Sunday, November 21, 2010

US Thanksgiving 2010

I just want to remind you all that if you have found a gluten-free frozen turkey, or if you bought a fresh turkey and put it in your freezer, you should be pulling that out of your freezer today and starting the thawing process. The recommendation is 5 pounds per day. So, if you have a 20 pound turkey, it will take at least 4 days to thaw. If your turkey is only about 10-15 pounds, you might have a little leeway if you don't pull it out to begin thawing today, but don't forget to pull those turkeys out of the freezer and give it ample time to thaw before Thanksgiving. If it completely thaws by Tuesday, it will still be good for Thanksgiving on Thursday.

I also have some great recipes here on Gluten-free Beginnings that you might be interested in using for your Thanksgiving meal:

You can also make up your own mashed potatoes from scratch by peeling and boiling potatoes and using a potato masher. Just a tip: don't use beaters or blenders, necessarily because the starches will combine too much and make your mashed potatoes into gluey potatoes.

If you prefer mashed potatoes "easy style", Betty Crocker has her Potato Buds that are gluten-free. They even state that in large letters on their label!

Our family doesn't do a green bean casserole. We just serve a side of frozen, french-cut green beans heated with a bit of butter. But, if you want to try your hand at a green bean casserole, you can check out this recipe from Gluten Free Mommy.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Apple Crisp


1 cup Pamela's Pancake & Baking Mix
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Quick Cooking Oats **
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
1/2 cup white sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (McCormick is gluten-free)


1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a medium bowl, combine baking mix, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Stir until crumbly. Press half the oat mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with sliced apples.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine white sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Cook, stirring, until thick and clear, 10 minutes. Pour over the apples. Cover apples with remaining crumble mixture.
4. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden.

**Do not eat this if you are Celiac and sensitive even to gluten-free oats.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quinoa & Chicken

I wasn't sure I wanted to try quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) a second time. The first time I tried it, it was made for us the way rice is made. It was bland and there was a LOT of it (a lot more of those left overs than anything else). It took me a long time to decide to give it a try again and actually make it myself.

I did a little looking into better ways to prepare it, came across a couple different recipes, I changed them a bit, and made my own meal.

2 chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 large carrot, diced into very small pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 stalks of celery, diced into very small pieces (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP olive oil
1-2 TBPS minced onion
ground black pepper

1. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh strainer and place in a bowl of cool water for 2-4 hours (if you are in a hurry and can't soak the quinoa for 2-4 hours, at least rinse the quinoa very well - it has saponins, a naturally occurring coating on the outside, which can give a bitter taste, if not rinsed well).
2. In a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat, cook the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in the olive oil until chicken is cooked through and carrots and celery are cooked, but not mushy.
3. While the items in the skillet are cooking, drain quinoa, place in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water and about 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and once water comes to a boil on high, reduce heat to medium high and simmer for about 15 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
4. Stir quinoa into the chicken and vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in a sprinkling of parsley just before serving.

This serves about 2-3 people. You can double the recipe for larger groups.

One recipe I saw added finely diced red and green bell peppers to the chicken, celery and carrots mixture. We left these out, as they are not a favorite item in our house.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Halloween Candy List

For those who are sorting through kids baskets today, here is a list I found that is pretty comprehensive for most allergens. Be careful when looking at each item on the list though. Some are "wheat-free", but not "gluten-free" - some don't contain wheat, but they contain barley malt. So, please read all the information given for the kind of candy you are researching. This list has definitely helped my daughter to have a reasonable amount of candy, but my husband is also happy that he has his own stash that my daughter and I can't touch!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Potato Soup

This is a recipe I got from a friend of mine. It's hearty, yet simple to prepare:

