Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Planner and Timeline

I had such a nice and easy time this year preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. I took my time, made ahead a little each day. Scheduled time to relax with my family each day. One day we went out to a buffet, one day we went to the movies and enjoyed Thanksgiving themed crafts. Each night we all cuddled on the couch and it was just lovely. The timeline worked so nicely, I decided to blog about it for next year.

A week or two ahead:
Plan menu
Review all recipe and cross check with your pantry
Make shopping list
Purchase all necessary ingredients
Buy frozen turkey and place in refrigerator to thaw (takes a week)
Made Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes and placed them in the deep freezer

Monday:
Make Fresh Loaves of Bread
Make Fresh Pie crusts
Peel, Slice Bake/Boil Sweet Potatoes
Take Potatoes out of Deep Freezer an put in refrigerator

Tuesday:
Turn Fresh loaf of bread into Croutons
Make Carrot Souffle
Make Cranberry Sauce

Wednesday:
Make Pies (cheesecake, mousse pie, pumpkin)
Make cream soup
Make French Fried Onions (leave out on cookie sheet or they will get soft)
Chop Veggies for Stuffing
Make Brine for Turkey

Wednesday Night:
Place thawed turkey in brine overnight
Vacuum and Mop

Thanksgiving Day:

AM:
Make fresh loaves of bread for Breakfast/Dinner
Add onions to oven to re-crisp if necessary
Cook Onions and Celery for Stuffing & Make Stuffing (allow to cool)
Place Carrot Souffle in Crock Pot
Clean up and wash all dishes (put away)

Mid Morning:
Set Table
(If using linens that need ironing, do so a few days before)

11 am:
Make Sweet Tea
Prep and set out small snacks and finger sandwiches

2 PM:
Whip fresh cream for pies
Brew Coffee if serving

3PM:
Take Turkey out and Tent
Place sides in oven
Make Turkey Gravy





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Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Mousse Pie with Pecan Crust

Crust:
2 cup chopped toasted pecans
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter (cut into small pieces)

Filling:

6 oz bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon Orange Liquor (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
shaved chocolate for garnish (optional)

Mix the pecans, butter, and sugar in food processor until butter and pecans are finely chopped and everything mixes evenly together. Press pecan mixture into pie pan bottom and up the sides.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly

In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, vanilla, orange liquor, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Whisk in until smooth and pale yellow.

Place egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and orange liquor over double boiler and continue to whisk over simmering water until thickened.

Remove from heat and continue to whisk until cooled, but not cold.
*CAUTION: Must be cool before you add chocolate or chocolate will overcook*

Add chocolate to sugar mixture and stir until combined

Whip 1 cup of whipping cream to soft peaks and fold into chocolate mixture.

Pour the chocolate mousse into the prepared pie shell and chill for at least 1 hour.

Add 1/4 cup sugar to the rest of the cream (1 1/2 cups) and whip. Top the pie. Garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired.
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Amazing Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 pre made pie crust (gluten-free if necessary)
Bake chilled pie crust at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Let cool.

Filling:
10 oz premium dark chocolate, minimum 60%
cocoa solids, chopped
2 oz butter, melted and cooled
8 oz (1 1/2 cups) brown sugar
9 oz heavy cream
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
12 oz pecan halves, roughly chopped in half again

Melt chocolate over a double boiler of barely simmering water. Mix together brown sugar, heavy cream, eggs, butter and vanilla. Stir in melted chocolate. Add pecans. Pour into the par baked pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Check pie crust at 30 minutes and cover with foil if browning too much.

Recipe courtesy of Deerfields Print

The Best New York Style Cheesecake Recipe Ever

1 cup Graham Cracker or Cookie Crumbs
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Butter, Room Temperature
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Nuts (optional)

5 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
3 tablespoons Flour blend
5 Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon, rind of (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line bottom of a 9 inch spring-form pan with foil (parchment can also be used) and spray with oil.

