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xo Gluten Free Lover xo bio picture

my two loves . . .

Hello! My name is Kathryn - a Georgia girl and bona fide bread lover. Well, that is until I met and fell in love with Justin. Let's be real, I still LOVE bread and all things gluten-ful, but have given up that life for a gluten-free one - because now, I am a gluten-free lover.

I have always loved food. Cooking it, eating it, discussing it. I hope you'll try some of the recipes I've posted and you'll see - gluten-free cooking is accessible and delicious!

Play with your food

I’ve been playing with some recipes lately and wanted to share my findings. My Dad’s chili recipe, a favorite of mine since childhood, wasn’t supposed to be one of my experiments but I completely forgot to buy the extra ingredients so I just used what I had. It turns out I am skilled at improvising (good to know) and I liked the result just as well, if not better, than the original (sorry Dad!). Another recipe I tinkered with is one of Ina Garten’s many Mac & Cheese recipes. I wanted to tackle the problem of the roux in a gluten-free kitchen and I thought mac and cheese was as good a place to start as any. I have considered the problem and theorized many, many times, so it felt REALLY good to finally try it out. There’s a pizza recipe and chicken fingers with mustard BBQ sauce to discuss as well. Oh and the sides, of course. Let’s get to it…..


"Steve's" Chili

My version of Steve’s Chili
makes about 8 servings

2 lbs ground turkey
1 package Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit (omit: masa flour and salt packets)
2, 15 oz cans dark red kidney beans
1, 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1, 8 oz can tomato sauce
salt and pepper

Brown turkey in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook until the meat is completely cooked and the excess fat has almost completely evaporated. Add chili seasoning and cayenne packets, beans with their juices, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 20 minutes. Check for consistency and add as much water as needed to get your desired consistency. Also add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook at least another 10 minutes (the longer it simmers, the better it will taste).

We never added toppings to this chili but feel free to top it how you like. J put some cheese on his and I think it would taste good with any number of toppings. But honestly, it doesn’t NEED anything else. It is so flavorful and thick and satisfying on its own. (Although, as I sit here, mouth watering, it seems like some diced shallots and sour cream would be spectacular.) My Dad doesn’t add the cayenne packet because my Mom doesn’t like things too spicy, so it was my first time having “his chili” the spicy way and MAN is it good! I made Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins to go along side, which was a great side dish, in theory. [To save time, and due to the fact that I haven’t come up with a gluten-free all purpose flour blend, I used Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix. NEVER AGAIN. I have discussed my experience with Bob’s Red Mill products having an odd taste and it happened yet again. I’ve tried three different products and now I’m officially done with Bob’s Red Mill. I do not recommend their gluten-free products. Period.] Regardless, I will post a picture because they did look appetizing and, well, why not? (Click here to see the Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins.)

Now, on to my experiment with classic Mac & Cheese prepared gluten-free style. Here is the Barefoot Contessa’s original recipe for Mac & Cheese. I was nervous about altering the recipe (even though I knew I had to) but in the end, it turned out really, really well. I’m very pleased and have made some notes about what to do differently next time. I think Ina would be impressed.

mac & cheese

Fancy Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs

Fancy Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs (inspired by the Barefoot Contessa)
serves 6-8

16 oz Quinoa Ancient Harvest brand Elbow Macaroni
1 T olive oil
2 T, plus 1 tsp salt
1 qt, plus 3 T milk
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
3 T cornstarch
12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
8 oz extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 c fresh GF breadcrumbs (about 5 slices of sandwich bread)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray (or butter). Drizzle 1 T olive oil and 2 T salt into a large pot of boiling water. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than indicated in package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 quart of milk and 6 T butter in a large saucepan until the butter melts and the milk has tiny bubbles along the edge. Combine 3 T cornstarch with 3T cold milk to make a slurry and set aside. While the milk and butter come to temperature, cut the crusts off of the bread and cut the slices into large chunks. Process in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until the crumbs are the desired size. Once the milk and butter are warm, add slurry and whisk well. Turn off the heat and add both cheeses, stirring constantly in a figure eight motion with a wooden spoon. Once cheese is combined (there may be some clumps but that is ok, they will melt out in the oven) add 1 tsp salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir to combine. Finally, add the cooked macaroni and stir until completely combined.
Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the greased baking dish. Melt the last 2 T butter and combine with the fresh breadcrumbs. Top the macaroni and cheese evenly with the buttered breadcrumbs and put into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Let sit a few minutes out of the oven then serve.

It worried me at first that the cheese sauce didn’t thicken on the stove, but I new that was because I wasn’t boiling the milk (in order for the cornstarch to thicken, whatever you put it into has to boil) and that in the oven, it would be hot enough to “boil”. I was also worried because the cheese clumped up when I added it to the hot butter and milk (that’s why I added the direction to stir constantly) but again, common sense told me it would all melt away in the oven. The Mac & Cheese turned out beautifully! I can assure you J loved it and gave it rave reviews.

