Gluten-Free Crock Pot Beef Stew

The warm, tangy, meaty and veggie aroma of stew cooking in the crock pot greeted us my daughter and I returned home from Soccer practice.

“When will dinner be ready?” asked my son as we stepped into the house, “I’m just starving!”

Such a great feeling to come home and have dinner practically ready as you step in the door because you took the time earlier in the day to set dinner up in the crock pot.

My big Christmas gift this year was a new crock pot. Our old one had been given to my husband in his single years . . . remember when the color orange was “in”? Well our old crock pot was from that era. This new one looks like stainless steel and the “crock” comes out so it is easier to wash. So new crock pot meals have been on the agenda of late. My latest crock pot meal was inspired by a beef pot roast recipe, I call it:

Gluten-Free Crock Pot Stew

Servings: 8         Prep time: 1/2 hr         Cook time in crock pot: 4 hours

2 lbs beef stew meat cut up into bite-size pieces
2 Tbls Canola Oil
1 cup baby carrots (the already peeled and miniaturized ones you get in a bag)
3 stalks celery cut up into bite-size pieces
2 onions also cut up into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 8 oz can tomato paste
2 cups beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Beef Base) check labels on beef bouillon cubes for barley malt or HVP which are not gluten-free ingredients.
1/4 cup corn starch
4 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes cut into bite-size pieces
2 more cups beef broth
2 Tbls Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perkins is gluten-free)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. thyme

Heat oil in pan. Sprinkle meat with pepper and place in pan and cook meat on all sides. Place carrots, onions and celery in bottom of crock pot. Top veggies with seared meat, leave drippings in the pan. Add white wine to pan and cook out. Add the tomato paste to pan and stir. Add cornstarch to 2 cups of beef broth and stir to combine. Add this mixture to tomato paste and wine mixture in the pan. Cook and stir over low heat until combined. Pour this mixture over meat and veggies in the crock pot, scraping the pan. Add the potatoes on top of meat and veggies. Add Worcestershire sauce to 2 more cups of beef broth and pour mixture over potatoes. Add 2 bay leaves and set the crock pot on high for 4 hours. Add thyme 1/2 hr before end of cooking time. Serve warm with shredded cheese and/or sour cream as toppings. Corn chips make a tasty gluten-free side to this dish.

Rosemary Infused Bar Cashews – Inspired By Union Square Cafe

A Christmas party where everybody brings an appetizer to share . . . oh boy there probably won’t be many gluten-free options for my hubby. So what can I bring that others will enjoy and my hubby can eat? Oh, and can be made in about a 1/2 hr or so because with hockey and our kid’s band sharing their Christmas music on the same day as the Christmas party . . . that is all the time I will have.

The solution? Union Square Bar Nuts a.k.a Rosemary infused, sweet, salty and slightly spicy Cashews.

I found this recipe for dressing up cashews and then looked around and found many renditions of this recipe – some using already-roasted nuts, some using a variety of nuts . . . but none put the nuts back in the oven after dressing them so that the sugar could caramelize. So that’s what I did. Because of that, this recipe needs to start with raw, unsalted nuts. Yummy! The kids were eating them as I was packing them in a bag to take to the party.

Rosemary Infused Bar Cashews – Inspired by Union Square Cafe

2 1/2 cups raw, unsalted whole cashews or cashew pieces (which are cheaper)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a deep metal casserole dish with parchment paper. Place raw cashews in the casserole dish. Cook in dish for 10 mins stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, chop the fresh rosemary and combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Remove nuts and toss with the “dressing” in the casserole dish to evenly coat the nuts. Place the mixture back in the oven for another 20 mins or so. Roast nuts, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are golden brown and roasted through. Remove from oven and place in a bowl to enjoy. They would also be great in a salad with perhaps some roasted beets and goat cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. Ooo I just might do that for our Christmas salad!

