Spicy Bolognese Sauce and Pappardelle Pasta

Been wanting to make an Italian bolognese sauce for a while, the real deal, slow cooked with whole milk and red wine.  Those sort of recipes take time and love.  Saturday I had the time and I was making it for a date with my guy so I went for it.  Instead of beef my protein was a mixture of ground venison and pork. Otherwise I followed the recipe I found in a cookbook by Giada for a spicy version which looked interesting.  It was supposed to be made with lamb but I had that meat in the freezer and I thought venison might be good in a spicy tomato sauce. I have a different recipe that is mild which I use with ground beef.  But goin’ spicy this time!

A bit more than two hours later the bolognese sauce was done.  While it simmered I made some homemade pappardelle pasta (shaped like wide flat ribbons) to serve it with; been a long time since I made my own gf pasta. Well over a year ago…maybe as much as two years. My pasta was tender but had a chewiness that went well with the sauce. It was a perfect match. I let the noodles cook in the sauce for a few minutes; makes for the best flavor. The bolognese sauce was somewhat spicy, slightly creamy and very flavorful.  This recipe is a keeper!

We had some delish pan roasted Brussels sprouts with a nifty horseradish sauce. I know…that sounds weird but it was really yummy. My guy took home leftovers of the sprouts and sauce…he loved it!

This makes a big pot of sauce and you can freeze some of it, share it with a friend or eat it later on in the week.  I used some fairly basic red wine we bought up in the Finger Lakes Region of NY, no Chianti in the house.  It worked just fine. Improvising is the heart of Italian cooking, at least at my house it is!


spicy bolognase sauce

See my cheese rind floating on top; just put it in. Now That’s Italian!

Spicy Venison Bolognese serves 4


2 Tbs. butter

4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 ½ lb ground meat; venison, lamb or beef

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼-½ tsp. Chipotle chili pepper

2-4 Tbsp. tomato paste; Use less if you use double strength

2 cups whole milk

1 cup dry red wine; Chianti is good

1 28 oz can chunky crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 3 inch pieces of Parmesan cheese rind

8 oz fresh pappardelle pasta

2/3-1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese for topping


Instructions: Heat a heavy bottomed large sauce pan on medium heat add the butter and oil, heat until butter melts. Add onion, carrot, celery and ½ tsp. salt.  Cook for 6 minutes, stirring often, until onion softens but isn’t browning. Add the meat; brown it for about 5 minutes; use your wooden spoon to break up the meat and turn it.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add garlic chili powder, red pepper flakes and tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, bring to simmer, cook 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, milk should be mostly evaporated. Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, cheese rind and rest of salt. Bring to simmer, and cook slowly for two hours, stirring occasionally. The cheese rind will disappear.  Remove the bay leaf.

Set aside half the sauce for another day.  Cook the pasta until it is about 2 minutes from done. Add to the sauce, cook gently for 2-4 minutes until al dente. Add pasta water to thin it if necessary.  I used the pasta recipe from my favorite cookbook; by Annalise Roberts; Gluten Free Baking Classics.  I know, pasta is not baking, it is in the back section of miscellaneous stuff.  I rolled it in my machine and then folded the strips loosely before cutting into wide ribbons with a sharp knife. I cooked it about 3 minutes in boiling salted water.

Serve the pasta with the grated cheese. Or not; it is pretty good even without the topping. If you want to guild the lily, drizzle some high end ECOL on top of each serving before the cheese. Enjoy! spicy bolognase with pasta 1



Nor’easter Lentil Stew


Here’s a yummy stick to your ribs kinda soup recipe for this cold stormy spring day.  Last time I posted it…was for a blizzard; today a Nor’easter.  Make a big pot so  you have leftovers for tomorrow…starting mine as soon as I finish posting this. Lentils are good for you and hearty in stew for chilly days. I took a basic Italian lentil soup and kicked it up a bit with some changes and additions.  My daughter and I love the Italian sausage in it and I especially enjoy adding shredded kale to the mix.  Kale is still very trendy these days but I have been using it for years; this is one of my favorite recipes to make with kale.  It increases the nutritional value and the flavor of a soup.  I also like how easily it goes together.  If you hate kale leave it out; spinach is really tasty too in it.  I prefer fresh kale, don’t forget to cut off the tough stems.  In this batch I used a mixture of sweet Italian sausage and hot spicy sausage.  Lots of extra flavor that way!