For Crust:

  • Combine the crackers/cookies and butter, mix well. Stir in the nuts. 
  • Press the mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan and bake for 8 minutes.  
  • Set aside to cool.  
  • Spray cooled inside of pan with oil.


For Cake:

Lower oven temperature to 500 degrees.

  • Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the large mixing bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Beat with an electric mixer on lowest speed until fluffy.
  • Add flour and eggs / egg yolks one at a time, beating on low speed until just combined.
  • Stir in sour cream and lemon rind (optional).
  • Pour into pan.
  • Place pan in a slightly larger shallow baking pan.
  • Fill baking pan with enough hot water until half way up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Reduce Oven Temperature to 325 degree F oven about 1-1/2 hours or until center appears nearly set when shaken.
  • Cool 15 minutes.
  • Loosen crust from sides of pan by running a knife around the edges.  Leave sides still on.
  • Cool 30 minutes more.
  • Remove sides of pan and cool completely in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours before serving.
Notes:
  1. To make these into Cupcakes, eliminate the 500 degrees for 12 minutes step.  
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of crumbs in each cupcake liner, spray with oil and bake as instructed.
  3. Place about 3 to 4  tablespoons of batter into each cupcake cup.
  4. Put a separate pan of water in the oven when making this into cupcakes instead of the water bath.
  5. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Turn oven off and open door.  Leave cupcakes to cool for about an hour.  This step prevents the middles from sinking.
  7. It is important to not over mix this cake.  Over mixing will result in sinkage and cracking.
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Crisp Crusted Pork or Chicken

I just loved the coating on this recipe.

1 frying chicken (3 to 3 1/4 lb.)
1 egg
2 tbsp. milk
1 c. instant potato flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. butte

Wash chicken and pat dry. Beat egg and milk in bowl. Another bowl, mix potato flakes, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese. Roll chicken in egg mix, then potato flakes mixture.

Melt butter in shallow baking pan. Roll coated chicken pieces in the butter and place skin side up in pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until juices from thighs run clear when pierced with fork. Garnish. Print

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 23rd, 2009

Monday:

Tuesday:
Fried Chicken and Fries

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:
Shepherds Pie
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

This post is the grand finale of all my planned thanksgiving recipes. The complete list. This year everything is made from scratch with whole foods. No preservatives, nothing artificial. Oh, and no Gluten either. This would not be the first time I attempted this made from scratch dinner, but the first time that I'm a stay at home mom and have the time to do it right.

I expect a visit from my mother right after Thanksgiving so I've been making extras of things to serve when she was here (see potato week post). Make ahead mashed potatoes, Gnocchi, twice baked sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, cream soup to use for cooking. This goes along with all my usual make ahead things (meatloaf, meatballs, hamburgers, chicken pieces (2 cup portions), ground beef base.

So here it is, the moment you have all been waiting for. The complete list of recipes:

Dessert:

All of my recipes this year are budget friendly. Turkey we secured for free though hubby's work. Stuffing I'm making from scratch so the cost of the flour ($3 for my specialty flour). Potatoes were $2.99 for 20 lb bag last week. I got about 10 make ahead dishes out of those 20 pounds. so thats $.60 cents for two trays for Thanksgiving dinner. Carrots were $.99 cents for a 2 lb bag on manager special. Yams were 4 x $.25. each. The green beans and corn I secured for $.50 a bag at the big veggie event at Kroger. Making my own French fried onions. Cranberries were super duper expensive ~ lol ~ $2.50 a bag. Can of DOLE pineapple was free from Kroger event. Turkey gravy free from drippings and can of pumpkin with coupon, about $.50 cents. I had coupons for Domino sugar ($1 off 2) and Kroger also had them $10 for 10 so even this ingredient was cheap. Including other various inredients (milk, butter, sour cream, sugars, etc) I spent about 15 dollars this year.

I don't think I have ever managed to do Thanksgiving for such little money. We used to budget $300 dollars for Thanksgiving food. Maybe next year I still should and donate the rest to shelters (turkeys). Because in my opinion, if you have turkey you have thanksgiving dinner.

