Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Quick Cook Wedding Soup

This recipe was originally for a quick cook chicken soup, but last night, I added some onion, garlic, and meatballs, and transformed it into a wedding soup. 

When I want to make soup quickly, I buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco.  It's huge, it's juicy, it's cheap, and it's labeled gluten free, no MSG, no preservatives, and no added hormones or steroids. 

I used two of my favorite products from The Fresh Market to make this soup - chicken stock and  gluten free bread crumbs. 

I had to leave my meatballs out of the soup pot last night because my aunt does not eat cheese.  We made her a small batch with extra breadcrumbs and no Romano. 

The color of The Fresh Market Chicken Stock is a little more intense than the chicken broth I used to buy from Whole Foods, and it's a little more flavorful. 


1/2 large sweet onion - diced
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves (1 tsp) garlic - minced
Three 32 ounce containers of gluten free chicken stock
Chicken from one large rotisserie chicken - cut into small pieces
A couple of handfuls of baby cut carrots
2 C rice (I use Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice) - uncooked
1 recipe of gluten free mini meatballs (cooked)
10 ounces of fresh baby spinach - coarsely chopped
Kosher salt - to taste
Coarse ground black pepper - to taste (optional)
Romano or Parmesan cheese for garnish


In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook your onion in the olive oil until it starts to brown.  Add the garlic, stirring for a minute or two until it is lightly browned.  Add the chicken stock, chicken, carrots, and rice.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.  When the rice is cooked, add the meatballs, spinach, and kosher salt.  Continue to cook the soup for about 5 more minutes until the spinach is wilted.  Garnish each bowl with Romano/Parmesan cheese. 

Last night, we ate our soup with Grandma's House Gluten Free Home Style Biscuits.  They arrived frozen in a pack of 6, and I baked them for 15 minutes in the oven. 

We were all really impressed by Grandma's House Biscuits.  The gluten eaters in my house, and my visiting relatives all loved them.  They are currently not available for purchase in Orlando, but you can check out their website here, and order them online.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blueberry Scones

Yesterday, I was just thinking about the fact that I have made some great GFFs (gluten free friends) since starting my Gluten Free in Orlando Facebook page and blog.  One of my amazing GFFs told me about a pumpkin scone recipe that she had made using Cup4Cup flour.  You can find the link to this recipe and tips for making Spiced Pumpkin Scones in my Favorite Breakfast Recipes blog post.

I love, love, love these pumpkin scones.  They are incredibly light and flavorful. 

When I make scones, I always use Cup4Cup flour.  I purchase it from The Fresh Market or Williams-Sonoma.  I have heard that Whole Foods carries it too, but I have never seen it in their stores in Orlando. 

The original recipe called for sour cream, but no way is sour cream entering my house.  It's just one of those foods I will not eat.  Today, I used Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt.  In the past, I have used Stonyfield Lowfat Plain, but I always put about 2/3 of a cup in a fine mesh strainer that is lined with a paper towel, over a bowl, to let some liquid drain out for at least 20 minutes.

The same GFF that passed on the pumpkin scone recipe told me about a Blackberry Scone recipe that she had adapted to make blueberry scones.  You can view that recipe here.  The first time I made gluten free blueberry scones, I allowed my frozen blueberries to defrost.  Big mistake!  The scones were so wet from the blueberries that I had to add a lot of extra flour.  They looked terrible, but they tasted great! 

I almost didn't take a picture of my ugly duckling scones.  :-)

I love the technique of freezing your butter and grating it into your flour mixture.  Sometimes I put the butter in the freezer the night before making scones, but I find it's a little easier to grate if it's only frozen for 20 to 30 minutes.  

Here's what it looked like when my hubby was done grating. 

The original recipe called for 1T of grated lemon zest, but I just use the zest of one lemon. 

On a floured surface, I shaped my dough into a 7 inch circle.  It was beautifully blue! 

I cut my circle into 8 wedges with a steak knife, then sprinkled the scones with 1T of sugar. 

Here are the before and after pictures. 

