Squash “Lasagna” Bake

My dinner tonight was a last minute meal inspired by our morning trip to the Shorewood Farmers Market. I ran into my friend Rachel who told me about this delicious squash lasagna she made earlier in the week. After my mouth was watering my husband set out to find some squash at the market and I made my grocery list of other things we’d need. My friend, like me, often gets inspiration from a recipe then whips it up in her own way based on what she has and how she likes. I got some inspiration from pinterest variations of this but ended up doing my own simpler thing so I thought I’d write it down so I could make it again. I also had to share this as I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow. Another friend of mine prepped a similar bake tonight for a dinner early this week which made me realize it’s a great dish to pre-prepare and pop in after work on a crisp fall day.

This recipe is gluten free and could also be made vegetarian by replacing the sausage with diced eggplant (if using eggplant make sure to let it simmer with the onions and sauce the whole time the squash cooks to ensure it’s tenderness)

Squash “Lasagna” Bake

serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • Butternut or Summer Squash (one large or two small)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound sausage, Italian or turkey (I buy in bulk if not bulk remove casein) –> 1 1/2 cups eggplant if making vegetarian
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil, separated
  • 1/2 jar of classic marinara
  • 8 ounces of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded and separated
  • 1 tsp dried parsley or 1 Tbsp fresh
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil onto squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven to roast for 50-60 minutes
  2. In the meantime heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion and let cook 3-5 minutes then add the sausage, breaking up pieces and cook until the meat is brown and cooked through. Turn heat to low and add 1/2 container of marinara sauce, let simmer until squash is done.
  3. Mix together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and parsley and set aside.
  4. Once the squash is done let it cool 10 minutes. Keep the oven on. Then using a fork scoop out the inside of the squash into a greased 8×8 casserole dish. It will come out looking like spaghetti noodles. I personally mashed mine a little with a fork in the dish. Once the squash is set layer it with the meat sauce and then spread the ricotto cheese mixture on top.
  5. Place the dish back in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the sides bubble a little. If you are making the dish ahead then skip this part until you are ready to eat and place in the refrigerator. I would suggest cooking the day after it’s prepped.

Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad

First, let me address the white elephant in the room. Where have I been? Or better yet, where have the blog posts gone? Well, having three kids in 3.5 years has really taken away from extracurricular activities. Have I stopped cooking? No. Is nutrition or healthy eating less important? No. Actually, my husband and I are more healthy now after I had him read The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner (more on that in a future blog). Most importantly I’ve thought of my blog constantly when I am making recipes worth sharing. That’s why I’m back. I have a list of recipes I’m dying to share but after shopping for them, cooking them, cleaning it up and putting the kids to bed I find myself exhausted and in bed.  That’s about to change. My growler of cold press coffee and school start for the girls have me ready to post!

First, before corn season is over I want to share a delicious end of summer recipe that you HAVE TO TRY. It would pair perfect with grilled food, fish or even as a side to a Mexican food night. My mom found this delicious recipe in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month (adapted from food52.com). It has citrus, crunch, cheese and spice and doesn’t take long to make. YUM YUM YUM!

Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 ears of corn, cooked and sliced off cobs
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 3 Tbsp sriracha
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 ounces feta or Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat and saute corn kernels until slightly browned (6-8 minutes).
  2. Add peppers and cook 2-3 minutes until barely softened.
  3. Remove from heat and add parsley, cheese and lime juice. Mix to combine
  4. Season with salt and peppers
  5. Add Sriracha and stir to coat (the recipe says to do this in the pan with the peppers and corn but we did it at the end so we could take some out for the kids before we made it spicy. Either way works).

Crop Share Cooking

As I titled my post for today I was reminded of my families favorite quote from the movie Good Morning Vietnam. What a perfect quote after our crazy hot and humid month of July with constant 90-100 degree temps + humidity.

Hey, can you tell me what’s your name? “My name is Roosevelt E. Roosevelt.” Roosevelt, what town are you stationed in? “I’m stationed in Poontang.” Well, thank you, Roosevelt. What’s the weather like out there? “It’s hot! Damn hot! Real hot! Hottest things is my shorts. I could cook things in it. A little crotch pot cooking.” Well, tell me what it feels like. “Fool, it’s hot! I told you again! Were you born on the sun? It’s damn hot! It’s so damn hot, I saw little guys, their orange robes burst into flames. It’s that hot! Do you know what I’m talking about?” What do you think it’s going to be like tonight? “It’s gonna be hot and wet! That’s nice if you’re with a lady, but ain’t no good if you’re in the jungle!” Thank you, Roosevelt.

