Archive for category Recipes: Side Dishes

Eating for the Season – Roasted Butternut Squash

Hi, I’m Maureen and I like butternut squash.  A lot.  If there was a Butternut Squash Anonymous group, I would totally join it.

Now that we’ve got my deep, dark secret out of the way, let me share with you how tasty this humble squash can be!  I love to eat what’s in season.  Firstly, you know it’s fresh and hasn’t traveled 3,502 miles to get to your table.  Second, it’s cheap.  We are so on the budget in our house.  I not only count the change in our pockets but the lint as well.  Third, it’s ridiculously easy to prepare.  So easy a monkey could do it!  There are several variations for roasting butternut squash…  Here are two recipes – one savory & one sweet.  A word of caution though:  I felt as though I was taking my life in my hands when peeling the butternut squash.  The skin is like Fort Knox.  I used a chef’s knife and almost lost a few fingers.  After some research, I realized there is a contraption that makes squash peeling so much easier and safer (duh, why didn’t I think of that?).

gluten free butternut squash

Roasted Butternut Squash with Fresh Garlic

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • fresh garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice approximately one inch from the top and bottom of the squash.  Discard these slices.  (Carefully) peel the butternut squash removing all outer skin.  Slice squash in half and remove the seeds & membrane.  Discard seeds/membrane.  Cut squash into one inch cubes.  Add squash to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Season with salt & pepper and as many smashed garlic cloves as you prefer.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Bake approximately 30 minutes.  I like my squash mushy so I tend to bake it a bit longer.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar & Cinnamon

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice approximately one inch from the top and bottom of the squash.  Discard these slices.  (Carefully) peel the butternut squash.  Slice squash in half and remove the seeds & membrane.  Discard seeds/membranes.  Cut squash into one inch cubes.  Add squash to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish along with cinnamon and dark brown sugar.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Bake approximately 30 minutes.

Here’s an awesome and time saving tip:  peel and cut up several butternut squash and store in a airtight container in your fridge.  Prep work for future dishes is done & the squash will stay fresh for several days.

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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing

Turkey lurkey doo and
Turkey lurkey dap
I eat that turkey
Then I take a nap

Adam Sandler, The Thanksgiving Song

As I feverishly type this post, we are but four short days away from Thanksgiving.  Families across America will be celebrating this wondrous holiday.  Aunt Gertrude will speak in great detail of her bunions and proctologist appointment.  Cousin Stevey will poke you in the side and ask how much weight you’ve gained.  Grandpop will guzzle Rob Roys while Grandmom tries to pimp out her Jell-o mold.

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without family or stuffing.  Here’s my second recipe for gluten free stuffing (sans roasted chestnuts).

gluten free stuffing

Like your stuffing with gravy?  You can make a mouthwatering gluten free country-style gravy with Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick Mix as a base.  Or check out these gluten free gravy mixes:  Road’s End Organic Savory Herb Gravy, OrgraN Vegetarian Gravy, or Maxwell’s Kitchen Brown Gravy.

Gluten Free Stuffing

6 cups of gluten free bread cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup diced carrots (1 carrot)
3/4 cup diced celery (2 celery ribs)
1/2 cup diced shallots (2 medium shallots)
3/4 cup diced onion (1/2 large onion)
2 1/2 cups (4 ounces) roughly cut shitake, baby bella, & oyster mushroom mix
2 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
16 sage leaves (fresh)
3 sprigs marjoram (fresh)
1 sprig rosemary (fresh)
sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast bread cubes in oven for 20 minutes or until dried. Set aside.

Add diced carrots, celery, shallots, & onion to food processor. Pulse approximately 20 times to chop finely (but not to the point of “puree”). In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute carrots, celery, shallots, & onion mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and add mushrooms. Saute for 2-3 additional minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and add fresh sage, marjoram, rosemary, sea salt, & pepper. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.

In a baking dish, add toasted bread cubes. In a mixing bowl, whisk vegetable stock, egg, egg yolk, and heavy cream. Pour wet mixture over toasted bread cubes.  Then thoroughly fold in sauteed vegetable mixture.

Bake for 25 – 35 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Be sure to stir stuffing halfway through the cook time.

carrots celery onionmushroomsherbsgluten free bread cubes

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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing

Turkey lurkey doo and
Turkey lurkey dap
I eat that turkey
Then I take a nap

Adam Sandler, The Thanksgiving Song

As I feverishly type this post, we are but four short days away from Thanksgiving.  Families across America will be celebrating this wondrous holiday.  Aunt Gertrude will speak in great detail of her bunions and proctologist appointment.  Cousin Stevey will poke you in the side and ask how much weight you’ve gained.  Grandpop will guzzle Rob Roys while Grandmom tries to pimp out her Jell-o mold.

Can you survive Thanksgiving?

Yes!  Just as soon as you pour yourself a generous (potato vodka) martini and serve up some gluten free Turkey Day delights.

