Category Archives: vegetarian

Carbonara – The Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Way

carbonaraI see Pasta Carbonara recipes on the cooking channels all the time. They look wonderful, creamy, yummy. It just always seemed complicated or too tricky. And, I don’t eat bacon, of course. But, that didn’t stop me from giving it a try and finding a fantastic, quick ,and decadent dinner. Trust me, it sounds strange if you haven’t tried it, or if you are a meat-eater and want to add bacon, go right ahead. I don’t think it’s missing anything without the bacon. The Parmesan gives it a salty, creamy texture and the eggs add a bit of protein and a hearty flavor. I used spaghetti, but go ahead and try it with penne or even fusilli if you like. I know I’ll be making this again since it’s so easy and comforting.

Veggie Carbonara, Gluten-Free Style

3/4 lb of gluten-free spaghetti (I used Trader Joe’s corn pasta, you can use what you like. I used about 3/4 of the bag)

2 eggs

1/4 cup half & half (maybe a little less, depending on how big your eggs are. Mine were on the small side)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup chopped broccoli and cauliflower

olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, salt the water and add the pasta, cooking for 8 minutes (or whatever the instructions are for the pasta you are using).

2. While the pasta is cooking, add olive oil to a sauté pan and add cauliflower and broccoli. Add a bit of salt and sauté until brown and softening. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, add eggs, half & half and most of the Parmesan and mix well with a fork. Add a pinch of salt/pepper.

4. Drain the pasta, reserving a bit of the water in case you need to soften up the sauce.

5. Here’s the important part—take the saute pan off the heat and then add the drained pasta to the pan. Coat with the oil in the pan, and then add the egg mixture, tossing to get all the noodles coated. The sauce will thicken up as the eggs set, but as long as it’s off the heat you won’t have scrambled eggs instead. If it’s too thick, just add a little bit of the reserved cooking water to thin it out.

6. Top with a bit more Parmesan if you like, and the chopped fresh parsley.

If you don’t have broccoli and cauliflower in your fridge (I had a small bag of mixed), go ahead and use zucchini or even sauté some carrots. The veggies don’t matter, you can even leave them out and just make it plain. You probably have a couple of eggs and a bit of half & half in the fridge. That really all you need, along with Parmesan and pasta. Be creative.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Filed under broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, cooking, dinner, egg, eggs, gluten free, pasta, vegetarian

Pillsbury GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Makes Me Smile

cookies

I was so excited to see that Pillsbury had this chocolate chip cookie dough in the cooler section of the grocery store the other day. Of course, after the awful Eat Pastry chocolate chip cookie dough experiment from Costco (it was awful, don’t buy it), I was a bit wary of another scoop-and-bake cookie dough. But, grew up with Pillsbury products and I’m willing to give anything a try at least once. (OK, smart aleck, you know what I mean 🙂 )

First off, the dough tasted pretty good on its own, before being baked. And we all know that’s one of the first things we do with cookie dough, right? This was pretty tasty and not grainy at all. I heated up the oven, scooped eight little cookie piles on the cookie sheet and waited about 10 minutes while they baked. Since I made mine a bit smaller than suggested (I like little cookie bites), it took a little less time than suggested on the package.

I tried to wait a few minutes for them to cool off, but you and I both know that wasn’t going to last long. The final analysis…YUM! I only made eight and I was glad of that only because I think I would have eaten more if I made more. I ate three and my husband and daughter finished them up quickly. They are chewy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. They browned up just right and had a wonderful texture, which is always a bit of a challenge when we’re talking about GF cookies. They had just the right amount of chips, which means these are quite welcome in my home. Advantages include the option to make a few at a time since it’s in a tub, and you can make them when you please. They are tasty and not overly sweet (as if a cookie could be too sweet.) Disadvantages include the cost ($5.49) and the fact that I have had better cookies, but not this easy and right out of the oven. If you’ve got kids and/or friends who may want a few cookies, this is the ticket. My husband, who is not GF, asked me to make more. And as far as cost goes, I think using a small scoop means you’ll get a lot of cookies for the money.

I bought the Pillsbury pizza dough, which is also gluten free, to try next week. At the same price ($5.49) I hope it makes a pretty decent-sized pizza. Stay tuned for that one.

Next up, I’ll be scooping some of that cookie dough into a skillet, baking halfway and topping that with a bit of ice cream. What? It’s my birthday… Who’s joining me?

