Feeling a Little Whiny?

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If you have a gluten allergy but love to cook, you may have cast aside any aspirations of using a cooking wine in your sauces and other creations.

I do not drink wine, or any alcohol, so I prefer to purchase cooking wine. Now, when I say cooking wine, I am not referring to the kind people drink.

You see, cooking wine is not meant for drinking; it is made for cooking. It contains added salt and is formulated expressly for cooking. Also, if it’s added to a dish correctly, at least ninety seven percent of the alcohol will burn off in the cooking process, leaving a flavorful addition to your meals.

But for the gluten allergic/Celiac, cooking wine has long been out of the question.

Until now.

Because the good folks over at Mizkan/Holland House have created an entire line of cooking wines and vinegars which are gluten free!

Holland-House-Wine

I have found the Holland House brand in just about every grocery store in town. And my favorite for spaghetti and pizza sauce is the Marsala. It gives your Italian dishes that authentic taste.

In fact, I’ll share my spaghetti sauce recipe with you, just as a little bonus:

Spaghetti Sauce – No gluten, dairy, soy or other crud

  • In a 4 quart stock pot, brown 1 pound ground beef or turkey (for those avoiding meat, see the note at the end of my recipe)

Halfway through the browning process, add:

  • 1-2 cups raw mushrooms
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • Continue sauteing until meat is cooked thoroughly and mushrooms are tender. Drain.
  • To the mixture, add one 20 oz can EACH plain crushed and pureed tomatoes
  • Next, add one small 6 oz can plain tomato paste

To that, add:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 TB dried basil (lemon basil is so delicious here)
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB sugar (I use coconut sugar and it works beautifully)
  • 1/4 cup Holland House Marsala cooking wine
  • Stir ingredients well
  • At this point, I strongly suggest transferring the ingredients to a crock pot to cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring 3 or 4 times during the process.
  • If a slow cooker is not an option, leave the ingredients in the stock pot and cover. Turn on medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Turn to low and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 45 minutes, but not more than one hour. Stir often.
  • Before serving, remove the bay leaves

Note: If you are vegan or vegetarian, the ground beef can be substituted with any variety of chopped veggies: zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots – the possibilities are endless!

Happy Cooking!

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I Love Amy!!!!!

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amy's veggie lasagne

LOOK! Just LOOK at what she has made now!

I haven’t actually tasted it yet, but I almost ran my tongue over the computer monitor.

I am not making this up.

In fact, I’m looking for my car keys so I can go to the local freak food store in search of this tasty treat.

Sure, I can make my own. But it’s too much fun to buy a box of frozen something, like I’m perfectly normal in the area of food toleration like the other folks at the store. Sauntering with my cart, as I casually throw a frozen dinner into my basket, like I haven’t a care in the world what the ingredients say.

It’s like a little secret, held between Amy and me.

I will say that the one drawback to this lasagna is that it does contain tofu. Why they had to add that pesky little critter in there, I’ll never know. But if a small amount of soybean doesn’t bother you, you can be in on the ‘Amy and Me Secret’ too, with our clandestine grocery cart contents.

Thank you, Amy. And thank you Daiya. You have just brought a smile to this cold, blustery, winter’s day.

Happy Instant Gratification!  

Pasta Fagioli! Yes, you can eat that too!

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soup

Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Pasta Fagioli (pronounced ‘fa-shool’. or ‘fah-jool’. Take your pick).

You’ve probably heard that you’ll never, ever, ever eat it again because it’s full of gluten, dairy and all things off limits.

Psh.

I am here to turn that frown upside down.

But without pictures. I’m so sorry.  Basketball season for three of my teens has begun and I hab a code *sniff*. No time for pictures. But I’m still gonna share my recipe. With links! Fair? Fair.

Let’s get started.

Pasta Fajioli – No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Yeast

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) small white beans, drained
  • 1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes (The orgininal recipe that I tweaked for allergies calls for stewed tomatoes, of which we are not fans. If you like stewed tomatoes, by all means, go ahead.)
  • 1 Tbs EACH crushed basil, oregano, rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste, if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, sliced thinly and diced
  • 3 Cups broth (beef or chicken) OR water
  • 2 Cups uncooked small pasta (spirals, macaroni or broken spaghetti works well) **
  • 1 lb cooked and seasoned ground beef, drained
  • Optional: shredded Daiya cheese for topping

In a 4 or 5 quart saucepot, combine all ingredients except pasta and Daiya. Bring ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta and simmer, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, for an additional ten minutes or until pasta is al dente.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with Daiya, if desired.  Makes six servings.

