About Doug and June

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North America
This Blog was the brainchild of Doug and June...as they spend as much time discussing food as just about anything else. I (June) suggested Food Porn as a name for this blog, but he (Doug) thought people would get the wrong idea and be looking for some oddly shaped cucumbers or something like that and I had to agree. So he came up with Food DJ (Food Doug & June) if you couldn't figure it out on your own. But you will find here is some awesome recipes and lovely pictures of food (and possibly the equally lovely Doug eating said food). However just warning you, I believe Doug has an unhealthy preoccupation with bacon. Might I (June)add that I love glossy, scrumptious, food-porn-filled cookbooks? The glossy paper, the photos that ooze calories, the chatty yet suggestive descriptions... ahh I smell sex and bacon.

Friday, July 31, 2015

shredded cheese

a note about shredded cheeses-

There's another fairly persistent myth that shredded cheese may include a gluten ingredient as an anti-clumping agent. Anti-clumping agents used by cheese manufacturers include powdered cellulose, calcium carbonate and potato starch. Of these, only powdered cellulose can be made from a gluten grain (wheat, usually), but in that case, the manufacturer should call out the wheat on the product's label.

In the U.S & Canada., both Kraft and Sargento — two popular manufacturers of shredded cheese — consider their shredded cheeses to be gluten-free to the generally accepted 20 parts per million standard. Sargento adds that the powdered cellulose it uses in its shredded cheese is not derived from any gluten grain.

GLUTEN FREE- 10 Italian Foods You Should Not Live Without- Why Would You??


     As you may or may not know, I hail from a maternal Italian heritage.  So, I can cook well, I learned at around 4 how to make meatballs...and I have British paternal lineage, so I have a weird sense of humour, but I can speak well and hold my own in any debate.  So, half breed that I am, I work harder.  Since I was raised in my maternal grandmother's home and lived with that family who were born and bred in Northern Italy... my Italian comes out a bit more in cooking.  The challenge has been adapting my Nonna's recipes to my GLUTEN FREE life.
    So I am going to give you my opinion of 10 wonderful, flavorful and fairly easy recipes.  They are in no particular order- I hope you try them and enjoy them- and think of my Nonna when you do.

This is handy to have when you are making PASTA


  An easy meal, yet incredibly delicious and like most Italian food, better the next day!!
My youngest son calls this lazy lasagna.


  • 1 pound gluten free ziti
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for pasta
  • 1 pound  lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, to taste
  •  Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  24-ounces sauce (or homemade sauce, hopefully- you control what's in it)
  • 2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese mixture
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  For the Ricotta cheese mixture:

  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • Pinch of Nutmeg 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Mix all together.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook gluten free ziti (you can find in most grocery stores now) until al dente. When cooked, drain the pasta and mix with a little bit of olive oil so it doesn't stick. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the ground beef and break the meat up while cooking.  Add garlic and seasonings and stir to combine. Add tomato sauce to beef and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
Spread a thin layer of tomato-beef mixture on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Top with half the ricotta cheese mixture. Add rest of tomato-beef sauce to pasta and stir well to combine. Pour pasta into casserole dish and spread out evenly. Top with remaining ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden-brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, let sit for about 5 minutes, and enjoy!


There are as many recipes for Bolognese as the number of times I spell it wrong.  It's a hearty sauce that is a meal in itself

  • 1 Medium Spanish onion or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp  good olive oil
  • 2 lbs Ground beef
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 2-3 TBSP Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lb peeled and chopped tomatoes (or 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, packed in water) -use San Marzano Tomatoes worth every extra penny-never use sugar in your sauce again
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • wine as desired (about 1 cup)
 Put onion, in sauté pan with olive oil and cook over medium heat until onion turns pale gold. Add the beef to the pan, and increase the heat to high; cook until browned. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. If you are using whole canned tomatoes, break them up as you add them to the sauce, season with sea salt. Then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 and 1/2 hours. Stir at least every 20 minutes. Whenever the sauce gets too dry and starts sticking to the pan, just add 1/4 cup of wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Serve with your favorite pasta.. I have an easy recipe for GLUTEN FREE pasta following
Can easily freeze for future use.

