Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cheezy Chicken Tortilla Soup


      A co-worker recently brought in this amazing smelling soup for her lunch. I requested the recipe because it smelled SO good. I was excited to give the recipe a try. You know me though...I just can't make a recipe "as is". I have to make it my own. ha So I added more cheese, and spices, and tomato, and black beans......well you get the idea. I changed it! It is super yummy! I hope you like it too.

Cheezy Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 32 oz. Box of Chicken Stock.
1 14 oz. Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 10 oz. Can Rotel (mild)
1 8oz. Can Rotel Tomato Sauce (mild)
3/4 tsp. Coumin
1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
2 T. Minced Onion
1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1 package (2-3) Chicken Breasts cooked and diced
1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed.
8 oz. Velveeta
1/2 C. Shredded Cheese

Combine all of the ingredients (except velveeta, beans, and shredded cheese) and simmer for 1-2 hours. Add Velveeta, beans, and shredded cheese stir until melted completely and simmer for another 30-40 min.  Serve over tortilla chips.

This soup is SO good and would also be great for putting in the crock pot! I can't wait to take my leftovers for lunch tomorrow!! YUMMERS!


Lemon Bars....Oh My Goodness!!

    This recipe is one that my Mom always made when I was growing up. These are a favorite of mine. Well really anything lemon that she makes is a favorite of mine! ha This recipe was easily converted to gluten free when I was diagnosed. I just switched out the flour in the crust to gf, and switched the flour in the filling to cornstarch to thicken the filling. YUMMMMM!! I had to share one of my favorites with you today! Enjoy!

Lemon Bars - Gluten Free Style

1 C. Softened Margarine
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
2 C. Gluten Free Flour
1/2 tsp. Xantham Gum

4 Eggs, beaten
6 T. Lemon Juice
3 T. Corn Starch
2 C. Sugar

Combine the ingredients for the crust. Press into a 9x13 in. pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 deg. for 15-20 minutes.

Combine the ingredients for the filling mixture and pour over the warm crust. Return to the oven and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while warm.

I hope that you like them as much as I do! -Jessica

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taco Soup

    Recently at work taco soup was mentioned. I have only been able to think about taco soup since that conversation. I had never made it before and I can't say that I have ever HAD regular old taco soup. I have made tortilla soup, and Trashy Taco Soup (which is like regular taco soup but with ranch). SO needless to say I had to make regular taco soup because I couldn't get it out of my head!
     The temperatures are supposed to drop here this week so this will be perfect for leftovers!! It is definitely a leftover I won't mind eating again and again. YUM!

Taco Soup

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 package taco seasoning
1 can tomato sauce (8oz)
1 large can of Rotel tomatoes
1 can of green chillies (4oz), use 1/2 for less spice
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can whole kernel corn with the liquid
2 C. water (add more or less depending on your preferences)

Brown the ground beef and onions; drain any excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, green chilles, taco seasoning, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours OR simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few tortilla chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. EXTRAS: Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

So simple to make....just brown some meat and open some cans.
Brown the hamburger and onion....
Add the seasoning......
Black beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on the stove or transfer to the crock pot.
Crunch tortilla chips in the bottom of your bowl and then ladle in the with cheese

This soup was so good! I was wishing that I had a bigger belly to hold more. I loved it! I hope you do too!

How to survive the holidays while gluten free.....

     Holey cow the holidays sure are sneaking up on me!! Last I looked it was summer and I was enjoying my flip flops and sunshine. Somehow it has turned colder, the days are shorter, and it's time to think about holiday foods.
     The holidays are tricky times for those of us who have to eat gluten free. Gluten is hiding everywhere and food is more than plentiful this time of year. Everyone is having a family dinner, work get together, holiday celebration with friends, cookie samples at the get the picture..everybody is forcing food at you! ha It is hard because not everyone understands why you don't just eat ONE of Aunt Betty's cookies, or a little of their world famous chicken and noodle soup (you can just pick out the noodles can't you? haha (no you can't for anyone who is confused)) We have all had the food pressure from people and you just have to stand your ground. It's what is best for your health.
     I find that this battle is easiest when you are prepared. You have done your research. You have cooked ahead of time. You have brought your own plate of food to the dinner. You have baked a dessert that is safe for you. You tucked a bag of snacks in your purse "just in case". Planning ahead is key to getting through the holidays safely.
     I do battle with the holidays by cooking my own meal and taking a plate to dinners. I usually bring a dessert to share with everyone.  That way I am able to enjoy a meal with family and friends without being sick in bed following. I sometimes even find out what is being served and make a gluten free version of the meal so that I'm not eating tacos when everybody else is having roasted turkey.
     I have even started buying the supplies for my Thanksgiving dinner. It seems that right before turkey day some things are nowhere to be found on store shelves....things that are KEY to making my turkey day dinner. SO I have stocked up on poultry seasoning (key ingredient in my dressing recipe), corn meal (also key for the dressing), boxes of broth (they were on sale this week!!). I'm planning on getting my turkey next week.
     I talked a little about this on facebook today. You want to be sure that you get a gluten free turkey. It seems so silly that gluten would be in a turkey...but it happens. Lame, right?!?! They like to pump turkeys full of junk to make them juicy and tasty and sometimes that involves gluteny grossness. So be sure to read the label on your bird before you put it into your shopping cart. I like to buy Honeysuckle White brand turkeys. They clearly label them as gluten free and they are a yummy moist juicy bird. I snapped a picture of the packaging today while I was grocery shopping so that you would know what to look for.......this is where you say thank you to me for looking like a weirdo taking a picture of the frozen turkeys in the crowded store!
Honeysuckle White Turkeys clearly state gluten free on the that!!
If you look closely you can see that it says "No Preservatives, No gluten, No msg"
     So the key to surviving the holidays is planning. You absolutely have to plan ahead. Otherwise you will end up eating something that you will regret. I have several Thanksgiving recipes already posted on the blog from last year. They are tested to be yummy and safe. Look them up and give them a try...I don't think you will be disappointed.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sinfully Easy Caramel Nut Brownies

