June 26, 2013

Blue Cheese Polenta with Sauteed Vegetables

To me, this dish is very dangerous. I love Polenta!  I also love cheese... even the stinky stuff... and especially the bluing with fungus stuff.  Part of me is disgusted by it, but the taste, although not even that great, keeps me coming back for more.  It's like that with that really stinky, soft cheese.  It smells horrible, so why do so many people, including me, keep putting it into their mouth when it's available? This meal, on the other hand, smells delicious and tastes amazing!  I think you'll agree.

  • 2 tblsp olive oil 
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta (make sure it's gluten free)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
 Cooking Directions
  1. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in heavy skillet
  2. Add mushrooms and thyme. Saute until mushrooms are tender (around 5 minutes). 
  3. Add remaining 1 tblsp olive oil, onion, bell pepper, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender (around 8 minutes).
  4. Combine milk, 1/2 cup water, and the remaining salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in the polenta and cook for 5 minutes (stirring frequently). Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the Gorgonzola cheese until fully incorporated.
  6. Serve on plates, sided with the sauteed vegetables and enjoy!

June 20, 2013

Two Birds and a Pig Gluten Free Chili

I don't think I'll ever get bored of experimenting with chili.  It's always so good, makes lots of leftovers, and can be made so many different ways.  I just went with what I had on hand, hoped for the best, and was pleasantly surprised when it ended up exceeding my expectations.  Next time though, I think I'll make it a bit spicier.  I mean, it did make my nose run a bit, but I know I can handle a lot more heat:)

  • 6 tblsp oil
  • 1 pound chicken (GF chicken sausage, chopped chicken, etc.)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage (makes sure it's gluten free)
  • 2 1/2 tblsp hot chili powder
  • 3 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and minced)
  • 1 tblsp garlic (minced)
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 1 tblsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 (6 oz.) can diced black olives
  • 1 can of dark kidney beans (drained)
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese for garnish

Cooking Directions
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot and brown the chicken, ground turkey and pork sausage. Once browned, stir in the chili powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet and saute the onions until golden.
  3. Add the minced jalapenos and saute for a few minutes; add the garlic and saute for a minute.
  4. Add the onion mixture to the meat along with the oregano, vinegar, tomatoes, water, bay leaves, cumin, brown sugar, salt, and olives.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  5. Cover and cook for 1 hour, making sure it remains simmering throughout (not boiling). Stir occasionally and adjust seasoning to your taste.
  6. Add drained can of dark kidney beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  7. Remove bay leaves and serve topped with shredded Cheddar.
  8. Enjoy!

April 21, 2013

Gluten Free Banana Oat Coconut Muffins

I forgot just how easy it is to make muffins. And how rewarding! Not only do you get warm fluffy treats... your house smells comforting and delicious!  Making muffins is basically as easy as mixing the dry with the wet ingredients, filling up some cupcake pans, and throwing them into an oven for 15 or so minutes... then poof!  It's off to muffin munchin land!

There's so many muffin making possibilities that it's hard to imagine running out of tasty combinations to experiment with.  For example, take a base flavor like banana.  I've had many variations of banana walnut muffins, but there are many more flavor combinations available to play with.  These banana muffins include gluten free oats and coconut chips, a little ground cloves and nutmeg, and a topping of sprinkled pecan pieces.  You could leave out the coconut, add chocolate chips or something else, maybe mango chunks... whatever sounds good to you, I say go for it. With muffins, the worst case scenario is rarely less than yum.

Makes 12 regular size muffins

Total Prep Time: Less than 1 hour

  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups GF Flour (I use Bobs Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 over-ripe bananas (smashed)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola/vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs (room temp)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cups gluten free oats (I use Bobs Red Mill GF Certified Oats)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • Pecan pieces for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C.).  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground nutmeg & cloves in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the bananas, white and brown sugar, oats, coconut flakes, canola oil and eggs together in a separate large bowl.
  4. Fold the banana mixture into flour mixture until just incorporated. 
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan.
  6. Top the mixture in the muffin pan with a coating of pecan pieces. 
  7. Bake until muffins spring back a little when you tap them on the top with a spoon (about 14-16 minutes).
  8. Let cool for a little while and then ENJOY!

February 3, 2013

Gluten Free SemiSweet Fruity Chocolates

Here's another candy making experiment of mine.  My first try at being a Chocolateur used white chocolate, mixed nuts and a handful of cranberries.  This one steers clear of nuts and focuses on being nice-n-fruity. All you need is a bag of semisweet chocolate chips and around 2 cups of chopped dried berries.  I used a combination of dried strawberries, blueberries, cherries and cranberries. 