I have this really, really bad habit of overcooking scones.  My scones could have probably been taken out of the oven a minute or two earlier.  I prefer them a little less brown, but thankfully, they were still delicious!  

Blueberry Scones


2 C (280g) Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour 
1/3 C (67g) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter -- frozen
1/2 C lowfat plain yogurt (strained) or Greek plain yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg
Zest from one lemon
5 ounces fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, leave them in the freezer until you are ready to use them)
Additional 1T of sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the Cup 4 Cup, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and stir with a spoon to combine.  

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, egg, and lemon zest with a fork or whisk, then add to your dry ingredients.  Stir with a large spoon, then knead until just combined.  Add the berries and gently knead until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.  

Place the dough on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper, press it into a 7 inch circle, then cut it into 8 wedges with a sharp knife.  Sprinkle your scones with an addition tablespoon of sugar before placing them on your baking sheet. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.   

Other options

My friend Shelley skips that last tablespoon of sugar and makes a glaze out of powdered sugar and lemon juice. 

Update -- I tried the lemon glaze and it was amazing!  

I have also made raspberry scones with frozen raspberries and the zest of one orange. 

You'll notice, they are a little too brown too.  :-)

I always freeze my leftover scones.  They make for a super easy and delicious breakfast during the work/school week.  When we are ready to eat them, I defrost them in the microwave for about a minute, and they are ready to go.  

If you would prefer your scones without fruit, check out my recipe for what I call the Perfect Gluten Free Scones.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cranberry Orange Banana Smoothie

I recently saw a recipe for a Cranberry, Orange, and Banana Smoothie in a Williams-Sonoma catalog, and decided I had to make my own, because that combination sounded perfect for a smoothie. 

I found Columbia River Organics frozen cranberries at Whole Foods.  They are labeled gluten free and non GMO. 

The original recipe called for agave, but I prefer to use raw organic honey for its health benefits.  I always use Stonyfield Organic Lowfat Plain Yogurt in my smoothies, because it is certified gluten free and full of good probiotics. 

The original recipe called for twice the banana I used, and an orange instead of orange juice.  I wanted the cranberries to be the star of this smoothie and they were.  It was really delicious and perfect for my post-workout breakfast.  I like to eat smaller meals before and after I work out in the morning.  In total, using the ingredients I did, this smoothie was about 325 calories.  

Cranberry Orange Banana Smoothie


3/4 C orange juice
3/4 C lowfat plain yogurt
3/4 C frozen cranberries
1/2 banana
1 T organic raw honey


Blend the ingredients together until smooth.  I used my stick blender.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

A week or two ago, I saw a link to a recipe for Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls on Shauna Ahern's Gluten-Free Girl Facebook page.  I printed it out and made them last Friday. 

I pretty much followed all the directions, making 7 rolls in my pie dish.  I don't like this photo, because the rolls all ran together, and there are shadows from taking a picture in my kitchen at night.  I wanted to dig right in, not fiddle around trying to find just the right picture spot, which is hard with my kitchen lights on. 

This grain free recipe calls for almond flour, arrowroot flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and psyllium husk.  All the flours and starches are available from Bob's Red Mill at my local Publix (make sure they are certified gluten free), and I found the psyllium husk at The Fresh Market.  Yerba Prima Psyllium Whole Husks is also available on amazon.  Yep, it's being marketed as a colon cleanser!  :-)  You can read more about psyllium husk in Shauna Ahern's A Guide to Gluten-Free Baking

Here is what my dough looked like after I combined my wet and dry ingredients.  I used one packet of Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast, which I proofed with honey and warm water on the warming zone of my stove top.  It's quite effective.  I warmed up my warming drawer for a couple of minutes on low heat while I put together the dough.  I turned it off at least 5 minutes before I put my dough in to rise. 

Ninety minutes later, my dough looked pretty good! 

Today, I used my Polish Pottery muffin pans to make the rolls. 

