Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Parmesan Crusted Cod

Now that the champagne has been drunk, confetti has been thrown, first kisses have been made, and Auld Lang Syne has been sung, we can officially say goodbye to 2012 and welcome in 2013.  With the New Year comes the commitment (temporary or permanent ) to resolutions for change.  Like most people, I usually have a resolution that centers on health, whether it be to sleep more, eat less, exercise consistently, or floss daily (that one's for you, Dad!).  This year, after about a month of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies at 5am and snacks of Peanut Butter M & Ms, I am feeling the need to redirect my eating habits.  And with my family's history of heart disease and Type II Diabetes and hitting the big 3-0 this year, the need to keep consistently healthy eating habits is as crucial as ever.

One thing that my husband requested of me was to make more fish.  I am not exactly experienced at making fish but with it being low in fat, high in protein, and rich in vitamins B and D, now is a good time for me to hone my fish cooking skills. Armed with fresh lemons from his aunt and uncle's greenhouse and full wedge of parmesan, I tried my hand at making cod.


  • 1 lb of freshwater cod
  • 2/3 cups of gluten free bread crumbs or gluten free crackers smashed in to crumbs
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • Juice from one, medium-sized lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of gluten free Italian Seasoning
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Thaw and wash cod if it was frozen and pat dry with paper towels.  

Comine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning in a bowl or on a plate.  Cut the lemon in have and squeeze out all of the juice on to a plate.  One filet at a time, dip the cod in the lemon juice.  Sprinkle on each side your desired amount of salt and pepper.  Dredge the cod filet in the bread crumb mix until it is completely coated. Complete these steps for all of your filets.  Then, place them in a well-greased baking dish.  If you like, sprinkle some extra parmesan cheese on top.

Bake the filets for about 25 minutes or until they are browning on the edges and the fish easily flakes with a fork.  Serve with your favorite sides!

Any special New Year's resolutions or healthy recipes for the New Year?  Share in the comments section

Monday, December 31, 2012

Gluten-Free, Vegan Pumpkin Pie

This holiday season, I was tasked with a new baking challenge: make pumpkin pie that is not only gluten-free and vegan!  I fit right in with my husband's family as many of them also have dietary restrictions, including his aunt and uncle who are both gluten free and vegan.  One night when we were all out to dinner, we were talking about who was the best pie-maker.  And me, feeling the need to boast, told everyone I could make a pie that was gluten-free and vegan and would be as good as all of the other pies.  And when my challenge was accepted, I realized I actually had to figure out how to do that.

I got the idea from the blog Sarah Bakes Gluten Free and adapted in slightly to fit what I had in the pantry and my own taste.  To start, you need to make the dough for the crust.  This can be the most challenging part because you'll have to do a lot of "substitution"here:

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 potato starch
  • 1/4 millet flour
  • 3 tablespoons of ground, gluten free oats
  • 1/3 cup vegan, organic shortening (I used Spectrum, Organic Shortening)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon water

Combine together the almond meal, oats, potato starch, millet flour, and salt.

Using a fork or the flat beater on a stand mixer, cut in the shortening to the flour mix.  It should resemble a sand like substance before it starts coming together in a dough.  Then, add in the maple syrup or honey and blend until it is completely combined.  Then, add in water until the dough is moist and comes together in a ball.  (You can use more water if needed).

Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper large enough to roll out the dough 11" in circumference.  Place an equal sized piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll the dough out in to, approximately, and 11" circle.  Grease a 9" pie pan with shortening or gluten free cooking spray.  Remove the top layer of the parchment paper a place pie pan upside down on the dough.  Flip the pie pan over with the dough and parchment paper.  Press the dough down in to the pie pan so it is flat on the bottom.  Remove the parchment paper from the dough.  Pinch the excess around the outside of the pan so it resembles a regular pie crust.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Ingredients for the pie filling:

  • 1 large can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the pumpkin, milk, vanilla, and syrup/honey.  Whisk in the potato starch and spices until well-combined and smooth.  Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and pour the pumpkin mix in to the cold crust. 

 Bake for around 50 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly.  Refrigerate overnight and serve with your favorite topping!

