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Pasta Fagioli

I’ve been known to catch a cold or two during the winter months, and I find myself relying on soup most days.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate for chicken noodle soup, but I thought I’d share my take on pasta fagioli. I also made a big batch as it was meant to be shared and still have leftovers!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 T dried parsley
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T crushed red pepper
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 2  14.5 oz cans of gluten-free chicken broth
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 16 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 15 oz cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 lb of gluten-free pasta
  • 2 stalks green scallions

Directions:

  1. In a big saucepan heat up olive oil and saute garlic
  2. Add in onion, celery, parsley, oregano, bay leaves, crushed red pepper and black pepper
  3. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until onion is  cooked
  4. Add in chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce and let simmer for 20 -30 minutes.
  5. While soup is cooking, boil water for pasta and cook according to directions*
  6. Add beans to soup, let cook 5 more minutes
  7. Add pasta to soup and serve
  8. Garnish with green scallions – optional

*To prevent pasta from being overcooked, I cooked the gluten-free pasta separately.  Next time I will try cooking with the soup to see how it turns out.

Break Your New Year’s Resolution

That’s right I said it – break the resolution!  Being on a gluten-free diet is enough of a resolution if you ask me, and that is why I’m posting this anti-resolution recipe.  It’s easy and delicious so go ahead and make one last treat for yourself.  Trust me these caramel peanut balls dipped in chocolate are enough of a reason to.

Caramel Peanut Balls dipped in Chocolate

Caramel Peanut Balls dipped in Chocolate

Per Eagle Brand the recipe is simple with only 4 ingredients:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine peanuts, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla in a heavy saucepan
  2. Cook and stir over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until mixture forms ball around spoon and pulls away for side of pan.
  3. Cool 10 minutes then shape into 1-in balls
  4. Melt chocolate morsels in a small heavy saucepan over low heat.
  5. With a wooden toothpick, dip each ball into melted chocolate, covering half of ball.
  6. Place on wax paper and let cool until firm

Happy New Year!

Gluten-Free Pizzelles

During this festive time of the year you tend to seek nostalgic foods.  For me that would include biscotti and pizzelles or pretty much anything that has anise in it.  To my delight my mom has perfected the gluten-free biscotti, which I was able to enjoy over Christmas dinner (if I can get the recipe I’ll share!).  I haven’t had a biscotti in a long time, and the first recognizable feature was a delectable CRUNCH followed by the anise flavor, and an overall delightful cookie experience.  Going gluten-free has meant certain foods can lack flavor or texture, and it has taken time to incorporate certain dishes into the gluten-free lifestyle.  With homemade meals, you can tweak your recipe here and there to recreate the meal you want.  That isn’t always the case with store-bought meals.

As always, when shopping I try to venture out and try a new brand or product.  I didn’t have much time to bake this season, and since I”m on my anise kick these days I opted to try Bella Lucia Italian Pizzelles. Store bought gluten-free pizzelles seemed risky, but I was willing to give them a try.  Thankfully I did!  They aren’t the exact replica from the days when my grandfather and I used his cast-iron skillet that cooked one pizzelle at a time, but they are delicious.  They have a hearty bite to them, and wonderful flavoring.  Best of all they didn’t crumble.  If you are short on time or want to try a new product I would recommend these.  They can be a little pricey, at $5.99 for 10 pizzelles (per Wegmans), but they’re worth it for a special occasion or a treat.

Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Are you staying in to relax and watch a movie this weekend?  Probably not for most of us!  I’ll go out on a whim here and say this weekend is going to be the busiest one yet.  Traveling home to see friends and family, last minute gifts to purchase, wrapping those gifts, and don’t forget about all the food prep.  I personally find myself making mental lists throughout the day as I try to multitask too, which is tiring, even though I should write it all down.  I’ve seen the malls crowded beyond belief, and the supermarkets will be no different.

In light of the fun nights spent with loved ones, it can be hard to think of a gift to bring or dish to make.  You can always bring a bottle of wine (if you’re the older crowd), make a batch of cookies, or try my semi-homemade gluten-free pineapple upside-down cake.

