gluten free brownies

High Altitude Gluten-Free Brownies

Hitting a milestone birthday is a big deal for many.  Some splurge on cars, and others have a right-of-passage party. Not my husband. He requested a guitar cake.  That’s right he picked a themed cake over a Lamborghini. Well, not really, but he knew I wasn’t going to get him a car so he settled for the next best thing.

A few years ago I made my son a guitar cake which actually was a lot of work and looked, well, mediocre.  I opted for a compromise: make a batch of homemade, fudgy, gluten-free brownies, cut them out in shapes of guitars, and decorate them in a pattern that replicates a famous 80’s rock band guitar.

gluten free brownies

First, let’s discuss the brownies.  As I have mentioned in other posts, high altitude baking has been a huge frustration.  There are a variety of things to tweak and it takes a while to find the best modification.  Add to that the concept of gluten-free baking and you have yourself a challenge.  I did a bit of research and decided to blend this recipe from King Arthur’s flour with this high altitude recipe from Allrecipes. The two modifications important for high altitude baking were:

  • Extra flour: I added two extra tablespoons of flour (for a total of 7/8 cup rather than ¾ cup of flour)
  • Less leavening agent: I decreased the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon (instead of 1 teaspoon)

With these two simple changes I solved my problem of soggy brownies, AND I had gluten-free brownies that tasted amazing.

With my brownies done it was time to attempt the guitar shape.  I used a 5-inch long electric guitar cookie cutter and carefully cut out shapes. I placed the shapes on wax paper and then melted candy melts to coat my brownies.  I started with red and poured it over the brownie to coat it entirely.  Next I melted a bit of black and white candy melts to sprinkle over the top.  Finally I trimmed away the excess candy melt and admired my handiwork.  The brownie did in fact mirror the pattern of the famous guitar, as shown by the guitar pics that are decorated in the same pattern.

gluten free brownies

While decorated brownies are only for special occasions in my house, this high altitude gluten-free brownies recipe is my new standard.

High Altitude Gluten-Free Brownies

1 1/2 cups white sugar
¾  cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs
7/8 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.

Place the sugar, butter, and salt in a medium sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula until the butter melts and the mixture lightens in color.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the vanilla and cocoa, and then add the eggs and mix until incorporated.

Carefully stir in the flour and the baking powder until well mixed, and then stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges. Bake the brownies for 40-45 minutes, until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or nearly so.

Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting. Once the brownies are cool, cover tightly with plastic.

 

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Bulletproof Energy Bites

Bulletproof Energy Bites

Have you heard of bulletproof coffee? It has been something my husband and I have wanted to try, and had resurfaced recently in a morning conversation.  The concept is that creamer is replaces with a pad of butter and a bit of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil (or coconut oil in some copycat recipes) for a morning cup of joe that is said to give you more energy.

While trying bulletproof coffee is still on my list, I did try something new this week – coffee cherry flour. It caught my attention as I was meandering through the bulk bin aisles at my local grocery store, mostly because I had never heard of it.  It looked like cocoa powder, but I didn’t know if it was actually made of coffee.  It turns out coffee cherry flour is a gluten free flour made from the coffee cherry which is the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean.

bulletproof energy bites

Since I had bulletproof coffee on the mind, I thought it would be fun to make a recipe that played on the bulletproof concept and made Bulletproof Energy Bites.  I started with a date base, then added in unsweetened shredded coconut, butter, coconut oil, and a bit of the coffee flour.

The result was an energy bite that looked like a chocolate truffle and tasted fantastic. These Bulletproof Energy Bites are a great mini snack for a pick-me-up that will satisfy a sweet craving.

Bulletproof Energy Bites

Bulletproof Energy Bites

1 ½ cups chopped, pitted dried dates
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
½ cup coffee cherry flour
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Place the dates and coconut in a food processor and mix until chopped fine and begin to stick together.  Add in the flour, butter, and coconut oil and process until well mixed and dough sticks together well.  Using hands, roll into 1-inch balls and place in a plastic or glass container.  Refrigerate until firm; keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

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Fried Stuffed Olives

Fried Mozzarella Stuffed Olives

I don’t know how I have never heard of fried olives until now.  On a recent work trip I noticed them on a menu and I was instantly intrigued.  I just HAD to make these at home. A multitude of recipes abound on the internet, but for my first batch I decided to stick with a classic mozzarella filling for the fried olives.

Fried Olives

I also wanted to keep it simple – I used a mozzarella cheese stick cut into nibs that would easily slide into the center of the pitted olives.  A dredge in flour and then a dunk in egg and seasoned bread crumbs is all the coating that is needed.  The olives are fried for only a minute, but that is long enough to give them a crunchy exterior.