3) Lasagna

Lasagna is one of Doug's favorite foods.. if not his ALL time fav!!  So making lasagna is serious stuff and I am going to give you 2 recipes- the first one is the one I love most- again my Nonna never measured a thing.. so we are guessing

Lasagna a la Doug


2 lbs of ground beef
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1 tsp of salt
i tsp pepper
1 TBSP parsley
1 TBSP basil
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
3 cans of tomatoes - use San Mazano (naturally sweeter- they are grown in Naples)
2 cans of tomato paste

Saute the garlic in olive oil. brown hamburger add rest of ingredients - simmer for 30-60 min

24 oz of ricotta 2 eggs
1/2 tsp pepper
2 TBSP fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
1 lb mozzarella shredded (use 1/2 lb in the filling)

mix all of the filling ingredients in a bowl add a pinch of nutmeg

Cook Lasagna noodles as directed.( use gluten free noodles or make your own)  Drain.
Spray a 13 X 9 baking pan with Olive Oil Pam
Layer sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, noodles, sauce, ricotta,  sauce- till you have used it all. Top with mozzarella.
*overlap the noodles 1/2"
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes..uncover and cook 20 more.

or use my Nonna's Sauce Recipe if you have time, its the BEST-


For the meat sauce:

  • 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8-10 pieces of Braciole- recipe follows- 
  • 3 16-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 cans of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

For the cheese mixture:

  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesean cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the lasagna:

  • 12 cooked GLUTEN FREE noodles
  • Cooking spray
  •  1 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 

Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pot. Add then onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add the Braciole and then. the tomatoes, paste, basil, and Italian seasoning, and stir to combine. Simmer for about 4 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
 Make the cheese mixture: Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, and romano cheeses, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and egg in a large mixing bowl.
 Build and bake the lasagna: Spray the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread meat sauce on the bottom of the pan so the bottom of the pan is well covered with sauce..Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the meat sauce (they may overlap slightly). Spread 1 cup of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce onto the cheese mixture. Repeat the layers of noodles, cheese, and meat sauce two more times.  Top with 3 lasagna noodles, the remaining meat sauce, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Spray a large piece of foil with cooking spray and wrap the pan tightly with it, sprayed side down. Bake at 325ºF for about 45 minutes..
Turn the oven off and allow the lasagna to set up in the warm oven for 30 minutes.

4) How to Make Braciole-
  If you have never had Braciole- you have never lived- Braciole is a very lean cutlet of beef tenderized by Doug pounding it with a heavy meat mallet. What can I say - he is good.

  • 1&1/2 lbs of steak (like a flank steak or round
  • 1/2 cup  bread crumbs- make your own from gluten free bread- or like I do- just omit breadcrumbs and use more cheese)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup grated provolone
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts-chopped fine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

So first cut your steak into about 4" pieces. And then smash each until really really thin.  Take the cheeses, pine nuts, parsley, and bread crumbs if you use them put them in a bowl and drizzle about 1-2 TBSP of olive oil (less if you do not use bread crumbs). Mix well. 

Lay the braciole (beef steak cutlets)  flat.. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly- use the same amount on each piece of meat. Start at the smallest end and roll this like a jelly roll (kind of).  You can secure it by tying with butchers twine, but I use toothpicks.  Heat enough olive oil in a pan to cover the bottom, and once hot, add the pieces of braciole- brown on all sides.
Once all are cooked- deglaze the pan with some sweet red wine- just 1/4 cup or so- you can use water if you wish.  Use your Braciole and pan juices to start your sauce. You need to cook this for 4 hours- which you may say is excessive- but you wont once this delicacy melts on your tongue- foodgasm!

Once your sauce has simmered for 4 hrs- take the Braciole out and place it on a serving dish with a bit of sauce over it.- then use the sauce for your lasagna.  YUM YUM YUM!!!

5) Chicken Parmesean


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups gluten free flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, and a tsp of basil, and 1/2 cup of parmesean cheese
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water 
  • 1/2 cup -1 cup pure olive oil
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella,shredded
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Fresh basil or parsley leaves, for garnish

First, cut your chicken into 5-6 inch pieces. Dip chicken in flour mixture, then egg, the flour again- place on a plate to rest. Once all the chicken is done, place 1/2 cup of olive oil in a saute pan and heat over high heat until almost smoking. Add 2 chicken breasts cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Once they are all cooked. Transfer to a 13 X 9 baking pan (or larger) and top each breast with  tomato sauce and mozzarella,and parmesan. Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with basil or parsley leaves

Double this recipe..it always goes fast

Now Doug loves veal- to make this with veal instead of chicken- cut the veal into 5" pieces and on a hard surface, pound with a metal mallet till thin- the rest is the same.

