Saturday, November 27, 2010

Italian Pussy.

This post is dedicated to the person who found this blog today by googling "italian pussy." Love.

Friday, November 26, 2010



I had been dreading the holidays even more than usual.  And even more than my birthday, which must be a record of some kind. 

I wasn't particularly concerned about Thanksgiving, though.  I don't really like stuffing. Give me my mashed taters and I'm a happy woman.  Italians must eat pasta before the meal on every holiday, naturally, which ups the ante on the dread, but Mom will make me some GF on the side. And then I realized that  OMGGREENBEANCASSEROLE is in no way, shape or form gluten free.  Not okay.  As I learned the hard way when attempting to make tuna casserole, gluten free, cream based soups pretty much don't exist. And French's fried onions aren't either. BOO.

I did see an awesome recipe for green bean casserole on General Mills' Live Gluten Freely newsletter that pointed readers in the direction of a gluten free creamy mushroom soup from Progresso (Thanks Progresso!).

But it lacked the fried onions.  What the hell is the point without fried onions? And then I thought to myself - "Hey dumbass, you have a food blog.  It's about time you learned how to fry."

Yes, that's right.  I have never fried anything.  My mom is a dietitian after all.

So, with some fat free half and half and Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour Mix, I went to town.  I tossed the shallots in the half and half and then put them in a bag, added 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup of the flour mix and shook it like a polaroid picture.

We have the below, pre baking:

Not bad for a first attempt at frying.  Recipe below!

1 can (18 oz) Progresso® Vegetable Classics creamy mushroom soup
1 teaspoon gluten free soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper (or, if you're me - a small handful)
24oz frozen cut green beans, thawed

1.   Heat oven to 350°F. In ungreased 1 1/2-quart casserole, mix soup, soy sauce, pepper and green beans.
2.   Bake about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

     shallots, sliced as thinly as possible and broken up
     ~ 1/2 cup half and half/milk
    ~  1/2 - 3/4 cup GF flour mix

1. Pour milk into bowl. Toss thinly diced shallots (I used three) well in liquid, letting them sit for 1 minute.
2. Shake extra milk off shallots, adding them to a gallon sized ziploc bag.
3. Add flour and shake it until shallots are coated well.

Add to about 1/2 cup of oil and fry in batches, being sure not to overcrowd.


Monday, November 15, 2010


I am legit obsessed.  I warned you. MORE SQUASH.  I have one more squash recipe that I'm going to throw at you all and then I'll lay off. I swear.

Squash Risotto

1 squash skinned and diced (acorn or butternut, 1 prepped package from the supermarket is a-okay)
1 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon EVOO
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced and diced
1/2 cup dry white wine (though I used red the first time I made this and it tasted amazing)
1/2 cup grated parm + more for serving/garnish
4 - 6 cups of GF vegetable or chicken stock, room temperature or slightly warmed if possible
kosher salt
ground sage

Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium/high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO and 1 tablespoon of butter.  When butter melts, sautee onion and squash for a few minutes, until onions are transluscent and squash are almost tender, poked easily with a fork.  Add rice and stir to coat in butter/oil.  Add a teaspoon of ground sage and wine and stir frequently until all liquid has evaporated (about 2 or 3 minutes). Reduce heat and add in stock, no more than a cup at a time.  As you begin to add stock, add a large pinch of nutmeg, another teaspoon of ground sage, a tablespoon of dried thyme and pepper per your taste. A pinch of salt is often needed to bring everything together. Stir frequently.  Add more stock once the rice has absorbed it all. After  about 25 minutes of this (aka when the rice is almost cooked), stir in parmesan.  All total, it should take the risotto 30 - 35 minutes of cooking.  Be sure to have extra stock on hand (water is fine if you run out), as arborio is some thirsty rice.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Awesome winter meal alert

My name is Lauren, and I am addicted to squash from October - February every year.  And then I promptly forget about it, until I see it featured in a seasonal veggie display and get far too excited while meal planning in my head.

There are so many great uses for spaghetti squash, my fave of the gourdy bunch.  I love it tender and tossed with fresh mint, cilantro, lemon juice and EVOO.  I also love the recipe I am about to share with you.  For spaghetti squash bolognese.  Its as if it was designed for gluten free italians like myself.  It has this great SNAP to it, like a super al dente noodle, that I can't get enough of.  It's really nature's gluten free pasta.

I don't eat alot of meat.  I've been going back to it more now, just to give myself the illusion of more food options, but this is amazing with eggplant in the sauce instead of a meat. 

To use eggplant, dice it into small squares, discarding the ends.  Toss eggplant with 2 tbls of kosher salt and place in a strainer with a plate and a 28oz can of tomatoes on top to weight it.  After 30 minutes, the bitter juices of the eggplant will have mostly drained out.  Preheat your oven to 375. Wipe off as much salt as you can and wring out the eggplant in a kitchen towel or paper towel. You'll be surprised by how much liquid comes out.  Then, put it on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  The eggplant should be browned.  Add it to the sauce when nearing completion to infuse it with the herbs and flavors of the sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

1 lb ground turkey
28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 - 4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup red wine
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Try not to slice off a finger while doing this.  I came close multiple times, because my knives are le suck.  Remove the seeds.  Place both halves of spaghetti squash cut side down in ~ a cup of water in a pyrex/baking dish.  Poke holes in the sides now facing up.  Bake for about 35 minutes.  You can test if its done by poking it with a knife or fork.  If it punctures easily, you are good to go.

