Cook Kindly

Adventures in cooking and navigating a gluten-free life.


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Enchilada Lasagna Style

Since going GF, I’ve come to realize that corn tortillas are not nearly as pliable as their gluten-laced flour counterparts. That and they are so darn small! Making enchiladas with corn tortillas takes a lot of (rolling) work. So, in a pregnant-lady-starving-hunger-need-to-make-dinner-pronto moment of genius, I decided to make an Enchilada Lasagna so to speak.  Instead of filling and rolling those tiny tortillas, why couldn’t I just stack them up? Brilliant. 

 

I already had some cooked shredded chicken on hand (rotisserie chicken would work great, too), which I combined with a can of diced green chilis. I layed out all of my ingredients and set to layering. 

Layer tortillas, refried beans, chicken/chilis

Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a glass pan, I used the green kind. Smear refried beans on tortillas and layer across the bottom of your pan, then sprinkle chicken/chili mixture and shredded cheddar cheese on top. Continue the layering process until you’ve used all of your ingredients (or filled your pan). Before the final top layer of cheese, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top, then layer on the cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, remove tinfoil for last few minutes to brown up the cheese. MMMM. 

add a layer of cheese

I made La Preferida Spanish Rice as a side dish, which was delicious…and a somewhat rare find for a gluten free flavored rice! 

La Preferida Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

cooked chicken, shredded

refried beans (you could use black beans too)

diced green chilis

enchilada sauce

shredded cheddar cheese

optional: frozen or canned corn, onions, other veggies/meat, sour cream, tomatoes (fresh or canned), olives, jalapenos…anything else that sounds good to you. 

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Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

In my pre gluten free days I wasn’t a HUGE sandwich eater, but now and then I enjoyed a good philly cheesesteak or cuban sandwich. For the most part, since being gluten free I don’t really miss eating gluten things, except for the part where eating out is much more difficult and much less exciting. I was rather excited when I came across an idea on Pinterest for Philly Cheesesteak stuffed Bell Peppers. I knew it was something Ryan would love, and a new dinner option.

Green peppersWe started by sauteeing some chopped onion in olive oil with garlic, until the onions were soft and beginning to be translucent. This would be a perfect time to add mushrooms, if you’re including them (we didn’t, since Ryan doesn’t like mushrooms). Then add in chopped, sliced roast beef (from the deli counter is great). Sautee until the beef and onion are cooked through. I added a steak seasoning (one of those grilling mate type things). Once the beef and onions were warmed, assembly began. 

Slice green peppers in half top-to-bottom and clean out any seeds. 

peppers with cheeseLay the pepper halves on a foil lined cookie sheet (clean-up is that much easier). Line each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese (of pepper jack would be great, too). Pile on the onion and beef mixture, until the peppers are nearly over-flowing. Top with another slice of cheese. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. 

Peppers stuffed with meat and cheeseRyan and I made a couple of mistakes on this recipe, probably because I don’t actually follow recipes (unless I’m baking), I just use them as a guide. First off, we only used one slice of cheese total per pepper half (1/2 slice on the bottom and 1/2 slice on the top), it wasn’t quite cheesey/gooey enough. Secondly, we only baked the pepper for about 10 minutes, the cheese was nicely melted, but the peppers were still a little too raw. We threw them back in the oven for about 8 more minutes, resulting in a divine philly stuffed pepper. 

Ingredients (these are rough estimates, feel free to adjust to your liking)

4 green peppers

8 slices provolone cheese

1 lb sliced roast beef

1/2 large onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic

seasoning (salt/pepper, grill seasoning, etc)

1 Tablespoon olive oil, for sauteeing


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Spring (Summer) Rolls

Nature's Path Gluten Free Granola BarsI am always on the look out for easy, delicious (and generally nutritious) gluten free snacks. In my former, gluten, life I loved the ease and convenience of granola bars. Well, GF granola bars are either yucky, crazy expensive or SUPER hard to find. It’s rather frustrating. With that said, I have found one granola bar, which I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE (but can hardly find, because they are alway sold out). Nature’s Path has a dark chocolate chunk GF granola bar. This is the closest to my former love of granola bars. Delicious, and actually very reasonably priced. Hooray! Now, if only I could figure out when to get to the store before they are sold out! I’ve only found these little gems at ONE of my local target stores (believe me, I check ANY Target I walk into these days), so keep your eyes peeled, if you like granola bars, you’ll love these. 

