Killin’ it with Casseroles

So, we have been on a budget crunch this summer transitioning from one job to another (and possibly irrationally spending while on a short little getaway with my husband, if we are being totally honest). Earlier this year my goal was to value more and spend less, and while I have made some great strides in this area, I’m not completely where I would like to be.

While I have made decent attempts at getting financially organized… by decent I mean, I did some Pinterest research, read some online suggestions, and created really REALLY cute charts and budgeting sheets with super cute fonts, I then proceeded to do nothing with them. Ball. Dropped.

I have managed to develop a nice little collection of “Fall Foods” aka… the casserole. Yes, that 1980’s to 1990’s style dish that takes a whopping 15 minutes to assemble and 30 minutes or so to bake. It is the golden child of week night dishes and frankly the ultimate in comfort food. Between The Casserole and a slow cooker.. you could really feel like susie homemaker even if you aren’t home until 5 o’clock each night.

I have come across some excellent finds, along with some not so great ones we have ditched along the way. Each recipe I share has either been adapted from a Pinterest big ticket item, or is a family one, and has been taste-tested and approved by the Connoisseur of all things Dinner… my husband. I have already shared with you my spin on the Classic Lasagna with my Spinach and Sausage Lasagna | Gluten Free  and the one I have to share today isn’t exactly the healthiest either, but it really is delicious.

I originally found the recipe from Incredible Recipes from Heaven and just the pictures on Pinterest ALONE sold me on this little gem! Between the pictures and the main ingredients: Chicken, Bacon, & Ranch I was SOLD! I knew this was a way to tackle my constant battle with the Chicken Hater in the house… he knows who I’m talking about too… and so do all of you since there is only one person that can be referred to as “HE” in this household…. Bacon, Ranch, and Cheese would definitely be enough to get him to eat chicken.

And so I present you with the Gluten Free | Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Casserole. Um… yes please…! When I first came across this item, I thought to myself, “If I can’t get my husband to each chicken like this, he will never, ever, eat it. Period.” And let me tell you, he ate it, and he ate it again as left overs. That my friends, is saying something. There is nothing in the world my husband dislikes almost as much as chicken, but left-overs come in at a close second.

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But I digress… I began this dish with my chicken, diced and marinated in a bag of olive oil and delicious seasonings…! This made the chicken much more appealing to my anti-chicken husband. (The original recipe calls for Adobo but you can find this simple alternative HERE that I used in replace of the already mixed seasoning.)

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And then of course, frying up some bacon helped out his hesitancy towards any recipe involving chicken.

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If you do not have a double flip bacon screen, I strongly recommend getting one. I have two little crazies running around my kitchen the entire time I cook and the last thing I ever want is for one of my little balls of energy to get splashed with hot bacon grease.

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Once your bacon is nice and crispy, (I like to chop mine up before cooking, but feel free to approach this how ever you’d like – just make sure the bacon is nice and cold before chopping it) remove the pieces to a paper towel and drain most of the bacon fat, leaving just a tiny bit for the chicken to cook in.

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*FULL DISCLAIMER: As a person considering beginning a portion control diet… this is NOT diet food… which is why it is so delicious!

While your chicken cooks, boil your noodles to al dente, and by all means, PLEASE consider switching to Barilla Gluten Free Pasta, because it is AMAZING!

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Once you have cooked your noodles, toss them in the Newman’s Own Alfredo and Ranch dressing.

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I chose this specific brand of Alfredo, because it was the only one I could find guaranteed to be Gluten Free. I’m sure several brands are, but I really like this one. Of course you could make your own, and that would be wonderful; however, the purpose of casseroles our home are to be time efficient, and making an Alfredo sauce really puts a damper on time efficiency.

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Next comes the fun part: mixing and layering…!!

Start with your creamy pasta layer, and then add in your chicken and half of your crispy bacon.

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Give that bad boy a toss and then top it off with your shredded cheeses and remaining bacon pieces. Toss it in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes and ENJOY!

