Steamed Artichokes with a Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce

So, a couple of weeks ago I got a recipe in my email inbox from another one of my favorite new blogs, “Snack Girl.” I LOVE Lisa’s blog and encourage you to check it out! It is not a gluten-free blog, but many of her recipes are easily adaptable to be gluten-free. She also does a lot of healthy snack product reviews, some are GF, some are not, but you can get some really great ideas either way! If you subscribe to Snack-Girl.com, Lisa will send you a free list of “30 Healthy Snacks for under 100 Calories.” To read more about Lisa, click here.

Anyway, back to the email I received with her latest post (at the time); which was intriguingly titled, “Do NOT Be Afraid of this Vegetable – In Season Now and Yummy.” The title of Lisa’s post proved to be somewhat ironic for our entry into the world of artichokes. While there is indeed no reason to fear the vegetable itself (they are delicious), depending on your taste preferences, you might want to consider proceeding with caution! 😉

But I will get to that in a minute.

The day I received the recipe, also happened to be my CSA box delivery day and inside were four artichokes! What perfect timing because I had honestly NEVER made or consumed a fresh artichoke before! I am however, a big fan of hot, cheesy artichoke dips, but they aren’t exactly what you would call “healthy!” All things in moderation, right?? 😉 Yeah, lets move on…

Artichokes are high in fiber and are a good source of antioxidants, folate, magnesium and potassium; click here to learn more great nutritional information on this fascinating veggie!

Snack Girl’s Recipe for Artichokes with a Lemon Butter Dip <– Visit Lisa’s site for a link to a video tutorial on How to Prepare an Artichoke).

2 medium Artichokes
1 Tbs. Butter (I used something I’ve newly discovered… Organic Valley’s Pasture Butter, which I found at my local Whole Foods. This is a seasonal product and is not available year-round).
1/4 of a Lemon (I used 1/2 of a small Lemon)
1 clove minced Garlic

Prepare Artichoke:

  • Cut stem off at base.
  • Cut off top 1/3 of each artichoke.
  • Place artichokes in microwave-safe bowl, base down, and add 1/2 inch of water to the bowl.
  • Cover and microwave for 8 minutes (depending on your microwave).
  • Let stand for 1-2 minutes before uncovering. Check to see if leaves easily detach from artichoke. If not, place artichokes back in microwave for another minute.

Prepare Sauce:

  • Place butter in small bowl.
  • Squeeze lemon into the bowl and add garlic.
  • Microwave for 10 seconds until butter is melted.

To Eat:

  • Rip leaf off of artichoke and dip in sauce. (Proceed with caution before placing in your mouth, see below, LOL!)
  • Place the leaf with the inside facing up (inside of leaf was facing inside of artichoke).
  • Scrape sauce and artichoke with your teeth.
  • When done with leaves eat the artichoke base – it is the best part!

The above recipe belongs to Lisa at Snack-Girl.com and the following photos are my contribution (just please don’t get mad at me at the end, and if you are eating right now, stop. 😀 ).

I will definitely rub the cut parts with lemon juice next time (watch the video tutorial first!).

If using a microwave, be sure to use a microwave safe dish... don't use plastic! 😉

Now for the Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce:

The Pasture Butter comes in one solid block, so you need to guess-timate how much to cut off.

Then add your fresh lemon juice (really, don't use that stuff in a lemon-shaped squeeze bottle).

See how brown they got? This is why I would recommend doing the lemon rub.

And there you have it… well, almost. I had better share with you why I said to “proceed with caution” before just digging in (warning: this is gross):

Ewww......

So the moral of this story is this: “Do Not Be Afraid Of This Vegetable” BUT “Do Proceed with Caution!” 😀

There is also an important “hidden” lesson here… this is an Organic Artichoke… no chemical pesticides to drive off the occasional “visitors” (it happens)! I am not sure what kind of worm this is (anyone know?) but I found this website that made me a little more thankful for seeing this little guy (before he ended up in my mouth!).

