Saturday, June 30, 2012

Minsky's Pizza : Lawrence, Kansas A little gluten free review for you

     I know that this review will not apply to all of you, since many of you don't live in Kansas. However, I had to share. A few months ago I started noticing commercials on T.V. for Minsky's pizza with a little tag line that said something to the effect of "now with certified gluten free pizza". Of course my ears perked up when I heard "gluten free pizza"!!
     I looked up their locations online. They have several in both Kansas and Missouri. I made a little mental note that I needed to stop there sometime when I was in the area.
     About two months or so ago, I had the opportunity to drop in on their Olathe location (159th and MUR-Len). I was on my way home so I got carry-out. I sat down in a chair and waited. My chair just happened to be positioned to where I could partially see in the kitchen (not on purpose). I watched them take my pizza to a seperate area, use a seperate stack of to-go boxes, use seperate utensils to cut it. I was SO impressed. I took my pizza home and had it for supper. It was yummy. I had zero side effects from eating there. I was sooooo very happy with my Minsky's experience. It seems that I always have some sort of tummy issue after eating pizza out, but I didn't after eating at Minsky's.
     Today I had the opportunity to visit their newly opened location in Lawrence, Kansas. I was super excited to hear that Minsky's had come back to Lawrence. I was greeted at the door cheerfully. I was seated and waited on quickly and by very kind and cheerful people. They gave me a gluten free menu to order with. The number of choices were impressive. I didn't feel "cheated" because there were several toppings and options to choose from.....even a dessert on the menu!!
     Their gluten free za comes in two sizes a mini and small. I decided to go with the small so that I would have leftovers and not have to cook supper tonight (oh yes I'm always thinking of ways to get out of cooking supper ha). I ordered the Small Gluten Free Combo pizza (hamburger, sausage, green peppers, onions, pepperoni, and black olives (but I had them swap the olives for mushrooms)).
    My waitress was super nice. She seemed to know a little about gluten free. She said that a friend of hers was recently diagnosed and she has a hard time. She said the friend is also dairy free and vegan ontop of gluten free!! I can't imagine trying to wade through all the labels her friend has to read.
     My pizza came out looking amazing. It had tons of toppings (which I love because I hate when places skimp on the toppings). It had tons of ooey gooey cheese. It just looked yummy!!
Doesn't it look yummy?!?!?!
     It tasted as great as it looked. The crust was able to be picked up without falling apart. It held together like a champ. Great flavor. It was a very good gluten free pizza.
     The real test is of course 30 minutes and beyond AFTER I ate the yummy pizza. Again, I had zero side effects from eating at Minsky's. I applaud them for doing such a great job with the cross contamination issues and keeping them to a minimum. You will definately get my return business because I can eat there without the fear of being sick.
     Minksy's website says that they are trained by GREAT (Gluten Free Resource  Education and Awareness Training), a verified gluten free program. They also of course have the disclaimer that they do their best and try to provide you with a gluten free meal, but there are no guarantees (which of course we all know). HOWEVER, I think Minsky's is doing a great job.
      Thank you for putting the effort into creating a safe environment for people with celiac and gluten allergies to grab some ZA! It really means more than you probably realize. Now if only you were in MY town and could deliver to my door.................hint hint!

Look at all that amazing cheese!!!

FULL of toppings! YUM!

So the moral of the story is......if you are near a Minsky's go and check them out because they are rockin' the gluten free pizza!!


*These words are just my personal opinion and I have not been compensated by Minsky's to say them :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Teriyaki Turkey Islander Meatloaf

     I sometimes get stuck in a rut where nothing sounds good to eat. I look at recipes and even those don't sound very yummy. However, while flipping through a magazine the other day I ran across a recipe for Teriyaki Pineapple Turkey Burgers and they sounded amazing! However, the current temperature is 100 deg. and the heat index is 102. Thus standing out at a hot grill cooking did NOT sound fun at all. So I decided to make an attempt at turning those burgers into meatloaf instead.
     While sitting in the cool air conditioning I went to work on my new recipe. I wasn't a fan of the spices they used in their recipe, and their recipe called for panko which is not gluten free. I hope you like what I came up with.........I know I sure did. YUM!
     On a side note, be VERY careful when purchasing your Teriyaki sauce for this recipe. MANY contain wheat. Read those labels carefully before buying to be sure that it is gluten free.

