Gluten Free Fried Chicken

Gluten Free Fried Chicken

Who says you can’t have fried chicken even if you can’t have gluten? This version is amazing and trust me, you’ll never miss the gluten! ;oP

What You’ll Need:
1 chicken, cut into pieces (Note: You can cut it yourself or get your butcher to do it for you.)
1 quart of buttermilk
1 cup of gluten free breadcrumbs (Note: I like Gillian’s version.)
2 1/2 cups of corn flour, divided (Note: Corn flour is NOT corn starch. They are made from different parts of the kernel and very different.)
3 tablespoons of Creole seasoning (Note: I used Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.)
Sea salt
2 eggs, beaten

Place chicken in a large glass dish or bowl. Cover completely with the buttermilk and then cover the dish or bowl. Place in the fridge and let “marinate” for at least 4 hours, but overnight is better.

When ready to cook the chicken preheat oil to 375 F. (Note: I like to do this in a large stockpot on the stove top.) You want several inches of oil in the bottom of your pan. I usually use one small bottle of oil. This go around I used an Omega-3 version.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

While oil and oven are heating get the chicken and “breading” ready.

In a small dish place 1 cup of corn flour. Set aside.

In a large dish mix 1 1/2 cups of corn flour with the bread crumbs. Stir in Creole seasoning until incorporated. Set aside.

Beat two eggs and pour into a flat dish like a pie plate. Set aside.

Remove chicken from the fridge and drain off most of the buttermilk. You want a little coat of buttermilk to help the first coat and salt stick. Place on a plate.

Now set up an assembly line. First you want the chicken. The next step is the corn flour. Next up is the egg and finally the corn flour/breadcrumb mixture.

Now let’s start the assembly line! Once the oil is heated first sprinkle the piece of chicken with a little sea salt all over. Then coat with the plain corn flour.

Next dip them in the beaten egg.

After the egg give them a nice roll in the corn flour/breadcrumb mixture and then fry each piece for roughly 7 minutes or until a very nice golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels and then place in a baking dish.

Once all the chicken is fried place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. I like to do this to make sure the chicken is done all the way through. After baking serve immediately.

Notes: You could spice up your breadcrumb/cornflour mixture any way you liked. Cayenne pepper would be good. You could do simple salt and pepper. Paprika would be really good or Old Bay Seasoning would even work! Make it your own!

Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is one of those ultimate comfort foods and the base usually uses flour to thicken the sauce. When I made a homemade macaroni and cheese at Christmas (linked in the sentence before) Jamison was very interested in it, but of course couldn’t eat it since it had flour in it and regular noodles. I decided to try my hand at making a gluten free version, but just never got around to actually making one. That changed yesterday.

Overall I was extremely pleased with how this turned out. At first Jamison wasn’t too sure about the dish, but in the end he said he’d give it 4 stars out of 5. That’s saying something for him! ;oP I think for him he might have enjoyed it more with all cheddar or possibly even a bit of Colby instead of Swiss. I may play around with it a bit more, but this version suited me just fine! This is just perfect if you’re looking for a familiar favorite, all while being gluten free. What’s better than that?

What You’ll Need:
1 – 12 ounce package of gluten free macaroni noodles (Note: I like Mrs. Leepers corn pasta.)
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup of corn flour (Note: Corn flour is NOT corn starch. They are made from different parts of the kernel.)
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
5 ounces of shredded Swiss cheese (Note: You want to shred and weigh the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has weird stabilizers in it so it won’t mold as fast and it doesn’t work as well. You could use it if you wanted, but your results won’t be quite the same.)
8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (Note: Ditto to the note above for Swiss.)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Extra shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

While pasta is cooking melt butter in a large sauce pan. Once butter is melted add, a pinch of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, corn flour and tapioca flour and stir until thick. It will thicken fast! Remove from heat and stir in cheese until mostly melted. Pour in the hot, drained macaroni noodles and stir until mixed.

Pour mixture into a a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Top the dish with more shredded cheddar and bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove casserole dish from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese

Notes: You could omit the cayenne if you liked.

