No-flour peanut butter cookies!!!

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No-flour peanut butter cookies

These cookies are so simple, and they turn out MOIST!  No need for specialty ingredients — most people have these ingredients on-hand!  With 6 people in our family, one batch sure doesn’t last very long!

 

No-Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

(makes about 18 cookies)

Prep Time: 10 min. Bake Time:  12-15 min.  Cool Time: 5-10 min.

1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

½ tsp. GF vanilla

1 tsp. GF baking soda

Dash salt (or more depending on how salty your peanut butter is)

½ cup mini or regular chocolate chips (I think mini work better)

 

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, with a fork beat together peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt, mixing well.

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Stir in chocolate chips (optional — but why WOULDN’T you add some chocolate, for Pete’s sake?!?!  YUM!).

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Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.

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Bake 12-15 minutes or until cookies are a light, golden brown.

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Let cookies cool/set for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  (If you don’t let them set, they may fall apart.  Then let them set for 5+ minutes more on the cooling rack so they hold together better.)

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Quick Gluten-free Chicken Quesadillas

P1010639This makes a yummy, quick lunch!

So here’s the story — I had leftover chicken that I needed to use up.  It was just the right portion for 1 person for lunch.  But the chicken needed something to punch-it-up, you know?!  SO — here’s what I came up with:

4 gluten-free corn tortillas

1/2 cup left over chicken pieces (you could even use a drained can of chicken for this recipe)

2-3 tablespoons salsa (most salsas are already GF)

shredded cheese

cooking spray

Put your chicken in a bowl and stir in 2-3 tablespoons your favorite gluten-free salsa

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Spray griddle or non-stick pan with cooking spray.  Spray corn tortillas with cooking spray and place face-down on griddle.  Then spray top of corn tortillas with cooking spray.  Flip tortillas over once they start to bubble.  Then top 2 of the tortillas with shredded cheese, a couple spoonfuls of chicken mixture, then more cheese.

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Cover with other tortillas and continue to cook until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted, flipping to evenly fry both sides.

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Serve with additional salsa, tortilla chips & sour cream!  YUM!!!

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Does gluten-free = carbohydrate-free?

I’ve had many people ask me if they go gluten-free, is that the same as going carbohydrate-free?

The quick answer is no; for the long answer, keep reading.

The high-protein, low-carb diet/lifestyle has been around for a long time, and it actually has science to back up its claims.  Basically, our bodies take the carbohydrates we eat, use some of it for energy, and turn the rest of it into sugar, and store it as fat.  Much to our dismay, consuming carbohydrates (cookies, candy, brownies, cake, bread, pasta, rice, and even some veggies & fruits) is NOT absolutely necessary for metabolic life.  Example:  the Eskimos live on whale meat & blubber all winter, but they don’t die — whale meat & blubber — no carbs there!

Now, I’m not saying all carbs are evil; veggies & fruits are generally good carbs mainly because of the fiber that they contain (which decrease their carbohydrate-induced blood-sugar effects).  But it someone wants to lose weight, it can be beneficial to eat fewer carbs so the body is forced to use the stored fat for energy rather than what we are eating for energy.  Also, if you are consuming good amounts of protein at the same time, then you will maintain muscle which is a very good thing.

Now, about carb-free vs. gluten-free.  I like carbs.  And I want to eat carbs like cookies, bread, pasta and more.  But the carbs I eat need to be gluten-free because of my digestive issues.  So I’ve chosen to eat gluten-free, but not carb-free.  If a person wants to eat carb-free, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will not consume gluten, though probably he won’t consume gluten.  Eating completely carb-free would mean no cookies, bread, pasta and also no fruit, veggies, or rice.  All of these foods contain carbohydrates, but not all of these foods contain gluten (plain fruit, veggies & rice do not contain gluten).

So, hopefully I haven’t thoroughly confused you!  Basically, eating gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean not consuming carbohydrates — but consuming ZERO carbs likely means that you won’t consume gluten.

Bread-less sandwich!

So, I was completely out of bread this week, and I was out of a couple of ingredients to make more.  SO, I came up with this alternative on the fly, and it worked!