Being Gluten Free I dont use canned gravy. I like having home made fresh gravy in my freezer stash anyway. So when my sister makes the two turkeys in her oven she typically throws the bones away. I'm going over her house after to take the bones off her hands and make myself more stock.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Made From Scratch Green Bean Casserole

Fried Onions:
3 medium onions, sliced thin with Mandolin
1 egg
2 cups milk
2 cups Flour (GF mix for me)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
pinch to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
frying oil

Cream Soup (or see my cream of Kind soup recipe):
2 Tablespoons butter
12 ounce mushrooms (sliced)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons Flour Mix (GF mix for me)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half and half

1 pound green beans

Soak onions in milk and egg mixture for 5 minutes. Heat oil in large skillet or deep fryer. In a medium bowl, combine flour salt, pepper, cayenne. Take handfuls of onions and coat thoroughly in flour mixture with a fork. Oil should be about 325 to 350 degrees. Cook onions for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the onions and set on paper towels to dry. Season with Onion powder, salt and pepper.

Bring pot of water to boil and cook green beans for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and run under cold water for 2-3 minutes to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
(I would only do this step for fresh green beans. Frozen I'd just thaw and use).

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they begin to give up some of their liquid, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and mix until absorbed into the liquid, about 1 minute. Next add the chicken broth and half and half. Cook until the mixture thickens up, about 6-8 minutes. Do not let the soup mixture boil.

Make ahead up to this point and refrigerate.

Thanksgiving Day, right after the turkey comes out of the oven:

Take half of the fried onions and roughly chop them. Add the chopped onions along with the green beans to the soup mixture.

Throughly coat thawed green beans and chopped onions with soup. Pour into 8x8 baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Top with the rest of the fried onions and bake for another 5 minutes. (I'm going to either make the fried onions fresh Thanksgiving morning or heat them until crisp in oven the next morning).




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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Roast Turkey (Brine)

This is the recipe we have been following since 2002 and we just love it ~ very much. It never fails to produce a nice moist turkey and makes us look like pros to our family. Recipe courtesy of the culinary genius, Alton Brown.

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young Turkey (Butterballs are GF)

1 cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 gallon stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoons candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

Combine all the brine ingredients, except iced water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate throughly chilled. (This part can be made a few days ahead)

Early on day of cooking (or late the night before as we do) combine the bring and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket (we use a beverage canister with lid). Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover and refrigerate or set in cool area (like basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, halfway through brining (we always forget to do this).

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove bird from brine and rinse inside out with cold water (remove innards). Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Stuff bird if you are doing so (you KNOW Alton does not recommend this ~ I do :-). Coat bird liberally with oil.

Roast on lowest level of oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil (its a great idea to pre mold a foil ahead for this purpose). Inset thermometer into thickest part of breast and return to oven. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Set thermometer alarm to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Yield 1 to 12 servings.

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Candied Yams



1 40 ounce can of Yams or 4 large sliced and boiled
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup syrup from Can or light corn syrup

  • Place yams in a shallow baking dish. 
  • Combine syrup, sugar and butter in saucepan and bring to a boil (stirring often to thicken). 
  • Pour over Yams. Bake at 350 for 20/30 minutes
  • Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Nutmeg.


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Cranberry Sauce

12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup crushed pineapple
alternatively 1 medium naval orange with juices and pulp removed
1 cup Pineapple Juice (reserve juices) / water
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

Combine cranberries, sugar and water/juice into large pot. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium low. Add pineapple or chopped orange pulp and simmer until cranberries burst and mixture thickens slightly; about 15 minutes.

Cool cranberry conserve completely.

This can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
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Easy Gluten Free Turkey Gravy

Truthfully, I have been making a version of this recipe for well over 13 years. We always used corn starch to thicken our gravy in the house I grew up in.  I had no idea it was Gluten free, I'm grateful now that it is because when I use it to thicken my gravy, it does not make me feel like I'm using something other than what I knew and loved as a kid.



