Irish Soda Bread

I have tried a few gf recipes but there is only one Irish soda bread that I like these days: the one in Annalise Robert’s Baking Gluten-Free Classics cookbook. I embellish it with a tsp. of orange rind and I use less caraway seeds. It doesn’t keep particularly well so plan to make it to eat that day or the next. By the third day it is just not as great in flavor or texture but for that 2-day slot it can’t be beat for a gf soda bread. I have friends who don’t care for the seeds or orange rind grated in, but I love them; that’s what makes it great for me. Her cookbook is my baking bible, the best by far of all my gf cookbooks. I am going to put the ingredients and rough directions here, but you need to get her book and start baking. I promise you won’t be disappointed. It is head and shoulders above the rest for classic stuff like this. I do warn you that I altered her recipe as I am not a fan of buttermilk powder; I use the real deal of the buttermilk so no buttermilk powder and water here!

Irish Soda Bread


1 3/4 cup King Arthur Basic gf flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp Xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. grated orange rind

2 tsp. caraway seeds

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 Tbsp. canola oil

1 large egg.

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 inch cake pan.

Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl; mix in raisins, peel and caraway seeds.

Combine wet ingredients in smaller bowl, until well blended; I whisk them.

Add the wet to the dry and mix 30 seconds or less; until just well blended; use a big spoon and shape dough into a ball. Put in the prepared pan and use your hands to spread it out to a 6 inch circle. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross deep into the top. Bake on center rack until dark golden brown and cake tester is dry. About 35-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature before cutting; definitely do not cut it hot! Enjoy!

Un-stuffed Cabbage ‘n Beef Stew in my IP

Stuffed cabbage rolls are definitely a Pennsylvania treat. But making this recipe can be time consuming and complex; you have to cook the whole cabbage leaves and separately cook the filling and roll up it inside the half cooked leaves, sauce it and bake it. This is just way, way easier and pretty much better in my opinion. Less work, less heat in my kitchen (I did it in my Instant Pot but you could use a slow cooker or bake in the oven.) It isn’t a pretty dish to photograph and I frankly forgot to take pictures of making it. I debated even sharing it due to this but the flavor is so delish I knew I was gonna make it again so I wanted you to have the option to give it a try.


Here is my entire cabbage crop. These fat leaves will make a great batch of this casserole.

This recipe is very homey; great in these trying times. I used some outside cabbage leaves but any fresh cabbage will do.  I used ground chuck but lots of people swear by ground pork or even ground turkey. The amount of spices is variable and you can use any sort of tomato product you wish to get that wonderful tomato flavor in there. I added some smoked paprika and a few raisins to make it like my old recipe. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to zip it up a bit. Fiddle with the ingredients as you wish. It will still be a comfort meal your family will appreciate. Makes about 6 servings.

cabbage n rice casserolle

Told you my photo was lousy! Trust me it tastes better than it looks. And it looked better the first time we had it.

Angie’s Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole


1 lb ground beef

3 big garlic cloves, minced

1 med-large onion diced

2 bay leaves

About 4-5 cups of cabbage cut into 1-2 inch squares/chunks

1 can (13.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice

8 oz can plain tomato sauce (can leave out and use another cup of broth)

2 to 3 cups beef or chicken broth (Do 3 cups if you want it soupier)

2  tsp paprika

½ tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. oregano

A Tbsp brown sugar (optional…some folks love, some hate this) or 2 tsp. regular white sugar

2/3 cup long grain white or parboiled brown rice (package will say cook time is 20 minutes), uncooked

1.5 tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

¼ cup raisins (optional)

Directions: In instant pot or big pan brown ground beef: I sprayed it with cooking spray before starting. Or use a tsp or two of mild olive oil. While it browns chop the onions, the cabbage, open the can of tomatoes and get the spices out. After the beef is half browned add the onions, stir a couple minutes; add the garlic too.  Add the spices, bay leaves and stir. Add the tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce and paste, vinegar, Worstershire sauce and cabbage, stir, then add the sugar, rice and salt/pepper. Stir well so nothing is stuck to the bottom. Cook in IP under pressure for 9 minutes. Let rest 10 min before depressurizing and adding optional raisins. Correct seasoning; add more salt and pepper as desired and serve. You can bake it in oven for 45 minutes. Slow cooker for maybe 6 hours? I don’t use that function often but I am sure it would work fine for this recipe.


Originally published in 2020. This is an updated version with a number of ingredient additions and less cooking time.

Not My Mom’s Rice Pudding, Better!

I always loved rice pudding as a child, creamy custard studded with raisins and topped with a good sprinkle of cinnamon.  But the rice itself was kinda drab, not much flavor and it was not well blended with the rest of the pudding.  A few years ago, I found a recipe that caused a rice pudding revolution in my kitchen: it used sweet rice which is a white short grain oriental rice.  You could substitute Arborio rice if you like, what I have used in my most recent batch. I buy sweet rice in oriental grocery stores but I think Wegmans may carry it too.  Each grain absorbs the milk as it cooks and releases a lot of creaminess as well as providing a soft squishier rice that gives the pudding a more blended feel than my mom’s usage of long grain rice that stayed firm and separate from its pudding surrounding.