This stew could be made vegetarian; use vegetable broth and leave out the sausage.  I don’t always have the parm cheese on it but it is very tasty with it.




Lentil, Kale and Sausage Soup


¼ cup EVOL

1 cup diced yellow onion

2 large carrots, diced

1 garlic clove if desired; minced

1 can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste dissolved in ½ cup water

2 cups dried brown lentils, washed after measuring

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1-2 quarts chicken broth,  If you don’t have that much broth just use water for part of it.

1 lb Italian sausage (sometimes I use a mix package of mild and spicy links)

1 lb fresh or frozen kale.  Fresh is best; chop it up but frozen will do

½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional (for topping)

2 tbsp chopped parsley; can leave out if adding kale.


Sauté the onion and carrots in the olive oil in a big heavy bottomed soup pot.  I use a heavy bottom as your soup will be less likely to burn.  Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sausage; push the onions to the pan’s walls so they don’t burn.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Add garlic and tomatoes and stir up well, add the tomato paste in water and cook 10 minutes.  Add broth and season with salt and pepper; remove sausage to a plate to cool. Bring the soup back to a boil and then add lentils.  Cook about 25 minutes, add the potatoes and cook 20 to 30 minutes until lentils are done to your taste, add the potatoes 20 minutes into the cooking time.  Stir pot occasionally so it doesn’t stick.  Add the kale and cook 5-7 minutes.  While the lentils are cooking you should cut up the sausage into rounds and add back to the lentil stew when they are done.    Let the soup stand at least 15-20 minutes once it is done.  Serve in a wide soup bowl with a good sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese on top.  Perfect on a cold winter night to warm you up from  your tummy to your toes!

sausage lentil stew

Originally posted February 2016.

Keema with Lettuce Curry

Lately I have been enjoying some wonderful meals centered around Indian curry. Sometimes chicken, sometimes lamb or beef. Keema means ground meat. I used this great recipe my sister Margie gave me for a ground beef or lamb curry with lettuce. Yes, that sounds odd, and honestly it took me quite a while before I made it. Well, it was just delicious. I have made this favorite recipe many times over the years. Unfortunately, the recipe was lost a few years ago and I finally replicated it fairly well using some curry recipes and my memories of the ingredients and the flavors I wanted to achieve. I couldn’t find any recipe for a beef/lamb curry with lettuce so I started with one that used peas as a major flavor and used ground meat and modified it to re-create my keema curry.  I love this made with lamb but I have used ground chuck in the past with a yummy curry resulting.

Curry is not that hard to cook; saute, dump, stir, simmer…but it generally has a lot of spices. I use these spices a lot making different curries. I know it seems like a ton of ingredients but please don’t throw “curry powder” in this in lieu of the spices I named. That is just not going to work as curry powder has a single somewhat flat note to it. All these spices as well as the ginger and garlic work together to create a symphony of amazing and delightful flavors. You can cut back on the ginger and/or garlic to make it more mild or strong. If you want it mild leave out the red pepper flakes.

I have successfully substituted tender shredded cabbage for the lettuce and I believe shredded romaine would also work. Possibly escarole would be successful too.

I didn’t take any cooking pictures; was not thinking about my blog. Next time I make it I will try to get some shots and add them to this post. Ground meat curries are not that pretty looking but the flavor was all there.

keema and lettuce curry

Keema and Lettuce Curry


1 tbsp. mild olive oil

½ tsp. cumin seed

3 cardamom pods

1 small cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 large yellow or red onion, diced (1 to 1.5 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ inch to ¾ inch of fresh ginger shredded or minced

½ tsp. red pepper flakes or a red chili pepper chopped up finely

1 bay leaf

1 ½ sp. ground coriander

½ tsp. ground cumin

¾ tsp. ground turmeric

Skimpy ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg (I am debating whether I want this in or not!)

