The BEST Gluten Free (And Dairy Free) Sugar Cookie

Well this is it. THE. MOTHER. OF. ALL. MOTHER. The official: Gluten Free Sugar Cookie recipe. I’ve been speaking about my Mother-in-law’s sugar cookies for months now. She makes, no joke, the softest and by far the most delicious, sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever tasted. The recipe is very easy to make as well; however, I am not giving you her recipe.


I am giving you my modified, and gluten-free specific recipe. This recipe can be made dairy free by substituting the buttermilk with an “acidic milk substitute.” See the conversion graphic below from buzzle.com. (Thank you Pinterest!) I have made these cookies using regular milk and adding vinegar to it, whenever I get home and realize I forgot to purchase buttermilk. It doesn’t really affect the end product.

6047d6a047601fe9b277c22c14d75e5eThis is the one hot ticket item that every Bargerstock grandchild looks for at every holiday, from Christmas, to Easter, birthdays and even one time my mother-in-law and I decorated 4th of July cookies together (lord help me that she doesn’t still have pictures of those cookies…!)  They were a centerpiece at each one of our weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and I have carried on her tradition of sugar cookies for each of my children’s birthday parties. She even attempted gluten free cookies once for me. Not being used to gluten free baking, I’m pretty sure she hated it. Having begun to fine tune the craft of gluten free baking I am beginning to find the “fixes” for the original recipe to create the updated Gluten Free version of her cookies.

The one specific detail that my mother-in-law always includes in her cookies is the very era-specific “Star-tipped” decorating that takes you right back to 90’s childhood when it was customary to buy old school style sheet cakes covered in star-tipped icing. More recently this has been replaced with a slightly more intricate, and less carpal-tunnel-causing method of cake and cookie decorating that look more like works of art than food.

I have created this cookies in a variety of ways, from the original star tipped style, to the flooded royal icing, and even to a combination of both, layering icing on top of hardened icing.

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Here you can see the classic start tipped icing from my post, Winter Birthday Blues Brightened, where we held a “Snow Bunny” themed birthday party for our oldest when she turned two.

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These cookies were my first attempt at “flooding” and layering of icing, (pardon the incredibly crooked lines… it was my first attempt!) which didn’t turn out too bad, the pearlescent dust really helped to cover up some of my unsteady hand errors. I made these for my youngest daughter’s Bohemian 1st Birthday. I also really enjoyed the “toothpick” effect of pulling the icing in the feathers. I will post a follow up with suggested decorating do’s and don’ts that I have learned through trial and error.

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These were from my second attempt at “flooding” icing. My niece was turning two last fall, and I had recently finish making the teepee and feather cookies, and really started to get obsessed with decorating. Plus, I found the jackpot royal icing recipe, which I will also share with you. This round I was able to get a better handle on lining and flooding.

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These are from the same round of cookie baking. The chef and her family were Disney bound in the near future, so in my cookie-obsessed mind, I decided I should make some Disney themed cookies to send in a care package along with each of their birthday gifts. I also sent Cinderella’s Castle; however, they were incredibly ugly so I didn’t even bother to photograph them.

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How can you not love a  flamingo tucked into a 3? Best accidental design ever! (I secretly forgot to purchase a flamingo cookie cutter… whoopsies!) fullsizerender-2.jpg

This last series of cookies is from my oldest daughter’s most recent birthday. We had a Flock on Over and Let’s Flamingle theme.

I had WAY too much fun with this theme and returned back to the classic star tipped icing style. It just seemed to fit so well with the pineapples scattered throughout the theme.

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And of course, the subject of today’s post: Spring themed sugar cookies.

So you can see, my Mother-in-law’s cookies will forever hold a precious place in our home, whether it’s the original recipe she follows or one modified to meet my family’s needs, these cookies are a tradition that WILL be passed on to my daughters.

To begin the recipe you will need to crazy kids with jammies having a bad hair day:

Just kidding, in a separate bowl combine your Pamela’s Artisan Blend flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set your oven to 350 degrees.

In your stand mixer, cream your Crisco (the magic ingredient to this entire recipe) eggs and sugar. I beat this on high speed until it’s nice and fluffy.

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Next, add your vanilla, almond extract, and then add in your buttermilk, (or dairy-free substitute following the conversion table).

6047d6a047601fe9b277c22c14d75e5eIt’s very important not to panic when your mixture starts to look like it’s curdled on you. It tends to get a little gross looking at this point, but I promise you, it will turn out amazing in the end.

The only way I can guarantee that your recipe will turn out with the quality consistency of a soft sturdy sugar cookie is if you follow this recipe exactly and use Pamela’s Artisan Blend Flour. It is a perfect CUP FOR CUP replacement whenever following a recipe you may have had prior to going gluten free. For this recipe you will need 4 1/4 cups of flour (previously mixed with your baking soda, baking powder, and salt)

Begin by adding the flour in 1/2 cup increments at a time, stirring on medium-low speed. Continue to stir and add flour until just combined.

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Once your flour is mixed, turn off your stand mixer and give it one last good mix with a wide spatula, being sure to scrape the sides well and incorporate all the flour. The batter will be fairly soft. Place the entire mixing bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the flour to stiffen up just slightly.

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Once your batter has chilled, it will still have a light, almost velvety feel to it. Time for the fun! By this point in baking, my youngest daughter has typically headed to bed for a morning nap, leaving my oldest and I to get down to business rolling and cutting out cookies.

I have to pause for a minute, because when we baked these cookies a month or so ago, it almost took my breath away looking through the photographs afterwards at how grown up she is becoming. She is such a kind child and loves to help, particularly in the kitchen that I can’t help almost tearing up writing about our afternoon of baking cookies together.

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Before baking, she and I have a routine. First, we wipe down the entire kitchen table, because lets face it, crust kids will be crusty kids… Next, we set up our Stackable Cooling Racks (enter Pampered Chef sales pitch), get out our pre-cut baking sheets, (GENIOUS invention), set out the container of flour, and cookie sheets.

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Finally, choose our cookie cutters. My daughter loves picking out the cookie cutters, although I need to find a better organizational system for storing baking supplies in the near future.

Our set up looks something like this:

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When preparing to roll your cookies, it’s important to remember some specific gluten free practices:

  • Only bake gluten free
  • If you are baking with regular flour wait until AFTER you have finished AND stored the gluten free product
  • Keep separate rolling pins for use with Gluten Free flours ONLY.

Flour your surface with a nice even layer, and flour your assistance surface to match.

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I like to work in small portions and I only re-roll my dough one time. If you work this dough too much, it becomes stiff and hard, losing the soft, fresh-baked feel these cookies should have. Trust me, I have made this mistake before. (Thanksgiving 2016 – ask any of my in-laws)

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Pat the top of your dough down with a little additional flour and begin to work it gently with the rolling pin.