I was going to throw the entire artichoke away but funny thing happened (it’s called a b.o.y.!), Sam wanted to eat the artichoke that had been home to the worm (not the worm itself, thank God). So, I just took off several rows of leaves from the bottom and let him go for it (whatever works, right?).

Ahh, motherhood… never a dull moment! 🙂

Thanks for this recipe Lisa, the lemon butter sauce was AWESOME! We will most definitely be making these again soon.

Gluten-Free Eggless Meatballs

Maybe I should have called them “Eggless Meatball Wonders,” or “Guiltless Meatballs,” because there are several nutritious ingredients cleverly hidden inside, and you cannot even tell! 😉

Ever since I started experimenting with “flax eggs,” I have become increasingly impressed with the results in most of my experiments.  So much so, I have found myself buried in excess eggs that I have delivered in my CSA box each week!  That’s okay though, I have some quiche to get working on for the Gluten-Free Quiche Challenge over at The Gluten Free Homemaker!

Flaxseeds are a good source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Magnesium, and Folate (I highly recommend checking out the World’s Healthiest Foods website, there is a lot of great information on it, especially for people like me who do not have a degree in nutrition!).

I was inspired to seek out a recipe for eggless meatballs for a friend who has a child with an egg allergy and I finally settled on a “rough” recipe from another mom’s post on the Spiffy Moms forum.  Tamika’s recipe hooked me because of the oats.  Growing up, my mom always made meatloaf with oats instead of breadcrumbs, which I really like because it is much more moist than the breadcrumb version of meatloaf.  Using Tamika’s ingredients as a guideline, I made my own adaptation which also included shredded carrots and zucchini.  There is a trick to making the shredded veggies work though, which I highly recommend to avoid any “texture” issues!  Once you compile all the ingredients, throw everything in a food processor and pulse until combined.  The oats and veggies get pulverized into microscopic bits and you cannot tell they are in there!  My boys LOVE these!!

Eggless Meatballs

1 lb. Ground Beef or Turkey (I used Ground Bison)

1/2 cup Oats (I used Certified Gluten-Free Oats)

1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (or Dairy-Free Substitute)

1 Flax Egg

2 Tbs. Milk (or Dairy-Free Milk Substitute)

1 tsp. Plain Vivagave Inulin Powder (Adding the fiber supplement is optional. I used Vivagave because it is gluten-free, has zero taste or texture and a full serving size (1 Tbs.) has a whopping 10 grams of fiber!)

Assorted Seasonings (Feel free to experiment but I just used 1 Tbs. dried Italian Seasoning, 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic and a pinch of salt, as I am a low-salt person, so adjust according to your taste preferences. Just keep in mind that whatever sauce you use will have salt and seasonings too).

1/2 cup shredded Carrots

1/2 cup shredded Zucchini

1 – 2 Tbs. Olive Oil for cooking

  • Combine all ingredients (except the olive oil) then put in a food processor and pulse until combined, it will somewhat resemble a paste.
  • Pinch of small pieces and roll to form meatballs.
  • Cook in a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat until cooked through.

I like to make these in large quantities and freeze them.  This way, I can just grab what I need and toss into some pasta sauce as it is cooking for an almost effortless gluten-free meal! 😀

Please forgive my dark photos, we had tinting placed on all our windows last week as the sun is really intense here in the high desert! I am going to have to figure something out, but until then… bare with me 🙂

I start by making the flax egg first:

1 Tbs. Ground Flaxseed.

I added 3 Tbs. Water

You will have a watery mixture at first.

After a minute or two, the watery mixture will congeal and have the texture of an egg white.

i used 1 lb. Ground Bison

Add 1/2 cup Oats

Add 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

This is optional, but I added 1 tsp. Vivagave Inulin Powder for added fiber.

Add the Flax Egg. You can see the texture better in this photo.

Add your desired seasonings.