You’re probably wondering why the title of this post is Spring Rolls and I’ve been talking about granola bars. Well, um, excellent question. Can I say that was a little pregnancy-brain side track? 

Spring (or as some people call them Summer) Rolls, I’m talking the fresh, not fried Thai appetizer. I adore spring rolls, but rarely take the time to make them. Over the weekend, I had some extra rice and a few on-hand ingredients so figured I’d see what I could concoct. Generally, I like to make spring rolls with more ingredients, but these basic ones are pretty delicious. 

Start with rice paper wrappers – available in most grocery stores.

cooked rice (or rice noodles)

lime juice

rice wine vinegar

lettuce

shredded carrot

green onion

chili sauce (sriracha) – optional

Spring Rolls

Pardon the picture, I was so hungry, I ate one of the rolls and quickly photographed this one before devouring that, too.

I combined my cooked rice with some lime juice, rice wine, and a little bit of sriracha sauce. Soften your rice paper in warm water, layer in some rice, lettuce, and shredded carrot and roll those little buddies like a burrito. If you’re like me, your spring rolls won’t look super pretty, but if you get all the edges pulled together, your ingredients should stay neatly tucked inside. 

I have to say that my ingredient list wasn’t the tastiest spring roll combination I’ve ever come up with. It was pretty basic and somewhat bland. The sweet chili dipping sauce though made a huge difference. There are so many options when making spring rolls, a few ideas off the top of my head: cooked chicken or shrimp, mango slices, fresh mint or basil, and radishes. Mix-and-match ingredients to your hearts content. Let me know what you like (or what you don’t like).

Just a note, I use rice in my spring rolls because I make rice all the time, so it’s easy and faster for me than making rice noodles… however, rice noodles stay in the wrappers a little better while eating (and dipping).

Happy snacking friends.  


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Carrot Cake, simple and easy

I have found that Betty Crocker makes some delicious gluten free mixes. The cookies and cakes come out moist and delicious. Unlike other mixes I’ve tried, Betty doesn’t leave me wishing for my gluten days again.

With a box of yellow cake mix, I set out to find some way to take it to another level. Luckily, my google search turned up a seemingly easy carrot cake recipe. Viola! I compiled the ingredients according to the directions and put my cake in the oven. It was very easy and simple to make, and I cheated a bit, buying a can of cream cheese frosting (double checking that it was gluten free, as I’ve come across a few that are not).

Betty Crocker's Yellow Cake Mix turned into Carrot Cake - Gluten Free!

Betty Crocker’s Yellow Cake Mix turned into Carrot Cake – Gluten Free!

The cake sure looks delicious, although slightly oddly shaped. I have no idea why the cake rose to such a peak in the middle. The taste was fantastic, although slightly dried out, but I think this was due to the longer cooking time to get the peak part fully cooked. Overall, a yellow cake box success!

Below is the full recipe from Betty Crocker’s website, including the frosting recipe. If you set out to make this cake, let me know how it turns out for you. I choose not to include any nuts in the cake, just an FYI.

Ingredients

Cake

1 box (15 oz) Betty Crocker® Gluten Free yellow cake mix
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup finely shredded carrots (2 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Frosting

4 oz (half of 8-oz package) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/4 cup coconut, if desired

Directions

  • 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 8- or 9-inch square pan with shortening, or spray with cooking spray.
  • 2 In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, 1/2 cup butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons vanilla and eggs on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. With spoon, stir in carrots and pecans. Spread in pan.
  • 3 Bake 36 to 41 minutes for 8-inch pan or 33 to 38 minutes for 9-inch pan or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • 4 In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. Stir in coconut. Spread frosting over cake.