Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Photo from the recipe on allrecipes.com

During the hurricane last weekend I made some easy chicken enchiladas that I found on allrecipes.com.  Do you use allrecipes.com?  If not, I suggest you do.  It's where I get a lot of my recipe ideas.  I altered this recipe a little to make it gluten free and cut down on some of the fat.  This isn't a fancy recipe - there aren't many ingredients, and it's not very "authentic", but it is easy and cheap.  It makes about 10 enchiladas.

1 and 1/2 jars salsa
6 oz fat free plain Greek yogurt (I used 1 container of Chobani)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
3-4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 can pinto beans
10 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, mexican mix, whatever you want)

1) Combine 1 jar salsa, yogurt, and cream cheese in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chicken and beans.
2) Warm the tortillas, fill with mixture, roll, and place into a greased 9x13 dish
3) Spread the remaining salsa over the tortillas and then sprinkle on the cheese
4) Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

A note about my recipes:  In general, I am not too concerned with the amounts of ingredients.  The original recipe called for 2 cups of chicken, I had 4, so I used 4.  If you like a lot of cheese, use more cheese.  If you don't like a lot of cheese, use less cheese.  Some recipes require you to follow the directions exactly (mostly in baking), but for cooking, be a bit adventurous (within reason) and hope for the best.  I find this is the best way to learn.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pamela's Waffles

I was supposed to go to Vermont for the weekend but then there was a hurricane and my flight was cancelled.  What to do while stuck inside for two days?  Make waffles of course.  I had some Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix and I was at my man friend's apartment with a waffle maker.  Perfect.  Besides having to beat the egg whites by hand because of a lack of mixer, these were really easy to make and came out light and fluffy.  I was quite pleasantly surprised.

For some reason I had this mix in my cupboards but hadn't really ever tried it.  After trying these waffles I look forward to making other things with this mix, and trying some of Pamela's other products as well.  She's got several other mixes for things like cakes, cookies, brownies, cornbread, and frosting, but she's also got pre-made cookies, cakes, and bars.  I want to try this:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Better Batter Brownie Mix

I've been meaning to try a Better Batter mix for awhile now.  I bought the fudge brownie mix last weekend at G-Free NYC and whipped them up last night.  They were indeed fudgy and delicious.

The reason I've been wanting to try this particular brand is because I came across their site a few months ago and saw something I really liked about them: they offer financial aid for families with autistic children or families that meet the federal guidelines for food aid.  For those of you that don't know, a gluten free diet has shown to significantly help children with autism.  With the price of gluten free food generally so high, I think this is a really great program.  I don't qualify for either, but the fact that Better Batter has this program is enough to make me want to support them.

They have an all purpose flour mix, a seasoned flour mix (think fried chicken), a pancake & biscuit mix, a yellow cake mix, a chocolate cake mix, and the fudge brownie mix I tried.  The brownie mix was around $6.50, which is comparable or cheaper than other brands.  Go ahead, try their mixes and feel good about your purchase when you do.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Free Williams-Sonoma Gluten Free Baking Class

I'm not sure how many gluten free people in New York City actually read my blog, but I think you should go to this if you are.  I'm going to be out of town, but if not, I would be there.  Especially since it's free!

Complimentary Williams Sonoma Technique Class: Gluten Free Baking
When:Sunday, August 28, 2011
Where:Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle
Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle, Suite 114
New York, NY 10019
Cost:Free w. Reservations
From Williams-Sonoma:
Attend one of Williams-Sonoma’s popular free technique classes to learn the art and science of cooking from their own culinary experts. Each class is dedicated to a specific culinary topic, from the best way to work with specific ingredients, cookware and tools to creative ideas for seasonal meals.
  • Hour-long technique classes are free and include tastings of prepared dishes.
  • Participants enjoy 10% savings on select same-day store purchases.
  • Available at all stores; class times vary by store location.
  • Class size is limited – call your local store to register
  • Gluten-Free Baking
For more information, contact Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle at 212.823.9750.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tinkyada Pasta

Tinkyada is my favorite brand of gluten free pasta, even if I can't spell it.  I've had their spaghetti, penne, fusilli, elbows, and lasagna noodles.  I've been very happy with all of them.  Tinkyada is brown rice pasta and has a better consistency than most gluten free pastas I've tried.  Their packaging is very colorful and has funny bunnies and sayings on it, which naturally makes it more fun.  A letter on their website from 6 year old Christopher pretty much sums up how I feel about it:

"Hello, My name is Christopher.  I am six years.  I want to tell you I like your rice pasta.  It is very good and yummy for my tubby.  As I am not to have any wheat so I like your rice as it is different kinds.  Thanks you very much and my tummy thanks you too.  Your friend, Christopher.
P.S. My grandma is printing this for me because I can't write or spell too good yet.  But I told her what to write.  C.B."