1 3/4 cups turkey broth from bottom of the pan
2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour, Betty Crocker GF Bisqick, Corn Starch
1/4 cup water

Cook broth over medium heat, stirring often. Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch and 1/4 cup cold water until smooth. Stir into pan. Season to taste.

Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat; boil 1 minute. Makes 2 cups.
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Carrot Souffle

I never had this dish until I moved to the south.  One of my work friends took me to Piccadilly's Cafeteria where they would serve this dish.  She would order this and maybe some other sort of Vegetable for lunch every time. What made her order this dish every time, "I wondered"?  I had to try it.  Let me tell you, it is delicious!

I received this recipe from that same friend and I never did ask her where she found it.  It is a wildly popular recipe now, shared though out the internet.  But the credit goes entirely to Piccadilly Cafeteria who served it up.  I added it to my Thanksgiving dinner that year.  It is an awesome side dish to serve at Thanksgiving and is one of my favorite Thanksgiving Dishes.


1-1/2 pounds peeled carrots, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons flour of your choice (plus 1 tea Xanthane gum for GF)
3 eggs, whipped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (room temperature)
Powdered Sugar (topping)

  • Steam or boil carrots until very tender
  • Drain well and transfer to food processor and give it a rough chop.
  • Transfer to large bowl.
  • While carrots are still warm, add sugar, baking powder and vanilla
  • Beat with mixer until smooth
  • Add flour and mix well, add whipped eggs and beat well
  • Pour mixture into a greased 2 quart baking dish (I'm using my square dish)
  • Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top is light and golden brown
  • Dust lightly with powder sugar
I plan to cook mine Thanksgiving day in the Crock Pot on high for 2/3 hours.

I will be sharing this recipe with:

Thanksgiving Party
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Thanksgiving Stuffing


This is the stuffing recipe I have been enjoying since I was very young.  I first made it on my own at my 1996 Thanksgiving Dinner.  We are Gluten Free now so the bread crumbs are now replaced with a loaf of bread that I make myself.  When we served up a practice run of Thanksgiving dinner for visiting family, the stuffing was all my daughter wanted to eat.  Yes, it is that good :-).


3/4's to One whole loaf of fresh baked bread (I'm using THIS recipe)
1 Stick of Butter
1 Large Onion, Diced
1/2 cup Celery, Diced
3/4 to 1 cup Stock, warmed
1 Tablespoon Ground Thyme
1 Tablespoon ground Sage
1 teaspoon ground Rosemary
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 or 2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Pan Drippings

Make croutons by cutting bread into 1/2 inch cubes and baking on lined baking sheet in preheated 200 degree oven for 2 hours.  I you already have the hot oven on while baking something else, pop the croutons in and cook for a few minutes.  Turn oven off and leave croutons in oven for a few hours.  

In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and celery. Cook vegetables until soft and translucent.  Vegetables will be just beginning to brown, about minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in seasonings. Add croutons and stir to combine (well yet gently). Add stock to bread mixture.

Scramble eggs and baking powder.  Add mixture into stuffing gently. Moisten stuffing with more borth if stuffing is dry.

Stuffing can be prepared at this point up to TWO days ahead and refrigerated.

Place stuffing into turkey, packing lightly just until cavity is full. Do not overstuff. Close with skewers or string if desired. Bake any excess in casserole at 350 degrees for 25/30 minutes (covered for moist stuffing).

Make sure stuffing is 160 degrees when turkey is done. Otherwise remove stuffing from bird, place in casserole and bake at 350 until proper temperature.

Before serving, add 2 tablespoons of pan drippings over top.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 16th, 2009

Its POTATO week!

There is going to be lots of make ahead preparations in my plan this week. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The kids have off a chunk of next week so I know very well I'll get nothing done those days. And since I decorate the day after Thanksgiving, I have lots of preparation cleaning to work on as well. This time of the year makes me grateful to be able to stay at home. I remember trying to get it all done while working and it was always chaos.

