the green grape.

Conveniently packaged in self-contained, bite sized portions, the grape may be the perfect fruit snack.  In the car, at the mall or even in front of the computer they are easy to carry, easy eat and easy to share.  No peel, no sticky juice dribbling down your chin and no smell.  Even better, all the stores had grapes on sale this week.

March 8, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Leftover Heaven

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: — glutenfreebymarriage @ 16:18

red casserole dish

What would I do without leftovers?

I know people who refuse to eat the same meal twice in a week.  I guess it’s okay if you eat out every night, but between eating GF and that pesky little thing called a budget we don’t eat a lot of dinners out.

It’s okay.  I like to cook and as long as I plan ahead I usually have time to do it.  But not always.

It’s just the two of us and since most recipes make between 4 and 6 servings being able to cook once and eat twice is a huge time saver for me.  (It doesn’t hurt that many things, like soup, benefit from a reheat.)  The alternative is to get Mr. GF to cook, which wouldn’t be much of a help or a time saver.  Don’t get me wrong, he makes a hell of a meatloaf, but that’s about the only recipe he will make if I don’t do the prep.  There is also the small issue that he generally only cooks on Sundays.

Needless to say, we’ll probably want to eat at least a few days this week and since I’ve got a few work deadlines of my own we are maximizing our leftover opportunities.

Menu 3/3/13 – 3/9/13

Sunday: leftovers as Pork Sandwich with Honey Mustard Sauce and Mashed Potatoes

Monday: leftovers – last of the Bean Burritos

Tuesday: BLT with Turkey Bacon

Wednesday: Spaghetti with Sausage and homemade marinara

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Kielbassa

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea

February 28, 2013

GF Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #1

Filed under: gluten-free, recipe makeover, Uncategorized — Tags: , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 02:42

condesned cream of chicken soup

1st Attempt at an easy gluten-free condensed soup substitute

The first thing people think about when I say that my husband can’t eat gluten is bread.

I get it.  The brain goes from wheat to flour to bread.  It’s the most obvious observation, but the truth is that in today’s gluten-free world, bread is the least of my problems.

No, my biggest gf  headache isn’t bread, pasta, cookies or any baked good.  My number one gut-wrenching challenge with gf cooking is the lack of gluten-free condensed soups.

I admit it.  I used to be a Casserole Queen.

Back in the day I relied heavily on casseroles and one pot meals for weeknight dinners.  Bake some chicken mix it with vegetables or stuffing.  Add soup  and voilà.  When you are pressed for time there is nothing better than a casserole.  Unfortunately, the tastiest casseroles all seem to require a can or two of condensed soup.  Cream of chicken, mushroom or celery, the one commonality in those weeknight dishes was that salty, gelatinous goop in the bright red Campbell’s can.

You know the one I mean.  The canned paste euphemistically labeled soup, chock full of wheat and a day’s supply of sodium in every serving.   The stuff of kitchen legends, a perfect blend of moisture and binding agent that magically melds pretty much any meat and vegetable in a way that even the most finicky eater will pass their plate for seconds.   The magic that is condensed soup.

Now that I’ve mastered the fine art of gluten-free gravy, it’s time to take on the condensed soups.

GF Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #1

Ingredients:

makes about 2 cups

  • 8 ounces low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces lactose free 1% milk*
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
  • salt to taste

*lactose free 1% milk: Mr. GF is also lactose intolerant so I used lactose free milk for this.  You could also use regular milk or pretty much any other milk substitute.  (Soy, almond, etc…)

Directions:

  1. Add chicken broth and milk to a small saucepan, stir over medium heat until liquid comes to a boil.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir in potato flakes and salt.

Yes, that really is all there is to it.  Not quite as easy as opening a can and pouring, but almost.

Notes:  This was my first attempt at a gluten-free condensed cream of chicken soup substitute and I am pretty pleased.  I used it in place of  condensed cream of chicken soup in my regular chicken and biscuit recipe and the texture was spot on.  I should have used a lot more salt, but  otherwise it worked fine.

I have a couple other ideas I’d like to try, but this is definitely an easy to make substitute that closely resembles the original canned version in taste and texture and is well worth the effort if you need a gf alternative for your favorite casserole.

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