Getting creative with the pies.

I've now been gluten free for 4 years and I have yet to find or make a good bread to make a sandwich out of.  I have baked a lot of breads and I have eaten a lot of breads and as a result I have started to lean, a little too heavily some might say, on the impossibly easy pie method.   I have made the impossibly easy cheeseburger pie, hamburger pie, taco pie and enchilada pie.  This takes away some of the sting of having to go gluten free because the bread is freshly baked and takes on some moistness and flavor from whatever is adjacent to it..  For the hamburger pie, I add the ketchup, mustard,  pickles and onions on top of the cooked and crumbled hamburger.  For the taco pie, I use hamburger meat, taco seasoning mix, Rotel and cheese.  For the enchilada pie, I add enchilada sauce.  The other day, I got a craving for a chili cheese dog and I could have spent some time baking hot dog buns only to have them dry and crumbly or overly moist and sticky but I decided, why not just make a pie?  I got 2 cans of hot dog chili sauce (I got the Kroger brand and read the label.) a package of hot dogs and a package of shredded cheese.  If I were only making this for my husband and myself, I would have included onions, but the kids aren't fond of onions, so I didn't.  I layered the chili, cut up hot dogs, then another can of chili, then the cheese and poured a batter over it.  I baked it at 375 for about half an hour until the top was brown.  It was yummy and now my youngest son thinks I should take it for every single holiday party we go to this year.  :-)

Cheeseburger pie from the Betty Crocker site.  We are not suffering by being gluten free. 
You can use the Betty Crocker recipes to get an idea of the proportions of the batter or you can just use the pancake recipe on the back of whatever bag or box of gluten free baking mix you have.  I had some Pamela's mix and I put about a cup and a half of flour, 2 eggs, about 1/4 a cup of vegetable oil and then added water until it was a pourable batter.   It doesn't seem to me like it is possible to mess it up. 

Right now, my favorites.

We've been making this 4 ingredient pizza bake from the Betty Crocker website.  I just use whatever gluten free baking mix I have on hand, Hormel pepperoni (I like the mini-ones), cheese and usually I buy a pizza sauce in a jar (just check the label) but sometimes I make this recipe.  Easy. Peasy.

Also, I finally found good corn tortillas, the Mission brand, and they are labeled gluten free.  I use them to make an enchilada casserole, ground beef with taco seasoning, layered with the corn tortillas and cheese and then I pour a can of red Old El Paso enchilada sauce over it.  I prefer green sauce, but I haven't been able to find a gluten free one available locally, so red sauce it is.  It's tasty and easy.

And for dessert, right now our favorite is this apple crisp, using Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats.

We have big Thanksgiving plans and we've actually practiced at least part of the Thanksgiving dinner, by putting a whole chicken in the crock pot and serving it with
Sage and onion stuffing  mashed potatoes and green beans.   I use the Bob's Red Mill cornmeal and whatever flour I have to make cornbread, then crumble it up for the bread crumbs in this recipe.  I don't like regular gluten free bread much and I've had very little luck trying to toast it and crumble it up.  It's rubbery.

We also had a little trial run of the sweet potato pie, just to make sure it's still really good.  It is.


1 recipe tried.

I tried this no bake cookie recipe in the microwave yesterday.  I've made them on the stove for years and they are everybody's favorites, but I had never tried the microwave.  It worked!
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats

Basically, you microwave the first 4 ingredients for 2 minutes, stir, microwave for 2 more minutes and then add the last 3 ingredients. 

My son is gluten free and dairy free so I used water instead of milk, Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats and left out the vanilla because I'm never sure if they are gluten free due to caramel coloring.   I also use a little bit less oats and a little bit more peanut butter because that is a personal preference.  :-) 


My son's challenge.

My son has challenged me to write him a cookbook of things he can cook in his dorm room when he goes back to school.  He is lactose intolerant and says mostly dairy free, though he can tolerate small amounts.  I generally use water instead of milk in recipes when he's home though and really I may just start doing it all the time because no one can tell the difference and milk is way more expensive than water.  Anyway, he wants a cookbook full of foods that are gluten free and mostly dairy free, of foods that he likes, that he can prepare in a dorm room with only a microwave.  He has a fridge that he can store things in too.  So that's my challenge.  I've set up a Pinterest board to keep up with my initial ideas before I put them in some sort of book.  It may just be a binder with printed pages or I may get fancy and publish it on Kindle or Blurb.  Not sure yet. 

If anyone has any recipe suggestions, I'd love to hear them. 


Personal Cinnamon Rolls

Nicole the writer of Gluten Free on a Shoestring (which you should totally buy) has done it again.  She has this recipe for gluten free personal cinnamon rolls that is to-die-for.  So, so good.

I had one a few minutes ago even though I'm supposed to be dieting today.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

It only takes a minute!


2 Recipes for Taco Soup.

This is one of my oldest son's favorites, possibly his all-time favorite.

1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can rotel
1 pound ground beef (cooked and drained)
1 package gluten free taco seasoning.  (El Paso)

You just fry the hamburger, add everything else and eat it with corn chips, cheese and sour cream.

A few weeks ago, he wanted some but I didn't have any of these types of beans so I looked up another recipe and found this one.

2 cans Ranch Beans (which are gluten free, thank goodness)
2 cans rotel
2 cans corn
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning

Fry the hamburger, add everthing else and heat it up. 

We love both of these.


Yesterdays menu included cleaning out the pantry.

In order to cook something gluten free and also the new thing I'm trying, nightshade free and also lactose free for my son, on grocery day, before I went to the grocery, I had to be creative.  I went to the freezer and pantry, looked at what I had, typed them into the Swagbucks search engine.

Pork chops.

Great Northern Beans.

