Archive for category Recipes: Appetizers & Dips

Gluten Free Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

[Lucy scoops out the innards of the pumpkin Linus brought]
Linus: [groans] You didn’t tell me you were gonna kill it!

- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

When roasting this year’s pumpkin seeds, I drew inspiration from Ricki over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs.  Tired of plain ol’ pumpkin seeds coated with salt, I wanted to branch out into something more exotic and exciting.  My Asian-Inspired Pumpkin Seeds have a tangy bite that will keep you going back handful after handful.  Looking for more flavorful ways to roast pumpkin seeds?  Check out this post on 15 New Ways to Spice Up Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Seeds

Asian-Inspired Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds from one large pumpkin (washed & dried)
1 tablespoon Tamari Sauce
1 tablespoon Hot Pepper Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon Wasabi Powder
Sea Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Add pumpkin seeds in a single layer to a large baking dish.  Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly to coat seeds.  Roast for approximately 30 minutes (stir every 10 minutes) until liquid is absorbed.

Closeup Gluten Free Pumpkin Seeds

Gluten Free Mozzarella Sticks

gluten-free-mozzarella-sticks

It has been four long and torturous years since I have eaten mozzarella sticks. 1,460 days without deep fried deliciousness.

During a recent (rare) dinner out, I watched my husband happily devour a basket of mozzarella sticks while I ate a (ho hum boring) salad. Enough was enough! I needed fried cheese and I needed it NOW!  But what’s a gluten intolerant girl to do?  Many GF folks have attempted mozzarella sticks with sad results.  I’d heard horror stories of exploding and/or oozing cheese.  Not too appetizing…

Determined to satisfy my craving, I dusted off my Presto Cool Daddy Deep Fryer.  Armed with a package of mozzarella cheese sticks, Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour, and Aleia’s Parmesan Bread Crumbs, I went to work.  There are three secrets I’ll let you in on:  (1) Cut each mozzarella cheese stick in half.  I did deep fry a few full size sticks and they didn’t fry well.  (2) Roll the cheese in the egg and breadcrumbs twice.  (3) After you have “floured, egged, crumbed, egged, crumbed” all of your cheese, place them in the freezer for one hour.  This trick ensures the cheese will stay contained.

These mozzarella sticks were absolutely wondrous! The Hoover Vacuum Company would have been proud of my scarfing abilities! One word of caution, try to restrain yourself from eating 24 mozzarella sticks all in one sitting.   I speak from experience as there is only so much relief Pepcid can offer in this situation!

Gluten Free Mozzarella Sticks

2/3 cup GF flour mix
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package (16 ounce) mozzarella cheese sticks
1 quart of canola oil

gf-mozz-sticks-ingredients

In a shallow dish, combine the gluten free flour mix and cornstarch thoroughly. In a second shallow dish, beat eggs and water until combined. In third shallow dish, combine the gluten free breadcrumbs and garlic powder. Cut each of the mozzarella sticks in half (the smaller size allows for more even frying). Coat each mozzarella stick thoroughly in the flour mixture, egg mixture, and then in the breadcrumbs. Continue these three steps until all mozzarella sticks have been covered in the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs (you will have 24 “mini” mozzarella sticks). Now begin the “double dipping process”. Re-dip all mozzarella sticks in the egg and breadcrumbs. Place on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and freeze for one hour.  After freezing is completed, fill your deep fryer (or large pan) with canola oil. The oil temperature should be 365 degrees. Deep fry the mozzarella sticks for approximately 25 to 30 seconds (or until golden brown). Using a frying skimmer, carefully remove mozzarella sticks from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with warm marinara sauce and enjoy!

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(Naturally) Gluten Free Hummus with Balsamic Vinegar

gluten-free-hummus

We have very cool friends for neighbors.  Sherry and Ray live down the street from us.  Too far to stick your arm out the window for a cup of sugar, but close enough to wander down for one of their fabulous get togethers.  Sherry and Ray recently hosted a Snuggie Party at their abode.  Yes, a Snuggie Party.  For those of you who do not obsessively watch infomercials, the Snuggie is infamously known as “a blanket with sleeves”.  According to my son (an infomercial junkie), I also need a Hoveround electric chair, several Sham Wows, and Urine Be Gone.

We excitedly donned our Snuggies (the kids put on their pjs) and headed over to Sherry and Ray’s house for a snugtastic time (yes, I went there!).  When I realized Sherry’s delicious hummus was naturally gluten free, I quickly gobbled up most of it myself.  After a few glasses of wine and a secret Snuggie handshake, Sherry  kindly shared her hummus recipe.

snuggie-party

White Bean Hummus with Balsamic Vinegar

1 19-ounce can of White Cannelini Kidney Beans
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (I used roasted garlic)
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Using a colander, drain and rinse beans. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Blend until hummus is smooth and creamy. Serve with veggies, corn chips, or use in place of mayo on a sandwich!

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Deep Fried Deliciousness

I have a confession to make: I used to be a half price appetizer kind of girl. Downright shocking, isn’t it?

I fondly recall many an evening spent with friends, family, and my future hubby dining out. Our local Houlihan’s would have 1/2 price apps on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.; Chi Chi’s was Thursdays and Casa Lupita was Fridays. For a mere twenty dollars, we’d dine like kings ordering (practically) one of each item from the appetizer menu. I’d make a glorious meal of fried raviolis, onion rings, jalapeno poppers and mozzarella sticks.  Glutenous fried food was my BFF (total pinkie swear!).