Fried Olives

It should come as no surprise that they were a hit with my hubby, so you can be sure these fried olives will be made for our next family gathering!

Fried Olives

Fried Olives


Fried Mozzarella Stuffed Olives

Canola oil for frying
One, 0.75 ounce mozzarella cheese stick
24 pitted Castelvetrano olives, drained (about 4 dry ounces)
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
Marinara sauce for serving

Place oil in a deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions, or add oil to a large pot to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 350°F.

While oil is heating, cut the cheese stick in quarters lengthwise and then cut each piece into 6 equal sized segments to make 24 mozzarella nuggets. Place one piece of mozzarella in each olive cavity.  Dredge the olives in the flour then coat with the egg and finally coat with the bread crumbs. Fry the olives for 45-60 seconds and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Cool for a few minutes then serve with marinara sauce.

Note: I tried these with gluten free flour and bread crumbs, and it doesn’t impact taste or quality

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Samoa Granola Bars

Samoa Granola Bars

So far I have resisted the tempting display of Girl Scout cookies at the entry of the grocery store.  Growing up, my mom always bought thin mints and tag-a-longs so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really got to appreciate the perfect flavor combination of the Samoa cookie – a buttery wafer coated in caramel, coconut, and chocolate. YUM.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love the thin mints too, I just have two favorite Girl Scout cookies now.

While I may have made it past the stocked tables brimming with colorful cookie boxes, it only resulted in my need to whip up my own version of the treat – a Samoa Granola Bar.  Since I prefer my granola bars chewy, I used the oven only to roast the oats to combat their raw flavor and to toast the coconut. The remainder of the prep was simply mixing and pressing into a greased 8-inch x 8-inch dish and letting the bars chill overnight to firm up. I do recommend chilling them overnight, as only a few hours of chilling results in more crumbling.

Samoa Granola Bars

The Samoa granola bars turned out every bit as chewy as I had hoped, and taste like their cookie inspiration. I also barely swatted my husband away to grab photos of the finished dish. Thankfully I managed to take a few pictures of the Samoa Granola Bars before they were declared “awesome” and devoured. While they are a bit more decadent and gooey than I would typically make for a hike or snack, they are a great way to make a gluten-free treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth and your hankering for a Girl Scout cookie.

Samoa Granola Bars

Samoa Granola Bars


Samoa Granola Bars

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup honey
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup caramel bits
½ cup dark chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray and set aside.  Spread the oats on a large rimmed baking sheet and the coconut flakes on a second rimmed baking sheet.  Put both sheets in the oven, baking the oats for 15 minutes and the coconut  for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring both twice during baking. Remove the oats and toasted coconut from the oven and add to a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the honey, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.  Pour the honey mixture over the oats and coconut and stir to coat.  Add in the caramel bits and chocolate chips and stir until combined. Press the granola mixture into the foil-lined pan and chill in the refrigerator overnight.  Lift the bars from told the dish using the foil and cut into 8 bars; serve or store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Note: I used old fashioned rolled oats which did result in some crumbling.  Jenn from onceuponachef.com suggests using quick cook oats to reduce crumbling.

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Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup

In the winter months my family is a huge fan of soup. It is an easy, warm meal that we enjoy for both lunch and dinner, plus it is one of the best ways to get my kids to eat a variety of vegetables in one sitting. Typically, my go-to recipe is chicken soup, starting with homemade stock using leftover rotisserie chicken. These days I often use rice instead of noodles, to make the soup gluten free (and because it is an easy leftover addition). This month I decided to change it up a bit and added both wild rice blend and mushrooms, resulting in a hearty and stew-like consistency Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup.

Chicken,WildRice, and mushroom5

It is so good that sometimes I am torn between packing it up for my weeks-worth of lunches or actually leaving enough for the rest of my family to have some too. Since I love my family, I do share the batch, it just means that it doesn’t last past 2 days in our house.

Chicken,WildRice, and mushroom

While I usually make my own stock, I decided to write the recipe below for pre-made stock for easier replication. I recommend tasting your soup for salt prior to adding the amount I have listed below since I tend to start from a low sodium base. The other great thing about this recipe is that it can easily be halved or doubled.

Chicken,WildRice, and mushroom

I’m looking forward to enjoying this soup – and others! – all winter.


Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
16 cups chicken stock
3 cups diced carrots
3 cups diced celery
3 cups chopped, precooked chicken
3 cups wild rice blend
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet, and cook the mushrooms until browned, about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, along with the stock, carrots, celery, and chicken to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the wild rice blend and reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour longer, or until the rice is tender and the soup has thickened. Stir in the salt and pepper. Serve; allow to cool and then store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Sweet Potato and Curry Corn Chowder

For the first course at my Thanksgiving meal I usually start with a festive salad, but this year I wanted to try a soup. While smooth, root based soups typically abound for the holiday meal, I wanted to go for a chunky, curry corn chowder.

sweet Potato Chowder

One of the key ingredients I wanted to use is sweet potatoes.   I LOVE sweet potatoes, but my husband doesn’t care for them. Somehow that doesn’t stop me from picking up a large bag full this time of year. My thinking is that if I sneak them into a soup so filled with other vegetables, maybe he won’t even notice that they are there.

In addition to the sweet potatoes, I used a variety of other vegetables: carrots, celery, onion and corn, plus acorn squash to thicken the soup, eliminating the need for flour or corn starch (whoo hoo – gluten free!). To give it a kick, I stirred in just a bit of hot madras curry powder. Not only did it add just a hint of exotic flavor, it ramped up the golden hue of the soup.

The resulting sweet potato & curry corn chowder is a perfect start for a Thanksgiving meal – full of fall flavor yet not too rich that you can’t enjoy the rest of your meal. But why wait for a holiday meal? It is easy to whip together and is a great addition to any dinner feast or a tired lunch box.

sweet Potato Chowder

 


Sweet Potato and Curry Corn Chowder

2 lb acorn squash
¼ cup butter
¼ cup diced shallots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
3 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
2 cups frozen corn kernels
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups cashew milk
2 teaspoons hot madras curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
Crumbled, precooked bacon (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Cut the acorn squash in half and place cut side down in a 9×13 inch pan filled with 1 in of water. Roast for 1 hour or until flesh becomes soft.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, celery, and carrots. Saute for 3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Add the sweet potato, corn, stock, and cashew milk and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes or until the sweet potato pieces are tender. Scoop the acorn squash flesh from the skin (equals about 3 cups) and add to a food processor, along with 1 cup of hot liquid from the soup. Blend the acorn squash until smooth, and then add to the soup pot; stir to mix evenly. Add the curry powder and salt to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Ladle into bowls and serve with crumbled bacon, if desired.

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Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp

The fresh, perfectly ripe nectarines looked so inviting on my latest trip to the grocery store that I just had to stock up to make a crisp. Even with peak August heat, turning on the oven to make the bubbly, oat topped treat is so worth it.

nectarines

What I love about making crisps is that they are super easy to throw together. To make this nectarine and blueberry crisp I tossed together chopped nectarines, blueberries and corn starch.

nectarine_filling

Then, the fresh fruit is topped with a simple mixture of rolled oats, brown sugar, and flax seed meal cut with butter to make a crumbly crust. Just 30 minutes in the oven is all is needed to transform the dish into a perfect end-of-summer dessert.

Nectarine Crisp

Nectarine Crisp

If you are lucky enough to have some leftovers, it makes a delicious breakfast too!

Nectarine Crisp

 


Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp

6 ripe nectarines, pitted and chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup flax seed meal
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
½ cup butter, chopped
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Place the nectarines and blueberries in a 2-quart square baking dish. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the top and toss gently to coat. In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, flax seed meal, brown sugar, and apple pie spice. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the nectarine mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve warm, with ice cream, if desired.

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Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

I am in trouble. I don’t know if my kitchen is big enough for more than one foodie. Perhaps I should backup . . . a few weeks ago I ventured out to Party City to pick up some straws for my Grasshopper Soda Floats and spent way more time than I could have imagined walking up and down the supply isles. Slowly. But it wasn’t just me, I had dragged my 4 year-old daughter with me. Surprisingly she didn’t make a peep when we walked down the party favor and candies galore isle. No, she begged until I bought the pink sparkling sugar and pink chevron baking cups seen in the photos. See what I mean?

Building around the pink accents, I decided to try the Blueberry Muffins found in the America’s Test Kitchen The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook. I have found this book to be the best gluten-free resource to date, since it has a detailed description of what does and doesn’t work for all sorts of gluten-free baking recipes. It has replaced my gluten-free baking frustration with delightful and executable treats.

Blueberry Muffins 2 Blueberry Muffins 3

I followed the recipe as written, with a few minor changes: I swapped the vanilla extract with almond extract and the cinnamon with ground cloves in triplicate. Oh yeah, and I traded the turbinado sugar for the pink sparkling sugar.