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What you need:

6-8 slices of your favorite gluten-free lunchmeat

4-6 slices GF hard salami, optional (I used Hormel)

2 slices cheese

2-4 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed & dried  (I prefer romaine instead of iceberg because romaine has a lot more nutrients; spinach would be great too)

Just put your lettuce leaves down and layer your other items.  If you want more of a “sandwich-feel” you can put 1 lettuce leaf on the bottom and 1 on top with your layers in between.  (That’s how I eat burgers when we go out to eat.)

The options are endless; try using  tuna, left over chicken pieces, left over taco meat, egg salad and more!

If you are diabetic or just trying to watch your carb intake, this is a great way to cut those carbs and still feel like you are eating a sandwich.

This also packages well for the lunchbox!

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Gluten-free (and regular) Spaghetti Pie!!!

P1010602This dish is a little more involved than I like, but it’s not too bad.  And it’s SO yummy and SO worth it!  It’s like a cross between spaghetti with meat sauce and lasagna.  I am feeding gluten-free people and non-gluten-free people, so I make 2 separate dishes — but you can half the recipe and make just 1 GF dish or 1 regular dish.  Either way, you GOTTA try this!  This is a great use for left over spaghetti noodles . . . not that we ever have any leftover anything in our house . . . but maybe you do in yours!  (Truth is, this makes so much, we actually DID have leftovers!  YEAH!)

You can make this in a pie dish and after baking it cut it into traditional triangle pie pieces; I chose to just use casserole dishes and scoop it out.  ENJOY!

Spaghetti Pie

(serves 6-8 people)    Prep Time: 15-20 min.           Cook Time: 20 min.

> This is a 2 Part Recipe <

1 ½ pounds ground beef, venison, turkey

1 large jar spaghetti sauce (be sure it’s GF; read your label!)

1 ½ cups cooked regular spaghetti noodles (cooled!)

GF spaghetti noodles OR rice sticks (found in the Asian section) (cooled!)

4 eggs

½ cup Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons salt, divided

Cooking spray

1 ½ cups cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon garlic (I use minced, or you can crush cloves of garlic)

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large skillet, brown meat.  Drain grease, then stir in spaghetti sauce.

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In large bowl, mix eggs, Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon salt.

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In separate bowls, pour half of this mixture over GF noodles and half of the mixture over the regular noodles, mixing well to coat noodles.  (TIP:  do NOT use warm/hot noodles or you will end up with scrambled eggs here . . . ask me how I know . . . ahem!  Cool your noodles by straining them under cold water — this also stops the noodles from cooking and becoming mushy.)

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Spray 2 separate pie dishes (or 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dishes); pour GF noodle mixture into 1 dish and regular noodle mixture into the other dish.  Softly flatten to form an even layer.  In a separate bowl, mix cottage cheese, oregano, garlic and remaining salt.  Pour half of this mixture over the GF noodles and half over the regular noodles, pressing down to keep layers flat.

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Pour half meat sauce mixture over GF noodles and half over regular noodles, flattening it. 

Top each dish with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

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Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust starts to brown.

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JACKPOT! I got these boxes of Barilla GF noodles for just 50 cents a box on clearance at HyVee!!! WOOT WOOT!

TIPS:  Consider using different shapes of noodles to keep the GF and regular noodles apart.  You can also use different baking dishes to distinguish them.

(Recipe adapted from Guilt Free Foodie Cutie)

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

P1010470 Ok — this is TOO simple — but because my life is kind of crazy, my cooking HAS to be simple!  This is FAST and EASY too!  Earlier tonight I was surfing the net and found a recipe on a well-known cooking web site that had 25 ingredients!  TWENTY-FIVE!!!  Ain’t NOBODY got time for THAT!!!  This is a family favorite — the noodles are fun to eat, and the tangy spaghetti sauce topped with Parmesan cheese finishes the dish.  Serve with some steamed veggies and you have a great meal!

Now remember, I am feeding 3 people who are gluten-free and 3 people who are not — SO — I cook 2 different kinds of noodles (regular & GF), but the meat sauce can be used for everyone as can the veggies.  (You can, of course, just cook all GF noodles or regular noodles depending on your family’s needs.)