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Melissa and Doug have a darling baking set that actually works for your little assistants. We need to get a second rolling pin soon for my littlest assistant.

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I like to leave my dough about 1/4 of an inch thick when I’ve finished rolling. When you begin to use cookie cutters, I strongly recommend keeping a metal spatula nearby to transfer cookies smoothly to the prepared baking sheets.

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Keeping in mind that you only want to re-roll your dough one time, be efficient in placing your cookie cutters in order to get as many cookies as possible from the dough.

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One re-roll of the dough will look something like this. Do not go beyond this or your cookies will be hard and crumbly.

Yes, even at 3 years old she pretty much has mastered the craft of baking. I could spend every day doing things like this with her.

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Once your cookie sheets are prepare, place in the oven for 10 – 13 minutes. I specifically chose this arrangement to demonstrate the variation in time. For the smaller cookies start with 10 minutes, and check them. Larger cookies like the butterfly, larger shapes and my daughter’s ridiculously thick “B” would all require a minimum of 12 minutes to bake.

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Once your cookies have finished they should look something like this. Set, but not browned, and puffed, but not sinking anywhere.

Transfer ALL cookies to a cooling rack about a minute after being removed from the oven.

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In the bottom right corner of the cookie picture above, notice how cracked and split those cookies are. These are ones that my daughter rolled, cut, re-rolled, cut again, about 3 times total before deciding they were ready. I included them to emphasize why you only want to re-roll your dough one time with this gluten free product.

If you are only baking on one cookie sheet at a time, consider placing your cookie dough back into the fridge between sheets. We typically have 4 baking sheets going at once, so I do not worry about keeping the dough chilled.

When I do re-use a cookie sheet, I don’t like to be wasteful of my baking sheets, so I place a second round of cookies onto the same pre-cute parchment paper I used on the first round.

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Once your cookies have completely cooled, your cooling racks make excellent “out of reach” resting zones for your cookies as you complete decorations on them.

My Mother-in-law’s cookies use canned classic white icing. And it’s amazing. Don’t judge the use of canned icing until you try it. Trust me, you can make very similar tasting icing from scratch, and I will provide you with some of my favorite homemade recipes for cookie decorating, but why waste the time? Unless you love the Royal Icing, then hold tight as I will be giving you the BEST ROYAL ICING recipe in the very near future.

A little canned icing, food coloring and some star tipping, and you too can celebrate in our family’s tradition of sugar cookie baking! I hope this recipe allows you the family project time my girls and I enjoy while baking together.

Cheers! and Happy Spring!

  • Whitney

 

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The BEST Gluten Free (And Dairy Free) Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 6 dozen cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Cup Crisco
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk (or Acidic Dairy Substitute)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/4 Cups Pamela’s Artisan Blend Flour (plus additional for rolling)

Directions

  1. Set oven temperature to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and crisco until creamy and slightly fluffy.
  3. Add in vanilla, almond extract, and buttermilk stirring until just combined.
  4. Begin to add flour in 1/2 cup increments until all dry mixture is just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, scarping sides with a large spatula to ensure all ingredients combined well.
  5. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes until firm.
  6. Flour surface and roll 1/4 of the dough at a time until 1/4 of an inch thick. Using cookie cutters, place cookies on prepared baking sheets.
  7. Only re-roll dough one time. Repeat with remaining 3/4 of dough mixture.
  8. Bake cookie sheets in oven at 350 degrees for 10 – 13 minutes.

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Fun Breakfast | Simple Gluten Free Pancakes

 

I will never forget the trip to my sister’s when her youngest daughter was officially in charge of breakfast. She was making gluten free pancakes. In our house, we only worry about gluten free, but with my niece she is both dairy and gluten free. Using the Bisquick Gluten Free mix, which I cannot stress enough what an AMAZING mix this is, she substitutes almond milk in to replace the milk added. The mixture is dairy free (not soy free, but dairy free) and even with this additional substitution the pancakes taste just like the Bisquick pancakes I grew up with.

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Photo Credit: General Mills Website

My niece has been one of those unbelievably creative and one of a kind kids as long as I can remember. She is sweet, crazy intelligent, and every now and then reminds me so much of myself at her age minus all the access to . It’s fun to see her interacting with her sister, because I think her older sister is much like her mother, my older sister. I wonder if we had grown up closer together in age, if we would have been like those two.

Returning back to my niece’s clever pancakes, after she mixed the batter up, she tinted the pancakes with food coloring to match my oldest daughter’s request for pink. (brilliant idea for any toddler). But the next thing she did blew me out of the water on creative breakfasts. Using a decorating bottle, she poured the mixture into the bottle and used the bottle to create shapes and designs in my daughter’s pancakes. INGENIOUS!

Since this day, I have been following suit making pancakes like my niece inspired me, starting first, of course, with the Bisquick mixture, and following suit with food coloring and a decorator bottle.

And so when my girls requested “Breakfast for Dinner!!!” the other night, I began with this simple and very easy method for making pancakes! To start, I made one batch beginning with:

* 1 cup of Gluten Free Bisquick Mix
* 1 cup of Milk (I used 2 percent but Almond Milk is an excellent substitute)
* 2 Tablespoons of Oil (I used Canola)
* 1 egg

I then added 2-3 drops of red food coloring to achieve the perfect shade of pink.

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Once again, this awesome bowl from Pampered Chef comes to the rescue with the pour spout, but I have found a close substitute HERE if you’re in the market for a great mixing bowl. Perhaps it would be a good Mother’s Day Gift Idea for the baker in your life or to just treat yourself!

Begin by spraying your pan with a non stick spray or use butter. (We use Pam.) And heat the pan or griddle, no one has purchase a griddle in my house… I’m hoping I can get an add-in griddle when we replace our stove… someday soon… hopefully… maybe… probably not.

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Next, decide which shape you want to create. We typically stick to the basics: hearts, Minnie Mouse bows, Mickey Heads, and flowers. Draw the outline of your shape in the pan.

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Fill in your shape using a side to side motion.

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How stinking cute it this?! If you can master the art of the outline and fill, who would ever need a “Pancake Mold” ever again?

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Here is another cute little (and incredibly lopsided) shape. It’s SO EASY and is such a fun surprise for any child! My niece would get a little fancier and place the letter “B” in the pan, wait a few seconds and then fill in around it, the B looked like it was stamped into the heart-shaped pancake. You could have a field day making these cute little pancakes for your own little cuties.

Once your pancake has begun to set and the edges begin to puff a little, flip your design over and let your pancake finish just a few more seconds on the other side.

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If you’re a real perfectionist you could trim these up with a butter knife after removing from the pan.

