Restaurant Styled Salsa

{2} Cans of Green Chili & diced tomatoes (I use the mild but if you like it spicier feel free to go that way)

{1} Can of whole tomatoes 28oz.

{1/2 cup or large handful} chopped cilantro

{1/4 cup} chopped red onion

{2} cloves of garlic chopped

{1} jalapeno – chopped (I remove the seeds and membrane from half the pepper to cut down on the heat but your option is low heat remove it all or more heat leave it all)

{1/4} teaspoon of cumin

{1/2} teaspoon of salt

juice of 1/2 of a lime

Throw the diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt and lime juice in a blender or food processor. (This is a very large batch 2 quarts). I use a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.)

Mini Corn Dog Muffins – Not just for kids!!

Well, it’s State Fair time here in Texas and it got me to thinking of the famous Corny dogs sold there. While I’m not really a fan of those greasy fried dogs on a stick, this version is a little bite more for my taste. Mini Corn Dog Muffins! A fun simple recipe for an occasion. Easily made gluten-free, too!

If you have a favorite cornbread recipe you can use that and adapt it for the muffins here. Or do as I do – take the easy way out and use a Gluten free mix. I used this one from Martha White. Pre-heat oven to 375′. Prepare per package instructions. *NOTE – my package said 400′ but I think that’s to hot for these tiny guys.

This will make apx. 1 1/2 dozen mini dogs.
My mini muffin pan is a mini size LOL!! Most of the mini pans hold three dozen muffins. If I were going to make this for example a buffet party, I would take a trip to Walmart and pick up the larger size.
Use your favorite Gluten free hot dog or vegan dog.Cut dogs into bite size pieces. I used three dogs for my 1 1/2 muffins.
Spray cooking oil spray into the pan. Use a Tablespoon measurer to load the batter in the pan. Fill up 1/2-3/4 full.
Insert the dog pieces in the batter. Make sure the rounded ends are flat side down or they will roll. Believe me I – I watched them fall over and then had to dig them out.
Bake for 13-15 min. Until coked thru and just turning brown. Hint- they are small so you don’t want to over cook them and dry them out.

Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. And then use a butter knife to gently remove from the pan.

Serve with spicy mustard  or your favorite dipping sauce.

After completely cooled, you can store these for a day or two in an air tight container and heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Oven Fried Chicken Strips (Fingers)

Make the crispiest chicken fingers you’ll ever make using Gluten free panko breadcrumbs. They are Japanese breadcrumbs and are bigger than normal breadcrumbs which = more crunch, compensating for not deep frying. They’ll be ready in just minutes!

I rarely deep fry. I hate the mess. I feel like it’s a “waste” of oil (unless I make deep fried goodness again shortly thereafter – which is unlikely), plus I am a klutz so I have a fear of deep frying. And it’s just not healthy.

 

Oreida Tator tots take the same cooking temp., so for a fast fix side dish – pop some in the oven (directions on side of package).

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Ingredients

  • 2 T. Water
  • 4 T. Ranch dressing (Gluten free)
  • 1 Cup Plain or Italian style Gluten free panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesean cheese
  • 1 Pkg. Chicken breast (about 1-1/4 lb.)
  • Olive oil spray

Instructions

  1. Pound chicken slightly at thicker end to make uniform thickness.

  2. Cut chicken in to pieces a little thicker and longer as a finger. If they are too thin they will dry out during cooking.

  3. Heat oven to 425°F. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray.

  4. In a shallow dish, beat ranch dressing and water. In second shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and cheese. Dip into water/ranch mixture, shake off excess, then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place on cookie sheet.  Spray slightly with spray olive oil.

  5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in center and coating is golden brown.

  6. Serve with Ranch dressing or favorite dipping sauce.

Recipe Notes

 

If you can not find Italian style bread crumbs add 2 T. of mixed Italian seasoning to the plain bread crumbs if desired.

The chicken can be cut ahead of time and stored in a zip lock bag.

***Kinnikinnick & Ian's both make GF panko crumbs. Ian's makes an Italian style version, however it is not as easy to find. Most stores seem to carry the Kinnikinnck.

WANT TO MAKE A COCONUT VERSION ????

Sub out Dijon mustard for the ranch, use plain panko crumbs and trade the cheese for sweetened coconut flakes. Serve with honey mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.

Easiest – Better than Restaurant Chicken Fried Rice

 

While making Chicken fried rice sounds simple – and it is once you’ve learned some of the tricks.  You will be able to get the perfect fried rice every time.

The first and most important ingredient is COLD RICE!! You can use day old rice. Just cook extra a day or two before you want to make to fried rice. I find that cooking it the same day and chilling it works out just fine. I prefer the flavor of Jasmine rice but plain old fast cook white rice works good too.