Add 1/2 cup shredded Carrot.

Add 1/2 cup shredded Zucchini

Add the combined mixture to a food processor and add 2 Tbs. Milk then pulse.

You will have an interesting looking "paste," but don't worry!

Shape meatballs and cooking in a skillet with added olive oil, over medium heat until cooked through.

Click here for a guide to internal cooking temperatures, beef is 160° F., turkey is 165° F. I cannot recommend getting a good cooking thermometer enough! I recently bought a new one at my local Restaurant Supply Store for around $25, and so far I am very impressed (my OXO didn’t last but a few months).

Once the meatballs are done cooking, I drain them on a paper towel. I then place the meatballs on a cookie sheet, uncovered, and place in my deep freezer for a couple of hours until they are frozen solid. I store them in a Freezer Ziploc bag and usually use them within a month (at most). Mike has been enjoying meatball subs again and Sam and Luke like to stick the cupcake picks in the meatballs and just have them for lunch. They are even coming up to me and asking, “Mom, may we please have “appetizers” for lunch?” LOL!

See? No "detectable veggies!"

Sam wanted me to show his creation… the tree is from the Monster Truck Cake I made a few weeks ago and he stuck it in his meatball. Love it!

Gluten-Free Lettuce Wraps, P.F. Chang’s Style

Has anyone been to P.F. Chang’s yet to try their new gluten-free menu? I haven’t been yet, it’s a little tough during the school week but will be going soon! Sam and I are going to have a mommy/son “date” on Friday (no school) and go to P.F. Chang’s for lunch (then to see Alice in Wonderland)! It will be nice to try something new, I get the exact same thing every time I go: Cantonese Shrimp with brown rice and I always manage to sneak in a lettuce wrap (or 2). The Egg Drop soup is really good too, We order the big bowl and take the left overs home, it heats up well (it’s more cost-effective to buy the bowl and take the leftovers home).

Anyway, I really like the lettuce wraps, we all do in our family, but I like to limit how often we eat out to minimize our risk of cross-contamination. So, what’s a girl to do? Make her own of course! I have been planning this for awhile, but I needed to do my research. One of my friends is a manager at my local P.F. Changs and I bribed him to tell me how they make those poofy rice noodles! I’m sure I could have Googled it (Google knows everything, sometimes spooky, usually beneficial) but somehow it sounded better to refer to my “inside scoop!” 😀  He didn’t give me the full recipe though, so I Googled a “copycat” recipe and landed on this one as my first experiment. I found the recipe on Epicurean.com, I will list it again here with my GF Tweaks/Suggestions in red.

P.F.Chang’s Soothing Lettuce Wraps

8 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms (I found these at Whole Foods)
1 tsp. Cornstarch (you can use Arrowroot powder if you avoid corn)
2 tsp. Dry Sherry (if you need a substitute for the Sherry, I found this website that offers a suggestion. Look under “Sherry,” then follow directions for Substituting Sherry in a Marinade).
2 tsp. Water
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1 1/2-pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken (I used a blend of thigh and breast meat. A tip to help with cubing/dicing the chicken: cut it while it is still partially frozen, it is much easier!!).
5 Tbs. Oil (I used Sesame Oil)
1 tsp. fresh Ginger, minced (I just learned this trick: to peel ginger, use a metal spoon! I used Luke’s toddler spoon and it is much easier to get in the little grooves. I didn’t mince the ginger, I used my microplane to grate the ginger, so much easier! I also do my garlic this way, I hate mincing. 🙂 )
2 cloves Garlic, minced (microplane)
2 Green Onions, minced (I just sliced it, no mincing)
2 small Dried Chilis, (optional) (I omitted this)
8-oz. can Bamboo Shoots, minced (I cut as small as my patience would allow, which means not much)
8-oz. can Water Chestnuts, minced (same as above)
1 package Cellophane Chinese Rice Noodles, prepared according to package (don’t prepare according to the package, just break into small pieces, about  1 1/2 to 2-inches or so in length. You will drop the dry, uncooked noodles into hot oil (for about 2 seconds (really, no longer, or they will burn), see photo tutorial below).