Last weeks sale at the local market advertised 20 pounds potatoes for $2.99. I bought two bags. My meal plan this week therefore is going to be focused on potatoes. One for dinner and one for the freezer. I plan to have no potatoes left (at all) when the week ends.

This weeks menu plan:

I'll also be making:
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Philadelphia Scrapple

I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In fact my husband is Pennsylvania Dutch.  When I do go back home for a visit, I always return with some scrapple.  Scrapple is traditionally made with a bit of Wheat flour though so that makes it off limits for me.  Not to mention I live in the south now where you can not get a hold of it anyway.  So I set out to find another option.  I have read where some chef's add buckwheat flour instead of wheat.  I may try that some day and re-post.

If I close my eyes and eat scrapple from back home, it taste a tad spicy to me.  Very well seasoned, unlike MOST of the recipes you find on the internet.  That is what I tried to accomplish with this recipe.  Something I can make myself, that was gluten free and tasted like home.

2 pounds pork Loin or Shoulder or Butt
2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon savory
2 teaspoon ground thyme (the only traditional PA Dutch spice add this)
2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
3 quarts of Water

(sometimes marjoram, mace are traditionally used)

Cut up pork into 2 inch chunks. Place the pork chunks and spices in a stock pot and cover with water (or chicken broth if your feeling decadent or dont have a bone to simmer with it). Simmer for about an hour for a loin.  If using a piece of meat with a bone then add an hour.  Make sure the meat falls apart off the bone. Drain and reserve stock.

Chop all the meat with a knife or food processor, being careful not to grind it too fine. Set aside.

Measure 5 cups of stock and return to pot. Bring it to a simmer; add meat, cornmeal, salt and pepper, and stir constantly until thick and smooth, about 15 to 30 minutes or until the consistency of porridge.

Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans and refrigerate until completely chilled. Un-mold scrapple. Slice and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 to 3 1/4 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
8 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.

Place the cream in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper, and stir well. Add the potatoes, adding more cream if necessary to completely cover the potatoes. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are barely fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

With a large spoon, transfer 1/3 of the potatoes with some of the cream to the prepared dish, forming an even layer on the bottom. Top with 1/3 of the cheese, and continue layering the potatoes and cheese, ending with cheese on top. Place on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Emeril Lagasee Recipe Print

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

When I started out doing Thanksgiving dinners, I would have never imagined making the mashed potatoes ahead of time.  When a friend of mine suggested she was making this dish for a party she was going to, I was stunned.  Seriously, "I thought"??? The very idea of having my all time favorite side dish at the ready for any time I wanted was an incredible idea. It was quite a revelation.  Every time potatoes go on sale now, I get lots of them now and make these up.  


5 pounds potatoes, peeled & quartered
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Milk
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Butter, Melted for the top


  • Boil potatoes until tender.
  • Beat softened cream cheese, sour cream, butter, hot potatoes, and seasonings. 
  • Beat until smooth adding small amounts of milk as needed
  • Pour into 2 8x8 casserole dishes for freezing or enjoy as is.
  • After defrosting ~ to serve: Place thawed potatoes in a crock pot and cook on low for 2-3 hours. This option is great for keeping it warm for a big dinner. 
  • Alternatively, top thawed casserole dish with melted butter.  Place in oven to bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Double bake time if not thawed.

Note: I occasionally add an egg if I am going to be baking them in the oven.  I think this allows them to stay light and fluffy.  It is not necessary though.

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Potato Gnocchi

Gluten Free Potato Gnocchi that is.

A little history first, my mother is 100% Italian.  She was brought up speaking Italian and learned English though the public school system. She would pronounce Gnocchi's entirely different from the rest of the folks I ever knew. Her pronunciation is more like (Nuuck ki).