I decided to make ten, because the seven rolls I made last Friday were huge.  (Update -- I have also made 11 dinner rolls and cooked them for 17 minutes)

After 15 minutes in the oven, they were nicely browned and crusty on the outside. 

I ate two of these beauties for lunch with some salted butter.  They were so delicious! 

I much prefer the rolls I made in my muffin pans.  They cooked better, and I loved all the crunchy crusty parts along the top, bottom, and sides.  These rolls have the most wonderful yeasty taste and smell, just like my husband's grandmother's homemade bread.  Last Friday, I wrapped the leftovers in aluminum foil, and reheated them the next day in the microwave for about 10 seconds.  They were still ridiculously good.  Today, I am going to try freezing 4 of them.  I'll let you know how it goes. Update - these dinner rolls freeze very well.  I defrost them in the microwave, then warm them up in the oven.

You can check out Shauna Ahern's recipe for Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls here.  They are so easy to make and so incredibly delicious!  Not only are they gluten free and grain free, but Shauna gives tips to make them dairy and egg free as well.  

Ingredients - 1 C warm water, 1 packet of active dry yeast, 1 tsp honey, 200 grams almond flour, 100 grams arrowroot flour, 100 grams potato starch, 50 grams tapioca flour, 2 T psyllium husk, 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 8 T unsalted butter, 1 large egg (optional)

To make this recipe, you will need a kitchen scale.  I am so glad I bought one about a year ago.  It has become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  I now weigh my ingredients if a recipe includes grams, ounces, or pounds.  It saves me from having to clean up a bunch of measuring cups.  If you're a fan of Gluten Free on a Shoestring, Nicole includes weights for all of her newer recipes.  A handy tip - if you're measuring one cup of all-purpose gluten free flour, like Cup4Cup or Better Batter, it should weigh 140 grams.  I purchased my scale from amazon.  

November 29, 2013 Update

I knew I wanted to use this dough to make bread for panini.  I decided to experiment the day after Thanksgiving with my leftovers.  I made the dough like I always do, but after it rose, I divided it between two 8-inch pie plates.  I had sprayed them with cooking spray, and easily spread the dough out with my hands.  Before I placed them in the oven, I brushed the dough with egg.

Here's what my bread looked like after 15 minutes in the oven.  It was a little bit of a challenge to slice them in half, but my big bread knife came in handy. 

I was in panini heaven.  I cut each round into 3 wedges, then added leftover cranberry relish, cornbread stuffing, and turkey to my sandwich.  It was the best panini I have had since going gluten free.  This is definitely my favorite way to eat Thanksgiving leftovers.  I have family members who like to add gravy and mashed potatoes too.  My daughter Kate requested a Caprese panini next time, with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, olive oil, and kosher salt.  The possibilities are endless!

You can view all of my Thanksgiving recipes here.   

November 30, 2013 Update

For dinner, we made a Caprese panini with leftover bread.  Yesterday, I wrapped my second bread round in aluminum foil, and let it sit on the counter overnight.  Before cutting, I reheated it in the oven until it was warm to the touch.  I dressed my San Marzano tomatoes (seeds squeezed out and cut in half lengthwise) and fresh mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of white balsamic vinegar.  I layered the mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomatoes on my bread, then sprinkled them generously with kosher salt.  I think we will be having Caprese panini again very soon!  Everyone loved it, even my daughter Emma, who is not a big mozzarella fan.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Purple Smashed Parmesan Potatoes

To go with our Ancho-Marinated Wings, I made Purple Smashed Parmesan Potatoes for dinner tonight.  Purple potatoes are so beautiful, but much drier than Yukon Gold Potatoes, which I use to make mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving and Smashed as Good as Mashed Potatoes

I purchased my organic potatoes from The Fresh Market.  I read an article recently about how potatoes absorb pesticides in large quantities, so I have been buying organic potatoes.  Canned tomatoes are out too! 

I washed and scrubbed my potatoes before cutting them. 

Purple potatoes are so beautiful on the inside! 

My medium sized pot is the perfect size for 3 pounds of potatoes. 

