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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Leftovers? …Turkey Pot Pie!

I know there will be plenty of leftover turkey by Friday of this week, so I’m going to turn it into another meal. One of my family’s favorites is home-made chicken pot pie – just meat, no vegetables. We used to buy it at Hungry Hollow Country Store in West Paris, Maine. They make the best chicken pie we’ve ever had!  When we started eating gluten-free food, I had to come up with a wheat-free recipe that comes close to the Hungry Hollow pies. Oooh, experimenting is so much fun and I love to experiment!!

So, I think I’ve gotten pretty close with this recipe and it’s so easy. This week, of course, I will substitute turkey and because I haven’t perfected a gluten-free flaky pie crust yet, I will use Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix (Gluten-free/Wheat-free) to make a variation of pot pie. The crust on this pot pie is more like a biscuit or dumpling. Yum! If you’d like to add your favorite vegetables, make sure they are cooked and drained well, so the gravy doesn’t get watered down. Also, be sure to use a bigger baking dish, or the gravy might spill over into your oven.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day with family and friends. My husband and I are visiting our son in college in North Carolina. We are planning on cooking our turkey dinner in the dorm kitchen! It will be a fun adventure and we are all very excited! I’m bringing all my recipes with me – my son is already “drooling” at the thought of many home-cooked meals!

Turkey Pot Pie

2½ cups cooked, boneless turkey, cut into bite size pieces

1½ cups turkey or chicken broth

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons cold water

Dough/biscuit:

1 cup Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

¾ cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

pinch of garlic powder, onion powder and whole celery seed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large 9 inch pie plate. Place turkey pieces in pie plate, evenly spaced. Pour broth into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. In a small dish, combine cornstarch with cold water, stir until dissolved completely. Pour cornstarch slurry into hot broth, stir and bring back to a boil. This mixture will thicken as it cooks. Continue to stir. Once it becomes thick, pour over turkey pieces in pie plate. In a separate bowl, combine dough ingredients and mix well. Spoon soft dough on top of turkey mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 3-4 servings.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Main Meals

 

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Fresh Cranberry Relish – Tradition!

Everyone has a cranberry sauce family tradition for Thanksgiving. I grew up with the canned Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce sliced on a plate. Open both ends of the can and slide it out – it still had the indent of the ridges from the can. Sometimes my mother would also serve the Whole Cranberry Sauce by Ocean Spray – yuck, it was like eating sour sticks and twigs!

After getting married, my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for his family every year. It became our favorite holiday! For the first few years, it was the old stand-by, Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. Then one year, 1995 to be exact (I still have the newspaper clipping!), a local newspaper had different recipes to add something “new” to the Thanksgiving table. That is where I found our new family tradition – Fresh Cranberry-Berry Relish! Ever since then, this fresh relish is the only cranberry relish we serve. Some years, I didn’t make a big enough batch and we were scraping the bowl for the last bits. When there were leftovers, they would get piled onto a turkey sandwich the next day, and again we would scrape the bowl for the last bits!

This relish is best made earlier in the day or even a day ahead. This lets the flavors and colors really blend well. I use my food processor to cut up the cranberries and apples, it saves time and energy. Don’t thaw the frozen raspberries, just blend them in and as they defrost, their juice will join in with all the other yummy flavors.

Cranberry-Berry Relish

4 cups (~1 lb.) fresh or frozen cranberries, finely chopped

2 tart green apples, cored and finely diced (skin on)

½ cup sugar

½ cup apricot jam (can substitute orange marmalade or peach jam)

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen raspberries or blackberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. It’s best made a day ahead so the flavors and colors can blend. Makes about 6 cups.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Side Dishes

 

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Thai Chicken-Coconut Soup!

Thai food is one of my favorite ethnic cuisines. My husband and I went to a Thai restaurant for dinner the other night and had this soup as part of our meal. It was so delicious! I remembered I found this recipe online last year and made it for a New Year’s Eve party. Everyone loved it! So, I had to share my version of this simple recipe! I adapted it to use more common ingredients. It can be challenging, living in rural Maine, to find a good ethnic grocery store…  It may not taste exactly like the Thai restaurant version, but it is still really good.

Thai food has so many great flavors – spicy hot, sweet and spicy, lemon or lime, fruity, nutty, savory – and sometimes that’s all in one dish! My husband likes it too, because many of the dishes are naturally gluten-free, so no alterations are necessary.

I hope you enjoy this soup – let me know in my comment section!

As with any recipe, especially soup, you can alter the amounts of spices to your taste preference. Don’t be afraid to experiment – do it gradually and you may create a great new dish!

Thai Chicken-Coconut Soup (Gluten-Free)

3 cups chicken broth

1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk

1/3 cup finely grated fresh ginger

1 cup bite-size pieces of boneless, cooked chicken

½ cup sliced white mushrooms

1½ tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine chicken broth, coconut milk and ginger in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken meat and stir for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, red pepper flakes and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Pour into individual soup bowls and top each with fresh cilantro. Makes 4-5 servings.