6) Pasta Primevera


3 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 1/2 inch or so)
2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into small chunks
1 cup of broccoli florets or green beans (or both)
1 onion,chopped fine
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into  small chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
1 pound gluten free pasta (I made Orecchiette- literally "little ears" - I will tell you how)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved or 5 plum tomatoes chunked
 1 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large frying pan add olive oil to coat the bottom, heat it until it is fragrant. Add the vegetables- zucchini, peppers, onion, season with Italian seasoning and saute till tender. stirring after the first 5 minutes, about 10 minutes total. Cook  the pasta in boiling water till al dente -tender but still firm to the bite- about 8 minutes. The last 4 minutes you cook your pasta- add carrots, broccoli, green beans to the pasta , Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes, drizzle a little olive oil and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten (NOT SOUPY). Season the pasta with pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

7) Minestrone

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small minced white onion
  • ½ cup chopped zucchini
  • ½ cup  green beans
  • ½ stalk minced celery
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups  broth
  • 2 cans (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans (15 oz)  small white beans, drained
  • 6 good sized plum tomatoes
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup Gluten Free Orecchiette or other smallish pasta

 Pour olive oil into a large pot and heat until fragrant. Put the onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini into the pot and saute until the onions are soft.
 Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, hot water and spices to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and the pasta and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

I know this looks like it has a lot of vegetables- it does.. I love vegetables if they are fresh! The beauty of this is you can use whatever veggies you like and omit what you don't. Perfect! This is really delicious, none of the veggies is so overpowering it takes over the soup.  Serve with a simple tomato and lettuce salad ..and you have dinner!

8)  Gnocchi

There are many regions that lay claim to the origins of gnocchi. While they are generally associated with northern Italy, they can be made with a variety of base ingredients but potato gnocchi is one of our favourtes.

In the nineteenth century, Pellegrino Artusi, the “grandfather” of Italian cuisine, published a recipe for potato gnocchi prepared in exactly the same way that we see today, complete with the story of a woman whose gnocchi disappeared in the pot she was boiling them in—because she hadn’t used enough flour to hold them together. He first shapes his gnocchi into pinky-sized pieces and then rolls them against the back of a cheese grater for texture. That texture, whether created by rolling gnocchi with the tines of a fork or with a special wooden implement, help give the otherwise smooth dumplings little nooks and crannies where sauce can hide, and guarantee full flavor with every bite.

The secret to fluffy, tender gnocchi is to make the dough while the mashed potatoes are hot, add just enough liquid to hold it together- you still want a "dough" consistancy. 
  • 2-3 lb. russet potatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup+  gluten free all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. It is important to BAKE the potatoes NOT boil- boiling will add too much water.
 Scoop out potato insides. Mash potato in bowl. Stir in salt, then egg with fork. Stir in flour until dough comes together and no longer sticks to fork or your hands.
 Take about 1/2 cup or so of dough, and roll into 3/4-inch-thick rope on work surface dusted with gluten free flour. Cut rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Set back of fork atop 1 gnocchi, and use fork to roll gnocchi toward you, making light indentations with fork tines. (these indentations  Transfer to a baking sheet.
 Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi, and cook until gnocchi float to top. Drain, and serve with your favorite sauce.


10) The STAR of the Show!  Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta


  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) brown rice flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 4 large eggs
  • Kosher salt

In large bowl, mix brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. Add eggs. Use your hands and mix till dough forms- not too sticky, but smooth. Generously dust your counter with brown rice flour. Turn dough out onto counter and knead until smooth. Let the dough rest, covered for 20 minutes.
Divide dough into a few equal pieces and work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the rest covered. Roll the dough to flatten it with a rolling pin. Cut it into even strips. Using a pasta machine set at the widest setting, run the dough through 2 times. Continue rolling dough through successively narrower settings until the dough is thin, but still pliable. I used these sheets for lasagne noodles.  But you can cut them into fettuccini.  with the scraps of dough- mix together and roll into a rope the size of your finger.  Cut into disks of about 1/2 inch- take your finger and press down on one side- Voila-  Orecchiette !
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until tender, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gluten Freebird! or Hunting the Wild Sausage

  Hello, my little Foodies!!  Well I have a good recipe for you today.. GLUTEN FREE!!
  Here is my deal, I invited the children over for Father's Day and as every year I planned a barbeque- I had hamburger, hot dogs (gluten free Hebrew National), keilbasa, chicken sausages florentine (means they have spinach in them), all the things to make potato salad, macaroni salad (gluten free and no one knows), peppers, onions and mushroom to saute for burgers.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature was bored with my every year BBQ for Father's Day because we got rain!  No ordinary rain but rain of Biblical proportions!  and our grill is not exactly top of the line so when it rains you cant cook outside.  Ok so what to do??? Being quick thinking and creative (but mostly desperate).. I made up my own recipe!  Of course!  and here is what I came up with:

ok so I cooked it in a flat bottom wok..dont be a hater

Sausage Caccitore

Some Italian recipes are named after various occupations or trades. 'Cacciatore' literally means 'hunter' in Italian, and this 'hunter style' dish makes good use of mushrooms, onions tomatoes and herbs. Hunting the wild sausage!! get your mind OUT of the gutter! 

