Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gluten-free banana crunch muffin recipe

Yummy gluten-free banana muffin

In case you don't know, I love the Food Network. I've been a fan for years. One of my favorite chefs is Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Someone recently passed along her recipe for Banana Crunch Muffins. I didn't try the muffin but could tell from the smell it was good.

Recently, I started my son on a gluten-free diet. Of course, I had incredible "mommy guilt" when I told him he couldn't have the muffin so I needed to figure out a way to make a version for him. With a few easy adjustments, it was straight forward. The sugar content was high for me so I made some other adjustments.

Even after cutting back the sugar, wow, these are sweet. But, I look at them as a treat, not something for everyday. The sugar could probably be cut even more, especially if the granola that's used is on the sweeter side. This would probably make an excellent banana cake as well; just lower the temp by 25 degrees and cook about 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Banana Crunch Muffins (based on a recipe by Ina Garten)

3 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2/3 cup white organic sugar
2/3 cup brown or raw sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or you can use all butter or all oil)
1/2 c coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 large cage free eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1-2 bananas)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup gluten-free granola
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 18-20 muffin tins.

2. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, xanthan gum, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add the melted butter and coconut oil and mix for 1 minute. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well until the mixture comes together.

3. On low, mix in the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon or scoop the batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full.

4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gluten-free sweet and sour chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken over Brown Jasmine Rice and Red Quinoa

A very good friend of mine was excited to share a sweet and sour chicken recipe with me that was healthy and that her husband loved. How often does that happen? She thought I should try it too, since my kids tend to like sweeter foods. It sounded so good (and easy), I had to make it this week. The challenge was that I had soccer practice for both kids on the night I wanted to try it. How was I going to make this dinner and ensure we weren't eating at 7:30 pm?

Ahh, enter the rice cooker and slow cooker! Since I wanted something a bit more nutritious and since I would be gone over an hour, brown rice seemed like the perfect solution. I cooked red quinoa with the brown rice to boost the nutrition even more. The family agrees the rice-red quinoa combo is a good one.

TIP: When cooking red quinoa with rice, add two times more water than quinoa. For example, if you add 1/2 c quinoa, add 1 cup of extra water. Even though the quinoa takes less time than the brown rice, it came out fine. I usually add about half the amount of quinoa that I add of the rice. For example, 1 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of quinoa.

The slow cooker came in handy to simmer the chicken in the sauce. Don't always think of it as a piece of equipment just used for all day cooking; it is great for finishing a dish that cooks quickly. I par-cooked the tenders, placed them in the crock pot with the veggies and sauce, set the temperature to Low for 90 minutes and dashed out the door. When I returned, dinner was ready.

The other bonus was that the dish was naturally gluten-free. Now that 2 of us in the family are eating that way, it really was the perfect meal.

I cannot take the credit for this dish, either. It was based on this post which my friend had forwarded to me. However, the sweet potato was my idea along with the brown jasmine rice-red quinoa combo. I hope you'll try it.

Gluten-Free* Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 tsp corn starch
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1 - 1 1/2 lb chicken tenders

1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 Tbl organic brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger (keep peeled ginger in the freezer and then grate right into the dish!)
1 small can of pineapple chunks, juice reserved
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into large pieces (if you like green peppers, you can use those as well)

1 Tbl safflower oil for frying
1 small to medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 yellow onion, sliced

Optional: 1/2 c peanuts or cashews for garnish

*To ensure this dish is gluten-free, make sure to use a gluten-free ketchup.

1. Mix egg white, cornstarch and salt in a bowl large enough for the tenders. Add tenders and, using your hands, coat each piece of chicken with the mixture. Put aside for about 5 minutes. (By the way, this is a great method for making gluten-free crispy chicken).

2. Pour ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger and pineapple juice into the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add pineapple and peppers.

3. Heat medium to large non-stick pan with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken tenders and cook on each side until the chicken is lightly browned. The chicken may not be done but will continue cooking in the slow cooker. Place chicken in slow cooker.

4. Place pan back on stove and cook onions and sweet potatoes for about 3-5 minutes. Place this on top of the chicken.

5. Place cover on slow cooker, set to Low for 90 minutes. Serve with brown rice and quinoa. Optionally garnish with peanuts or cashews.