Teriyaki Turkey Islander Meatloaf

1 lb ground turkey
1/3 C. Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 tsp. Ground Pepper
1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/3 C. Minute Rice
1/3 C. Crushed Tortilla Chips
1 Can Pineapple Slices in 100% Juice (8oz can)

Drain pineapple and reserve the juice. In a bowl combine the ground turkey, pinepple juice, teriyaki sauce, spices, rice, and crushed chips. Mix well and place the mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top with the pineapple slices and drizzle with a small amount of teriyaki sauce (if desired). Bake at 350 deg. for 45-60 minutes.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Walking Taco Casserole....cheesy melty goodness!

     So the other day I pinned a picture on Pinterest of "Walking Taco Casserole". HOWEVER, it was just a user uploaded picture. UGH!  There wasn't a link to follow to grab a recipe. So I decided to create this and it fits the bill. It is so yummy!
     I served my casserole over lettuce and topped it with some salsa. You could also do sour cream, guacamole, or whatever your favorite taco toppings happen to be.

Walking Taco Casserole

1 lb Ground chicken, beef or turkey
1 small onion sliced
1/2 Can of Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chillies)
1 Packet of Taco seasoning
1 Bag of Frito Corn Chips
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can Enchilada Sauce (10 oz)
2 oz. Cream Cheese
2 C. Shredded Cheese

In a skillet brown the meat and onion. Add the Rotel and taco seasoning. Simmer until any liquid is evaporated. Add black beans and cream cheese. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese until melted and combined. Stir in the enchilada sauce.

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Dump 1/2 of the bag of Fritos into the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/2 of the meat mixture and 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Repeat the layer Chips, meat, cheese.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.
Brown the meat and onions. I used ground chicken.
When it is time....shut off the heat before adding the cream cheese. Once it is melted into the meat mixture, add the enchilada sauce.
Layer 1: 1/2 the bag of fritos (get the skinny kind, NOT the scoops)

Layer 2 :Meat Mixture
Layer 3: 1/2 of the cheese
Repeat the Layers
Layer 4: Chips
Layer 5: Meat
Layer 6: Cheese
Bake at 325 for 20 minutes

This recipe is so yummy. It is one of my new favorites!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zucchini Bread and Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

    This is what happens when you are gifted a zucchini and you didn't have plans for said zucchini. You make an attempt at zucchini bread. I hear that's what everybody does with the oodles of zucchini that they don't know what to do with. Ha! Ok, so maybe ONE zucchini isn't oodles....and maybe I could have grilled it which I LOVE...but I wanted to try zucchini bread.
    I did a search for zucchini bread recipes. There are about a zillion of those out there by the way! I decided to base mine off of a famous lady named Paula's recipe. However, I made mine gluten free. I also took out the gobs of oil she used and replaced it with cinnamon applesauce. Lastly, I switched up some of the spices because of what I had on hand. I also added chocolate chips to one loaf. I hear that chocolate chips are yummy in zucchini bread.

Zucchini Bread - gluten free

3 cups GF Flour Mix
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup cinnamon applesauce
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract

* add 3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips to make Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, salt, pie spice, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Add the grated zucchini and stir until combined.  Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with cooking spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

Use a cheese grater/ box grater to grate the zucchini.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Add in the grated zucchini and stir until combined.
Plain Zucchini Bread Batter

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Batter (I divided the batter in 1/2. I did one loaf plain and one loaf chocolate chip by adding 1/2-3/4 c. Chocolate Chips to the batter)

Plain Loaf is done!!
So moist and yummy!

Chocolate Chip is done!!

So pretty

Look at those chunks of chocolaty goodness.

Two yummy loafs of zucchini bread.....THIS is the way to eat your veggies!