I looked in my fridge and surmised what I had- 

Chicken Sausage with spinach- Gluten free
Tomatoes -I used 6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Peppers- I used 4 red, green and/or yellow  (I always use red and yellow as I cant eat green peppers)
Onions - 1 really large Vidalia onion. coarsely chopped
Mushrooms about a pound sliced
and I had potatoes and garlic, basil and Italian seasoning
1 big can of tomatoes, crushed or diced

see where this is going?

Smash the garlic clove - easier to take out of the oil later.
Heat a few TBSP of good quality olive oil in a pan. When it is hot but no smoking add garlic and saute till soft and remove.  Add peppers and onion.. cook for 2 minutes, add mushrooms.. cook for another minute or so. Throw in plum tomatoes.  Cut up the sausage in 1/2' (I never really measured.. sorry)  slices on a diagonal. Add them to the pan, stirring constantly. Next add a can of tomatoes, seasoning and basil. Cut up the potatoes in chunks and add.  Now here is the tricky part- you need to cook this til the potatoes are soft.. so watch it- you may have to add more canned tomatoes, or wine, water is a very last choice. Don't let anything stick or burn.  

These proportions are rough- add more of what you like- take out what you dont.  

This was a rousing success, as I had a huge pot and most of it was eaten.  I served it with a side of fresh angel hair pasta, with olive oil, garlic and parsley( not gluten free). And of course- fresh grated cheese and a big green salad.    I know I know.. potatoes AND pasta... my kids love pasta- and since the recipe was gluten free I wanted potatoes to give it more substance for me (and I never eat sausage- so for me it was veggies and potato)

I Like Big Buns & I Cannot Lie! RECIPE FOR JAMBOTA naturally gluten free

Hi, me again.  And yes I do love rolls and buns and almost all carbs.  Which makes it tricky when you cant eat wheat.  And I know about substitutions for wheat flour.. BUT remember I wont cook with any weird ingredients or too many ingredients.. so leaves a lot of gluten free recipes in the dust.. As you know if you have read this blog I LOVE PIZZA!!  And believe me gf pizza is interesting.. the crust lacks.. well everything!  So What I do is make everything pizza!  I take my cheesy crusty chicken from the last recipe.. place in a baking pan.. add sauce, and tons of mozzarella cheese.. you can add any pizza topping you like- they all work.  so basically anything I can put sauce and cheese on I do.  I will not tell you I don't miss the thick chewy crust of pizza, but when you are faced with 3 days of pain and bloating.. for me its a no brainer.  NO WHEAT.

So you see there i am stuck between Celiac's Disease and Gluten Intolerance. Not a great place to be honestly.  I wont lie to you and say it doesn't matter.. I am Italian of course it matters!!  Most of the foods I love are off limits.  And quite frankly.. it bites!  If I am not careful my diet will consist of gluten free corn chip and salsa.. and gluten free cinnamon chex.. not together of course.  

Now all fresh fruits and veggies are naturally gluten free. Good News- so here is a recipe you will like.. Its gluten free and very yummy.. I loved this before I was gluten free

( an Italian Veggie Stew)

You can be saying a stew in summer?? Is she nuts.. has the lack of gluten gone to her brain??
But you see this is made from fresh veggies- my Nonna made it with whatever was in the garden and in summer that is plentiful!

so here goes!

Ingredients in any amount you choose- My Nonna never measured a damn thing when cooking- this recipe I never do either- I cook it till its the consistency I want and the amount and type of veggies varies as to what is in the fridge-  however I will give you guidelines

Olive Oil -enough to coat the bottom of the pan
1 Onion, chopped coarse (big chunks)
1 clove of garlic minced (or you can smash it and remove it later- if you dont like things garlicky)
1 or 3 or as many as you want Red Sweet Peppers-sliced
1 or 3 or as many as you want Green Sweet Peppers-sliced (this is entirely optional.. if green peppers make you sick.. just eliminate them- doesn't effect a thing)
4 small zucchini or 2 large one.. opt for small they taste better imho- cut into 1/2 moons
3 or 4 chopped tomatoes (more if you like more)
add some chopped fresh basil (I use 4 or 5 leaves but I love basil or a few shakes of dried-basilico as my Nonna called it _ I thought that was special Italian basil growing up... I was wrong
chopped fresh parsley- umm how about using a few TBSP
I always add some tomato sauce.. about a cup or so- you want the veggies a little soupy- but thick.. so it depends on how juicy your tomatoes are- you can also add canned tomatoes, but that kind of defeats the fresh veggie thing we got going on.
NOW get creative- whats in your garden- green beans ?? very good- add those
baby potatoes?? very good- blanche, dice and add
carrots?  ditto - blanche, dice  and add
eggplant cut in chunks and add
Now you get the idea!!

