Beets Kale Quinoa Citrus

quinoa kale beets

This is more of a grown-up dish. The boy was in bed by the time this was finished so I’m not sure if he would like it. The other person in the house raved over it. He said “They won’t understand until they taste it.” I assure you that I made this, took the picture and we devoured it. I wasn’t allowed to clean the kitchen as I had to hurry up and write down the recipe before I forgot it (which has happened a lot). So, here is what I did:

Wash and peel 3 large beets, cut into 1/2 inch strips, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, a very little bit of ground thyme and roast in a 400 degree oven until fork tender (about an hour, or longer if needed). The beets shrink. Make sure you put them in a large baking dish so they are not in a pile. You want them to roast evenly.

Meanwhile, prepare 1 cup quinoa (either red or white) – you will have about 2 cups of quinoa after it’s cooked.

While the beets and quinoa are cooking, prepare your citrus sesame vinaigrette:

  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted in a hot skillet (use  large deep skillet so you can use also for the kale – see below)
  • 4 scallions (green or spring onions), thinly sliced – you could substitute red onion for this
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • the juice of 1 large orange (or 2 lemons or limes)
  • 1 Tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar (you can substitute red wine vinegar if you like)
  • 1/4 cup of some berry flavored juice or 2 Tbsp of berry preserves (I used currant juice because I got it on sale).

Stir together all of the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Set aside the beets and quinoa when they are done. (Add some dried cranberries or dried cherries on top of the quinoa and put the lid back on so they plump a little from the steam)

IWhile the beets and quinoa are cooling, get  the deep skillet you used to toast the sesame seeds and heat to medium high and warm up about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Then add enough cleaned and chopped up kale to fill the skillet. Saute until kale is warm, a little tender and a rich green color like in the picture (about 5-7 minutes).

Turn off heat.

Add the quinoa to the skillet and stir in  with the kale. Then pour the vinaigrette all over the quinoa and kale and stir to coat.

Serve on plates and top with some roasted beats and top with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

That’s it.

It’s not super quick but it’s fun.

I was paid handsomely with compliments on this. So, try it and let me know if you agree. Here’s the thing, trust your own taste buds more than anyone else’s. I taste my sauces and cooked beets and things I am seasoning – while I’m cooking – to make sure they have been seasoned with balance. Please do the same. Don’t wait until everything is assembled before you ever take one bite of it. Make sure the vinaigrette tastes good to you before you add it to your salad. You may prefer a more tart or more sweet one. Or suddenly feel the urge to add bacon. I don’t know. But it’s  habit of every good chef to keep tasting. So, do it. You’ll thank yourself.

Oh, and never put your tasting spoon back into the food. That’s just wrong.

Last thing: this is also great cold for lunch the next day.


DSC_0636Yes You CAN Pizza! Yes, yes, yes! Delicious pizza that is completely free of wheat, gluten and dairy.

So, remember when I talked about the mixes in the earlier post about brownies? Well, yet again, Bob’s Red Mill people have a made a little boy a happy thing. Here is what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pkg Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free pizza crust mix
  • 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 4-oz can of tomato paste
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and 1 tsp sugar (for flavoring sauce)
  • 1 cup daiya dairy-free cheese substitute
  • ground beef (optional)
  • veggies (optional)
  • a few shakes of nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Brown ground beef (add salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning to taste).

In a large bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and add the 1 tsp sugar, and then some garlic powder and italian seasoning (about 1 tsp each).

There is a packet of yeast in the flour mix. Take it out and rinse it off. You will need to proof the yeast. It’s not that hard to do. You need 1 and 3/4 cup warm tap water (it should feel warmer than the skin on your wrist but not too warm, use a thermometer if you want, the water should be about 110 degrees Farenheit). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water evenly. Shake it a little if you need to to make sure it all gets wet.

Meanwhile, scoop 3/4 cup of sauce into individual bags to freeze for future pizza-making. (You can warm these up in hot water on a busier night). Save 3/4 cup for your current pizza. Your yeast should be proofed now.

