Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Smashed, as Good as Mashed Potatoes

Tonight, my brother's family joined us for dinner at my parent's house.  I helped my mom by baking 2 peach crostate and making smashed potatoes.  

Crostate -- no, that was not a typo.  I learned something new today.  The plural form of crostata is crostate.  

I really need to buy one of these potato mashers!  Or,  I might have just enough room in my suitcase to take this one home.  Just kidding, mom!  

My mother made baked chickens and green beans to round out our simple, yet delicious dinner.  

Smashed, as Good as Mashed Potatoes


2 or 3 bulbs of garlic
5 pounds of Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 stick (1/2 C) of butter
2 T of extra virgin olive oil + more oil to roast the garlic
Milk to taste
Kosher salt to taste


Roast 2 or 3 bulbs of garlic -- cut off the top so the garlic cloves are exposed, pour on a little bit of olive oil, and roast wrapped in tinfoil on 450 for about 30 minutes, until soft.  Squeeze out the cloves and mash with a fork.  

5 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes- scrub and cut into small chunks with the skin still on.  Put the potatoes into a large pot, cover with water, put on the lid,  and bring to a boil.  Uncover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until fork tender (do a smash test).   Drain the water out of the pot.

Add the butter, roasted garlic, 2T of olive oil, and kosher salt to taste.
Mash with a fork, big spoon, or potato masher.  Add milk until you achieve desired consistency.  

Unlike mashed potatoes, no mixer is needed and the potatoes don't need to be peeled.  :-)

October 3, 2013 Update -- I recently made a smaller portion of potatoes for our family of four to go with Ancho-Marinated Wings

I used 1 1/2 pounds of Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes.  I rinsed them off, and because they are so small, I usually only had to cut them in half. 

Recipe adjustments for 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes -- 1 bulb of garlic, 4T butter, 1T olive oil

December 26, 2013 Update

On Christmas, I made smashed potatoes with a 1 1/2 pound bag of French Fingerling Potatoes I purchased at The Fresh Market.  I used one bulb of roasted garlic, 4 tablespoons of butter, two tablespoons of milk, and kosher salt to taste.  

They were just perfect with our prime rib and green beans.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes & White Beans

Tonight, I made one of my family's favorite pasta dishes.  My husband always says we could fool people at a restaurant with this dish.  He believes no one would know that it's gluten free.  

This is an incredibly easy dish to put together, and it gets my kids excited for dinner.   

Orange Upside Down French Toast

Yesterday, we made one of our favorite breakfasts.  We like to make it on Sundays, because it's  super easy to put together, and we can still make it to church by 9:00.  My husband loved it from the first day I made it for him, even declaring it to be his favorite breakfast.  One recipe easily feeds the four of us, and I usually get to freeze two pieces for later in the week.  

Orange Upside Down French Toast


1/4 C butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 C granulated, light brown, or organic coconut palm sugar (all work well in this recipe)
Zest of one large orange
8 slices of gluten free bread (I use Whole Foods GlutenFree Bakehouse Sandwich Bread)
4 large eggs
2/3 C orange juice


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.   As the oven preheats, melt the butter on a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan in the oven.   

Sprinkle most of the sugar (save about 2 tsp for sprinkling on the bread), a light dusting of cinnamon, and the zest of one large orange on top of the melted butter.  

Whisk the orange juice and eggs together.  Dip each slice of bread once or twice, soaking up as much of the egg/orange juice mixture as possible.  

Arrange the soaked bread in a single layer on the pan, then sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top, and bake on 325 for 20 minutes.

I use Whole Foods Gluten Free Sandwich Bread for this recipe, because it has a denser consistency that is perfect for French toast.  

Serve with fresh fruit.  We love to eat this French toast with raspberries, strawberries, or peaches.  Syrup is not needed because the French toast is already sweet.  

I always freeze the leftovers in sandwich bags.  If I remember the night before, I put them in the refrigerator to defrost a bit.  When I'm ready to eat them, I reheat them on defrost for a couple of minutes in the microwave.  

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the cookbook Beyond Parsley

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Oven Baked Breaded Zucchini Rounds

My daughters ate zucchini today and actually liked it!  It only took me eight years to find a zucchini recipe that my girls would enjoy.  

Oven Baked Breaded Zucchini Rounds


3 medium zucchini  (washed and scrubbed)
1/2 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 C GF breadcrumbs (I used Fresh Market brand)
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 1 large and 1 small baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray them with cooking spray.  