Why, you ask – cold rice ??? The rice gets drier as is cools and the grains become like individual “pellets” that will not get mushy. Also the rice will now take on more of the flavor of the other ingredients.

So- what do I do if I cook the rice on the same day? One – you could make it in the morning before work, fluff the rice with a fork really well and then put the pot in the fridge. Two – you can spread out on a rimmed pan and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. If you are good at planning ahead, the day before method is great but I’m not much good at doing that.

Another trick is adding sesame oil to the mix. Yes it makes a difference – it takes it  beyond the ordinary.

Having a good grade of Gluten free soy sauce {Tamari} is imperative too. I like the San – J brand. It’s made with 100% soy and no wheat, it has a richer, milder, more complex taste than regular soy sauce.

A shout out to all of you vegetarian eaters out there!!  You can easily make this dish without chicken.  Just leave out the step where chicken is added and skip straight to the next step.  It will still a make kick  a$$  made-at-home take-out!

Serve this with some GF egg rolls and you will think you’re at the local Asian restaurant.

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Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Chicken breasts
  • 3 Cups Cooked cold rice
  • 1/2 Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Cup Frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2-3 T. Gluten free soy sauce {Tamari} I prefer San-J
  • 2 T. Sesame oil
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • 2 T. Chopped green onion
  • 1 Small hand full of chopped fresh cilantro for garnish {optional}
  • 2 Cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 T. Sesame oil to drizzle on finished rice

Instructions

  1. Chop the chicken up finely with a knife. Saute' in olive oil until cooked through. Remove to a plate.

  2. Preheat a large skillet or wok. Add 1 T. of sesame oil and 1 T. of olive oil to the pan. Heat til medium heat. Add the onion and mixed vegetables and heat until they are tender. Toss in the chopped garlic.

  3. Push the vegetable and onions over to one side. Add the eggs and scramble. Incorporate the eggs into the vegetables. 

  4. Add the cold rice and chicken to the egg and vegetable mixture. *You might need to add a little more oil at this point if the pan is dry. Let all of it sit for a couple of minutes.Pour the soy sauce of all over it and toss until everything is evenly combined.

  5. Add the green onion, 1T. of sesame oil  and give it one more toss. Top with cilantro if using. Serve with additional soy sauce to taste.

Recipe Notes

Make sure your skillet or wok is large enough to handle all the ingredients that you will have at the end. You will need room enough to be able to comfortably tossing everything.  

You may need to add more oil to your pan as you go through the steps. Remember to use a touch of sesame oil when adding olive oil.

Chop your chicken into small pieces
After cooking add chicken to a plate
Cook your vegetable
Push veg to the side and cook the eggs
Combine the eggs, vegetables and cooked chicken & toss

Greek Chicken

Yes, a single baking pan is all you need, which will certainly come in handy for those busy weeknights, or even when you have friends over so you’re not slaving away in the kitchen while trying to be a good host.

Most of the recipes for this dish call for a whole cut up chicken. But I think that the thighs just get more tender and juicy when baked.

Steamed green beans or any other green vegetable finish out this easy meal.

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Author Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 - 4 Lb. Chicken thighs {4-6 pieces}
  • 6 Yucon gold potatoes cut in to wedges
  • 8 Cloves Garlic crushes & minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 C Olive oil
  • 2/3 C Freshley squeezed Lemon juice
  • 2 T Dried Oregano

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375'

  2. Sprinkle chicken with garlic and toss. Add potatoes and evenly distribute chicken and potatoes in the baking dish. Chicken skin side up.

  3. Season generously with salt & pepper.

  4. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and oregano in a small bowl until emulsified {creamy appearance}.

  5. Pour over chicken and potatoes. {you can cover with foil at this point and refrigerate until ready to bake}

  6. Bake uncovered for 75 - 80 minutes, basting 3-4 times during cooking.

  7. Chicken should be golden brown.

Recipe Notes

Use kitchen shears to trim extra skin and fat from the thighs before cooking.

 

Easiest Lasagna Soup – Recipe

Ok – this is really one of my favorite recipes. You are going to love it. This tastes just like Lasagna without all the work and cleaning up the huge cheese baked on lasagna dish.

And the best part some of steps can be done in advance. But if you decide to make it all the way through it’s not very time consuming. Most of the time its simmering. Sit down and drink some of that wine you just opened for the soup.

I like to add either spinach or zucchini to my Lasagna to ramp up the veg. factor,  but I thought that the zucchini would get over cooked in the soup, so I chose the spinach.

Even if you or your family are not spinach eaters, this adds the extra veg. and it’s completely hidden.

