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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Bacon, Cheddar & Veggie Quiche - with gluten-free buttermilk pastry crust

The one meal that seems to get inhaled around here is quiche.  I think the most amazing thing is watching my 3 year old inhale a slice that's packed to the brim with veggies of all color without a word of complaint. It's quite miraculous.  I often make quiche using a buttermilk biscuit crust, such as in my broccoli-bacon quiche, but using my buttermilk pie pastry crust works perfectly as well for a quiche crust.  My version here, a modification of the classic bacon-cheddar quiche, is a great filling meal for the whole family. I've made this quiche with baby spinach and also with a baby spinach/baby kale mix - both were great!  Enjoy!

A fresh, colorful slice of quiche, ready to eat!

Bacon, Cheddar & Veggie Quiche

To cook bacon: 
Preheat oven to 400F. 
Place 5-6 strips bacon on a wire rack over a pan. (you can bake your entire package now, but you'll only need part of it for this recipe) Bake 15-20 minutes, until crispy.  Remove from oven and chop bacon into bite sized pieces.
Crispy cooked bacon - I tend to just cook the whole package.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Roll out ½ batch of my gluten-free piecrust between pieces of plastic wrap until you have a circle approximately 12”-14” in diameter.  Remove the top layer of plastic wrap.  Press into a pie pan.  You can neaten/shape the edges of the crust however you like. It helps if you use the plastic wrap to do this, so it doesn't stick to your fingers if they get a little warm.  Set aside until you're ready to fill. 

In a frying pan, heat: 
2 Tbsp olive oil

Cook until softened: 

1/3 cup red & green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced

Add and cook until wilted: 1-2 handfuls baby spinach (or baby kale), diced
Remove from heat.

In pie crust, fill with: 
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Precooked veggies
chopped bacon

Freshly grated sharp cheddar, topped with veggies
Then add the bacon.
Mix together, and pour over top the fillings: 
4-6 eggs
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
I tend to wait and do the final shaping of the crust edges just before baking - you can do it earlier, I just find pressing it towards the filling gives a nice scalloped look.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes.  

Lower heat to 350F and continue cooking 20 minutes, or until set in center.  
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.  You can serve this quiche warm or chilled. 
Using a pie pastry crust turns out a lovely final product.

Red & Green Pasta w/ Italian Meatballs

The one thing I've discovered is that the Delicious Italian Meatballs freeze wonderfully and can be used anytime to spice up a pasta dish or throw into a meatball sub.  In this recipe, I use 1/2 a batch of the meatballs.  So, you can prep them on the day, or make them in advance and freeze (or refrigerate) them to use in this recipe.  A great weeknight dish when you want something you can throw together, but that's packed with veggies.  This pasta sauce is also fun because it's filled with big bits of brightly colored greens which contrast with the red of the tomatoes.  Served over spaghetti and it's a fabulous meal! You can even serve with a side of steamed peas for extra green in your meal. And yes, you can make it without the meatballs and it'll still be a veggie-filled tasty sauce. Enjoy!
Still steaming and ready to eat!

Red & Green Pasta w/ Italian Meatballs
Sauce serves 4-6

Set a large pot of water boiling to cook GF spaghetti of your choice.  I used Catelli GF spaghetti (340g).

Heat in a large (low-sided) saucepan over medium heat:
2 Tbsp olive oil

Add and cook 1-2 minutes:
1/2 onion, diced

Add and cook until zucchini softens (3-4 minutes):
1 small-medium zucchini, chopped
salt + pepper

Once zucchini has softened, move onions/zucchini to the sides of the pan.  In the center cook 1 minute:
1 1/2 - 2 tsp minced garlic

Stir to combine.  Add:
1/2 batch pre-cooked Delicious Italian Meatballs (~12 meatballs)
1 jar Spaghetti Sauce (I prefer Classico 4 cheese in this recipe, but use your favorite)

Cook until simmering, then add:
2 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped

Simmer an additional 5 minutes (or more) until your pasta is ready to go.  If you used frozen meatballs, you may need to chop them in half to get them thoroughly heated.
Look at all those nice green veggies and meatballs

Serve over GF spaghetti with fresh basil on top.

For extra veggies, serve with steamed peas on the side.  Enjoy!
Everyone loved this with steamed peas on the side. It complimented the sauce nicely.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Poppyseed Bagels -- Easy, Delicious & Gluten-Free

I'm constantly amazed by how delicious these bagels are - and how easy they are to make.  Before I had to eat gluten-free, I occasionally would make proper boiled & baked homemade bagels.  It was quite an ordeal, although the end result was delicious.  I experimented quite a bit making bagels once we had to eat gluten-free, but was never happy with the results until I decided to forgo the whole boiling step altogether.  I just wet the bagels with my hands to smooth/shape a little after piping them out on a pan.   It's easy to whip together this gluten-free dough, pipe them on a pan, and just let rise and bake!  They also freeze perfectly - just slice before you freeze, so they're ready to toast. Enjoy!

I tripled the recipe here to make a dozen bagels (it worked perfectly!). I popped a bit of dried onion mixed with poppyseeds on top of a handful of them. Yum!

Poppyseed Bagels
Makes 4 bagels (you can easily double the recipe)

Line cookie sheet with silicon mat or parchment paper.

In a 1 cup measuring cup mix and let rest 5 minutes:
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp rapid rise yeast (quick-rise yeast)

Add to yeast mixture:
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil

Set liquids aside, and mix together in a mixer (it's important to mix the dry ingredients so the xanthan gum gets thoroughly mixed in):
2/3 cup tapioca starch
½ cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp potato starch
1 ¼ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt

Add liquids to mixer.  Mix on low, until combined.  Then mix on medium speed, scraping occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.  Batter will be nice and smooth.