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Filed under baking, cookies, cooking, dessert, gluten free, grain-free, vegetarian

Gluten Free Ciabatta Pizza

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Once again, I failed to plan for lunch and found myself famished while working. Improvising proved to be a good thing again when I created these little beauties. I grabbed a package of Schar’s Ciabatta rolls and sliced them into three thin slices. They are thick enough and make the perfect crust for an impromptu pizza. I just used two rolls and got six little pizzas, enough to share.

Gluten Free Ciabatta Pizza

2 Schar Ciabatta Rolls
3 TBS olive oil
Pinch of garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, basil
6 TBS marinara sauce
3 TBS grated Parmesan
6 TBS shredded Mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix olive oil with spices in a small bowl
3. Distribute olive oil mixture evenly over bread slices
4. Bake rolls for about 5-9 minutes
5. Layer 1 TBS marinara, 1/2 TBS Parmesan and 1 TBS mozzarella on each slice
6. Broil on low for about 3 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Enjoy, and try to keep everyone from stealing these. I’m thinking about trying these for my next book club since they are so easy and so good. Maybe a bit of spinach next time?

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Filed under cheese, cooking, crust, dinner, gluten free, marinara, mozzarella, pizza, Pizza Crust, quick meal, vegetarian

GF Oatmeal Chocolate-chip Cookies-Yum!

GF Oatmeal Chocolate-chip Cookies

GF Oatmeal Chocolate-chip Cookies

With a bag of GF oats and a craving for a cookie, I began scouring the Internet for a recipe that included only what I had in the house. I found a few recipes online and did what I do best – I reworked the recipes and viola… quick, irresistible GF, oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies.

Gluten-free, Oatmeal Chocolate-chip Cookies

4 1/2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Redmill)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Baker’s sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons GF vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, grind 1 1/2 cups oats into a fine meal. Mix together ground oats, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder.

2. In another large bowl, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Still mixing, gradually add oat mixture until combined. Fold in chocolate chips and remaining oats.

3. Scoop dough in mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart (about 11/2 TBS each). Bake until cookies are golden brown at edges about 12 minutes, turning halfway through for even cooking. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to rack.

Enjoy! This makes about 4-5 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them.

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Filed under baking, Bob's Red Mill, chocolate, cookies, dessert, Enjoy Life Chocolate, gluten free, oats, Uncategorized, vegetarian

Crock Pot Lasagna-no kidding

I’m always looking for a way to save time while cooking without losing flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and tasting. But some days there just isn’t time for that. For those days, there is the crock pot. Now, being a vegetarian means it’s not always as easy as just dropping a roast in there like some folks do.

Veggie, GF, Crockpot Lasagna

Veggie, GF,  Crock Pot Lasagna

Most ideas on the Web are not gluten-free, or vegetarian, or both. So, I decided to modify some of the recipes I found to make my own version of crock pot lasagna. My family was willing to give it a shot. The end result? I will never make lasagna in the oven again, seriously. This was just as good, if not a little better, than any other lasagna I’ve made. No pre-cooking noodles, no mess, minor clean up. Beat that! Give this a try and let me know what you think.

 Crock Pot Vegetarian, Gluten-free Lasagna

1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles (I used DeBole’s)

1 12 oz. container ricotta cheese (light or regular)

2 eggs

1 tsp each of garlic powder, dried parsley and salt

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

2 cups shredded mozzarella

3 cups Marinara sauce (your own or your favorite brand)

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 TBS chopped fresh basil

1. Turn on a 6-quart crock pot to high (I use an oval). Spray with cooking spray or oil.

2. Mix Ricotta, eggs, spices and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

3. Pour about 3/4 cup Marinara on the bottom of the pot and spread it out to cover.

4. Layer with rice noodles so you have one even layer. Don’t worry about breaking them up to make a layer. It’s like a puzzle.

5. Cover noodles with 1/2 of the Ricotta mixture.

6. Next layer is 1/2 the spinach and 1 TBS basil.

7. Cover with another cup of Marinara and then repeat the next layer.

8. Top layer is another layer of noodles. Break it up to cover as well as possible.

9. Cover top layer of noodles with last of the Marinara, making sure to cover all of the noodles so they don’t dry out.

10. Cover the top with a layer of cheese and a few bits of fresh basil.

11. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 4-5 on medium/low. Check it after 3 hours to make sure it’s not cooking too fast. It should be bubbly on the sides and cooked well, and if you stick a knife into it there is very little resistance.

Note: I had planned to cook for four hours but stopped at 3 and it was perfect. Let it sit for a few minutes to firm up and serve with extra Marinara sauce if you have it.