Cooking Sauce:

1 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce (I used Dynasty brand)
1 Tbsp. Soy sauce (I used San-J Low-Sodium Organic Tamari)
1 Tbsp. Dry sherry
2 Tbsp. Oyster sauce (I used Wok Mei, which I had to order on Amazon, but it is sooo worth it!)
2 Tbsp. Water
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
1 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder)

Lettuce for wrapping (I just used Iceberg)

  • Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems, mince mushrooms, set aside.
  • Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside.
  • In medium bowl, combine cornstarch (or Arrowroot powder), sherry, water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly.
  • Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.
  • Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add 3 Tbsp oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Add 2 Tbsp oil to pan.
  • Add ginger, garlic, chilies (if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so.
  • Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes.
  • Return chicken to pan.
  • Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot.
  • Place broken, fried cellophane noodles on bottom of a serving dish. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon into lettuce leaf, top with GF soy sauce (to taste), and roll.

Okay, here is the photo montage portion of the recipe. Please let me know if you like this aspect or if it is annoying. I do not presume that someone cannot figure this out on their own, but I do this more with my kids in mind (flash forward 15+ years) or as a guide for someone who is new to cooking in general (especially with the gluten-free baked goods).

I found these dried Shiitake mushrooms at Whole Foods, in the Asian section.

Place 8 dried Shiitake mushrooms in a bowl,

Pour hot water over the mushrooms,

allow to set for 30 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the cooking sauce,

Whisk together. I made this earlier in the day then stored in the refrigerator until I was ready for it.

I found these at Whole Foods as well, but they are also available at Asian markets.

Break the noodles up into 1 1/2 – 2-inch pieces (roughly)

Heat the oil (I used canola), just make sure it is not too hot, 325° F. – 350° F. is optimal.

Drop the uncooked and broken rice noodles into the hot oil,

watch them “poof,” then remove promptly.

Just in case you missed it (okay, this was just A LOT of fun!)

“Poof!”

Remove the noodles quickly, or they will “brown” as you see in this picture!

I am weaning through my canned products, does anyone know if there is a fresh or frozen version of water chesnuts or bamboo shoots??

Yes, I know this a product of China. Yes, I know this product probably barely passed the minimum FDA standards.  Based on some of my previous posts, you know this is somewhat of a concern of mine.  And yes, our Asian cooking may have to exclude water chestnuts and bamboo shoots that are the “Product of China” in the future.  Do your own research…Google strikes again!

Peel your fresh ginger with a spoon, very easy and you are less likely to end up with a “totem pole” band-aid finger!

Stir-fry chicken until fully cooked, remove from pan and set aside (I put it on a paper towel covered plate). Drain any remaining liquid from the pan. I will try to “mince” the chicken next time (when Mike is home so he can do it!!).

After you remove the chicken, drain any remaining chicken “liquid,” then add oil, ginger, garlic and green onion. Stir-fry for about a minute.

Add “minced” water chesnuts and bamboo shoots,

Stir-fry for a couple of minutes,

Add cooking sauce,

Cook through,

Serve over “poofy” fried rice noodles!

Wrap in lettuce of your choice, enjoy!!

Gluten-Free “Dude Food” (a.k.a. Concession Stand Nachos)

I realize that the Super Bowl is long gone by now, but gluten-free “dude food” is always in demand since apparently there is a game of “something” on every single day of the year (I actually caught my husband watching Ping Pong the other day).  Sports are a way of life around here… so much for my dramas (did they ever get off the island?).

Anyway, Mike has been asking me to post more gluten-free “dude food” recipes so here I go… it’s not really a recipe though, merely a few steps: you open a can, a jar and a bag!