Pictured are GF noodles; I got them at HyVee in a clearance cart for only 50 cents a box!  JACKPOT!!!  Normally these noodles are $3/box or more.  Sometimes I’ll use rice sticks (found in the Asian aisle) which are more like angel hair spaghetti.  Finally, there are lots of different “blends” of gluten-free noodles out there.  You just have to try them to see what you like and what you don’t; personally, I’ve found I like the rice pastas very much and the corn pastas not so much.

For something really different and healthy, try spaghetti squash noodles instead!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash spaghetti squash; cut in half lengthwise.  Place squash cut-side-down in greased, shallow baking dish.  Bake for 45-60 minutes or until squash is very tender.  With a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash lengthwise to form long noodles.  These even taste like pasta!  Top with sauce & meat.  It’s simple AND healthy!

Which gluten-free noodles do YOU prefer???

Spaghetti* & Meat Sauce 

(serves 6 people)  Prep Time: 5 min.     Cook Time: 15-20 min.

1 ½ pounds ground beef, venison, turkey

1 jar spaghetti sauce (be sure it’s GF; read the label!)

Regular spaghetti noodles

GF spaghetti noodles OR rice sticks* (find in the Asian section)

Cook regular spaghetti in one sauce pan and rice sticks/GF pasta in another sauce pan.  Cook according to package directions, then drain water.  Cover to keep warm.

In large skillet, brown meat.  Drain grease, then stir in spaghetti sauce.

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Plate noodles and put sauce on top (keeping separate which plates have the GF noodles).  Serve with Parmesan cheese.

OPTIONAL:  stir ½ cup Parmesan cheese into meat sauce mixture.

* Consider using 2 different types/shapes of noodles to keep the GF and regular noodles apart!

Gluten-Free PIZZA!

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Gluten-free pizza!!!

One of the things I missed the most when I began eating GF was PIZZA!  I think pizza is one of my favorite foods, as it is for many people.  There’s just something about the melted cheese, the “pizza-y” sauce, the spicy pepperoni — and the crust — the CRUST!  The crust is crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside . . . OH how I missed that!

Now, of course you can buy frozen GF pizzas (which are not inexpensive) and there are many GF pizza mixes now that you can mix up and make your own pizza.  But these mixes are not cheap either (running from $3 and up each).  SO — I came across this homemade recipe and tweeked it a bit.  It is not difficult, but it is a little more complex than I usually like (or have time) to tackle — but it is SOOOOOOO worth it!  The crust comes out AMAZING — it tastes like regular pizza crust!

     

Pizza Crust (GF)

(makes 1 large pizza)    Prep Time: 10-15 min.     Cook Time: 20-25 min.

1 pkg active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)

2 ½ teaspoons sugar, divided

1 cup warm milk or milk substitute (rice, soy, almond), temp 100-110 degrees

1 ¼ cup rice flour

½ cup cornstarch (plus extra for fingers when spreading dough)

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning or oregano (optional)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Dissolve yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in warm milk; let stand 5 minutes.

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In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, cornstarch, xanthan gum, seasoning, and salt.

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Pour in milk mixture, oil and vinegar.  Mix with hand mixer for at least 30 seconds.

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Coat pizza pan with cooking spray.  With rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray, scrape dough onto pan.  Sprinkle dough with 1 tablespoon corn starch, and coat fingertips with corn starch.

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With small motions, press dough from center to sides, spreading as evenly as possible, and re-coating fingertips with cornstarch when dough starts to stick.  Bake on lowest rack for 10 minutes (dough will start to crack).  Remove from oven. 

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Top with GF pizza sauce & toppings, then bake on middle rack for another 10-15 minutes or until crust edges brown and cheese browns.  Let pizza cool for 5 minutes, then cut into pieces.

OPTIONAL:  Quick GF Pizza Crust – take a piece of GF bread, spread GF pizza sauce and toppings, then toast in toaster oven or bake in oven.

Because my GF crust requires some effort, I “cheat” a bit to feed my gluten-eating family members — I buy small frozen pizzas and add more toppings & cheese, then bake along with my GF pizza.