Spicy Chicken Meatball Stir-Fry

My fixation on tiny chicken meatballs continues. These ones are made of ground chicken thigh meat; far juicier than breast meat. I buy this freshly made at Valley Farm Markets. Great meats, poultry and produce. Plus decent prices.

Actually; these meatballs are sort of medium-small sized. They are simple to mix up in a mixing bowl, glop out with a big dinner spoon and bake on a big rimmed pan lined in parchment paper. Baking is so simple and time saving compared to frying while turning them constantly. Easy clean up if you do the parchment paper.

Meanwhile, I make a somewhat spicy sauce and then cut up veggies and saute for a mini stir fry. Blend it all together… Delish! You can alter it to make it spicier or even milder; add more or less hot sauce.

meatball stir fry 2

meatball stirfry 1

Chicken Meatball Stir fry

Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken; preferably thigh meat
1 egg; beaten a bit
1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion or shallot
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1/3-2/3 cup gf breadcrumbs

Mix all in big bowl. Line rimed sheet with parchment paper. Glop on the meatballs with a dinner spoon; mine are about 1 1/3 inch in diameter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool.
What they bake make a sauce
Mix in a heavy bottomed saucepan
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp. mild olive oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar; packed
1 big garlic clove minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes; scant for me; 8 year old doesn’t like spicy
1/4 to 1 tsp. hot sauce; I used 1/4 tsp., decent heat level for a delicate tummy
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½-3/4 tsp. fresh ground ginger root (I keep mine in the freezer)

Cook 2-4 minutes on medium

Heat pot of water; make half a box of gf spaghetti.

Veggie Stir-fry

Ingredients
3 stalks celery sliced in ¼-1/3 slices
½ small red onion cut in inch long thin strips
1 large garlic clove minced
½ can of bamboo shoots
2-3 stalks kale torn off ribs
2 large or 4 smaller radishes, 6 if tiny; sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 Tbsp olive oil

Melt oil in mini wok or fry pan. Add celery; cook a minute, add onion, cook another 1-2 minutes, add garlic, stir and cook a minute, add kale and radish slices, cook 1-2 minutes, stirring add bamboo shoots and then stir. You want a bit of crunch still in the radishes and celery. Add the sauce, stir well, add half- 2/3 of the meatballs, stir around well. Add cooked spaghetti and stir. Serve hot. Enjoy. Now that’s a spicy meataball!

PS: I used the rest of the meatballs to make Italian Wedding Soup; Manga!

Holiday Wrap Up

I’ve been busy celebrating the holidays including baking lots of cookies and cakes. A delightful cranberry crackle pie, a pumpkin pie, a lemon poke cake…. Great meals, lots of delish treats. Not finding time for writing posts. But tasty foods came out of my kitchen most mealtimes. Made muffins the other day; chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, more Russian teacakes to give to a friend and an amazing orange chiffon cake for my birthday that no one remembered to photograph. It was scratch, no mix used, and utterly divine….from my Annalise Roberts Heritage Baking Cookbook. Worth all the effort of grating orange zest and the beating of many eggs!
cranberry crackle pie

We have indulged in waffles a few times and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Chicken pot pie, Caesar salad, roasted chicken, shrimp scampi, and baby back ribs. Oh-my-goodness, the yummy gluten free foods that I produced over these past 2.5 weeks.

It is not difficult to cook gluten free especially if you eat foods naturally gluten free; potatoes, rice, beans, unprocessed proteins and lots of vegetables that are cooked from fresh without the need for falling back on expensive and not-that-tasty processed foods.

pie bag OXO

My wrist has improved somewhat and I got a great new pie rolling out device; pie bag from OXO; slithery smooth clear plastic, non-stick and hugely helpful: I was able to finally roll my crust thin enough to satisfy my own standards as to pie baking. It was the lid on the chicken pot pie and it was flaky, tender and so delish my guy was thieving bites of it an hour later when he walked by the pot pie pan! He is not gluten free either! Apparently, he just loves a delicious pie crust.

Simply-Nature-Brown-Rice-Crackers

Got some great crackers at Aldi’s the other week; brown rice flour ones; nice snappy flavor and only $2 a box so definitely a find.

I bought a bag of their gf tiny pretzels and dipped them in melted chocolate. Amazing flavor! Super cheap compared to the small bag of them at Giant for $4.50. I am a fan of their organic whole milk; I use it to make real yogurt in my Instant Pot. It is rich and creamy with a wonderful subtle flavor; tastes great even without jam! Lots of tasty chocolate that is marked gf and usually made in Germany. I especially love the dark chocolate with hazelnuts. I am waiting for them to bring back the gf hot pockets made with pepperoni and pizza sauce; so so miss that product.

I searched for my favorite brats; none to be found. Darn; they were so delightful. Maybe they will get some in soon. Happy shopping there if you are gf; best prices in my neck of the woods!

Yes, This IS the Best Yam Casserole EVER! 2.0 Version for Double the Delish

 

I started making this simple side dish six years ago; we have enjoyed it for a number of holidays.  I like it alongside a roasted meat like ham or turkey.  I always serve it on Thanksgiving Day: far healthier than that casserole full of sugar and marshmallows.  For all the yummy food I serve for big feasts, this humble side dish often gets the most praise.  There generally is very little leftover. I made it last week for a teacher luncheon; no leftovers 😦 but some raves!