Tinkyada is available at most health food/specialty stores at a relatively good price.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Homemade Frosting

By now you probably know how much I love baking things from scratch.  I think it's fun and easy.  This in no way makes me above making cake or brownies from a box from time to time.  Sometimes you don't feel like baking from scratch, there just isn't time, or you are in a situation without the proper ingredients.  This weekend was one of those times.

I went to Connecticut Saturday night to see my dear friend Madeline and celebrate her boyfriend's birthday.  A group of us went on a (dangerous) hike and eventually made it home for a bbq.  On our way home we stopped at the local Stop & Shop to pick up everything we needed.

The birthday boy isn't gluten free so we were just going to get some regular yellow cake mix.  I was pleasantly surprised to see they also carried Betty Crocker gluten free mixes. We got one regular yellow cake mix and one gluten free chocolate cake mix.  They were both very easy to make and baked up beautifully.  Madeline taught me how easy it is to make frosting from scratch, so that was our homemade contribution to these cakes.  I obviously didn't try the yellow cake, but the gluten free chocolate cake was really good.  In fact, several other people tried both cakes and commented on how good the chocolate cake was and that it tasted "just like normal chocolate cake".  Nice work Betty, you've pulled it off.

Madeline's Homemade Frosting
Stir together until smooth:
1 lb confectioner's sugar
1 stick soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon milk (give or take)
add cocoa powder to taste if you want chocolate frosting, and maybe some more milk for desired consistency 

Friday, August 19, 2011

GF Hamburger Buns

Ok, so I know I just talked about Canyon Bakehouse yesterday, but here I am again to talk about their hamburger buns.  I bought a pack of these last week to keep in my freezer just in case a burger occasion should present itself.  By coincidence, it did today and these buns were there for me.

At my company we have birthday lunches for our team.  The birthday person gets to choose their lunch of choice.  Today's birthday girl picked burgers.  No problem.  I ordered mine without a bun, brought my own, and happily ate along side everyone else without feeling left out at all.  The bun didn't need to be toasted and didn't crumble.  Overall I was very satisfied.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gluten Free Beer - Estrella Daura

Many people morn the loss of beer when going gluten free.  I was never a big beer drinker, but sometimes, you just need a beer: the Super Bowl, all other sporting events, summer bbqs, college, and there are probably other times.  This weekend I was at a going away party extravaganza and the host, who also has celiac, gave me an Estrella Daura.  I had never heard of it before, but low and behold, it actually tasted like beer.  I'll be purchasing this for my next beer required event.  Here's where to get it in NYC.

There are a few other gluten free beers available.  Two of the most common are Bard's and Redbridge.  They are fine. Daura is better.

I also just read this post by Gluten Is My Bitch.  Looks like there are three other contenders.  Have you tried any of these beers?  Thoughts?

(Zucchini) Chocolate Chip Muffins

Picture stolen from the recipe, of course.
I used to think zucchini had no place being in baked goods.  I also used to think chocolate chips had no place being in muffins.  Why the sudden change of heart?  I have no idea.  But I love zucchini and with it being in season and all I was trying to find new ways to use it.  I came across this recipe on allrecipes.com and decided to give it a go.

I made a few alterations to the recipe, and made it gluten free, of course.  Also, if you are making these muffins for children or grown adults who are weary of green things in their muffins, I suggest peeling the zucchini before shredding it and calling them "Chocolate Chip Muffins".  You will be sneaking some veggies into their diet without anyone knowing.  Makes 12 muffins.

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose, and 1/2 cup rice flour)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce (or vegetable oil, if you like fat)
1/4 cup milk (dear Maiah, I used your milk, sorry/thank you)
1 tsp vanilla
1 medium zucchini, (peeled if you want) and shredded
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350
2.  In a large boil stir together all the dry ingredients.  Add the liquid ones and mix.
3.  Stir in the zucchini.  Add the chocolate chips.
4.  Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full
4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes

My Favorite GF Bread

I've had a lot of bad gluten free bread in the last year.  Canyon Bakehouse's San Juan 7-Grain is the best I've had.  According to the website, "The San Juan 7-Grain is named after the beautiful San Juan Mountain Range in southwest Colorado. It is loaded with healthy whole grains and touched with a hint of sweetness. Great for sandwiches, buttered or dunked in your favorite soup. This is a versatile, all around favorite choice!"  I agree.  And, at around $5 a loaf, it is reasonably priced in terms of gluten free loaves.  Go ahead, try it.  It looks like this:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Sometimes you just need some mac and cheese in your life.  S'MAC is there for you during these times.  Located in the east village, S'MAC offers several variations of mac and cheese to please every palate.  They even let you create your own if you so desire.  And, great news, they offer gluten free macaroni.  Not only that, but their bechamel sauce doesn't contain wheat flour and their bread crumbs are made out of gluten free corn flakes.

