Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

    I know that twice baked potatoes are not rocket science, but there may be some folks out there who don't know how to make them. Besides, they are amazing!! You can't argue with that! (you probably can, but I'm not hearing it).
     If you can make a baked potato and run a potato masher then you can make a twice baked potato! I don't really measure anything when I make them so I'll give you approximate amounts. If you think it needs more, then add more. I will isn't rocket science :)

Twice Baked Potatoes

6-8 Medium to Large Sized Baking Potatoes, scrubbed and washed
1 stick butter or margarine
1 C. Shredded Cheese
1 C. Sour Cream
1 pkg Cream Cheese
1/2 C Bacon Pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 C Milk

Pre-Heat oven to 450 deg. Scrub and wash the potatoes. Bake at 450 for about an hour or until potatoes are done. Let potatoes cool for 10-15 min. (otherwise you will burn your hands). Cut the potatoes length ways. Using a spoon scoop out the inside of the potato leaving enough potato for the skin to hold its shape.

Place the scooped out potato into a large mixing bowl. Add in butter, milk, cream cheese and sour cream. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Mix in salt, pepper, shredded cheese and bacon bits.

Scoop the mashed potato mixture into the shells. Top with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Bake at 350 deg. for 20 min or until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

Bake your potatoes without any foil so that they will have crispy skins that hold in the filling.
Scoop the potatoes so that the skin and just enough "meat" is left that the potato keeps it's shape.
Slice your stick of butter so that it melts quickly.
Smoosh the potatoes, sour cream, butter, and cream cheese together with your masher.
Mix in cheese and bacon.
Spoon the filling into the hollowed out shells
Top with more cheese and bacon
Bake at 350 deg. for 20 min.

Serve with your favorite main dish! Enjoy!


Happy New Year

 So on Thursday, October 20, 2011 I decided to start this blog. That was just a little over two short months ago. Since that day the blog has been viewed almost 4,500 times. That blows my mind. You come from all parts of the world USA, Canada, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Philippines, Germany just to name a few.
    I enjoy looking at the stats to see which recipes are a hit and which recipes are a flop. You all inspire me to try new things and to have fun in my kitchen. I don't know you personally, but just know that you are the reason that I write this blog. I want to give you great gluten free recipes so that you don't feel like you are "missing out".
     While this blog is relatively new USASillyYaks has been around since 2004 through our Yahoo Group. So many of you have been with me since the beginning. It is hard to believe that we have been truckin' for 8 years now.
     New Year Eve makes me nostalgic because it's also my gluten free anniversary. I had a doctors appointment on New Years Eve day of 2002. The appointment was to go over test results. The doctor handed me a little 1/2 sheet of paper saying "what is Celiac" at the top. From that day on I have been gluten free (with a few mistakes here and there). So today marks my 9th anniversary of being gluten free. Crazy how time flies!!
    I just want to thank each one of you for reading the blog, facebook page, and yahoo group. I hope that it helps you in some way and that you are able to enjoy some of my posts. Without each of you I wouldn't probably be doing this. I wish you a very Happy and Healthy 2012!!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Tater Skins.....Baked, not fried

     My family absolutely loves tater skins. Most restaurants fry them in their deep fryers. Which most likely have been contaminated by other gluteny fried foods. UGH!
    A few years ago I was craving tater I decided I would make my own. I make mine slightly healthier by baking them. There is no frying involved and I think they still Rock my socks off!! They are also super easy to make, you just have to block out some time to bake the potatoes.
    This is a super easy appetizer recipe for New Years Eve, Super Bowl Sunday, or even for those not so special occasions!

Tater Skins

8-10 small to medium sized potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1 package Real Bacon pieces or bits
Shredded Cheese

Toppings: Ranch, Sour Cream, Chopped Green Onions, ketchup

Wash and dry the potatoes, place on a baking sheet in a 375 deg. oven for 50-60 min, or until completely cooked. Let the potatoes cool for about 30-60min before handling them for the rest of the recipe. Otherwise you will end up with burnt fingers.

Once the potatoes have cooled down, slice each potato in half length ways. Using a spoon scoop most of the potato out leaving the skin and a thin layer of "meat".  (use the scooped out potato in another recipe or as leftovers the next day)

Place the potato halves back onto the baking sheet. Fill them with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Bake in a 425 deg. oven for approximately 20 min. or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Serve with your favorite toppings and dippers.
Bake your potatoes on a cookie sheet without wrapping in foil gives them a nice crispy skin.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.
Use a spoon to scoop the insides of your tater out.
Save the scooped out part and use the next day to make mashed potatoes.
Place the scooped out taters back on the baking sheet.
Fill with cheese
And bacon. Bake at 425 until cheese is melted and browned (20-30 min)
Remove when cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Serve while smokin' hot out of the oven.
I love my tater skins with ranch!