Coat the pan with olive oil. Heat and saute onions and garlic till the garlic is fragrant -dont brown or burn- no no no- if you do start over!
Next add peppers, cook a minute or 2 and add the zucchini, basil, parsley, tomatoes, sauce, and any other veggies you want.. cook till the hardest thing so soft.. get your mind OUT of the gutter.
In other words if there are potatoes.. till they are soft, carrots same.. normally its till the zucchini is soft if you don't have root veggies in.
Serve hot with a good fresh grated romano or parmesan cheese. YUM YUM YUM

DO NOT USE Cheese in a can or plastic container- seriously that has no resemblance to cheese.
This is a meal in itself.. one of my favorites.
For the carnivores out there.. serve with some grilled chicken or whatever you like grilled-- just dont mix the meat in.

Now there are some very weird Jambota recipes on the net-- really weird!!
 there is no meat in this- ever!
there is always zucchini in it
there are always a large assortment of veggies

I know, I know.. your grandmother made it with hotdogs or some such!! That does not make it authentic.. it makes it YOUR grandmother's recipe!  This is mine.

Jambota was a recipe made by poor people who ate very little meat, because they couldn't afford it. As most Italian peasant food it is scrumptious.  And I laugh to see in in some la di dah restaurant for 20.00 a portion.. ha.. I say

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Chi mangia bene, mangia Italiano!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Gluten Free Cooking -- Crispy-Cheesey Chicken & a Basic White Wine Sauce

Hello my little foodies!

  Its always good to come back.  The Gluten Free thing is going well.  My biggest problem is food I don't cook myself.. I think people lie! Do you know restaurants mix pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omlettes to make them fluffy??
   Eating Gluten Free is not a fad or a diet.. it's my life.. I get sick..plain and simple--bloating, pain and nausea- the Trinity. I have done some research to also find the link between hyperthyroidism and gluten
   My goal is to make GF food that tastes good.. harder than you may think, as I am a junk food junkie.. as if you couldn't tell.
   Doug and I are still together-over 3 yrs now amazing huh? It was in this very same blog I first told him I loved him.  He read the post and said by the way, I love you too! It really is amazing!  Well, I think so!

   But I digress, I want to tell you about a food find I really like- Gluten Free Bisquick.  I haven't made pancakes or biscuits yet, but I have used it to make chicken that is da bomb.  and easy- best part.  Everyone in my family ate this chicken and no idea it was gluten free.  (we had no left overs)

Gluten Free Crispy Chicken (would I lie to you?)

The recipe is as follows--

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
I used about 2

1 1/2 cups of GF Bisquick
3/4 cup of good parmesean cheese- life is too short to eat lousy cheese
2 tsp Italian seasoning (or mix together 2 TBSP of each  Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram and Rosemary- use 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (use more if you like)
1/4 tsp black pepper

2 eggs beaten
olive oil

You can cut the chicken as you choose- long strips for tenders, shorter chunks for nuggets, or 1/2 breast pounded thin. (I make tenders- cook faster and are left over friendly)
Put the dry ingredients in a gallon size plastic bag- like Ziploc. Mix together by shaking the bag around.
Next beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.
Dip the chicken one piece at a time in egg, then the dry mixture..and repeat.  So that is wet, dry, wet, dry- got it!
Pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Heat it till is hot-drop a bead of water in and if it sizzles, it's hot enough.  (Using oil that isnt hot cause food to absorb the oil and it tastes heavy and greasy.)
Fry each piece of chicken till golden brown on the outside...You get a crispy cheesey goodness.

You can use these lots of ways.  Eat them as is-delicious. Use GF Honey Mustard. Ken's is GF  or GF Barbeque sauce- Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauces are GF. (all others,please read the lables)

Put them in a baking pan top with tomato sauce (look for my nonna's recipe in another post) and mozarella cheese- Bake 350 for 20 min- till the cheese is awesome! Make a chicken with white wine sauce recipe (recipe for gluten free delicious sauce below)

GF White Wine Sauce

*Olive Oil- Good Quality Extra Virgin (can you be an extra virgin?)
*About 3 TBSP of butter- I like a bit more, but that's me
*Clove of garlic - smashed (don't peel the garlic-put it on a cutting board and smash it with the side of a knife- makes it easier to get out later)
*About 1 1/2 cups of a really good white wine (not 50$ a bottle, but a good quality wine you would drink- never use cheap wine for cooking- no ripple)
another glass to drink while cooking
*Black Pepper to taste

Now here is where you get creative!! Use any or all of the following:
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper or more if you like heat
Fresh chopped parsley (no one here will eat it if they see green anything in it)
Fresh Basil chopped
Fresh Oregano chopped
1 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning (see recipe above)
or Add some lemon and capers- Voila!! Chicken Picatta

