September 29, 2008

Spicy Acapulco Chicken

Here's another one of those gluten free dishes you can throw together in a snap. It's made with basic, inexpensive, wholesome ingredients and tastes awesome! This has a bit of a kick, but nothing tongue-melting. Serve it up with rice and you're good to go.

I don't have much time on my hands these days, so making fast and easy meals are a must. Plus I have to post it up and share it! It's funny, but I actually look forward to posting new recipes. It's a way to unwind and relax, plus I'm forced (internally) to constantly create new culinary delights to devour. And I love eating, so it works out quite nicely:)

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large tomato, cut into chunks
  • 15 drops of hot peeper sauce ( I used Texas Pete Hot Sauce)
  • 1 tblsp chili powder (divided)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • Salt & Pepper

Cooking Directions
  1. Throw the chopped up chicken into a bowl. Add 1/2 tablespoon chili powder and salt and pepper to taste and mix up well.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the seasoned chicken and saute for 4 minutes or so until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet.
  3. Toss the chopped green pepper and onion into the chicken oil and stir fry until soft. Then add the jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, hot pepper sauce, plus the remaining 1/2 tablespoon chili powder and cook for another 4 minutes (stirring often). Finally, toss in the cooked chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes more.
  4. Eat!

September 24, 2008

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

I didn't plan on posting this recipe, but after a few bites I just had to share! My partner Mindy found this in one of our Cooking Light magazines, and we altered it a bit to suit our tastes. This is another of those dishes that tastes better the next day, so be sure to make enough for leftovers.

Red curry paste comes in a wide range of heat levels, so keep that in mind when deciding how much to add. We used a milder red curry paste, so adding two teaspoons made this turn out perfect. However, two teaspoons of a hotter version could melt your tongue off! Be wary and add a little at a time and taste-check, if all you can get is the hot stuff.

You can also use any size shrimp you'd like, but my suggestion would be to keep it simple and use pre-cooked shrimp. It was so good that we almost ate it all up before taking a picture. That's why the plate in the pic is so small; that's all that was left!

In the following ingredient list, you'll notice there are two ingredients that are optional. We didn't have any green onions on hand, but while we were eating we both realized how great they would have been if added to this dish. The original recipe also didn't call for frozen vegetables, but we had some so we added them. We also used dried basil, but that was only because we didn't have any that was fresh. I'd highly recommend using fresh basil.

  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. mild red curry paste (make sure it's GF)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. fish sauce (make sure it's GF)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)
  • 1 tblsp. fresh chopped basil

Cooking Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat. Add the chopped onion and curry paste to the pan. Saute for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sugar and saute for another 15 to 20 seconds.
  2. Add the frozen vegetables, stirring constantly, saute till cooked (about 3 minutes), then add shrimp and saute for another minute or so.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and fish sauce; cook for a couple of minutes (or until thoroughly heated).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions and the basil. Serve with your choice of rice. Enjoy! Because I know you will:)

September 19, 2008

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

I scoured through my cookbook library looking for the simplest way to make coconut macaroons, and found this easy recipe in the book: "The American Test Kitchen Family Cookbook". On my last day of our student-placement orientation, we were required to bring something in for a pot-luck lunch. I knew I wanted to offer something sweet, but I didn't have a lot of time to make it. These cookies were exactly what I was looking for.

Some of my earliest childhood memories involved hot sand beaches, palm trees, air-boats, hunting alligators and eating fresh cut coconuts. Some people have issues with the texture of coconut, but I happen to love it. And of course, everything is better with chocolate! Although I didn't do it for the macaroons pictured, one way to remedy the stringy texture often associated with macaroons, is to first pulse the shredded or flaked coconut in a food processor. Than way it ends up more like a coconut meal. To make sure that they are nice and moist, just cover the final mixture with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for a while. The longer the coconut has to soak up the egg whites, the softer the end product. As far as the egg whites are concerned, I found it much easier to just buy a carton of liquid egg whites. Why waste all that yolk?

These were a big hit with my coworkers, as well as with my partner's. I even had people tell me that they don't like coconut, but loved eating these. It just goes to show you, it's all about quality and presentation. Coconut lovers beware, these are seriously habit forming. I've given most of them away, just so I don't eat them all myself!