 Eating Gnocchi is one of the things I remember about my childhood. I think that at one time or another we all travel back and re-visit what we enjoyed as kids with our parents. So when I was faced with what to do with a 20 pound bag of potatoes (that I secured for a super good deal of $2.50/20 lb.) my mind goes right there.....all six of us around the dinner table eating Gnocchi.  I immediately knew what my newest mission was going to be.  I had to replace this old Italian custom in a gluten free way.  Not just any old way, but a recipe that received my mothers stamp of approval.  I set out to test a bunch of different recipes on that 20 pound bag of potatoes, just for fun [beCause I'm crazy like that ;-) ]. There were issues of course with the majority of methods I found.  If you add too much Gum or not enough flour it turns out slimy (which is gross).  Not enough gum or flour and they start to fall apart and this sort of failure is tragic considering the work invloved.  I finally mastered a recipe that works.  The best part? This recipe has my Italian mothers stamp of approval.  She says, "try it, you'll like it".





2 lb Potatoes
1 cup Brown Rice flour (or your preferred blend)
¾ cup Potato Flakes (or Potato Starch)
1/4 Corn Starch
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 Tablespoon Butter (or olive oil)
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 Eggs
Salt to taste

  • Peel quarter potatoes.
  • Boil potatoes for 20-25 minutes or until soft and cooked. Drain and mash.
  • Put mashed potatoes into bowl and add rice flour, potato starch/flakes, butter, eggs and salt.
  • Mix together well until all ingredients come together.
  • Take dough out of bowl and place onto a lightly dusted (with potato starch) board.
  • Knead dough lightly to ensure all ingredients are mixed well.
  • Using a knife cut off small portions of dough and roll into long snakes
  • Dusting your board with more potato starch, cut snakes into 1½ inch lengths.
  • (Optional) Press down lightly in the center of each with a fork – this gives the gnocchi a better looking shape and also helps the sauce stick to the gnocchi much like shaped pasta traps sauce.
  • Place gnocchi in salted boiling water.
  • Gnocchi will only take a few minutes to cook. As the gnocchi rise
  • to the surface of the water, remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Continue to cook in batches until all are cooked. Don’t overcrowd the pot or the gnocchi will stick together.

TIP: You can store gnocchi in the freezer. Just stop at step 9.  Simply Freeze separate on a cookie sheet and place into a zip lock once frozen.

To cook from frozen simply put straight into boiling water – no need to defrost! 
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Lowes Build and Grow: Build a Garage on 11/14



Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at 10 am.

We are headed to Lowe's today to participate in the kid Build and Grow workshop. The kids really enjoy the Lowe's workshops and I'm truly grateful that Lowe's provides it for them.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kroger Deals for week ending 11/17/09



There are some outstanding deals on cereal this week but I still have tons from the last sale. I only focused on the GF chex this time around as it rarely is included in great deals. Here is what I'm up to this week at Kroger.

10 - Glaceau water 10 for $10

12 - Kroger Frozen Veggies $.88 each
-$2.00 any $10 Frozen items (Kroger Mailer)
-$.88 Free Veggie (Kroger Mailer)
Final Price, $.64 each

10 - Yoplait Yogurt 10 for $6
-$.50 Shortcuts Loadable
-$.50 Printable from coupons.com
-$.50 Doubled
Final Price, $.45 each

1- LOL Butter $2.77
-$.40 from Kroger Mailer
-$.40 Doubled
Final Price, $1.97
(walmart's brand of butter is $1.50, realized only afterward)

4 - General Mills Cereals (Chex) $2.99 each
-$1.00 Cellfire Loadable
-$1.00/2 Printable from coupons.com
-$1.00/2 Printable from coupons.com
-$4.00 when you buy 4 (Kroger Promotion)
Final Price, $1.54 a box

4- Mighty Dog Food $.82
-$1.00/4 (was it? I forget now and now its gone)
Final Price, $.57 a can

3 - Duracell Batteries $1.88
-$1.00 off SS coupon (thanks mom)
Final Price, $.88 each