While the squash bakes, get your sauce going.  Add about a tbsp of EVOO to heated, medium sized sauce pan heated on medium-high heat. Add diced onions.  After 2 - 3 minutes, add garlic, chopped as finely as you prefer.  I have a garlic press that I adore.  Sautee garlic and onion for 1 minute.  If you are going to use eggplant, skip to the next paragraph. Add turkey, breaking up with a non wooden spoon.  Start stirring in your italian seasonings.  Turkey usually needs a pinch of salt and a liberal sprinkle of black pepper at minimum, but I like it tossed with thyme, oregano, basil and parsley.  A few shakes of each. Let the turkey begin to brown.

Add tomatoes, red wine and more herbs - tsp of each plus more thyme.  Lower heat to medium low and simmer, stirring regularly.  Taste frequently and add herbs as you see fit.  I also like a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of salt.  If the sauce is too bitter, add a pinch of sugar or a whole carrot that you can remove later to sweeten it up a bit.

When the squash is done, the sauce should be too. (Once the squash is cool enough to handle...) With the cut side facing up, use a large fork and comb through the squash, making "spaghetti."  Scoop it directly into the sauce, stirring to evenly distribute the sauce.  A dash of parmesan, or even some goat cheese goes great on top too.

One of the many reasons why Autumn is my favorite season.  Tasty.

Friday, November 5, 2010

15 Minute, Not Really At All Homemade Meal

As a tribute to the semi-homemade new first lady of New York, Sandra Lee, I present to you a fifteen minute not really at all homemade meal.  I made this up in the aisles of the supermarket at 9:30pm while visualizing what was in my freezer/fridge.  Kind of pisses me off that Madam First Lady has an entire show (and a magazine, I think) dedicated to her creations of recipes like these, but whatever.

I'm not doing so great with the tribute aspect of this post, but my intent to do so was clear, right?

Sausage, Peppers and Polenta
1 package pre cooked sausage (I used Aidell's Roasted Garlic and Gruyere Chicken Sausage)
1 cooking spoon scoop of tomato paste
1 freezer bag of mixed peppers
1/2 onion
1 pre cooked tube of polenta (should all be gluten free, but check to be sure, as always)
4 - 6oz red wine
italian seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, basil and red pepper flakes)

Grab a large skillet, preferably one with high sides.  Heat it on high.  Add EVOO after 30 seconds.  Let EVOO heat for 30 seconds and add sliced onions and frozen peppers.  Pour wine and seasonings over peppers and onions and allow to bubble and reduce a bit.  Stir to evenly distribute spices and wine.

While the veggies simmer, cut the polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Slice the sausage. 

When these preparations are done, use whatever spoon you had been stirring with to scoop a slightly heaping spoonful of tomato paste and stir well.  This will thicken up nicely to form a sauce.  A pinch of sugar could be necessary to cut the bitterness of the tomato paste/wine.  When peppers are cooked (about 5-7 minutes more), add sausage. Pop the polenta in the microwave for 90 seconds.  When the microwave beeps, kill the heat and cover the pan.

Place the polenta circles in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with sausage, pepper and onion mixture.  Sprinkle some parm for good measure.  I shit you not, This went from being stuff on the counter to on the table in 15 minutes flat. Makes 3 servings too!

Welcome to politics, Sandy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Subtle Barack Obama reference in the title. Booyah midterm elections.  The title also refers to how awesome Mexican food is for those of us with gluten allergies.  Most sauces aren't thickened with anything artificial.  Corn tortillas are in abundance in awesome dishes like nachos and enchiladas.  Win - Win.

I like making enchiladas but am supremely lazy and get annoyed rolling them out and getting them to stay put.  The below is my favorite weeknight Mexican.  I whip this whole thing up in around 30 minutes, baked for 15 while I clean up the kitchen and voila, 6 servings of yum.

Mexican Lasagna

6 small corn tortillas
16 oz crushed or diced tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 lb ground chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
pinch of kosher salt
cilantro (optional, if you are genetically mutated and don't like it. if you do, get these)
brown sugar
chili powder (more if you like spicy/smoky less if you are a pussy)
garlic powder

Get a large skillet HOT.  Add in some EVOO.  After it heats for 30 sec, add half of your chopped ion and 2 cilantro cubes (or 2 tsp fresh cilantro).  Once onions are transluscent, add mushrooms.  As mushrooms release water, add chicken, breaking up with a non wooden spoon so you don't die of a bacterial infection.  Add a tsp of cumin, tsp or two of chili powder and a teeny pinch of kosher salt.

While the chicken browns, start your sauce.  Add EVOO to medium sized, heated sauce pan.  Add the remainder of your onions. Once those become transluscent, add tomatoes and seasonings.  I like to do a T of cumin, 3 T of chili powder, a T of garlic and 1 T of brown sugar.  Sometimes I will add 4 - 6 ounces of water to thin it out a bit, especially if I am using crushed tomatoes. Let this simmer and keep tasting to get the flavor you want, adding a pinch of salt if desired.  Usually by the time the chicken cooks, the sauce only needs a few minutes to gel.  I usually add dried cilantro toward the end too, because I am obsessed.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grab a 13 x 9 pyrex/baking dish.

When chicken is browned, add your rinsed black beans and allow the veggie and chicken mixture to come together.  After a minute or two on the heat, kill it.

Add a few tablespoons of sauce to the bottom of the baking dish.  Place two corn tortillas at the bottom of your dish on top of the sauce.  Add 1/3 of your chicken and veggie mixture.  Ladle on a generous amount of sauce.  Sprinkle some cheese.  Place two more corn tortillas down, this time adding sauce on top of them.  Add meat/veggie mixture, cheese and repeat until done, reserving some extra cheese and sauce for the top.  End with corn tortillas on top, with sauce and cheese layered on top of that. 

Bake for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Serves 6

Nutritional Info: 372 calories, 17g of fat, 103mg cholesterol, 600mg sodium, 29g carbs, 6.4g fiber, 8g sugar, 26g protein.