Heat the oil with the garlic till fragrant- DO NOT let it burn. Burnt garlic is well.. just AWEFUL! Add butter to the oil and garlic.  If you are using dried seasoning add them now.  Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add fresh herbs that you use at the very end.  At this point I pull out the garlic clove.  TA DA- easy and delicious!!  Serve over cooked chicken- add some GF linguine and you have a meal fit for a Queen!  This is a good easy and fast sauce for pasta.  If you want you can saute scallops/shrimp/clams/mussles (any one or any mix)  in the olive oil/garlic/butter mixture and serve over gf pasta.. a little parmesean cheese and voila!  A really delicious dinner you can serve to anyone.  

Thought for the day 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Musings on Life & Eating Gluten Free

      It's me again.. I am never making promises to post faithfully.. but I will promise fitfully..
    Some big changes have gone on..the biggest one being I have been on a gluten free diet for health reasons.. yes I get SICK.. it's not some fad or trend to lose weight and boy it is NOT fun!!  I never realized how many wheat products I eat until I cannot eat them.  In fact, I realized that if I ate it ..it probably has wheat!  And as much fun as it is not, I am so grateful not to feel sick and in pain most every day.  I have had stomach problems for as long as I can remember.. I spent so many days so sick- too sick to eat.  So when someone asks me how my paleo diet is going, I truly want to smack them silly!  NO ONE would choose this!

    So our adventure today will be to delve into simple but delicious recipes that  are safe to eat.  I will give you some of my favorites.  Unlike some Gluten Free recipes, mine wont contain anything weird... and nothing you have to shop in a health food store for.  I still love food and love to eat..  and not cauliflower crust pizza either!

Our first entry, Loaded Nachos.. yes I said it!  I used to make this as dinner, when my kids were smaller.. it is quick, easy and everyone likes it.. It's a 10 definitely.

Loaded Nachos a la DJ style

Gluten Free Corn Chips **
1 lb of extra lean hamburger
1 small onion chopped
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2  tsp ground cumin
1 can of chopped tomatoes (about 15oz or so) 
about 1 1/2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
about 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (you can use all cheddar too)
sour cream
hot pepper sauce

here are your options.. depending on your personal taste- I don't us any of this
clove of garlic, chopped (optional)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp of cayenne pepper sauce (medium heat)
but I do love black olives

In a frying pan, brown hamburger and onion (garlic and peppers if you choose, too). Once onion is almost transparent, add chili powder, cumin, and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are thickened.. this can take 10-15 minutes, so don't freak!

Line a cookie sheet with corn chips of your choice, making sure they overlap- or just dump enough of the bag on the cookie sheet so none of the pan shows through- next layer on meat mixture. Now if you want to be healthy and add fiber, you can layer on red kidney beans (but since I have a low tolerance for fiber foods.. I don't use them). Top all this with cheese... and bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.. Take them put of the oven, top with sour cream, if you wish and your favorite options- garlic, peppers, hot pepper sauce, black olives, avacado... but my favorite topping is pico de gallo.. easy recipe follows.

Pico De Gallo

4-6 ripe tomatoes chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1/4 cup, 2 handfuls, cilantro leaves, finely chopped -- substitute parsley if cilantro is not to your liking ( I don't like cilantro)


1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for medium to hot heat level (optional)

**GLUTEN FREE CORN CHIPS- I am sure there are many others, but these are easy to find and taste good (important in my book)

DORITOS® Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips

FRITOS® Lightly Salted Corn Chips

FRITOS® Original Corn ChipsTOSTITOS® Bite Size Rounds Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Cantina Thin & Crispy Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Cantina Traditional Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Crispy Rounds Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Original Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Oven Baked SCOOPS!® Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Reduced Fat Crispy Rounds Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Simply Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Simply Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® SCOOPS!® Tortilla Chips

TOSTITOS® Thick & Hearty Rounds Tortilla Chips

  Eat Well and Prosper, my little foodies!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's been a long time..now I'm coming back home...Swinging 60's Recipes

It's been a long time..now I'm coming back home..I've been away now..oh how I've been alone..

Well not really alone.. but I have missed writing this blog- a lot!!

I wont even try to catch you up all at once - except to say- Doug and I are still together!  And our time is amazing.. truly.

And that's ll there is to know....

I hope everyone has been well... It's been a tough winter here in the Northeast and in Ontario too.. but we are made of tougher stuff... like  recipes I grew up on...whew... and I made it out alive.  It was the late 50's and 60's and food had taken a dramatic turn.  Refrigeration and home freezers changed the world- the food world anyways.. and in my house definitely- so I thought I would give you a smattering of REAL 60's cooking .. I realized almost every one of my mom's recipes used "prepared" food of some kind- since we were Italian, jarred tomato sauce was a mortal sin- but I swear she snuck it in when my Nonna wasn't looking!!