Any favorite recipes that cater to several food intolerances?  Share in the comments sections!  And have a wonderful New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gluten Free Baked Penne with Gluten Free Meatballs

I am a diehard pasta lover!  There is nothing better than coming in from a long run in the cold to a plate of warm pasta.  Even though there is no genealogical evidence, I am convinced I must have some Italian heritage in me.  One of my favorite dishes to make is baked penne with meatballs.  It has the enjoyment of a lasagna with half of the work.  My husband, who does not have the same love of pasta as I do, loves when I make this dish.  The smell of meatballs and sauce permeates the air to where you can even smell it outside.  To ease the letdown of the post-holiday season, I made this dish with, what I think, great success:

Ingredients for the Meatballs:
2/3 lb Italian Sausage (Turkey sausage works, too, and I will probably start using turkey sausage after the new year when I am willing to admit my pants are hurting me)
1/3 lb ground pork (ground turkey works, too.  Same disclaimer as above)
2/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs (cornmeal works, too)
2 eggs, beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Add the bread crumbs to a bowl and add just a touch of water to make them just moist, but not wet.  In another bowl, mix together the sausage, pork, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, and parmesan.  Then, stir in the bread crumbs.  Continue mixing ingredients with your hands until they are just combined.  Shape the mixture in to meatballs about the size of golfballs and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes on one side and then, turn the meatballs over and bake the meatballs for another 15 minutes on the opposite side.  Set the meatballs aside.

Ingredients for the baked penne:
1 package (12 oz) of favorite gluten free pasta (I prefer Schar's)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce ( I am still working on my homemade recipe but it is not perfected, yet)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Keep the oven at the 400 degree temperature. Cook the pasta for minute less than the  recommended cooking time.  Drain, and set aside.  Over low heat, reduce the marinara sauce until it just starts bubbling.  Set 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce aside; add the meatballs to remaining sauce and keep warm.

Spread the 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Spread the pasta on top of the marinara sauce and place half of the cheese on top of the pasta.  Spread the meatballs and remaining marinara sauce on top of the cheese and pasta.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Cover with the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese is just starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.  Then, cut the penne in to squares and serve with your favorite veggies!
I am definitely going add this Allergy Free Wednesday and Gluten Free Friday!  Any favorite comfort foods?  Share in the comments section!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gluten-Free Chocolate Crinkles

My favorite childhood Christmas cookies were my mom's gluten-free chocolate crinkles.  She always baked them to absolute perfection: done enough to stay together but not overdone to take away from the softness.   They also always turned out so beautifully with the powdered sugar finishing on the top.

When I first tried to make these gluten-free, I followed the Betty Crocker recipe using Gluten Free Bisquick as the substitute for flour, salt, and baking soda.  They turned out well but not quite the same as I remembered; they were a little on the dry side.  I decided to work with my mom's original recipe and my own gluten-free flour blend to see if I could get results like my mom's.  After much trial and error over a couple of Christmases, I finally got the results I was looking for!  The ingredients I used were:

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend
  • 1/4 almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 5 ounces unsweetened, baking chocolate (You can get away with 4 ounces but I always add 5 because there is always some that sticks to the bowl)
  • 2/3 vegetable oil (coconut oil works, too)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Fill a medium saucepan with water and place on medium heat.  Place the bowl with the chocolate over the saucepan so the top is covered but the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.  Stir the chocolate over the boiling water until it is completely melted.  Remove the chocolate from the heat and set aside to cool.  

Whisk together the flour, xantham gum, salt, and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl or stand-mixer bowl, combine the oil, chocolate, and vanilla.  Add in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the flour mixture slowly until completely combined.  Cover the dough an refrigerate overnight.

After dough is properly chilled,  preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet with gluten-free cooking spray.  Drop tablespoon scoops of dough in to the powdered sugar and roll in balls.  Place about two inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, or until you can touch them without leaving a fingerprint.  Remove immediately from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Perfect Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Christmas is synonymous with home-baked treats.  It seems at this time of the year, everyone is baking their favorite treats from sugar cookies, to gingerbread men, and even the dreaded fruitcake. But nothing is more comforting than a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  My husband absolutely loves chocolate chip cookies and loves it when I bake them for him.  It became my mission to make chocolate chip cookies that are gluten free that will also pass his taste test. And I think I finally cracked the recipe that our whole family can enjoy.