Nachos, Concession Stand Syle

Step One (I will make this a picture recipe, since this is how Mike reads a recipe and a grocery list!):

Go to Sam’s Club and buy a can of Bakers and Chefs Nacho Cheese Sauce

Mike REALLY begged me not to put the nutrition label on here, but I did anyway so he will be forced to walk the aisle of nutrition shame! 😉

Step 2:

Pour some of the cheese sauce into a sauce pan (or Crock-Pot) and set heat to medium-low (or low on Crock-Pot).

Step 3:

This is optional but this is how I made Nacho Cheese Sauce back in the day when I worked at the movie theater concession stand (early 90’s before the pre-made Nacho trays became standard).

Pour some Jalapeno Juice from the jar of pickled jalapenos into the cheese sauce to thin it out and add some heat (or just use water).

Stir to incorporate the cheese sauce and the jalapeno juice (or water); heat through (but watch closely or the cheese sauce will scorch).

Step 4:

Open bag of your favorite GF Tortilla Chips, we like Santitas:

I kick it up a notch buy purchasing Nacho Trays at Sam’s Club, you get 125 of them for just under $5.00!  I would really like for someone to make a nacho shaped tray that is reusable!

Step 5:

Assemble!

Step 6:

Enjoy! My “dudes” love to have these during special sporting events and we also whip out a few batches of these when we have friends and family over for BBQ’s and such during the summer. For Luke’s first birthday, we made a Nacho Bar, it was a lot of fun! It’s all about the trays, I’m telling you! 😀

They begin very young… 😉

Gluten-Free Chex Mix

I realize this is probably a no-brainer, but it actually just dawned on me not too long ago when Sam needed some Chex Mix for his “Friday Fun Snack,” that I could make my own gluten-free version!  So just in case it has not occurred to someone else, I thought I would post the recipe here and make some replacement suggestions too!

Original recipe is in black, my gluten-free tweaks/thoughts are in red.

Original Chex Mix

3 cups Corn Chex Cereal (I used 4 1/2 cups Corn Chex to make up the difference from removing the Wheat Chex)

3 cups Rice Chex Cereal (I used 4 1/2 cups Rice Chex to make up the difference from removing the Wheat Chex)

3 cups Wheat Chex Cereal (If you are gluten-free, OMIT this entirely!)

1 cup Mixed Nuts (Substitution ideas: Sunflower Seeds, or here is a recipe for making roasted peas, (I would omit their seasoning all together and use the Chex Mix Seasoning instead so you don’t clash flavors!)  You could also omit this entirely and bump up the quantity of the pretzels or something else, by making your own, you can customize!)

1 cup Bite-Size Pretzels (I used Glutino’s Gluten-Free Pretzel Twists)

1 cup Garlic-Flavor Bite-Size Bagel Chips or Regular-Size Bagel Chips, broken into 1-inch pieces (I am going to try and make my own, now that I can make a gluten-free bagel!! Another cool idea might be to make some gluten-free Goldfish Crackers to add-in)

6 Tbs. Butter or Margarine (I used Original Smart Balance in the tub, Earth Balance Buttery Spread is Dairy-Free and works just as well)

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins is gluten-free. Just found a recipe on how to make your own Worcestershire Sauce, I will have to try that!)

1 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt (here is a recipe to make your own “copycat” Lawry’s Seasoned Salt)

3/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

  • In a large bowl mix cereal, nuts, pretzels, etc., and set aside.
  • In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, margarine or dairy-free substitute, on high until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated.
  • I baked mine in the oven, but you can click here for the microwave method.
  • Heat oven to 250° F.
  • Spread the uncooked Chex Mix evenly on a large ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Spread out on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes more.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Combine everything except the seasonings in a large bowl.

Add the melted butter and Worcestershire sauce to the dry seasonings, then mix well before adding to cereal mixture.

Spread mix out on a large, ungreased baking sheet then pop in the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Tastes JUST like the pre-packaged version to me.  Well, except for the nuts… are nuts even in the store-bought Chex Mix??