½ tsp. garam masala (mixture of ground spices like cinnamon/cumin/chili powder/cloves) If I don’t have any on hand i make a quick version using these named spices)

1 lb. ground lamb or beef

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes or 2-3 diced fresh tomatoes

¾ of a head of iceberg lettuce sliced thinly; maybe 2-3 cups worth

1 to 1.5 cups water

2 Tbsp. plain yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:  Let meat rest until it has warmed to room temp. while you chop and measure. I put the whole spices in one small cup and the ground spices in a second small glass cup.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Any oil you like will work other than EVOL.  Add the dish of whole spices and let them heat until things crackle a bit.  Add the onions and cook until they are soft and starting to caramelize a touch. Add the ground spices as well as the fresh ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Add the ground meat; I push it down so the spices and onions are pushed up around the meat; giving the meat the majority of the pan surface to brown on.  Stir to brown the meat well. This may take 5-9 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sliced lettuce and stir well. Add 1 cup water, cover and cook about 40 minutes. Can cook longer; up to 60 minutes if you like. Stir it every ten minutes and add more water if needed. It should not be dry. Stir in the yogurt, add salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand five minutes before serving.  Remove the cinnamon stick. I try to pick out the cardamon pods as biting into one of them can be a bit overwhelming.

I serve mine over rice; brown rice is my preference for this curry.  I made some sautéed green beans and asparagus spears with black mustard seeds and cumin seeds; a great combination I stumbled upon. Enjoy!

My inspiration recipe was from my fancy pantry. They used peas not lettuce as the main veggie. I added and subtracted ingredients to re-create my beloved keema and lettuce curry.


Italian Seafood Stew 2.0

I am a true lover of seafood and enjoy a good soup. So, combining these two loves is a natural. Years ago I used to make French Bouillabaisse, a light seafood chowder served over garlic bread.  The other day I was craving something warm and cozy like a bowl of soup. I had a can of artichoke bottoms someone gave to me.  I had some seafood… I used to make a Portuguese seafood stew but I am kinda tired of that; so upon more thought I decided it would be far more interesting to make an Italian version of Bouillabaisse that could use the ingredients I had on hand including that can of artichoke bottoms. I had everything but the cod.

It turned out pretty tasty. You can be flexible with the veggie amounts: I tend to use a lot of veggies in my recipes.  I am positive you could use artichoke hearts, either canned or frozen in stead of the pricier bottoms. If you hate artichokes; leave them out. Their flavor is not a strong component but if you don’t want it….  A cup of thinly chopped fennel would make a good substitution.  I got my saffron at Valley Farm Market in Bethlehem, cheapest around. Seems of good quality.

Use what ever seafood you have or enjoy. I think it is more interesting if you use at least two sorts besides one white firm fleshed fish. Leave the clam or mussel shells in and ditto for the shrimp shells: they add real flavor and look very authentic, just let folks pick them out. Do not use large clams or big hunks of fish; no bigger than one inch square.  Only cook it until shells open, shrimp curl and fish gets opaque.

Angie’s Italian Fish Stew

2 Tbsp. EVOL (good olive oil)

1 stalk of celery diced

1 medium onion diced

1 large carrot diced

4 garlic cloves minced

¼ tsp. saffron, crushed

1 15 ounce can of finely diced tomatoes

1 large red potato cut in small (1/3 inch dice)

2-3 Tbsp white wine or vermouth

1 ½ cups water or whey leftover from straining yogurt

2 cups chicken broth

1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (your discretion)

1 bay leaf

½-3/4 cup cooked chickpeas.

½ lb mixed seafood like mussels, clams, squid, shrimp

½ lb cod fillet

1Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley

1 can artichoke bottoms or hearts, drained and diced; I used all but one bottom

Garlic bread rounds, gluten free french bread


Heat EVOL in large heavy bottomed 2-3 qt sauce pan.  Add celery, onion and carrots, cook about 5 minutes until softened, add garlic, cook another minute, add saffron, cook a minute.  Add wine, water/whey and broth. Let heat a minute and add the potato cubes, bay leaf and red pepper flakes.  Cook 15 minutes until potatoes are nearly done. Add cod which you have diced in large cubes and sprinkled with the lemon juice and mixed seafood. Cook about 5-8 minutes until seafood is just barely cooked.

Serve over thick slices of French bread heated, smeared with butter and sprinkled with garlic powder. I used two per bowl. You can heat them in the oven or in a toaster; do not butter and put in toaster; If you use the toaster method you will have to butter and garlic after it is done. I tried it both ways and it is superior baked in oven but fine done quick in the toaster. I used leftover French bread I had made the other day, gluten free of course and it made great garlic bread. The garlic granules work well but if you feel compelled to use fresh garlic…. You pour the stew over the bread and let it get soft from the broth. Alternately you can just eat it as bread with your stew. Enjoy!

seafood stew 3

Notes: I used chick peas I had cooked myself but canned are fine. If you don’t like chick peas use cannelloni beans or navy beans. I bet fava beans would be great in this! I used the whey remaining after I made Greek yogurt the day before. I never tasted it before; it is a touch salty and slightly tangy and very pleasant. I believe it is full of nutrients and a great addition to a soup.

