Gluten-free corn cake

P1010486Who doesn’t like corn bread from time to time?  I sure do, but many of the cornbread mixes out there actually contain gluten!  (Jiffy brand cornbread mix contains wheat!!!)  If you make cornbread from scratch with GF corn meal, then you’re in better shape, but I don’t have time to make EVERYTHING from scratch.  If you’ve been following my blog for any time, you know that I do make some things from scratch, but with 4 kids and their busy schedules, I don’t have time to make absolutely everything from scratch.  When I can find a SHORTCUT, I take it!  Here is a shortcut for cornbread; it’s affordable and quick to make — and it doesn’t get much easier than 4 ingredients!  My family & I enjoy this as a side dish to almost any meal, especially Taco soup, chili, and Crockpot Chicken Tacos.

P1010481

Only 4 ingredients!!!

    

Chi-Chi’s Sweet Corn Cake  (serves 6-8 people)

Prep Time: 5-10 min.  Cook Time: 20-25 min.

1  7.4oz pkg. Chi-Chi’s® Sweet Corn Cake

¼ cup melted butter (half stick)

¼ cup water

1  15oz can cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine all ingredients.   Stir until well combined.

P1010482

Pour prepared mixture into 12 greased muffin pans.

P1010483

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned around edges.  Let muffins stand 4-5 minutes before serving.

P1010485

I love corn bread, and this is the closest I’ve found for a “quick corn bread-like” option that tastes great.

OPTIONAL:  You can also bake this mixture in a 9×5 loaf pan, but plan 40-45 minutes to bake.

NOTE:  I buy the Chi-Chi’s Sweet Corn Cake at my local grocery store, but if your store doesn’t carry it, you can go to http://www.chichis.com/products and get it for yourself!  It even has a GF by it to indicate that it’s a gluten-free option (and there are a LOT of GF options on this site too!)

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos!

It’s Thursday.  Thursdays are C-R-A-Z-Y around here at our house . . . music practice, soccer practice, musical practice, church . . .  CRAZY!

So I need something quick & easy to feed the fam.  This is EASY and YUMMY — it’s a winner every time!

P1010464

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos  (serves 8 people)

Prep Time: 10 min.    Cook Time: 4-6 hrs.

4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 7-8 frozen boneless, skinless chicken tenders)

1 envelope taco seasoning (if you are sure it’s GF – OR 3 tablespoons my homemade taco seasoning — see my page on GF Tips for this easy recipe)

1  16oz jar salsa

½ cup water

Warmed corn tortillas (or hard tacos) and flour tortillas

Tortilla chips (be sure these are GF!)

Shredded cheese

Optional:  sour cream, 1 cup instant rice

Put everything into crock pot and stir around to coat the chicken with the salsa & seasoning.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6 hours.

P1010488

When the chicken is done, it should shred easily with forks.  Shred all the chicken pieces well.  If it seems dry, add a little more water and stir.  Serve over tortilla chips or in tortillas (corn tortillas or hard taco shells for gluten-free people, flour tortillas for non-GF people), garnishing with shredded cheese and any other taco toppings you like (sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc.).

OPTIONAL:  add 1-2 cups of instant rice and appropriate water to chicken (after you have shredded it).  Cover with crock pot lid and allow rice to absorb water and soften (15-20 minutes).  I like adding the rice because it’s an inexpensive way to make it more filling for my growing teenage boys!  Stretches it a bit farther too usually resulting in leftovers!  I put this in my GF son’s lunch the next day; he warms it up in the microwave at school and scoops it with tortilla chips — YUM!

P1010459

OPTIONAL:  After you have shredded the chicken, add a can of drained corn and/or a can of drained & rinsed black beans.  (This also helps to make the dish even more filling!)

LEFTOVERS:  With leftover chicken, make quesadillas for lunch the next day!

LOW-CARB OPTION:  If you are diabetic or trying to lose weight, skip the rice & corn — add the black beans (for protein & fiber).

(Adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

Creamy Potato Soup!

This recipe is modified from Paula Dean’s potato soup recipe — I made it gluten-free, and even tweeked it a bit to have more protein!  I LOVE that you make it in the crock pot, so I can just fix it in the morning and by early evening, it’s ready!  We like to serve this soup with grilled cheese sandwiches (made on GF bread, of course, for the gluten-free crowd, and regular bread for the non-gluten-free group); dipping those sandwiches in the soup is SO yummy!  Don’t forget to sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the soup.  We also serve a salad so we are getting our veggies!  ENJOY!

