Broccoli slaw for fish tacos

Happy football Saturday everyone! Thanks to a wonderful twitter give away hosted by Gluten Free Laura (follow her at: @gfreelaura) this recipe comes to you via a free sampling of Rudi’s Gluten free bakery’s GF tortillas!

Summer is quickly coming to a close, so things like flip flops, white dresses and fish tacos will all go dormant for a while ( at least here on the east coast).

With that said, let’s indulge in all three today, shall we? I’ll post my GF battered fish nugs later, but for now here’s how to make its partner-in-crime, broccoli slaw. Five ingredients and one step equal finger lickin good slaw!

Mix the following:
2-2 1/2 c broccoli slaw
1 heaping T sour cream
1 heaping T mayo
Juice from 1/2 lime
Cilantro
Salt and pepper ( to taste)

Voila!

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Review for Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery tortillas: I had come to terms that burritos, soft tacos and quesadillas were a thing of my wheat-filled past. But alas, my wildest Mexican fiesta dreams have come true! For the above dish, I used the original tortillas. Since I had refrigerated them, I popped them into the preheated oven (just threw them right on the rack) for about two minutes on each side. They bubbled up a bit, but were chewy, a but crispy on the rack marks, but delicious none-the-less. They didn’t get tough or flaky, as typical brown rice soft tortillas usually do. I’m looking forward to testing these babies out some more!

And check out the rest of the party picnic pack they sent me! Thanks, Rudi’s!

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Four (or five) ingredient hummus

It’s always nice to stash the fridge with a few items you can use during the entire work week. It’s even better when that staple item is dirt cheap and takes only a handful of ingredients. But even more, when you can get rid of a few items that have been crowding the door shelves, then my friends, you have hit a culinary home run!

Enter four (or five or perhaps six) ingredient hummus. One of those great recipes where the possibilities are endless, this creative little ditty can be made in 10 minutes. Seriously.

Here are the four items you’ll need to have on hand for simple hummus:

One 15 oz can of garbanzo beans
One or two cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
Two heaping tablespoons of tahini sauce (can be found at Trader Joe’s near the refrigerated hummus)
Juice of half a lemon
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There’s only two prep steps to take:
1. Open the can of garbanzo beans and do a quick dump of the liquid. Don’t drain it all the way, or the mixture will be too dry.
2. Remove the skin from the garlic

Dump all the ingredients in a food processor (my sister uses her blender) and grind until smooth (about 45 seconds or so). I like to stop every 15 seconds and use a spatula to go around the edge of the bowl. Have a little taste and adjust with extra tahini, salt and pepper, if necessary.

In today’s variation, we had some jarred sweet peppers that needed to go. I used four of the little suckers and added in to the food processor as the last ingredient. Since they were sweet peppers, and i prefer more of a salty hummus, i added some course sea salt at the end.

We have tried kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, and -my favorite- leftover pesto.

As far as the frugal aspect of this dish, the garbanzo beans are $0.88 and the tahini sauce is $2.99. Given that i can usually get four-five hummus recipes from one purchase of tahini, this entire recipe costs less than $2.00 to make!

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Grown-up Crock Pot Mac-n-Cheese

This afternoon marked the beginning of the men’s water polo team’s quest for gold. Glued to the telly (as they like to say in the UK) for the match up against Montenegro, I decided to make a crock pot meal so I didn’t have to miss one second of the game. With dark clouds looming over Monmouth County, it was a good day for comfort food and nothing spells comfort like m-a-c-n-c-h-e-e-s-e.

I took to Pinterest to find a suitable recipe. One of the most-pinned recipes came thanks to Jan at the Tip Garden. Her full, delicious recipe can be found here.

Failing to plan ahead (and seriously craving the creamy goodness of a healthy-sized portion of Jan’s creation), I was forced to use my own pantry and improvise.

Her original recipe called for the following:

Cooking oil spray
2 cups skim milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups preshredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Condensed milk does not usually have a home in our house, so the decision was made to replace it all together. (Afterall, the game was about to start in 20 minutes and no time to run out now!) Since condensed milk is sweet, I decided to jump off the other end of the spectrum and used bitter, savory replacements -a bit more sophisticated additions, if you will. To fill the 12 oz. void, I used 6 oz., or half a can, of Light beer, 1/4 cup of sour cream and a few splashes of Worcester sauce. I also increased the pepper to 1/2 tsp.

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Spray the pot of the slow cooker or if using a liner bag, spray the bag well. In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, sour cream, beer, Worcester sauce, egg, salt and pepper. Pour milk mixture into the crockpot. Add cheese and uncooked macaroni (I used a corn pasta). Stir gently to mix.

Turn slow cooker on low and cook 3-4 hours, or until the custard is set and the macaroni is tender. (Do not cook more than 4 hours, or the sides will begin to dry out). Serve at once.

Also, checking on the pot with one hour remaining, there seemed
to be a few puddles of liquid. Panicked the final product wouldnt be a ooey gooey delicacy, i added about 1/2 cup of GF bread crumbs to top it off.

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Delicious! Creamy and cheesy with a hint of pub-cheese soup-like flavor! Improv a success…but this grown-up still prefers her mac with a bit of ketchup!