I found a recipe on one of the recipe sites and it called for bagged, dried beans and I had canned, so I just did my own thing.

I have a slow cooker that cooks everything in a couple of hours.  It's not a crock pot.  I put the meal in at 10:00 am and it is done at 12:30.   I suppose you could cook this all day in a traditional crock and it would be fine, but I don't know. 

I put in 1 1/2 pounds of pork chops
1 teaspoon of garlic.
1 small onion
2 cans of great northern beans
1 can of carrots
1 tsp salt added at the end.

I also cooked rice to pour it over.  This is my very complicated rice recipe.

1 cup rice
2 cups water.
1 tsp butter or margarine.

Place in microwave safe dish and push the button on the microwave that says "rice".

It takes about 15 minutes.


Today and yesterday's menus.

Today, we had Broccoli Beef from the Crockpot 365 site, with a few changes.  Our local butcher shop had steak on sale and I have a bunch of big eaters to fill up, so I used 2 pounds of steak and 2 bags of stir-fry veggies and doubled all the other ingredients.  I didn't have sesame oil so I used olive oil.  I made rice by putting 1 part rice and 2 parts water in a covered bowl in the microwave and pushing the button that says "rice":.  Perfect rice every time.   It was yummy. 

Yesterday, I made what the kids dubbed noodle chicken soup because it was a little too noodle-y.  I cooked chicken tenderloins, celery and carrots until done, then added (cooked separately according to package directions) Thai rice noodles, chicken broth from a can, onion and garlic salt to taste and some Orrington Farms chicken boullion powder.  It was okay, nothing to write home about.  I don't have a great chicken soup recipe yet.



For Memorial Day I bought a Pamela's Vanilla Cake Mix, baked it, cut it into cubes and layered it in a trifle bowl with sugared strawberries and whipped cream.  I took it to a cookout with about 15 people present.  It was gone in about 5 minutes with comments of 'so good, so good!"  and my favorite "if this is gluten free, then obviously I don't need gluten in my life". 

It was really yummy.  I really think the vanilla flavor of the cake made it better than traditional shortcake. 


Things that bug me.

  I had read an article on line that said that people who go gluten free can never have pasta or fried chicken again and generally went on to say a lot of things that weren't true. The truth is that it is not as convenient to eat gluten free.  You have to find sources for gluten free foods that you like or learn to make them yourself.  I use a little of each.  For example, for pasta and fried chicken, I'd buy this gluten free macaroni from Hodgson Mills because it's available at my grocery store for about 3.50 a box and I'd get some plain chicken, bread it  with Pamela's Mix or Bloomfield Farms Mix and fry it myself.  The article was for my local county extension office and they were having a meeting to discuss it (on a day  I have another commitment unfortunately).  My son said that I should go and
take along a nice pasta salad and some fried chicken, or perhaps a nice lasagna.  :-)  Since I couldn't attend the meeting, I did post a comment on the article and let them know what I thought about their "never eat pasta or fried chicken again" comment.  They didn't publish my comment, but today I looked at it and they had re-worded it a bit, to make it slightly more true, so I guess I'll leave them alone and not link to them.  :-P  They added in phrases like "almost all" and "the kind you're used to anyway". 

Another thing that bugs me is a friend of mine, a mom who has a daughter who has been proven to have gluten intolerance that is very detrimental to her health, so her mom only lets her have gluten once a week.  Also, though I have told her many times and given her a copy of my book, she was still letting her daughter have mainstream cereals because 'cheerios are made with oats."  Yes, but they still have gluten in the barley malt flavoring or malt flavoring.  Sigh.

And once a week?  Something that's basically poison to you?



Gluten free meals from a pound of hamburger.

Impossibly easy cheeseburger pie
Spaghetti - use the same noodles as in the lasagna above and just pour your Ragu over it.
Manwich (or Manwich impossible pies.)
Zatarain's Dirty Rice and Hamburger.

My book.


Jam Cake -Gluten Free.

I made this for mom's birthday party yesterday.  It was good and moist. 

Jam Cake
3 eggs
3/4 cup softened butter.
1 cup white sugar.
1 cup seedless blackberry jam.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of Pamela's gluten free flour.

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray or butter a 13 x 9 pan.
Put all ingredients except flour in bowl, mix well.
Add flour a bit at a time. 
Pour batter into baking pan.
Cook for 35 minutes.

Next time I'm leaving out some of that butter, it was a little overly moist, in my opinion, almost like jam brownies.  :-)  No one could tell it was gluten free. 

I served this with a traditional southern brown sugar frosting.

Brown sugar frosting
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter

Mix together in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.  Beat until cooled and pour onto cake.

This icing kind of hardens on the cake.

Next time, I might use cream cheese icing premade.


Today, I made broccoli soup.

It's very good.  I use Zesty Italian dressing instead of the light italian.

I like to eat it with En-R-G crackers.


Article on Amazon.

I wrote an article for Kindle that's called Gluten Free for the Non-Cook.   I wrote it in response to the person who cut my hair last time, who said that her doctor told her to eat gluten free food but she "can't find any".  It's got a lot of ideas for what to eat, most of which you can get at a mainstream grocery store. 

Here's the link.

Gluten free for the non-cook


Dinners this week.

Just for ideas, I'll post the dinners we have had this week.  Now that my son has moved out to the college dorm, I am the only one eating gluten free at home.  However, if I cook dinner, it's gonna be gluten free.  That's the rule.  :-)  I do cook Mac and Cheese very occasionally upon request.

This week we've had lasagne made with Thai rice noodles, 14 vegetable soup with En-R-G crackers, breakfast for dinner with bacon, eggs and hash browns, an all veggie dinner with mashed potatoes, green beans, great northern beans and corn, Zatarain's dirty rice with veggies and tacos.