Cranberry Persimmon Pomegranate Relish


cranberry persimmon pomegranate relishI wanted something a bit different from the normal cranberry dish for Thanksgiving. As a child my mom bought the canned stuff, and cut it still in can form and served it. I didn’t like cranberries till I was an adult due to that and after having fresh cranberries, it was the way to go.

6 cups fresh cranberries
2 persimmons peeled and diced
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 limes, juiced
relish2In a medium sauce pan over medium heat place the cranberries, brown sugar, pomegranate juice and lime juice. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll hear the cranberries “popping” a bit. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 5-10 minutes letting the sauce thicken. Place into a bowl and let cool. Once cool add the pomegranate seeds and persimmons and stir well. Serve chilled. Makes about 3 cups of relish.



Meatballs and Beans in Tomato Sauce

meatball6With Thanksgiving this week and needing time to prepare a few days in advance, I wanted to make something that will reheat well so I don’t have to worry about having a healthy meal, and something that will pair with salad well. I’ve always loved good meatballs, and learned to make them towards the end of my college years when things finally settled down a bit and I could make a meatball instead of buying bags of frozen ones.

Meatballs and BeansIngredients:
For the Meatballs:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup gluten free panko or breadcrumbs
1/2 an onion, diced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

For the Sauce:
1/2 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 14 oz can cannellini beans
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil

5 medium sized tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder

meatball3Preheat the oven to 350F. Starting with the meatballs – whip together the eggs and milk. Place the dry ingredients for the meatballs in a medium sized bowl, then add in the milk+egg mixture and the beef. Mix together well (works best to use your hands.) Make into balls, size of your choice. I ended up with 13 medium sized balls. Place on a baking sheet (I used a piece of parchment on top for less mess) and bake for 30 minutes. For really large meatballs, cook for 35 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, place the olive oil, onions, celery and red pepper. Cook together for 5 minutes. In a food processor or blender place the tomatoes (I cut mine into fourths) with the garlic, turmeric, salt and cumin. Process until smooth and add into the skillet. Rinse and drain the beans and add to the sauce. Add the meatballs to the sauce once they’re done in the oven and cook together for 10 minutes.  Serves 4. We ate 3 medium sized meatballs per adult.


Spinach Tuna Casserole

spinach tuna casseroleHere’s a simple meal that’s a spin on the traditional tuna noodle casserole. I’ve lightened it up a bit and it’s gluten free. It still gives you that great comfort food feel without the guilt.


12 oz Gluten Free pasta (I used a corn based rotini)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
12 oz tuna, drained and flaked
3 tablespoons rice flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup gluten free panko
1 tablespoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
spinachtuna3Preheat the oven to 375F. Start the water for the pasta in a medium pot with just a bit of salt – and cook to package directions. In another medium to large sized pot on medium heat, place the olive oil, onions, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and slowly add the chicken stock. Next add in the milk. Bring to a slow boil, and reduce the heat, letting the sauce thicken. Add in the spinach, and cook until the spinach has wilted, just a couple of minutes.

spinachtunacasserole2In a 9×9 pan place the cooked noodles, then carefully cover with the sauce. Add in the tuna and sour cream and stir together well. Top off with the parmesan cheese and panko. Cover the pan with foil and place into the oven for about 25 minutes.

Feeds 4 as is, 6 with side dishes.

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

glutenfree ehichiladas with beef and corn

It’s another of those busy days where I don’t have a lot of time to put together meals, so I made enchiladas. It doesn’t need a whole lot of prep time, and this makes a lot so great for when you have a crowd to feed, or like me and want leftovers for lunch the next day.

Finding enchilada sauce premade without gluten can be a bit tricky. Simply Organic makes a powder to mix that is gluten free, and La Victoria makes a canned sauce that is really good. Enchilada sauce isn’t difficult to make and I do make it here on occasion – but some nights I just don’t have the time. I do enchiladas another way and I’ll share my sauce next time!


