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Happy New Year!! Your Favourite 2011 Recipes (preceded by a red wine coloured rant)

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2012, sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it?!

So people have been asking me over and over, “when are you going to start blogging more”? No matter that these people are all of my real life friends who are asking me because they’ve referred recently diagnosed friends. But they have a point. Having a stale blog makes me feel icky, I mean, I work in marketing! How often do I huff at blogs that I really want to read but have gone months without a new post. And that’s what I’ve become?

Note to readers here: this is just my personal “forgive me, I have blinned” (blog sinned, made that one up) rant. Skip down for the hottest in recipes from 2011 ladies and lads.

I have to say though, that nagging feeling I get when I’m blazy (blog lazy, ha!) is when I talk to people who feel like getting diagnosed Celiac is going to ruin their life and cooking is going to be impossible. And I tell them, “No sister, it ain’t gonna ruin you, you just gotta learn the secrets.. I can tell you.. And you can find them on my web log!!” Okay, I totally don’t talk like this.

But I do tell people to not let a diagnosis get you down, that things are going to get easier. Because you quickly learn what you can and cannot eat. And you learn that you don’t have to follow complicated gluten free recipes to be able to eat. (Just learn how to substitute ingredients like a seasoned Celiac!) And let’s not forget that not only is gluten free knowledge on the uptake in society because people think it’s a weight loss tool (idiots), but because more and more people are being diagnosed with it. Restaurants and grocery stores are finally starting to get it. Some more slowly than others. (And yes, some will possibly be forever oblivious.)

But these secrets, and developments, are what I wish someone had told me when I was first diagnosed with Celiac. I thought my life was ruined! And it was not. I’ve learned to live with it, and make tasty food in a jiffy, and you can too.

So expect to see more of my rants and raves throughout 2012!

Now, for the top recipes of 2011? Here they are!

  1. Oven Baked Risotto. Apparently this was popular with the new-to-risotto crowd. So if you’re reticent of making your first batch of risotto, start with this one. And then try some of my other risotto recipes and see what you’ve been missing all these years! Risotto – gluten free food of the gods. And perfect for a creamy, savoury treat if you have to refrain from dairy as well!
  2. Cranberry Banana Walnut Loaf. Shave off 10 minutes to make muffins, or add in chocolate chips for a real anytime treat. Yummzers!
  3. Celery Leek Soup. I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! Because simply, it’s to die for. Put it on your list for a winter-warm-up fast!!

Enough from me for today. I wish you all the best in 2012 and look forward to continuing our gluten free journey together!

Oven-Baked Risotto with Mushrooms

8 Feb Gluten Free Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto

Since getting on the risotto bandwagon last year (I make it 1-2 times a week now!), I’ve wanted to try an oven-baked risotto. I chose a recipe from my Rice and Risotto cookbook by Paragon Publishing (2010 edition), with a few tweaks of my own added in.

The verdict: Though this risotto was good, it wasn’t quite as tasty as a stovetop mushroom risotto. So this would be a good choice for those who are new at risotto, as a stepping stone to the stove-top version. If you’re already comfortable making risottos, I would suggest to skip ahead to my favourite stove-top risotto, Chicken & Mushroom Risotto – you will love me for it!

Whichever recipe you choose, if you can get your hands on some white or black truffle oil, it will add an extra BAM! to your risotto. Though it’s a bit pricey, you only need a drizzle to transform a meal into a luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth dish. Definitely a good splurge!

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups of diced portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of pancetta or smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups of Aborio rice
  • 4 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp of Italian parsley
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for garnish

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Celery Leek Soup with White Truffle Oil

18 Jan Celery Leek Soup with Truffle Oil - Gluten Free

I absolutely adore soups. They seem to be the one thing that I can never screw up on. (Well, except for once.)

Soups have the magic of melting in your mouth, warming you up on a chilly day, and exciting your taste buds with a delicate balance of flavours that complement each other perfectly.