This recipe is naturally gluten free.  No one eating it will think, “Oh, darn, another of those weird GF recipes!”  They will just think, “I wonder if she will think I am piggy to want seconds of this?

I think in a pinch you could skip the second part where you briefly bake the pudding but I never do, I think it helps the pudding form the best texture.  Do sprinkle the top with cinnamon unless it is something you despise.  I recommend whole milk as it makes pudding taste so good but if you prefer two percent that will work.  I do not recommend skim milk for pudding. Ick on the texture and flavor of such a mutant pudding!  And this recipe is great with chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins, or even currents or in it instead of raisins. My original recipe had lemon peel and apricots in it. Recently I put a few long orange peelings in it and a cinnamon stick while it cooked on the stove top which gave it a delicate orange flavor which played well with the raisins. So, you can alter it to suit your mood and your ingredients. I sometimes just use 3 whole eggs rather than end up with two extra egg whites.  Especially with the price of eggs these days.

I am making it tonight in the “classic” form; with raisins and sprinkled with cinnamon. I can’t wait to enjoy a cup of warm and creamy rice pudding.

rice pudding

These cold days make pudding such a treat.  What could be more comforting after a cold walk with the dog than a bowl of wickedly creamy homemade rice pudding.

Creamy Rice Pudding


¾ cup sweet or Arborio rice

1 quart whole milk

1/3 cup raisins

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on your sweetness needs! I go with 1/2 cup

2 egg yolks

2 whole large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

A good sprinkle of cinnamon


Rinse the rice in a strainer briefly, (I forgot to do this last week!)  place in a heavy bottomed 1 ½ quart saucepan, pour in the milk (4 cups) and stir frequently as it heats on medium to a bubbly simmer.  Add the raisins and turn down the heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes.  Be sure to stir it every 5-7 minutes to separate the rice and keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Add the sugar, stir well.  Mix up the egg yolk and whole eggs in a bowl with a whisk and add in some of the hot mixture; maybe 1/3 to ½ cup.  Dump it all back in the pot and stir well.  Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a low ceramic or glass baking dish. I like an oval myself, that shape is what my mom usually used!  Pour in the pudding, removing any lemon or orange peel and the cinnamon stick if you used such and sprinkle it well with cinnamon to dust the surface.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Often,I put it in a hot water bath created with a 9×13 cake pan and some hot tap water. Did this last week.  This method produces a lovely delicate custard, worth the extra fuss.

It is tasty warm and wonderful the next day.  Some people guild the lily with toppings of whipped cream, grated lemon or orange peel or even whipped mascarpone cheese.  Up to you how you dress it up!  I occasionally serve a homemade cookie on the side for added crunch value.  Enjoy!

Originally published in 2015; minor text changes made.

Eight Bean Storm Soup

Snowstorm today, time for a hearty stew.  This is my favorite multi-bean soup with Italian sausage.  I started with a 1.3 lb bag of 4 bean mix and added two kinds of lentil and a bit of a few others.  The thing is, if you have celiac most 15 bean mixtures for soups contain barley which has gluten, a major no no. You need to carefully read the label. In the past I found a four bean mix out at Echo Hill country store in Berks County and added some French lentils; maybe ¼ a cup and some red lentils; another ¼ cup plus a ¼ cup of dried garbanzo beans and a sprinkling of dried limas.  You can use what ever blend you like but I like a good mix for a rich thick stew.   Update: Later on, I found a bag of 15 beans for soup and no barley!! Giant Store here in town. Great score for more bean soup.

Mine has Italian sausage but you can leave that out if you want a vegetarian version. I personally love sausage in a bean stew. Gives you lots of meaty flavor and a healthy dose of protein. I am guessing you could use other things like smoky ham chunks or maybe a ham hock? I haven’t found any gf ham hocks yet; they all seem to have a touch of gluten so I am kinda discouraged over that. Smoked turkey wings work pretty well instead of hamhocks.

I enjoyed a hot bowl of this potage with a slice of toasted multigrain gf bread.  It made a full meal without anything else being necessary.   A fresh crunchy salad would go well if you want to round your dining experience out with some greens!

Ten Bean Soup with Sausage

Soak 1- 1/2 pounds of dried beans in water to cover.  If you buy lentils separately; set them aside and added them after the soaking as they don’t need the same treatment the other beans need.  Either bring to a boil and let stand an hour or just let stand in the cold water overnight.  I did the quick version!  Drain them well and rinse before returning the swollen legumes to the rinsed pot.  Cover with fresh filtered water and add a bay leaf.  Cook 1 hour, pour in more water as needed and stir so it doesn’t stick or burn.  Then, add the lentils and cook another hour until the beans are nearly tender.  It is hard to say when beans get done, depends on a number of factors, taste often to check for tenderness. And stir that pot! As they approach that almost done spot start the rest of the dish.