 These was the Glory Days of Casseroles!!  Take a bunch of stuff- fry it, dump cans of stuff in and cream of mushroom soup. bake for 45 min- looks like you cooked all day. Canned food- ahh yes.  NO longer drudgery in the kitchen making healthy, delicious food- NOOOO..  make mushy stuff over rice.  Where would we be without cream of mushroom soup and minute rice??

Here in all their canned splender are the recipes - my mom saved, handwritten yet- and not all of them, I mercilessly left out jello molded EVERYTHING- CURSE YOU JELLO MOLDS!!!

Anyways, back to reality, let's see I will start with my dad (who was from England)- his favorites and his country of origin will explain a lot!  and then again ... maybe not!

Mary's Chinese Pepper Beef

(no, she was even remotely Chinese- don't even ask- she did watch Joyce Chen on PBS a lot however.)

2 lbs of flank steak
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP garlic powder ( not fresh garlic- God forbid)
1 TBSP sugar (hey it was the 60's)
1/4 Cup soy sauce  (Chun King, if I remember correctly)
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 green peppers (the pepper in the pepper beef)
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 TBSP brown sauce (and the note beside it said "Chinese" hence the Chinese in the Chinese Pepper Beef- I am guessing black bean sauce, no guarantee however)

    Slice steak into strips.  In a bowl, put steak, garlic powder, sugar, soy sauce and cornstarch.  Marinate for 1-2 hours (or as long as your soap was on - General Hospital).
     In a fry pan (not a frying pan, I guess) put olive oil and stir fry sliced green peppers (by the way, red were too expensive).  Remove peppers and put them in a dish.. Stir fry steak.  To that pan of steak strips add 2 TBSP of brown sauce (the mysterious) and 1 and 1/2 cups of cold water and make a gravy- it's magic- it just happens, the gravy part- it does!  Add the peppers and tomatoes and simmer for 1 minute!!  Serve over Minute Rice- cooked I presume.

To that concoction of my mom's, I added red pepper strips, water chestnuts, thinly sliced onion and bean sprouts- it was definitely better-


Mary's next recipe was given to her from her friend, Gloria.  From the name don't expect much.

Gloria's Poor Man's Dish

  you heard it right- creamed corn and canned peas AND a casserole?? does it get any better than this??

1 lb ground beef
4 Cups mashed potatoes (instant probably)
1 large can of creamed corn (normal size-you would buy- does anyone really buy the tiny cans?)
1 large can of peas (read above)
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, chopped- optional (God forbid a fresh vegetable would slip in)
2 tsp olive

   Grease a 4 quart casserole (with oil, I presume).  In skillet saute onion, if using it.  Add hamburger and cook. break it up with a fork and set aside.
   Bake at 350 degrees about 35-40 minutes.  Serve with French's Beef Gravy (optional- depends on that week's budget, I guess)

AND yet another gen from Gloria....

American Chop Suey 

 (at least Gloria was American)  American Chop, as we called it, was the bane of every potluck church supper- I would NEVER eat it- snobby brat I was)

 4 or 5 green peppers, chopped
3 onions, chopped
1 lb of hamburger meat (Gloria never went heavy on meat, it seems)
2 cans of tomato soup (I never ate this- EVER.. you can tell from the tomato soup addition Gloria was NOT Italian)
1 can of water (soup can I am guessing)
4 TBSP oil
1 lb casserole noodles or elbow macaroni (I am guessing here that casserole noodles are wide egg noodles- I never saw American Chop made with anything but elbows)
salt and pepper to taste (goos luck on that one)

   In a skillet, heat oil.  Add chopped peppers and onion. Saute until nicely browned (I am assuming the onion because the peppers would be gross browned).  Add hamburger meat, break up with a fork,  cook until meat is well done. Add tomato soup and water. Cook until bubbly.
    In a large pot, boil water and cook elbow macaroni according to package directions.  Drain well and add hamburger mixture... and serve!

Have I killed your appetite yet- or is this some weird nostalgia?

Onward we go-

Debbie's Hawaiian Pork Chops

 - Debbie was another friend of my mom, who could not cook, nonetheless- my mom copied this recipe from her- Debbie was not Hawaiian

4-6 pork chops
1 and 1/2 cups pf fruit cocktail (it was the 60's - canned fruit cocktail was the rage)
3 TBSP brown mustard
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

  Brown pork chops in a fry pan (famous fry pan-Jeez)  Combine all remaining ingredients and pour over pork chops.  Simmer 45 minutes. You can use this with cooked rice spread on your dish, add frypan ingredients on top (word for word...promise)

and last but not least

Gail's Crunchy Chicken Casserole - should chicken casserole be CRUNCHY??  Gail bravely said YES! It's a CANNED food extravaganza!!!