    I made these brownies for work this week and they were a HIT! I had one co-worker (who is not gf) ask for the recipe and tell me these brownies were "better than sex". I'd call that a successful recipe!! I hope you enjoy them too!
Sinfully Easy Caramel Nut Brownies
1 box of your favorite gf brownie mix (follow the directions on how to mix it up)
1 2oz package of chopped pecans
1 11oz Bag of Kraft Caramel Bits (or you can buy the caramels you have to unwrap as well, these are just faster!)
1 to 1 ½ C. Milk Chocolate Chips
Pour 2/3 of brownie batter into your 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Spread the caramel bits evenly over the batter, then the nuts, and chocolate chips. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the batter. Bake according to the package instructions. You can top with a little melted frosting or melted chocolate chips or melted caramel to make them look nice.
Your favorite gf brownie mix and a few simple ingredients make this amazing!!
Mix your favorite gf mix according to the directions on the box. I used a Heartland Gourmet Brownie Mix.
Place 2/3 of the batter into the pan, top with caramel, nuts, and chocolate chips. Top with remaining batter and bake according to box directions.
Look at that ooey gooey amazingness!! SO GOOD!
 Top with melted chocolate or melted frosting and/or caramel to finish off the sinfulness! Enjoy!!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oven Roasted Potatoes....pure magic

Here is a little snippet of some lunch conversation today from my birthday lunch......

My Brother: "What kind of potatoes ARE these?"
ME: "Magical! They are good right?"
My Brother: "Ya, real good"

So the consensus was that these potatoes rock. I, of course, already knew that!! I love to make them with the teeny tiny potatoes from Trader Joe's. However they can also be made with regular potatoes cut into chunks. They are very easy to make....they just take time and patience...and magic. ha

Oven Roasted Potatoes

2-3 Bags (16oz. each bag) of Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Potatoes (or a similar amount of regular size potatoes cut into chunks, skin on)
1 to 1 1/2 sticks of Margarine or Butter, melted
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1 T. Minced Onion

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray, combine the ingredients and toss to coat the potatoes. Start with 1 stick of the margarine melted, you may need more later on if the potatoes soak it up.

Let the potatoes cook for 30 min. then stir them with a wooden spoon. Set the timer for 15 min. and then stir again. Repeat this until the potatoes have cooked for 1 1/2-2 hours. Stirring every 15 min. You may need to add the additional 1/2 stick of margarine if the potatoes begin sticking to the bottom of the pan. If they aren't sticking then you don't need it.

Potatoes should be a roasted brown. Serve immediately.
Combine all of the ingredients and toss to coat. Bake at 350 deg.
Be faithful in stirring them every 15 min. Add the extra butter if they are sticking to the pan. They will get caramelized and turn amazing if you follow the instructions.
Just like magic...look at that caramelization...yummers!
I hope you enjoy these potatoes. They are one of my favorites. Simple ingredients and pure yummyness!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Product Review: Crunchmaster Cheezy Crisps & Grammy Crisps

     Without further product review for the New Crunchmaster products!!! I have been trying to find a free moment to sit down and write the review for these. I have FINALLY found a chunk of time to do I had better get this posted before someone decides I need to be doing something else! ha
     Crunchmaster was kind enough to send me a review box that contained their two new products. Cheezy Crisps and Grammy Crisps. I was more excited than a kid at Christmas when the UPS man brought the box. Some of you may have caught my picture of the box on the USASillyYaks facebook page. I have been looking forward to these products for MONTHS now!! I have been so excited. I used to LOVE cheesey crackers back in my gluten filled days (Cheez-its, goldfish, etc). So I could not wait to tear into the boxes and get started. Here is what I thought........
     I think that these are an OK product. I think they could be better. I was envisioning a cheese cracker more like a cheez-it or a goldfish....puffy, crunchy, with baked in cheese. Cheezy Crisps are ok, but they are more of a rice cracker with cheese dusted on the outside. That product can already be found in the gluten free market, granted it isn't in a triangle shape...but it's mostly the same taste. I was really hoping for a bolder cheese tasted that was baked into the cracker.
     To sum it up...these are ok. I may buy them but I probably won't crave them.
Now on to the Grammy Crisps...............