 

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And just like that, you have a simple, but very pretty breakfast for a loved one, perhaps a special breakfast in bed treat? Or a sweet little cutie who is beginning to learn shapes and colors. Whoever you are preparing these for is sure to be pleased with this fun little twist on breakfast!

My parents recently purchased these DARLING little Easter plates and bowls for the girls. We decided a fun meal like “Breakfast for Dinner!” would be an excellent time to try out the new tools.

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The girls love having compartments to eat different foods  from and both girls have always responded well to several finger food options. Each of the girls was given a heart shaped pancake, along with their two favorite fruits of the week: (I use this term lightly because this really does change weekly) Apples and Strawberries. They also love sausage so it must be part of a “breakfast for dinner” kind of night!

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A few years back, I stumbled across these interactive plates on Uncommon Goods and I could not resist buying them as Christmas Gifts! Here is a link with my referral to find these Construction Plates and Utensils on Amazon.

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I can still remember my sister in law sending me a picture of him using the plate. I think at the time she was having trouble keeping him at the table to eat. This extra little bit of entertainment went a long way for him.

While my nephew loved this plate, I had to find a match for his sister, which lead me to this sweet little Garden Fairy Plate Set and Utensils so she could join in the fun as well!

Garden Plate How stinking cute is this little set?! My daughter has a match, and the “pusher tool” really helped when she was initially learning how to use the utensils. I would definitely recommend this set to any children from toddlers to elementary age because of how fun the tools are! Perhaps it’s my weird Obsessive Compulsiveness that I have passed on to my children, but I totally get why they feel the need to organize their food before eating it. Frankly, I wish I had a grown up set of these plates.

Hopefully this post inspires so creativity for your Sunday Morning breakfasts this week.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2017

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This week I have really been focusing on gift giving. I know it’s a random time of year to choose gift giving as a topic of interest, but there is something about Spring that is so new and fresh and makes me want to put winter blues behind me and brighten some one’s day. It could also be that my husband and two very good friends have birthdays right at the beginning of Spring, or even the fact that Easter is coming just around the corner. Regardless of whatever inspired this mood of gifting, I wanted to share some of my top Mother’s Day Gift Ideas with my 2017 Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

Mother's Day GIFT GUIDE

Every product includes a description of why you will love it along with an image and link to the product itself. Spoil your mother, or better yet, share this with your husband… and enjoy the spoiling yourself!

  1. Echo Dot

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Ok… so at first I wasn’t sure about the whole talking to a piece of technology in your home; however, there are countless times that I have my hands full with the girls and my husband is off doing whatever… and a little assistance would be nice! Our three year old likes to try to change channels and mess with the dvd player while I am cooking. How nice would it be to say, “Hey Alexa, play Frozen, for the girls.” Or even, “Hey Alexa, what is the next step in this recipe?” How many of you mothers use Pinterest as your recipe book? I do! I am constantly flipping through my phone, leaving flour or who knows what else on the touch screen of my phone while trying to cook.

2. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

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This classic novel, is a picturesque story of the occasional struggles between mother – daughter relationships, and the secrets children sometimes are unaware of when it comes to their parents. Kristin Hannah’s attention to detail and build up in this heart warming novel will leave any mother in tears of joy by the end.

3. Keurig 2.0 K200 Series

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I am a coffee junkie! My husband and I recently purchase a more elaborate coffee system, but inevitably returned to our classic Keurig. It is so simple and convenient! I registered for a Keurig 5 1/2 years ago before we were married and my teaching friends purchased it for us as a shower gift. I still have that system. Keurig products are such great quality products. There is something about feminine colored appliances that really appeal to me. I love this K200 in Oasis. Keurig also offers a K250 in Sandy Pearl

4. Gold Flatware by Threshold

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I confess, I have been eyeing this set of flatware up for months. I am in love with the gold finish and the price! You just can’t beat a good value that looks and feels like quality. If anyone happens to speak with my husband, this would be an excellent addition to our home…!

5. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

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My Kitchen Aid is my appliance better half. My husband bought me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for my first mother’s day and I use it constantly. It literally fell out of the hatch of my vehicle on a trip to my sisters this past Christmas, bounced across her driveway, and miraculously still works. There was a moment I thought I might be losing my poor baby appliance, but it was a trooper and pulled through! If that doesn’t sales pitch you on the quality of this machine, I don’t know what will. This is the specific model I use and love. I would recommend ordering an additional bowl, for busy baking days. While this item is on the higher end of the shopping budget, it certainly will let the Mother in your life know how much she is appreciated! Besides, who doesn’t love a little extra motivation to have baked good around more often?!

6. Porcelain Classic White Dinnerware Set

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LOVE my white dish set from Target. These dishes are high quality and affordable. You can purchase them as a set or individual pieces, which I also love. I was treated to a nice set of these clean white dishes last year for Mother’s day. The thing I love the most about a white dish set, is the timeless feel. You can switch in different accent plates, compliment with seasonal colors, and never get sick of it. While patterns and colors may be trendy a times, white plates will never go out of style. When I am investing in an item for my kitchen, I want it to last. These plates are exactly that.

7. Decorative Dry Erase Boards

Help Mom stay organized and stylish at an affordable price at a mere $9.99 with this Marble Dry Erase Board or this Navy Blue and Copper Chalk Board. These are so cute and would look great in an office, kitchen, or entry way! I have the Marble one in my Updated Home Office (post coming soon!).

Mother's Day GIFT GUIDE

8. Classic Wooden Tray

These beautiful, yet simple, wooden trays remind me of a fun Mother’s Day and Father’s Day tradition we had in our home growing up. Each year on Mother’s day my dad and I (or my sister and I when she still lived at home) would get up and make breakfast for our Mom and take her a tray of breakfast in bed. As a kid it felt SO FUN to eat  breakfast in a bed! We did the same on Father’s day serving my Dad breakfast in bed as well. So when I stumbled across this Acacia Bed Tray and Espresso Benito Breakfast Tray I just had to share this fun tradition from my childhood. Even surprising Mom with the tray, breakfast, and some fresh flowers would surely start any Mother’s Day off perfectly.

9. A Shopping Trip!

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Plan a day and prepare in advance by surprising her with a scheduled date, child care arranged, and a budget for a shopping spree. Target now offers both credit cards and debit cards. If my husband ever said to me, “Here honey, I took care of scheduling a sitter for this day, and I have this awesomely full Target gift card (or credit card) spend the day enjoying yourself!” I might just have a heart attack and never even make it to the store. Some of my close friends who have experienced my shopping trips to Target will vouch for how dangerous it would be to send me unsupervised into a Target store with a credit card. But trust me, it has happened…

10.  Affordable Floral Necklace

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When it comes to jewelry you will really need to feel your way through this. I like jewelry that is inexpensive, as the more trendy styles come and go; however, I have my select timeless pieces with more sentimental value. (See the next item if you’re looking in this direction) This necklace lays beautifully when paired with a simple shirt and jeans but can also dress up an outfit for an evening out with the husband. I find myself following the ever spinning circle of “silver” or “gold” falling more heavily on gold at the moment, but like that the crystal look balances out the gold if you’re still unsure about jumping back into gold jewelry.