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick rounds. In a large bowl, toss them with olive oil.

Add the gluten free bread crumbs, Romano cheese, kosher salt, and pepper to a large freezer bag.  Seal and shake to combine.   Add the zucchini,  then shake and massage the bag until all the zucchini are well coated.  

Place the zucchini, side by side, on the baking sheets.  Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumb/cheese mixture onto the zucchini before placing them in the oven. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown, without flipping.  

I was really impressed with The Fresh Market's Gluten Free Bread Crumbs!  

We served the zucchini with pork chops from Whole Foods.  After coating them in olive oil and sprinkling them with kosher salt, we cooked the pork chops in our stainless steel frying pan on medium high heat with more oil to achieve a nice sear.  Be prepared for some oil splatter!  

My zucchini recipe was adapted from a recipe I saw on Facebook.  You can view it here.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria - Epcot

My first impression of Via Napoli, when it initially opened in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot, was not a good one.  Gluten free choices were very limited, and I was told that it was not a good restaurant for people with celiac to eat in, because of the flour in the air from the pizza.  I also did not enjoy the pasta I ordered during that visit.  Their gluten free pasta was cooked well, but their tomato sauce was pretty tasteless, even with a significant amount of added cheese.

Because my extended family loves their pizza, and my daughter Emma is completely obsessed with their tiramisu, I have let myself be dragged back to Via Napoli about once a year.  Today was one of those days, but I had such a different experience from that first visit. To start, I had plenty of appetizers and entrees to choose from on the menu.  The chef told me that I could order most of the pasta dishes, and that both rice and corn pasta were available.  I almost ordered pasta with cream, chicken & peas, but instead decided to order two appetizers. 

The mozzarella caprese was quite good once I added some salt, balsamic vinegar, and more olive oil.  

I also enjoyed the shrimp and cannellini bean salad with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.  

Before my appetizers arrived, I received a plate of gluten free bread.  It is the same bread that is served at Tutto Italia and Tutto Gusto, but is available nowhere else at Disney.  The middle piece is my favorite, because it is a little bit sweet, and reminds me of Easter bread.  I also usually eat the raisin bread, which is good, if it is heated well.  The lightest piece of bread usually goes uneaten after I fill up on the other two.  

This is the pizza that keeps my gluten eating family coming back.  My husband says it's as good as the pizza we had in Italy back in 2003, and that pizza was amazing.  

As far as dessert goes, the gelato and sorbet do not contain gluten, but I was told that they are not made on property, and there could be a chance of cross contamination where they are manufactured.  

November 3, 2013 Update

We visited Via Napoli with my parents and my brother's family this week.  I decided to try the gluten free pasta this time.  A manager told me that they could make a gluten free version of three of the six pasta dishes on the menu.  I ordered the Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo - pasta with cream, chicken, and pancetta.  The pasta was cooked perfectly, the sauce was delicious, and I didn't even need to add extra Parmesan.  I loved the combination of the chicken and pancetta in this dish, which was definitely one of the best gluten free pasta dishes I have ever had in a restaurant.  I asked my brother, who does not have celiac, if he wanted to try it.  He loved it so much, he finished off everything I didn't eat.  My brother, who had never tried gluten free pasta before, said it tasted just like wheat-filled pasta.  

I passed on the Lucy's gluten free cookies and French Meadow brownie I was offered for dessert.

You can view Via Napoli's menu, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Via Napoli?  

Tutto Italia Ristorante - Epcot

Last updated July 31, 2018

Tutto Italia Ristorante in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot has been one of my family's favorite restaurants at Disney World since it opened.  Now that Via Napoli and Tutto Gusto have opened in same pavilion, we don't eat there as often as we used to, but when we do, I always enjoy my meal.  One of my favorite things about Tutto Italia is that they have a gluten free menu.

Tutto Italia has had several different salmon dishes over the years, and every time I have ordered them, the fish has been so fresh and delicious.

Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto, and Via Napoli all serve the same gluten free bread, which is available nowhere else at Disney.  The middle piece is my favorite, because it is a little bit sweet, and reminds me of Easter bread.  I also usually eat the raisin bread, which is good, if it is heated well.  The lightest piece of bread usually goes uneaten after I fill up on the other two.  