Gluten Free soft tortillas (I used larger brown rice tortillas)
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 an onion, diced
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup corn
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1 cup salsa
2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce (or about 3 cups if you make your own)
2-4 cups mexican cheese, shredded (pepperjack, cheddar, mozzarella)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

sour cream for topping

enchiladas4Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large skillet over medium heat place the olive oil, garlic and onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, paprika and chilies. Mix well then add in beef and cook till browned. Then add the corn and black beans. Cook together for 4-5 minutes.


In a 9×13 pan place about half a cup of the enchilada sauce and half the salsa. Take the tortillas and scoop some of the beef and veggie mixture into them – and a little bit of cheese. Make sure to get some to each end and to fill it enough – I had 8 larger tortillas so I could put a lot in them and still be able to wrap them. Wrap and place into the sauce, seam side down. Do this with all the tortillas. I had just a bit of leftover beef and vegetable mix – so I just placed it in the sides of the pan. Use the rest of the enchilada sauce and salsa over the top of the tortillas, then cover with cheese. I used a total of 4 cups in the recipe – however I love cheese. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Top with sour cream if you like. Serves 6-8.

enchiladas2*The brown rice tortillas I got were difficult to work with. I did microwave them each for about 15 seconds to try to get them to wrap better – and they were still breaking a part a bit. It turned out ok for this recipe, but I wouldn’t want for tacos or wraps. However they did taste good.

If anyone has a favorite tortilla they’d like to share with me, I’d like to know what other people like as far as gf tortillas. I’ve tried ones made of teff that I disliked the texture of, and I’ve used Udi’s – which were good but a bit on the small side.


Jeera Aloo

Jeera AlooThis is such a simple and delicious Indian dish. Jeera Aloo basically translates to cumin potatoes – my family had been asking me for potatoes so they got them, with a side of brussel sprouts. The combo really worked out too, who knew!

5 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon amchoor (mango powder)
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

jeeraloo4Start with the peeling and dicing of the potatoes and get them in a large pot of boiling water with a little bit of salt. You want them to be tender, but still firm.  In a large skillet (I used my wok because they weren’t going to fit in the skillets I have) heat the oil for a couple of minutes then add the cumin seeds. Let the start to crack and brown a bit, then add the rest of the spices and the lemon juice. Cook together for about 5 minutes. I added about 2 tablespoons of water after that – then added in the potatoes.


Coat the potatoes well into the spice for 4-5 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.

*I had a hard time getting amchoor here. I ended up at our Indian grocery store to get it because my normal store didn’t carry it. It really has a unique flavor and I enjoyed it very much in this dish so I’d try to not skip it.

Gluten Free Penne Alfredo with Peas

pennealfredoI crave Alfredo from time to time, it’s full of garlic and cheese – how can I resist? There is this little local Italian restaurant that makes all their pasta in house, including a really good gluten free pasta – and they top one of their alfredo dishes with peas. That’s become one of my favorite Italian dishes now, and I wanted to make something similar at home.

4 oz cream cheese
2 cups milk
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons rice flour
3 tablespoons butter

2 cups peas, cooked
gf pasta of choice
alfredo2Start your pasta water first – this always takes the longest. Make sure to salt the water and let the noodles absorb it for a bit more flavor.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add to the pan. Add a cup of the milk and occasionally stir letting the cream cheese melt into the milk. Add the rest of the milk, and parmesan cheese, stirring until smooth. Add in the salt and pepper – flour as needed for your preferred thickness. I’ve used between 1-3 tablespoons of white rice flour for mine. Stir until the flour is absorbed. Add on top the cooked pasta and top with peas. (I also really enjoy broccoli and fresh tomatoes on top.)

You can control the calories and fat in this dish quite a bit depending on the milk and cream cheese you use. I used 1% milk and regular cream cheese today. Fresh parmesan really makes a difference – the stuff in the green can won’t be as tasty. I also tried a different gluten free pasta today – and was pleased with the texture.

Gluten Free Lemon Raspberry Muffins

glutenfreelemonraspberrymuffinsGluten free baking still scares me. I’ve had a lot of things go bad on me very fast, it’s been the hardest part of eating gluten free for me. I’ve always loved to bake, holidays I’d spend days making cookies, breads, and muffins to share with my family. These I made more for myself, I didn’t use any refined sugar. There’s a bit of agave, which paired with the lemon and raspberries well.