6 cups chicken stock (you can just measure out 6 cups of water and add 6 tsp of Herb-Ox bouillon if you don't have any homemade stock)
5 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-2 tsp fresh garlic
1 cooking onion, chopped
bacon - Oscar Mayer is a Kraft product and will list allergens specifically on the label (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Saute onion in butter (2-4 TBSP) in a large stock pot.
2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil
3. Add potatoes & garlic
4. Simmer until potatoes are cooked
5. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until soup is creamy
6. You can add cooked/crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese to it, if you choose, or be creative with what you'd like to add to your soup.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak with Sawmill Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak*
2 thin cut t-bone steaks (or thin cut steak of your choice)
1/3 cup + 3 TBSP Pamela's Pancake and Baking Mix
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup Southern Homestyle Cornflake Crumbs
2-3 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

1. Cut steaks into 4 equal pieces (about the size of a deck of cards).
2. In one bowl, coat steak in 1/3 cup baking mix, in a second bowl beat the egg and dredge steak.
3. Combine cornflake crumbs, 3 TBSP baking mix, and Montreal Steak Seasoning in a 3rd bowl. Coat steak in the cornflake crumb mixture.
4. Melt approx. 1/2-3/4 cups of crisco in an electric skillet at exactly 325F.
5. Place steaks in skillet and cook until both sides are crispy and internal temperature is at least 135F.

Sawmill Gravy**
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP Pamela's Pancake and Baking Mix
1/2 cup chicken broth (I just added 1/2 tsp Herb-Ox chicken bouillon to 1/2 cup warm water)
1/2 cup half-and-half
ground black pepper

1. Melt butter in a sauce pan with baking mix. Cook on medium until a roux forms, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Slowly add chicken broth and half-and-half.
3. Season with salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper.
4. Stir until thick and not runny. Serve over chicken fried steak (or fried chicken).

*You can also use this recipe to make fried chicken. The best chicken to use is organic boneless skinless chicken thighs. You may need to increase the flour to 1/2 cup and increase egg to 2 eggs, depending on how many thighs you get.

**This can also be served over mashed potatoes, fries, or biscuits, too.

I served my chicken fried steak with Betty Crocker's Potato Buds and french style green beans.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is a recipe I adapted from - my family loved it!

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts


4 chicken breasts, cut in half to create 8 chicken cutlets
1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup feta cheese
1 3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I used these and they worked beautifully)
2-3 Tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 cup butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare chicken for stuffing.(You can either, slice 4 thick chicken breasts in half and make 8, or beat 4 chicken breast until thin and wide).
3. Mix bread crumbs and steak seasoning together.
Cook spinach in garlic and oil on top of stove until done.
Add in feta cheese and mix well.
Distribute spinach mixture onto each chicken breast.
7. Wrap chicken around mixture and secure with a toothpick.
8. Roll each breast in bread crumbs until well coated.
Place in glass baking dish and pour butter over them.
Cook for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 and serve.

**If you have extra filling left over, you can serve the extra as a side dish, but I had just enough to fill my chicken.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Like my entry below stated, our family has rediscovered an enjoyment of stir-fry. There are a few ways to make a stir-fry and it's really quite easy.


*1 lb. beef (we've done top round roast or sirloin), cut into thin strips or small cubes (about 1/2 inch) ***
*1 package of fresh stir-fry vegetables or frozen Birdseye Stir-fry vegetables (be sure that all ingredients are vegetables and don't contain any frozen noodles)
*1 recipe of gluten-free Teriyaki Sauce
*1/2 cup rice, uncooked


1. Cook rice according to directions.
2. Place all ingredients into a large skillet (with lid) or a wok.
3. Heat on Medium-High heat to cook your meat through and make sure veggies are cooked.
4. Lower heat to Medium and let simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
5. Serve over rice.

***chicken or turkey can be substituted for the beef, if you prefer, just be sure to cut your meat into thin strips or small cubes and poultry must be cooked to 165-degrees via meat thermometer to be considered safe for consumption. Beef needs to be cooked to at least 135-degrees for safety, but preferably to 145 or 155-degrees.