Nice occasional treat to set out during homework time or have for Family Game Night! 😀

Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket

This is so cool. Personally, I was most amazed with the “Super Versatile Bread Dough” from a recipe I made with my new BFF, Better Batter Gluten Free Flour! This is the first time in years that I have felt “real” dough in my hands. I could not stop playing with it!

Super Versatile Bread Dough

1 1/2 cup Milk (I used Skim Milk, but I am sure a dairy-free substitute would work just as well)

1/3 cup Sugar

2 tsp. Salt

4 Tbs. Butter (I used Earth Balance, which is dairy free and made my the same company as Smart Balance, which is not dairy-free)

1 package Active Dry Yeast (I used 2 1/2 tsp. bulk packaged Yeast, which is VERY INEXPENSIVE at Sam’s Club and Costco)

1 Egg

3-4 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour

  • Heat the milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a sauce pan until warmed (not too hot).
  • In a large bowl mix together, yeast and egg. Slowly add the warm liquid and whisk together.
  • Add enough Better Batter Gluten Free Flour to be like play dough and beat together well for 3 minutes.
  • Divide dough into two parts. Roll out each part of dough using flour for a heavy floured surface.

For the “Pigs in a Blanket” Portion:

  • Roll the dough out into a large circle, about 1/8″ thick.
  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut it like you would a pizza or pie. The size of the triangles will depend on the size of the frank you are going to roll up.
  • Take your cocktail frank (do your homework to make sure it is gluten-free) or take your favorite hot dog/hot dog substitute/breakfast sausage link and cut into smaller pieces, and starting at the outside (widest end), lay the frank on top of the dough and roll it up!
  • Once you are finished, you can either bake right away or freeze to use later! Your very own GF homemade quick freezer food! 🙂
  • I have baked these right away and have baked them from the frozen state and both ways work great.
  • Before baking, I brushed mine with an egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbs. water.
  • I baked mine at 350° F. for 15 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven and the type of frank you use. I would recommend to set the timer for 10 minutes, then keep checking every few minutes thereafter.

3 Little Pigs: Mike, Sam and Luke! I got one out of the whole batch! 😉

First up: I added the Better Batter GF Flour to the bowl of my KitchenAid

Yeast Mixture

Add yeast mixture to the flour

I do not use a dough hook in most of my GF "dough's" since they are really more of a batter, but this is "Better Batter" check out what happens...

You can pick it up and your fingers won't turn into a sticky glob of goo! 🙂

Still can't get over it.

Roll the dough around in the flour then press it into a flattened disc; then roll out with a pin into a large circle approximately 1/8" thick.

Roll up your franks...

You can either freeze at this point or brush with an egg wash and bake!

Mike said these tasted just like the "Pigs in a Blanket" that his late grandmother used to make, that gave me goosebumps!

Gluten Free Chow Mein Noodles, Take 2

Whew, VERY busy day! I tried to catch up on my holiday “pre-baking.” I like to make all of my dough ahead of time, freeze them and then just pull them out and cook as needed. Today I got all of the peanut butter centers for my Buckeyes formed and frozen, and made 3 batches of sugar cookie dough (trying new recipes!).  I also made a second attempt at gluten free Fig Newtons, and although they are still ugly, the filling is as close as I have come thus far.  Now I just need to work on the cookie form!

I also tried to finish up my homemade gifts that I like to give the gals in my life. Having DH as well as celiac I am very conscious of the skin care products I use. Last year, when the economy was exceptionally bad (at least it was for our family), I thought it would be fun to learn how to make my own soaps to give as Christmas gifts. I had so much fun, I branched out to body scrubs (the last body scrub I purchased was for $40 and I can make my own for about $1 using stuff out of my pantry!!).

