Rick’s Cowboy Meatloaf

skillet logo tablecloth (1)It is week three of the Great Gluten-Free Campout! I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far! From me, you’ve seen an advanced and beginner’s version of campout peach pie, and an amazingly easy loaded baked potato salad with a secret ingredient that might just blow your mind. Today, you get to see my main dish.

I hope you’ve also been visiting my partners in crime in this series to view their yummy creations.

Today’s recipe lineup is exciting!

Breakfast: Campfire Biscuits and Gravy from Better Batter

Side: List of Unrefrigerated Snacks from Angela’s Kitchen

On the Fire (Main): Meatloaf from me!

Dessert: Stuffed Bananas from Gluten Freedom and Loving It

 

 Rick’s Cowboy Meatloaf

Cowboy Meatloaf 9 Accidental OkieMeatloaf in a Dutch oven is a good thing. Unlike the time you decided to fend off mosquitoes with sheer will power, you will not regret this camping choice.

Cowboy Meatloaf 1 Accidental OkieStart by cubing four pieces of gluten-free bread. Any gluten-free bread will do.

You can also use breadcrumbs, but I prefer bread.

 Cowboy Meatloaf 3 Accidental OkieNext, if you’re using bread, soak it in about half a cup of milk. After a few minutes, it’ll be goopy and slop-like. That’s a good thing. Skip this step if you’re using breadcrumbs.

Cowboy Meatloaf 2 Accidental OkieWhile the milk and bread are doing their thang, do your thang. Chop and dice all the wonderful veggies. Start by dicing the garlic.

Cowboy Meatloaf 4 Accidental OkieAnd chopping two big, juicy tomatoes with their seeds. Summer tomatoes and camping – it’s a match made in heaven. Can I get an amen?

Cowboy Meatloaf 5 Accidental OkieAnd rough choping some red onions. When I say “rough chop,” I mean don’t worry about the pieces being super uniform or super small. They’ll cook down in the meatloaf and will provide a nice crunch and subtle flavor. This is a rustic dish, so we can be rustic.

Cowboy Meatloaf 6 Accidental OkieSometimes I forget to buy cilantro for dishes, and I think, “Oh, it’s just cilantro. Not a big deal.”

Now is not that moment. Cilantro is the star of this dish. It is mucho importante. You simply must add cilantro. Lots of it.

You see, this meatloaf doesn’t have a topping. Most toppings create flavor by playing harsh mustard, tangy ketchup and sweet sugar together. This meatloaf achieves that balance of flavors by pairing lots of cilantro with brown sugar. It is amazing.

Cowboy Meatloaf 7 Accidental OkieOops – Rick and I both forgot to bring a mixing bowl. This is a the dishwashing tub (thoroughly cleaned before and after this use).

Mix the meat and veggies, a few eggs, sugar and and soaked bread with two cups of sharp grated cheddar. Add a generous amount of Worcestershire sauce.

Cowboy Meatloaf 8 Accidental OkieAnd mix.

Place it in a foil-lined Dutch oven.

Accidental Okie Camping 6Now it’ll cook in the Dutch oven with about 20 coals on top and eight on bottom, which will achieve an internal oven temperature of about 400 degrees. Replace some of the top coals halfway through cooking.

Cowboy Meatloaf 9 Accidental OkieAnd here is the result.

Sorry for the bright and blurry picture. It was so bright when I took this that I couldn’t really see anything.

We were really camping outside for this recipe. It is legit. And sometimes there are super bright pictures to prove it.

Cowboy Meatloaf 10 Accidental OkieServe hot with your favorite camping sides!

Rick's Cowboy Meatloaf
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 c. breadcrumbs - OR - 4 slices g.f. bread soaked in about 1/2 c. milk
  2. 4 cloves garlic, diced
  3. 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  4. 2 small or one large red onion
  5. 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped - measured after it's chopped
  6. 2 lbs lean ground beef
  7. 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  8. 2 tsp. kosher salt
  9. 1 c. brown sugar
  10. 2 c. sharp cheddar, grated
  11. 3 eggs
Instructions
  1. Tear apart bread and soak in milk.
  2. Chop vegetables.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together and place in a foil-lined Dutch oven.
  4. Cook on 400 for 1.5 hours.
  5. In a Dutch oven, 400 degrees is achieved by placing 20 coals on lid of the oven and 8 on bottom. Replace about half the top coals after an hour.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Experts Series: Paula’s Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese

PaulaPaula is one of my favorite people in the whole world. She was my host mum when I lived in New Zealand. And since that first day when I stumbled into her house, travel worn and exhausted and she cooked a big baked chicken, we’ve been buddies. Now she’s more like my big sister or cool aunt. Her family has become part of mine.

Every evening in New Zealand after the children went to bed, we would watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. We watched almost the entire series. And nothing bonds two people like witty banter from Lorelai and Rory.

We also share a love of cooking and I’m thrilled that Paula is going to share her expertise with all of us!

Paula is a nutritionist and before that, she was a food scientist. She’s adept at stretching her grocery budget while still using fresh ingredients. Her spaghetti Bolognese is especially amazing because she includes tons of vegetables into her mince (ground beef), to make it flavorful, healthy and dollar stretching.

Her son, Daniel, is a budding photographer. I hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe and beautiful pictures all the way from New Zealand!

 

Paula’s Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese

Paula's Healthy Mince 21 - Accidental Okie

Paula's Healthy Mince 2 - Accidental OkieStart by assembling your ingredients.

Paula's Healthy Mince 3 - Accidental OkieNext, finely chop two onions.

Paula's Healthy Mince 5 - Accidental OkieYou want a uniform, small chop.

Paula's Healthy Mince 8 - Accidental Okie

Now wash and peel the carrots and grate them. You can use either zucchini (courgettes) or spinach. If you’re going with zucchini, grate it now too.

Paula's Healthy Mince 6 - Accidental OkiePut the onions in a large dutch oven with some oil to start sautéing for about five minutes. Keep stirring so they don’t burn.

Paula's Healthy Mince 7 - Accidental OkieNow your house should smell of sautéed onions, which is one of the best smells God ever made. Add garlic that’s been mashed through a garlic press. Let the garlic cook for just a minute.

Paula's Healthy Mince 9 - Accidental OkieMove the onions to one side and add the mince (ground beef). Separate it with a wooden spoon so it breaks into big chunks.

Also, I have to say that I wish in America, we called it mince, not ground beef. It’s much less repulsive sounding. Let’s all start calling it mince.

Paula's Healthy Mince 10 - Accidental OkieAfter browning for a few minutes, it should look like this.

Paula's Healthy Mince 12 - Accidental OkieNow it’s time to add a can of diced tomatoes.

Paula's Healthy Mince 13 - Accidental OkieAdd tomato paste, ketchup and sugar.