Pineapple Upside Down

I actually was just planning on making a gluten-free cake using Betty Crocker’s mix, and I ended up adding a fun twist.  Once the cake was in the oven, I noticed the fresh pineapple sitting on my counter (how I missed it or didn’t think of making an actual pineapple upside-down cake is a mystery to me too), but I wanted to incorporate it somehow.  Here is my easy version:

CAKE

  • Make according to box directions, and once cooked let cool

TOPPING

  1. Slice fresh pineapple into 1-in chunks
  2. Pan fry using a non stick pan
  3. In a microwave safe dish warm up Hershey’s Caramel Syrup
  4. Mix cooked pineapple into bowl of syrup and drizzle on top
  5. Serve immediately

*Note – the gluten-free cakes usually yield less than the normal cake mixes, so if you have a large crowd consider doubling the recipe

Cheesesteak & Fries!!!

Sautéed vidalia onions perfectly diced, thinly sliced beef mixed in and fried, all bound by melted american cheese.  This is a  gluten-free dinner none other than the Philadelphia classic – a cheesesteak.  No I didn’t have to order it ‘wit’ or ‘wit-out’, but I did enjoy it MORE than you would a Pat’s or Geno’s cheeseteak in South Philly.

Cheesteak & Fries!

Would you like fries with that? You bet…

Though I try to recreate meals that most take for granted, this one fell through the cracks.  Fortunately for me, I can bounce ideas around with another great chef 🙂  Tired of the same old?  This is actually a quick dinner.

Cheesesteak

– Vidalia onion – diced

Steakk-umm (gluten-free)

– Cheese

– Schar rolls ( I used the gluten-free classic white)

Fries

Ore Ida Zesties (gluten-free)

  1. Cook Ore ida fries according to package (roughly 20 minutes or until desired crispiness is reach)
  2. Dice the onion and Sauté (roughly 5 minutes).
  3. Add in your steak-umm and cook thoroughly.
  4. Add cheese and let melt
  5. Bind with your cheese of preference
  6. Toast your bun
  7. Plate and add a nice helping of ketchup

Gluten-Free Starbucks

From December 13-16 Starbucks is having their annual ‘buy one get one’ holiday drink special – valid from 2-5pm.  For all the coffee lovers out there, you will be happy to hear that you can enjoy a holiday treat too.  I called the company yesterday, 12/13/12, and spoke to a representative.  He confirmed the following holiday drinks listed on the promotion to be gluten-free:

Peppermint Mocha

Caramel Brulée Latte

-Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Blended Beverage

For me Starbucks is a bit pricey, but if you’re able to share with someone it is a nice treat once a year 😉

Gluten Free French Fries at Five Guys

I’ve heard that Five Guys offers gluten-free fast food, but I wanted to confirm with a representative regarding their french fries.  I always ask if they use the same frying oil for other gluten products (chicken fingers, onion rings) to avoid cross contamination.  Turns out they keep a dedicated fryer for their fries.  Even their burgers are gluten-free!  I suggest bringing a gluten-free hamburger bun (Udi’s makes a decent one) the next time a burger and fries craving hits.

Below you will find the response from Five Guys (research on 11/14/12):

Dear Ann Regan,

Thank you for taking the time to write in to Five Guys, we appreciate you taking the time to do so. We have received your inquire in regards to the presence of gluten in our products.

Currently, Five Guys DOES NOT offer a gluten-free bun, as we have yet to find a bun we feel meets the flavor of our burger. However, I’d like to advise you that it is absolutely possible for you to order your burger without the bun. Our buns and the malt vinegar condiment are the only products we offer that DO include gluten. Our burger patties and hot dogs DO NOT contain gluten.

Five Guys french fries also DO NOT contain gluten. They are simply potatoes soaked in water and fried in refined peanut oil using fryers that are ONLY used for French fries.

I am happy to have assisted you with your inquiry.

Thanks for your interest in Five Guys. Please enjoy us often!