If you like some heat to your meal, you can also create a "hot sauce" that goes well over your stir-fry:

Approx. 2 TBSP French's Spicy Brown mustard
San-J Wheat-free Tamari (amount as needed for spice and quantity)

Put mustard into a small bowl. Add a very small amount (perhaps 1/2 TBSP) Tamari to the mustard and mix well until smooth. Continue adding Tamari a little bit at a time and mixing until you reach your desired spice level and quantity. If you add more mustard, you will need to create a second bowl. Adding mustard straight to a larger quantity of the Tamari will cause the mustard to clump, instead of mixing together well.

Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce

Our family used to eat a lot of stir-fry a number of years ago and then got out of doing that for a while. We've rediscovered stir-fry, now that I know about San-J Wheat-Free (and also gluten-free) Tamari. I can make my own Teriyaki sauce at home and use that with our meat and veggies and then serve it over rice.


1/4 cup San-J Wheat-Free Tamari
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
2 TBSP ketchup (Heinz is gluten-free)
1 TBSP white vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed


Mix all ingredients right before serving as the ingredients tend to separate if you mix and then leave them to sit.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A wonderful homemade pizza crust

I was searching through my kitchen last night trying to figure out what to make for dinner when I thought of the idea of pizza, but I didn't have a frozen gluten-free pizza or a pizza crust mix and the last time I tried making pizza crust from scratch, it turned out to be the most awful-tasting thing ever. I went on a search for gluten-free pizza crust recipes and came across many people who raved about this recipe or that recipe. I took a look at the various ingredients and some of them called for unflavored gelatin. "I don't keep that in the house!" I thought. On to the next recipe, which called for unflavored sparkling water. "Really? That's not one of our household staples either!" On to the next recipe idea. I had all the ingredients, but really? FOUR egg whites? There had to be something a little simpler. So, I kept searching until I found this recipe*.

I substituted Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix, since that's what I had here at home, but I kept all the other ingredients the same. I don't own a pizza stone, but I used a pizza pan, or one could easily use even a cookie sheet. I just poured a very small amount of olive oil onto the pan, spread it around with my fingers, and then put the dough onto the pan. You could spread the dough with your fingers, but, although it said to knead until not sticky, I never found that state of non-stickiness. So, I sprayed a piece of waxed paper with g-f cooking spray and used the waxed paper to press the dough evenly into the pizza pan.

We topped our pizza with g-f sauce and cheese, but you could get creative and top with veggies, crumbled ground beef, or any of your other favorite toppings. Just be sure that if you choose pepperoni, you do your research for gluten-free pepperoni.

*Here's the recipe in print from the site I linked to above:

1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/3 c. milk (soy, cow, or rice)
1 tsp. sugar

2 1/3 c. Gluten-free all purpose baking mix (I used Pamela's baking & pancake mix)
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cider vinegar

Cooking Instructions:
1. Put your pizza stone into the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat the milk in the microwave so that it is warm. Combine the milk with the sugar and yeast in a small mixing bowl. Let your liquid mixture sit and “proof” while you get the dry ingredients ready.

3. Combine the flour mix, salt and xanthan gum.

4. Add the oil and vinegar to the yeast mixture, which should have some air bubbles by now. Then add all of liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and mix well with your hands.

5. Place the dough onto a heavily floured rolling board (I use rice flour) and knead the dough for several minutes, working in the rice flour until you dough is pliable and not sticky.

6. Roll the dough out into a circle that is approximately 1/8″ thick. Move the crust to the hot pizza stone and bake at 400 degrees until the top of the crust gets just a hint of color.

7. Remove the crust from the oven. Add all of your toppings, and then put back in the oven to bake until your toppings look well done (e.g. cheese starts to brown).

Yields: 8 large slices

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homemade Nachos

I was at a loss for what to make for dinner one night that was pretty quick and easy. I started out with some tortilla chips, shredded some cheese, heated in the microwave and then topped with salsa. I've gotten more and more elaborate as I've gone on and found that heating in the oven makes for even better nachos. My family has enjoyed them more and more each time I make them.