Paula's Healthy Mince 17 - Accidental OkieAdd the beautiful carrots and spinach (or zucchini). At this stage, you can also add two sticks of chopped celery and a cup of chopped mushrooms. As you can see, this is a great recipe for vegetarians who can modify by eliminating the beef and upping the veggie content.

If you’re using dried herbs, add them now.

Paula's Healthy Mince 18 - Accidental OkieRed lentils are added after they’ve been rinsed and picked through to find lentil impostors, usually little stones.

Now add a touch of water and close the lid so there’s just a little gap for steam to escape. Let it cook for 30 minutes to an hour. Use this break to chop your fresh herbs, if you are using fresh herbs. Otherwise, go be productive. Or not.

Paula's Healthy Mince 19 - Accidental OkieAfter 30 minutes, this is what it looks like.  Add salt, pepper and herbs. Stir and cook for another five minutes. Taste once more and adjust as needed.

Paula's Healthy Mince 20 - Accidental OkieServe on pasta with a touch of parmesan cheese. 

It’s your choice – you can tell your guests (or kiddos) just how healthy this pasta sauce is, or it can be our little secret!

  1. Paula's Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese
    Serves 6
    Print
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Ingredients
    1. 2 white onions
    2. 1 Tbs oil
    3. 3 cloves garlic
    4. 1 pound lean mince
    5. 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
    6. 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    7. 3 Tbs tomato paste
    8. 2 Tbs tomato sauce
    9. 1 tsp sugar
    10. 2 large carrots
    11. 2 courgettes (zucchini) or ½ bunch spinach
    12. ¼ cup red lentils
    13. ¼ cup water
    14. 1 ½ tsp salt
    15. 2 shakes of finely ground black pepper
    16. A bunch of fresh Thyme & Oregano
    17. A bunch of fresh Parsley if you have it
    18. ¾ packet of vermicelli pasta
    Instructions
    1. 1. Chop onions & fry in oil until soft (about 5 min).
    2. 2. Wash carrots & grate them. Peel the courgettes & grate them too. If you are using spinach, wash it well & then chop. Keep stirring the onions so they don’t burn.
    3. 3. Peel garlic & crush it in the garlic crusher. Add to onions & fry for about 1 minute – until you can smell that lovely garlic smell : )
    4. 4. Scoop the onions to the side of the pot, turn up the heat.
    5. 5. Add the mince & crush it with a wooden spoon to break up the lumps & brown it.
    6. 6. Add the can of tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, tomato sauce/ketchup, sugar, carrots & courgettes or spinach.
    7. 7. Wash the red lentils in a sieve & add to mince.
    8. 8. Add water & stir well. Put the lid on, but leave a little gap for steam to escape.
    9. 9. Wash fresh herbs well (soak in a bowl of water for a while), then chop, set aside for later. If you are using dried herbs, just throw them in now.
    10. 10. Cook mince for at least 30 minutes (can be up to 1 hour if you have the time), stirring often to make sure it does not burn on the bottom.
    11. 11. Add salt & black pepper to the mince.
    12. 12. Add chopped herbs to the mince. Stir mixture well & cook for another 5 minutes or so. Taste to check the seasoning is right and you’re all done!
    Notes
    1. I sometimes add 2 sticks of chopped celery & or a cup of chopped mushrooms if I have them. I used frozen spinach in this recipe, but if I’m using fresh, I don’t pre-cook it, just wash it well, chop it up & toss it in with the other veggies.
    The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Easy Loaded Baked Potato Salad

skillet logo tablecloth (1)Welcome to week two of the Great Gluten-Free Campout! Did you enjoy Week One? If you didn’t read Week One and now you’re sad or confused or feeling left out, have no fear. Read the Series Intro and then Week One, and then you’ll be in the club. You’ll soon receive your secret handshake and official sticker.

Well, maybe not. But you will have tools, tips and new recipes to conquer gluten-free camping without fear!

This is Week Two of The Great Gluten-Free Campout, and we’ve got four more amazing gluten-free campout recipes ready for you. Here’s the lineup:

Easy Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 10 | Accidental Okie

This potato salad has four ingredients. It can have up to six if you want to get fancy and put oil and salt on your potato before you bake it. It is easy and inexpensive and delicious. It has a secret ingredient that will make you wonder why you never thought of it before.

This potato salad doesn’t contain mayonnaise. I’m always so paranoid about mayo in food during camping. Can you imagine getting food poisoning at a campground bathroom? Shudder!

You don’t only have to make this recipe while camping, either. Make it any time you want to look like a fancy kitchen genius who labored for hours, while actually working for about 10 minutes.

Step one in loaded baked potato salad is baking potatoes. My camp cooking buddy Rick and I baked three potatoes, each with a different method to show you all the options. (Read more about Rick in this post. Not only is he a famous painter, he is also the ultimate authority on camping cooking.)  

Accidental Okie Camping 5Poke holes in a few places around the raw potato with a fork.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 5 | Accidental OkieEach of these potatoes weighed a little over one pound.

Potato 1: We wrapped a potato that had been sprayed with cooking oil and generously sprinkled in seasoned salt in two layers of heavy-duty aluminium foil. We put directly on hot charcoal for about 40 minutes.

Potato 2: We covered in oil and seasoned salt and placed the potato in a small dutch oven and cooked with 1/3 the amount of charcoal under the oven and 2/3 on the oven lid. It baked for about an hour.

Potato 3: We microwaved it on the microwave’s potato setting and then toasted in a toaster oven to get a crunchy skin. 

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 11 | Accidental OkieYou can do any of these methods. You can even bake the potatoes at home and keep them chilled in an ice chest on the camp site. An hour before you’re ready to assemble your potato salad, just warm them up on a skillet or wrap them in foil and crisp them up over charcoal or the grill.

Do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter.

After the baked potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut them in bite-sized diced pieces. You can keep or discard the skins.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 3 | Accidental OkieLoaded baked potato salad needs bacon, thick-cut bacon to be exact. Otherwise this salad would have no street cred.

If you’re vegetarian, you can skip this step. If you must.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 6 | Accidental Okie

Chop up the bacon after it’s cooled. This is another step you can do beforehand, either at home or after making breakfast. Just remember to let it cool and then chill it.

Safety first, fellow campers!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 4 | Accidental OkieHave I ever told you how essential kitchen shears are to my kitchen tool arsenal? I have three pairs. I use them all the time. They are particularly useful for cutting several green onions at a time, just like I did here.

Okay, are you ready for the secret ingredient?

First, some history.

I invented this recipe in a moment of crisis when I had no starches for dinner except for potatoes, no desire to heat up my house by turning on the oven to make fries, and no butter, milk or cheese to make baked or mashed potatoes. But then I saw the secret ingredient and a little light bulb appeared over my head, angels started singing and a spotlight straight from heaven shone down on me.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 7 | Accidental OkieWhat is that, you ask?