I've been to S'MAC a few times and always manage to leave feeling a little bit sick from too much mac and cheese.  Probably the Nosh (smallest) size would be enough, but when you are there and hungry the Major Munch (medium) seems like a necessity.  Don't worry, the walk back to Union Square after gives you some time to digest and get those cheese legs moving.

Mmm mac and cheese.

Update 1/25/2014: S'MAC now also has a Murray Hill location on 33rd Street between Lexington and 3rd.  Also, I have really smartened up in my old age and now always get the Nosh.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Risotteria is hands down the most well known gluten free restaurant in New York City.  I have been several times, even before I knew what gluten was or that I couldn't eat it.  The food is excellent, whether you are gluten free or not.  But, if you are gluten free, you are in some luck.  Risotteria has pizzas, paninis, pastas, salads, desserts, and of course, risotto.  Almost everything on the menu can be made gluten free.

Risotteria is located in the West Village where I am bound to get lost every time.  But, once you find this small bustling restaurant, it's worth it.  To start they bring you the most delicious gluten free bread sticks.  These are the standard bread sticks for everyone, gluten eating or not.  Then you have the daunting task of deciding what to order.  I've tried several of the risottos, a few pizzas, a few salads, and the meatball appetizer.  I've never had something I didn't like here.  This is a perfect restaurant to order a few different dishes and share with your lovely companions.  I've heard great things about the desserts, but I've never had the room to eat any desserts after a hefty portion of creamy risotto.

The only problem with this restaurant is that it's very small and they do not accept reservations.  With a seating capacity of 20, it's best to arrive early and with only one friend.  I highly recommend this place - especially in the fall or winter when the risotto can warm you from the inside out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mozzarelli's Pizza

I've been meaning to try Mozzarelli's for a long time now.  Today, after my unfortunate lunch experience, I decided it was a good day to try it.  Mozzarelli's is a regular New York pizza place with a pizza counter and a few seats.  They serve pizzas, pastas, salads, calzones, and desserts.  They also have gluten free pizzas, pastas, salads (of course), and desserts.  There were three gluten free choices: cheese, pepperoni, and veggie.  I got one pepperoni and one veggie slice.

Look I actually took a picture.
The pizza was surprisingly good!  In fact, it was the second best gluten free pizza I've ever had (the pizza I had in Albany still places #1 in my book).  Not only that, but they had a huge selection of gluten free desserts from My Dad's Cookies.  I had never tried any of these products before so of course I had to try something.  It was a tough decision between the cake and the cookies, but I decided to try the black and white cookies.  They were pretty good.  In general I'm not sure who needs dessert with their pizza, but that's ok.

My favorite part of this place is that it really is just a regular casual pizza place.  I haven't been able to stop for a slice like this in almost a year.  I'll be back, and next time I plan on trying the gluten free baked ziti.  Mmm.

I haven’t had a good rant for awhile, so here it is:

There are hundreds of places to eat lunch in midtown Manhattan.  Hundreds.  They are all basically the same.  Delis with overpriced salads, sandwiches, and soups.  Some of them have make your own pasta.  All of them have chips, a variety of beverages, and candy.  Sprinkled in are a few other places: dollar pizza, Chinese, Mexican, burgers.

Most of the aforementioned foods I cannot eat.  I try to bring my lunch as much as possible, but that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like and as a result I’ve had more create your own salads than I can count.  Today I didn’t bring lunch and I couldn’t eat another salad.  What to have, what to have?  I couldn’t think of anything.  I just wanted a sandwich.  Or a slice of dollar pizza.  But no.  Finally I decided on sushi and then realized I didn’t have any more gluten free soy sauce at work.  Next I decided on pasta from this place that has gluten free pasta.  Turns out it closed down.  I wandered around for half an hour trying to find something I wanted and could eat.

I ended up with lentil soup from Pret A Manger.  As I was eating I remembered that ingredients often change and I should check the site again to make sure their lentil soup was still gluten free.  Turns out, it wasn’t.  Seven dollars and an hour of my time later I was too grumpy to care.  I ate the soup anyway.  No symptoms so far but I’m sure my tummy villi are pissed.