Crustless Custard Pear Tart

We enjoyed a wet rainy day here recently which put me in the mood to bake. I had been wanting to adapt a recipe from Martha Stewarts “Great Food Fast” recipe book to gluten-free. The recipe is for a crustless Pear Custard Pie which contains a small amount of flour so it was easy to convert to gluten-free. The day I baked it my daughter and I had tried Pumpkin Caramel Sauce at Trader Joe’s . . . Mmm, I think drizzling that on top of the pear tart and adding a dollop of Creme Fraiche would make this a winner. Yup! The result was such a hit we served it the following week for my Dad’s birthday.

Crustless Custard Pear Tart

Need: 1 – 9″ glass or ceramic pie dish
Oven: 350 degrees

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted plus more to line the dish
3-4 ripe but firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/6 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use BetterBatter)
1/6 cups Almond meal
2 tsp vanilla extract
A sprinkle or two of cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting after pie has cooled

Crustless Custard Pear Tart

Crustless Custard Pear Tart

Preheat oven, butter pie dish. Slice the pears and arrange in pie dish overlapping slightly.

In a blender or food processor, process the melted butter, sugar, flour, almond meal, vanilla, cinnamon, eggs, milk and salt. Blend until smooth.

Pour batter over the pears in the pie dish. Bake until golden-brown and firm to the touch about 40-45 mins. Cool and dust with Confectioners’ sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of Creme Fraiche and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Caramel sauce drizzled over each piece. Enjoy!

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

Gluten Free Pumpkin Potato Soup

Moscow, Russia was my home for a summer – many summers ago, just after the fall of Communism in the U.S.S.R. I joined 13 other teammates from around the United States to befriend Russian students and I had the opportunity to teach a Marketing class. We were with International Teams on a Summer Servant Project. We all have special memories of our summer in Russia and for me one of my favorite food memories was a Pumpkin Potato Soup that was made by one of the “long-term” staff members, Cheryl who came from Australia. I stayed a week longer than my teammates to teach the Marketing class and stayed at Cheryl’s apartment.

Two things impress me most regarding this recipe; not only is it tasty, but Cheryl was quite resourceful as grocery items were hard to come by in Russia during this time of transition from Communism. I recently came across her hand-written recipe along with another I got from a Trader Joe’s sample station. They were similar in ingredients with the biggest difference being that Cheryl in Moscow blended all the ingredients together, and there was no bacon.

2 17.6 oz Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Soup boxes (My friend Cheryl used 750 g of actual pumpkin and also a broth. How she found pumpkin in Moscow, Russia at that time period is amazing.)
6 Baby Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, unpeeled and diced into ¼ “ cubes
1 small onion or 1 small leek – or ½ of each, diced
2 Tbls butter
1 cup milk
21 Seasoning Salute
4 slices of bacon
Crème Fraiche (My friend Cheryl’s recipe calls for Sour cream, but I remember her mentioning that it was a special type of sour cream and wrote in Cyrillic it’s Russian name. I did not know what Crème Fraiche was back then. I’m glad Trader Joe’s has introduced it to me.)

Directions: Sauté diced onion and leek in butter for about 5 minutes. Cook bacon and break into bits, set aside. Add potatoes and sauté 5 minutes more. Stir in milk. Add seasonings. Bring to boil and cover, simmer and stir frequently for 15 minutes or more until potatoes are tender. Add pumpkin soup and heat to a boil.

Add to each serving a tablespoon of Crème Fraiche and sprinkle with bacon bits.

Lettuce Wrap Gluten-Free Chicken Stir-Fry with Peanuts

Cool and warm, crisp and soft, sweet and savory all these features are wrapped up in one delicious and easy gluten-free chicken dinner dish. The lettuce wrap brings a cool and crispy contrast to the warm and soft chicken and veggie stir-fry. The sauce has a hint of orange sweetness with a savory overtone. The peanuts take the eating adventure even another dimension. Mmmm . . . the whole family loved this dinner!

Chicken Stir-Fry Ingredients

1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. Cut horizontally into thin, bite-size pieces.
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbls olive oil
1 onion sliced into bite-size pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced into bite-size pieces
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp orange marmalade
1 tsp ginger
3 Tbls gluten-free soy sauce
3 Tbls rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Lettuce Wraps
1 head lettuce – cut into quarters then separate leaves.