I’ll tell you.

Are you ready? Are you sitting down?

It is French onion chip dip.

No really, it is.

Not the canned, gross kind in this chip aisle, but the kind you get near the sour cream in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The first ingredient should be sour cream. I used Hiland Dairy brand because it’s my favorite.

Why French onion dip, you ask? It is the perfect accompaniment to potato salad. It is creamy and has a nice oniony taste, but is not too overpowering. It is already seasoned to perfection. While you may have to make a few small changes, you’re not going to be lugging the entire spice rack to the lake. 

Every brand of dip is going to slightly vary in saltiness and in the strength of the onion flavoring. You may find you prefer your potato salad cut with a little sour cream or you may find you need a little more salt. Adjust as needed.

Stir the dip, potatoes, most of the bacon and most of the green onions together. Taste, adjust. Add a bit of pepper if you want or more dip if the salad is too dry for your liking. Top with the remaining bacon and onions for garnish.

Serve the salad when it’s still warm. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad 9 | Accidental Okie

 

Baked Potato Salad
Serves 4
Easy, four ingredients and tasty. This warm baked potato salad will hit the spot for you and guests!
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 - 4 pounds russet potatoes
  2. Oil or oil spray
  3. Seasoned salt
  4. 5 pieces thick-cut bacon
  5. 1/2 cup chopped green onions, green and white parts
  6. 12 oz. French onion dip
Instructions
  1. (Optional) - Oil and salt the potatoes.
  2. Bake the potatoes per your preferred baking method.
  3. Fry 5 pieces of bacon until crispy. After they've cooled, chop into large, bite-sized bits. After the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Cut the onions.
  4. Reserve a small amount of onions and bacon.
  5. Mix the potatoes, French onion dip, bacon and green onions until well mixed. Adjust flavorings as needed. Move to a serving bowl and top with reserved bacon and green onions.
  6. Serve warm.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Accidental Okie hummus 16

This recipe needs to start with a public service announcement. Do not make this hummus if you want to continue your love of the store-bought stuff. Once you make this, no hummus will ever measure up. No matter the brand, it will all have a tart aftertaste and the unmistakable twang of prepackaged foods. You may want to continue in your ignorant bliss. But if you want to make amazing hummus in big batches that will provide healthy, abundant and inexpensive snacks, get ready. Life may never be the same.

Homemade hummus is one of the staples I got used to when living in New Zealand. My host mum was a single mum and nutritionist who had an amazing ability to turn pennies into dimes and dimes into dollars when it came to her food budget. She still does it. I learned so much from Paula and I miss her and her family like crazy.

Accidental Okie hummus 1Homemade hummus starts with dried chickpeas aka garbanzo beans.

You can get canned, but canned beans are much saltier and more expensive. But if you do get canned, skip the soaking steps, just give your beans a good rinse and start with half the salt when making the hummus.

Accidental Okie hummus 2Now it’s time to soak. Soak the beans overnight. Change the water a few times throughout the process. 

It’s time for me to be vaguely scientific. See, when the beans soak, something is released. An enzyme, maybe? Whatever it is, this enzyme gives beans their…ahem…most notorious reputation.  Change out that water a few times and you’ll have hummus that won’t make you gassy. So change out the water, seriously.

Now let’s forget we talked about gassiness.

Accidental Okie hummus 3After the beans are finished soaking, they will have just about doubled in size. Change that water one last time and put them on to boil. They’ll boil for two hours or so. Make sure to check on them occasionally and add more water if needed. Two hours is a lot of time to boil.

Accidental Okie hummus 4a

From that little $3 bag of dried chickpeas, I got an entire 9×13 cake pan of chickpeas. That’s probably $10 worth of canned chickpeas.

At this stage, you can choose your own adventure. Take Door A and you can go on to make hummus. Take Door B and, after letting the chickpeas cool, put them in freezer bags and freeze them for later. The amount of chickpeas I boiled is enough for almost three batches of hummus.

Today, we’re taking the plunge to Door A! 

Accidental Okie hummus p1

First, we need to take a break from chickpea business to talk about roasting the bell peppers. Roast the peppers while your chickpeas are finishing up boiling or when you’re ready to make hummus. Red, yellow or orange peppers will work.

You can roast peppers in the broiler, directly on the burners of a gas stove, or on the grill. It gets messy, so I recommend the broiler or the grill.

It’s easy. Just grab some whole red bell peppers (or capsicum, as they’re called in some countries), one and a half or two per batch of hummus. Give them a rinse and put them on to roast. I used the broiler.

The peppers will get completely blackened on one side. That’s a good thing. Turn them occasionally until all the sides are blackened and blistered beyond recognition.

Accidental Okie hummus p2

This is a beautiful sight.

Accidental Okie hummus p3

The skin will easily peel off to reveal perfectly roasted peppers.

Accidental Okie hummus p4

Give the peppers a rinse to make sure all the burned bits are gone. Now you can easily just pull away the flesh from the seeds and stem. Rinse the insides to make sure all the seeds are gone.

Hummus aside, roasting peppers is, in my humble opinion, an essential cooking skill. Now that it’s in your arsenal, you can make roasted pepper dips, sauces, soups and anything else you want. If you ever want to be extra fancy, blend up a roasted pepper with a half stick of room-temp butter and some salt and cumin. Stick it in the fridge to harden back and serve little scoops on steaks. The butter and the peppers seep into the steak. People will give your dinner a standing ovation and then they’ll write a poem about you.

Accidental Okie hummus 6

 Back to the hummus. Get the garlic, lots of it. Sparkling vampires are going to stay away from you for a long time.

Accidental Okie hummus 7

And lemon juice. It’s a lot of lemon juice, so I use the bottled stuff. You’ll also get olive oil and salt.  Don’t use expensive olive oil for this. Blend it all up in a food processer.

Accidental Okie hummus 8

Now you have a bright yellow lemony, olive oily, garlicy base. Keep your eye on the hummus prize and resist the urge to stop here and put this on pasta.

Accidental Okie hummus 9

In goes half the chickpeas. Blend until you have a nice, smooth mix. Add the second half of the chickpeas. Mix again. Now it should look like hummus.

Unless you have an industrial food processor, your hummus will never have the smooth, paste-like quality of store-bought hummus. The good news is that the people making hummus for the past two thousand years didn’t have industrial food processors either. This rustic texture is closer to the real deal.

Accidental Okie hummus 11

Now it’s time for the tahini. Tahini is the sesame seed version of peanut butter. It provides a wonderful texture and flavor to hummus. You can find it in most natural food stores in the aisle with the nut butters.

Accidental Okie hummus 12Add the roasted red pepper and mix up again. This is where you’ll add water if you need it. I’ve never needed to add water when making roasted red pepper hummus because the peppers are so watery. But if your hummus is too thick, add a quarter cup of water to start with.