For those of you who haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend watching it. No, I’m not crotch pot cooking today although if you don’t have air conditioning you could. Instead I’m crop share cooking! I find myself with a stash of random vegetables a week or so after our crop share drop offs. While some things like zucchini, carrots, kale, garlic, onions and many more are used within days some tend to sit in our crisper for longer periods of time and I want to fix that so I went looking for recipes with kohlrabi, swiss chard and garlic scapes that would make it into our regular rotation. My first experiment was pesto. I’ve heard of garlic scape pestos and swiss chard pestos so I figured I’d try to make my own combined variation. I love how it turned out. A strong garlic flavor with the perfect note of lemon and a small spicy taste. The swiss chard is subtle since it was blanched ahead (which is good this means my husband will like it). Another addition to this could be 1/4 cup of walnuts. This pesto will be perfect for a spread on sandwiches/paninis or as a sauce over pasta or grilled chicken breasts.

Garlic Scape and Swiss Chard Pesto

Ingredients 

  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch swiss chard leaves (remove from stems and use leaves only)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Pull swiss chard off stems and blanch in boiling water for one minute
  2. Strain and squeeze out water
  3. Put the chard, garlic scapes, walnuts, lemon, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Slowly pour olive oil in through the top hole of your food processor while it is on. Blend until oil is immersed
  5. Serve with cooked pasta, as a sauce over grilled chicken breasts or spread onto sandwiches or paninis.

My next challenge was to find a way to cook kohlrabi that makes me want to come back for more. When I came across this recipe in the New York Times I knew it was my last opportunity to fall in love with this vegetable. If I don’t love it as a fry when will I love it?

Kohlrabi Home Fries  

I do realize this isn’t the healthiest way to cook kohlrabi but it is a great swap out for french fries (richer in Vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber and less calories) and they were delicious. I’m serious, delicious! You really don’t need much oil to cook them (i’d err on the light side with 2 Tbsp vs 4) since the kohlrabi doesn’t absorb much. I will definitely be making these again and can’t wait to feed them to my husband. I chose to do half chili powder and half cumin seasoned. I think next time I’ll make a southwest dipping sauce out of light sour cream to go with them! YUMMY.

Ode to Quinoa

It’s time I pay respect to one of my favorite grains. You may be asking why we need to pay respect to a food…well, here’s why. One it’s a whole grain. Two, it’s a complete protein. Three, it’s gluten free so can accomodate many diets and four, it’s quick and easy to make. Who doesn’t love that. A half cup serving contains ~110 calories, 2.5 grams fiber and 4 grams of protein. I frequently cook quinoa and add any combination of herbs and vegetables to it which is how the stuffed portabella mushroom recipe was created. I’ll put how I made it below but feel free to vary it. The recipe is a great way to make two meals from one dish. I made the quinoa as a side to our dinner Monday and then two days later used it up by stuffing these mushrooms. The second recipe I have been eyeing up ever since I saw the picture of it on pinterest. The fact that it has quinoa, lemon, avocado and cilantro made me know it would taste just as amazing as I had imagined. I will definitely make this one again and I also plan to keep mushrooms around for stuffing when I’m back at work!

Quinoa stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup quinoa
  • A large handful of fresh cilantro
  • 5 green onions
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6 portabella mushrooms
  • 2-4 ounces of goat cheese

Directions

  1. Heat 3 cups of water with 1 ½ cups of quinoa until boiling (if you are stuffing the peppers the same day you should also preheat the oven to 375 degrees)
  2. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is absorbed (~15 minutes)
  3. Chop a large handful of cilantro and 4 to 5 green onions and add to the quinoa
  4. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of crushed red pepper
  5. Wash the portabella mushrooms and pull the stems out of each of them and set them in a baking dish
  6. Scoop quinoa mixture into portabella mushrooms and top with goat cheese
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. 