Shoo Fly Pie (Shoe Fly Pie at my house!)


This sweet pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. It is quick to go together, needs neither refrigeration, nor a long chilling down before consuming it, pleases most everyone and best of all it can be made in any season; no fruit needed.  It wasn’t too hard to change from my old recipe to a gluten free version.  I recommend it for celiacs who miss that old time flavor of shoe fly pie.  Note: some folk say shoo fly pie but my recipe used the spelling you see in this post.  I believe either is appropriate.

I know folks who shy away from gluten free baking thinking it is too complicated.  Well, a couple years ago I featured pies and this is the easiest pie around so I dedicate this to a few friends who have been too scared to bake gf.  You can do this one! If you want, buy a ready made uncooked crust but I swear that with a stand mixer this is the easiest and best gf crust around.

This shoe fly pie recipe is a blending of the filling I have used for years, (my sister Margie gave me the recipe a long time ago) and the pie crust and crumb recipes from Annalise Robert’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  Her cookbook is a fabulous resource and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone trying to bake gluten free for a family member.

My shoe fly pie is considered a “wet bottom” pie; not too crumbish.  If you want it drier use ½ cup molasses and ½ cup water.  I love it soft and moist so my version always is a wet bottom shoe fly pie.

Angie’s Shoe Fly Pie


1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of parchment or wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of parchment or wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Make the crumb topping while it chills.

Crumb topping


Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.  You will only use 1 ½ cups of the crumbs; put it in a jar and store it in the fridge until your next pie; it keeps well for several weeks.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Next, roll out pie crust between the two sheets of parchment or wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Then make filling and pour half into the crust, careful not to splash it out.


2/3 cup molasses, I used Grandma’s

¾ cup boiling water

½ tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with a spoon until blended. It will foam up a bit as the baking soda mixes with the molasses!

Then pour half the crumb topping (1 1/4 to 1½ cup total) evenly over this mixture.  Add the rest of the molasses liquid and sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes Cool at least ½-1 hour before serving or let cool to room temperature.

Note: I bake pies in my bottom heat pizza oven and it gives me a great browned crust.  If your oven isn’t bottom heat you might want to pre-bake a gf crust 10 minutes before filling.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (King Arthur’s basic gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour


** This blog post first appeared in March of 2016

Dark Chocolate Almonds Snack Pack

Always on the lookout for a shelf stable gluten free snack choice… Saw this small bag of dark chocolate almonds at Walmart. Not generally where I shop for groceries…but there I was and there it was. On a shelf on the edge of the produce department, right next to dried fruit items.  It was only like $1.29 for two ounces so I picked up one to try. It is just whole almonds dipped in dark chocolate. Made by Orchard Valley Harvest located in Illinois.  15 grams of sugar, 5 of dietary fiber, no sodium, 24 grams of fat.  I didn’t gobble the whole thing; ate like 4-5 almonds at a sitting so I got at least 3 or 4 servings.  I didn’t find it to raise my blood sugar much and I enjoyed the crunch of the almonds against the dark, almost bitter chocolate flavor. Delish and definitely worth getting again.  Only wish it came in a bigger bag.  Opps; while looking around for pictures I found that it does come in a 14 ounce size. Next time!   dark chocolate almonds

FYI: I have been blogging for just over five years, first on Patch and then on WordPress.  Recently I upgraded my blog to remove advertisements that WordPress puts up and to give me more storage space. Moving on up!

I still enjoy the process of writing my blog posts and plan to continue for the foreseeable future. I write about new recipes I have made, new products I have tried out, restaurants I have eaten at or my struggle to find gluten free foods that are healthy and yummy. Occasionally I have to whine and vent about my life but mostly I am just so thankful to be healthier and to have good food for my meals. I am not much for pre-made foods so you will find many posts with recipes and not so many product reviews for readi-made entrees.  I also try to cook and eat low sugar when it comes to dessert. I eat most produce seasonally and I eat a wide variety of veggies and fruits. Often my snack is a fruit; ;this afternoon I had a tiny tangerine and after work half a ripe pear. They are like my candy; sweet and juicy. I crave the fresh!!