After making and trying my zucchini bread I have no idea why I have never made this before. It is GOOD! I do believe I am a fan of zucchini bread now....mmmmmm.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thai BBQ Chicken In The Slow Cooker

     I'm in a cooking rut. It has been hot outside, nothing sounds good when it's hot. I hate to heat up the oven and heat up the house to make food. I'm feeling very blah about food. I decided that I can't live on yogurt, blueberries, and Bakery on Main Maple Granola. Ok, so I COULD.....but it probably isn't a good idea.
     I didn't want any heavy foods with the "Cream of" soups. UGH! The thought of eating creamy heavy sauce and heat make me sick. UGH! I thought about making stir-fry. However, the thought of standing over a hot wok also makes me sick! ha
    I was going to BBQ some chicken last night, however it wasn't thawed out in time. So there goes that idea as well because tonight I'm busy so no time to stand at the BBQ. That left me with the option of throwing something in the crock pot. I already had the chicken out (from last night). So that left me with two things to go on....chicken something in the crock pot.
    I LOVE to make Thai BBQ sauce to slather on chicken when I grill. I love the sweetness of the BBQ sauce and honey with the creaminess of the peanut butter. YUM! So I decided to see if I could replicate the taste in the slow cooker. Here is my result.

Thai BBQ Chicken in the Slow Cooker

2 Small/Medium Sweet Potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into chunks
1 Package Chicken Breasts (could also use boneless thighs)
1 Small Onion, sliced
1/4 C. Water

1/2 C. BBQ Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
2 Heaping tablespoons of Peanut Butter
2 T. Honey
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp. Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Generously spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the sliced/diced sweet potatoes in the bottom of the cooker. Pour the 1/4 C. Water over the sweet potatoes (it will not cover the potatoes). Place the chicken breasts over the top of the sweet potatoes. Combine the sauce ingredients with a whisk. Spread the sauce over the chicken breasts (sauce is very thick). Lay the sliced onion on top of the sauce covered chicken.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Layer 1 is sweet potatoes

Layer 2 is the chicken breasts
Combine the sauce ingredients.

Whisk until thick and creamy looking.
Spread the sauce over the chicken breasts (layer 3).
Top with the sliced onion (layer 4).
Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
Smells good!

Ok, so after making this there are a couple of things that I would change. I think I would leave the sweet potatoes out. They seemed to flavor the chicken more than I thought they would. So then everything kind of had the same flavor. I think I would maybe add some garlic to the sauce. It was good. It wasn't exactly like my BBQ chicken that I make on the grill, but it was still good.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pasta Salad and a trip to the Farmers Market

     This pasta salad recipe is one that my Grandma used to make. It was one that was a staple in her refrigerator during the summer when I was growing up. I always knew that when I would finish mowing her yard I could go inside and grab a big bowl of this to cool off. Of course back then I wasn't gluten free, so the pasta was regular gluteny pasta.
     I was thinking about this salad a couple of weeks ago and begged Grandma for the recipe. She was kind enough to give it to me, and I turned it gluten free. It tastes just as amazing with the gluten free pasta as it did with the gluteny pasta. I have a big bowl of it in my refrigerator now.....yum!!
     In my excitement to get the ingredients today at the Farmers Market, I picked up a zucchini. I got home and was slicing the zucchini and putting it into the dressing and I went OH NO, this recipe takes a cucumber. OOPS!! However, it still tastes amazing with the zucchini. Possibly even better than the cucumber....because I'm not a big cucumber fan. the pictures for the recipe...yes I know that's a zucchini haha I'm a dork and picked up zucchini. I may make it with zucchini from now on! ha

Pasta Salad

1 1/4 C. Sugar
1 1/4 C. Oil
1 1/4 C. Vinegar
2 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Parsley

1 Onion, thinly sliced
1 Cucumber
1/2 Bag of Tinkyada Penne pasta or spirals (approximately 8oz of gf pasta)

Combine the Sugar and vinegar for the dressing. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved completely. Very slowly pour the oil in whisking the whole time. Keep a steady stream of oil pouring while whisking quickly creating an emulsion. Add the garlic powder and parsley and whisk to combine.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Run cold water over the pasta to cool. Drain and add to the dressing mixture.

Thinly slice the cucumber and onion. Add to the dressing mixture.

Refrigerate the salad. This pasta salad is best when it is made in advance so that all the flavors can mesh. It keeps up to one week in the refrigerator and if you run out of pasta/veggies and have leftover dressing you can just replenish the pasta and veggies and add them back into the "juice".
Whisk quickly and pour the oil slloooooowy to create the emulsion

Thinly slice the cucumber or in this case the zucchini.
Also thinly slice the onion.
Combine the veggies, pasta, and dressing. Toss to coat and refrigerate so that all the flavors can mesh.

I hope you enjoy this yummy summer pasta salad!