I love it because it is healthier than most yam/sweet potato casseroles.  It is free of gluten, grains, eggs and refined (read white) sugar.   If you use something other than butter it can be dairy free too.  No tons of butter, marshmallows or cup of brown sugar.  Less than a quarter cup of sweeteners make this a good choice for pre-diabetes.  I generally use the coconut oil rather than butter; it adds a subtle flavor I enjoy.  Plus yams themselves are quite good for you. We love their natural sweetness.easter-036

And it is so easy to throw together. Just peel and dice up the yams, mix up the other ingredients in a small saucepan and pour over, bake and enjoy.  So easy but the flavor is subtle yet very pleasing.  I suggest 4 large yams but I often use 5 or 6 smaller ones. Simple, tasty and healthy; side dish home run!

yam casserolle

It shrank a bit in the pan but still a nice amount of delish to share. Looked fantastic before I took it to the luncheon; darn but I forgot to take a picture….

NOTE: I am doubling this for all those who wish for a bigger pan of this delish side. Look at old posts for the smaller version!

Honey Spiced Yams

8 good sized yams
1/2 c. butter (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
4 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger (dry not fresh)
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes (yams), peel if you like (it’s not all that necessary), chop into fairly uniform 1/2 inch cubes or do 1/4 inch slices and place them in a 9×13 inch baking dish that you sprayed with cooking spray. Be sure NOT to use the one with flour added…. Over low heat, melt the butter and coconut oil in a heavy small saucepan. Stir in the honey, molasses, and spices. Mix and drizzle over sweet potatoes, then sprinkle with salt. Stir to evenly coat, then bake for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes or until yams are fork-tender. I like to stir it up once or twice while it bakes so that yummy sauce can sink into every bite of yam.

I can’t remember where I found this recipe: I think it was in a magazine.  The original version left the skin on but I am not that brave with company; but go ahead and try it….let me know if people like it that way.  This recipe was originally posted by me in late 2014.

 

Mad for Waffles!

Camping is fun for me; I love to cook over an open fire or on the camp stove. Summer is a great time for fresh produce. If you can combine cooking and being in nature that is the best deal for me!

Now this is car camping, you know… where you drive there with a trunk full of sleeping bags, tent, tarps, comfy clothes, cook stove, lanterns, and coolers of food… So I had lots food and I also brought my cast iron waffle maker; an antique from the 1920s that was my sister Margie’s and before that my parents.  It was kinda messed up when she gave it to me but Joe and I worked hard to bake off the crud and now it works fantastically… and corn on the cob, shrimp and swordfish (frozen), half frozen chicken thighs, lamb loin chops and a zillion other food items.   Nothing like traveling light!

So we enjoyed some good food. For breakfast I made waffles, then  pancakes, and then more waffles the third morning.  The pancakes are lovely; for a year or two I just couldn’t find any pancakes that measured up to what I felt they should taste like.  These are from Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s cookbook. Sometimes I add extra milk if they are too thick. I pour the batter right out of a mixing bowl with a pour spout onto the griddle.

And, again, I forgot to take pix of the waffle iron in action; so here is that recipe (my version; based on a pancake recipe in Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. This recipe is great for camping because buttermilk travels better than regular milk and it also uses oil not butter in the waffle; easier to deal with than melting butter on the camp stove…. The other week I was out of buttermilk and used kefir, a fermented milk; worked fantastically.

waffle

Cinnamon Waffles (for 2; double for 4 people)

1 cup brown rice flour mix

1 tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. salt

1 ¾ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 large egg, well beaten

2 tbsp. canola oil or melted butter plus extra for greasing griddle.

2/3 cup buttermilk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

cooking spray (kind with no flour in it)

Directions:  To make it portable; measure the dry ingredients into a zip-lock baggie. I like to write the other ingredients on with a black Sharpie marker and label it waffles…so you don’t use the pancake mix by mistake!  Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl, add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla (optional when camping but I did bring it this summer and they were so yummy). Pour the dry mix into the bowl and whisk briefly until fairly well mixed.

While you are doing that mixing step the waffle iron should be heating.  I use a round cast iron waffle iron; please do spray it with cooking spray before heating and then I melt about 1-2 tsp. of butter into the 4 quarters; I blop the chunk around with a fork so some melts into each part of the iron.  Flip the iron over just before putting in the batter. I use a big spoon to glop it into the waffle iron.  One big glop in each half.  Close the iron and let it bake about 2 minutes. Flip it and bake 1-2 more minutes, or however long your waffle iron takes.  I serve it with real maple syrup; something this good deserves the best.  Before I serve the first waffle I break off a section and eat it hot and plain; you can really taste the cinnamon that way.  Make sure your waffles are crisp not soft. The crisp is Everything!

We had scrambled eggs and maple flavored sausage links; both go fantastically well with waffles.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (it is the same as King Arthur’s gf flour mix)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted in July 2015 and again in 2016  and 2017 with minor text revisions. Recipe the same.