This was so easy, even the kids can do it. There is no cooking involved, as long as you’ve already got the Marinara on hand. All it takes is layering and putting the top on. And if you mess up a layer and forget, who will know? I think Daughter switched the spinach and cheese layer in there somewhere, but it tastes great and that’s all that matter. Next up, try this with GF penne or spaghetti, just like my last version here, only easier.

Enjoy!

 

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Filed under dinner parties, gluten free, lasagna, mozzarella, noodles, spinach, vegetarian

Kinnikinnick to the rescue with a gluten-free pie crust

Pie. It’s just something I never thought I’d miss when giving up wheat. I was never a big pie eater to begin with. But when someone says you can’t have something anymore, you want it. Am I right? I have tried making my own pie crust before and it’s turned out pretty well, although I’m not a fan of taking all that time to make one. I was thrilled when I happened upon Kinnikinnick’s frozen gluten-free pie crusts at Whole Foods, and they were on sale. But at a regular price of about $4.99 for two 8-inch crusts, that’s not bad for the GF market.


I decided to make a Quiche first and give the crust a test. I made a simple spinach Quiche and it was a hit. The crust was flaky, tasty and not too strong. It really has a mild flavor for a crust, which to me is just what I want with a crust. A slight buttery flavor is good, as is a crust that doesn’t fall apart too quickly. It’s got to hold up to the filling, and it’s about the filling, right? The Quiche  consisted of one sautéed onion, Havarti and Jarlsberg cheese, frozen and thawed spinach, 2 eggs and 4 egg whites. That’s it. Just a bit of salt/pepper/nutmeg/thyme and garlic. I baked the crust first for about 10 minutes, then layered onions, spinach, cheese and poured in the egg mixture. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 and viola! Finally a Quiche with a crust.

And since that worked so well, I decided to try a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I used the recipe on the can of pumpkin (pumpkin, condensed milk, egg, sugar) and it was, once again, wonderful. Just a note, the recipe on the can of Libby’s pumpkin will make enough for two of these pie shells. Luckily, there are two in each box. Perfect.

Since you can never have enough pie, I also bought a fabulous cherry pie by Angel Cakes Bakery here in Phoenix. Angela makes the most wonderful pie crust of all, from scratch, and it’s gluten-free. Now, if I had my way that’s the only pie crust I would ever eat. But then I’d be calling her every week for more and I’d have to get a second job to pay for it. This was a treat and I highly recommend her cakes and pies. I’ve talked about her creativity and food before and I’ll continue to do so as long as she keeps baking. So, the dessert for the day was all set. What else do you need? Dinner, what dinner? What’s for dessert?

 

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Filed under allergies, baking, butter, celiac, cheese, cooking, crust, dessert, dinner party, gluten free, pie, quick meal, rice flour, spinach, Thanksgiving, vegetarian

Veggie-stuffed peppers

This is a quick and yummy meal that I thought up at the last minute. I was watching the Food Channel and saw someone making a traditional stuffed-pepper meal, meaning hamburger and bread crumbs. Uhm, not gonna work. But I remember loving my Mom’s stuffed peppers when I was a kid. So, with my daughter by my side, we came up with an even better, gluten-free, vegetarian version.

Quick and easy veggie-stuffed peppers

Veggie-stuffed Peppers

3 large peppers (I prefer red or orange since they are a little sweeter)

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 chopped zucchini

1 large sweet onion, diced

olive oil/salt/pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen Jasmine rice (about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Oregano, basil (dried)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place olive oil, onions and garlic in saute pan and cook till tender. Add salt and pepper.

3. While onions are cooking, slice the top off the peppers. (when choosing peppers, try to pick out ones that will stand on their own.) Clean out the peppers and leave whole, placing them in a glass baking dish or pie pan so they stand on their own, then dice up the tops and reserve those for the filling.

4. Add peppers to the pan and saute till tender, then mushrooms to the pan and saute till brown.

5. Add zucchini last and cook for a few minutes until just tender.

6. Finally, add the rice, a bit more olive oil, oregano, basil, salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is warm and mixed well.

7. Fill each pepper halfway, then add a pinch of cheese (a little less than 1/4 cup) in each one.

8. Finish filling peppers and mound it on top.

9. Top off each pepper with another pinch of cheese.

10. Bake for about 30 minutes, then let sit for about 10 minutes. (These are piping hot inside and so good you’ll burn your mouth for sure.)

These can also be made with brown rice (which I didn’t have at the time) and any veggies you have hanging around in the fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies, just saute with some rice and stuff a pepper. Enjoy!

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Filed under cheese, cooking, dinner, dinner parties, dinner party, egg-free, gluten free, mushrooms, quick meal, rice, squash, vegetarian, zucchini