Lemony Quinoa and Avocado Salad

I followed a recipe from pinterest: Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing with a few changes. I listed how I cooked it below. This can be made in advance with the avocado added right before serving. If served as a side like we did it would serve 5-6.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions or chives, diced
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced (~1/4 cup)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 cup of water with ½ cups of quinoa until boiling
  2. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is absorbed (~15 minutes)
  3. While the quinoa cooks prep your ad ins and dressing: chop your bell pepper, cilantro and green onions and place in a medium bowl
  4. To make dressing whisk together the tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice
  5. Once quinoa is cooked add it to the bowl with the chopped red bell pepper, cilantro and green onions. Pour dressing on top and toss (THIS CAN ALL BE DONE A DAY IN ADVANCE)
  6. Chop and add the avocado to the quinoa prior to serving and top with a dash of salt and pepper.
  7. Serve cold

Tilapia a la Veracruz

There are so many joys to motherhood and maternity leave. Besides all the amazing cuddles, coos and fun Elena shares with me on a daily basis I’ve also been blessed to have a lot of my family who live out of town visit. In addition, Elena must know that her mommy loves to cook because she usually takes a long nap or enjoys kicking her legs on her mat which gives me free time in the kitchen. This past week my cousin Maddi was able to come over to meet Elena and join us for dinner. Knowing she is a pesce-vegetarian I wanted to cook fish but with a new twist. Thanks to my husband I had a great recipe cut out for a mexican style fish from his Mens Health magazine. The original recipe calls for snapper but since my grocery store didn’t have snapper I made it with tilapia. Truly, I think any white fish would work great in this recipe. Also, the original recipe has you grill the fish in tinfoil packets but with the rain we decided to bake them instead.

There were many things that I loved about this recipe. First, it was super easy and quick to prepare which will be great for when I’m back at work (It took less than 30 minutes). Also, most of the things it calls for are things I have on hand in my pantry or in my garden. Lastly, and most importantly, all three of us thought it was delicious. The cooked tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro gave it a fresh flavor that mixed great with the hint of salt you tast from the olives and capers. We forgot to add the jalapenos but I would imagine the spice would just enhance the dish. I can’t wait to try them in it next time.

Tilapia a la Veracruz

Recipe adapted from Mens Health June 2012’s Snapper a la Veracruz recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pitted chopped green olives
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (keep these whole)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro roughly chopped (you could also use parsley here if you had that instead)
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Fresh or pickled jalapenos chopped (this is optional and we actual forgot to add them in but next time I will make sure to use them as we love spice)
  • Four 4-6 ounce white fish filets (snapper, tilapia, cod, halibut, etc…)

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to medium or preheat the oven to 425
  2. In a small bowl combine the olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and jalapenos.
  3. If you are cooking them on the grill take out four pieces of aluminum foil that will be large enough to fold over your fish. Place a piece of fish in the center, season with salt and top with 1/4 of the salsa mixture. Now fold the foil over so the fish is completely covered. Roll the edges tightly to seal the package. Place the packets on the grill (grill should max out at 450) and cook until the fish is done and flaky (~8-10 minutes)
  4. If you are using the oven take out a 8 x 11 pan and line it with aluminum foil. Place the four fish filets on top of the foil, lightly salt them then top each filet with 1/4 of the salsa mixture. Place the pan in the oven and cook for ~10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes.

Mango Slaw

It’s officially summer which means it’s time for me to make a ton of grain salads, slaws and other cold dishes. When my mom was in town we went to my favorite food blog: Smitten Kitchen and she found a delicious salad for Memorial Day.  I would definitely make this one again! We paired it with burgers and a fruit salad.

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and julienned
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds Napa cabbage, halved and sliced very thinly
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (we did less since it’s a strong flavor)
  • 6 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, from about two limes
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Toss mangoes, cabbage, pepper and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk lime juice, vinegar, oil, salt and red pepper in a smaller bowl and pour over slaw. (You can refrigerate it for an hour to let the flavors infuse but you don’t need to).
  3. Before serving, toss with mint leaves and sesame seeds.

Healthy Carb Dishes

Since I seem to be craving carbohydrates a lot during this pregnancy I decided to feature healthy ways to satisfy those cravings today on Twin Cities Live. Not only will you fill up on carbs, they will be the healthy kind and you will also get some servings of fruits and vegetables in with these three dishes. So, indulge away with this edamame garden salad, couscous salad with dried fruit or delicious whole wheat raspberry bar.  I make the edamame salad a lot and can tell you it’s delicious. The couscous salad was a new recipe for me but I taste tested it last night. I really liked the spices they added to the couscous, it has a middle eastern taste with a sweet finish from the dried fruit. I am yet to try to raspberry bars but the smell has been taking over my house and I can’t wait to try one. I can only imagine how tasty they are! To find out what other pregnant woment think of the foods watch Twin Cities Live today on Channel 5 at 3pm.