  • 5 cups (20 ounces) sweetened shredded or flaked coconut
  • 8 large egg whites (or 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract (or vanilla)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • chocolate morsels (make sure they're GF)

Cooking Directions
  1. Put all the coconut into a large bowl.
  2. Place the egg whites, sugar, salt, and almond extract into a mixer on medium high until light and foamy.
  3. Stir the egg mixture into the bowl of coconut and combine well. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for at least 1/2 an hour.
  4. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly coat with vegetable oil spray.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Either use a 1-inch ice cream scoop, or wet your hands and roll the coconut mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Space the coconut balls about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake the macaroons for 8 minutes, and then switch and rotate them in the oven. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown. You may have to cook them longer. If you under-cook these, they'll fall apart when you try to handle them (and especially when dipping them in chocolate).
  8. Let the macaroons cool completely on the baking sheet (about 30 minutes).
  9. Once the macaroons are cool, place sheets of wax paper on a table. Fill a microwavable bowl with chocolate morsels and microwave for bursts of 30 seconds at a time, being sure to stir often.
  10. When your bowl of liquid chocolate is ready, simply dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate and place on the sheets of wax paper to cool. It may take a while for the chocolate to solidify on the bottom of the macaroons, so cover them with plastic wrap while cooling to keep their insides moist.
  11. Eat and be merry!

September 14, 2008

Gluten Free M&M Cookies

This recipe combines two of my favorite sweets: M&Ms and Chocolate Chip Cookies (CCCs)! M&M cookies are simply any CCC recipe where you substitute the chocolate chips with M&Ms (try using Peanut M&Ms with this. YUM!). I'm pretty sure that M&Ms are gluten free. Every time I surf the web I find lots of data to back that up. However, when I was in Australia I picked up a pack of Peanut M&Ms and as I was reading the ingredients, I discovered that "wheat flour" was listed. I quickly spit out my half-chewed candy and tossed the rest of the bag to my friend Damian. What would be the purpose of adding wheat flour? Thinking it had something to do with them being "Peanut M&Ms," I examined a plain M&M bag and discovered the same thing. So the whole time I was in the land down under, I was deprived of one of my favorite snacks. But no longer!!

This particular recipe comes from the "Nestle Toll House, best-loved Cookies" book. I love this book! It has 70 of their most requested cookies, bars and brownies, making it a treasure chest for the sweet-toothed. Make a bunch of these and share. People will love you for it!

You can use absolutely any all-purpose GF baking mix for this, but I used the flour concoction below.

The Following gluten-free flour recipe was adapted from the book The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast And Healthy by Bette Hagman.

Gluten Free Flour Mix
  • 3 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup potato flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp xantha

Cookie Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (make sure it's GF!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cooking Instructions (for about 4 dozen cookies)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one until well combined.
  4. Gradually mix in the flour mixture.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips and the chopped walnuts (if you're into nuts).
  6. Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop (or spoon), drop onto an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to cooling rack.
  9. Share and enjoy:) !

September 10, 2008

Simple Gluten Free Cornbread

Corn bread was the first gluten free bread I experimented with. There are a ton of different ways to make corn bread, but this recipe pairs particularly well with spicy dishes due to its sweetness. A problem that many gluten free breads have is moisture content. A trick I've learned is to simply add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water to every recipe. gluten free flour tends to quickly soak up any liquid you add to it, making it rather clumpy and hard to pour into baking dishes. Experiment a little and add water anytime you are making GF baked goods. You'll be able to see and feel the difference. Another tip is to add yogurt to baked good recipes. I usually add organic vanilla yogurt, but any yogurt (make sure its GF) works well.

The following corn bread recipe was adapted from the book: Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant. I thought it was really good, as did everyone who attended my good friend Erika's Labor Day Party. However, next time I'll add more corn meal, as well as freshly ground peppercorns to the dough before baking. Any all-purpose gluten free flour will work with this recipe, but I used my own mixture (outlined below). Erika has graciously "volunteered" to be my guest writer for this entry. Following my recipe for corn bread is a recipe for "Eggplant Black Bean Chili" (pictured behind my GF cornbread). You'll love it! It's spicy, healthy, easy to make, vegetarian, and one of my favorite dishes.

The Following gluten-free flour recipe was adapted from the book The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast And Healthy by Bette Hagman.

Gluten Free Flour Mix
  • 3 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup potato flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum

Corn Bread Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup water (optional, but may help keep bread from being too dry)

Cooking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, yogurt, milk, oil, salt, brown sugar and water until well blended. Sift in the baking powder and whisk until foamy.
  3. Add the cornmeal and flour to the mixture and blend well. Beat it until the batter is smooth.
  4. Pour batter into an oiled 9-inch square or 10-inch round baking pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Chow down!

