Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Loaf Cake

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I’ve been asked for the recipe for the cake I made for my sister’s birthday last week.  It’s a recipe from an old cookbook that I altered to make gluten-free.  Here’s what I did:

1-1/2 cup butter

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 gluten-free flour (this blend includes xanthum gum)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (I think I used about 1 cup)

Soften the butter.  Cream butter and sugar, add eggs.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips and mix well.  (I did all of this in a bowl, with a spoon, but I’m sure a mixer could be used.)  Divide the mixture between 3 loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.  (I’ve done it in 2 large loaf pans, or 3 slightly smaller ones, and feel it cooks better in the 3 slightly smaller ones.  I also made cupcakes from this recipe last spring–just cook for less time and leave the chocolate chips off or stir them in)  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the loaf cakes and bake them in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour-1 hour and 10 minutes or until firmed up and done in the center.  (The trick here is to get the center to cook without getting the edges too crisp or even burnt.)  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of the pans and finish cooling.  Makes 2 large loaves or 3 smaller ones.

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There are several things I like about this recipe.  First, it does not need frosting, so it is easy to transport. Second, it can be divided into the individual loaves so I can make a batch, use one loaf and freeze the rest for another day, which is a time-saver for me.  Third, it is gluten-free and tastes really good!  It can be “dressed up” for a party, or used for lunches.

If you don’t need to make gluten-free cake, it works well with regular flour.  I used to make it that way, years ago.  It is basically a chocolate pound cake with chocolate chips sprinkled on top.  When I modified the recipe, I did add more cocoa powder than the original recipe, because……chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate candy bars….need I say more?  Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Cashew Chicken

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I found the recipe for cashew chicken that I promised to post.  I made it for dinner tonight and remembered why I loved it so much.  So, here’s to Jeannie–cashew chicken over rice

I started with a recipe from Taste of Home, and have changed it up over the years.  Here’s what I did today.  This recipe is very flexible.

Mix:  2 cups chicken or turkey broth

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 Tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (we buy it by the gallon at Cash and Carry)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Stir those ingredients together, and set aside.  This is the sauce that gives the stir-fry a great flavor.  Stir it one more time right before pouring it over the veggie/meat mixture.

Cut up vegetables and chicken and put into bowls, piles on a cutting board, whatever you want.  It just works better to have it all cut up before you start.  You can vary the veggies according to what you can grow, or get on sale.  Today I used:

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into very small pieces (Mine were diced into about 1/4-1/3 inch pieces)

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

Celery sliced thinnly (today it was the center of a stalk that needed used, other times I might  use 2-3 sticks)

4 large mushrooms

1 cup snow peas ( I would have liked 2 cups in there, but that’s what I had today)

1 bunch broccoli, cut into flowerets (it was 1 medium-sized bunch)  I also cut the stem into small pieces and added that in.

2 cloves garlic, minced

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I put a small bit of oil into a frying pan and cooked the chicken and onion for about 4-5 minutes, until the chicken was looking almost done.  Then, I added a little more liquid (some of the mix I made above, or plain broth.  If you use the mix, take from the top so you don’t get any cornstarch at this point.)  Then, I added the veggies in the order of hardest first, and softest (or anything that needed to stay crisper)last.  So, today I had carrots, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, snow peas and minced garlic.  If you have a different assortment, it will work.  Others I like in there are zucchini and summer squash, peas, and bean sprouts, to name a few.  The sauce is very important and it gives any veggies that great flavor.   I let it cook for a bit, stirring often.   After the veggies were crisp, but getting tender, I poured in the mixture.  I continued cooking and frequently stirring until the mixture thickened.  I did not let the veggies get very soft, just crisp-tender, because that is how my family likes them.

I made white rice to go with this, and it sopped up the marvelous sauce nicely.  I sprinkled some cashews on top of each portion after it was plated.  This would have been enough for 4 normal people, but 3 of us very hungry people ate it all.  It would be easy to stretch this, by adding more veggies.  It is tasty and healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti

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I made a great low-carb recipe the other day for lunch.  It was quick, easy, and tasty!

Here’s what I did:

I took my hand-held, inexpensive, veggie noodle maker and twisted a zucchini through the wider side.  I wanted some “noodles” that were thicker, so they would not mush up on me.

I put a little butter in a frying pan, melted it, then added the “noodles” and sprinkled it liberally with garlic-salt.  The kind I use is a grinder, so I twisted the top several times to get a good amount of garlic and salt on the “noodles.”  Then I cooked the zucchini noodles for about 3 minutes, stirring only when necessary because I didn’t want to break them up.

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In the meanwhile, I took 3 of the meatballs I had made the other day and warmed them in the microwave with a little marinara sauce.

I put the meatballs and sauce on the zucchini noodles, sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese (more than I intended since a lump came rushing out), and enjoyed my lunch very much.