Blueberry Muffins

The end result is scrumptious blueberry muffins that appeal to everyone. These muffins aren’t dry like your typical gluten-free fare, but instead have just the right amount of crumb and buttery mouth feel. According to America’s Test Kitchen, the muffins don’t keep very long, but I don’t think that will be a problem. Each member of my family ate two blueberry muffins for breakfast, which means come tomorrow morning we will be fighting over the last few remaining.

Blueberry Muffins

 


Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

11 ounces gluten free all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups plus 2/3 cup ATK Gluten Free Flour Blend) *see below
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
7 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blueberries
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or colored sparkling sugar

 

Whisk flour blend, baking powder, salt, cloves, and xanthan gum together in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk granulated sugar, melted butter, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla together until well combined. Using rubber spatula, stir egg mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Gently fold in blueberries until evenly distributed (batter will be thick and stiff). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 °F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups or spray with vegetable oil spray. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, portion batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle turbinado or sparkling sugar over top. Bake until muffins are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 16-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. (Muffins are best eaten warm on day they are made, but they can be cooled, then immediately transferred to zipper-lock bag and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. To serve, warm in 300-degree oven for 10 minutes. Muffins can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, transferred to zipper-lock bag, and frozen for up to 3 weeks. To serve, remove plastic and microwave muffin for 20-30 seconds, then warm in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.)

*note: I used the America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) gluten free flour blend (recipe is found in the same cookbook). Other popular gluten free flours can be used as substitution with similar results.

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4th of July Party Mix

As the Fourth of July draws closer, I begin to think of the fun ways the U.S. celebrates its freedom: Parades, Fireworks, and BBQs. I enjoy all three and try to squeeze each of them in if I can. It is hard not to get wrapped up in the enthusiasm of the day and run rampant with patriotic colors of red, white, and blue. Flags are waved proudly, kids of all ages get to delight in sparklers and loud noises, and those who have served their country are honored. Friends & family get to relax, reflex on their freedom, and enjoy each other’s company.

4th of July Party Mix

For this year’s bash I decided to keep with the red, white, and blue theme. I mixed together freeze dried strawberries, yogurt covered almonds, coconut, dried blueberries, and peanut butter M&Ms® to make an eye-catching and tasty party mix that can easily be served at your celebratory BBQ or taken on the family road trip.

4th of July Party Mix

4th of July Party Mix

I think this 4th of July Party Mix is great for any gathering, since guests can take as little or as much as they would like, and you don’t have to worry about spoilage like so many other typical BBQ dishes.

4th July Party Mix

Just be forewarned, like the embers of fireworks this 4th of July Party Mix disappears quickly!


4th of July Party Mix

One 1.2 ounce bag of freeze dried strawberries (1 ½ cups)
1 cup yogurt covered almonds
1 cup dried coconut flakes
1 cup dried blueberries
½ cup red and blue peanut butter M&M® (or as many as you get from one 10.2 oz bag)

 

Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Store in a large container with a lid until ready to serve.

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Skinny Chicken Tetrazzini

One of the comfort food and potluck staples I’ve come to enjoy is chicken tetrazzini. The creamy sauce is hard to resist, yet it is not easy on the waistline. But what is the best way to make this dish in a healthier manner? My friend Kim Van Dunk of Life in the Van was the first to get my wheels spinning for this recipe. She has created an award winning pot pie which uses cauliflower as a main part of the sauce. What an inspiration! I had tried the popular cauliflower pizza crust (a pinterest favorite) last year and knew if was possible to make cauliflower taste like, well . . . not cauliflower.

This nugget of a recipe idea was in the back of my mind when I cleaned out my desk over the New Year’s holiday break. I found I had saved this recipe from Cooking Light which gave me the idea to use evaporated milk and cream cheese to round out the flavor of my sauce, without losing consistency.

skinnyTetrazzini1

The last inspiration was from a recent church potluck. Susan’s tetrazzini included pimentos, which gave it a beautiful pop of color and extra bit of flavor.

skinnyTetrazzini2

The end result was a delicious tetrazzini that wowed even my cauliflower-hating husband. If that doesn’t sell you on trying this skinny chicken tetrazzini, then hopefully the photos will!

skinnyTetrazzini5


Skinny Chicken Tetrazzini

2 lb cauliflower, leaves removed and cut into pieces (~ 5cups florets)
6 oz evaporated milk
4 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon onion powder
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
12 oz fettuccini
3 cups precooked shredded chicken (~3/4 lb)
½ lb frozen peas
4 oz jarred pimentos, drained
½ cup shredded Parmesan
¼ cup Italian bread crumbs

Place the cauliflower in a large pot and cover with water. Boil over medium heat until florets are soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and add the cooked cauliflower to a food processor. Process until finely chopped, then add the evaporated milk and cream cheese and process until smooth. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and ground thyme; set aside.
Heat the butter in a large sauté pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Sauté until golden brown.
While the mushrooms are cooking, cook the fettuccini according to the package directions, drain and add to a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 375 °F and spray a 13-inch x 9-inch casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Add the cooked mushrooms, chicken, peas, and pimentos to the fettuccini and stir to mix. Pour the cauliflower sauce over the pasta mixture, stir to coat and then pour into the casserole pan. Evenly sprinkle the top of the pasta with the Parmesan and bread crumbs, then place in the oven. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes, or until heated throughout and the cheese begins to brown.
Remove from the oven and serve.