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I must admit, this one was a hit with ALL of the food critics in my house, and I will definitely be including this simple recipes into our week day rotations.

Speaking of rotations, have you ever found yourself getting caught up in the same 5-10 recipes for week nights? My husband complains that I make the same foods over and over… and that I make “plenty of good meals” I just don’t make them often enough. But when it comes to meal planning, and grocery list making, my mind goes BLANK. I have a heck of a time remembering what all of those dishes are. I know I pin some… I print some… and some I have on recipe cards, but I could REALLY use a good organizational system for keeping track of the recipes I love and don’t love.

Do you have any systems that work for you and your family? I would LOVE to hear about them! Reach out to me at shimmeringtwig@gmail.com and I’d love to feature your kitchen recipe organizational system on my blog!

I can’t decide if I need to take a digital approach, or if I need a good old-fashioned notebook LIST of the meals we like!

I will never forget when my sister lived in town years ago, opening up a kitchen drawer of hers and finding a list of “Jason’s Favorite Foods” it was hysterical! It was a list of all the foods he liked to eat! I seriously think I need to make my husband write a list similar to that! Just a reference point for those brain fart moments when you JUST. CAN’T. THINK. of a meal to make.

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Anyways, I hope you find a space in your weekly rotations for this Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Casserole! Link to original recipe is here:

Gluten Free Notes:

Cheers!

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  • Whitney
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Spinach and Sausage Lasagna | Gluten Free

Lasagna and I have a love-hate relationship. My husband loves it, and I have grown to “like” it. My Mom made it one day for some dinner a few years ago, that seriously turned out perfect. It was the perfect combination of sausage and ground beef, had the perfect balance of cheese, noodle, and meat, incorporated some amazing sautéed mushrooms, and frankly, was kick ass.

Since that lasagna, mine just haven’t held a candle. I have used gluten free pre-boil noodles, no-cook noodles, different brands of noodles, all with mediocre results. Something was always missing; whether I didn’t let it cook long enough, didn’t incorporate enough meat, or added too much cheese, almost every time there was something worthy of the Lasagna King’s complaint. I gave up on the dish for a while, re-evaluating my approach and basically putting the meal on the back burner for a while to avoid yet another failure.

After making my shift back to the home, I discovered the major ingredient I was missing was time. I was not taking enough time to prepare, layer, and certainly wasn’t giving the dish enough time to not only bake in the oven, but rest and set up before serving. When I was getting home at four thirty, some times five o’clock, I definitely did not have enough time to invest the adequate amount of attention needed to properly prepare a lasagna, especially with two toddlers in cabin fever over load running circles around my feet. So it was on my first week working from home that I decided to brave this dish again, but taking a “let’s start from scratch” approach.

I decided to risk it and try the no-boil noodles that bake in the oven, since my Mom always seems to have good luck with them. I used the Gluten Free Cafe brand and this really worked out well in the final product.

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I also decided to eliminate ground beef or ground venison and go for a mild Italian sausage (you could switch in sweet Italian sausage if you preferred.) One pound works well for a half-pan. My Pyrex dish is an odd size identified as 6-cup and you can find this dish HERE if you are in the market for a new baking dish. This is the perfect size for one box of no-boil noodles. If you decide to make a 9 x 13 and double the recipe, be sure to purchase two boxes of noodles.

I began the recipe by browning my sausage with a little olive oil.

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Once the meat cooked down, I added 1/3 of a jar of Del Grosso Meat Flavored Sauce. You can use your favorite sauce at this point, I just grew up with this specific one and will most likely always use it.

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continue to let this cook and thicken on low heat for a few minutes. In the mean time, if you haven’t thawed your frozen package of chopped spinach, toss it in a colander and run hot water over it. It takes just a few minutes to thaw.