In a larger bowl, blend two eggs with the olive oil. Save about 1/2 cup of the flour out of the bag and set it aside. Then add the rest of the flour and yeasty water to the egg and oil mixture. Stir it all together using a wooden spoon. Note that your BRM package calls for a rising of the dough and then splitting it into two pizzas. You can do that if you want – and I have – but I don’t have time for all of that. This is involved enough, don’t you agree? Additionally, I like the results better with one flour mix dough for just one pizza and I think you will too. It makes a nicer “hand-tossed” new york style crust, in my opinion.

Oil your round pizza pan.

Add the 1/2 cup of flour that you set aside and knead it in a little bit. Adding it at this stage seems to make this somewhat sticky dough easier to handle. Then push it into pizza form on your pizza pan.

Top with sauce, meat, daiya, nutritional yeast and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is a nice medium golden brown.

Daiya cheese is supposed to “melt.” And I suppose it does a little bit. It’s not anything like the real thing, so don’t expect it to be a great cheese experience. But if you can never have cheese again, it’s really not a bad substitute at all. And the nutritional yeast is something I constantly use to add more cheesy flavor to things. I can tell you that the end result is a pizza that has a great flavor, great crust texture, and a great combination of sauce and meat and cheesy topping that is immensely enjoyed.

So…. ENJOY! 🙂

Yummy Brownies!

BRM Gluten-Free Brownies

I wish I could say that I invented these brownies all on my own, but I’m not a fan of re-inventing gluten-free brownies if I don’t have to. I thought you might like to see how great the brownies turn out from the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Brownie Mix.

I hope you will not feel stigmatized by using a mix. If you were to follow a from-scratch recipe using a mix of flours and cocoa and baking powder, you will find that it ends up being the same ingredients as in something like a Bob’s Red Mill Mix. Also, gluten-free mixes are typically NOT the chemical concoctions that you might associate with a conventional brownie or cake mix from the supermarket. If you can use something like a Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix, it turns out to be a great time-saver. In some situations, it is also a money-saver if all you want to do is make brownies and you don’t want to spend $40 on 4 different kinds of flours. You will, no doubt, come to this conclusion yourself.

So, live your life and use a mix from time to time. They’re wonderful. The instructions on the bag say to use butter and dairy.  Obviously, we can’t use those, so I used Earth Balance and melted it in a bowl in the oven for about 3-5 minutes during the oven preheat stage, and it worked beautifully. The only other ingredients you need are eggs, vanilla and water.

I used a 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish as I like thicker, chewier brownies. I had to increase the baking time by 5-7 minutes. But I do like this result better. Use a canola spray on the dish before you bake to keep it from sticking.

I will try to remember to say this in all of my blog posts about baking mixes: do not use Pamela’s mixes if you are allergic to dairy. Many of Pamela’s gluten-free mixes contain dairy and/or were made in a facility that uses dairy powders.

That said, enjoy your life and enjoy dessert!

Thai Chicken and Rice (Tom Kha Style)

thai chicken tom kha style

If you have ever had Tom Kha soup at a Thai restaurant and wish you could recreate those flavors in a hearty meal that is gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free then I think you will enjoy this. Thai cuisine typically uses the lemongrass herb for the spring green flavor, but I found that a standard fresh parsley (that is found in almost every supermarket everywhere and sold for a mere buck) worked quite well as a substitute. The secret combination to unlock the tom kha flavor is coconut, chili powder, curry and sunbutter.

If you have a nut allergy and are not sure how you will react to coconut, replace the coconut milk with hemp milk.

If you have an allergy to dairy, check the coconut milk to make sure that is absolutely *always* dairy free. Cream of Coconut has diary, so be careful.

If you do not have coconut milk, you could use coconut oil as it stores at room temp for a very long time and a little goes a long way.

Because I can never be sure of whether coconut milk or cream of coconut is used to prepare thai dishes at restaurants, I just opt to stay home and cook. My son has a better time eating this flavorful dish rather than having to order bland foods at a restaurant because so many things on the menu are prepared in advance with ingredients he can’t have. And this is not hard to make, nor is it expensive. Here is how you do it.

If you don’t have any leftover rice, start making some as a matter of being the first thing you do when you start any meal where you want rice in it.