The story behind this soup: Last week I went to a networking event that was catered by a local restaurant, RauDZ, and to mention it, a restaurant that prides itself on using ingredients found around the Okanagan. I must go there soon! Lucky for me – and the other Celiac in the crowd who I met looking longingly at the food tables – Chef Rod Butters himself was in attendance. We bugged him with a lot of questions and he graciously pointed out the many foods that we could safely eat. But, being the nervous celiac diner that I am, I tried the soup, and nothing else. In either case, I probably would have stopped at this mouth-watering celery soup with truffle oil – it was absolutely to die for! So I must thank Chef Butters for inspiring my own version of the soup. Although I hope he’s still serving his up when I finally visit his restaurant!!

Celery Leek Soup with White Truffle Oil

Recipe from Homemakers.com (with a few of my own tweaks) found here.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped (4 to 5 cups)
  • 4 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 tsp each thyme and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • White truffle oil (found at specialty stores and yes – it is worth the cost – you only need a tiny bit to transform a dish!)

Preparation

In soup pot, melt butter over medium-low heat; stir in leeks, celery, onions, potato, thyme and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, reducing heat if necessary to avoid browning. Stir in stock, 3 cups water and salt; bring to boil. Add truffle oil (between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, to taste); reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using immersion blender or in batches in blender, blend until smooth. Pass through fine sieve, in batches, into clean pot, discarding solids that cannot be pressed through sieve. Stir in milk, add salt to taste, bring to boil. Garnish with fresh thyme and pepper and serve immediately.

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

19 May

Have you ever tasted food so delicious that it made you feel like you could cry at any moment during  consumption? Well, that’s what this dish did for me.

I think I’ve really started to appreciate food more now that I have to inspect every morsel that might come in contact with my mouth.

The last year has taught me a lot about being in the kitchen. Cooking. Savoring food. And I’ve gone through many cooking disasters, some of which I’ve forced down while telling my boyfriend that he might have to eat one of his old-faithfuls, like Macaroni and Cheese. (Yes, the fluorescent orange kind!)

So I think that’s why I was so overjoyed when I took my first taste of this risotto. Not only was it absolutely mouth watering, but it was something that I had made. All by myself, and without the watchful guidance of my more skilled cooking partner, my boyfriend Mike.

Now, Mike wasn’t moved to tears, but he was duely impressed that I had not only cooked a great meal, but that I hadn’t left the kitchen a compete diaster while doing it.

This, my friends, has been a cooking success! So, I hope you like is as much as I do!

Mushroom & Chicken Risotto from Food & Wine

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto from Food & Wine Magazine

Find the original recipe here.

I have inserted this recipe exactly how it came from Food & Wine magazine. Afterall, why mess with a good thing! Gluten free note: Make sure your chicken broth is gluten free!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, cut into thin slices
  • 2/3 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 5 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

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Chicken and Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce on Jasmine Rice

4 Mar

My boyfriend, the non-GF Mike, brought home a few pounds of each Portobello and Shiitake mushrooms last night, as well as some fresh chicken breasts, so I decided to do something about it! Even having used cups of mushrooms, I still have lots left so I think I’ll try making some cream of mushroom soup next time!

Sometimes I have a tendency to overcook chicken, but this dish turned out great and the chicken was super moist – yum! I hope you enjoy it!

Funny fact – I used to hate mushrooms and only fell in love with them a few years ago when my boyfriend serves some butter flashed portobellos a top my steak. It was love at first taste!

Chicken and Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce on Jasmine Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine

    Wild mushroom chicken a la the Lazy GF Chef!

  • 2 cups Portobello, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 cups of mushroom, vegetable or chicken broth (I use mushroom broth)
  • 1 cup of white wine or dry vermouth
  • 2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of cream, whole milk or almond milk
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Parmesan or Asiago cheese
  • Jasmine rice

Directions

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add all the mushrooms and allow them to simmer for until they become highly fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every few minutes.

Start your rice and cook according to directions. I usually cook about one and a half cups of rice which serves my boyfriend and I, and gives me leftovers for the next day.

Add the white wine (or vermouth) and broth, and turn on to high heat. Reduce about a third, and then add the chicken and allow it to cook in the pan for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, slowly add in the cream or milk and simmer for another five minutes.