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After thawing the spinach, be sure to drain it, literally ring it out with paper towels until all the extra liquid has been removed. I only used about half of the spinach, keeping in mind I didn’t want to freak out the Lasagna King with too much “Green” or have the threenage inspector obsess a little too harshly on the flecks of green spoiling her favorite meal.

I then combined all of the cheeses, eggs, and seasonings and tossed in my spinach. By this point, I really started to get excited about my new invention!

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Once you’ve mixed your cheese mixture, the fun of layering can begin! Start with a solid layer of sauce from your remaining 2/3 of a jar.

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Every time I open a box of lasagna noodles, I feel like I am putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces are always slightly smashed, but luckily it doesn’t matter. And if you’re going for that suzy-homemaker quality look, just save the few solid pieces for the top layer. No one will know the difference.

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Once you’ve pieced together the first layer, add in half of your sausage mixture.

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Continue with a second layer of puzzle piece lasagna noodles, breaking the pieces as needed to fit into the dish you’re layering in. Then drizzle a little more sauce onto the noodles. I like to spread it around with a spoon once I’ve added the drizzle.

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The next step is to dollop on the entire cheese mixture. Yes, to please the Lasagna King we must have two time the meat in comparison to the cheese. This is so wrong to me, but the end result was delicious so maybe, just maybe he’s right. Once in a while.

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More Sauce, More noodle, repeat Meat layer, more noodle, and top it off with sauce.

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Cover your final product with foil and pop that bad boy in to a preheated oven and cook at LEAST one hour. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. There is nothing that annoys the “Lasagna King” more than a runny lasagna.

Once I pulled the dish from the oven, I knew almost immediately that the lasagna was going to be a hit. The noodles weren’t curled and hard on top, so the foil lid was definitely critical, I did a quick sprinkle of additional mozzarella cheese across the top to add a finishing touch to the dish and let it sit about a half hour before digging in.

I think the strangest part about being home more, is actually being ready for dinner before my husband gets home. I find myself beginning to feed the girls before he’s even home, simply because I can, and I feel so ORGANIZED lately. It’s been a real mental health check to say the least.

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I can report that my girls BOTH ate this recipe, spinach included, and never questioned it once! While I did add the spinach, do not mislead yourselves, this is not a healthy recipe! No, it is a rich, flavorful, greasy, and delicious twist on the average lasagna. Hopefully this will entertain and please the “foodies” in your household. Happy Saturday!

  • Cheers!

Whitney

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Spinach and Sausage Lasagna

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A simple twist to amp up the average classic recipe and please the picky eaters in any household

Ingredients

  • 1 box Gluten Free Cafe No-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb loose mild (or sweet) italian sausage
  • 1 32 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (Del Grosso)
  • 1 8 oz container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed.
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Brown sausage with 1 tbsp olive oil. Drain and add 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce. Cook until slightly thickened.
  2. In a separate bowl combine Ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, 1/2 of spinach, egg, and seasonings. Mix well.
  3. In a small glass baking dish, begin layering: Sauce, noodles, half of meat, noodles, & sauce.
  4. Add entire cheese mixture and carefully spread, following with a drizzle of sauce, and another layer of noodles. Add remaining meat, top with noodles and one last layer of sauce.
  5. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and let stand 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving.

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.

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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.

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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
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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.

 

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.

 

Gluten Free Stromboli

Gluten-free fourteen years ago looked nothing like it does today. Flours didn’t hold the rich consistencies they have today, products were not so readily available, and let’s just call it like it is: the stuff that was available? It was crap.

One of the first game-changer gluten free products we found when I was younger was this amazing invention known as Chebe original cheese bread! We still use this as a staple in our house for Stromboli and pizza crusts. There are a variety of options, but I prefer the classic cheese bread. Every year at Easter my family mass produces Easter Pizzas which are very similar to the traditional Stromboli with a slight twist. With Chebe bread mix, Stromboli becomes a quick last minute throw together meal.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To start, you need:

  • 1 box mix of the cheese bread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (any kind you prefer. I use whatever is left over in my fridge)
  • 4 tablespoons of water.