Accidental Okie hummus 13Finally, it’s time for the spices. Here I have roasted paprika, cumin and parsly (I forgot to buy fresh parsley so I used the dried stuff). Mix it up and taste it. Adjust salt and garlic as needed.

Accidental Okie hummus 15

Serve hummus with veggies, pretzels – these are Glutino Gluten-Free Pretzels – spread on sandwiches, or heck, just eat with a spoon.

Get creative and make your own flavors! Nix the bell peppers and add extra parsley for traditional hummus. Make jalapeño hummus or pesto hummus or kalamata olive hummus or roasted garlic hummus. 

Go forth and hummus your world. 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Recipe
Hummus is the perfect high-protein, low-fat, budget-friendly snack. Make big batches for the freezer and keep this scrumptious Mediterranean spread on hand all the time.
Print
Prep Time
11 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
11 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cups of raw chickpeas)
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp kosher salt
  5. 4-6 garlic cloves, whole
  6. 1/4 cup tahini
  7. 1/4-1/2 cup water (if needed)
  8. 1/2 tsp cumin (more to taste)
  9. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (more to taste)
  10. 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  11. 1.5 roasted red, yellow or orange peppers
Chickpea Prep and Cooking
  1. Soak chickpeas overnight, changing the water several times. Once they're soaked, change the water again and boil for 2 - 3 hours, or until soft.
Roasted Bell Peppers
  1. Roast red bell peppers in broiler, grill or on a gas stove burner until each side is blistered and burned. Use at least one-and-a-half bell peppers per batch of roasted red pepper hummus. Once cooled, peel the skin off and remove the seeds and stem. Rinse the peppers.
Hummus
  1. Blend the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic until incorporated. Add one-and-half cups of the cooked chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and blend again.
  2. Add tahini and red bell peppers and mix again. Add water if the hummus is too thick. Add the spices, blend and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Enjoy as a dip or spread! Make several batches at once and freeze in containers for ready-to-go snacks.
Notes
  1. In the refrigerator, hummus will last about a week.
  2. Be inventive with your flavors. Some of my favorites are plain, sun-dried tomato and kalamata olives.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Gluten-Free Meatloaf Cupcake Recipe

meatloaf cupcake

Meatloaf, like Brussels sprouts and kale, has enjoyed a culinary renaissance in the past years. Meatloaf cupcakes are one such incarnation.  They’re cute and trendy, and have the perfect amount of sauce coating topped with fancy mashed potatoes.  Serve them at dinner parties where you will wow your guests and eliminate the hassle of cutting individual portions, or make them for your family and store the conveniently sized lunch leftovers.  Either way, they are delicious.

Whether you make meatloaf as cupcakes or in a large loaf, my meatloaf is moist and delicious. The recipe is based on a recipe given to me years ago by my former boss and her sister.

First, get mashed potatoes going.  I’m not going to go into a recipe for this, as I assume you all have a recipe for mashed potatoes, and you all think your recipe is better than any other recipe. No matter your chosen method, it will be best, at least for this recipe, if you first peel your potatoes and you make them as unlumpy as possible.

Now on to the main event.

meatloaf milk and bread

Start by getting the oven going and cubing four pieces of gluten-free bread (or three pieces of regular bread).  I used Udi’s Whole Grain bread here.  Gluten-free bread is significantly smaller, which is why you add more.

Add milk and let the mixture sit together until the bread is mushy.  This liquid-infused binder is the key to the moist meatloaf.

cheese, carrots, onions

While the bread and milk are doing their thing (or thang as we say it in Texas), it’s time to prep. Shred a bunch of cheddar cheese and carrots (or be lazy like me and use matchstick carrots), and thinly slice the white and green parts of some green onions.  Yes people, this meatloaf has flavor.

milk and bread

After just a few minutes, the bread looks like this.  I used a fork to mush up the bigger pieces.
mixtureMix together the bread, two pounds of lean ground beef, two eggs, some salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  You want to mix this by hand because it can easily become over-mixed in a stand mixer.  That would result in thick, solid, and brick-like (read: sad) meatloaf.  And that’s not what we’re going for here.  So roll up your sleeves, wash your hands, and dig in.

After the base is mixed, add the veggies and cheese and mix just until everything is incorporated. I didn’t photograph this part, as my hands were a bit icky.

gluten-free meatloaf cupcakes | www.accidentalokie.com

Now your hands are clean and beautiful once more.  Lightly oil a regular-sized muffin pan.  I use a spray oil.  (Gluten-free beginners: spray oils can sometimes contain gluten, so make sure to read the label).

meat loaf cupcakesAdd meatloaf to the muffin pan.  Make sure to pack the meat in tight and make a domed top to give the appearance of a cupcake.  Remember, meat does not rise.

This recipes yields 12 cupcakes.

meatloaf sauce

While the meatloaf is cooking, make the topping.  This is an unholy union of brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

meat loaf cupcakes out of the ovenAfter about 25 minutes, pull them out.  This is where you might say, “Oh look, my meatloaf cupcakes are gross and ruined.”  Have no fear!  They’re not.  The fat has cooked out of the meatloaf.  I used 93/7 meat, which is quite lean and still the cupcakes looked like this.  They’ve also shrunk.  Don’t worry.

meatloaf

Spoon each cupcake out and put on a cookie sheet.  The cupcakes still have five minutes to cook until they should reach their internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, so do this step quickly – you don’t want the meat to begin cooling down, and carefully – you don’t want to burn yourself.

Liberally spoon the ketchup mixture on the cupcakes.  Imagine a bundt cake with lemon frosting perfectly oozing down the sides of the cake.  That’s the look you’re going for here.  Back in the oven they go for about five minutes.  When you remove them, they should be at temperature.

meat loaf

Now they look like this, which is pretty close to perfection.  But in the words of my infomercial friends…but wait, there’s more!

meat loaf frostingOh yes.  Potato frosting.  Fill a frosting bag or frosting gun with the non-lumpy mashed potatoes and using a large tip, frost the cupcakes.  When they’re all frosted and lovely, put them back in the broiler until the tips of the potato are slightly golden.

meatloaf cupcakeServe with extra potatoes and salad and look like a domestic goddess.  You’re welcome.

