Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crispy Chicken Wings

Crispy, tangy, saucy chicken wings are a classic.  One problem - they pack a huge calorie punch.  Traditionally, wings are deep-fried, rolled in butter, then slathered in sauce ... but you can get just as much flavour by ditching the deep fryer and using your BBQ!

This idea is not my own.  Our good friend, Jeff, showed us this trick a couple years ago and we have never looked back.  The wings are every bit as crispy, and even though they are still high in calories, by using the BBQ you can slash the calories in half.  That's huge!!

chicken wings (any amount)
salt and pepper to taste
oil for the BBQ
Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce (the best ... and gluten-free!)

Salt and pepper chicken wings.  Let sit for at least an hour.

Clean BBQ with a scraper.  Using a folded paper towel, oil the grates.

Preheat the BBQ then add the chicken wings, skin side down.

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR BBQ!  Because the chicken wings are higher in fat, they need turned more often and left unattended could cause a flare up ... so be careful.

BBQ until cooked through.  This usually takes about 20-30 minutes ... sometimes longer depending on the size of your wings.

Place hot wings in a large bowl.  Cover with sauce and toss to coat.

Eat and enjoy!  Lick your fingers.  Lick the plate.

TIP: If you're making these for a dinner party, you can toss them in sauce and place them in the oven, in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet, at 300 degrees.  I wouldn't leave them too long or they'll dry out ... maybe 20 minutes at the most.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

... and guess what, they're gluten-free!! Chewy, gooey and full of protein and fibre!  Not to mention, they are free from refined sugar (except a little in the chocolate chips and marshmallows, if you add them).

Of course these are kid-tested ... Morgan loves them with vanilla soy milk or almond milk as an after school snack. But for those kids (and husbands) with gluten allergies, it can be hard to find yummy treats that compare with the real deal. This one, my friends, totally does.

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, softened
1/2 cup xylitol * or evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup almond flour **
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups brown Rice Krispies cereal (gluten-free)
1 1/2 cup Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips
(optional) 1 cup mini marshmallows

* If baking with xylitol, you might need to increase the baking time by a minute or two.

** almond flour can be pricy. I use my Vitamix to grind raw almonds into flour. Any high-powered blender will work. If you want to get more out of your almonds, check out this tutorial on how to make almond milk. It's so easy and the pulp turns into the best almond flour - talk about bang for your buck!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter, evaporated cane juice and maple syrup.  Mix in egg and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients: almond meal, brown rice flour, baking soda, salt and cereal. Mix until the cookie dough comes together.

Add in chocolate chips and slowly mix until incorporated.

Portion with a cookie scoop onto a greased baking stone or a parchment covered baking tray.  Bake 11-13 minutes until the cookies turn a golden brown.

If you have trouble with your cookies spreading too flat, see my tip here.

Pour yourself a big glass of milk or a hot cup of tea and enjoy one of these bad boys!  Who said gluten-free was boring?!

Cheesy Cauli-Garlic Spaghetti

Years ago, my parents had these wonderful friends, a missionary couple, from Italy. This recipe is straight from their kitchen - as authentic as it gets. I remember the first time she made it for us ... I hate cauliflower and I was so nervous to try it. To my surprise, this has become one of my favourite pasta dishes of all time. It's very simple, but so satisfying!! Bonus :: It's a sneaky way to bulk up pasta with veg ... your kiddos won't even know!

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 head of cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 cup fresh grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1lb package of spaghetti (since we're a gluten-free house, I used Trader Joes Corn Spaghetti)

Boil around a cup of water and place a steam basket inside a saucepan. Add cauliflower, cover and steam until tender.

Smash with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

In a small skillet, heat olive oil and sauté garlic until tender, but not brown. Smash with fork.

Add cauliflower into the pot the pasta was cooked in. Stir in cheese, oil and garlic. Toss in pasta until well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a big salad and call it dinner!

We were so glad Matt's mom was able to join us for the evening since his dad was out of town. Good food, good fun ... great time visiting.

"Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity." - Frank Lloyd-Wright

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Recipe Roll #4

Welcome to another week of tried and true meal ideas, straight from my menu.  I hope this inspires you to get in the kitchen and cook ...

If you need a little help staying organized, make a Menu Display Board and take a few minutes to fill it out every week.  A little planning really cuts down mealtime stress and kids love to read it!  I've included a free download on the link above to make it easy.


Tuesday we had Braised BBQ Beef Sandwiches from Simple Recipes.

This was AWESOME!! I used my homemade Kansas City BBQ Sauce mixed with Sweet Baby Rays and it was perfect. I served on Udi's Gluten-free hamburger buns with tangerine wedges on the side - Yum-O!! Thankfully, there were enough leftovers for Matt and Morgan to both have lunch on Tuesday or I think I would have had a fight. :)

Wednesday we tried Vietnamese Summer Rolls from Veggie Belly.

These looked great and sounded great ... and the funny thing is, this recipe is very similar to Veggie Sushi (which we love), but we didn't care for these. The vermicelli was ok. I think the flavour that comes with sushi rice makes a difference.  It was really overpowered by cilantro as well, which again, we usually love.  I only used a little and it didn't seem to matter.  Oh well!  Win some, lose some ...

Thursday we tried Coconut Lime Chicken from Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom.

It was really good ... subtle coconut richness mixed with mild curry. Matt usually isn't a fan of curry, but he really liked this. I served it over cilantro rice (2 cups long grain white rice, 2 cups water, large handful chopped cilantro, 2 gf all-natural bullion cubes ... throw everything in the rice cooker) with fresh cut red peppers and carrot sticks on the side.

Friday we had friends over, so I made a version of Pastitsio from Rita May Recipes.

I did three things differently ::
#1 - I used my own version of meat sauce ...

I browned stew beef in my Dutch oven, then braised it in my Homemade Pasta Sauce in the oven at 350 degrees for about two hours, stirring occasionally, until fall-apart tender.

 #2 - I used rice flour in the White Sauce.
 #3 - I used Trader Joe's Gluten-free Corn Pasta.

It turned out really yummy! We had olives and fresh veggie salads on the side ... and my friend brought the most delicious brownies made with almond flour. Good times!

Saturday we had my recipe for Loaded Chicken Sausages.

Sunday, as I've mentioned before, we usually have small group Bible study so I made Rice Flour Banana Bread from to take, along with a little Copy Cat Texas Roadhouse Butter from Tammilee Tips.

It turned out pretty good!  I haven't had much luck with gluten-free baking, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this one actually turn out.  It was very easy and required only normal ingredients - no gums or specialty starches.  It did call for sugar, so I substituted organic evaporated cane juice and it was perfect.  I will definitely make this again when I have spotty bananas.

The Texas Roadhouse butter is rockstar.  I know it's not the best for you (high in calories, fat, sugar, etc.) ... but it takes the bread from yum to YUM!  A worthwhile splurge. :)