11. Personalized Jewelry by Unmistakably Mine

  1. As I have mentioned in my previous post, UnmistakablyMine | Personalized and Affordable, this is my ultimate go-to shop on Etsy for personalized and sentimental gifts for those that I love.  You cannot go wrong on Mother’s day when shopping with Lori and her quality products from personalized necklaces for a mother, to bracelets for a friend, and  even the Pet Mommy out there will find items to cherish on her website.

12.  Reversible Tote

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Show me a Mother, and I’ll show you a multi-tasker. This bag is perfect for the Mom on the go. It’s inexpensive and REVERSIBLE! Plus if you click the link above, it comes in 8 color options. I have one in the black and tan reversible option, prior to this little gem of a pattern being released. I love the spring feel this pattern has, and the strength of the bag has my stamp of approval. I’ve carried multiple laptops in mine at once, along with items for my kids.

13. Terracotta Planters – Personalized

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Plants and planters seem to go hand in hand with Mother’s Day. Perhaps it’s that Kindergarten-Style brainwashing we receive when we place our hand prints on Terracotta planters at 6 years old.  Then followed by the act of planting the pot with basil or some other random herb and take our creations home to our mothers, hearts beaming, anxious for her approval. Today I am presenting you with an updated, modern approach to that childhood gift. Hello Smith and Hawkins:

Smith and Hawkins

I love the small Terracotta Planters new, empty, and full of gardening tools or seed packets, or planted with a favorite flowering plant or frequently used herb.

14. Cake Stands – Not Just for Cakes Anymore

From white, to milk glass, to crystal, and even metallic, cake stands are one of the trendiest purchases of late. I have two currently, but would love to continue to grow this collection.  A simple White Cake Stand is always a classic starting point. Galvanized Metal Cake Stands add that rustic charm so heavily inspired by Chip and Joanna Gaines. And the third cute stand listed above is a sweet little Gold Cake Stand with pretty little details that would be a compliment to just about any cake or cupcake presentation.

But cake stands don’t have to remain in the kitchen. I’ve noticed some very cute presentations from jewelry trays on a vanity, to accent pieces on a mantle. The possibilities are endless. So get creative!

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Well there you have it. 14 ideas to inspire some unique, yet thoughtful gifts for the mother in your life. Celebrate her and all that she does for her family. If you are the mother, just forward this helpful little link on over to your husband and leave the rest up to him!

Cheers!

  • Whitney

Pasta Carbonera | Simple and Delicious

Rich, Creamy, and Easy! These are the words that describe this simple, and frequently made dish in our household. This is my husband’s favorite pasta dish, one I forget about too often. I usually make a trip to our local Meat Market on Fridays on my way home from work, stocking up on the essentials for the weekend, particularly as we creep into grilling season. There is something about fresh bacon that is so much more appealing than the typical bacon purchased at the store; however, in this dish, both work amazingly. With the unpredictable weather that falls in the months of March and April, this comfort food dish is a real crowd-pleaser on those dreary rainy days.

Shimering Twig Carbonera

 

I was first introduced to Carbonera years ago by my sister, before she ever chose the path of culinary arts whenever visiting her in Harrisburg. My mom copied her recipe and returned home adding it into her regular rotations. Once moving out on my own I received a copy of her recipe and filed it away with many other family favorites. Over time, and several moves, her original recipe was lost in the shuffle. Eventually I began playing around with what I remembered to be the basic foundations of her original recipe and settled in a simplified version of this savory meal.

Copy of Gluten Free Carbonera

To start, begin by slicing your bacon into small pieces, or mini strips and place in your frying pan with olive oil. We use extra light, but I know many recipes call for Extra Virgin. I simply chose this  because it is what my Mom always used, so I habitually began buying it.

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This precious little gem of a splatter screen from The Pampered Chef, is an excellent protector when you have crazy little people running around at your feel while cooking. I would definitely recommend contacting my friend Kathy for this and many more of her great products! I used to sell Pampered Chef, so I am a bit of an addict. (Ok seriously, half my kitchen has The Pampered Chef written on it!) My favorite pan, pictured above, came in a 7 piece set, I received on a cookware promotional month for hosting a show. Perhaps Kathy could hook you up with the seasonal promotions!

While the bacon sizzles away, boil your water and toss in those gluten free noodles. I like to use Tinkyada; however, I also LOVE Glutino brand pasta. I am just terrible at keeping it in stock.

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Once your bacon browns a little and begins to crisp, add in the chicken broth and let simmer until slightly reduced. Use this time to shred your cheese and whisk up your eggs. We used to always used the packaged cheese, but I switched to a block of Parmesan freshly grated and it was delicious! Both will work, but I strongly recommend fresh grated Parmesan.

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I used my Micro-plane for this batch of cheese and I love it! We have all sizes of the micro-plane graters, and they withstand the test of time! Mine is almost 8 years old. I received it in my starter kit back when I was a consultant.

I found this inexpensive Pasta Pot by Tramontina, which included the pot, a lock-n-strain strainer, and glass lid. This is a LIFE SAVER. I hate leaving strainers blocking my sink and getting in the way in my cabinets. We found it on Amazon a few years ago and use it approximately 3 times a week for any number of tasks including steaming vegetables and cooking pasta. Once the pasta has been drained and using a pot holder, I simply slide the strainer off.

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After draining the pasta, you will need to stir in the whisked eggs and grated cheese into the hot pasta, continuing to stir until a creamy consistency develops. The heat of the pasta will actually temper the eggs, combined with the cheese, you end up with a creamy “cooked” sauce.

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Then pour in the bacon mixture stirring it all together and serve immediately. I noticed some recipes recommend saving pasta water to thin the mixture out if it gets too thick; however, I have always just used a little chicken broth to thin the pasta back out whenever reheating left overs the following day.

Shimering Twig Carbonera

 

Once you plate up your pasta, be sure to top it with additional cheese and enjoy the flavorful rewards from this very simple pasta dish!

Copy of Gluten Free Carbonera

Cheers!