Their Sicilian pistachio panna cotta is one of the best desserts I have ever had at Disney.  It's thick and creamy, with a very natural pistachio flavor, and the addition of fresh raspberries on top is the perfect combination.

November 24, 2013 Update

Last night, we had dinner at Tutto Italia with friends.  Right away, I noticed a few changes to their gluten free menu.  The big one was that my favorite pistachio panna cotta was gone! 

For dinner, I ordered two of the Fior Di Latte Mozzarella appetizers with roasted sweet peppers, basil, Maldon sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil.  I added some more olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.  It was just as delicious as I remembered from previous visits, and it inspired me to make my own version of this dish at home.  You can view the recipe here.

For dessert, I ordered the Panna Cotta E Amarene - chocolate custard with amarena cherries.  The chocolate panna cotta was divine - smooth and creamy, not too sweet, not too rich, and perfectly complemented by the cherries.  This dessert is also available in a smaller portion at Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar next door.  I loved it so much, I added it to my The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney - Gluten Free Desserts blog post.

December 20, 2015 Update

The day before our cruise on the Disney Magic, my girls and I met my parents and my brother's family at Epcot.  My family loves the restaurants in the Italy Pavilion, so we ended up having lunch at Tutto Gusto.  During this visit, we were all given a copy of Tutto Italia's menu, in addition to the menu for Tutto Gusto, and I was given the gluten free menu for Tutto Italia. 

Tutto Italia's menu included a dish that I have never tried before, Risotto Ai Sapori Con Gamberi.  Being a lover of seafood and risotto, I had to try it.  The menu described the dish as arborio rice with shrimp and lemon zest, but it also included lobster.  My risotto was creamy and flavorful, and I was in heaven with all that incredible lobster and shrimp on top.  With a little added Parmesan, this dish was risotto perfection.  

Tutto Italia's Gluten Friendly Menu (also available at Tutto Gusto) - updated July 31, 2018

  • Fior di Latte Caprese - vine-ripe tomatoes, basil, Maldon sea salt, Tuscan olive oil
  • Insalata Mista - endive, arugula, radicchio, white asparagus, radish, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Penne Caprese - rice pasta, pomodoro sauce, burrata cheese
  • Risotto Creme di Mais e Gamberi al Limone - arborio rice, sweet corn, lemon shrimp
  • Salmone - pan seared salmon filet, cream of corn, roasted green onions, crispy pancetta
  • Bistecca - 12 oz. grilled NY strip steak, crispy rosemary potatoes, herb butter 
  • Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia - vanilla panna cotta with strawberry compote

You can read my latest Tutto Gusto review here

You can read more about Tutto Italia, view their menu and hours, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Tutto Italia?  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gluten Free Pop Tarts

I really couldn't tell you the last time I had a Pop Tart.  I remember eating the brown sugar cinnamon unfrosted Pop Tarts occasionally in college, but that was over 20 years ago.  Maybe I've had them since, but I'm not really sure. I've always tended to stay away from sugary processed foods for breakfast.

A couple of months ago, I spotted these Glutino Apple Cinnamon toaster pastries in Whole Foods and decided to buy them in a moment of weakness.  They sat, and sat, and sat in my pantry for weeks, maybe months, unopened.  I did sample one before going to California, and decided to take them with me on my trip in June.  They certainly came in handy many a morning when I needed something to get me through to lunch. I knew I had the potential to gain some unwanted weight on our 12 day eating extravaganza through Disneyland, Temecula, San Francisco, and Napa, so I didn't want to consume too many calories for breakfast.  One toaster pastry and a piece of fruit, and I was good to go.  

I've been eyeing up Nicole Hunn's recipe for Pop Tarts on her blog, Gluten Free on a Shoestring, for months, but they involved a rolling pin and free hand cutting of the pastries.  I'm a perfectionist and I have a slight case of rolling pin phobia, so I didn't even consider making them until I spotted this handy dandy little gadget on Williams Sonoma's website. 

I  was already ordering their GF Red Velvet Cupcake mix, a family favorite, and I needed to spend a couple extra dollars for free shipping.  It was on sale too!  How could I pass it up?!?  My journey towards making GF pop tarts had begun.  :-)

I've been trying to cut down on my dairy/lactose intake, so I nixed the idea of using Cup 4 Cup, and instead used Better Batter Flour, my second favorite GF all-purpose flour.  I also used Lactaid 1% milk.  I don't mess with butter, though, so my pop tarts still had dairy, but many people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate butter and some types of cheeses and yogurts. My family called me the Butter Queen when I was little for a reason.  The thought of ever having to give it up would break my heart, but it hasn't come to that, thankfully! 