The secret is in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Chocolate chip cookies are at their best when they are soft and gooey and my fellow gluten-freers know that gluten free flours tend to be on the dry side.  Adding extra brown sugar and vanilla keeps the cookies moist and soft.  To start this recipe, you will need:

2 1/4 of gluten-free flour mix
1 teaspoon of xantham gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free vanilla
1 package of semi-sweet gluten free chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together flour mix, xantham gum, salt, and baking soda.  Then, set aside.  In a separate bowl with an electric or stand mixer, mix together sugars until well-combined.  Then beat in softened butter at a medium speed, making sugar that and butter are completely combined but not over-miexed.  Then, one at a time, stir in the eggs while the mixer is going.  Once they are completely combined, add in the vanilla.  Once all of the wet ingredients are combined, start adding in the dry mix a little at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl as you go.  Then, stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least one hour.  This prevents the cookies from spreading and not cooking thoroughly in the middle, which can be a problem for gluten-free cookies.

Once the batter is sufficiently cooled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Drop rolled, tablespoon amounts of dough on to an baking sheet.  Bake for 9-10 minutes or, until golden-browned.  Remove from the oven and let cookies sit on the baking sheet for about a minute to set.  Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.  Then, enjoy with a cold glass of milk! I think these need to be added to Allergy-Free Wednesday...

Do you have any classic, comfort  recipes you've made gluten-free?  Share in the comments section!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Cookies

One of my favorite treats is chocolate and mint, especially at Christmas.  My mom make the best chocolate cookies with mint chips that I so looked forward to every Christmas.  When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it was also one of the first cookies that she learned to make gluten-free for me.  And, they're every bit as good as the gluten-filled version.  

I recently worked on perfecting my own version of these cookies.  You will need:
  • 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix
  • 2 teaspoons xantham gum
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of salted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of gluten-free mint chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.  In large bowl, whisk together flour mix, xantham gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  

Using an electric or standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars.  While the mixer is still going, mix in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.  Slowly mix in the flour mixture until it is completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Stir in the mint chips and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes

Drop tablespoons full of the cookie dough on the greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the stand for 1-2 minutes before removing from the baking sheet to cool.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Days of Gluten Free Baking: Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Happy Holidays!  It has been a long time since my last post.  Our home remodeling project hit epic levels after my last post.  We were living with our down to the studs and absolutely no kitchen.  I really couldn't take washing dishes in the bathroom sink so my cooking, and blogging, came to a halt.  But now I am armed with a new, almost done kitchen (I'll post pictures soon!)  and I am ready to start sharing my favorite gluten-free recipes again!

I absolutely love the holiday season.  I am one of those people who starts celebrating Christmas in October, goes to every possible holiday event, and needs a week to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies.  One of my favorite parts of the holidays is baking special treats.  My mom is an incredible baker.  I have the best memories of baking chocolate crinkles, spritz cookies, and caramel-cashew bars with her and having those be everyone's favorite treats!  The idea of not being able to continue on with those wonderful recipes because I have Celiac Disease.  So, this year, I am determined to make these treats gluten-free and have them be the same crowd-pleasers they always were.

Before I could start any holiday baking, I knew I needed to perfect my gluten-free flour mix.  I turned my new kitchen in to a science lab with me trying to find the perfect proportions of sorghum flour to tapioca starch.  After much trial and error and a very supportive husband as my taste tester,  I think I have come up with a perfect g-free flour mix.  I have tried this mix for cookies, pie crusts, cakes, brownies, and quick breads and each time they have withstood the husband taste test.  This is the mix I use:

  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 3/4 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (corn starch works in place of the potato starch with similar results)
  • Yields: about 8 1/2 cups
After whisking all of the flours together in a large bowl, I put the mix through a sifter and store in an airtight container. 

 Most gluten-free baking recipes will call for xantham gum or guar gum.  I like to add that as I am baking because I think it works better if it is refrigerated.

Thanks to the Gluten Free Goddess, Gluten Free Mommy, and Ellen's Kitchen for the great tips on gluten-free flours.

Do you have any favorite gluten-free flour blends?  Share them in the comments section!