  • Whitney

 

Simple Pasta Carbonera

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Chef Lindsey-inspired

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 package bacon
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • 1 8 oz block of Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

    1. Place water on to boil and cook pasta according to package directions
  1. Slice bacon strips cross-wise into small pieces. Place olive oil and bacon in large skillet and cook until slightly browned and crisp.
  2. Add in chicken broth and continue to cook over medium heat until slightly reduced. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Grate cheese and set aside. Whisk eggs and garlic together.
  4. Once pasta has cooked and been drained pour egg mixture and cheese immediately over hot pasta stirring constantly until a smooth sauce develops.
  5. Pour bacon mixture into pasta stirring until well combined. Serve immediately.

 

Recipe Round Up | Cadbury Season!

 

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With St. Patrick’s Day freshly in the rear view mirror, it is only appropriate to move ahead to the upcoming holiday, Easter. I was walking through the isles at the grocery store a few weeks ago after proctoring the SAT exam, and came across my Mom’s favorite Easter treat: Cadbury Minis. A few years ago, I take full credit for successfully hooking my Mother-in-law on to theses little bad boys. So this post is completely for these two and all people who love Cadbury Minis.

Last Easter I was browsing Pinterest for ideas to use during our pre-Easter egg coloring family event I host each year. I randomly stumbled upon a recipe incorporating in Cadbury Minis leading me to a plethora of recipes! I was so shocked  and thrilled that I now have a Pinterest board dedicated to these recipes just for fun: Cadbury Mini-speration with additional recipes and ideas.

So here it is: 15 cute Cadbury Recipes to spark a little Spring Fever in us all.

  1. Bunny Chow

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I mean, like the name isn’t enough to sell you?? I just love this idea! And what a simple twist!

2. Mini Eggs Cheesecake Dip

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If you are looking for a simple recipe to add to any potluck or family gathering, this one is sure to please a crowd! Everyone loves the dessert styled dips. And Cheesecake? Well that just seals the deal!

3. Easter egg Pretzel Chocolate Swirl Bark

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I love bark recipes, but really need to work on my chocolate swirl patterns. Bark recipes make the best last minute gift ideas. Salty and Sweet, covers all bases and the festive colors are so pretty!

4. Coconut Macaroon Nests

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These delicate little treats are almost too cute to eat! Being a sweets lover, I couldn’t resist these and already have them scheduled mentally for Easter dinner at my parents!

5. Easter Nest Sugar Cookies

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Now, I can guarantee you I will see sugar cookies that look exactly like this at my mother-in-laws this year! Why? Because her sugar cookies are delicious, she decorates in this star tipped style, and she loves Cadbury Eggs! And who wouldn’t when you could make these sweet little nests with just a couple quick tweaks to convert it to a gluten free recipe?

Everyone in the family looks forward to her sugar cookies. She even made me gluten free ones one time, for my baby shower. They were sweet little pink and yellow star-tipped owls. I’m pretty sure she hated working with the gluten free flour and would agree there is a learning curve to get the feel of it, but trust me when I say, it’s an easy conversion!

 

6. White Chocolate Easter Egg Cupcakes

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I love these cupcakes! They are so sweet and light. But I think the best part is the egg carton presentation! It’s so cute! These are on my to-do list for a school party coming up in a few weeks!

7. Cadbury Chocolate Thumbprints

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I. LOVE. THUMBPRINTS. They are so simple and delicious! I also love six sisters’ stuff blog, and have lost count of the recipes I use from these lovely ladies!

8. Mini Egg Fudge

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Fudge should be a necessary staple at all holiday events. This one in particular makes me think of when I was young and my Mom and Aunts would go to Smicksburg, a local Amish village and buy all kinds of crazy fudge the day after Thanksgiving. We kids would wait for them to get home and dive into the pounds of fudge we knew would be hidden in those bags. I love when new recipes arouse a sense of nostalgia when viewed for the first time. It makes a new taste so personal right from the start.

9. Cadbury Mini Egg Blondies

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I feel safe to assume I will see this recipe in my Mom’s kitchen at some point in the next 4 weeks until the holiday. Blondies? YES PLEASE.

10. Easter Egg Layer Cake

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My next big project I want to tackle and master is cake decorating. I made a miserable attempt at my oldest daughter’s birthday and really need to recover my reputation with a pretty cake. Perhaps this simple recipe might help!

11. Peanut Butter Cadbury Cookies

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter, enough said!!

12. Cadbury Mini Egg Candy Bark

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These are so cute! I know I have already mentioned bark, but this one is so light and sweet looking, how could you NOT want to try and make it? I might have to improve my melting skills and bring this pretty little treat to life!

13. Cadbury Brownies

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Brownies are like a blank canvas, you can add anything to them to create unique and flavorful treats! And with the creation of some of the most delicious boxed gluten-free brownie mixes out there like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Pamela’s, and my sister’s personal favorite: King Arthur

14. Milkshake Recipe

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Alright, this recipe came from The Food Network so of course it’s beautiful, b I love the idea of a pretty milk shake! We just gave our youngest her first milkshake recently, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, she loved it!

15. Chocolate and Orange Mini Egg Cheesecake

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This particular recipe I posted with my Mom in mind. I always think of her when I hear the Orange and Chocolate combination thrown around. It’s unusual but works so well!

So there you have it! Does this post make you want to run out and grab the first bag of shiny plastic grass and get your spring vibes on?? I’m pretty sure I’ll be binging in the Easter sections this upcoming weekend.

Happy Spring everyone!

Cheers!

  • Whitney

Gluten Free Reuben

As a last celebratory Irish themed post, I present you with The Gluten Free Reuben. We love all things reuben in our house. When my husband and I took our delayed honeymoon trip to Maine for our first anniversary, we stopped in a cute little coastal town in New Hampshire for dinner to start our week off. This was my first truly normal dining experience. 5 years ago, dining out was so different in the New England area than it was for a Celiac person in Western Pennsylvania. Almost every restaurant we went to on our little getaway offered gluten free this, or gluten free that. I was in heaven.

Fast forward 5 years and my local area has gone above and beyond to catch up with the New England states jumping on the gluten free alternatives in almost every restaurant around. In my small town alone I have 5 different options for ordering a gluten free pizza. If you told 16 year old, newly diagnosed Whitney that in the future, not only would I be able to get gluten free pizza, but that I would have five different options, I probably would have cried. I still feel like crying thinking about how different my life was at 16 with this frustrating diet. Looking back, it was by far the best option of the possible issues I could have been dealing with, but as a teenager, I hated it.

When we discovered a tolerable tortilla shell a few years back, I made reuben styles quesadillas for St. Patrick’s Day. Now that gluten free bread is so readily available, it’s nothing to schedule a sandwich into our weekly meal plan.

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The recipe is pretty straight forward. I like to use Udi’s Whole Grain bread as a substitute for the classic Rye option. Start off by buttering one slice of your bread and lay it down on your prep area. Place 2 slices of the corned beef on to the bread and start the magical layering process!