Ratatouille Is Summer on A Plate!

Summer time is the best time to cook with garden produce; makes the most sense, that’s when they are at their peak of quality and variety. I love to make this dish every year in the late summer particularly when I have most of the vegetables growing in my garden.  Ratatouille is a French dish made of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, peppers and lots of olive oil and basil. To me it tastes more Italian with all those veggies and the olive oil and basil. It’s a great side dish with grilled meats or fish and I love it inside an omelet or alongside a slice of quiche.  And yes, I know there was a kids movie out in 2007 by the same name.  Disney even came out with their own recipe for ratatouille!

Lots of veggie chopping for this delicious dish and then you should stir it carefully as the mixture cooks in a big pan. I like to make it in a wok or paella dish. I have a Teflon paella dish that I use these days; holds a lot and things don’t stick to it.

Tips: The amounts are somewhat fluid; I don’t really measure the veggies; just use an approximate amount. Be sure to cook the eggplant until it is mostly done before proceeding to the next step or your dish will be less than stellar.  You can use red, orange, yellow or green bell peppers and yellow summer squash works just as good as zucchini. I used a huge pale green bell pepper in my photographed version. Just makes sure all your vegetables are fresh and best quality.

 

 

 

 

Ratatouille  by Angela, makes about six servings

Ingredients:

2 medium onions

4 tbsp. olive oil divided

1 large eggplant – cut into rounds and then across into ½ in slices (don’t peel)

1 med zucchini  – cut into 1/3 inch rounds and halved

2 large tomatoes, diced

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 large red or green bell pepper- cut into long slices, can half them

1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. brown sugar, optional

1 Tbsp. dried basil

1 tsp. sea salt (to taste)

Directions:

Put 3 tbsp. of the oil in a large frying pan; 16 inch or wok works well. Add the eggplant slices and toss the slices around to evenly soak up the oil.  Fry turning occasionally; try to get them at least half done and then add the zucchini half moons.  Keep frying until both are just about done.  Turn out into a big bowl.  Add the rest of the olive oil and when it is hot; add the onion bits. Cook about 5-6 min until softening.  Add garlic and cook a minute.  Add the sliced pepper and cook 5-6 minutes until softening.  Add the diced tomato.  Stir well.  Cook about 5-6 minutes and add the tomato paste and sugar, stir well, add back the zuke/eggplants and  until mixture looks mostly done; maybe 10 min.  Add the basil and salt and cook another couple of minutes. spicy tomato jam 006  Great cold the next day; aging in the fridge melds the flavors together.

Originally posted in  September 2016, minor changes in text.

Great Hamburger Buns

I recently shopped at a Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts. Bought some interesting stuff. One item I was really pleased with was a pack of gluten free hamburger bun. They even had sesame seeds all over the top! The flavor and texture was very close to what I remember of gluten based burger buns. Firm enough to hold a burger and fine for a sandwich. The bonus for me was that each bun was full sized; my beloved ciabatta buns by Schar are a tad small when it comes to holding a typical burger. Great price point too. Win Win!

gluten-free-hamburger-buns

Longing for Trader Joe’s to take the plunge and put a store in the Lehigh Valley; third biggest metro center in Pennsylvania. Soon!

Brown Rice Risotto (Wild Mushroom version)

Risotto is a favorite rice dish at my house. I generally use arborio rice, short fat white grains. It takes about 18-20 minutes to cook on the stovetop. Someone got me a bag of short grained brown rice. Saturday I tried it out for risotto. And, as it takes longer than white rice, I made it in my Instant Pot pressure cooker; easier, faster and less heat in my kitchen. It was pretty tasty. And super healthy as brown rice is a whole grain. This was a wild mushroom risotto made with chicken of the woods shrooms which I had harvested last fall and frozen partially precooked. Delicious! Baby bella or cremini mushrooms would work well; slice and sauté before adding to the recipe. Or sub in a cup of frozen peas or barely cooked chopped asparagus.

wild mushroom risotto

Yes, those mushrooms are pink! This is a dish of leftover risotto; not as creamy as first cooked was.

Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

 

Ingredients:

1 cup brown short grain rice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ c diced onion

1 garlic clove minced

1/3 c dry white wine

1 2/3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup cooked wild mushrooms; 1 ½ c sliced mushrooms cooked in 2 Tbsp butter 3-6 minutes

1/3-1/2 cup just grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Put IP on sauté feature, let heat then add olive oil. Add finely diced onion, cook 4-5 minutes, stir often. Add rice, stir and cook a minute, add wine, cook a minute, add garlic, stir and cook 30 seconds. Add broth and salt. Put on lid, lock and put on pressure for 35 minutes. While it cooks sauté the shrooms. At end of 35 minutes do a quick release, open, stir and add the mushrooms, stir and add cheese, grind on black pepper.  Stir and serve. Enjoy!

Note, if watery you can put on sauté for 3-5 minutes to dry it out some. Or, if dry add up to a quarter cup more broth.

risotto and firey salmon

Summer supper perfection: dilly cuke salad, corn on cob and firecracker salmon fillets with the risotto.