Lastly, I received a box of Choice Batter to taste test and review on my blog, so I worked on that today too. We did the tasting tonight (yum) and I will try and get my review done tomorrow. The reason I mention this now though, other than to entice you to come back and see a great new GF product 😀 , is that before I fried the chicken, I took advantage of the hot oil and tried out chow mein noodles again.

I really cannot tell you how close these are to the real thing because I cannot remember what the chow mein noodles in the can taste like! I can tell you this though…they turned out GREAT!

I stumbled across an article on About.com on How to Make Chow Mein Noodles. Basically, they are parboiled noodles that are pan fried on each side. The recipe in the article calls for egg noodles, but I just used the GF noodles I had on hand. I also deep fried them instead of pan frying them since the oil for the fried chicken was heating up. I tested this recipe using Orgran’s Corn and Rice Spaghetti, Eden Selected 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles, and Tinkyada Brown Rice (with Rice Bran) Spaghetti.

Gluten Free Chow Mein Noodles

1/2 pound GF Spaghetti

Oil for frying

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

  • Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package (I broke my noodles into small pieces before I cooked them). If no directions are available, cook the noodles in 8 cups of boiling water until they are cooked “al dente” – tender, but with a bit of resistance in the middle. Use a wooden spoon, or cooking chopsticks to separate the noodles while they are cooking, (I cooked mine for about half the time each package indicated).

The rest of the directions are simply what I did:

  • Remove the noodles with a slotted spoon and place in a colander. Rinse the noodles twice in cold water and drain thoroughly each time.
  • Toss the noodles in 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
  • In a large pan or dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high heat.
  • When the oil is hot, toss in a few of the parboiled broken spaghetti noodles at a time. They will be done when the pasta floats to the top.
  • Remove with a skimmer and drain.

This is the Orgran "Chow Mein." They are good, but took last place because of the corn. The corn made the chow mein taste too much like popcorn.

This is the 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodle. The Soba took second in taste, but first in the color category.

Hands down, the Tinkyada placed first for us. Not sure if they are an exact carbon copy, but that didn't matter, we loved them! I will break the noodles into smaller pieces next time.

Gluten Free Goldfish Crackers, part deux

I think I have O.G.C.D. (Obsessive Goldfish Cracker Disorder).

The recipe that I posted back in August by Roben Ryberg (founder of the famous Ms. Roben’s) for Goldfish crackers just continues to amaze people at how much they taste like the Pepperidge Farms version. They are super easy to make and you can even get little goldfish cookie cutters online.

I tried something a little different this weekend just to see how it would work. I added food coloring. Normally, I only use or give the boys foods with artificial food colorings on special occasions, like in the icing for their birthday cakes, etc. But the more I read about this stuff, the more concerned I get. I am starting to look into natural food colorings derived from fruits and vegetables, heck I might even try to make my own!

But until then, maybe you will at least enjoy a good laugh at my O.C.G.D. 🙂

See what I mean? I am now making the smiley faces, just like the store-bought Goldfish! I need help...

Tie-Dye Goldfish! Like my "bubbles?" They do look like bubbles right? I promise there are no funny ingredients in my goldfish...LOL! 😀

In the bottom right is a little fish with no coloring added. The other orange fish you see is with orange coloring added.

French Fried Onion Rings

Ever have one of those moments, when it seems that out of nowhere an idea enters your head and you wonder why on earth you never thought of it before?? I had one of those moments last night…so much so, that I decided to make French Fried Onions at 11pm!

A childhood memory came up last night as I was chatting with a childhood buddy on Facebook. When we were kids and we had sleepovers at her house, in the morning her dad would make French Toast and with the left over Milk/Egg mixture and flour, he would make “French” Bacon! I know it sounds weird but it was so good! So I thought to myself, French Toast, French Bacon…wonder if that process would work for French Fried Onions??!! I couldn’t wait until next week to find out so, I experimented last night! I was really impressed with the outcome, the GF French Fried Onions came out the crispiest of all the recipes I have tried over the years. All I have to do now is try it in Green Bean Casserole, which I am getting ready to do I write this.

