Tag Archive | grainfree recipes

Peanut Brownie Bites- Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, & Delicious!

One of my biggest challenges in my quest for delicious grain free & dairy free food is always dessert! Even when I was only grain free, most of my desserts used dairy; because who needs grain if you can have amazing homemade whipped cream?  But after being diagnosed with an allergy to casein, the protein in dairy, I had no choice but to learn to make grain free, dairy free desserts!

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Out of desperation came inspiration! I started by checking out recipes that others had created, and I even made a few. Sometimes I find that specialized desserts tend to please a more sophisticated pallet than my own. In my house, a grain free recipe has to taste as delectable as any grain based treat!  It has to be the type of dessert that your average Joe would enjoy.   It must be total comfort food!  Otherwise it’s not something my husband, Frank,  will even dare to try.

The recipe that follows has been tested on numerous grain lovers, skeptics, and “I don’t do  gluten free” snobs! It has been approved by all, and has also been requested to appear at our annual 4th of July party. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and kept fresh in the freezer for when I have that spur of the moment chocolate craving! I hope your family will enjoy it as much as mine already has.

Ingredients:

2cups dates

2 cups peanuts

2 heaping T coconut oil

¼ cup organic cocoa powder

1t vanilla extract

12 oz chocolate chips (dairy free & gluten free)

In a food processor, chop dates and peanuts until mealy.

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Add coconut oil, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder.

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Blend until a dough like consistency forms. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. While chocolate chips melt, line a tray with parchment paper and roll dough into one inch balls. Flash freeze dough balls for 5 minutes. Remove tray from freezer and dip dough balls in melted chocolate. Return to freezer to let chocolate set. In less than 45 minutes, you’ll have enough peanut brownie bites to satisfy even the largest party crowd! The Peanut Brownie Bites can be stored in the freezer for up to a month when kept in a well-sealed container.  Recipe makes 4-5 dozen bites!

Peanuty Brownie Bites!  Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Delicious!

Peanuty Brownie Bites! Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Delicious!

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.

Making grain free bread without a bread maker…

I’ve been making grain free bread for nearly a year now.  There have been lots of mistakes, or rather many of my loaves of bread were more similar to bricks than to actual bread.  As a result of all this, I now have a recipe that tastes like it’s made from white flour and requires a minimal time commitment from me because it’s made in my bread maker.   Now that I’ve got a recipe that works well in my bread maker, making grain free bread is no longer a challenge; it’s just a part of life.  One which I really couldn’t live without!

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Unfortunately, not everyone has a bread maker.  But, everyone with a grain allergy should be able to make affordable grain free bread regardless of whether or not they have a bread maker.  A blog follower named Liz asked how she could use my recipe but bake her bread the conventional way.  Good question!

After some research through my old high school cook books, some of the bread maker cook books I derived my recipe from, and the manual that accompanies my bread maker, I felt like I was ready to go.

Ingredients:

1 ½ c Milk or Almond milk

¼ c olive oil

4 eggs

1/4c honey

3c of my grain free flour blend *(insert link here)

1 Tablespoon yeast

2 ½ teaspoons xanthum gum

1 teaspoon salt

When making bread using conventional baking techniques patience is necessary, and since most of you know that patience is not my virtue, this was a good opportunity for me to learn some.   Thanks to some help from my kitchen timer and the resources I used, it only took one attempt to get it right!

Here’s what to do:

Heat milk to between 100 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. (I microwaved the milk in a 1 quart glass bowl for 1 minute). Stir in honey.  When honey is dissolved, sprinkle yeast over the top.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk in olive oil and eggs.

Doesn't look like much, but this yeast, oil, milk, and honey mixture is the base of my grain free bread.

Doesn’t look like much, but this yeast, oil, milk, and honey mixture is the base of my grain free bread.

In a separate bowl mix remaining dry ingredients.  Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients ½ cup at a time.  If you have a stand mixer, I highly recommend you use your dough hook on setting two or 3 while doing this.

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After dough is well mixed, knead for 10 minutes on medium/ low speed.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, it may be difficult to knead the dough on a floured board initially.  You may want to continue stirring the dough in the bowl until the xanthum gum gives the mixture a dough like consistency.

Once dough is kneaded, place dough in a greased loaf pan until it doubles in size.  My dough took about 1 hour to rise.

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Bake dough at 300 degrees for 1 hour.  To check for doneness, insert a knife into the center of the bread.  The bread is done when the knife comes out clean.  Slice bread when cool.

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Stuffed Turkey Cutlets Wrapped in Bacon….