Gluten-Free Meatloaf Cupcake Recipe
Yields 12
Print
Meatloaf
  1. 1 cup milk*
  2. 4 slices gluten-free bread (I used Udi's Whole Grain Bread)*
  3. 2/3 c. finely chopped green onions, white and green parts
  4. 2/3 c. shredded (or matchstick) carrots
  5. 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  6. 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  9. 2 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp pepper
  11. * If you're not using gluten-free bread: 3 slices of bread and 2/3 c. milk
Topping
  1. 3/4 c. brown sugar
  2. 3/4 c. ketchup
  3. 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  4. 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil a regular-sized muffin tin that makes 12 muffins.
  2. Make a batch of mashed potatoes, opting for peeled potatoes. When mashing the potatoes, make them as unlumpy as possible.
  3. Slice bread into approximate inch-by-inch squares, place in a bowl and cover with milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the bread is soaked through and mushy.
  4. Shred the carrots and cheese, slice the onions.
  5. Once the bread is soaked through, in a large bowl, mix the meat, bread and milk mixture, eggs, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Just mix with your hands, so as to not over work the meat. Add the vegetables and cheese and mix just until combined.
  6. Fill each cupcake cup with meat so that it is packed in the cup and mounded on top to look like a cupcake.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center of the meatloaf is nearing 160 degrees. While the meatloaf is baking, make the topping. You can microwave it for a few seconds if the brown sugar is not mixing in well.
  8. Remove cupcakes from the oven and carefully transfer each cupcake to a cookie sheet. Quickly spoon a liberal amount of sauce over each cupcake and return to the oven for about five minutes.
  9. Place mashed potatoes into an icing bag with a large tip. Remove the meatloaf cupcakes from the oven and "ice" with potatoes. Place under broiler until the potatoes are slightly golden on the edges. Serve.
Notes
  1. You can also make this as a loaf. To do that, line a large rimmed baking dish with foil. Put the meatloaf on the pan, forming into a loaf shape. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Top with sauce and bake for 15 minutes more. When making as a loaf, the topping measurements are: 1 c. brown sugar, 1 c. ketchup, 4 tsp. yellow mustard and 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce. No potato topping.
  2. Cooking on a large pan and forming the meat into a loaf (as opposed to a loaf pan) allows the grease to move to the sides of the pan. Remove the loaf and serve on a fresh platter for a beautiful dinner.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Hello!  Sorry for disappearing last week.  After almost three weeks, The Professor is still recovering from the bug that sent him to the hospital a few days after Christmas.  I’ve been busy taking care of him and snuggling with him every evening.  As much as I love talking to all you nice people, The Professor wins for my time, especially when he’s as pitiful as he’s been.

After a week of him being sick, getting a little better, doing the smallest bit of activity (going out to dinner with friends…strenuous stuff), he had another relapse and was back almost to square one.  I didn’t know what to do.  He had medicine and rest and food-derived vitamins.  Something was missing.  There had to be something else I could do for him to really help him get better.  Then I realized there was one weapon left in my arsenal.  Chicken soup.

I’m not a big fan of broth-based soups like chicken noodle soup and vegetable soup, but deep in the recesses of my mind is a memory of a perfect chicken noodle soup eaten at a little cafe in an Arizona ghost town on a family road trip from California to Texas.  I still remember how flavorful the broth was.  And the noodles – big, thick, fresh egg noodles.  Not spaghetti noodles like the canned chicken noodle soup I’d come to despise.  (This was long before I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance).  It was like nothing I’ve ever eaten before or after.

I wanted to make that soup.  And I succeeded.

First I made really good broth.  Because the store’s whole fryer chickens were small, I used a whole fryer chicken and three chicken quarters – inexpensive cuts of the thigh, leg and part of the back.  Chicken pieces with the most bones make the most nutritious and flavorful broth.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Next, get your veggies ready.  These won’t make it to the soup, but will just be boiled with the chicken to add flavor and nutrients to the broth.  There’s no need to cut them fancy.  A quartered onion, two ribs of celery cut into two-inch slices and a few peeled and cut carrots will do the trick.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

The broth also needs spices.  I added a handful of whole garlic cloves, a teaspoon of spicy chili flakes, and a few tablespoons of rosemary and thyme.  Oh and my mom got me a bunch of spices for Christmas including dried onion, so I added some of that too.

You could also add a bay leaf here.  I didn’t because my bay leaves came from my mother-in-law’s friend in the Caribbean and are incredibly pungent.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comI wanted my broth to be extra brothy, so I added a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon, my favorite chicken broth mix.  This got my broth super rich and saved me time because I didn’t have to cook it down after I removed the chicken.

Bouillon is salty, so add a little less salt than normal.  I added about two teaspoons.  Grind some pepper too, about a teaspoon.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comThis is very important.  Are you listening?  When boiling chicken, always start with cold water.  I know if you put the chicken in hot water, it would cook faster, but it won’t be as tender or juicy.

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken’s juices run clear.  Mine took about 40 minutes.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comMeanwhile, you can make your egg noodles!  I made the noodle recipe from this post on Celiac.com.  It uses one of my favorite flours, Better Batter.

If you’ve never used Better Batter, I recommend it for recipes like gluten-free noodles and quick breads (like my gluten-free banana bread recipe).  Better Batter has a nice consistency and already contains xanthan gum, so it is great for beginners.

My favorite thing about this company is their financial aid program. They offer gluten-free families on food stamps products at a significantly reduced cost.  Being gluten free is expensive, but could you imagine the financial burden if your family was below the poverty line?

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comMeasure out two cups of flour into a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle of the flour, just like the little old Italian ladies do it.  I also recommend singing Italian music.  Or the song from Lady and the Tramp when they’re eating the pasta.  That counts.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comIn a smaller bowl, mix together three eggs, an egg yolk, a little water and a little salt.  If you’re using a flour mix that already contains salt, skip the salt in this step.  It’s very easy to over-salt gluten-free baked goods – or dishes where flour is the main ingredient, so always be on the lookout for salt in flour mixes so you can adjust your dishes accordingly.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comInto the well the egg mixture goes.  Mix it up with a fork or a wooden spoon.  It will be dry and pebbly, and you’ll be sure you did it wrong.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comDon’t worry.  You didn’t.  It’s just the nature of gluten-free flour.  Smush and roll it together so it clumps up to form a ball.  You sort of knead it, although it doesn’t really kneed in the traditional way you would imagine wheat dough kneading.  Basically you want it to be a big cohesive ball.

If you feel like your dough is too stiff and it needs more water, simply wet your hands so the water is incorporated while you knead.  In my experience, this is enough water.  You don’t want to add water, realize you added too much water, add flour, realize you added too much flour.  Just a touch of water will do the trick and keep you off the vicious cycle of over adding.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comIt begins to get more solid as you start rolling it out on a rolling pin.  Make sure to flour your work surface so the dough doesn’t stick.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comSoon it looks like this.  Get the dough nice and thin.  The recipe I based this on said a sixteenth of an inch, but that even may have been a touch too thick.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comMy noodles measured about half-an-inch wide by two-inches long.

I like homemade things to look homemade and imperfect (except sugar cookies.  I want my sugar cookies to look like they came from Neiman Marcus, but they never do and I always feel like a failure with my gingerbread men who look like stick figures).  Moral of the tangent: I wasn’t too worried about making my noodles exact.