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Next add a couple spoonfuls of Sauerkraut on to the meat, trying to drain off the excess liquid.

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Follow this up with Swiss cheese and the Thousand Island dressing.

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And then place those bad boys in a pan and grill away! I butter the top slice after placing it in pan. (I like to place a lid on for a minute to help heat up the meat and melt the cheese)

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Halfway through, flip the sandwiches and give a nice little golden hue to each side of the bread.

As always, if you are a split home like ours, half gluten free and half regular products, prepare on two separate surfaces, preferably preparing the gluten free sandwiches first. Here is a glimpse of what our counter looks like when preparing meals like this:

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It seems like a pain, but you get used to it quickly! It’s second nature to us at this point. Once your grilled sandwich has lightly browned on both sides plate that bad boy up and serve it with a side of Simple Potato Wedges.

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My second most favorite Reuben style dish, the one I will be taking to my Mom’s annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner is the Reuben Dip! My sister and I tried is several years ago when I spent the holiday weekend at her house. It was so good! I haven’t made it in a few years so I thought it would be a good variation on the holiday sides.

Cheers & Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Whitney

 

Simple Potato Wedge

My sister is a phenomenal chef, I’m sure I have mentioned this before. The ironic part about this is my most favorite recipes of hers are potato wedges and steamed broccoli. One might think, “Seriously? You have a culinary expert sister, and STEAMED BROCCOLI is your favorite thing she makes?” But any family member, picky toddler, or former client will vouch for the fact that my sister makes amazing broccoli!

Now, I have tried countless times to replicate her ridiculously simple-sounding instructions failing slightly every time. There is no point in even telling you how she does it because, you won’t get the full effect until you have had hers. Clearly she just has that natural instinct that someone well versed in a trade develops when they have a passion for something.

My sister is one of those people who excels at whatever she dabbles in, and can transition so smoothly from one professional opportunity to another, and doesn’t hold back from pursuing a dream. She also has the courage to make life decisions when that dream has changed or pulls her in an alternate direction, never wavering in the desire to pursue it. Perhaps it was a little of her inspiration that pushed me to make my current career shift back to the home, a decision that is all too quickly coming to a reality.

Returning back to the potato wedges. I have a very simple recipe inspired from my sister’s delicious potato wedges along with my nieces excellent Sirach mayo dipping sauce. My children love tater tots, fries, and hash brown thanks to Ore Ida, but I like to make potato dishes from scratch, even if it is a simple fry.

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My particular favorite version of these fries involves a little light olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika seasoning. To start, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Begin to slice the halves lengthwise to create wedges to your thickness preference. We like thinner wedges, and they are a little more time efficient for baking. 3 potatoes is plenty for my family of 2 adults and 2 toddlers. You might want to consider doubling the recipe for more than 2 adults.

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Once all of the potatoes are sliced, spread them out on a baking sheet evenly. Drizzle a little olive oil over the wedges, approximately 3-4 tablespoons. I do not measure this, just lightly drizzle. Toss the potatoes to coat, redistributing them evenly on the baking sheet again.

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Sprinkle the wedges with salt (about 1 – 2 tablespoons) to your liking. My favorite seasoning to add is a light coating of smoked paprika. You could really add any flavor to these to match whatever you are cooking. Some times we used onion salt and garlic powder, while other times we use plain salt. Once we used grill mates seasonings to pair them with my husband’s expertly grilled steaks. (Just wait until grilling season kicks in!)

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Place the baking sheet into an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees. Set your timer to 30 minutes. While the wedges bake, prepare your main course or sneak in a few extra snuggles from cuties running around your kitchen. Every time I create a recipe and photograph the different steps my youngest daughter runs into the kitchen yelling, “Cheese! Cheese! Cheeeeeeeeese!”

After the thirty minutes are up, pull the sheet pan from the oven and give the potato wedges a little toss. They should look something like this:

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Place back into the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes depending on the crispiness you prefer your potato wedges to have. Once they are complete, pair them with an excellent grilled meal, sandwich, or anything that meets your taste buds that evening!

So, thank the chef for always motivating me to try more “fresh” options for my family. Perhaps she’ll even inspire a healthier diet once I am home more to experiment with recipes and alternative ingredients!

Cheers!

Simple Potato Wedge

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A great side dish option when prep time is limited but homemade is critical.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of Extra Light Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Continue to cut each half into aproximately 6-8 wedges lengthwise.
  2. Spread the potato wedges out on a large baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly
  4. Season with salt and paprika.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over and return to bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven when wedges have reached desired consistency.

 

 

 

Food Post | Debbie’s Pizzaburgers

This recipe is by far, one of my family’s most recent favorites. But I must warn you, it not for the healthy or faint-of-heart. If you were looking for an old-school, simple but delicious recipe that reminds you of simpler times where kids ran the streets of town and parents stood on the porch at dusk yelling for them to come home to eat, this recipe is for you. My husband asked me a few months ago to make  Pizza-burgers. So I of course, referred to my mother for a recipe and she gave me a recipe that is what I believe to be the most common concoction found in recipe boxes and even on the internet. Once I prepared them, my husband immediately said, “These are not like the Pizza-burgers I grew up with.” Intrigued, I called my mother-in-law the next day and she started out by warning me that I needed to try them before judging the ingredients.

Before I introduce the ingredients to my Mother-in-law’s recipe, I feel like I need to present some information. One of the main ingredients in this concoction of meats and cheeses is quite possibly one of the most mocked products on the market; however, has an incredibly interesting history.

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SPAM. Yes… I all but tossed the recipe at the first mention of the ingredient; but my mother-in-law assured me, it’s good. If you can get past the snapping of the can and dumping of a loaf of meat onto your cutting board, you will like the end result. Never having done either of these tasks with meat in the past, I was timid at the thought, to say the least. Nevertheless, I persevered and dove head first into my first Spam creation.

SPAM has quite an interesting history behind those tin cans. To begin, Dan Myers, the editor of The Daily Meal explains:

“Spam (or officially, SPAM), was introduced by the Hormel Foods Corporation in 1937. At the time, the fact that meat could be kept fresh for years by canning it was incredibly novel. It was rationed to troops during World War II, and while the Europeans the GI’s exposed to the canned meat largely didn’t want to have anything to do with it  (except for the British), those on the Pacific front fell in love with it, and it’s still extremely popular there to this day.” (thedailymeal.com)

The article also sites astronomical figures of 44,000 cans of spam produced every HOUR. I had to further investigate this statistic as it was staggeringly large. Several websites concurred with these statistics. I also reviewed the nutritional information presented on SPAM discovering the nutritional information to be no different than many brands of deli meats like Ham or Bologna.