P.S.  I made this recipe with gluten free noodles and amazingly they didn’t get hard.  Don’t be afraid to try this gluten free!

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Kaniwa, Tomato, and Basil Salad

In my opinion, eating a gluten-free diet is getting easier and easier. Not only are there many more gluten-free breads and other goodies on the market, but I even stumbled upon another wheat-free side dish option to put into rotation – kaniwa.

Kaniwa is a gluten-free “grain”, that like quinoa is actually an extremely nutritious, small seed. Similar in fashion, when this reddish-brown seed is cooked it develops a light outer ring.

kaniwa

My experimenting with this grain has only just begun, but I think it will prove just as versatile as quinoa.  An easy way to try kaniwa is in my simple kaniwa, tomato, and basil salad.  After boiling the kaniwa in water for approximately 20 minutes, I stirred in some basil, grape tomatoes, and diced garlic.

freshBasil

I then gave it a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and served it warm. It was a welcome change of pace from our typical dinner starches and quickly won the approval of my family. Whoo hoo! Another successful gluten-free dinnertime companion!

kaniwaCaprese3


 

Kaniwa, Tomato, and Basil Salad

1 cup kaniwa
3 cups water
4 cloves garlic, minced
0.25 ounces fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Place the kaniwa and the water in a large sauce pan and boil over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the kaniwa is tender and chewy. Remove from the stove, drain any remaining water, and stir in the garlic, basil, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Serve immediately.

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Chile con Queso with Fresh Roasted Chilies and Cashew Cheese

I have been waiting all summer for fresh roasted chilies from my local farmers market. While I could roast peppers myself, you just can’t beat the chilies roasted over coals in a hopper. Last week I was informed that there was only one more week of waiting, so I put my name down for two bags of their medium Anaheim roasted chilies, assuming it was the quart sized bags they had last year.

What I hadn’t been told was that the list wasn’t for small bags of chilies, it was for bushels. BUSHELS. I had ordered TWO bushels of roasted chilies. I ended up leaving the market with one bushel, with the assurance that the other would go fast (which I have no doubt, seeing as how many people ask for them).

In case you are wondering, this is what a bushel of roasted chilies looks like . . . Getting through the entire fifteen pound bag may take a while, and will be why chilies may be a frequent ingredient in future postings.

bushelChilies

The first thing I wanted to make with my chilies was Chili con Queso, surprisingly with a cheese substitute – Cashew Cheese. Cheese makes up a generous portion of my diet, which is why eliminating dairy from my diet temporarily to rule out a food sensitivity was difficult, and the few dairy-free cheeses I tried didn’t satisfy my craving. Thankfully, my cheese famine was short lived, though I’m always on the lookout for a good alternative, since some of my good friends have had to maintain a longer dairy hiatus.

Imagine my surprise when at a food event this April I stumbled upon cashew cheese.The unique aspect about the Beyond Better® product I picked up is that it is the only dried version on the market, making it a simple option to pack with you that requires only water for reconstitution. It is a diary-free, gluten-free, organic cheese substitute that actually tastes like cheese!

beyondBetter

To make my Chili con queso, I cooked ½ pound of ground beef , then added the cashew queso dip and water,

dip1

dip2

then I added a bit of the diced freshly roasted chilies and some diced cherry tomatoes . . .

dicedChilies

dip4

for a hearty, kid & husband approved, lunch of queso and blue corn chips.

cashewQueso2

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the remaining 14 ½ pounds of chilies. . . .


 

Chili con Queso with Fresh Roasted Chilies and Cashew Cheese

½ lb ground beef
4 oz package of Beyond Better® Spicy Queso Dip
1 ½ cups water
½ cup freshly roasted chilies, diced
½ cup diced cherry tomatoes

Cook beef in a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked and browned, breaking it into small pieces. Add the queso dip and water and stir until no clumps remain. Heat for 1-2 minutes longer, until thick and bubbly. Stir in the chilies and tomatoes, and then remove from the heat. Serve with corn chips.

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