Monday, August 29, 2011

Baked Potato Skins

Baked potato skins were always one of my favorite appetizers to get at restaurants.  Now that I'm Gluten Free I have yet to find a restaurant that I can order them.  Most restaurants fry the potato skins to make them nice and crispy - a cross contamination nightmare!  So I found this recipe and made it Celiac friendly.  The toppings of course can be changed based on what you have on hand.

There are a few steps to this recipe but the outcome are very tasty and crunchy baked potato skins!

What You Need:
5-7 Baking potatoes
3 tbsp of vegtable oil
Salt and pepper
Dash of paprika
Dash of garlic salt
1 tbsp grated parmasan cheese

GF Bacon
GF Ranch

How to Make It:
Bake potatoes for an hour at 350.  Let sit for around 5-10 minutes while oven warms to 450.  Slice the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides.  Make sure you leave enough on the inside to create your bowl shape.  (I saved the inside for mashed potaotes later.)

Mix oil and seasoning together and brush onto potato skins.
Bake at 450 for 7 minutes.  Take out and fill with toppings.

Cook for another 2-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Top with Ranch or sour cream and you are good to go!

Making extra skins is also a good idea.  They can be heated and filled later for a snack.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Monster Cookies Gluten Free

For a recent trip I decided to make some cookies.  With limited time and ingredients I stubbled upon this recipe.  I of course changed it some based on what I had.  I was very pleased with the end result.  They were chewy and delicious!

What you Need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookie Mix
3/4 cup M&M's
1 cup Chex Rice Cereal &  GF Rice Krispies

How to Make:
Heat oven to 350.   Mix butter, peanut butter and eggs.  Add cookie mix.  (May need to add water if dough is too dry).  Stir in M&M's and cereal, be careful not to break up cereal.  Bake on parchment paper for 10-13 minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gluten Free Trip to Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg, TN

Our family joined my hubby’s family for a week trip to the Tennessee Mountains.  We stayed in an adorable mountain top cabin in Pigeon Forge.   Every year we take a trip and this was the first year we didn’t hit the beach and decided to try the mountains.

Gluten Free eating is challenging in your own town but on vacation it makes it harder.  My research before our trip didn’t come up with much information about local restaurants or safe places to eat.  This meant it was just up to me to be diligent and ask the right questions.
First, there is a Kroger grocery store in Pigeon Force.  They have a TON of Gluten Free products.  Since we stayed in a cabin with a full kitchen we tried to eat in two meals a day - a big money saver!  We just stocked up at Kroger with Rudi’s bread, Udi’s Cinnamon rolls, Chex cereal, fruit, GF pasta, sauce, salad and GF frozen pizza.  I brought GF Bisquick from home and was able to impress everyone with how good it tasted!  Every time we ate in the cabin I was able to make a safe Gluten Free version of whatever we were making.  Our meals - pasta with meat sauce, taco salads, sandwiches and breakfast food.
Eating out turned out to be not so painful.  
We ate lunch at KT Bar and Grill in the Tanger Outlets in Sevierville. After talking to the manager (who thinks she is a Celiac!) it was determined I could have a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette and a baked potato with butter, sour cream and cheese.  Not a bad lunch in my book.
We ate dinner at The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge.  This was a fun family style southern home cooking restaurant.  As soon as were were seated I asked for the allergy menu.  I decided to go with the grilled chicken and rice with mashed potatoes.  All the meals come with corn chowder and corn fritters - both Gluten Full, a salad and dessert.   I subbed my corn chowder for mac-n-cheese for the the toddler and skipped the fritters.  Everyone said the fritters were awesome with the honey butter!   I got my salad with thousand island dressing.  For dessert I went with vanilla ice cream.  Overall it was a ton of food and very tasty.  I shared with the toddler and we were both happy.  

We ate lunch at the TGI Friday’s in Gatlinburg.  They have an allergy menu if you ask.  However the Gluten Free options are VERY limited.  I went with the lettuce wedge with the house vinaigrette and the mashed potatoes.   It was a good lunch but would have been disappointing for a dinner.   Just not a lot of food for a dinner meal.

Another successful Gluten Free traveling adventure!  Some things were hard to say no to but well worth it.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

P.F. Chang's - Take two

My first Gluten Free visit to P.F. Chang's was good but I have to say not great.  I went unprepared and didn't know what to get.  On a recent date with my hubby I was ready to order a fabulous meal and that is what I got!  We decided to do the P.F. Chang's Dinner for Two deal, which actually is one.

We started with the GF Chicken Lettuce Wraps (I had a Facebook coupon for this), Calamari (NOT GLUTEN FREE - my hubby ate them), and GF Egg Drop Soup.   The Lettuce Wraps just rock.  I could make a whole meal out of them.  I really enjoyed the Egg Drop Soup too!

For entrees I went with the GF Chang's Spicy Chicken and the hubby had the Sesame Chicken (NOT GLUTEN FREE).  My dish was very tasty but it was a little more spicy than I'm used to.  To tone it down I used the awesome GF soy sauce in the red dish that they bring to the table when you tell them you are Gluten Free.  A little GF soy sauce and white rice and I was in business!

We ended our meal by sharing the GF Flourless Chocolate Cake.   It was somewhere between straight fudge and a dark chocolate ganache!  Awesome!

This was a much better P.F. Chang's food experience!  I really appreciate the variety of food available that is Gluten Free and the wait staff's attentiveness to my needs.  Next time I want to try the Singapore Street Noodles as I hear they are amazing too!

We had a ton of food left over that actually feed the toddler and I for two lunches!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Food Allergy Cookbook Review

Most all of my Gluten Free cooking in the last eight months has come from websites, blogs and Kraft food magazines.  So when I was invited to try a Gluten Free cookbook and write a review I was super excited to crack open the pages.  And I literally read through them all!

The Food Allergy Cookbook is a good tool for any cook dealing with allergy sensitivities.  There are a few things I really enjoyed about the book.

First, the way it is laid out is super helpful.  Say it is your turn to cook the big family Thanksgiving meal, but as a Celiac or Gluten Sensitive person you don't know where to start - go to Chapter Five!  They lay out from start to finish how to cook a Thanksgiving meal.  They also have sections for appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes, entrees and desserts so you can mix and match to your tastes.

Second, the recipes are pretty simple.  Most of the recipes do not have more than 15 ingredients in them.  As a busy mom simplicity is key for me.  I need to be able to open the pantry and throw something together without having to run to the store for some obscure ingredient.

Lastly, they provide a simple Gluten Free Flour mixture that only has 4 ingredients and is used in all their baked desserts.   Many people have their own flour mixtures, I'm more of a pre-made girl.   The flour mixtures in the book seems simple enough that even I could make it and use it!

I enjoy reading recipes and I'm the geek that actually reads through the steps for fun.  But I have to say I'm not the best follower of recipes, they are more like guidelines for me.  I prefer to alter recipes based on our families tastes and what I have available.  This book provides a ton of great guidelines for me to use!  There is a cinnamon roll recipe on 56 that is calling my name!

Happy Cooking!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gluten Free Rice Krispies Review

Check out what I found in our local Wal-Mart!  That is right, the much talked about Gluten Free Rice Krispies.  I grabbed a box to give them a try.

Taste: They tasted just like regular Rice Krispies to me.  I'm more of a sweet cereal girl myself so I added fresh blueberries.

Texture:  Crunchy at first and then soft as they soak up the milk.

Noise: They did "snap, crackle and pop" like they were supposed to

Overall:  This is a good addition to the Gluten Free cereal world.  I will buy them again but like I said I prefer sweeter cereals.   I plan to make some rice krispie treats soon!
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