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Spam is literally celebrated in Hawaii every year, particularly this year as the product will be turning 80! Myers goes on to describe how the publicity for SPAM grew after the War ended, citing: “After the war, Hormel launched a massive publicity campaign for the canned ham, recruiting a group of former servicewomen, whom they dubbed the ‘Hormel Girls,’ to tour the country promoting the product. By 1948 the group had swelled to 60 women with a 16-piece orchestra, and they were even given a radio show which aired until the group disbanded in 1953.” (thedailymeal.com) 

Intrigued by the history, I then started looking through the facts on the product located on SPAM’s home site:

  • There are 15 varieties of SPAM
  • Products are sold in 44 different countries
  • Over 8 BILLION cans have been sold to date
  • The canjo is a banjo made using a SPAM can (no joke… this is a REAL thing!)
  • Hawaii eats 7 million cans of SPAM every year (Think… 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler )
  • In Southeast Asia, SPAM is given as a luxury gift
  • There is an entire Museum dedicated to the SPAM brand in Austin, MN.
  • One SPAM brand plant produces 350 cans a minute.

The list goes on, and being one who is intrigued by weird statistics, I could go on for hours! Check out the SPAM home page for more fun facts.

Returning back to Debbie’s Pizza-burgers, I made my first batch a few months ago. I was amazed at how different hers were than the normal ones I was used to. I personally loved the variation on flavor!

To start off, brown one pound of meat in a pan. I add a little onion salt and garlic powder. We use a lot of ground venison so those seasonings are used every time a recipe starts with a ground chuck or ground venison. (If you were looking for healthy, I presume you could use a ground turkey; however, I have not done that yet.) My Mother-in-law also adds oregano. I add some during the meat browning and when adding the sauce later.

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This next step is the one that almost did me in: Grate one SPAM loaf and add it into the browned meat. Repeat this step grating in the block of Longhorn cheese. (On one particular occasion, I was unable to find this specific cheese, so I did some last minute research and discovered Colby cheese is almost identical in make and style It works as a good substitute. There was no flavor difference!)

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Continue to cook on low heat until the cheese begins to melt, occasionally stirring the two meats and cheese until combined.

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Next, add in enough Ragu traditional marinara sauce (I have also subbed in my favorite sauce on occasion when forgetting to get this specific brand, and noticed very little change in flavor) to moisten the mixture, (It took me about half of the jar, but use your best judgement) and season with a little more Oregano. Stir to combine.

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Now, to make the perfect GLUTEN FREE Pizza-burger, you need a good quality bun to support the hearty topping. We love Udi’s brand products and I am fortunate enough to have two local stores stocking the hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and loaves of bread in the gluten free freezer section. These items are available on Amazon in case options.

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Our family is a 50/50 split, so preparation for meals involving bread products requires two separate baking sheets, one gluten free and one for regular products. If you are preparing both types of pizza-burgers, be cautious and always prepare the gluten-free buns first to prevent cross-contamination with a spoon being re-dipped into the meat mixture.

Once you have prepared your pizza-burgers, place the sheet pans into an oven heated to 425 degrees for 10 minutes. You can do a lower temperature if you prefer, we just seem to always have tater tots with this meal and they require the higher heat.

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The gluten-free sheet pan always consists of tater tots along with the Pizza-burgers! Thank you Ore Ida for being certified gluten-free!

Once the timer goes off, pull those delicious bad boys out of the oven and let them sit a minute or two before serving. Trust me when I tell you, the flavor behind these burgers is like no other Pizza-burger you’ve had before. Debbie, we are calling this a winner!

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So, when you are looking for a quick dinner, or a twist on an old classic, pull this recipe out and surprise your family with a recipe full of ingredients that have clearly stood the test of time.

Cheers!

Debbie's Pizza-burgers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An old classic with a flavorful twist that is perfect as a nostalgic recipe reminiscent of childhood.

Ingredients


– 1 pound ground beef
– 1 can SPAM classic or lite
– 1 block Longhorn cheese
– 1 1/2 tsp of Oregano
– 1 jar Ragu traditional marinara (only using half)
– 1 package hamburger buns
[/recipe-ingredients}

Directions


1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and season with onion salt and garlic powder if desired.
2. While the meat is browning, grate one container of SPAM or SPAM lite and 1 block of Longhorn cheese.
3. Once the meat is brown, drain the excess liquid and add the grated meat and cheese. Stir to combine.
4. Add in approximately half the jar of Ragu traditional marinara, or just until meat mixture is moistened.
5. Season with Oregano
6. Once all of the ingredients have been mixed thoroughly, and cheese has melted, remove from heat.
7. Prepare hamburger buns on baking sheets. Spoon on to prepared hamburger buns. Mixture should cover approximately 8-12 Hamburger bun halves
8. Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

 

Food Post | One Pot Jambalaya

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to have a kid free “date day” and found ourselves in Central PA shopping and trying out some new restaurants. Once seated in our restaurant, something felt strangely repetitive. The Piano Bar was so familiar and the entire vibe of the place felt like such a deja vu moment I found myself lost in thought trying to place the similar memory or location when it hit me; I had been in this exact restaurant, ironically sitting in this exact booth, with my bestie and sister for a “mini bachelorette night out” almost exactly five years before.

I found myself reminiscing over the shift life takes in a five year span and began to reflect on how good life has been to us. Here I sat with my high school sweetheart, a free night for just the two of us that wasn’t super crazy but very much needed and two healthy girls having their own mini vacation at Nana and Papa’s house. Yes, life has been good to us.

After receiving the wine list, and feeling incredibly inferior to it’s elegance and class, citing brands I had never heard before, our fabulous waitress guided me in my choice steering me to an excellent selection for my naive taste buds. The steam bar was full with a wide selection of fresh clams that my husband and I debated trying, temporarily flashing back to our one trip to Maine knocking fresh clams off our food bucket list (permanently knocking them off of mine…!) and chose to refrain. I ended up selecting a flavorful dish of jambalaya while my husband chose a steak with some amazing potato side dish. We spent the evening eating and chatting, uninterrupted by a toddler’s requests or a one year old’s singing. Such a peaceful evening. As my dish arrived I knew I had to replicate a simple quick version at home.

Fast forward three weeks and here we are discussing the simplicity of Jambalaya. While I am no New Orleans native, or well versed in any type of culinary expertise, I do enjoy a flavorful dish and particularly time sensitive dinners. So I began to throw together my best interpretation of a One-Pot Jambalaya. The recipe I am about to present does not have seafood, but could easily be adapted by tossing in your favorite shell fish at the last moment.

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I started off with 3 tablespoons of butter and a Rotisserie Chicken diced up into two cups of small chunks (because, I SUCK at cooking chicken, and who doesn’t love a good rotisserie chicken?) tossing them both into a large skillet until the chicken began to get a slightly golden hue to it, approximately 3 minutes. I then added one package of turkey kielbasa sliced into neat little discs.