Here are the original recipes with my modifications in red.

Edamame Garden Salad

Source: MrFood.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup natural flavor rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (I usually do 1/2 to 1 whole lemons juice)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups edamame, cooked according to package directions (see Note)
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped (I only use 1/4 of a red onion so the onion flavor won’t take over)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, rice vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper; mix well and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 12. Nutritional Information (I calculated the calories/fat from sparkpeople.com) :

Nutrition per Serving (yields 12) = 154 calories, 10g Fat

Couscous Salad with Dried Fruit

Source: Cooking Light 2003

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green olives
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add paprika and next 7 ingredients (paprika through allspice); cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. Place couscous in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving size: 1 cup, serves 6

Nutrition Information: 258 calories, 7.5g Fat, 6.7g Protein, 4.6g Fiber

Raspberry Bars

Source: Eating Well

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I was a little shy of 1/2 cup so I filled the 1/2 cup with pecans and topped with oatmeal to get to 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raspberry Filling

  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese instead)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place flour, pecans, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add ice water and vanilla and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Transfer to the prepared pan. Press evenly and firmly into the pan to form a bottom crust.
  3. Bake the crust until it looks set, but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. To prepare raspberry filling: Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you prepare the rest of the filling.
  5. Reserve 16 raspberries. Puree the remaining raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and stir in 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in the gelatin mixture and cook, stirring, until the gelatin is melted, about 1 minute.
  6. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Pour the raspberry mixture into a medium bowl and set it in the bowl of ice water. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of loose jam and is beginning to set around the edges, about 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, milk and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  8. Spread the thickened raspberry filling evenly over the crust. Dollop the cream cheese mixture over the filling. Draw the tip of a sharp knife or skewer through the two fillings to create a swirled effect. Nestle the reserved berries into the filling, evenly spacing them so each bar will be topped with a berry when cut. Refrigerate until the bars are completely set, about 3 hours. Cut into 16 bars, one raspberry per bar.

Nutrition Per bar (serves 16): 101 calories; 5 g fat ( 2 g sat , 2 g mono ); 6 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 94 mg sodium; 64 mg potassium.

 

Gluten Free Cookies

I’ve had the pleasure of having Lauren, a student from Eagan High School, shadow me twice a week for the past three months as part of Eagan’s Mentorship program. It was so much fun to help her learn more about nutrition and join me in studio at Twin Cities Live and Fox 9 news and also teach her more about clinical nutrition. Lauren has many reasons why she is interested in nutrition but having Celiac’s disease and having to avoid all gluten in her diet is on the list. While I’ve made plenty of gluten free meals I’ve never personally tried to bake something gluten free. I was struggling to find a way celebrate her soon to be graduation and completion of her mentorship and a cookie fell in my hand…literally. I was at a meeting recently and someone brought gluten free cookies for the group. Not only was I excited that I could bake something for Lauren, I was excited because they were delicious. I asked for the recipe and here I am now, waiting for the second batch to come out of the oven.

A few things I’ll say to the recipe after preparing them tonight. First, they are very hearty! If you have a kitchenaid mixer beware that a full batch will not fit at the end. I ended up creaming the sugar and butter and adding the eggs, peanut butter and 1/2 the oats in the blender. I then moved the mixture to a large mixing bowl to stir in the remaining ingredients. Also, unlike regular cookies they don’t expand a lot in the oven so you can put them closer together. I made a full batch and used my Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop which gives a 2 Tbsp round ball and it made 62!!! Yes, I know have 62 cookies stacked in my kitchen waiting to be eaten. I think in the future I’ll cut the recipe in half .

Gluten Free Minnesota Whopper Cookies

Source: Coworker (makes ~ 62 cookies if you make 2 Tbsp dough balls)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter-softened
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanila
  • 1 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups of oatmeal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 10 ounces of chocolate chips
  • 2 cups dried fruit (I used dried cherries)
  • 1 cup walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix 6 cups of oats with baking soda in a bowl
  3. Place soft butter and both sugars in blender and cream (~4 minutes)
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla to blender and mix. Next, add the peanut butter and mix until incorporated. Now, blend in ~ 1/2 of the oats (at this point I moved the batter to a larger bowl but if you do a half batch you may be able to add all the oats to the blender now. If you move to a larger bowl add the rest of the oats to the mixture).
  5. Lastly, fold in the dried fruit, nuts and chocolate chips
  6. Roll into balls with ~2 Tbsp of dough and place on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 17 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
  8. Cool and Serve!