When it seems “done” – go with your feeling of when it’s ready – serve over rice, sprinkle with cheese and let the tastes create harmony in your mouth.

Canadiana Cajun Rice Bowl

4 Feb

Canadianana Cajun Rice Bowl with Chicken and Turkey Sausage

There’s a dish I usually get when I got to the Cactus Club restaurant. For the most part they can do it gluten free, if the kitchen knows which ingredients to substitute. Meaning, it’s made me sick once and been okay the three other times I’ve ordered it.

Sometimes I just want to give up on eating out, which used to be one of my favourite hobbies! But that is a story for another day.

Today I want to share with you my interpretation of the Cactus Club dish. My version is better. At least according to my taste – a bit of spice, turkey sausage instead of uber-fattening regular sausage and loaded with sauteed veggies and a load of garlic. (Garlic is a superfood!)

This is my take on the Cactus Club dish, and how I would imagine a Canadian “jambalaya” would be like. Of course, the only thing truly Canadian about this dish is.. me. I hope you like it!

Canadiana Cajun Rice Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 package of turkey sausage, sliced (I used an Italian Basil type)
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Hot sauce (I used cayenne pepper & chipotle sauces) – the amount depends on how hot you like it!
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 1.5 cups of rice (jasmine works well)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Brown the chicken in a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

Start your rice and follow directions on the package. I add extra water so it’s nice and fluffy for this dish.

In the pan, add in the sausage and sautee until the chicken is fully cooked. Then add the red pepper and onions and cover with tight fitting lid for about 10 minutes. Give them a shake or stir every few minutes and  add in your hot sauces once the veggies are softened.

A few minutes before your rice is ready, add the pasta sauce to the pan and mix. Add more if you like your dishes very saucy, but don’t add too much – the goal is to add a bit of tomato flavour but not have it overpower the whole dish. Mix in your Parmesan cheese, leaving a bit for garnish.

Serve the mixture over rice, sprinkled with the rest of the cheese and a dallop of sour cream to cut down on the spicyness if need be.

This dish has become a go-to in my kitchen. It’s relatively easy to make and my boyfriend loves it, especially with extra cheese.

I think you will like it too! If you make it, please let me know what you think of it!

Chicken Saltimbocca

15 Jan

I love Italian food. After browsing a book by Giada De Laurentiis, I knew I had to try some of her recipes! The first thing I made was this recipe for Chicken Saltimbooca. Yum. Why had I never thought to pair chicken and prosciutto before is beyond me – what a match made in heaven!

Chicken Saltimbocca.. I served it with wild mushroom risotto and corn roasted with sea salt and chili pepper.

I’ve made this recipe twice now. I needed a “do-over” from the first time I made it, in which I decided to throw the chicken in the oven instead of pay frying it. I overcooked it. I ate all of it but my boyfriend couldn’t; it was too dry for his taste. (I ate his portion the next day for lunch and re-heated it with some of the juices and it turned out fine. It was still way too good to not finish!)

The second time I made it, when I had some family over, I skipped the pan frying again (I am after all the Lazy GF Chef!) and put the chicken in the oven for 350 degrees for half an hour. Much better. My family couldn’t believe that I had.. wait for it.. learned how to cook! Apparently, that was the first time I had ever cooked for them. They had heard the stories of my attempts to cook aka, the “MaryBeth is Cooking! Bloopers Role”, from my boyfriend Mike. But they never imagined I could make something so tasty (and gluten free!) without burning anything or having some other kind of totally preventable kitchen accident. Hurray for progress!

As for the state of the kitchen after I cooked, that’s another story. One could only describe it as pure mayhem. This is a regular occurrence in my kitchen.

Back to the recipe, I decided to post it exactly as it was written by Giada, i.e. like it was originally meant to be cooked a la pan frying, in honor to the tiny and peppy cook who would be invited into my kitchen any day!

Chicken Saltimbocca by Giada

Ingredients

  • 6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten (I used chicken breasts)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I used pan fried fresh spinach)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth (I used one cup of broth made with Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto atop each chicken cutlet.

Chicken Saltimbocca in the making.

Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.

Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach atop the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet as for a jellyroll. Secure with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.

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