P1010477

     

Creamy Potato Soup  (serves 8 people)

Prep Time: 10-15 min.           Cook Time: 4-5 hrs.

30oz potatoes (I use 7-8 large potatoes), chopped into cubes

2  14oz cans GF chicken broth

2 cups water

1 can Progresso® Cream of Mushroom soup (strained) — this is gluten-free!!!

Salt & pepper to taste

1  8oz block cream cheese (I like the Neufchatel cheese)

Shredded cheese

1 package GF Polish sausage, cut into small chunks (optional — this ups both the amount of protein and the flavor factor!)

P1010475

Gluten-free Polish sausage

 

1. Add potatoes, broth and water to crock pot.

P1010471

2. Add cream of mushroom soup through strainer (to strain out the big chunks of mushroom).

P1010472

3. Add salt and pepper, and stir well.  (Add sausage chunks at this point too.)  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  45-60 minutes before eating, add cream cheese (cut into chunks and warmed in microwave first for easy blending) to crock pot.  Stir cream cheese into soup. 

P1010474

4. With a masher, carefully mash potatoes and cream cheese together (we like our soup pretty smooth, so we mash a lot.  But if you prefer your soup chunky, then don’t mash as much).  If you have an immersion blender, that would work great too.

P1010476

Creamy Potato Soup

 Serve in bowls with shredded cheese as garnish.

OPTIONAL:  serve with salad, and saltine crackers (for gluten-eaters) and GF crackers for gluten-free-eaters.

OPTIONAL:  sprinkle crumbled bacon on top (bacon bits may not be GF; read the label).

OPTIONAL:  after mashing potatoes and cream cheese, add a can of drained corn.

OPTIONAL:  we are always looking for ways to add protein, so we like to add small chunks of Polish sausage with the potatoes.  When we mash the potatoes, we mash the meat too.  The sausage gives the soup another flavor dimension.

Sausage & Egg Wraps

I love this idea not only for breakfast but for a quick dinner (or lunch!).  On the weekends, this is a great brunch.  This was our dinner Tuesday night!  (See my page “GF Tips” for how to prepare corn tortillas so they taste great.  (And remember — I’m feeding gluten-free people and non-gluten-free people, thus the flour tortillas for the latter.)  I served fresh pineapple with this meal — YUM!

P1010447

Sausage & egg on toasted gluten-free bread

P1010448

Sausage & egg in corn tortillas

Sausage & Egg Wraps  (6-8 servings)

Prep Time: 10 min.    Cook Time: 10 min.

10-12 eggs

1 roll ground sausage (most of these are GF, but double check)

Shredded cheese

Corn tortillas, warmed

Flour tortillas, warmed

Fry sausage in large skillet over medium heat.  Drain well.

P1010444

When sausage is cooked through, add eggs.

P1010445

Mix with spatula, stirring frequently until eggs are done.  Remove from heat.

P1010446

As eggs are cooking, prepare tortillas.

Take each corn tortilla and add some of the egg mixture (for GF eaters) then sprinkle cheese on top.  Do the same with each flour tortilla (for gluten-eaters).  Top with shredded cheese.

OPTIONAL:  serve with fresh fruit.

Valentine’s Day FUDGE!!!

P1010467

A very happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

Check out these super cute fudge hearts I whipped up for my daughter’s Valentine’s Day party at school!  I LOVE this recipe because it’s EASY and because the fudge is so SMOOTH and CREAMY!  It melts in your mouth . . . I was concerned about how they would come out of the heart mold, but they came out GREAT!  Normally, I press the fudge in a 8×8 casserole dish and then cut into squares . . . but these hearts are TOO CUTE!  Not only is this recipe great for parties but also for gifts, potlucks, wedding or baby showers . . . you get the picture!

FUDGE!  (Yes, this is gluten-free, but EVERYONE enjoys this fudge!!!)

Prep Time: 5 min.      Cook Time: 5-10 min.     Cool Time:  15-30 min.

½ cup butter

¼ cup evaporated milk

1 pound (half 2-pound bag) powdered sugar

½ cup GF unsweetened baking cocoa powder

1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract

Place the butter and milk into a small saucepan.  Heat slowly over low heat until the butter is completely melted.

P1010461

Remove from heat, and stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla.  Mixture may be very thick; use your hands to combine and work if necessary.