I used to use oven ready pasta sheets before going Gluten free and I had given up finding a replacement until I found these Heartland noodles at Walmart. I love them! I’m going to try them in some other recipes, so keep an eye open.

I have never made this soup in a slow cooker, I guess you could but you would have to add the pasta at the end and still have some cooking time. If you do, let me know.

This recipe is easily cut in half, the full recipe makes very hearty servings.

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Lasagna Soup

There is a long list of ingredient but it's a one pot meal. How simple is that.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8
Author Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 LB. Lean ground beef or turkey {or 1/2 Italian suasage}
  • 1 Green pepper chopped
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped
  • 1 Bag Baby spinach or 2 cups
  • 4 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 14.5 oz. Cans - Italian chopped tomotes
  • 1 Jar Marinara {I like Mezzetta}
  • 1 32 oz. Container of good GF Chicken broth {have extra on hand if it's a little thick}
  • 6 Oven ready GF lasagna noodles {I use Heartland from Walmart}
  • 2 T. ea. Dried basil & oregano
  • 3/4-1 Cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Mixed Italian cheese
  • 1 Cup Good dry red wine
  • 1 T. Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat large Dutch oven/large soup pot over medium high heat. Add beef or chicken, {or half meat & Italian sausage} onion and green pepper cook, stirring occasionally until meat is browned. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Drain off any excess fat.

  2. Roughly slice the baby spinach in half. I just mound it up and make a couple of slices in it.

  3. Add  the Sauce, chicken broth, wine, chopped tomatoes, spinach & spices. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer covered, stirring occasionally (approximately 20-30 minutes).

  4. Take off the heat. Stir in the ricotta, Mixed cheese & broken noodles. Put back on the heat on the lowest setting and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir. 

    If the soup thickens up too much after adding the noodles, add a little more broth or water a little at a time until you get the right consistency. 

  5. Serve - ladle into bowls {past bowls work good if you have them}. Top w/ additional mixed cheese.

Recipe Notes

  • I don't add the full 1 cup of ricotta, it's a little too rich for me but I gave this recipe to a friend and she likes it that way.
  • The lasagna noodles will continue to absorb moisture from the soup & make the soup a little thick, so have some extra broth on hand to add to the soup if you have leftovers.
  • When you have simmered the sauce you can stop at this step, cool & refrigerate and finish the cheese & noodle part later. You will need to bring the temp up  before adding the cheese & noodles.

 

 

The Evolution of a Flank Steak

I love Flank Steak. It’s so lean, easy and fast to cook, it takes marinade very well. It should be thinly sliced across the grain.

The flank steak is a beef steak cut from the abdominal muscles or lower chest of the cow. The cut is common in Colombia, where it is known as sobrebarriga, literally meaning “over the belly”. A thin flank steak in South America is known as a matambre.

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Flank Steak

Two ingrediants ! So simple.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 4
Author Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 - 2 LB. Flank Steak
  • 1 Bottle Italian Dressing (Gluten free) I use Wishbone

Instructions

  1. Put Flank Steak in a gallon zip lock bag. Pour in enough dressing to coat both sides. Shake bag to distribute. Marinate in fridge flat for 3-6 hours or overnight if you have the time.

    Take out of bag and set on several layers of paper towels and top with another layer of paper towels. Your goal here is to get off all the extra moisture so the steak will sear and not boil in the liquid.

    Pre-heat a grill pan or grill to medium high. Oil grates of pan or grill. Sear for 3-4 minutes on each side. Take off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Slice across the grain.

Recipe Notes

  • Depending on how many people you are feeding you should have enough for two meals. If not next time cook two.
  • When using a grill pan you may have to cut it in half vertically so it fits in the pan.
  • I always roast twice as much potatoes as I will need for the first meal. That way I have enough if I'm going to make a salad.
  • Another option I didn't have a pic of - chop some of the leftover steak and potatoes and fold into scrambled eggs. Or heat the chopped steak and potatoes and top with a medium cooked pan fried egg.
Flank Steak in grill pan.

First dinner – Day #1.

Grilled Flank Steak & Roasted veg.

Second dinner – Option 1.

Build you Nachos. Bake in 350′ oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
After heating – top w/ Mexican cream & Guacamole
Yummm

Third dinner – Option 2.

Flank Steak & roasted potato salad w/avocado & cherry tomatoes. I like to toss my meat and veg. in a pan coated with a quick spray of oil just long enough to heat through. (1-2 minutes)

Salsa Chicken

 

 

This recipe came out of desperation. Not knowing what to cook! I was going to make an Italian chicken- sort of a parmesan chicken. But I didn’t have any pasta sauce. so-  like a lot of my recipes, I come up with this on the fly.