2 cups sweet rice flour
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used whole milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons agave (honey will work as well)
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
1 cup raspberries
muffins4Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium sized bowl combine the ricotta, vanilla, egg, and lemon. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the flour and add the milk as needed – you might not need the full cup, depending on the flour you’ve used. Carefully fold in the raspberries. Place into muffin cups or straight into the pan (I didn’t have muffin cups so I greased the pan a little.) Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking after the 25 minute mark with a toothpick. Insert into the muffin and if it comes out clean they’re done.

Makes 12 large muffins. If you prefer your muffins sweeter – feel free to add some extra agave/honey or some sugar. I’ve been really trying to not eat refined sugar. They’ve been disappearing so they’ve gone over here, and my family likes sweeter food.


Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

sweetpotatosaladI made a simple and filling salad today. It has just a handful of ingredients, but still packs some great flavors. It works well as a main course, or a side dish.

2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced
2 cups dry lentils
3 1/2 cups water
6 small sweet peppers, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lime

sweetpotatosalad1Preheat the oven to 350F. On a baking sheet place the diced sweet potatoes. Add the olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic, and cayenne. Mix together well. Place into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. They’ll be soft – but not mushy.

In a medium pot place the lentils and water with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes then reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

sweetpotatosalad2Let the sweet potatoes and lentils cool a bit and combine in a large bowl. Add the sliced sweet peppers and lime juice. Add any salt and pepper to taste. This is great both warm and cold, and will be great leftovers for tomorrow. Serves 4.

Gluten Free Naan Bread

gluten free naanYesterday I’d gone out for dinner with my mother to a new restaurant in town. We had a coupon and decided to give it a try, and I’d seen them advertising lamb curry and since I love curry, I wanted to try. I was very disappointed, the curry was sad. The spices were barely there and there was no heat. The satay we tried was good but it left me wanting good curry. So today for dinner I made naan bread and one of my all time favorites, Chicken Tikki Masala.


1 3/4 cups white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup milk at room temperature (I used 1%)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup yogurt (I used plain greek)
1 egg
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

gfnaan3Start with combining the honey, milk and yeast in a medium sized bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then add the yogurt, egg, and oil. Blend until smooth. Preheat the oven to 450F.

In a large bowl place both flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Mix well and then slowly add the wet ingredients constantly mixing. Once all the wet ingredients are in the bowl, blend until it’s smooth.

gfnaan4Take a bit of flour and dust a counter or pastry board. Roll the dough into 6 small balls, rolling them into the flour because the dough is a bit sticky. Press them down until they’re about 1/4 inch thick. I used a spatula to help get them up and onto a baking stone – and placed into the oven. Bake for 2-3 minutes on each side, they’ll puff up a bit and brown. I topped them with a bit of butter and sliced them in half before serving. Will serve 4-6.







Butternut Squash Fried Rice


butternutsquashfriedriceI’ve been celebrating the fall months with trying out a lot of new recipes with squash, pumpkin, and other fantastic fall veggies. I also like to have simple meals on the weekends that will provide leftovers and this was perfect. The squash added just a touch of sweetness to the fried rice – and sadly there was barely any leftovers because we enjoyed it so much.

2 cups rice (cooked)
3 cups butternut squash, cut into bite sized pieces
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk of a green onion, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger

friedrice2In a large wok or skillet heat up the oil. Add the onion and cook for a couple minutes. Next add in the garlic and cumin. Cook for another 7-8 minutes – until the onions are clear. Add the peppers, squash, and fresh ginger and cook for 5 minutes.

friedrice3Add the rice to the wok along with the soy sauce and stir well. Moving the rice and veggies over to half of the wok, crack the eggs and cook them on the other half, scrambling them as they cook. When they’re done cooking, mix the eggs into the rice. Cook for another 5 minutes or so. Serve with additional soy sauce. Will serve 4-6.