P1010462

Line a 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan with foil, parchment or waxed paper, and have the lining hang over the edges of the pan by about an inch. (OR use cute molds like I did for Valentine’s Day!)  Butter the lining, or spray with cooking spray.  Press the fudge mixture into the prepared pan; cover with additional foil, paper or lid so that the fudge does not dry out.  Chill in fridge for 15-30 minutes until cool enough to handle, but don’t let it get too cold or it will be difficult to cut.  (If it’s not cooled enough it will be sticky — so try to find that happy balance!)  Remove from the pan by lifting the lining carefully.  Remove the lining, and cut into squares.

P1010463

OPTIONAL:  after melting butter and milk, stir in ¼ cup smooth peanut butter for peanut butter fudge.

OPTIONAL:  stir in ¼ cup walnuts or other nuts if desired.

(Recipe adapted from CDKitchen.com.)

Pan-fried pork steaks

004To end this first week of my blog, I’m sharing a BRAND NEW recipe that I just tried last night!  It uses bread crumbs and has several steps, so I wasn’t overly thrilled — BUT — I hadn’t had anything breaded in a long time and just decided to go for it!  I adapted this recipe to make it gluten-free from allrecipes.com.  The meat was a bit dry because I think I cooked it too long, but it sure was flavorful!

My bread crumbs were (of course) gluten-free.  I had saved these crumbs from loaves of GF bread I had made (the crumbs come from when I use my electric knife to cut slices.  I get a tablespoon or two each time) and from the heels of these loaves that I put into a food processor to make crumbs.  (What a great use for bread heels, huh?)  I keep the crumbs in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer so that they don’t mold.  When it came time to use them, I just needed to toast them for a few minutes, stir and toast again to dry them (you don’t want moist bread crumbs when you are cooking).  Just be sure not to over-toast your crumbs and burn them — watch them closely!  (You could even do this the day/night before to save time if you know you’ll be making this recipe.)

Pan-fried pork steaks!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 – 3/4 cup dry gluten-free bread crumbs

001

Put bread crumbs in shallow dish and add 1/2 cup GF Parmesan cheese + 2 tablespoons parsley + 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder + salt & pepper to taste.  Mix well.

003

3 large eggs + 1/4 cup milk (or milk substitute) whisked together

002

Take 6 pork chops or pork steaks and pat dry with paper towels.

Dip them one by one into egg mixture, then into bread crumb mixture (coating well).

In oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat (being careful not to burn it!).  One by one, place meat into pan & cook for 5 minutes per side on medium heat.  Place skillet into oven for 20-25 minutes to finish cooking.  Be careful not to overcook!  Check meat after 15 minutes to see if it’s done by cutting into center to check color (you want it a very light pink or white).

As you can see, I served this with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies!  It was a KNOCKOUT with the family!  OH YEAH!

Black Bean Brownies

OK . . . you’re all on the EDGE of your seats waiting to hear what we had for dessert last night, right?  Well, I get to introduce you to my littlest guy and my littlest GF eater, Tyler, in these photos.  He was SOOOOOO excited to make (and eat!) brownies!!!  His favorite “Tigee” helped us make the brownies too!

P1010418

Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!  These are amazing!

Black Bean Brownies  (serves 8-10 people)

Prep Time: 5-10 min. Cook Time: 30 min.

1  15.5oz can black beans (rinsed & drained)

3 eggs         

3 tablespoons oil

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon GF vanilla

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon GF baking soda

1 teaspoon GF baking powder

P1010401

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In blender*, blend oil, eggs, vanilla and beans.

P1010403

Add cocoa & sugar, then blend again.

P1010404

Add salt, baking soda & baking powder and blend very, very well, making sure the beans are completely liquefied.

 P1010405 

Scrape sides of blender as needed.  Pour into greased 8×8 cake pan or casserole dish.  Bake for about 30 minutes; let cool completely before cutting.

P1010406    P1010409   P1010410

Serve with cool whip or ice cream!  Drizzle some chocolate syrup for a real treat!  YUM!

OPTIONAL:  Blend in ¼ cup peanut butter for chocolate peanut butter brownies!

OPTIONAL:  Sprinkle with some chocolate chips after pouring into pan and press them down into the batter, then bake!

OPTIONAL:  For more cake-like brownies, increase both baking soda and baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoons.  For less cake-like brownies, reduce or omit baking soda & baking powder.

OPTIONAL:  These are great to take to a party or potluck.

* Instead of a blender, you can use a quality food processor to make this.

(Recipe adapted from food.com.)