I’ve been known to go to the grocery store and wander aimlessly buying random things and then figuring out what I’m going to make out them.  This doesn’t have very many ingredients. And sometimes it evolves with what I have on hand.

I like to use a mild Salsa – use the amount of heat that you like.

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Salsa Chicken

If your chicken breasts are large it will make about 6 servings.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breast Boneless - skinless
  • 1 package Taco Seasoning I like McCormick Organic
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 3/4 -1 cup Salsa your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups Cheedar or mixed Mexican Cheese

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350'

  2. Pound Chicken in a zip lock bag so that it is the same thickness.

  3. Sprinkle enough Taco seasoning to coat the chicken. Shake in the bag to distribute the seasoning.

  4. Heat oil in large pan.

  5. Place chicken in pan on Medium High and cook until browned (apx.) two minutes per side. You are going to finish the cooking in the oven.

  6. Remove chicken to an oven safe pan.

  7. Cover pan with aluminum foil and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until chicken reaches 145'.

  8. Remove Chicken from the oven. Pour apx. 1/4 cup of Salsa over each breast. (just enough to coat).

  9. Cover chicken with the cheese and return the pan to the oven uncovered. Bake for 10 minutes.

  10. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes with the foil on the pan.

Recipe Notes

You can serve this chicken with a side salad - a little avocado is a nice addition.

It also pairs well with rice and black beans. 

When in a pinch I've made a baked potato and topped it with Cilantro Cream.

Pound Chicken flat
Add seasoning to the bag and shake.
Brown Chicken – cook in oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and pour Salas over Chicken.
Top Salsa with Cheese. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
After letting Chicken rest covered…enjoy.

Sauted Shaved Brussel Sprouts

This side dish is quick and easy and it’s even for the Brussel sprout haters.

If you have lots of time on your hands and like to do everything from scratch, feel free to shave your Brussel sprouts. But I prefer to buy mine already shaved at Trader Joe’s.

They are  just that – nothing else. They can be used raw in salads and slaws, or cooked in any number of ways. Sauté them in a bit of olive oil and garlic, and drizzle them with honey just before you take them off the heat. You can roast them at 425′ for a few minutes drizzled with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. TJ’s sells them in a 10oz. bag.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package Brussel Sprouts Trader Joes
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil. Spread the brussel sprouts evenly in a medium sauté pan. Cook until lightly charred {3-5 min.}. Stirring a few times with a rubber spatula.

    Pour in the water and let simmer until water is evaporated and sprouts are tender. Apx. 5 min. Salt and pepper to taste. If you have some good finishing olive oil you can drizzle a bit on before serving.


Recipe Notes

***There's a recipe on the back of the bag but I don't care for the vinegar - but it's your party so play it however you want.

***Leftovers are great mixed in a salad or served cold with some roasted pine nuts. I've even seen a version that has fresh shaved parmesan on top.

Enjoy!! 

Nicely caramelized… slightly sweet.

 

Chicken Stuffed with Asparagus & Cheese

So, you go to the grocery store feeling ill & you wander around like zombie. Then you pick up random things. Now it’s time to cook dinner & you have to go thru the fridge and figure out what that’s going to be. Suddenly, that light bulb goes off in your head and you remember a recipes from back in the day {15 yrs. pre-Gluten free}. And it’s naturally Gluten free. Oh – yea!

This can be pared nicely with rice or roast potatoes but since it’s summer  I served up a side of fresh tossed salad.

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This looks a lot fancier than it is. It will impress.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 4 large Chicken Breasts Butterflied
  • 1 Lemon Sliced very thin
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus Trimed
  • 4 Slices Cheese (Provalone, Swiss or (what you have on hand)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425'

  2. Butterfly your chicken  *follow link below for video on how to butterfly a chicken breast.

  3. Salt & pepper bothe sides of chicken breast. 

  4. Lay lemon slices on one side of the chicken brest. Top with cheese and then  3-4 asparagus spears. *see picture below.

  5. Fold over - secure with toothpicks if needed.

  6. Add about 1-2 T. of olive oil to large pan. Heat oil in pan - lay chicken in pan cook an med./high for 2-3 min. until brown. Flip, cook on the other side. 

  7. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken. Careful pan will be hot {I place a towel on top of the foil to tighten the edges of the pan then remove the towel.)

  8. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 min. My asparagus was thick so 20 min. did it for me.

  9. Take out of the oven and let rest with the foil on for 5 min. Slice in half crossways. Chicken should be at 160'.

butterfly chicken breast*

Since I was cooking for one that night I just made 1 chicken breast. This recipe is easily adapted for how many you are cooking for as each breast is fixed separately.