Put batter into a Ziploc (I like the freezer bags because they’re stronger).  Cut ¾” – 1” off one corner.  Pipe 4 bagels onto prepared cookie sheet. Using wet hands, spread bagels so the holes are nice and big. You can also smooth out any areas that are a bit lumpy. 
Even if you don't need to re-shape, it's a good idea to brush on a bit of water to help the poppyseeds to stick. 

Sprinkle the tops of bagels very generously with poppyseeds.  You'll want ~2 Tbsp. 

Let rise in a warm location for 30-40 minutes.  They’ll look a bit puffier, but won’t fully double in size.
Bagels post-rise, ready to be brushed with egg white.

Whisk and brush gently overtop bagels (this helps hold on the toppings):
1 egg white
Brush as best you can with the egg white - it helps hold on the poppyseeds and gives the bagels a wonderful color once cooked.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until browned.  Cool on cooling rack.  The bagels are fabulous fresh and hot.  Once cooled, you can slice and freeze if you aren’t planning to eat them right away. These are great toasted with cream cheese.

Fresh out of the oven! 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Our Favorite White GF Sourdough Bread and Rolls

The thing I love about bread-making is that little tweaks can have a big impact.  And this recipe is no exception.  A few modifications turned my tasty white bread recipe into a different version, which we actually think is even tastier - it has a challah-like taste, and we just love that!  The best part is that it's great as both rolls AND loaves.  In fact, I often double this recipe and make 2 loaves AND 12 rolls.  Leftovers freeze wonderfully. Enjoy!

Fresh, airy rolls.  Yum!

Our Favorite White GF Sourdough Bread and Rolls
Makes 2 loaves or 12 rolls

Mix together dry ingredients in a mixer:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup arrowroot starch/flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

Add wet ingredients and then let beat/mix 2 minutes:
1/2 cup Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
4 Tbsp oil
3 eggs
1 cup lukewarm water

After beating two minutes, you can:
1. 2 bread loaves: Fill 2 buttered bread loaf pans halfway, cover with plastic wrap
2. 12 rolls: Scoop, using a very large cookie scoop, 12 rolls either onto a buttered cookie sheet or buttered 9x13 pan.  Cover cookie sheet with inverted cookie sheet and wrap edges with plastic wrap to seal OR cover 9x13 pan with plastic wrap.

Let rise in a warm location for 4-5 hours, until doubled (or close to doubled).  It won't look like much is happening for the first 2 hours, but then it will start to rise.  Because you are using a sourdough starter and not adding any additional yeast, the rising time takes longer. 
Rolls pre-rise and post-rise.  If desired, you can brush them with egg before baking and sprinkle with poppyseeds or sesame seeds. 

Preheat oven to 350F.
If desired, you can brush the loaves/rolls gently with 1 egg, beaten, before baking.  You can also sprinkle on poppyseeds or sesame seeds, after brushing with egg, before baking.

Bake bread loaves 40-45 minutes, until nicely browned.  Bake rolls 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned.  Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
Rolls fresh from the oven. 
Bread fresh from the oven, transferred to a cooling rack.

We like it best warmed, but the bread/rolls reheat wonderfully in a toaster or oven.  Eat within the first day or two, or slice and freeze to enjoy later.  It freezes and reheats wonderfully. Enjoy!
The bread loaves after cooling and slicing.  The bread is wonderfully airy and has a light, yet rich flavor, similar to Challah-bread. 

Easy Candy Milkshakes

When the weather starts getting warmer (or someone has wisdom teeth removed, which is what happened here), it's nice to come up with some fun treats to enjoy.  This is a great easy milkshake to whip up anytime. It even works great with dairy-free or lactose-free ice cream options.  Enjoy!

Easy Candy Milkshakes
Serves 2-4

Use a stick blender, or regular blender, to blend the following:
2 cups vanilla ice cream (lactose or dairy-free varieties work, too!)
1/2 cup milk (lactose or dairy-free varieties work, too!)

Once smooth, blend in:
1/4 cup mini rolos or peanut butter cups, or other candies of your choice. 

Serve immediately and enjoy!
The crunchier the candy/chocolate the more bits you'll end up with. These milkshakes had mini rolos in them, which leave larger bits throughout. You'll get a smoother milkshake with peanut butter cups, I find. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a great, tasty soup to whip up anytime.  It's packed with veggies, too!  I love that it's so full of flavor you can eat it plain, or pile on toppings if you're going all-out.  I like to purchase fresh, roasted chickens at the grocery store (since they don't add anything to them, no spices/oils, etc.), and then freeze extra chicken meat to use in recipes like this one! You can definitely add extra cumin or chili powder if you want a spicier soup, but since I'm feeding kids, I find the spice level as-is works best.   Enjoy!
Topped with shredded cheese and fresh cilantro. Yum!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serves 6-8

In a large pot over medium to medium-high heat, cook 3-4 minutes:
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 - 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 - 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

Add an continue cooking, stirring occasionally, just until onion looks softened:
1 small to medium zucchini, chopped

Add an mix in, cooking 1-2 minutes:
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Add in:
1 can tomato sauce (398 ml/14 oz)
1 can green chilies (127 ml/4 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (798 ml/27 oz)
2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups water + 2 tsp mushroom seasoning
1 can black beans, drained (398 ml/14 oz)
1 -2 cups cooked chicken, shredded/chopped

Simmer 30 minutes. Then add:
1/2 - 1 cup frozen corn kernels

Cook an additional 10 minutes.
In the pot, ready to be served. Look at all the lovely colors!

Serve with toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Topping ideas: (starred ones are recommended)
*fresh cilantro
*shredded cheese
avocado, diced
sour cream
tortilla chips
Would you believe my 8 yr old wanted leftovers for his lunch the next day?! Yum!