Chinese Noodles . . . A Gluten-Free Possibility?

The best part of a Chinese meal has always been the crunchy noodles for munching or dipping in the hot mustard or spicy tomato sauce. Have been on a gluten-free menu for almost five years now, that hasn’t been happening. I realized that Google can find just about anything in the world so ran this request through the search and about two links down . . . SUCCESS! The recipe was simple, the preparation very easy, and I now have a surprise for my hardworking husband when he gets home from work this evening.

OH? Uh, what? You said that YOU wanted the recipe?


Fast Rice Fritata

I like to cook but I also like the evening where the cooking doesn’t keep me in the kitchen for TOO many hours! This was always a favorite growing up and it is a quick standby for those busy days. I like to cook extra rice just to have some on hand for something like this.

Fast Rice Fritata
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili flakes
2 cups cooked rice
4-ounce can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

In a large frying pan, brown the onions in the butter until tender.

Beat eggs with milk and seasonings. Stir in Rice, chilies and tomato. Pour into the frying pan with the onions. Turn the heat down low, cover and cook until top is almost set, about 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand about ten minutes before serving.

Benevolent Bread Pudding

Ever have one of those days when you don’t know how you are going to get dinner on the table much less come up with dessert? My favorite go-to has always been the ‘lowly’ bread pudding . . . only bread pudding doesn’t have to be considered at the end of the wanted list for dessert. Another plus with bread pudding, that it takes care of the aging bread on the counter.

Benevolent Bread Pudding

3 cups cubed bread
4 cups whole milk, scalded
3 beaten eggs
1/3 granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Add bread cubes to milk. Combine eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, spices to the bread mixture. Pour into greased pan and dot with the butter. Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes our until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

White bread is not the only ingredient you can use. Think about sourdough bread, raisin bread, Hawaiian bread, etc.

Adding dried fruit like crasins, raisons, diced fresh apple, diced peaches . . .

Want to go wild for the children, chocolate chips and serve with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Chopped nuts are allowed, too!

The Lowly Potato . . .

Since we have cut back the carbs in our diet drastically, potatoes aren’t often on the dinner menu. However, when we want to splurge on our Sunday meal, you might just find some sort of potato dish in the vicinity of the dinner table.

This evening, I made a new favorite. It is super simple, fun to make, and there have been rumors of altercations over the last serving up for grabs. Thought I’d confess before it came out on Wikileaks!

Not sure what you would call this dish which is why I remembered to take a picture.

Basically, you sort of thinly slice up three for four large Russet potatoes. How much you use depends on how many are at your dinner table. Put all the slices in a large mixing bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, very thinly sliced onion, and bacon bits. Now, the fun part! Get out your trust cupcake tin and spray each cup lightly with vegetable oil spray. Now take up three or four slices and stand them up in the cupcake tin adding more so they are all sort of upright. Make sure each serving gets their fair share of bacon and onion tucked between the slices. Give them all a quick spray of vegetable oil spray and put into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them, however, as it will depend on how thinly/thickly your slices came out.

The finished result is usually a browned top with crisp edges and the part in the tin is usually browned and sort of creamy in texture. There are always a variety of outcomes but I hope you find this a handy idea and your family enjoys it. It is a recipe open to lots of creativity. I put in a couple teaspoons of chia seeds and some finely grated Parmesan or cheddar takes it to another level.

Meatloaf That Takes Time When You Are in a Hurry!

I’m always putting aside finds for shortcuts in preparing meals. Although I enjoy my time in the kitchen, there are times when I have other obligations that make time of the essence. This is a recipe that helps out on ‘one of those days’.

Meatloaf in the Crock Pot

About 1 ½ pounds of ground beef
3/4 cup milk (almond milk works fine, too)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely minced onion (white, brown, or red, your choice!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of chili flakes

Combine all the ingredients and form into a loaf size that will fit into your crock pot. Cover and cook on the low temperature for 5-6 hours. Sometimes, crock pot temperatures vary so check after four hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, combine the following:

½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon or water or broth

Mix well to combine and pour over meatloaf and cook on high for about 15 minutes.

If you prefer your meatloaf plain, you can skip this step.


*Add a half cup of grated cheddar cheese to the meat mix before cooking.
*Try using a spicy stir fry sauce instead of the recipe above for that last 15 minutes.
*A tablespoon or two of crumbled bacon in the meat mixture is most welcome.
*No dry bread crumbs? I’ve broken down a couple slices of sourdough bread into crumbs, toasted them very briefly under the broiler and used them with success.

Recipe Share! Asian-Style Chicken

We enjoy a lot of chicken dishes because 1.) We like chicken! And 2.) It is more cost effective to fill up the stomachs of post-teen children. Given all this, I’m always trying new chicken recipes to bring some variety and surprises to the dinner table. The following one is easy, tasty, and very different.

Asian Chicken

1 leek
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slices
6 large cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
2/2 cup unsweetened coconut mix (usually around 5 ounces or so)
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
About two pounds of bone-in chicken thighs
2 limes cut into wedges
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Wash and trim the leek leaving only the white part and about three inches of the green leaves. Cut the stalk of leek in half the long way and rinse thoroughly in between the leaves to remove any hidden dirt. Cut into two-inch pieces.

Place the leek, ginger, garlic, coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cayenne in a food processor and puree. Pour this mixture over the chicken making sure every surface of the chicken gets coated, cover and refrigerate all day or over night depending on when you need it.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange in a baking dish. Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes or until cooked through and turning golden. Serve hot with seasoned rice or at room temperature for lunch or a buffet meal. Don’t forget to put out the lime wedges and cilantro for squeezing and garnishing.

Being Sneaky in the Kitchen!

When the children were younger, they had limited tastes when it came to dinner. If it wasn’t fried, pasta, or pizza there would be exaggerated sighs of resignation as they moved their food about the plate in interesting but uneaten patterns. I recognized a declaration of war and began arming myself through the meals I cooked. Meatloaf, which for some reason they would eat now included finely ground carrots which were browned a bit with the also finely chopped onions. No complaints and no reality checks from the peanut gallery.

The seasoned tomato sauce for the pizza had steamed and pureed carrots and green beans in it. Blended with the tomato sauce, the opposing dinner forces never caught on. Initially, I had finely chopped and steamed carrots but a slightly larger bit of carrot caught the attention of one of the dinner-time police and I had to retreat and rethink strategy.

Spaghetti was the number-one favorite among my panel of judges. When I made a meaty tomato sauce, I would get a can of pinto bean, drain, rinse, and them puree them with some broth and add that to the sauce. The sauce would be creamy, meaty, and rapidly devoured by the family.

Have I shared these tips with my now older children? No, because, someday, they will have to deal with little versions of themselves and I think they should enjoy all the splendor of that period in their lives.