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To start, add the mix, two eggs, oil and cheese into your mixing bowl. I typically use a fork to mix these first ingredients. The mixture will begin to stick together forming small crumbs.

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Oooh love some good quality i-Phone pictures! Vanessa Huey would shudder at these photos! Hopefully this summer, she and I will have the opportunity to collaborate over a few projects and you won’t have to be tortured with my “lovely” amateur phone pictures!

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Once these first ingredients are mixed really well together, slowly add the water  to the mixture and begin to knead the dough with your hands. Gradually it will stick together to make a glorious little knot of dough! I think the most amazing thing about this product is the elasticity. This is not a characteristic often attributed to gluten-free foods.

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The trick to a simple Stromboli, and those of you who can actually bake with regular flour may concur with this trick, is to line the counter with plastic wrap before laying out your dough. (As luck would have it, I opened our plastic wrap box still sitting in the drawer, and it was empty) I happened to discover that press-n-seal wrap also will work if you happen to be that person, like me, who opens the plastic wrap box only to find an empty roll STILL. IN. THE. DRAWER. I’d like to take this moment to totally point the finger at my husband. Unfortunately the reality is, it was probably my fault. No, guaranteed it was my fault.

I will show you the purpose behind rolling out your Stromboli on the plastic wrap in just a moment. If you have a rolling pin that you have used on gluten in previous recipes or baking projects, take a second piece of plastic wrap and lay it on top of the dough while you roll out your crust. The thinner the crust the better. I like to keep mine 1/8 of an inch. When the dough gets to 1/4 of an inch or thicker, it can feel gummy whenever it’s finished.

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Loving that smooth round roll, right? Well I can promise you that the second one I rolled out was much smoother; however, not photographed. Let’s be realistic, I made these in 15 minutes after work on a Thursday and top-notch photogenic food was not my first priority.

Once your crust has reached that nice thin quality, lightly spoon your pizza sauce on half of the crust and begin layering your fillings of choice. In our house we follow this order:

  • Thin layer of Del Grosso spaghetti sauce (my favorite!)
  • A solid layer of pepperoni (with extra for the little ladies to snack on while we assemble)
  • Half of a deli-meat container of smoke ham (we like the kind with a bonus storage container when it’s emptied!)
  • 5 round sliced of provolone cheese (smoked or non-smoked… we switch it up!)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of  shredded mozzarella cheese

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I don’t add any additional seasonings to the crust or the layers of filling. The meats already layered into the Stromboli add so much flavor to the final product. Hey, less is more, right?

Now the magic of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, fold your Stromboli crust closed by pulling it over with the plastic wrap.

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Look at that gloriously CLEAN counter top and perfectly folded Stromboli! Carefully peel the plastic wrap back and begin to seal the edge of the Stromboli by pressing the two edges together evenly. Use the plastic wrap as a guide when transferring the completed Stromboli to a baking sheet.

*I STRONGLY recommend using a baking sheet with sides. Depending on how much delicious meat you have added, there will be a slight grease trail while the Stromboli bakes.

Poke the top of your Stromboli with a fork and place that bad boy into the oven.

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Turn on your oven light if you want to watch the magic happen. Let the Stromboli bake for approximately 30 minutes, removing it from the oven when the edges are just slightly golden brown. Let the Stromboli stand about 10 minutes before serving.

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Look at that ooey-gooey, cheese bursting at the edge. My husband willingly eats gluten-free and really likes these crusts. We’ve used these crusts to make Steak and Cheese Stromboli, Buffalo Chicken Stromboli, and countless other “empty the cupboard” Stromboli ideas.

So, if you’re in the mood for a meal that tastes like you worked on it for an hour, try a quickie Stromboli!

And don’t forget to order some Chebe Original Cheese Bread mixes for your next dinner ideas!

Cheers!

  • Whitney