      

 

 

My Breakfast Obsession: Cherry & Walnut Oatmeal

Easy to prepare and very healthy; a whole grain breakfast that’s low in sodium, provides one serving of fruit and heart healthy walnuts and soy milk. What’s not to love? Try it out and let me know what you think. You’ll never go back to instant oatmeal again!

Sina’s Cherry & Walnut Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats (yes regular oats not instant — you can use gluten free oats to make it GF)
-3/4 cup Vanilla Soy Milk (you could use regular milk as well)
-1-2 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
-1/4 cup Dried Cherries
-1 Tbsp Brown Sugar or 1/2 Tbsp Honey
-Sprinkle of Cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix first four ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes
2. Remove from microwave and mix in sweetener (brown sugar or honey) and cinnamon if desired
3. Enjoy!!!

Check out the Sodium Difference
1 packet Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Maple & Brown Sugar = 260mg sodium
1/2 cup dry Quaker Old Fashioned Oats = 0 mg sodium

A Gluten Free, Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Have you ever hosted a dinner party for friends or family members that have food restrictions you aren’t used to you and you can’t think of what to make? Most people have been there as I have and if you said no to this question don’t think it won’t happen as Gluten Free diets and allergies are on the rise.

Take my Aunt Nancy’s Thanksgiving challenge this year. Please two men who like meat, a vegetarian daughter, a daughter with Celiacs who is strictly gluten free and isn’t a huge meat eater and her own cravings. Sounds like a lot; I agree. The good thing is she owns a ton of cook books, is well read and loves to explore new recipes which means her meal will still rock the house! Her menu will inspire you to think outside the box for your holiday meal this year and remind you to include everyone, even those with food restrictions.

The Reeves/Postorino Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu

For the Vegetarian

  • Triple-Corn Spoon Bread -A Cornbread Casserole that you can make with gluten free cornbread (a tradition in the Reeves household) Source: Cooking Light November 1997
  • Gravy: Using gluten free baking mix (see below pie recipe for this) to make a roux. Once that’s cooked, add vegetable broth and season appropriately to finish it.  This will likely be a little thinner that gravy made with flour
  • Gluten Free Stuffing- My AUnt plans to make one of the rice recipes from this link: 5 Gluten Free Stuffing Recipes from the NY Times
  • Mashed Sweet and White Potatoes (mixed together- a great combination for those who haven’t tried it)
  • Roasted Parsnips, Carrots and Onions
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Pumpkin Pie with Gluten free pie crust (see recipe below)

For the Gluten Free

  • Same as above + Turkey

For the rest

  • All of the above + Rolls
My Aunt tested the pie crust this weekend and here is her advise.  Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper sprinkled with gluten free baking mix. The crusts were crumbly when they were warm but they firmed up nicely overnight. Overall, she said they passed the test although my Uncle thought they were more sweet than regular crusts (likely from the sugar that’s added to the mix). Either of the below gluten free baking mixes will work, one requires a food scale and the other uses standard kitchen measuring devices.
Gluten Free Pie Crust
2.5 C gluten free mix (see below)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar (optional; use if making a sweet/dessert pie)
8 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 T shortening
4-6 T ice water
-Combine dry ingredients.  Add butter and shortening and cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add ice water, 1-2 T at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball.  Divide dough in half.  Flatten each half into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Can also be frozen.
-To make crust, roll out between two pieces of parchment paper.   Add filling of your choice and bake (at time/temp as per pie filling).

Gluten Free Baking Mix 1

From the New York Times
Combine:
2 C oat flour
2 C brown rice flour
2 C sorghum flour
5 T corn flour or corn meal
1 C potato starch
1 C arrowroot powder
Store in dry sealed container.  Use in place of regular flour.

Gluten Free Baking Mix 2

From glutenfreegirl.com
Combine:
200 gm brown rice flour
150 gm sorghum flour
50 gm potato flour
250 gm sweet rice flour
150 gm potato starch
100 gm arrowroot flour
100 gm cornstarch
Store in dry sealed container.  Use in place of regular flour.
Comments and debriefing from my family to follow post-Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Food Fact: The average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 this year is $49.20 which is up 13% from last year according to the American Farm Bureau Federation