Final price spent on groceries this week: $39.85
Saved: $34.35 in coupons
48 items sold

Its like getting $74.20 worth of groceries




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Gluten Free Recipes

Today's Ultimate Recipe Swap theme is food allergies/special diets. Please enjoy my collection of Gluten Free recipes. I'll have more as time goes by but this is what I have managed to post so far. I'm not having any trouble at all getting along with my gluten intolerance.
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Taco Dinner

This post is for my mother.  She recently asked me to tell her how I go about making taco dinner for my family.  She was looking for something special yet easy to make as a congratulatory dinner.  Taco's happen to be this families favorite dinner.  I will never forget the first time I was served taco's for dinner at a friends house.  I remember thinking how creative and ingenious this home maker mommy was.  Truthfully, the thought never occurred to me to make my own taco's at home. Sounds silly now, I know, but sometimes you just get so used to that ole TB drive through.  We can no longer enjoy that drive though but enjoy taco's even better our way at home.

For my own family I make the refried beans from whole beans in the crock pot first thing in the morning and make gluten free soft taco shells later that same day.  My mom works so that scenario is un-realistic for her.  In fact, it may be unrealistic for all working mom's as well.

Taco Dinner:

1 pound roll of Ground Beef
1 packet of McCormick Taco Seasoning or My Own Blend
1 large can of Old El Passo Refried Beans or Home Made Refried Beans
1 pack of small soft Corn taco shells (Lightly fried on each side)
1 pack of hard Corn taco shells
Head of lettuce (shredded)
Tomatoes
cheddar cheese (i like sharp)
sour cream

Brown ground beef making sure to crumble meat as it cooks with a wooden spoon. Once beef is cooked through and no longer pink, add taco seasoning packet and water (usually 2/3 cup but follow amount on back of packet).

Meanwhile cook rice according to directions. 

Place refried beans in microwave and cook about 2-3 minutes.

While all that is going on, slice lettuce head in half and then in quarters. Take each quarter and make very thin slices to form shreds. Dice tomatoes.

Cook hard taco shells according to package directions (usually for a few minutes at 350).

Lightly fry the soft corn shells if you are using them.  Sometimes we also just microwave them for a minute to make they pliable.

Place seasoned ground beef, rice, refried beans, warm hard taco shells, warm soft taco shells, lettuce shreds, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream on table and enjoy.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

This is one of the recipes I may try this thanksgiving instead of the traditional marshmallow topped thing. We love our candied yams too though. This just seemed to speak to me as a good idea. I may top these with marshmallows instead of nuts.



4 large sweet potatoes
4 oz cream cheese
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cut potatoes lengthwise in half; place, cut-sides down, in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until tender.

Scoop out centers of potatoes into bowl, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Add cream cheese, milk, sugar and cinnamon to potatoes; mash until blended.

Fill shells with potato mixture; top with nuts. Bake 8 min. or until potatoes are heated through and nuts are toasted.

I make ahead and freeze my twice baked regular potatoes, why not make these ahead too? Print

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turkey Rice Soup

Turkey Rice Soup

I like allot of rice in my soup so this recipe has a generous portion of rice.


Bones and trimmings from 1 turkey
12 cups water (or enough to cover carcass ~ to top of pot)

1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons thyme
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups carrots
1 bag frozen soup starter (onions, celery, bell peppers, etc)
1 cup uncooked rice

Place turkey carcass in large stock pot. Cover with enough water to cover bones (about 12 cups). Simmer for three hours over medium low heat. Meat will be falling off the bone.

Strain broth and set bones/meat/trimmings aside to cool. Put broth back into stock pot. Add vegetables, spices and rice. Cook until vegetables and rice are tender. Meanwhile, separate meat from bones and add meat back in. Return to simmer and season to taste.
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup (Chicken and Escarole Soup)

This recipe is the real deal. The recipe my Italian mothers family would make.  It has been made and passed along for generations now. This recipe traces back straight to Italy and my mothers very strongly Italian background. This is her family recipe and we like to enjoy it for special occasions.