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

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A reader asked me to post a good muffin recipe. Of the muffins we have made lately, we liked this one the best.  I started with a recipe I used to use frequently before I needed to go gluten-free.  Ja’Ana made it as it was, substituting gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour.  It was quite dry.  Today, we tweaked that recipe quite a bit, and are much happier with the results.  Here’s what we did:

Dry ingredients (mix together in a large bowl):

1-3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 gluten-free flour blend

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

grated lemon peel from 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients (mix together in a small bowl):

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup oil

1 container (6 oz) lemon yogurt (about 2/3 cup)

2 eggs

Stir the dry ingredients together until mixed.  Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Beat the wet ingredients together and then pour them into the well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Mix together.  Put into 12 muffin cups that have been lined with cupcake wrappers or sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 16-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove muffins from pans and place on a cooling wrack.  Make lemon glaze and drizzle on top of warm muffins if desired.  We have eaten them many times without glaze. Let them continue to cool until completely cooled.  Freeze any muffins you are not going to use immediately, then remove from freezer, thaw on counter or in microwave,  and enjoy.  Makes 12 muffins.

Lemon Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2-3 teaspoons lemon juice (I just squeezed juice out of the lemon I used for the lemon peeling until a nice consistency was reached)

Stir powdered sugar and lemon juice together until the glaze is able to be drizzled on to the muffins.  Start with a small amount of juice and add more until desired consistency is reached.  If you put in too much juice and it is so runny and just slides off the muffins, add a little more powdered sugar until it thickens up slightly.  If you have to spread it like frosting, it is too thick and you need to add more juice.

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Homemade Corn Tortillas

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A lot of people are doing a no-spend January.  I think it’s a great idea, but am not participating at this time.  I had several low-spend months this year, and am re-stocking  on some things this month.  I plan to have a lower income during the summer, so that’s when I’m planning my low-spend time.

However, today, we ran out of tortillas.  One daughter assured me there were some in the fridge when I tried to buy them, and another assured me they were gone.  They are a)buried deeply in the fridge, or b)indeed gone.  I wanted to make enchilada bake for dinner.  So, I dug out a bag on masa flour from the stockpile and gave it a try.  I love finding ways to use up things I bought for one reason or another, but don’t use regularly.

I looked up several recipes on the internet.  They were pretty much all the same, with extremely minor variations.  I mixed 2 cups masa (corn) flour with 1-1/2 cup very hot water and a 1/4 teaspoon salt.  I kneaded it until it was a ball, then pinched off balls to shape into tortillas.

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Then, I cut a gallon-sized ziplock bag up the sides and made my own “press.”

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I squished the balls with a big pot and some elbow grease.

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Then I fried them in a pan for about 2 minutes on each side.  I used a little oil in the pan.

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Then, I just layered the tortillas with home-canned chile verde, refried beans, and some leftover beef pieces I chopped finely.  After 3 layers, I covered the casserole with cheese and some olive slices.  Now, dinner’s in the freezer for Rob to warm up while I am at work! He has a headache today, and I did not want him to have to cook when he gets home.

These tortillas are thicker than the ones from the store, and have a slightly different flavor.  Still, I ate one for lunch, and they are certainly edible.  I’m pretty happy with how my experiment turned out.

No Bake Mountain Bars

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These are so easy to make.  Patsy and I whipped out a batch early Friday morning.  When I packaged them up for gift giving, I put a layer of waxed paper in-between the layers.

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cups cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

3 cups quick oats

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil sugar, cocoa, milk and butter in a large pan for 1 minute.  Add remaining ingredients.  Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with waxed paper. Decorate with sprinkles or mini M and M’s according to the holiday it is, or the color scheme you want to match.  We often leave them plain if it is not a holiday.  Refrigerate until set.  Makes 1 cookie sheet full of cookies, if you put them pretty close together.

The amount you get actually varies according to how big you make them.  I’ve had the recipe for years.  It came from a home-school math book a long time ago.  They are gluten-free as long as you are sure to use gluten-free oats.  Some people cannot handle oats, anyway, no matter what, but I can, so enjoy these occasionally.  I’d check with the recipient if you are unsure if they tolerate oats.

 

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

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Yesterday, I decided to make taco soup in the slow cooker.  It is heavy on the pinto beans, as my husband got a 50 pound bag last summer for only $22.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to burn a slash pile with the family, and we were all glad for a hot meal at the end of a long afternoon.  Sadly, it did not burn all the way up.  We got some of it burned, but not all.  Bummer.  The soup was still excellent.  This turned out quite thick and some family members chose to fish out the beans and turn it into nachos instead.

Taco Soup

2 quart-sized bags of cooked pinto beans (soaked, cooked and frozen previously)  Probably 4-15 ounce cans would work

1 onion, chopped

2 Anaheim peppers, diced

1 Jalepeno pepper, diced

1 quart home-canned tomatoes (a 32 ounce can would work)

2 cups beef broth (I had frozen I had made, but you could use 1 15-oz. can)

1/2 pound cooked, leftover turkey taco meat, seasoned with taco seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Extra taco seasoning, or cumin, if desired

Sour cream, cheese, and olives to garnish (optional)

Put all ingredients in crock pot.  Turn on “low” and leave for 6-8 hours. My slow cooker will automatically turn to “keep warm” when the time is up, and I left this on all day long, probably about 10 hours, until we were ready to eat.  Since everything is cooked, except the vegetables, there would be no danger if you needed to eat it sooner.  It also holds a long time  if your dinner time gets pushed off.  Makes 10-12 servings.  (Actually the 5 of us didn’t have much left last night, but we had been outside working hard for several hours and ate more than 1 serving each, I’m pretty sure!)

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This is what it looked like as a nacho.  They did drain out the liquid from the beans before they dumped it on the chips.  We get the mega-bag of chips from Costco, divide into zip-topped bags, and can enjoy corn chips for a reasonable price, without them getting stale, for several weeks.