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Soups

 

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Apple Cinnamon Puffs…adventures in apple picking!

Ok, I admit it, I procrastinated a little too long this year. I’ve been going to the same apple orchard since my son was very little (he’s in college now). It’s a small orchard run by an old-timer nestled in the mountains of Western Maine alongside a beautiful river. My favorite apple variety is Macoun and the old-timer told me long ago that the Macoun was a late apple. So, I waited until the end of October this year to go apple picking. I planned it on a day when I could have lunch with a friend that lives about half way there. I was excited to hand pick each one and take that first crisp, juicy bite! As I’m driving up to the barn where they sell cider, honey, maple syrup and, of course, apples, it feels a little deserted. No one was in the barn or the orchard. The only greeter was the old-timer’s friendly German Shepherd! It didn’t really bother me, because I know many small farm stands work off the honor system. They leave their fruit or vegetables out and you weigh them and leave money in a box nearby. Except in this case, there were no apples out. So, I took an apple-picking tool off the wall and walked into the orchard. I was very surprised to see that every tree was bare. Ok, not every tree, but I don’t like Red or Golden Delicious, so they don’t count to me. I walked through the rows of trees and not one of them had an apple, not even on the highest branches! I had missed the season! I had read in the local newspapers it was a good year for apple crops, so I truly expected to find plenty still on the trees.

I was disappointed, but not daunted. I was determined to find apples that day. I drove toward another orchard in a neighboring town, but a sign on the side of the road said they only had “drops”. “Drops” are those apples that fall on the ground under the tree. Many orchards use these to make cider because they are usually over-ripe and softer than apples still on the tree. No “drops” for me – I wanted crispy, crunchy, juicy apples right off the tree! So, I kept driving.

There are many orchards in the western part of Maine and I know roughly where a few of them are located. I headed toward one I had passed by a couple years ago when exploring the back roads – PieTree Orchard in Sweden, Maine. (http://www.pietreeorchard.com/) When I drove into their parking area, again, it was deserted. They were closed during the week, because the picking season was over. Luckily, they had apples out and available to buy using the honor system. Finally, I was able to buy a bag of organic Macoun apples. Success at last!

I hope you enjoy this gluten-free recipe. Use your favorite apples, and hopefully you didn’t have to drive to three towns all over the county to get them!

Apple Cinnamon Puffs 

5 large red apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

½ cup sugar

1¾ cup Pamela’s Wheat-free/Gluten-free Baking & Pancake Mix

4 tablespoons butter, melted

¾ cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Place sliced apples in a medium bowl, add sugar and stir to combine. Pour the apple mixture into the greased baking dish and spread evenly. In a large bowl, combine Pamela’s mix, melted butter and milk. Stir well to make a soft dough. Drop the dough by spoonful on top of apple slices and spread evenly over apples. Combine the 2 tablepoons sugar and cinnamon in a small dish and sprinkle on top of the dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes about 6 servings.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Desserts

 

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Mmmm….Upside-down Cranberry Cake!

Fresh out of the oven!

First, I had a funny coincidence happen last night! So, I’ve just started this blog 4 days ago, right? Last night, as I was flipping through the TV channels, guess what movie was on – “Julie & Julia“! I’m not saying I expect my blog to do anything like hers, but I do think it was a message from the Universe that this might be a good thing for me. That I should be creative, and just have fun with this blog. I’m not going to worry about how many comments I get, or even how many views – I’m going to write recipes and share tips because I love to cook and I enjoy sharing my passion. Just my two cents…

Now, on to the food…  This is the season for cranberries. It means Thanksgiving is right around the corner – I can’t wait! This year I did not pick the cranberries myself as I have done in the past, but I still found a local farm that sells them and I stocked up. The great thing about cranberries is they freeze so well. Buy a couple extra bags and just pop them in the freezer – they will last up to a year that way and still be great in recipes. If you want to pick your own, the season is from around the end of September to the end of October, depending on the crop. I’m sure you’ve seen the Ocean Spray commercials on TV where the men are standing in knee-deep water – that’s because there are two types of bogs – wet and dry. Woodward Cranberry Farm in Albany, Maine (http://www.woodwardcranberryfarm.net/) has organic cranberries in a dry bog. I picked there a few years ago and it was a lot of fun! This year I bought my berries at Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Maine (http://www.rickerhill.com/). Either way, I still supported some local farmers.