This recipe was ridiculously easy -- no mixer, few measuring cups because I used my kitchen scale for the flour and sugar, the dough was easy to work with, and I had my toaster pastry press.  The smell of the dough was so good, I almost sampled it raw!  

For the filling, I used 1/2 C brown sugar, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and 1 T gluten free all-purpose flour.  I use Penzys Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon, which is super strong, so next time, I might cut it back to 1 1/2 tsp, because the girls and I thought it was a bit overpowering.  I put 1 T of this mix in each pop tart and had a lot left over.  Next time, I would also love to try some raspberry jam as a filling.  

Look what a great job the toaster pastry press does!  The recipe only yielded 7 pop tarts for me, maybe because of the size of the pastry press, or because I did not roll some thin enough.  They were all delicious, regardless!  

We are inpatient people, and we were hungry, so the first three got eaten right after they came out of the oven.  

The fourth was consumed by the girls and I when they cooled down, and I must say, we definitely preferred the pop tart at room temp.  Baked goods are usually too sweet for me when they are warm.  I can't wait to try the leftovers tomorrow morning!  

Here's a link to the recipe:

What kind of filling would you like to put in a homemade pop tart?  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Carbonara Frittata and Herb Beer Bread

If you love pasta carbonara as much as I do, Simply Gluten-Free's Frittata alla Carbonara recipe is for you!  I was blown away by how much this frittata tasted like carbonara.  It might have something to do with the fact that it contains all the same ingredients --pasta, bacon, eggs, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese.  One of my daughters declared it her favorite dinner the first time she tried it, and my girls aren't even huge fans of pasta carbonara.

I have successfully used Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti, Bionaturae Gluten Free Linguine, and BiAglut Spaghetti in this recipe, weighing out 8 ounces on my kitchen scale.  I do not rinse my pasta as suggested in the recipe, because I don't use brands that require rinsing. 

I usually use 6 to 8 pieces of bacon instead of the 5 pieces called for in the recipe.  Sometimes I use Parmesan, sometimes Romano, sometimes a combination of both.  Another change I have made to the recipe is that I like to sprinkle some cheese on top of the frittata before putting it in the oven.  About three big pinches will do.  

I use my 12" All Clad Stainless Steel Pan for this recipe.  I have non-stick pans, but I use stainless steel whenever possible.  

The four of us eat half of the frittata for dinner, and save the rest for breakfast, lunch, or dinner the next day.  It's even good served cold.  


8 ounces of gluten free spaghetti or linguine
10 large eggs
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
6 to 8 pieces of bacon
2 ounces of Parmesan or Romano plus more for sprinkling on top of the frittata

You can view the directions for Carol Kicinski's gluten free frittata alla carbonara recipe here.  

Recipe Notes -- I have successfully used 9 extra large eggs in this recipe, and up to 8 pieces of bacon, as long they are not thick cut pieces.  Make sure to leave enough of the bacon grease in the pan to coat the pasta well.  Sometimes I remove some of the bacon grease with a paper towel before adding the pasta, if the amount of grease seems excessive, but if you remove too much, the frittata will not taste as good.  

Herb Beer Bread

Last night, we served the frittata with Herb Beer Bread.  This is the second time I have made Nicole Hunn's recipe.  Last time, I used oregano, which my girls weren't too fond of.  Knowing how much they like basil, I decided to change it up a bit for the second go around.  I used about 1T of oregano and 3T of basil. It was delicious, and a huge hit with my daughters.  

No mixer or yeast involved in this recipe 

Nicole Hunn, also known as Gluten Free on a Shoestring, is the reason I purchase Better Batter, the flour I used in this recipe.  

It was ridiculously hard to find unflavored gluten free whey in Orlando.  I finally ordered Organic Whey from amazon.  

Isn't it beautiful?  

Here's a peek at the inside.

The leftover bread is currently hanging out in my Polder Bread Box, another recommendation from Nicole Hunn.  

Here's a link to the recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.  Buy her cookbooks!  I have purchased a lot of gluten free cookbooks in the past 5 years, but hers are the only ones I actually use.  I am never disappointed by Nicole's recipes, and they don't involve a ridiculous amount of gluten free flours.