     Again, I was super excited about this product. I used to LOVE the cinnamon and sugar graham crackers. So I was very excited to give this a try. I'm also a HUGE fan of the Cinnamon Chex. However, again, I really think that the Crunchmaster product fell through with the flavor. It seems like the flavor is just sort of dusted on the outside, so it was like a rice cracker with a small amount of cinnamon and sugar on the outside. The flavor wasn't strong enough for me.
     I didn't hate it. I probably won't crave it either though.....

I really hope that Crunchmaster goes back and amps up the flavors on these two products. They have great potential and would really fill a needed niche. Those are just MY thoughts on the product....if you have tried them leave me a note and let me know what YOU thought.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Secret Ingredient Strawberry Pie

     Each time I opened the refrigerator door this weekend I had a box of strawberries that stares at me. They needed to either be eaten or used in a recipe. Unfortunately, they didn't have super flavor soooo they needed a recipe. I decided to make them into pie! I ran across a strawberry pie recipe that used jell-o and 7-up....I thought that was different so I had to give it a try. However, in their recipe they didn't use any actual strawberries in the cooked I had to change that. I adapted the recipe to be gluten free and tweaked it and here it is:

Secret Ingredient Strawberry Pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. cornstarch
10 ounces of lemon lime soda (like 7-up or Sprite - regular or diet)
1 (3 ounce) box of strawberry gelatin
1 pound of fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
1 gluten free pie crust precooked and cooled
Homemade whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping

Place the sugar, salt, and 1/2 C of the sliced berries in a small saucepan and let it sit for 5-10 min. This will draw the juices out of the berries. Then use a spoon or a whisk to mash the mixture. Add the cornstarch and 7-up and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and thoroughly whisk in the strawberry gelatin. Set aside to cool (about 10 min.)

Layer the strawberry slices in the precooked, cooled crust. Pour the gelatin mixture evenly all across the top of the strawberries. Chill until set and serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Shhh....these are your "secret" ingredients
While your pie crust is baking, slice your strawberries
Put about 1/2 C. of the sliced berries in a pan with the salt and sugar. Allow them to work on drawing the yummy strawberry juices out. Then mush the berries, add the other ingredients and cook until thickened.
Layer the sliced strawberries in the baked shell
Pour the cooked mixture over the sliced berries (don't overfill yours like I did..oops)
Refrigerate until the pie filling is set.
Top with a dollop of cool whip
     This pie is super simple to make if you use a pre-made crust. I just picked up a box of Kinnikinnick ready made crusts. I hope you enjoy this yummy strawberry pie.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Corn Casserole:Gluten Free Style

     If you have ever been to a pot luck in the Midwest, then you have probably seen a corn casserole. It is a suped up cornbread type side dish. SO good!!! However, if you are a person who eats gluten free you quickly realize that the "simple" recipe of a couple cans of corn and a Jiffy Mix aren't going to work for you. That's where I come in......I have converted it to gluten free and it is still SO yummy! Get excited!

Gluten Free Corn Casserole

1/2 C. Margarine or Butter, Melted
1/2 C. Corn Meal
1/2 C. GF Flour Mix
2 T. Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1 C. Sour Cream
1 Can of Creamed Corn
1 Can of Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1/3 C. Diced Onion OR 1 T. Minced
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine the ingredients together and mix well. Baked in a 8x8 casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 deg. for 30 minutes covered with foil, then uncover and bake another 30 minutes.
The edges are crispy and the top is slightly brown.
The inside is moist and amazing.
I hope you enjoy my pot luck style recipe turned gluten free.

My secret for you: Re-heating pizza to make it new again

     Want to know a secret?? How about a secret that will forever change your life? I have one for you today. I'm going to teach you the secret way to re-heat pizza. It is life changing!! You will want to name your first born after me when you are done reading this......unless it's a boy.
     We all hate soggy cold pizza. Soggy warm pizza comes in at a close second place. You put the pizza in the microwave and it comes out warm, but soggy crust. You re-heat it in the oven and it comes out overcooked and dry. ICK! So here is your life changing tip of the day!! You will need a skillet, piece of foil, and your cold pizza slice.
Place your slice into the pan. Turn the heat on very low and cover with foil.
The key is low flame and the foil to keep the heat in.
Check the pizza after 4 or so minutes to see if it is warm enough. You don't want to burn the bottom so be sure that heat is very low. Let the foil do it's job of keeping the heat in and warming the toppings while the direct heat from the burner crispies up your crust.

You know when it is warm because the cheese will get that shiny look to it, and of course it will feel warm to the touch. Once it is warm then serve immediately. You will never go back to putting pizza in the microwave again!

     I hope that you enjoy this life changing tip. I ONLY re-heat my pizza this way. I have this perfect little skillet and it is just the right size for one slice. The pizza tastes just like it did the night before (sometimes better) if you re-heat it this way. Enjoy!