Jalapeno Popper Dip.....yes I just said that!!

     So being gluten free sometimes has some drawbacks.....I used to dig jalapeno poppers. Yummy smooth cream cheese filled jalapeno poppers Mmmmmmm! (insert a Homer Simpson drooling noise here) Unfortunately you can't just walk into a place and order gluten free jalapeno poppers (groan).
     SO you can see why I was so excited to find a recipe for Jalapeno Popper Dip. Via Pinterest I found a recipe from Big Red Kitchen . Her recipe is not gluten free, but was easily converted to gluten free. I also added some ingredients and cut the recipe in half. I just can't leave a recipe alone, have to add my own style to it.
     This recipe could be served with some tortilla chips, gluten free crackers, or corn chips. I bet it would even be good with some fresh veggies.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese
2 T. Bacon Pieces or Real Bacon Bits
1/4 cup chopped green chilies (do not need to drain)
1/4 cup canned diced jalapenos- double if you like heat (do not need to drain)
1/4 cup crushed gluten free cracker crumbs (Glutino GF Work well)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 T butter, melted

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, mayo, shredded cheese, Parmesan, bacon, chilies, and jalapenos. Mix together until completely combined and creamy.  Spread the dip mixture into a well greased casserole dish.

Prepare the topping. Combine the Parmesan cheese and gluten free cracker crumbs. Evenly spread the mixture over the dip. Pour the melted butter over the top of the parmesan and cracker crumb mixture.

Bake at 375 deg. for 20-30 minutes or until topping is a golden brown and dip mixture is heated through. Do not overcook or the dip will become greasy and separate. Serve with gluten free crackers, corn chips, veggies, or tortilla chips. This recipe can be doubled for larger parties and celebrations.

I used these jalapenos. Their website says they are gf, AND they are already diced. YEAH! You will want to verify that your ingredients are gluten free. Call or check websites for info.
Mix the dip ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
Spread the creamy dip mixture into a well greased casserole dish.
Top dip mixture with cracker crumbs/Parm and then pour melted butter over the top.
Bake at 375 for 20-30 min. or until golden brown and yummy!

Serve warm with gf crackers, corn chips, veggies, or tortilla chips.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spoiled myself with NEW gluten free products

     I completely spoiled myself yesterday. I took a trip to the city to find a book that I had asked for as a Christmas gift. I had two books on my wish list. I ended up with two copies of one of the books. The other book was no where to be found locally. So I took one of the books back that I got a double of and set out on my adventure to find this tricky book.
     I ended up finding the book that was on my wish list at the big Barnes and Noble in the mall. The bonus is that it was 50% off!! Love that!! Now I have both of the books I have been wanting to read. Of course I found several more at B & N that I will be adding to my wish list.
    I figured that since I had my mission accomplished so early on in my day I would take a trip to Whole Foods. I just love shopping at Whole Foods. However, I don't get to very often because of the LOOOONG drive that it requires to get there.
    I found lots of NEW gluten free products on my trip. I'm always excited to find new things. It means that companies find it worthwhile to invest money into new products for us. Love that! Some of you may say "Oh I've seen that before." Well I haven't seen it yet! ha So they are new to me and I am excited about them. I had to take pictures of their boxes and share with you what I picked out to bring home.
     I haven't tried everything yet so I can't really do reviews, but I just wanted to show you some new things.
So I ate some of these as I was typing the blog.....YUM!! I didn't use any syrup though....the chocolate and the pancake were enough. So very yummy.
Snicker doodle flavored bunny cookies. The girl that checked me out at whole foods said: "Oh these are SO good, I can eat a whole box in one setting".
Gingersnap bunny cookies.
Gluten Free Gingerbread Men!! Adorable!!
I LOVE their Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, so I figured that adding chocolate can only make it better. I can't wait to try them.

     So those are the products that I spoiled myself with yesterday. I can't wait to try them all. I guess you can tell by my purchases that I'm pretty much just a kid in an adult body ha Chocolate chip pancakes, three kinds of cookies, and some kid cereal.
     I also spoiled myself by taking home some take out from Pei-Wei. I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon that was set to expire soon. So I took home some Pei Wei Spicy and an order of Sweet and Sour Chicken. I absolutely love that they have a gluten free menu. The food was excellent and I have TONS of leftovers.
     I should totally have more of these days where I spoil myself rotten. It was super fun!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Trashy Taco Soup