1 large bag of corn tortilla chips (Tostitos and Santitas are gluten-free)
1- 8oz. brick of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound ground beef/turkey, browned & drained
1 jar black bean dip (Wegmans brand and Amy's are gluten free)
1 avocado, mashed*
1 jar of salsa (you can use Amy's again or pick a plain tomato salsa of your heat strength)
sour cream
refried beans


1. Brown ground beef/turkey and then mix in black bean dip (or leave meat plain, if you prefer).
2. Spread a layer of tortilla chips onto a cookie sheet or on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Spoon half of the meat mixture onto tortilla chips. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on top of meat mixture.
3. Repeat step 2 with another layer of chips, meat, and cheese.
4. Place in 400-degree oven until cheese is melted.
5. Top with avocado, salsa, refried beans, and sour cream.

You can add or remove any of those ingredients on the list to suit your tastes. If you prefer to leave off the cheese or not melt the cheese, that's also possible. It would be a little more like tacos or a taco dip. You can even build your own plates - put out the various ingredients and have people put chips on their plate and add whatever ingredients they would like to their tortilla chips.

*If you prefer to have your avocado made into guacamole, you can make your own, or you can stir in a salsa verde to taste. Herdez is a brand that is made by Hormel, who says they list the top 8 allergens. Wegmans also makes a wonderful salsa verde. Trader Joe's has a salsa verde that is gluten-free as well.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reuben Sandwiches

My family isn't huge on having corned beef and cabbage in the traditional way (my mother-in-law calls it "boiled dinner" - not the most appetizing name). Being that I don't hold an ounce of Irish in my body, yet I'm half German, we do Reuben sandwiches on St. Patrick's Day. We still get the corned beef and cabbage (in the form of sauerkraut), but in a little different way.

Gluten-Free Reuben Sandwiches

1 corned beef brisket
1 can/package sauerkraut (we use the Silver Floss/Krrrisp Kraut without incident)
Swiss Cheese
Gluten-Free Thousand Island Dressing
Gluten-Free bread (we use Gluten-Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread)
McCormick Brand Pickling Spices

1. Place Corned Beef Brisket into crock pot, fill with water to just cover the brisket. Sprinkle Pickling Spices into the water (as much or as little as you want - I use a lot because it adds fantastic flavor). Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2. Remove corned beef from crock pot and thinly slice. Build your sandwich on your gluten-free bread (we have a toaster OVEN** that we place our bread slices into with swiss cheese on one side to melt - do NOT use a toaster, as the slices will be vertical and the cheese will melt into the toaster and may cause a fire or ruin your toaster). After melting your cheese, put some Thousand Island Dressing, sauerkraut, and corned beef onto your sandwich. We often will cut our sandwiches into fourths because the gluten-free bread is pretty crumbly and it's easier to pick up a smaller piece of sandwich than a larger piece.

**If you do NOT have a toaster oven, but would like to melt your cheese onto bread, you can use a small fry pan/skillet on the stove. Place your bread into the pan and your cheese on top of the bread. Put the stove burner to medium heat. Place a lid onto your pan and let the cheese melt and your bread toast.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Clam Dip

My mother-in-law makes a clam dip that is fantastic and I made it the other day following her non-specific recipe amounts. I will do my best to put amounts in my recipe, but much of it is "taste-based" and you add more or less of the various ingredients depending on what tastes good to you.


16-24 oz. gluten-free sour cream (Daisy is one brand that is gluten-free)
1/2 - 3/4 cup Heinz Ketchup
fresh horseradish (to taste) ***
1-2 small cans of Bumblebee canned minced clams or Snow's minced clams, drained

Mix all ingredients and serve with gluten-free potato chips (Lays is a great brand and is gluten-free).

***I used Altman's brand horseradish. I don't know whether that's a local brand or not. But, I looked at the ingredients of all the jars of horseradish and chose the jar that listed the fewest ingredients, and had nothing artificial added. This brand lists: horseradish roots, vinegar, and salt as the only ingredients. I know some are sensitive to vinegar, but this had nothing else added that would be a warning flag to me. It seems to have agreed with my digestive system, as well as my daughter's digestive system.