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crab Cakes

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crabcakes

With the Chesapeake Bay right in our backyard, Maryland is sort of the home of the crabcake. Sometimes though those crabcakes get really heavy because they are either pan or deep fried. A few years ago I decided to try my hand at making a baked version and this is what resulted. Everyone I’ve ever served them to that is a crab cake fan has loved them!

Overall I have to say that I like my crab cakes a little lighter. You still have all the flavors that meld so perfectly together, but they are a little less heavy and a whole lot less greasy! Who says you can’t have your “crab” and eat it too…(Yes I went there! ;oP)

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What You’ll Need:
1 small red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (Note: I usually use 1/2 a red and 1/2 a yellow bell pepper. You can use one pepper of any color or mix it up. It’s your choice.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of whole grain bread crumbs (Note: You want unseasoned for this dish. If you can’t find whole grain then regular bread crumbs will work too or even panko.)
2 tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning (Note: I prefer Old Bay, but any seafood seasoning will work.)
16 ounces of crab meat, rinsed and picked over for shells (Note: You can use lump, backfin, claw, whatever you can find. Artificial crab will not work for this.)
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crabcakes: Peppers and Onions

In a large skillet over medium heat sauté onion and bell pepper with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crabcakes: Peppers and Onions Cooking

In a large bowl mix bread crumbs and Old Bay Seasoning until completely mixed. Stir in cooked onions/peppers and crab meat and mix until incorporated. Add eggs to bind together the mixture and then it’s time to form the cakes.

I like to use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to make the cakes. Spray the cup with non-stick spray and then dip it into the bowl with the crab cake filling. Mash the mixture into the cup to give it good shape:

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crabcakes: Ready to Put In the Baking Dish

Then turn the cup over and dump the cake into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crabcakes: Ready to Bake

Repeat this process until you run out of the crab mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes about a dozen crab cakes.

Better Bites: Baked Maryland Crabcakes: The Inside

Notes: These crab cakes freeze beautifully. Freeze them fully cooked and then thaw and reheat and you are set to go! You can serve them all by themselves or pair them with some dill tartar sauce.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

I love Red Lobster. Well actually I love seafood and sometimes I like to go to Red Lobster and while their seafood is ok (I prefer going to Phillips here in Maryland, specifically the Annapolis location! Though looking at their website Annapolis doesn’t appear to be listed there anymore, so perhaps it closed? I haven’t been over to Main Street in Annapolis in a year or so.) I have to admit that sometimes I want to go eat there simply for their garlic cheese biscuits!

Several years ago I decided that it couldn’t be that hard to come up with something similar so I set to work. At first I used garlic salt, but it can tend to make the biscuits too salty overall. I finally settled on garlic powder and it works like a charm! The biscuits are light and tender and just the perfect savory bite! There is melted cheese throughout as well. These are just fabulous by themselves or with a dab of butter while still piping hot!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups of shredded cheddar (Note: I highly recommend shredding your own. They put some weird stabilizers in pre-shredded cheeses that cause them to not work quite as well. They will still work, but the results will be much better if you shred the cheese yourself.)
1 1/4 cups of buttermilk (Note: You may need a little more or a little less depending on humidity conditions when you are baking.)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sea salt, garlic powder and baking powder until incorporated. Using a pastry cutter or a fork cut in butter until mixture is pebbly:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Butter

Next stir in cheese:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Cheese

You want to add the cheese before you add the liquid so that you can ensure that the cheese will be spread throughout the dough. It’s nearly impossible to work the cheese in after you’ve made the dough without ending up with tough biscuits.

Next add liquid and stir until dough forms. The dough will be shaggy at this point, but will continue to come together in the next step.

Shape into a ball on a floured surface:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Ready to Roll

Next roll out dough with a floured rolling pin until about 1/2 an inch thick:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Ready to Cut

Using a floured glass or biscuit cutter cut biscuits and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper:

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: Ready to Bake

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

This makes about 15 biscuits with the juice glass that I use to cut. How many it will actually make depends on the size of your cutter.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits: The Inside

Notes: There are many variations that you can do with these. Sometimes I add in dried chives and/or parsley. You could omit the garlic and use dill instead. You could also make these using white whole wheat flour.