Some things I’d like to try next time: I would either do away with the breadcrumbs OR add chopped parsley, salt and pepper to give them even more yummy flavor. I think the Mac & Cheese would taste divine with sauteed mushrooms or diced ham. Also, I thought sauteed shallots might add a nice crunch and tangy flavor to the final product. [I discovered that inexpensive Kraft extra sharp Cheddar, while affordable, does not work well in my food processor (that’s how I grated it), so I recommend you use firm, good quality cheeses.] Also, I want to try either equal amounts of Gruyere and Cheddar OR 12 oz Cheddar and 8 oz Gruyere, just to see if the flavor will be “cheesier”. If you’re not familiar with Gruyere it is a potent cheese with a wonderful nutty, salty flavor – very yummy in fondue but very strong in macaroni and cheese.

chicken fingers with mustard bbq sauce

Chicken Fingers with Mustard BBQ Sauce

For some time now, I’ve been playing with a recipe for oven fried chicken from Joy of Cooking. I was initially drawn to the recipe because it uses a cornmeal crust (yay! inherently gluten-free!) and bakes in the oven (yay! less mess!). I’ve made it with chicken breasts several times and then decided, “why not make it with chicken tenders?”. Then I found a mustard BBQ sauce, also in Joy of Cooking, that is to die for and the rest is history. The tangy mustard sauce pairs beautifully with chicken, especially breaded/”fried” chicken.

I will post the recipe once I’ve gotten it exactly as I want it. The last time I made it (reference the above picture) I simply cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into about 1-inch thick strips and coated them with dry GF breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. Then sprayed them lightly with cooking spray and baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. While they were delicious, they lacked a certain crunch. I should have dipped them in egg wash or some other kind of wash – I’m thinking buttermilk might be good…Also, I recently discovered that Quinoa Ancient Harvest makes quinoa flakes, which I think I might be able to use in place of Panko (Japanese bread flakes). That makes me pretty excited. That might be the key to a crunchier crust! Stay tuned…

I WILL share the amazingly robust and flavorful mustard BBQ sauce that J and I have fallen in love with.
Ray’s Mustard Barbecue Sauce (from Joy of Cooking)
makes 3 cups

1 1/2 c prepared yellow mustard*
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c grated onion
1/4 c honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime
2 T Worcestershire sauce*
1 1/2 T black pepper
*(French’s makes both of these GF)

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a slow simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring often to prevent sticking, for 15 minutes. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about 1 month. The sauce goes very well with fried chicken, as a basting sauce for pork ribs, and/or with pulled pork.

Last but certainly not least, I want to tell you about my recipe for Mexican Pizza. I tried this once before with mediocre but promising results. This time, I think I got it! I’m still tweaking the crust a bit but the flavors were right on target.

mexican pizza

Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza
serves 4

1, 12″ prepared, uncooked pizza crust
3/4 lb. Ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 c diced red onion
4-6 oz taco sauce (Ortega is GF)
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2-2 c Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 c chopped Pickled jalapenos

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (or according to pizza crust package). In a skillet, cook ground turkey and red onion per taco seasoning packet directions. Prepare dough on baking sheet, per package directions, prick lightly with a fork and cook in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and spread taco sauce over the dough, almost to the edge. Sprinkle a few of the chopped jalapenos over the taco sauce. Layer generously with cheese. Top with the ground turkey mixture, the tomatoes, and the remaining jalapenos. Finally, top with a little bit more cheese. Bake for 22 minutes or until cheese and crust are browned.

You’ll notice in the picture that I didn’t use tomatoes when I made this last week (I forgot to buy them) but I did use them last time and I know it’s good, so…J and I pondered throughout the entire meal what else to add to make it more Mexican…I thought it was pretty perfect and in the end the only additions we came up with were additional toppings like guacamole, sour cream, salsa, etc. We didn’t feel like we needed the extra toppings but it might be worth giving a try. One last recipe – this is a quick one, I promise! We ate a very fresh and delicious vegetable salad along side the pizza.

chunky veg. salad

Chunky Vegetable Salad

Mexican Chunk Vegetable Salad (from Classic Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals)
makes 4 servings

2 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/3 English cucumber, cut into bite-size chunks
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 T chopped cilantro or parsley
2 tsp cayenne pepper sauce
Juice of 2 limes
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the vegetables in a bowl. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Dress the salad with the hot sauce, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and adjust seasonings to taste.

Thank you for sticking with me to the end of this post! I know it was a long one, but I just felt like getting through all of these recipes at once.

27 March 2010 - 5:00 pm Deliziosa Cucina Italiana » xo Gluten Free Lover xo - [...] this version of Mac & Cheese is very similar to the last one but with some changes. I plan to make a few more until I reach my desired final product. I made [...]

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