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Disclaimer: Bud Light is not a gluten or wheat free option.

Improvising an improvisation….Copy-cat Starbucks style

Thanks to pinterest, i found a yummy copycat recipe for a frappuccino. Sounded delicious for a summer morning, but what to do if some key iingredients cant be found in the pantry? Well, improvise, of course. ….always a risk, but well worth it if it works.

The original recipe calls for the following ingredients to be blended:

1 cup double-strength Starbucks coffee OR 3/4 cup fresh espresso (cold)
3/4 cup milk (low fat, 2%, whole or whatever)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to taste)
2 cups ice
Secret ingredient: Pinch of xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon dry pectin (keeps Frapp from separating)

My improv is as such:

1 cup (2 K-cups of Dunkin Donuts extra bold) (chilled)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup Trader Joe’s vanilla lactose free creamer
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
2 cups ice
Secret ingredient: Pinch of xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon dry pectin (keeps Frapp from separating)

The biggest two issues were lack of sugar and a temperamental blender. The vanilla creamer and pumpkin pie spice combo replacement for the sugar worked out quite well. It was just sweet enough and the essence of cinnamon and nutmeg left this imrpov queen longing for September. The ice was a different story. After a botched liquid/solid processor mess, I separated the two elements and first crushed the ice with a mini food processor and before blending together the milk/creamer/coffee, xanthan gum and spice back with the ice via a hand blender. Quite a mess, but it worked none-the-less. Topped off with some caramel sauce, this yummy encounter was worth the risk!

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The four food groups of apps…

1. cheese and crackers
2. chips and dip
3. fruit
4. chocolate

I’ve found any creative combination of the above makes a simple and satifying appetizer platter that is sure to impress anyone.

Take last week, for instance.

Mid-week dinner plans (when you’re the one cooking) can be a bit of a challenge. Of course, planning ahead and doing as many make-aheads as possible is always encouraged. Planning the main course is never my issue – it’s always the snackables that are a bit perplexing. There are just so many choices out there that it’s easy to catch a case of “I don’t know where to start, or what to do, so just I’ll just break out the Tostitos and salsa”.

No! Stop right there!

Although Tostitos can be a decent pantry staple (and I’m not looking to knock the chips and dip element, it is, in fact, one of the core elements of what I’m preaching here), it’s always nice to bring a bit of sophistication to the table, so to speak. Referring back to the four food groups, you can dress this up, scale it back…adjust to the crowd you’re serving.  So long as you have the quad-fecta (if that’s even a word), you can rarely go wrong.

So, for my long lost friend and former roommate, I knew we were going to start off with some crisp white wine on this summer evening, so I tried to match the food with the libation.

  • Wine is fermented grapes, so that’ll be the fruit.  Check.
  • I know she likes the sweet/salty combo – so sea salt and turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds it is.  Chocolate? Check.
  • Cheese and crackers.  Well, I did have Trader Joe’s multigrain everything crackers (always a hit) on hand, and the TJ’s brie and wild mushroom cheese wedge looked yummy in the display.  Since I was feeling adventurous, that was the choice, along with some…
  • Flax seed tri-flavored corn tortilla chips for the home made basil hummus (recipe to follow shortly).  Check and CHECK!

We’re ready to rock.  With a neat presentation (I use this lazy susan from IKEA years ago), this combo is sure to please!

Serving the Wing King

Since watching a 2009 Pioneer Woman rerun over the weekend, I got awfully excited for the Fall season.  Ree Drummond “drummed” up a feast for her hubbie and his friends in anticipation of a big college football weekend.  Her staple item on this episode happened to be wings.  And my husband, well, he’s the wing king.  …let’s see how well this dish goes over.

Here’s her full recipe (courtesy of Food Network.com)

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 24 chicken wing parts (12 wings separated into 2 pieces)
  • One 12-ounce bottle cayenne hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s
  • 1 stick butter
  • Several dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Several dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • Blue cheese dip, for serving
  • Celery sticks, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a heavy pot to 375 degrees F.

Add half the chicken wing parts to the oil and fry them until they’re golden brown and fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other half of the wing parts.

In a saucepan, heat the cayenne sauce and butter over medium-low heat. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce. Let it bubble up, and then turn off the heat.

Place the wings in an ovenproof dish and pour the hot sauce over the top. Toss to coat, and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

…much like a Paula Deene’s recipe, I insisted on de-buttering.  (Like that’s going to counter the deep frying, but whaterver…) Rather than one stick, I used three tablespoons.  Even though the last of the five-photo tutorial below looks a bit greasy, the end product didn’t have the drip-down-the-side-of-mouth issue that some wings bring.  My wing king was satisfied with the only complaint of wanting more sauce! So here’s to football season in t-minus six weeks!

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Newly inspired pinner

The inspiration to domesticate was never lost, but the inspiration to communicate perhaps waned a bit. After fully engaging in the latest obsession, pinterest, I find myself, yet again, dabbling (with a more serious intent) in the blog-o-sphere. So find me, follow me, repin me. Here:

My Pinterst!