Keep rolling out the extra dough and unused edges and cutting out noodles until the dough is gone.  I only had a dime-size piece of dough left, which I consider one of my greatest life achievements.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Beautiful, homemade, hearty gluten-free noodles.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

By now the chicken should be done.  Remove it and let it cool.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Drain the broth.  Look at how dark it turned out.  That broth is ready to take on the flu and win.

Taste the broth to make sure the flavors are right.  The broth will cook down even more when the noodles boil in it, so if it’s too salty now, add some water to dilute it.  Put the drained broth back in the stock pot and keep it warm.

Now’s a good time to chop carrots, celery, onions and garlic for the soup.  Keep the garlic separate.  These will be in the final soup, so make them bite sized and pretty.

This is where I took a ten-minute break.  The rest of the recipe comes together rather quickly, and you want to de-bone your chicken when it’s cool enough to handle.  You don’t have to take a break here, but exercise caution to not burn yourself on molten chicken.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Okay, I took my break!

Bring the broth to a boil and carefully add the noodles.  Gently stir them to ensure they don’t stick together.  They will cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until tender.  Stir every few minutes.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

In a separate pan, sauté the carrots, celery and onions with butter and olive oil until they’re a little soft and have a bit of caramel color on them, about five minutes.  Four minutes into the sauté time, add the garlic.  It will burn easily, and you wouldn’t want all your hard work to be ruined by the unmistakable taste and smell of tart, burned garlic.

Sautéing the vegetables will bring out the flavors that are lost when sticking them straight into the soup.  This is where you can also add spices like thyme, a bit of salt and pepper.  I added my super pungent bay leaf here.

After the vegetables are slightly sautéed, add them into the broth to boil for ten minutes with the noodles.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comJust a minute or two before the noodles are done, add the chicken to the sauté pan and heat on high to warm up and mop up any yummy flavors left by the sauteed vegetables.

Once the noodles are tender, add the chicken.  Taste the broth again and adjust flavors as needed.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Serve to the sick, the weary or the cold, and let the hearty noodles, rich broth and juicy chicken do their magic.  I served my soup with Udi’s dinner rolls.

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles Recipe
Print
Chicken and Broth
  1. 1 fryer chicken, more chicken if you want
  2. 1 onion, quartered
  3. 2-3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  4. 2-3 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  5. 1 tablespoon of Chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon
  6. 1 - 2 tsp kosher salt
  7. 1 tsp (or to taste) pepper
  8. 5 garlic cloves
  9. 1 tsp chili flakes
  10. 1 tbsp dried tyme
  11. 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  12. 1-2 tbsp onion flakes (optional)
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 4 quarts cold water (or enough to completely submerge the chicken)
Egg Noodles
  1. 2 cups Better Batter Flour
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 egg yolk
  4. 1 tbsp water
  5. 3/4 tsp salt
Soup
  1. 1 tbsp butter
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  5. 2 celery stalks, diced
  6. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  7. 1 tsp dried thyme
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. de-boned chicken
Instructions
  1. Rinse the chicken and put in a large stock pot with water and the rest of the stalk vegetables and broth spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked. The juices will run clear when the meat is pierced. Remove the chicken and cool. Drain the broth with a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Chop the vegetables for the soup.
  3. To make the noodles, put the flour in a bowl, making a well in the center of the flour. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, salt and water. Put the egg mixture in the bowl and mix until well combined and stiff. Put the dough on the counter and knead a few times, adding water to your hands if the dough is too dry. Roll out to just 1/16 of an inch and cut into 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips. Keep re-rolling the excess dough and making strips until the dough is used up.
  4. Bring the broth to a boil and add the noodles, stirring occasionally to ensure the noodles do not stick to each other.
  5. In a sauté pan, melt butter with olive oil, and on medium-high heat sauté the onions, carrots and celery for five minutes, until they are softened and slightly dark, adding the garlic at the four-minute mark. Add the vegetables to the soup where they will finish cooking with the noodles.
  6. De-bone the chicken, shredding the larger pieces of meat.
  7. In the last minutes before the noodles are finished cooking, heat the chicken in the sauté pan and add it to the soup.
  8. Serve!
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Asian Sesame Clementine Salad {Winter Salad Dressing}

finished

Meet our most frequent winter meal.  As soon as winter descends and produce sections brim with clementines, our house is never without the crucial ingredients – ginger, garlic, clementines.   It’s a fresh and flavorful salad that breaks up the monotony of hearty winter meals.  As my sister, who is living with us for the next few months will attest, we eat this meal at least once a week, usually pairing it with a baked potato or gluten-free roll.

This dressing recipe started from Ree Drummond’s Ginger Steak Salad.  It’s been tweaked and modified, and has taken on a life of its own at our house.

And I love it.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladIf you want meat on your salad, start cooking that first.  To be budget friendly and because I knew I’d be serving the meat off the bone anyways, I bought a pack of chicken quarters for $3.50 and cooked them in my cast iron skillet with a little salt and pepper.

Next make the salad dressing.  It’s easy and amazing.  I like to make my salad dressings in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladStart with a quarter cup of sugar.  Don’t worry, it’s not gross sweet.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladA quarter cup of soy sauce.  I use San-J gluten free soy sauce.  It’s ah-mazing!

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladA quarter cup of olive oil.  Olive oil in an Asian recipe, you say?  Oh yes.  It works.  It’s good.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladOne-eighth a cup of lime or lemon juice.  You can even use the bottled stuff.  Sorry Barefoot Contessa.  I know you frown on bottled juices, but they’re part of my arsenal.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladTwo tablespoons of minced ginger.

Ginger is really fibrous, so it needs to be cut into small pieces.  You can even bruise it a little with the flat edge of your knife.  Also, about half an inch of average-width ginger is a tablespoon.  After making this salad every winter for a few years, I can accurately gauge the ginger about ninety percent of the time.

I know.  You’re equal parts amazed and jealous.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladFour cloves of minced garlic (or four teaspoons of bottled minced garlic).  Vampires beware.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladSesame oil is amazing.  It has a subtle toasted sesame flavor and is best in small doses.  Just a teaspoon or so will add a rich flavor.

You can buy a little bottle for five or so bucks at the fancy grocery store or a bottle this size for about a dollar at the Asian grocery store.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladSriracha sauce is a spicy Thai sauce made from smoked chilies, sugar and vinegar.  And in my world, it’s a kitchen staple.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladStart with half a teaspoon.  Sriracha is spicy!