To some, these potatoes might be unappetizing because of their color, but to me, that's part of their appeal.

Purple Smashed Parmesan Potatoes


3 pounds of purple potatoes -- unpeeled, washed, cut into small pieces
2/3 C grated Parmesan or Romano
1/3 C olive oil
4 T butter
1/4 C fresh basil -- chopped
kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste


Place the potatoes in a medium or large pot and cover them with water.  Put a lid on your pot, and bring the water to a boil over high heat.  Uncover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until fork tender.

Before draining your potatoes, reserve 2/3 C of the cooking water.  In your pot, using a fork or a potato masher, smash your potatoes with the cheese, olive oil, butter, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper, then add the cooking water until you achieve desired consistency. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Splitsville in Downtown Disney Adds 16 Gluten Free Menu Items

Today, we met friends for bowling and lunch at Splitsville in Downtown Disney.  We had our lane for two hours because of the size of our party.  You can read about our previous experience at Splitsville here.

In September, it was announced on the Disney Parks Blog that Splitsville was adding 16 gluten free dishes to their menu.  The "GF" symbol is prominently displayed next to these items on their regular menu, which you can view here.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gluten Free Thanksgiving and Fall Favorites

Just let me start off by saying that I love Thanksgiving, and I love the fall.  I always get a little homesick for my hometown in September, as my Facebook friends from Pittsburgh start to post pictures of changing leaves, while I am waiting for 90 degree days to go away.  I look forward to my Thanksgiving dinner more than any meal my family prepares.  When I was diagnosed with celiac, I didn't have to worry about what I was going to eat on Thanksgiving.  That first year, we traveled to Pittsburgh to my aunt and uncle's house, and all my favorites were prepared gluten free for me.  There were no worries with the kosher turkey and mashed potatoes, and my aunt made the stuffing and creamy pumpkin pie with gluten free cornbread, bread, and pie crust.  My family rocks! 

My husband and I have now taken over the duty of preparing my family's Thanksgiving feast.  We have stuck with the family tradition of buying a kosher turkey, which we purchase from Whole Foods.  They are already pre-brined, and they never disappoint.  

My husband smokes our turkey on his Big Green Egg.  We either rub a mix of extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and coarse ground black pepper on top of the skin, or use herb butter on top of and underneath the skin.  

Our smoked turkies are not pretty to look at when they are done, but they are always delicious!  

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without stuffing.  I make a gluten free version of the cornbread stuffing that I grew up with, though we don't put it in the bird, because that is a big no-no when you are smoking your turkey.  You can view the recipe here

On Thanksgiving, I make garlic mashed potatoes.  We peel and cut 5 pounds of organic Yukon Gold potatoes into cubes, and boil them until fork tender.  When they are done cooking, I put them in our stand mixer with a bulb and a half of roasted garlic, 1 stick of salted butter, warm lowfat milk to taste, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  

To roast the garlic, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, cut off the tops, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, wrap them up in aluminum foil, and cook until tender/mashable, for about 50 minutes.  

All the ladies in my family are Williams-Sonoma addicts.  They have been buying Williams-Sonoma Gravy Base and Apple-Orange Cranberry Relish for probably as long as they have been available.  Neither product contains any gluten ingredients, but the labels clearly state that these products are prepared and packaged using machines that may come in contact with wheat/gluten.  I don't eat gravy, so this is no big deal to me.  This year, I made a homemade Cranberry Relish that has similar ingredients to the relish my family buys from Williams-Sonoma.  You can view the recipe here.  I chose this recipe because of its ingredients and all the positive reviews.  

This cranberry relish recipe was a huge hit with the adults in my family, and only contains four ingredients - 2 cups of fresh cranberries, 2 organic Granny Smith apples, 1 large organic navel orange, and 1 cup of sugar.  I prepared it in my food processor, pulsing each ingredient separately. 

