Tag Archive | casserole

Getting Started with a Grain Free Power Hour…

You may be participating in our grain free for a week challenge or you might just want to try a few new recipes.  Either way, a grain free cooking power hour or two, is a great way to get started and save yourself so much time throughout the week.

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I love my grain free cooking power hours.  I feel so accomplished when I’m done, and my week goes along much more smoothly because my menu is planned and half of my prep work for the week is done.  Oh, and the house smells fabulous, too!

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When I do a power hour(s), I work backwards, starting with the things that will take the longest.  In the case of this week’s menu, that’s the sweet potato casserole, so I’ll start by putting a large stockpot of water on the stove to boil. While the water’s boiling, I’ll load up my bread maker with the ingredients for making my grain free bread, I’d preheat the oven for the roast pork, and then start peeling some carrots.  After the carrots are peeled, halved, and then sliced into thirds, I’d set them aside.  If you have a double oven, then you could even pre-heat it and roast your carrots ahead of time.  If not, no worries, it only takes half an hour to roast carrots, they can go in the oven while you’re cooking the roast pork stroganoff on the stovetop later in the week.

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If you’re really looking to get a jump on your week, one of the easiest ways to cut down on meal prep time is to cook your ground beef/turkey ahead of time.  It takes a short while and by frying it all at once and either refrigerating it or freezing it until you need it, you’ve cut the meal prep time for cheeseburger pie, or creamy spinach bake in half!

Speaking of cheese burger pie and creamy spinach bake, many pre-shredded cheeses use corn starch to prevent caking. That’s a huge no no for me.  If I eat cheese with corn starch in it, I am guaranteed a stomach ache.  My cheddar cheese goes through my cheese grater without a problem.  If you’re using fresh mozzarella and it gums up in your cheese grater, you can slice it with an egg slicer.  Besides getting the junk out of your cheese, shredding your own cheese is beneficial.  It’s cheaper, keeps longer and tastes better this way!

The Grain Free Meal Challenge…

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So are you ready?  We’re going grain free for a week.  You can do this!  You’ve already got your grain free staples on hand, it’s time to get started!

 

This week’s meals:

Roast pork with sweet potato casserole and salad

Roast pork stroganoff with roasted carrots

Grain Free Cheeseburger Pie with steamed broccoli

Stuffed Turkey Cutlets Wrapped in Bacon  with salad and sweet potato casserole.

Creamy Spinach Bake with Ground Beef and Mushrooms

Grilled Tuna Melts with steamed veggies and salad

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I’ve chosen six meals, with the idea that you have at least enough leftovers for at least one whole meal.  Depending on your family size, this may vary.  When I cook for the two of us, I usually cook four large grain free meals each week, we have a left over night, with one of our meals being a quick fix like the Grilled Tuna Melts.  We’re realistic in our house!  At least one night each week we can’t really sit down to a full meal, so we make something quick that we can enjoy without guilt!

If you have grain lovers in your home, you might be surprised by how much they like the meals you make this week.  My husband Frank was reluctant to try my recipes at first, but now he’s game for almost anything I cook.  Once in a while, he’ll have a box of mac n’ cheese, but since he doesn’t have a grain allergy where’s the harm in that?

I recommend you start with a grain free cooking power hour or two.  It’s a simple way to get a good start to the week and get a good deal of your prep work done ahead of time.  You spend less time cooking in the long run and it takes much less time to prepare dinner every evening.  The power hour of cooking is especially helpful if you know that Monday or Tuesday will be a busy evening for your family, that way you cook and assemble your meal almost completely and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready.  If you are having a busy evening later in the week, you can always completely prep a meal and freeze it until you’re ready to take it out either the evening before or morning of that day.

I’m going to be cooking along with you all.  I’ve decided that I’ll freeze anything that we won’t eat and that will be added to my stockpile of quick fix meals since there really aren’t many grain free fast food options available.