The recipe I have for today is both delicious and beautiful. The bright red berries are festive and they take center stage in this dessert! Enjoy…

Upside-down Cranberry Cake

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 cups cranberries, fresh or thawed frozen

1 egg

2/3 cup sugar

½ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup yogurt, plain or vanilla

1½ cups Pamela’s Gluten-free/Wheat-free Baking & Pancake Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan very well. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan and melt over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour this glaze into the cake pan and spread evenly. Arrange the cranberries evenly on top of the glaze. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the egg and the sugar until well mixed. Slowly add the oil and vanilla and beat until blended. Gently mix in the yogurt. Add the baking mix and beat until blended well. Pour the batter over the cranberries, spreading it evenly in the pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the pan cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the outer edge of the cake. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and carefully lift off the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream. Makes 6-8 servings.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Desserts

 

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Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix…

I thought before I head off into gluten-free recipe heaven, maybe I should give a more thorough description of the main ingredient I use in my baking.  I realize you can go to their website and look up the ingredients for yourself, but I thought I’d save you that extra step…plus include a few extra tidbits of information!

One of the reasons I love this baking mix so much is because it is so simple and easy to use, plus it tastes great! The flours they use don’t have funny aftertastes and the mix already has baking powder, baking soda and salt in it. It saves me time while I’m trying to get something in the oven quick.

Let’s look at the label now… the ingredients list is as follows:    (in order of appearance on their label)

brown rice flour, white rice flour, cultured buttermilk, natural almond meal (may appear as brown flecks), tapioca starch, grainless & aluminum free baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, xanthan gum

Rice flour is made from finely milled brown or white rice and it helps soften the texture of a baked good. Buttermilk is the low-fat portion of milk or cream left over after it has been churned to make butter. It is “cultured” by adding lactic acid bacteria to it. Cultured buttermilk is low in fat and calories and the acid in the buttermilk, when combined with baking soda, produces light baked goods and adds extra tenderness, moisture and flavor. Almond meal is most often made from whole almonds (with a skin), which is probably why they mention the brown flecks in the list. It adds moistness and a rich, buttery flavor. Tapioca starch is ground from the root of the cassava plant. It helps your breads have a nice crispy texture. In muffins and cookies, tapioca starch adds structure without grittiness. Baking powder, baking soda and salt are commonly used in all baking methods.

Now, xanthan gum sounds like it’s from another planet! It is actually a fermented corn sugar product. It helps all the other ingredients bind together, so the baked goods don’t end up as just crumbs! (This is the normal job of wheat gluten.) In some of my recipes, I add extra xanthum gum for better binding. But, too much can cause your baked goods to be gummy or heavy, so measure carefully.

Okay, so maybe I’ve given you more information than you really wanted. I was just trying to share why this mix is SO good. Pamela’s Products (http://www.pamelasproducts.com/) uses ingredients that taste good together and are healthy. I use this baking mix so much, that I buy it in bulk from Amazon and it gets shipped automatically. Some health food stores or regular grocery stores carry it and you can buy it right from their website, too.

Please note, if you have allergies to milk or nuts, then this mix is not for you. Sorry…

Check back soon for some great recipes for Thanksgiving, or click “FOLLOW” and receive an email notice every time I post a new recipe! Have a great day!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Ingredients/Products

 

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Crust-less Pumpkin Pie…Really?

Pumpkin

I had lunch today with a very good friend who is always upbeat and positive. She really “shines” with her joy and attitude about life. She has recently started a blog and happily suggested I should try it too. “Do it for the joy of it!”, she says. So, that’s what I’ve decided to do. I want to share my passion about cooking. Not just any kind of cooking (although I do enjoy all kinds), but specifically gluten-free cooking.

I started several years ago when another very good friend was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I tried to find recipes she liked and convert them into gluten-free. Over the years, I’ve converted many recipes into gluten-free, found new tasty products and experimented with what works well and what doesn’t. It was a good thing I did because, just recently, my husband has discovered he is sensitive to gluten and has decided to be more strict with his eating habits.

I like to keep things simple in the kitchen, so hopefully you’ll find my recipes easy to follow and delicious as well. I love to cook and I love to try new recipes. Cooking is an adventure, so let’s have some fun!

Most of my recipes use a wheat-free/gluten-free baking and pancake mix made by Pamela’s Products. It is so easy to use and tastes great! I buy it in 4 pound (1.81 kg) bags from Amazon, but you can also buy it directly from Pamela’s website (http://www.pamelasproducts.com) or a local grocery store may carry it.

It’s hard to find a good pie crust that is gluten-free, so in this recipe I’ve tried to get that same great taste of pumpkin pie without a “normal” crust. I also cut out the sugar and used agave syrup, which is a healthier sweetener. My husband and I thought it came out great and I will definitely be making this one for Thanksgiving dinner!!

CRUST-LESS PUMPKIN PIE

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

½ cup agave syrup

2 eggs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/3 cup Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Grease a pie plate with butter and pour pumpkin mixture into pie plate. Bake for 60-65 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or refrigerate for later. Makes 6-8 servings.

Yum!

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Desserts

 

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