Here’s the latest addition to my Gluten Free Thanksgiving menu.  A few tips: gluten free bread is very dense. It absorbs more of the liquid than traditional gluten-filled bread, so I increased the total liquid added.  I used my breadmaker to bake a loaf of Bob’s Red Mill GF Bread. This stuffing came out moist but not mushy. I also used roasted chestnuts for the first time in this recipe. I’m not totally sure if I like the taste of chestnuts. Nor do I like the work it took to shell those little suckers. Use them at your discretion. I served this with Simply Organic Mushroom Gravy – it was delicious!

Gluten Free Stuffing

6 cups of gluten free bread cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup diced carrots (1 carrot)
3/4 cup diced celery (2 celery ribs)
1/2 cup diced shallots (2 medium shallots)
3/4 cup diced onion (1/2 large onion)
2 1/2 cups (4 ounces) roughly cut shitake, baby bella, & oyster mushroom mix
20 chestnuts roasted, peeled, & roughly cut
2 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup whipping cream
16 sage leaves (fresh)
3 sprigs marjoram (fresh)
1 sprig rosemary (fresh)
sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast bread cubes in oven for 20 minutes or until dried. Set aside.

Add diced carrots, celery, shallots, & onion to food processor. Pulse approximately 20 times to chop finely (but not to the point of “puree”). In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute carrots, celery, shallots, & onion mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and add mushrooms. Saute for 2-3 additional minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and add fresh sage, marjoram, rosemary, sea salt, & pepper. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.

In a baking dish, add toasted bread crumbs and chestnuts. In a mixing bowl, whisk vegetable stock, egg, egg yolk, and whipping cream. Pour wet mixture over bread crumbs & chestnuts. Then thoroughly fold in sauteed vegetable mixture.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Be sure to stir stuffing halfway through the cook time.

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Cool as a Cucumber

At times, I can be a “crunchy granola” kind of girl… The gluten free variety, of course!

Exhibit A: I have a peculiar obsession with Goji Berries.

Exhibit B: I can compost with the best of them!

Exhibit C: I enjoy a cup of Yerba Mate and Pi Lo Chun (don’t ask, it’s some kind of green tea).

Last year, I had joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture). Unfortunately, I ended up with too many veggies that I just didn’t know how to cook or really wanted to ingest (who the heck eats Dinosaur Kale?!). So, in my mission to find local, organic produce, I happened upon DanLynn Farms, a certified organic farm in Pedricktown, NJ. The kiddies (affectionately dubbed Thing 1 and Thing 2) had a blast on our outing. They were fascinated with the chickens, guinea hens, and tractors. I purchased (quite reasonably!) a bunch of cucumbers, some zucchini, yellow squash, and scallions. The owner actually dug the scallions right from the ground. You can’t get much fresher than that, huh?

I absolutely love cucumbers. They remind me of my childhood. Ok, that sounds like a strange statement, so let me explain. My grandparents were backyard farmers and gardeners. With almost an acre of land, they cultivated the most amazing vegetable gardens each year. I remember helping them shuck corn, pick peas and gooseberries, and harvest loads of cucumbers. At many a summer meal, my grandmother would make her simple but tasty “cucumber salad”. As a child I loved it and I still love it today. So, I’d like to share with you my Grandmother’s recipe for cucumbery goodness. I’ve altered it ever so slightly to make it a healthier meal. My family could have kept the Hellman’s Corporation in stock based on our consumption of their mayonnaise alone. Back in the “old days” we put Hellmann’s in everything (including cucumber salad!). In this recipe, the light sour cream makes the salad satisfying, but not heavy.

Cucumber Salad

Three cucumbers
1 & 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/2 Vidalia onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup Light Sour Cream (I love the Daisy brand – you can’t tell it’s lowfat)
8 fresh mint leaves
Black Pepper to taste
Mint leaves for garnish

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the cucumber peel. Note – remove less peel for more fiber and Vitamin A. Using the “thin slice” side of large grater (or just slice them really thin by hand), slice all cucumbers. In a colander, place all sliced cucumbers and mix in 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt. Allow the cucumbers to “drain” for 10 minutes. Cucumbers are naturally high in water content, so adding the sea salt actually draws some of the water out. After 10 minutes, take a handful of the cucumbers and squeeze in your hands to remove additional water. Repeat until you have squeezed all of the cucumbers :) Put cucumbers in a serving bowl and set aside. Peel a Vidalia onion and again use the “thin slice” side of your grater. The onion slices should be paper thin so not to overpower the cucumber. After slicing 1/2 an onion, allow this to “drain” in the colander. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Then chop slices into small pieces. Add onion to serving bowl (with cucumbers). Then fold in 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of Light Sour Cream. Start off on the low end — you can always add more. Chop the 8 fresh mint leaves and fold into salad. Add fresh cracked pepper to your taste. Note – do not add salt to this salad. It will make it watery! Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with mint leaves and additional cracked black pepper and serve. Note – use your discretion as to how much onion, mint, or sour cream your prefer. The mint adds a very mild hint of flavor, but can definitely be omitted. If you are not a huge onion fan, lessen the amount and be sure to chop into tiny pieces.

Enjoy!!!

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