Eggplant & Black Bean Chili

By: Erika K.

I was honored when Trav asked me to make a guest appearance on his website. I would say that's a pretty good indicator that his "mmm, this is so good" was legit instead of being a plite statement to the hostess. I made this recipe for a Labor Day Bash that I hosted, also featuring my brand new set of plates that I purchased just hours before. For the majority, chili is meant to be eaten out of bowls. However, if you're a shopaholic like me, you work with things to make things fit. So, I took great care to make the chili chunky so it wouldn't be swimming around my new plates and mixing with the other goodies that guests brought to the party. I modified the recipe from the Dean & Deluca Cookbook to make it simpler and more practical to everyday cooking. The other great thing about this is that it's vegetarian so people like me can enjoy it.


  • 1 medium/large sized eggplant, unpeeled, stemmed, and cut into 1-inch cupes or smaller
  • Sea salt for sprinkling the eggplant (plus additional to taste)
  • Cooking spray or olive oil for sauteing
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • 7-10 mushrooms (optional), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (Dean & Deluca sells them in powder form in a tin can)

Cooking Directions

  1. Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with sea salt and let it stand for about 30 minutes.
  2. Spray a large pot with cooking spray or heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, stirring for about 4 minutes until mostly cooked. Add eggplant to the pot and continue stirring for about 5-7 minutes until all the vegetables are tender and thoroughly cooked.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Drain can of tomatoes and add to the pot; if you perfer soupier chili, you can add some of the liquid from the can of tomatoes to your liking. If you want to add mushrooms, you can add them now. Add cayenne pepper and stir for about a minute.
  4. Drain can of beans and add to the pot; if you want your chili to be soupier, you can add some of the liquid from the can of beans. Stir. Season to taste with the sea salt. If you feel the chili could use some more kick, add some more cayenne pepper. Let it simmer over low heat for about 5-10 minutes, stirring it 2-3 times in between.
  5. Serve in your favorite dinnerware.
  6. Chili is yummy by itself, alongside freshly baked cornbread and yam fries (compliments of Trav and Dana), with your favorite toppings, or over your favorite GF grains.

September 4, 2008

Corn and Okra Jambalaya

Eating Jambalaya always brings me back to the time I worked on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I think the year was 1995. I had taken a job working with my father on a steel crew. We spent two weeks breathing diesel fuel exhaust while welding white metal plates on the new Crystals fast food restaurant. It was hard, miserable work, but I loved the time I spent after work exploring the area. In particular, I loved all the street musicians, the architecture of the French Quarter, the Voodoo shops and especially the FOOD! I remember how much I would look forward to our lunch breaks, when I could scope out some little cafe or diner and order Jambalaya, Gumbo, or hoagies filled to the brim with cajun-spiced shrimp (before I had to deal with celiac disease).

The following dish brought back a flood of memories, and put a huge smile on my face! Although it doesn't contain Andouille Sausage (a staple of many Jambalaya recipes), it tastes great nonetheless. It's also a lot healthier, since it uses low-fat Turkey Bacon instead. This dish tastes better the longer the spices are allowed to set into the food. I swear, the best it tasted was as a "leftover" meal, a full two days after I made it. Of course, you can easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting bacon with "facon," it's all up to you. But regardless, I'm sure you'll love it!

  • 1/4 pound turkey bacon (make sure it's GF!)
  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen) sliced okra
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-2 tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tblsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin

Cooking Instructions
  1. Fry turkey bacon in large/deep skillet until crisp and drain. Add butter to skillet with bacon drippings (there won't be much), and saute the okra and onions until cooked - but not browned.
  2. When the okra and onions are almost done cooking, break up the bacon into small chunks and throw them into the skillet.
  3. Empty the stewed tomatoes and drained corn into a bowl. Mix all of the spices with the tomatoes and corn, then add to the skillet and stir well. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for about 10-20 minutes. Jambalaya should not be runny.
  4. Serve hot over rice, or simply eat on its own. Enjoy!


Just So You Know...

The information presented in this blog is intended to educate and entertainment. However, I'm not a medical expert.  I also do not know absolutely everything about Celiac Disease.  What I do know has been learned through trial and error, research, and what has been taught to me by friends who also share my food-related affliction.  Please take the time to do your own research about Celiac Disease and gluten-related issues.  I have a list of links to useful resources along the left-side of this blog. Also, feel free to cross-check my statements. If you find contrary information, please let me know. Thanks so much for visiting Trav's Gone Gluten Free!