In a large deep skillet add:

2 pkg chicken tenders (about 1.5 pounds)

1 small yellow onions (or 1 large), cut in half and then sliced

Salt & pepper

Add water about halfway up and bring to boil, simmer, covered, while you prepare the flavor mix

To a small food processor, add the following:

1/2 bunch each of cilantro and parsley
1/2 tsp curry
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp Sunbutter
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sugar

enough water to blend

Remove lid from skillet and add the flavor mix, let simmer about 15 more minutes until liquid evaporates. Mix in some rice or serve the chicken on top of plain rice.

Top with cilantro, lime and salt to taste.

I think I will add red peppers next time.

Chicken Piccata

So, I didn’t do the tamale pie or bean burgers as I had planned. I think i will tomorrow but I wasn’t in the mood for beans. I wanted something buttery, lemony and garlicky. And I had some capers from when i made the mediterranean things a week or so ago. So… Drumstick Piccata! Gluten-free and Dairy-free. Of course.

6-8 chicken drumsticks

Put in deep skillet with water about 2 inches deep. Top with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cover and cook.

Make some rice in another saucepan. 4 cups of it.

Add 1 chopped yellow onion and 3-4 chopped mushrooms. Add a little more water if needed. Add 2-3 Tbsp jarred minced garlic. Cover and cook until chicken is done.

Wash and cut up a lemon into 4 wedges. Squeeze one wedge into dish. Chop up the rest of wedges into little triangles and stir in. Add 1-2 tsp capers. 2-4 tsp Earth balance spread or olive oil. And spoon in some rice and stir. Enough rice so that it absorbs 3/4 of liquid. You still want it a bit saucy. Freeze the rest of your rice (if you have any) for a future recipe.


Savory Pinto Beans and Chicken

One bag dried beans, 2 lbs. rinsed and soaked in the morning to be cooked at night. 6-8 hours.

When ready, drain and rinse beans. Transfer to stock pot and cover with water 3-4 inches above beans.

Add salt, pepper, 3 bay leaves, 1 chopped up yellow onion, 1 chopped up green pepper, 2 chicken legs, 1 tsp ground thyme.

Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour or more until beans are tender. If bland, add a little more salt.

Eat as is or with rice, DFGF cornbread and your favorite condiments such as a squeeze of lime, taco sauce, chopped cilantro, crushed tortilla chips or whatever else you like. Or, if your son hates beans like mine does, give him the cooked chicken legs, eat some beans and use leftovers to make bean burgers or bean tamale pie that *maybe* he’ll eat. (The recipes for those will be added soon because that is exactly what I’ll be doing).

This recipe has benefits. In addition to being safe on GFDF diet, it is very inexpensive, highly nutritious, and makes a prolific amount of leftovers.



Chicken Tamale Casserole

If you love tamales, you will love this casserole. Same ingredients for tamales but no up-wrapping with corn husks. Feel free to wrap in husks in the traditional manner. This is a weekend recipe as it takes 45 minutes to bake once assembled.



For the topping:

2-3 lbs. chicken breast, cooked, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis, 8-10oz

For the tamale crust:

2 cups gluten-free masa
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a saucepan of water on stove (about 3 cups) and bring to boil. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook chicken in in deep skillet, use water to keep it from sticking to pan. Cover until cooked through and no longer pink. When cooked, chop up and return to skillet and add remaining ingredients. Stir and cook. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients. Then, add oil and 2 cups of hot water.

Coat a baking dish or pan with non-stick spray or oil. Spread tamale mixture in bottom and top with chicken.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tamale crust is set.

Optionally, add shredded daiya on top, or rice vegan cheese, and let it melt a little before serving.


Homemade Italian Meat Sauce

Brown 2 pounds of ground beef. Add one diced white or yellow onion and one diced green bell pepper. Saute until onion starts getting a little softer. Then add 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and an 8 oz can of tomato paste. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic. 1 bay leaf. A good dusting of onion powder and garlic powder. 1 heaping Tbsp of Italian seasoning. About a 1/2 tsp (I think) of freshly cracked coarse black pepper. Salt – taste and make sure salt level is right. Cover and let simmer to develop the flavors while you cook the pasta.