Beggar’s Stew

Beggar's Stew

Years and years ago I stumbled across a recipe for a soup called “Beggar’s Stew”. I think it was while we were still in Alabama so that was over ten years ago. It was in one of those little slow cooker magazines that are usually stationed in the checkout isles at the grocery store.

Over the years I had planned to try it, but just never got around to actually making the soup. Most of the ingredients stuck in my head however…Yes I remember trivial bits of information that I should have long since been forgotten…You don’t? ;oP

As I recall this soup had a creamed soup in it, but I decided that was over kill. Don’t get me wrong, I do use cream of soups from time to time (and here’s a shocker…I even like Velveeta once in a blue moon! ;oP) but this just didn’t need it given the recipe also called for heavy cream. I decided to lighten up the cream with the fat free half and half as you’ll see below. I love half and half because it gives you that essence of cream, without all the fat! Especially if you can find the fat free version, it makes it all the more fabulous without as much of the guilt!

I also don’t remember the exact vegetables other than diced tomatoes, onion and mushrooms, but decided to use some that I’m fond of to round out the soup. I know there was thyme, so I decided to go with a very healthy dose of that particular herb. I believe the recipe originally called for turkey, but I’ve wanted to try ground chicken for a while so I decided to make it a bit simpler. Overall everything came together well and this most definitely is on the “Let’s make it again!” list!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried thyme (Note: I actually prefer dried thyme to fresh. Fresh is good, but drying thyme just makes such a lovely concentrated flavor. I feel the same way about basil as well, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment. ;op)
1 leek, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into little cubes
4 ounces of cremini mushroom, slices
4 ounces of button mushroom, slices
2 quarts of chicken broth (Note: I make my own most of the time, but you can use the store bought variety.)
1 – 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 – 16 ounce package of frozen corn
1 – 10 ounce package of frozen Lima beans
1 pint of fat free half and half (Note: If you can’t find fat free, regular half and half would be fine, or you could go all out and even use heavy cream if you preferred.)

In a large stock pot sauté onion with the ground chicken in a little olive oil (not more than a tablespoon tops) with sea salt, black pepper and thyme. When chicken is done through add leek, mushrooms and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in chicken broth and can of diced tomatoes and stir. Add frozen vegetables and bring mixture to a quick boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Once carrots are tender add half and half and stir to mix. Cook for 10 minutes to heat through and serve.

Beggar's Stew: Up Close

Notes: As always you can mix up soup any way you like. You could use different vegetables. You could throw in some diced potato. You could leave out the meat. You could add in other herbs. It’s all a matter of personal taste.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Mousse

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

Sometimes simple is best and what’s more simple than peanut butter and milk chocolate? These cups makes the perfect little treat pairing the traditional combo, all while being gluten free! What’s better than that?

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of super fine sugar
6 ounces of milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup of heavy cream
Whipped cream

In the bowl of your mixer whip heavy cream on medium to high until whipped cream forms and then scrape out into another bowl.

In the bowl of your mixer (no need to wash it or anything) cream together creamed cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly add sugar. (Note: It might seem a bit grainy at first, but it will come together.) Once the sugar is mixed in add whipped cream back to the bowl and mix until smooth.

Once peanut butter mixture is mixed pipe or spoon into a glass or bowl:

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

Chill covered for at least 3 hours.

Once cheesecake cups are chilled melt your milk chocolate chips with heavy cream over low heat until smooth. Then drizzle or scoop on to the top of your cups:

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

Then top with a little whipped cream and another drizzle of chocolate:

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

And then serve!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: These are really rich so a little goes a long way. You can store leftovers in the fridge. You could use chocolates other than milk chocolate if you preferred, but there is something about the milk chocolate/peanut butter combo that just can’t be beat!