November 2017 Update - Last year, I made Merlot Apple-Orange Cranberry Relish, the first cranberry relish dish that my daughters have ever liked.  You can view the recipe here

For most of my life, I ate apple pie on Thanksgiving because I didn't like pumpkin pie, but then my aunt made a pumpkin pie recipe with cream cheese.  For years, this was the only dessert I made on Thanksgiving.  You can view this amazingly light and delicious recipe for Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie here.  

I recently made Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars, using my Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie filling and Williams-Sonoma Gluten-Free Piecrust Mix.  My family really loved this version, and I didn't have to worry about my crust browning too much.  The recipe is at the end of my Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie blog post.  You can view it here

This year, I made my aunt an apple crostata for dessert.  This free form pie is one of our favorite fall recipes.

The third pie I made is this Chocolate Chess Pie.  It is easy to make, and so incredibly delicious.  I use a Whole Foods Bakehouse GlutenFree Pie Crust, or I make mini chocolate chess pies with Williams-Sonoma Gluten-Free Piecrust Mix.  You can view these recipes here.  

Another great dessert option is gluten free pumpkin cupcakes.  They are moist and delicious, and so easy to make.  

For Thanksgiving breakfast, I might make gluten free Spiced Pumpkin Scones.  They are heavenly! You can view the recipe here.

November 2017 Update - We recently started making apple scones, which my husband said rival my pumpkin scones. 

Another easy breakfast option is my pumpkin waffles made with Cup4Cup Pancake & Waffle Mix.

We have also been loving pumpkin pancakes made with Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix.  They are so delicious with some cinnamon honey butter.

If I wasn't so obsessed with Spiced Pumpkin Scones this fall, I would probably be making Apple-Raspberry Puffed Pancake on Thanksgiving for breakfast.  This recipe has been a family favorite of our for years.  Make sure you use a high quality gluten free flour.  Cup4Cup makes this oven pancake puff up much better than any other gluten free all-purpose flour that I have tried.  It can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma, The Fresh Market, or select Whole Foods.

About a month ago, I made Nicole Hunn's Apple Breakfast Cookies recipe.  I froze all the leftovers so we would have some quick breakfast options during the work and school week.  I made this Gluten Free on a Shoestring recipe with Better Batter Gluten Free Flour.  The combination of apples, cinnamon, and oats is perfect on a Fall morning.  You can view her recipe here.  

Acorn Squash with Apples & Cranberries would be a great dish to serve on Thanksgiving, but I already have too much going on, so I make them for my aunt and uncle earlier in the week.  They fly in from Pittsburgh to stay with us now, instead of us going to them.  You can view the recipe here

Sweet Potato Pineapple Casserole would be another great choice for Thanksgiving, but in my quest to keep my sanity, I limit the number of dishes I make.  You can view this recipe here

Just this week, I made a recipe for Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls by Shauna Ahern, also known as Gluten-Free Girl.  The yeasty smell and taste reminded me of Mitch's grandmother's bread. They were so good!  You can see all my baking tips and a link to the recipe here

For the day after Thanksgiving, when you are recovering from your food hangover, I recommend making one of my favorite fall smoothies, like the Blueberry Pomegranate.  

Another great option is my Persimmon Orange Smoothie.  

My Cranberry, Orange, Banana Smoothie is amazing too!  

If you want to take your Thanksgiving leftovers to an all new level, buy a panini press.  I like cranberry relish, stuffing, and turkey on my panini.  Family members have been known to pile on leftover mashed potatoes and gravy too.  You could use store-bought bread, but I made two flat 8" rounds using Gluten-Free Girl's Dinner Rolls Recipe.  You can see how I made the bread here.  

I like to heat my cranberry relish, stuffing, and leftover turkey to room temp before added them to my bread.  A couple minutes in the panini press, and you can see the results above.  It was so incredibly delicious!  My daughters enjoyed their panini with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. 

November 30, 2014 Update - This year, we made panini on Friday, and turkey noodle soup on Saturday with the rest of our leftover turkey.  The slight smokiness of the turkey was the key reason I liked this soup better than any chicken noodle soup I have ever had.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes to make on Thanksgiving?