The recipe that I posted before, inspired from Gluten Free Mommy was pretty much all there except for the egg. Easy enough. So, I just cracked the egg, beat it and added it to the milk that I used for soaking the onions!

One last change I made was using little white boiler onions. I thought they would look more like the little onions in the can. 🙂

Gluten-Free French Fried Onion Rings

1 (16-oz.) bag of Boiler Onions, peeled and sliced into rings

Approximately 3 cups of Milk (or dairy substitute)

1 Egg, beaten

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. White Pepper

Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used 1/2 cup Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch, 1/2 cup Sweet Rice Flour, 1/2 cup Soy Flour)

Oil for Frying

Measure out your flours, salt and pepper in a bowl, use a whisk to incorporate all the dry ingredients, set aside.

In a separate bowl add milk and beaten egg, whisk to incorporate. Add the sliced onion rings to the milk/egg mixture and let soak while oil is heating.

Green Bean Casserole 4

I put about an inch or so of Canola oil in a dutch oven and allowed it to get hot. You will know if the oil is ready by flicking a few drops of water into the oil and if it sizzles, it’s ready.

I put a few of the pre-soaked onion rings (allow excess milk/egg mixture to drain off) into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir to coat (tip: whenever I go to Pei Wei, I always snag a few sets of disposable chopsticks to use when dredging onions in flour…this helps to avoid getting a club hand).

Green Bean Casserole 3

Place onions in the hot oil, a few at a time and allow to cook for a couple of minutes until brown.

Remove, drain and add extra salt if you want.

Repeat until all of the onions have been cooked!

There were 3 major differences in this batch of French Fried Onions over the recipes I have used in the past, all because of an egg.

  1. This batch of French Fried Onions were significantly crunchier that the first batch, which were a bit more greasy.
  2. The onions browned up much better and
  3. The breading stayed on the onions and did not flake off as it always has for me in the past.

Even if you have your own favorite recipe and do not use this one, try adding an egg to the milk! 😉

Gluten Free Chow Mein Noodles, Take 1

Okay, so this is a work in progress but I wanted to show that it is possible, I just need to find the right noodle!

Sam’s school does a neat little thing every Friday called Friday Fun. On Fridays, they make/cook a snack and at the end of the year the kids will have a little cookbook of all the recipes for the year. Sam’s teacher sends home the recipe early each week and I try to make Sam a GF carbon copy of the ingredients needed or find an acceptable substitute.

A few weeks ago, they made Butterscotch Haystacks. Quick Note: Toll House Butterscotch Chips ARE NOT gluten free. Kroger makes a generic butterscotch chip that IS gluten free. Butterscotch Haystacks are a candy and they are usually made with chow mein noodles. There are also recipes that use pretzels and that was what I ended up doing because I was short on time. I subbed Glutino GF Pretzel Sticks for the chow mein noodles.

The chow mein noodles have been bugging me though. 😉 I have been mulling over ideas on how to make my own GF chow mein noodles, and have tried frying up rice vermicelli noodles, (like the puffy noodles that PF Changs uses in their GF Lettuce Wraps) which worked as far as little noodles were concerned but they are too fragile to hold up to the hot butterscotch.

Yesterday, I found some short rice/corn spaghetti noodles by Orgran and thought I would try those. Once again, they worked but the corn in the noodle gave the GF chow mein a distinct popcorn flavor! They are really good but not quite the La Choy Chow Mein noodles that I remember. I am going to keep experimenting but wanted to show the process just in case you are in need of GF chow mein noodles and want to experiment!

Make your own GF Chow Mein Noodles

  • Heat canola oil until hot enough for deep frying. Toss in dry noodles (I did not boil mine beforehand).
  • The noodles will puff up and float to the top, remove with a spider skimmer or large slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Chow Mein1

Chow Mein2

Chow Mein3