Broth Base and Chicken:
1 whole chicken (4 pounds)
12 cups Water
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Salt
1 large onion (quartered)
2 Carrots (large chopped)
Celery (large chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves


Meatballs:
2 garlic cloves
1/2 onion, chipped finely
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 pounds ground meat (1 lb. beef, 1 lb. pork)
1 egg
1/4 cup Parsley Leaves (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Romano Cheese
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 slices of bread (pureed to crumb)
1/3 cup milk

Soup:
12 cups of Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 cup onion (diced small)
1 cup celery stalks (diced small)
1 cup carrots (diced small)
1 small Head escarole, cut into 1/2 inch strips (no stems)
      alternate spinach for those who can not get escarole
2 eggs
1/4 cup Romano Cheese
any small pasta (I used orzo) - OPTIONAL

In 8 quart Dutch oven or sauce pot combine chicken, 12 cups water, peppercorns, salt and vegetables; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. Alternatively you can put it all in the crock pot for 8 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Saute onion, garlic and olive oil in a saute pan until vegetables are soft and fragrant.  In a large bowl, with hands, combine ground meat, garlic, egg, parsley, pepper, salt, cheese.  In small bowl, mix bread and milk to form thick paste. Mix bread mixture into meat mixture just until blended. Add cooked and cooled vegetables. Shape meatball mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

Remove chicken to bowl, cool completely until easy to handle. Discard skin and bones from chicken and dice chicken meat into bite sized pieces. Reserve 2 cups chicken. Reserve remaining chicken for use another day. Pour chicken broth through sieve lined with paper towels into large clean pot or bowl. Let sit a few minutes until fat separates from meat juice. Skim fat from broth and discard. (I typically use a crock pot to cook chicken day before I plan to serve soup. This way I can put the broth in the fridge and remove fat easier.)

Return broth to clean Dutch oven or sauce pot. Add pasta if using and heat to a simmer. Saute carrots, celery and onion in olive oil until softened and fragrant. Return vegetables to simmering broth. 15 more minutes until pasta is cooked and vegetables are tender. Add meatballs; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in Escarole and reserved chicken; heat through. Scramble egg with remaining 1/4 Romano cheese and stir into hot broth to form ribbons.

Serve with grated Romano cheese to sprinkle over each serving.



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Cream of (insert kind here) Soup

I am really seriously considering eliminating canned cream of whatever soups. I'm going to start making this ahead and keeping it in the freezer along with my other make ahead convenience foods. I love using cream soups for cooking but I strongly feel that I need to move away from my canned with preservatives addiction.

2 teaspoons oil
1 cup veggies of choice (chopped ~ maybe onions, celery)
1/2 cup of kind (cooked shreaded chicken, mushrooms, whatever flavor your soup will be)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or fresh clove of garlic
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1 cup Powdered Milk (sub 1-1/2 cup broth and 1-1/2 milk if you dont use powder)
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Potato Starch

Non GF version (trade in cornstarch and Potato starch for 3/4 cup flour)

Add vegetables and oil to pot with oil and cook until translucent.

(add flour at this point for non GF and cook for 3 minutes).

Add broth and bring to boil. Turn down and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add meat and cook until heated through.

Add powdered milk, corn starch and potato starch to soup. Whisk and cook until soup is thickened making sure that starches do not stick to the bottom.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kroger Deals for week ending 11/11/09

Here are my favorite Kroger deals this week.

6- Kleenex Tissues $.99
-$1.00/3 Printable
Final Price, $.66 each

2- Ore Ida Potatoes $1.99
-$1.00 Printable
Final Price, $.99 each

2-Birdseye Steamfresh $1.49
-$.50 Printable
-$.50 Doubled
Final Price, $.49

4-Carnation Milk $.79
-$1.00/2 Printable
Final Price, $.29

2-Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough $2
-$1.25 Printable
Final Price, $.75
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