Seal up your container with a tight lid and give it a good shake.  Taste and add more Sriracha if you want it spicier.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladAfter the meat has cooled, add some to the top of your lettuce.  Use whatever kind of lettuce you want.  I’m preferential to hearts of romaine.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladFinally, top with clementine slices, green onions (not pictured because I forgot them…major bummer), and sesame seeds.  Spoon on the dressing to get an even distribution of the garlic and ginger.  Behold the perfect winter salad.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine Salad

 

Asian Sesame Clementine Salad
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Dressing
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  4. 1/8 cup lemon or lime juice
  5. 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  8. 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce, more to taste
Salad
  1. Lettuce
  2. 1 clementine per salad, pealed and wedged
  3. 1 green onion, sliced per salad
  4. 1 tbsp sesame seeds per salad
  5. chicken or beef, grilled or pan fried
Instructions
  1. Make the salad dressing in a shakeable container. Assemble the salad and add the dressing. Enjoy!
  2. Yields 4 small salads or 2 dinner salads.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

 

Cheese Ball Recipe

I made a cheese ball.  It was amazing.

My coworker Rebecca introduced me to this recipe, and it may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  I think it’s pretty standard, as far as cheese balls go.  I found similar recipes across the interwebs, but know that this specific recipe is Accidental Okie approved.  And when I say approved, I mean that I might have eaten the leftovers for breakfast.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheeseball

It’s really easy, too.  Two blocks of cream cheese.  I used neufchatel cheese – the low-fat version of cream cheese.

In my head, it’s pronounced new-fan-chang-el.  I have a suspicion that might not be correct.

About three-fourths cup of mayo.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

The green and white parts of three green onions, thinly sliced..

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

One heaping teaspoon of dried dill.  Mmmmm.

And Bacon.  How did I forget to take a picture of the bacon?  It’s a disaster!!!!

Add about five slices of cooked and chopped bacon, or about a cup of smoked bacon pieces.  But really, add however much you want.  Because when has anyone ever said, “Oh no!  I added too much bacon to that recipe!”  Never – that’s when.

I had a bag of smoked bacon pieces from Costco similar to these in my fridge, so I used them.  They’re not bacon bits – but real smoked bacon.

If you don’t add bacon, add salt to taste.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

Roughly chop about a cup-and-a-half of pecans.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

Mound into a half sphere on your serving plate and coat with pecans.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

And you’re finished.  Make sure to wipe off the rim of the plate of any rogue cheese smears and chill for at least 30 minutes.  You can make it the day before.

Serve with crackers or veggies (if you’re healthy like that).  I served mine with Glutino Snack Crackers.  They are these amazing new gluten-free crackers.  I used both the Sea Salt and Rosemary & Olive Oil flavors.  All the gluten-free people and non gluten-free people thought they were delish.

Cheese Ball Recipe
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese or neufchatel cheese, softened
  2. 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 3 green onions, green and white parts thinly sliced
  4. 5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped - or - about 1 cup chopped bacon
  5. 1 tsp dried dill
  6. 1.5 cups pecans, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix the softened cheese and mayo in a stand mixer or hand blender until they're combined. Add the onions, bacon and dill. Mix until combined. Form into a half sphere on a plate and coat with pecans.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Gluten-Free Holiday Cooking Tips

Thanksgiving Painting

While originally written for Thanksgiving, this cooking guide works for any holiday or gathering – Christmas, New Year’s parties, Easter – where you are hosting a bunch of people!

I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in spring of 2006.  Fall 2007 was my first Thanksgiving, and I was scared.  Feeling sorry for me, my dad bought me an early Christmas present – my navy blue KitchenAid mixer.  I still use it today.  I also took a cooking class by Claudia Pillow, co-author of this book, which was incredibly helpful.  The next years have been an exercise in trial and error.  There have been successes and failures.  Lessons have been learned along the way.

Because so many Thanksgiving standards contain gluten, I would bring my versions to our family’s big Thanksgiving celebration.  That’s a lot of food to bring – stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, desserts.  Over the years, I learned what I was willing to do on Thanksgiving – the modified standards that were a must-have – and those I could do without.

My family got the hang of it too.  My grandmother now makes her candied sweet potatoes with gluten-free flour and thickens her gravy with corn starch.

While I don’t have the grocery budget or the time to cook Thanksgiving standards for all of you (sorry), I still wanted to give you tips for having a successful gluten-free Thanksgiving, especially if this is your first gluten-free holiday, or if you’re having a gluten-free guest over to your house this year.

General tips:

  • Are you brand new to the gluten-free world?  Here’s my gluten-free starter guide.
  • Read all the labels.  Here are just a few foods you’d never guess have (or might have) gluten: canned chicken broth, ice cream, soup mixes, salad dressings, marshmallows, chewy candy like Twizzlers.  Information on deciphering labels is on my starter guide.
  • Whether you are the gluten-free guest for a large Thanksgiving gathering or you are cooking for a gluten-free guest on Thanksgiving, do not expect to have every dish gluten-free. The meat, a few sides and at least one dessert will be sufficient.  If you’re hosting and cooking the food, then it’s easy to make everything gluten-free.
  • Be thoughtful to make small changes that will easily make a dish gluten-free.  Use tapioca starch in gravy or gluten-free marshmallows in candied yams, for example.  If you’re cooking a turkey with a browning bag, use gluten-free flour in the bag – any gluten-free flour without xanthan or guar gum will do.  I usually use brown rice flour.
  • Hosts: never ever think “Oh, it’s just a little flour.”  Just 1/8th of a teaspoon is enough for me and many of my fellow celiacs to have a full-scale reaction.
  • Buy gluten-free rolls.  Udi’s and Schar both make great rolls.  Against the Grain makes a great baguette.
  • Let the gluten-free guest serve him or herself first.  Give them their own butter dish that is not contaminated by bread crumbs.  Remind your guests to keep each serving utensil with its appropriate dish.
  • Feeling crunched for time or intimidated about your first gluten-free attempt being on Thanksgiving?  There is no shame in utilizing mixes and other shortcuts!  My favorite gluten-free mixes these days are King Arthur flour, which are now carried at Target.  You can read my reviews of King Arthur gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix and yellow cake mix here.  Also, dress up gluten free store-bought cookies, like I did here.
  • Speaking of shortcuts – gluten-free pie crusts are available at most health food stores.  I love Whole Food’s gluten-free pie crust.

Gluten-Free Stuffing Recipe

Nothing says Thanksgiving like stuffing.  Unfortunately, nothing says gluten like stuffing.  Have no fear, you can modify your favorite homemade stuffing recipe into your new gluten-free standard.  There are a few simple tips:

  1. Make a flourless cornbread recipe.  You’ll find about a thousand variations online.  They just use corn meal.  Make two batches a day before you prepare the stuffing.  Make sure your corn meal says gluten-free on the box, and don’t use white corn meal.  (White corn has a small amount of natural gluten and some people including yours truly react to it).
  2. One of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving is Grandmommy drying cubed bread for her stuffing.  She dries it overnight so it is dry and crisp and ready to be included in the stuffing.  You do the same with gluten-free bread, but it takes substantially longer to dry out.  Dry it out for a day, turning occasionally, but still be prepared to stick it in a hot oven while the bread crumbs truly dry out.
  3. A key to making great stuffing is starting out with a moist stuffing mixture.  To get the gluten-free mix to the proper moistness, prepare to use two or three or four times more liquid than normal.  This means keeping a very close eye on the level of saltiness.  I usually dilute low-sodium chicken broth.  Be prepared to use a lot more broth!

