Friday, January 29, 2010

Summer Squash Polenta Bake

I've been making this for a couple of years, now. I originally got the recipe from my old boss, Maria. People who don't like vegetables tend to like this dish, though some would argue that it isn't a main course. I respectfully disagree. You can find the full recipe here. Below is how I usually make it.


3 carrots, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 large yellow squash, sliced
1 cup spaghetti sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch garlic salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded Trader Joe's Three Cheese Blend
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (18 ounce) package prepared polenta


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Saute carrots, zucchini and squash in a large saucepan with a small amount of olive oil. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Saute vegetables for approximately 5 minutes and pour in spaghetti sauce. Stir, cover and simmer until vegetables are slightly tender.
Slice polenta into 1/2 inch circles and season with garlic salt and pepper. Heat enough oil in a medium skillet so as to completely cover the entire bottom of the pan. Pan fry seasoned polenta in hot oil, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from oil and layer the slices in a large casserole dish. Spoon the vegetable mixture over the polenta and then sprinkle with shredded cheese and Parmesan.
Bake casserole for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Granola Bars

I need something in the house that I can grab on my way out the door. Individual bars are just way too expensive and this recipe is so easy, it's not worth the hassle to go down to the store and buy them anyway. Plus, it's really versatile and you can sub things out or in, the possibilities are endless. The original recipe is also casein free. Below is how I make them, but mostly because I used what was in my house at that moment.

Granola Bars:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
1 1/2 cup GF oats
1 1/4 cups GF puffed rice cereal
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons allergen free chocolate chips, chopped finely
2 tablespoons candy covered sunflower seeds

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
1/4 cup allergen free chocolate chips
1 tsp. spectrum shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together softened butter, brown sugar, honey, peanut butter, and the egg. In another bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients together thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Press into a 9x13" baking pan, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light, golden brown. Cool and cut into bars.

For Drizzle: Mix together chocolate chips and spectrum shortening. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and velvety. Drizzle over bars. Let bars continue to cool completely. Refrigerate leftover bars. Makes 12 bars.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I plan on trying out a few pizza dough recipes in the future, but for the time being, I am making it through pizza nights care of Picazzo's. They sell gluten-free pizza dough for $5 a ball. It is waaay better than any store-boughts I've tried (curse you, Bob's Red Mill!) I like to split one in half, shape them into two pizzas and freeze them individually on parchment paper. Then they are ready to go when we order Red Devil's at my mom's. I can throw together a pizza for Dec in 20 minutes, about how long it takes for my dad to pick up the glutinous stuff for the rest of us. They don't give you any instructions when you pick it up, but gleaned from other recipes, here's my process:

1. Use a nonstick pizza pan. Period. This stuff will stick like no other. Or you can experiment with non-stick sprays or parchment paper or what-have-you.
2. Using wet hands, gently press out the dough onto the pizza pan. It's the consistency of batter, not dough. You don't need to set it out to rise or pre-bake it.
3. Gently spread sauce and arrange toppings.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

You're done! If working from a frozen crust, just place in the oven for two to three minutes, then add sauce and toppings and bake for 15 minutes.

Sneaky Health Tip: I mix flax meal into the sauce. Nobody suspects a thing...

I always make plain cheese pizzas, but last week I was inspired to add mushrooms and bacon. Turns out that, like other GF crusts, you must prebake for 10 minutes if you're going to add toppings!


Oh, naan. I thought I'd lost you forever. Then I found this great recipe. I've yet to try adding garlic butter, but I'll let you know when I do. This goes great with the Coconut Curry or just for dippin' with some hummus. You can also freeze it and just pop it in the toaster oven for a bready snack. Great for flatbread sandwiches.

2/3 cup tepid whole milk
2 cups rice flour
8 Tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoons xanthan gum
ghee (optional) or olive oil (optional)

1. In a bowl mix tepid milk with 1 teaspoon sugar and the yeast, then sit bowl in warm place for 4-5 minutes.
2. Sift the flours, Xanthan gum, salt, baking powder into a bowl or food mixer. Add remaining sugar, oil, yogurt, egg and mix until smooth.
3. Preheat oven to the highest setting. Make dough into 6 equal sized balls. Roll out balls into a tear shape that is ¼ inch thick (use rice flour if necessary to prevent sticking). I just press them out with my palm into amorphous shapes. What do I care?
4. Preheat a heavy baking tray in oven. Remove tray and put the naan on it. Return to the oven for 3 minutes or until the naan puffs up and turns light brown. Place tray under the broiler 30 seconds to 1 minute for extra browning.
5. Brush with ghee or olive oil before serving.

Coconut Curry

This has quickly become a family favorite. I serve it with tofu since Cliff is a baconpescatarian, but I'm sure it would be great with chicken for those of you avoiding soy, or who just hate tofu. My boys love the stuff. Lovely over long grain brown rice, or your favorite grain and I recently tried it with gluten-free naan which was awesome. Adapted from this recipe at


1 bunch green onions
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chile paste
1/2 pound firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups chopped bok choy
salt to taste


1. On medium high heat, lightly stir-fry tofu in about 2 tbl of olive oil until very lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.
2. Remove and finely chop white parts of green onions.
3. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, mix coconut milk, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger, and chile paste. Bring to a boil.
4. Stir tofu, tomatoes, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and finely chopped green onions into the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in basil and bok choy. Season with salt and remaining soy sauce. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but crisp.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I will start with my favorite gluten-free recipe to date. I dislike the taste of most GF flours, so flourless is always a good choice for me, and especially Cliff. I've made this for freaks and normals and everyone who likes peanut butter cookies, loves these cookies. They have a true soft cookie texture and a strong peanut taste. I absolutely need choco chips, but you're welcome to leave them out if you prefer. Adapted from this recipe on

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups sugar (I like 1c brown and 1c white)
2 cups natural peanut butter (nonnatural won't cut it)
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp gluten free vanilla (optional)
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare pans by greasing or use parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
Combine sugar, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix in chocolate chips. Dough will be very sticky.
Spoon onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Leave on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.