Thank you for tuning in and reading my posts on my gluten free life style. I enjoy writing, enjoy cooking and sure do enjoy eating tasty food. Most of my recipes are pretty easy. Before I went gf I ate a lot of snack bars and junk food.  I have cut back severely on that stuff. My body feels better for eating healthy choices and that makes me feel better in general.  Everything I post I have either cooked myself or eaten something I bought. No one pays me to post stuff, I am totally independent and honest about anything I report on here. I love good food; just hate eating crappy tasting so if I give you a recipe it is gonna taste great.  Enjoy!

Snowy Day Pasta Fagioli Soup


The soup I love to serve in the dead of winter is pasta fagioli meaning pasta and bean soup, Neapolitan style.  It is full of veggies and a ton of fresh flavor.  Not to mention beans and pasta.  Yes, I make it now with gluten free pasta, use the same recipe as always.  I often use elbow pasta by Barilla; great flavor and held its shape well.  Try not to overcook it though as gf pasta goes from done to mush easily if you are not paying attention!  This rib sticking soup will be a big meal if you add a salad and a slice of gf bread.  I served it this week with a wonderful loaf of french bread; the recipe is on another blog post of mine.  Warm, flavorful, satisfying and sure fills the tummy.  I made it with dried navy beans I soaked overnight and cooked until pretty soft.  Any kind of white beans or even kidney beans work . You can even use a couple of cans of beans; I made it with with a can of cannelloni beans and a can of fava beans; very Italian…

My version has lots of veggies; if you don’t want them all; leave some out! I often use small cubes of turnip as they hold their shape well and add a subtle tasty flavor to the soup.  No one ever guesses they are in there; looks like cubes of potato.   Or add more veggies, what is in your fridge?  I have used green beans, summer squash cubes or peas.  Today’s version has yellow zucchini squash cubes, kale and fresh green beans. No turnips or celery. Just plain forgot the celery.  Oh well, next time…

Secret weapon: I always add a cheese rind or two saved from a chunk of Parmesan cheese. It really ups the flavor of the soup.  And if you get a bit of it in your soup bowl the oozy cheesy goodness will be your prize!

Notes for 3/7/18. I did a quick heat and soak of the navy beans in a sauce pot and then I cooked them for 11 minutes in my Instant Pot. Great way to get it going quickly. I used broken up fettuccine pasta for this version. I used cut up pancetta I got at Aldi’s instead of prosciutto.


Pasta Fagioli Soup

2 cups of dried cranberry, navy or kidney beans, soaked overnight in lots of filtered water.  Be sure to pick over them for foreign objects.

1 bay leaf

1 quarter inch thick slice of prosciutto (leave out for vegetarian version)

¼ cup EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1 cup chopped carrots

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped turnip or summer squash

3 minced garlic cloves

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 can plum tomatoes chopped (or 1 lb fresh ones chopped in the summer when they have decent tomatoes available)

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 to 1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 cup elbow macaroni, gf

Directions: Drain the soaked beans, rinse well, return to cleaned pot and cover with fresh filtered water, add bay leaf and cook 1-2 hours until soft. Add water if it gets low.  Turn off and let rest while you make soup.  Skip step if you use canned beans; do drain them and rinse. Just add them where you would add the beans you soaked and cooked yourself.

Heat EVOL in big sturdy soup pan, I like a thick bottom to keep the soup from burning easily. Add onion and cook 5-6 minutes, add garlic, stir and cook a minute, add prosciutto which you have diced up into small squares and the parsley. Cook for a couple minutes, add the tomatoes, carrots, celery, turnip, hot pepper and stir well.  Add a tsp. of salt.  Cook uncovered about 12-14 minutes.  Add any bean water in the pan. I often end up adding 1-4 cups of water during this point if there is no bean liquid. Mush up half the beans in a food processor or with a potato masher. Add to soup. Reheat and cook 5 minutes, add rest of beans, reheat and then add the pasta.  Cook just the length of time the box says, stirring it every 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed and some fresh black pepper.  Turn off and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. True Italians often let it stand for hours and they serve it room temp.  I sometimes drizzle some best quality EVOL on the top of each bowl before digging in. A big bowl of that will warm you up for sure! pasta faglioli soup

Originally posted by me in January 2015.