**Should you choose to use brown rice pasta in this recipe, it would be a splendid idea for you to pre-cook your pasta then add it to the soup when it is ready to be served. If you choose to add it directly to the soup, remember, rice pasta makes the cooking water quite starchy and all that starch will be in your soup. Kinda icky. That is why I recommend the quinoa pasta for this dish.

Happy Cold Weather Comfort Foods!

Flu Season. Yuck.

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I have been kidnapped by the flu. Really.

It all began three weeks ago, when I took my 90 pound dog, who should be 80 pounds (we’re working on it), to the vet. You see, he had torn his ACL (well, the dog version of his ACL) and he was not cooperating for the vet. So I had to hold him down. And promptly threw out my back.

THEN, just as my back was getting better, I came down with a stomach virus. Nice. Bad back plus stomach virus equals not very comfortable at all.

I had a few days of feeling pretty good after that and then about a week ago, I got slammed again! This time, the dreaded influenza.

It was seriously just like Grover’s Bad Awful Day. Only it was Jaime’s Bad Awful Three Weeks.

So that’s where I’ve been: Sick and huddled under my covers with Good Earth tea and library books.

But it did yield a nice surprise in the process! Allow me to explain. Because I’m explaining whether you allow me to or not.

My dear, sweet oldest daughter went to the store for me and came home with a package of this:

 

This Amy’s Rice Macaroni and ‘Cheeze’  was shamelessly displaying itself in the freezer section at our local health food store! So what could my daughter do but buy a few boxes?

And not only is it gluten free, it’s dairy and soy free, prepared with Daiya cheese! It does have a small amount of nutritional yeast, so do not partake if you cannot have yeast.

I usually prepare my own mac and cheese using Daiya, but isn’t it nice to sometimes have something quick on hand? Especially when you’ve been sick?

And, thankfully, this mac and cheese passed the critical taste tests of both my daughter and myself.

In fact, it kind of reminded me of the old fashioned (listen to me…’old fashioned’, sheesh!) mac and cheese that came in those foil tray T.V. dinners back in the seventies and early eighties. You know, the kind you actually baked in your oven and it usually came with that awesome apple dessert? And then you ate it along with a cup of nice, cold Kool-Aid? Remember?

Yeah…and I wonder why I have so many food allergies now. Hmmmm. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact I loved Tab and Doritios. And TV dinner macaroni and cheese.

But now, thanks to Amy’s, I don’t have to feel guilty about eating their version of a true American delicacy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pretty intense housework to catch up on. And a kazillion doses of vitamin C to take, just in case.

 

Happy T.V. Tray Night!

Tuna Noodle Casserole Revised: No Dairy, Soy, Gluten or Eggs

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The above picture may not mean much.

Until I explain it, that is. Then it will.

The above photograph shows a child who lists Tuna Noodle Casserole in the top ten of her favorite foods.

That in and of itself is amazing.

She loves broccoli too.  The weirdy.

And said child also does not have one food allergy. That I know of. Yet. Give her time, it will come. She’s mine.

But until then, she willingly eats my allergy free creations without a speck of distaste. I consider her to be one of my most important critics because she eats ‘regular’ food all the time.

Including ‘regular’ Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Since I have a hankering for it from time to time, I decided to make a cheesy, comforting allergy free version.

And now I’m going to share it with you.

Lucky.

Tuna Noodle Casserole – Allergy Free Style

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta in a large stock pot until al dente (you don’t want it soft or it will be too squishy when baked). Drain.

While the pasta is draining in the colander, in the stock pot, blend together the Vegenaise, Daiya, Almond Milk and seasonings. Stir well. Next add the drained olives, the mushrooms, the peas and the drained tuna. Stir until blended.

Gradually add the cooked pasta to the sauce blend. Do not add all the pasta if it seems like it will overtake the sauce and make the casserole on the dry side.

Spray a 9×13 glass casserole dish with cooking spray (or oil it with your choice of oil) and dump in your saucy pasta concoction.

Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and the top is a LIGHT golden brown.

You can also top with crushed gluten free crackers the last five minutes of baking, if desired.

***If soy is not an issue for you, substitute a 1/2 cup of the Vegenaise with a 1/2 cup of Tofutti Sour Cream, if desired.

Happy Fishing for Comfort Foods!

Alfredo Sauce Without the Dairy? But of Course!

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This recipe comes from an original post (June of 2012) at my old blog home.

So, I cannot take all the credit for this scrumptious dish as it was my hubby (coincidentally, also a scrumptious dish!) who actually came up with the idea and made the first batch we ever ate.

But the following is my own rendition that I made for HIM!

Turn about is fair play, as far as I’m concerned.

If you’re not a seafood fan, I won’t pretend to understand you, but you can leave the seafood out.

Simply serve with any other meat you would like to be involved in this Alfredo relationship.

Or if you’re vegan (I…cannot comprehend, but, hey! We’re all food freaks here and respect each others weird, freaky food issues.), just serve it all by itself or with your favorite veggies.

But the recipe is my traditional one. So that means we must begin with the bacon.

Such as:

Fry up half the package in a skillet.

Remove and drain on a towel when the bacon is nice and crispy. When it is cool, crumble it all up.

Drain *most* of the grease and reserve just enough to saute’ mushrooms.

I guess I should warn you at this point that this recipe is in no way, shape or form low fat or pretending to be.

Next, add your mushrooms to all that bacony goodness.

I guess I should also make the disclaimer that while I own a really nice camera, I think I was in just too much of a hurry to fiddle with all the settings and used my crummy phone camera instead. Either that, or I just skipped editing. Either way, we got the pics and that’s all that matters.

Then, add about 1/2 cup of burgundy cooking wine to the skillet. This is optional for those who either cannot tolerate the ingredients or just don’t realize that whatever alcohol is in the cooking wine simply cooks off  anyway, leaving just its awesome flavor behind.

Chop up some green onions and throw them in there too. Do not cover the skillet at any time. Let those shrooms absorb as much of that liquid as possible. And stir up those bacony bits into it also.

The next part is your choice of meats.  Since I was making this for my hubby, he requested shrimp, crawfish, (which he affectionately refers to as ‘sea bugs’. Nice.) bacon and ham.

An important step is to always rinse, thaw and drain any frozen seafood first. Otherwise you will have a big mess of liquids you did not want in your Alfredo.

You may add any other protein you may want here at this point.

Saute’ all the meats (except for the draining bacon) until they are heated through and/or cooked. I also added ham (Hormel Naturals).

Drain off any liquid (toss it!) and transfer the meats/shrooms/onions and bacon into a bowl.

Cover the bowl with foil to keep the meat warm.

Next, you will need an Original Unsweetened milk (almond, hazelnut, etc).

Also, you will need Earth Balance spread and one package of Daiya cheese.

Melt 1/4 cup Earth Balance in the skillet with one to two cloves of minced garlic and a shake or two of pepper.

Next, add 1 1/2 cups of the almond milk. Heat for a few minutes on medium heat.

Then add the entire package of Daiya. See how liquidy it is? Never fear! It will thicken. I promise.

Now it is the waiting game. You will need to stir, stir, stir your milky, cheesy, Earth Balancy mess. I use a slotted spatula so I can squish all the cheese down as it melts and scrape the bottom of the skillet. Keep it on medium heat.

Keep stirring until the mixture thickens.

At this point, turn your heat down to medium low (or low if your range runs hot) just so that the cheesy mixture bubbles. Your cheese will be almost melted.

Once the cheese is melted, add your meats back to the sauce.

Sorry it’s not a Food Network worthy picture. I prefer reality here.

Keep it on low until ready to serve, stirring every few minutes.

Cook up some allergy free pasta….

….and serve your yummy sauce right on top of it.

And then leave a comment telling me of your undying love for me.

Here is the quick run down of ingredients:

Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread
  • 1 1/2 cups Original Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Package Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Pepper

Meats and Such for the Sauce

  • 1/2 package allergy free bacon (such as Hormel Naturals)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup cooking wine

Any amount of the following:

  • Green onions
  • Crawfish, thawed
  • Shrimp, thawed
  • Diced Ham (such as Hormel Naturals)

Happy Eating Cheesy Things Again!