     Today I was looking at a recipe that I had found on Pinterest, however the link led me to this recipe site that did not include the recipe that I had pinned. I decided to look at the yummy pictures on that website anyways. I saw a recipe for taco soup. The soup looked thick in the picture. I like thick soup. I think that has something to do with the lack of good crackers in the gluten free world! ha
    I decided to click on the picture of the soup and see what it entailed. It led me to yet another website. I finally landed on an actual recipe and not a series of links that got me lost! ha This lady created a yummy taco soup, or rather it sounds like her Mom may be the creator. Her post says "Thank God and Mama for this trashy-good Taco Soup." I of course adapted her recipe and am paying homage to the blogger, or her Mama in the name of my revamped recipe. I'm calling mine Trashy Taco Soup. ha  I'm pretty sure that blogger and I would get along well. She is a fan of Fritos! Who doesn't love a frito?

Trashy Taco Soup

1 pound ground chicken, turkey OR Beef
1 diced onion
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) can RO*TEL® diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 cans tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) cans black beans , drained and washed
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and washed
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (1-ounce) envelope taco seasoning
1 (1-ounce) envelope ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix

Garnishes: Corn chips, cheese, sour cream, green onions

In a skillet, fry ground meat and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is translucent. Drain any liquids off of the meat. Dump meat and onion into your crock pot. Add in beans, seasoning mixes, tomatoes, Rotel, corn and stir until mixed.

Cook on Low heat in your crock pot for 6-8 hours OR can be cooked on the stove top. If cooking on the stove top simmer on low for 45min.- 1hour.

Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

    One of the great things about this recipe is that you can adjust it to what your family likes. If you don't like tomatoes you can leave them out. If you hate black beans use more pinto. Or if you are like me and don't happen to have a can of black beans, then you can use something else. I had to use northern beans because for some reason there were no black beans in my pantry. For meat I used ground chicken because that is what I had. I love that the recipe is so versatile! I also love that it can all be thrown in the crock pot without a zillion dirty dishes.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Cherry Chip Cake.....ahhhh childhood memories!

     When I was a kiddo my Mom would always let me pick out the "flavor" of my birthday cake. We would stand in the cake mix aisle and I would survey all of the boxes. I'm pretty sure there were very few years that I didn't pick cherry chip. It was a white or yellow cake with little pink flecks of "cherry" in the mix. I LOVED it. Mom then decorated my cakes. She would let me pick out a character pan like Strawberry Shortcake or a Care Bear. One year I even had E.T.  (am I giving away my age with these characters?) She then spent hours making icing and making my cake look amazing. After going gluten free there was no longer a cherry chip cake for me. (sad face) Until now!!
     I found a recipe on Pinterest (yes I do believe that Pinterest is my own personal muse for my recipes). It inspired me to give it a whirl and attempt the gluten free cherry chip cake. Just wait until Mom hears there is a gluten free cherry chip cake!! ha
    Oh and P.S. this recipe isn't has butter, cream cheese and red food dye ha So if any of that turns you off.....sorry!

Cherry Chip Cake- Gluten Free

2 ¼ cups gluten free flour mix, use divided*
1 teaspoon Xantham Gum
½  salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ cups  sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cherry extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup maraschino cherries, drained (juice reserved), chopped and dried

1½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons reserved maraschino cherry juice
1 tsp. Cherry Extract
1 -2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10 inch bundt pan well with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, the baking powder and the salt until well combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar, butter, cream cheese and extracts together on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mix just until combined. Combine the cherries with the remaining ¼ cup flour and toss to coat. Add the cherries and flour to the batter and fold in with a spatula. Slowly put the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 1 hour 20 – 30 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned, springy to the touch and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Combine the confectioner’s sugar with the maraschino cherry juice. Add the milk, a little at a time until it reaches a thick but pour able consistency. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake.

In order to get the cherries dry, I lined a container with a paper towel and used a fork to remove them from the jar. I put them in the towel lined dish to dry.
Cut the cherries into small chunks. I tried using my magic bullet at first, but it only pulverized them. The pearing knife did a much better job with this task!
For some reason I thought this was a cool picture of the sugar on the mixer's beater.
Mix Mix Mix
The batter was super thick.........

Fold in the cherry pieces with a spatula.
Put the batter into the well greased bundt pan. Smooth the top of the batter with your spatula.

Getting looks yummy!! Now to wait for it to cool! UGH
Now for a little cherry glaze
I just love pink stuff!! Even icing...

Awww my piece is getting smaller!

I realized while making this recipe that marachino cherry juice is one of the stickiest things on the Earth!! I spilled a little on the counter, wiped it up, and the sticky didn't go away. However, I will deal with it because this recipe is amazing. I'm going to need to pass out pieces of cake to get this out of the house before I eat it all.