 

When I first started cooking without grains, I quickly learned that almost all marinades, sauces, and even some spice mixes contain grains of one form or another.  For me that was a major let down, as I work long hours but enjoy homemade meals.  Not to mention that restaurants use grains of one type or another in their marinades, sauces, gravies, even in their au-jus which is supposed to be just natural juices!  It took a while, but I learned to make my own creative seasoning blends.

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Who knew condiments contained grains? From corn syrup as a sweetener to wheat as a thickener, most condiments contain one grain or another!

Despite my ability to make perfectly fine every day dinners, once in a while I want a “different” type of meal.  If you’re responsible for most of the cooking in your home, then you understand how nice it is to try something different that even you as the “chef” weren’t expecting.

So tonight, when I looked in my fridge, the idea of seasoning turkey cutlets with one dry seasoning blend or other was nearly nauseating.  Although I have found a sauce or two that doesn’t contain grains, I still wasn’t in the mood for something smothered in sauce.  I started to daydream about what I might want to eat if I were out at a restaurant in the days when grains were not off limits.

I immediately thought of stuffing.  It has been so long since I’ve tasted the buttery, savory, grain goodness of stuffing.  I tried to make grain free stuffing a few times, but that didn’t go so well.  ­I decided to give it one more try; if it failed I could cover it in one of those sauces hanging out in my fridge.   I kept thinking along the lines of what I might want if I ordered this in a restaurant.  For a homemade meal, stuffed turkey cutlets would be fine, but I would never order that in a restaurant, I’d want the cutlets covered in some kind of sauce or something else that was packed with taste.   Since I already decided against one sauce or another, I had to come up with something else to add pizazz to the turkey cutlets.  As I thought about what I could cover the cutlets with, the answer hit me: BACON!  Who doesn’t love bacon?  Stuffed turkey cutlets wrapped in bacon; that is something that I would order off a menu!IMG_0441[1]

 

 

 

 

So here’s what I cooked up:

Ingredients:

8 thinly sliced turkey cutlets

1 ½ slices Grain free bread

1 Tablespoon butter (softened works best)

1 cup organic chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon Italian seasonings

½ teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon rosemary

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

8 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl crumble bread slices to make crumbs.  Add softened butter to crumbs and stir in broth.  When breadcrumbs are thoroughly moistened add seasonings.  Let stuffing rest while you rinse and dry turkey cutlets.  Place two tablespoons of stuffing on a turkey cutlet and roll so that cutlet surrounds stuffing.  Wrap stuffed cutlet with bacon.  Repeat for all remaining cutlets.  Bake for 35-40 minutes depending on thickness of cutlets.  Enjoy the amazing grain free goodness!

One bite and my husband, Frank, was sold!  It takes a lot for him to try grain free food.  I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine did! :-)

One bite and my husband, Frank, was sold! It takes a lot for him to try grain free food. I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine did! 🙂

Scoring Grain Free Recipes on Pinterest!

 

pinterest pic I needed help finding recipes.  I wasn’t looking to buy another cookbook, and I wasn’t even sure if they made cookbooks for folks looking to eat a diet free of grains.  I decided to try pinterest.  Oh my!  I scored great recipes!  I was astounded that other people had the same struggle as I.  Most importantly, other people had already done the work to make everyday foods like bread, pudding, and pie grain free!  Oh, I was overjoyed!

Then reality hit!  I guess it was pretty foolish of me to think that it would be that easy.  Recipes called for ingredients that I had never heard of, others included way too much work, or just sounded weird.  My goal was to find recipes that used grain free ingredients to mimic grain based foods.  I set a goal of making one new recipe each week, that way I wouldn’t go broke and wouldn’t have to change my entire life overnight.

If you’ve ever tried to live grain free then you’re aware of the price difference between grain based and grain free foods.  My husband and I agreed to a one-time $50 expense to stock our pantry with staples such as chia seeds, almond flour, coconut flour, grain free bullion, potato starch, arrowroot starch, white bean flour, and almond butter.  To stretch our funds as far as possible I purchased most of these staples from vitacost.com, a website that offers these items at about 50% off their retail price.  I referred a few friends and had $20 in coupons to add to my purchase.  The end result was about $130 in grain free staples for $50.

I’d really like it if you’d join me in this challenge by posting grain free recipes that you find.  My plan is to devote one blog post each week to a new recipe no matter how right or wrong it goes.  I plan to cook my recipes on the weekend and post recipes and pics on Mondays.  Please post your suggestions in the comment section after this post.