Grain Free Cheeseburger Pie

IMG_0522[1]My goal as an amateur grain free chef is to create meals that don’t taste like they’re grain free and can be enjoyed without guilt!  I’ve made cheeseburger pie for my husband and friends many times.  Each time it’s served, it’s admired first for its appearance and then for its taste!

This recipe is an adaptation of a dish a friend’s mother used to make for us when we were young girls.  All we needed was cheeseburger pie, movies, the remote, and life was pretty good.

Eating a grain free diet means lots of veggies, and sometimes, not a lot of fun.   But every once in a while, we need comfort food!  The ooey, gooey, bubbly, creamy taste of cheese is something that can’t be beat.  This recipe is a grain free version of the amazing gooey goodness my friend’s mom made years ago, and goes together in less than an hour from start to finish.  If you’re looking to save time, the ground beef can be cooked, frozen, and thawed when needed.

1lb ground beef/turkey
1c shredded cheddar cheese
1c my grain free flour blend A
1/2 onion chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
2Tablespoons relish
1 cup milk
1tsp baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sauté onion and ground beef until no longer pink. Transfer to a deep pie plate or casserole, stir in condiments, and 1/2 cup cheese.  In a small mixing bowl mix flour and baking powder.  Scramble eggs and milk and mix into dry ingredients.  Mix well and pour on top of ground beef.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

My first Grain free cooking “Power Hour”

One of my biggest challenges is cooking grain free meals in a timely manner.  I still consider myself new to grain free cooking even though I’ve been grain free to five months.  What’s especially difficult is coming home late on a week night, and pulling off a grain free dinner while still having time to grade papers, and take care of all the other little details here at home.

timerLast Saturday I decided to set the timer on the kitchen stove for two hours and see how much grain free food I could make within that period of time.  I didn’t wash any dishes, do any laundry, or anything else.  My only job was to prepare grain fee meals for two hours straight.

An average grain free meal takes me between 45 minutes to 90 minutes from start to finish.  Way too long!  I miss the days when an easy night would be grilled chicken a Cesar salad!  I was hoping that during my power hours, I’d be able to prepare  a few meals for during the week since I had some meetings scheduled.

I began by fixing a salad for the party that I was attending that evening.  Even after the lettuce was broken, washed, dried, and the veggies were diced it had only been 15 minutes.  I grabbed some shredded cheese, tossed it on top and wrapped that baby in saran wrap.  One salad, done!

I set some chicken tenderloins on the stove and cooked them in coconut oil.  While the chicken was

Sweet potato, chicken, and broccoli casserole topped with a butter maple glaze!  YUM!

Sweet potato, chicken, and broccoli casserole topped with a butter maple glaze! YUM!

cooking I diced some sweet potatoes and lots of onions.  Once the chicken was cooked, I cubed the chicken, and began layering the chicken in a casserole dish with the sweet potatoes, chicken, and some steamed broccoli.  When I had filled the casserole, I melted some butter in a sauce pan, added ¼ cup maple syrup, some raisins, craisins, cinnamon, and chia seeds.  I heated this mixture until all had been coated and the raisins started to puff up from the moisture.  I topped the casserole with the delicious maple-butter glaze!

I remembered I had a left over steak from during the week in the fridge.  So I took out my slow cooker, cubed up the steak, and threw it in.  I added some tomatoes, a can of kidney beans, a can of black beans, some fresh cilantro, some of the chopped onion, lots of chili powder, and some cumin.  I set the slow cooker to low and let it cook for about 6 hours.

Earlier I had chopped enough onions for my next recipe, meatloaf.  This whole grain free cooking in quantity thing was working out pretty well!  I mixed some ground beef, eggs, onions, parsley, and crumbled a few slices of my grain free bread into the mixture.  In no time I had grain free meatloaf!

By the time the meatloaf was finished I had about 20 minutes left on the clock.  I had no clue that would have any time left.  So I gave up, and started cleaning!  By the time two hours had passed, I was completely cleaned up and had emptied the dishwasher!

Needless to say, the grain free “power hour” is here to stay!