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YUM. I am reliving the smells as I type! After the sausage begins to brown just a little, add:

  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 medium diced sweet onion
  • 3 ribs of celery  diced

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Place the lid on the pan and let the vegetables cook for about 5 more minutes until softened. (I like a little crunch to my Jambalaya, so I did not go beyond 5 minutes)

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I then added 1 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes, 2 small squirts of minced garlic (yes… I keep it simple and buy the squeeze jar) and 2 cups of chicken broth.

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I’m looking for time friendly meals during the week, but flavorful. Canned crushed tomatoes, squeeze garlic, and chicken broth are all quick, flavorful additions to any meal.
*Disclaimer: This is not an add for any of these products, nor can I verify that the chicken broth pictured is 100% gluten free. 

I also did a little research and made up a blend of Cajun Seasoning listed below the recipe.

Add anywhere from 2 to 3 tablespoons of this seasoning blend depending on how spicy you want your Jambalaya. We planned on an alternate dinner for the girls on this particular night so we could turn the heat up in this recipe.

Stir the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is just beginning to boil, add 2 cups of Instant Rice and let cook an additional 5 minutes.

I did not go beyond the 5 minutes because I was worried about the Rice absorbing too much of the liquids. The end result of this meal was AH-MAZING!

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I am sure a year down the road I will look back at these initial posts and think, “Wow! Those were some terrible pictures!” But the reality is, that is what MY dinner looked like, real, and simple. And delicious.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

One Pot Jambalaya

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A flavorful, simple meal, providing a homemade feel on those busy week nights.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 rotisserie chicken diced to make two cups of chicken
  • 1 package turkey kielbasa sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 ribs of celery diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning mix
  • 2 cups instant rice

Directions


1. In large skillet melt 3 Tbsp butter. Add 2 cups diced chicken from rotisserie chicken lets cook 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in one package turkey kielbasa sliced and continue to cook until slightly browned.
3. Add in diced vegetables and continue to cook covered over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
4. Add remaining ingredients minus the rice and bring to a boil.
5. Add 2 cups of rice and cover, letting cook 5 more minutes.
6. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

 

 

Simple Cajun Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together well. Store in an air-tight container.

 

Recipe Review | Balsamic Dijon Roast

So, it’s pretty obvious to most who know my family that we are a Meat-and-Potatoes kind of crew. My husband is an avid hunter and keeps us well stocked throughout the year with a variety of cuts of meat. I do appreciate a good quality roast recipe. In my initial searches, trial and errors of roast recipe hunting, they all felt like they tasted the same to me… like simply a hunk of meat would taste. I continued to make several pot roast recipes since my husband did really like this style of meal until I came across my first game changer roast recipe. This initial recipe, which was so crazy to me, but SO. DELICIOUS was a crock pot recipe.

The recipe was as follow:

  • 1 rump roast or chuck roast
  • 1 packaged of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
  • 1 package McCormick gluten free brown gravy (this is a STAPLE in our house)
  • 2 cups beef broth, gluten free, low sodium

I literally tossed the roast in the crock pot in the morning before work, shook in each of the packages of dried seasonings and put in the broth plus an additional half cup because I knew it would be 10 + hours before I would be home and my Crock Pot did not have the timer setting on it.

The magic of this roast is the fact that it creates its own gravy while cooking! And it’s DELICIOUS! This is the quickest and easiest way to feel like you spent the day cooking when really, you were at work all day, or hopefully, shopping with your bestie all day.

Speaking of besties, I was fortunate enough to spend part of my weekend catching up with mine and snuggling her sweet new bundle of joy. She and I have been friends since childhood and she knows me better than anyone else! I could go on for an hour about how she’s the “peanut butter to my jelly…” the “yin to my yang…” and countless other corny sayings just to describe to you how crucial she is to my life.

She messaged me the other day with a recipe suggestion that she just loved and thought might be a good piece for my blog. Well let me tell you, she was SPOT ON. She sent me a pin from The Wicked Noodle, a blog now on my radar for excellent flavor combinations, with the suggestion that I try this Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon. Now, typically when I hear the term balsamic, I hesitate a bit. Why? I have no idea because my adult taste buds love everything involving it. Perhaps it was a bad encounter when I was younger, but I’m so glad I resisted that naive thought process.

This recipe recommends using a dutch oven, which I happen to LOVE cooking in but do not use nearly enough. It’s a simple straightforward recipe that involves a total of 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the oven, so the perfect Sunday dinner. That is exactly when we tried this bad boy.

Simply start out by browning your well salted and peppered chuck roast in a couple tablespoons of oil, preferably canola, making sure to seal all the flavor in on all sides.

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Once you’ve browned all the sides of the roast remove from the pan and toss in one chopped yellow onion. I prefer larger chunks in something like this so I didn’t dice too small.

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Using the drippings from the meat, cook the onions until they begin to soften and absorb all the delicious flavors from the meat. This took me about 5 minutes. Once the onions soften add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil continuing to cook until the liquid reduces and appears to be slightly syrupy.

You can see the difference in the pictures above from when I first added the liquid to when the onions caramelized in the balsamic vinegar. By this point my kitchen was smelling ah-mazing! After the liquid reduces stir in the Dijon mustard making a nice creamy bed to lay your chuck roast on.

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Return the roast to the bed of onion mixture and add two cups of beef broth to the heavenly flavors that have already infiltrated the air. The recipe calls for fresh Thyme; however, I did not have that and replaced with a few shakes of dried thyme leaves. I would strongly recommend sticking to fresh herbs, they just were not available at the time of cooking this roast.

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Once you have added all of the ingredients, place the lid on your dutch oven and return it to a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

After the chuck roast has cooked for the given time, add in your carrots and teeny tiny potatoes. And, can I just add, that my daughters love teeny tiny potatoes? It doesn’t even matter what type they are, they love them! They also love large carrots! Switching from small carrots and standard sized potatoes adds a fun little spin on the recipe, so we went for it!

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After adding the vegetables, return to the oven for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. I chose to go for the full 60 because I love good tender vegetables with my roast.

The prep time on this meal was less than 15 minutes and so simple that I had enough time to grade some always lovely research papers for my cuties at work. As much as I would have loved to consume my time with meal prep in exchange for paper grading, both needed done, and BOTH were completed with a solid hour left over during nap time to do… whatever I wanted! I like to call that the Sunday JACK POT!

Once the meal was complete, I let it stand for a few minutes while prepping my little ladies final pieces to their meals and like all good Sundays, we sat down, together to eat.

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So, The Wicked Noodle hit the jack pot with this roast bursting with flavor and texture. Excellent job, excellent job.

Cheers!

  • Whitney