1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 Cups milk
2 Cups of cubed chicken (cooked, I am guessing, as most casseroles were made of earlier meal leftovers
1 Cup rice (uncooked)
1 can cut green beans, drained
1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 Cup of grated Cheddar cheese
1 (3 oz can) of French Fried Onions

   In a large saucepan, combine soup and milk, heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Stir in cooked chicken, rice, beans and mushrooms and 1/2 the can of french fried onions and cheese.
Pour into a 2 quart casserole; stir.  Bake covered for 40 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese and french fried onions.  Bake uncovered 5 minutes longer. Makes 5 servings 

I almost forgot my manditory BACON entry=

Marie's Baked Boneless Chicken

  - these were the days BEFORE you could buy chicken cutlets or boneless breasts.

2 whole chicken breasts- split, skinned and deboned
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
4 slices of bacon
1 Cup sour cream

Wrap each piece of chicken with a strip of bacon..  Line them in a baking pan.  Mix soup and sour cream.  Pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 275 for 3 hrs (HOLY SHREDDED PIG FLESH- 3 HRS!!)
   Serve with rice and use the creamy sauce with it- (I didn't write this merely copied it- I swear- bacon fat, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream???  Soggy bacon- ugh)

Serves 4 (if they are hungry, I guess).

Since today is Friday and it IS Lent.. I will add a lenten specialty- no meat

Debbie's Clam Cakes

 -  a different Debbie-

1 can of clams and juice
1 and 1/3 Cups of flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten
oil for frying

 Heat Oil. Mix all ingredients together. Drop by teaspoons into hot oil. Turn once until golden brown.

Debbie never was one to mince words- or clams for that matter

Enjoy my little foodies!!!!   And remember this is how people USED to eat!!!

More about Campbell Cream of Mushroom Soup

   How bad could it be those fat cute Campbell Kids ate it all through the depression and never lost and ounce!!  They gave them the axe because Campbell's decided they were too fat!!  END FAT DISCRIMINATION...  Little Fat red cheeked kids are humans too- ohh wait... they aren't.... they were an ad campaign for when fat people were rich, healthy people- and skinny was a curse of the poor-  they were just cartoon kids!

One of my favorite recipes from Campbell's cream of mushroom soup was a SOUP SHAKE- I kid you NOT!!  I never ate it..but the idea intrigued me!

and I quote " Add a can of cream of mushroom soup to a cup of cold milk (3/4 cup if you like thick shakes. You will be surprised (and pleasantly) with the flavor!"

I am not exactly sure WHY you would want a soup shake...

My favorite line from this recipe says, “You’ll be surprised, too (and so pleasantly), with the flavor of the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup Shake.” - See more at: http://nwamotherlode.com/archives/34206#sthash.Ri32ghyx.dpuf
My favorite recipe from the Campbell’s cookbook was for “Soup Milkshakes.” The recipe said to combine a can of  Campbell’s Cream-of-Chicken, Cream-of-Celery, or Tomato Soup with a can of ice cold milk. (Or 3/4 a can of soup shakes 2milk if you like THICK soup shakes. I’m not making this stuff up.) My favorite line from this recipe says, “You’ll be surprised, too (and so pleasantly), with the flavor of the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup Shake.”  Yeah, buddy, you betcha. I guess I’d better go to the hardware store and look for a box of  HUGE drinking straws - See more at: http://nwamotherlode.com/archives/34206#sthash.Ri32ghyx.dpuf
 seems you could use tomato soup or cream of chicken... ohhh yum????

Don't forget to throw in some MSG for good measure!!!

Good Day my little Foodies--- and eat on!!

My favorite recipe from the Campbell’s cookbook was for “Soup Milkshakes.” The recipe said to combine a can of  Campbell’s Cream-of-Chicken, Cream-of-Celery, or Tomato Soup with a can of ice cold milk. (Or 3/4 a can of soup shakes 2milk if you like THICK soup shakes. I’m not making this stuff up.) My favorite line from this recipe says, “You’ll be surprised, too (and so pleasantly), with the flavor of the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup Shake.”  Yeah, buddy, you betcha. I guess I’d better go to the hardware store and look for a box of  HUGE drinking straws - See more at: http://nwamotherlode.com/archives/34206#sthash.Ri32ghyx.dpuf

My favorite line from this recipe says, “You’ll be surprised, too (and so pleasantly), with the flavor of the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup Shake.” - See more at: http://nwamotherlode.com/archives/34206#sthash.Ri32ghyx.dpuf