Chop into dice:

3 sizable carrots

1 large onion

Mince: 2 big garlic cloves

Add the veggies, stir and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add water if needed.  I like the soup thick but it can’t be solid so add water.

As that cooks start the sausage.  Sauté one lb Italian sausage: brown in a Teflon pan with a touch of olive oil until top and bottom are browned and sausage is mostly done. Let cool a bit and slice into rounds or chunks, set aside.

Add to the soup:

½ a 14 ounce can of spicy diced tomatoes

½ tsp. dried oregano

Sprinkle dried basil

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp smoked paprika

1 beef bullion cube

½ bunch of kale leaves cut into big shreds; I cut off the bigger stems as they can be tough. (optional but excellent)

1-2 tsp sea salt

Some fresh ground black pepper

Cook ten minutes, add more water if it gets too thick. Stir occasionally.  Taste and add more spice if you think the soup needs more. Add the sliced sausage and cook five minutes more.  Taste and add more salt/pepper as you see necessary.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before ladling out.  Now that is comfort food that is good for you too! Enjoy.

Alternate cooking method that I used the last time I made this soup.  Cook soaked beans in a separate pot until nearly tender. Meanwhile, sauté veggies for about 5 minutes in a big pot in about 2 tbsp. EVOL, add 6 sausage links; cook 8 to ten minutes; add canned tomatoes, then broth and all seasonings.  Cook 5 minutes, add the beans that are about done and cook 10 minutes, remove the sausage and let cook five minutes, slice into rounds and add back in, cook 5-15 more minutes until beans taste done.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Originally posted two years ago in January 2015. Minor revisions; recipe remains the same.

Lemon Garlic Instant Pot Chicken

This is one of those handy Instant Pot recipes that you can do minimal prep and work on other stuff as it cooks. I love that it has no weird or very expensive ingredients, I had everything on hand having just gotten a pack of chicken thighs. No long stirring or baking. One pot does it all. And it was literally finger licking good; the sauce is the bomb! Unless you don’t like lemon; in that case you could simply leave off the lemon; it goes in at the very end but honestly the lemon is what makes it so delectable! I think you could use navel oranges and it might be quite tasty.  Or skip the lemon slices and just use zest and juice for less lemony flavor. I have to say that the garlic complements the lemon and the spices very well. This is that rare case where I find it needs the fresh parsley; it is not just decorative; fresh parsley really adds to the wonderful flavor.

This is a great weeknight meal; add a side salad or a veg and you are set. I used a Wegman’s Rice Pilaf which wasn’t spicy but made an above average accompaniment to the chicken. It is definitely a recipe to hang on to. Winner winner, chicken dinner! Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Instant Pot Chicken

I know! Way too dark…bad kitchen lighting…. another mediocre photograph but luckily the food in this picture was delicious!


4 decent sized chicken thighs, remove the skin (Or 6 smaller ones)

Rounded half tsp. garlic powder

Rounded half tsp. paprika

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground or 1/8 white pepper ground (I was out of black so white worked fine)

2 Tbsp. mild olive oil

1 medium onion cut in long strips

1 medium to large carrot cut in rounds

3 big garlic cloves (or 4 smaller ones)

2 lemons, wash and let dry while you brown chicken

1-3 Tbsp butter

1/3-1/2 cup chicken broth

1 Tbsp corn starch and 1 Tbsp cold water; mixed together in a tiny bowl

2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Mix the dry spices including salt and pepper and rub over the chicken pieces (could use 6 smaller thighs).  Heat the olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in your Instant Pot. Carefully place chicken thighs in and cook 3 minutes on each side. I did 2 at a time as they were too large to all fit. While they brown zest one lemon and then juice it. Slice the other lemon into very thin slices, removing any seeds you see. Chop the parsley and make some rice. I used a Wegman’s rice pilaf. My goddaughter gave me a package of it; has baby garbanzo beans and dikon radish seeds. Cook for the time the box says. It went very well with this chicken. Or plain rice or perhaps noodles?

As you finish the browning place them in a bowl or on a plate. Someone told me to keep moving them every 30 seconds and they won’t stick; it works!  Add the onions to the pan and more butter as needed (up to 2 Tbsp) and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the carrots and cook one minute. Then add the minced fresh garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and scrape the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to stir up the browned bits sticking on the bottom so they don’t burn. Add back the chicken pieces. Close up your IP and set it for 9 minutes. When the timer goes off give it 3 minutes to naturally decompress and then lift up the steam button and let it completely de pressurize.  Open and remove the chicken thighs, set it on saute mode. Add the cornstarch slush and stir for one minute. Turn off and add back the chicken pieces, the lemon juice and the zest. Stir and add fresh parsley and stir again. Turn off and serve with rice.

Rice pilaf cooked up and ready to serve. No added ingredients except water. Super easy to make.
I served a side of very thinly sliced zucchini sauteed in butter and olive oil with sliced leeks.