Then said fried food became a back stabbing frenemy and we had to go our separate ways.

Through time apart and a great deal of therapy, I’ve decided to let bygones be bygones with fried food.  Recently I found a way to recreate deep fried delights that are gluten free and run no risk of cross contamination. 

Um, they still aren’t healthy, so moderation is key.

Beer Battered Onion Rings

In a bowl combine:

1 12 ounce gluten free beer (I used Bard’s Tale)
2 1/2 cups Pamela’s Pancake & Baking Mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons McCormick Cajun Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Set your deep fryer oil temperature to 375 degrees. Whisk all ingredients listed above until thoroughly combined. Cut vidalia onions into 3/4 inch slices (thick slices, no wimpy onion rings!). Use the larger rings as these deep fry the best. One at a time, dip the rings into the batter and then drop into the deep fryer. Turn rings over once and fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil. You can keep the rings warmed in the oven at 200 degrees or in a warming drawer.

*I purchased the Presto Cool Daddy Deep Fryer as I was always afraid of the kids (or me!) getting burned while I was using a regular pan to fry foods.  There are many deep fryers on the market, so check out the reviews.  I absolutely LOVE my new deep fryer as no bodily harm occurred during the making of these onion rings.

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Thanks For Feeding The Celiac

In taking a brief pause from the back to school mayhem, I (happily) realized we attended two tremendous gluten-free friendly picnics this Summer.  I admit it, my expectations “food-wise” are fairly low when it comes to friends and family members “accommodating” my disease.  That sounds harsh, but I totally don’t mean it in a bad way.  I’m just pleasantly surprised when there is gluten free food for me at get togethers.  Just to be on the safe (non-glutened) side, I always make sure to have something to eat in case the picnic/party/event is a gluten-filled nightmare.  Ok, I admit it, I’ve had dreams of Tastycakes angrily attacking me.  Analyze that one, people.

Fantabulous Party #1: My sister and her boyfriend had us over to their new casa.  She wooed me with guacamole, mojitos, and gluten free cupcakes.  Just like me, my sis is distracted by shiny objects, has an adversity to cooking, and a difficulty with mathematical calculations, so the fact that she made such an awesome gluten free offering was much appreciated.  Yes, seester, I will totally hook you up for your birthday!

Fantabulous Party #2: We recently went to visit my hubby’s brother and his wife. They live about an hour and a half away from us, so we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like. Amazingly, the four of us actually had a day that was clear for all, so we booked some time to catch up. After dropping Thing 1 and Thing 2 off at the grandparents for some spoiling, we headed north (Jersey, that is). Not knowing where we were going to eat, I brought my usual bag of Tostitos chips, a jar of salsa, and an Envirokidz cereal bar.

Imagine my surprise when we arrived to a full-on gluten free spread. I’m not kidding. My lovely sister-in-law had done her homework. She diligently researched gluten free blogs for recipes (does the Internet rule or what?!) and whisked up a buffet fit for a Celiac Queen.

On the mouth-watering menu was a beyond-delicious corn, bean, and yellow pepper salsa. I had to share the recipe – it’s just too good not to. Even better, this salsa is easy to make, tasty, and packed with fiber and Vitamin C. What more can you ask for?

PS. This is great with just about anything…a healthy “dip” for tortilla chips, on top of nachos, in a cheese quesadilla, or as a topping for burritos — the possibilities are endless!

Super Sister-In-Law Salsa

1 yellow bell pepper seeded and diced
1 can of sweet corn drained
1 can of black beans rinsed and drained
3 limes juiced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Fresh cilantro chopped (use as much or little as you like)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional – I added 1/2 jalapeno (seeded and diced) for some heat.

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Guac Totally Rocks!

I have a special place in my heart for avocados…

When I was first diagnosed three years ago with Celiac Disease, I had no idea what the heck was safe to eat. I made the usual newbie mistakes, thinking “wheat free” labels meant gluten free (and totally glutening myself in the process). I was terrified to ingest much of anything for fear that my rear-end would literally self implode (ok, really bad visual, my sincere apologies). So, for the first month after going gluten free, I ate a block of sharp cheese, two avocados, and some sun dried tomatoes.

Every single day.

This odd trio of items were the three things I knew for certain were safe.

Three years later, I am (thankfully) educated like nobody’s business on the intricacies of Celiac Disease. Despite branching out from the avocado, cheese, and sun dried tomato diet, I still eat 1/2 an avocado most days on my usual serving of nachos. Recently, I have become slightly obsessed with guacamole. It’s very easy to prepare and the avocado provides a bevy of nutritional goodness.

Two important things to remember: (1) avocados practically turn brown as you are slicing them open, so plan to eat your guac in a timely manner and (2) be sure to select medium ripe avocados — you can check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm, yet will yield to gentle pressure.

Guacamole is glorious with corn tortilla chips, as a topping for enchiladas or nachos, or as a filler for quesadillas. Kick back, enjoy some freshly made guacamole with a tasty mint mojito and savor the goodness of gluten free food!

Guacamole

2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 onion diced
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced (note – the seeds within the pepper provide the heat)
1 lime juiced
1 large tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes seeded and diced
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados with a fork. Mash as little or as much as you like. Fold in the the remaining ingredients and mix well.

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