Here is my stuffing recipe.  It’s really good, but you can also use the tips above to modify your favorite stuffing recipe!

Gluten-Free Stuffing Recipe
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 batch gluten-free corn bread, two round nine-inch pans, baked, crumbled and dried out
  2. 1 loaf gluten-free bread (12 ounces), cut into cubes. I use Udi's White Bread
  3. 1 pound pork sausage, crumbled and pan fried - you can use sage, normal pork breakfast sausage, spicy Italian...really whatever kind of sausage you want.
  4. 4 tbs butter
  5. 1 large onion, diced
  6. 1 pint sliced mushrooms
  7. 2 c. sliced celery
  8. ½ tsp. salt
  9. ½ tsp rubbed sage
  10. 1 tsp thyme
  11. 1 c. pecans or hazelnuts
  12. 1 c. Craisins
  13. 4 - 6 c. low sodium, gluten-free chicken broth – enough to get it VERY moist
  14. * adjust the extra veggies, dried cranberries and nuts as you wish. I think I always end up putting more of everything. I like my toppings.
Instructions
  1. Cube bread and dry in a 350-400 degree oven until they're dry and toasted, about 30 minutes, flipping occasionally. Crumble cornbread, let dry overnight.
  2. The day of: Cook sausage and crumble. Set aside. Use a tablespoon or so of the sausage drippings and butter to sweat (sautee, but so they're still crunchy) the onions, mushrooms and celery, adding in the spices and salt. Quickly toast the nuts in a dry frying pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the crumbled corn bread, bread cubes, sausage, sautéed veggies, nuts and craisins. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until it is thoroughly moistened. Think soggy. If you don't add enough broth, the stuffing will be dry and mealy. Be careful with chicken broth. Canned chicken broth many times has gluten. Check the label.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 1 hour. This is a wonderful recipe. My favorite part are the Craisins! They add a sweetness and color.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Autumn Salad

Make a big naturally gluten-free salad!  My fall salad with pomegranate hazelnut vinaigrette, lettuce, pomegranate seeds, green onions, pumpkin seeds and Parmesan cheese will have no one missing the gluten!

Gluten-Free Gravy

Make a roux just like you normally would, but use tapioca starch flour or sweet white rice flour.

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole, oh how I miss you.  I usually skip this side because it is a lot of work.  I made it the first Thanksgiving after my sister was diagnosed with gluten intolerance because I wanted that Thanksgiving to be full of good memories for her.  (Best big sister award, or what?!)

Here’s the recipe I use.  It’s pretty good.  It takes forever.

This dish is something that over the years I decided wasn’t a priority for me.  I now prefer a simpler green bean dish with steamed beans and bacon.  Because what’s better than bacon?

Candied Yams

Candied yams or candied sweet potatoes are a classic, and easily modified to be gluten free.

Namaste Spice Cake Mix

Quick Pumpkin Bread

Make this quick pumpkin bread!

One pack of gluten-free spice cake mix – I use Namaste
1 egg
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
Up to 1.5 cups of pecans and golden raisins, your preference.

Bake per the cake’s instructions.

Pecan Pie

Gluten Free Baking Classics by Analise Robers contains the world’s greatest pecan pie recipe ever.  Buy it.  Bake it.  Love it.

Banana Bread

Make my gluten-free banana bread.  It’s a perfect breakfast on Thanksgiving morning.  And it makes a great on-the-go breakfast for Black Friday, too!

Do you have any more questions, suggestions or advice?  Put them in the comments section.

Pomegranate Hazelnut Vinaigrette Recipe

I love homemade salad dressing.

Salad dressing is easy to make, contains no mystery ingredients and tastes much better than most store bought-dressings.  Every season I have a salad dressing that becomes the usual.  This fall has been no different.

It took a bit of tweaking, but I created a salad dressing that complements all my favorite flavors of fall.

It has just a few ingredients, each unique and bursting with rich flavor.

Pomegranate molasses is ultra-concentrated pomegranate juice.  Every time I get out my bottle from the fridge, this loud 1950’s Charlton Heston-esque epic movie voice comes in my head and says: The juice from a thooooooooooousand pomegranates. 

Sorry – just keeping it real.

Pomegranate molasses is incredibly inexpensive.  I think my bottle – which I’ve had for two years – was $5.  It is sweet and tart and unmistakable.

Next is roasted hazelnut oil.  You could also use roasted walnut oil.  Either way, don’t use a refined version of either oil.  These roasted oils are rich and flavorful, and not meant for cooking.  They are made for salad dressings and drizzling on things.  This La Tourangelle oil is my new favorite thing.  It’s a bit pricey and should be stored in the refrigerator after opening.

And finally, the little black dress of vinegars – balsamic.  Sweet and tangy and scrumptious.

Pomegranate Molasses

Start with the pomegranate molasses.  Just one tablespoon will do. It is thick and decadent.  You’ll fall in love with it!

Next add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Swish the two together.

hazelnut oilNext add six tablespoons of hazelnut oil.  It is light in color and rich in flavor.  It smells like roasted hazelnuts and could be eaten by itself.

Just a bit of kosher salt will bring out all the flavors without making the vinaigrette salty.  A bit of brown sugar will cut the tartness of the pomegranate molasses and make the dressing the perfect complement to sweet, sliced apples or yummy pomegranate seeds – both essential ingredients to fall salads.

One mistake I made when testing this recipe was adding dijon mustard.  The molasses is tart enough on its own.

The final result is a light but flavorful complement to the perfect fall salad!  My favorite salad to accompany this vinaigrette is made of lettuce, sliced gala apples, sliced green onions, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and pecans.  It’s perfect with roasted chicken on a crisp fall evening.

This recipe makes about eight tablespoons of vinaigrette.  I make such a small batch because with the expensive oil, I don’t want any to go to waste.  This amount is enough for two or three large dinner-sized salads or four to six small side salads.

Pomegranate Hazelnut Vinaigrette Recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  2. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 6 tbsp roasted hazelnut oil
  4. 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1/2 tsp brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix the pomegranate molasses and vinegar. Next add the roasted hazelnut oil. Mix together. Add the salt and sugar. Taste and add more sugar if you'd like.
  2. Enjoy on your favorite fall salad. Other great topping suggestions: spinach, pomegranate seeds, persimmons, dried cranberries, hazelnuts, walnuts, feta, pears, figs, roasted and shelled pumpkin seeds. It's all the tastes of the season in one salad bowl!
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