These chocolates were much more popular than the white chocolate candies I made. I could tell how good they were by the way people tried to hoard them, or how they would force themselves to eat only a few a day in order to savor them:).  Regarding proportions... use about 1/2 cup more chocolate chips than fruity bits, and you can't go wrong.

  • 1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips (about 2-2/12 cups)
  • 2 cups of mixed dried berries
  • Cocoa powder (for dusting)
  • Non-stick baking sheet or wax-paper

  1. Chop your dried berries up as fine as you're able.  These chocolates work best if filled with lots of tiny fruity bits, and not large chewy chunks.
  2. Melt and stir your semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, or in 30-second microwave bursts, until  nice and creamy.
  3. Add the chopped berries and stir until completely incorporated.
  4. Let cool until the consistency of thick molasses. 
  5. Spread some wax-paper out, or use a non-stick baking sheet, and spoon small globs of fruity-chocolate about 1-inch apart.  
  6. Let the chocolate cool for a while before dusting your chocolates off with cocoa powder.
  7. Once completely cool, dig in and smile big:)

January 23, 2013

Gluten Free Cheesy Broiled Polenta with Mushrooms

With half of my family living in the deep south, grits and polenta have always been among my favorite side dishes.  In this recipe corn meal takes the main stage in a delicious meal that can be served hot or cold, although bubbling hot is the best!  You can use any kind of mushroom you wish; experimentation is best when tasty.  When using the broiler, make sure to keep a close eye on your polenta, since it can quickly go from a beautiful golden brown to a charred black in a matter of seconds.  Try not to like this one:)

Total Prep Time = 30 minutes
Serves = 6

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Meal)
  • 3 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 large garlic clove (minced or pressed)
  • 1 tblsp. dry white wine (or water, but wine is better)
  •  1/8 tsp. salt (in addition to the salt needed for the boiling water above)
  • 1/2 cup smoked cheddar or provolone cheese (shredded)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • dash of marjoram, basil, or tarragon (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. of salt to a boil. When the water is rapidly boiling, add the cornmeal slowly while stirring constantly to avoid creating lumps.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, making sure to stir often to avoid sticking, until the polenta is nice an thick.
  3. While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until the oil is absorbed.
  4. Stir in the wine (or water), and 1/8 tsp. salt. Simmer gently for a couple minutes.
  5. Preheat the broiler.
  6. Spread the polenta evenly in a buttered or oiled flameproof casserole dish.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the polenta. Spoon the sauteed mushrooms over the cheese, and top off with another layer of shredded cheese.  Add ground pepper according to your taste.
  7. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. 
  8. Remove from broiler and top with a sprinkling of marjoram, basil or tarragon if you wish.
  9. Serve bubbling hot and pull up the blanket of comfort food you're about to enjoy!

January 16, 2013

Gluten Free Nutty White Chocolate Cranberry Candies

I've never made chocolate candies before, so you'll have to forgive me for how chunky these are. These were a mouthful to say the least! Next time I make them I'm going to chop up the nuts real nice before mixing them with the melted chocolate.  You can be all professional and use a double boiler to melt the chocolate, or... you can simply use a microwave to quickly and easily melt the chocolate.  All you have to do is put your chocolate chips in a glass bowl (or any other microwave-safe bowl), and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each round, until the chocolate is melted and creamy.  I'll probably work with a double boiler in the future, even if only to see if there is any difference at all in taste and texture of the chocolate I'm working with.  But for now, as a novice chocolateur, I'm going to keep my sweet experiments as easy to execute as possible:)

  • White Chocolate Chips (2 bags)
  • Dried Cranberries (about 1 cup)
  • Mixed Nuts (1 to 1 1/2 cups) - chopping them up would be good:)

  1. Chop up your mixed nuts, stir in the dried cranberries and set aside.
  2. Use a double-boiler to melt your chocolate, or... place your white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir.  By your 3rd round of 30-second nuking and stirring, your chocolate should be ready.
  3. Mix your nuts and dried cranberries into the melted chocolate.
  4. Let sit for a couple minutes and then use a spoon or a small 1/2 inch ice cream scooper to form small mounds of chocolate goodness on a non-stick surface (I used cupcake papers).
  5. Allow candy to cool for 1/2 an hour.
  6. Devour and share!


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!