Toppings: Roasted, salted (50% less), skinless peanuts

Serve with rice

Cook as directed

Stir Fry Directions: Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a stir-fry skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add chicken. Cook stirring frequently. Meanwhile mix rest of ingredients together in a pourable container. Add onion and bell pepper to skillet and cook stirring frequently, until onion is golden-brown. Add all the rest of the ingredients that are mixed together in the container. Reduce heat and stir to combine.

Serve in lettuce cups with peanuts as a topping and with rice on the side. Enjoy.

Thai Yellow Curry (Trader Joe’s) Chicken Dinner. It’s Yummy and Gluten-Free

Mmmm . . .Trader Joe’s market has two bottled curry gluten-free sauce options. A few weeks ago I posted a gluten-free dinner using Trader Joe’s Red curry sauce. Well the other night we tried Trader Joe’s Yellow curry sauce in a bottle and wow, yummy!

Trader Joe's Thai Yellow Curry Sauce in a bottle.

Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce in a bottle.

Preparation is still simple:

4 Servings
Heat oven to 375 degrees

Two whole (2 sides) boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 red bell pepper – cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion – cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can of sliced water chestnuts
1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce

Cashew pieces
Fresh lime

Serve Over:
Cooked rice and/or Thai rice noodles

Place chicken pieces in a glass casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat chicken pieces. Prepare and cook rice and/or rice noodles to be done when chicken is ready. Cook in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Toss chicken again and add the bell pepper pieces, onion pieces and the water chestnuts and the whole bottle of Thai Yellow Curry Sauce. Cook in oven for 15-20 mins more.

Add the red bell pepper, onion and water chestnuts and Thai Yellow Curry Sauce.

Add the red bell pepper, onion and water chestnuts and Thai Yellow Curry Sauce.

Remove from oven and stir to combine all ingredients. Serve over cooked rice and/or Thai rice noodles. Garnish with toppings. Enjoy.


Gluten-Free Fried Egg Taco

Mmm . . . butter . . . and egg and melted cheese with salsa on a corn tortilla.
This is a tasty combo perfect for a gluten-free light meal or a snack.


3/4 tbls butter
1 egg
salt & pepper to taste
1 king-size white corn tortilla
1 handful of shredded cheese of choice
1 or 2 spoonfuls of salsa


Melt the butter in a small saucepan.

Egg frying in butter.

Egg frying in butter.






Crack egg open and pour contents into pan with melted butter.

Cook egg as desired, sunny-side up, over-easy, or scrambled adding salt & pepper to taste. Remove egg from pan and place corn tortilla in pan with the remaining melted butter.

Cook tortilla in pan with melted butter. Place cooked egg and cheese on top.

Cook tortilla in pan with melted butter. Place cooked egg and cheese on top.






Place egg on top of tortilla and add cheese, cooking tortilla until edges are brown and the cheese is melted.

Fried Egg Taco with cheese and salsa.

Fried Egg Taco with cheese and salsa.






Remove all items once cheese is melted, and edges of tortilla are brown and place on plate. Dress with salsa.


Gluten-Free Mexican Taco Casserole

Gluten-Free Mexican Taco Casserole

Gluten-Free Mexican Taco Casserole

A tasty dish that is easy to make, with condiments that really set it apart and make it a complete meal. Just think of a taco that is made like a casserole dish that can be kept for left-overs really easily. That’s this Gluten-free Mexican Taco Casserole.

Need: 13 x 9″ glass casserole dish


12 King-size White Corn Tortillas
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion – diced
1 28 oz can Enchilada Sauce (mild, med or hot to liking)
1 15 oz can black beans
1 14 oz can sweet corn
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
1 can diced green chiles


Sour cream
Shredded Lettuce
Fresh Cilantro
Lime juice


Cut the King-size white corn tortillas in half to form 24 halves. Grease or spray the bottom of the casserole dish with oil. Cook ground beef and diced onion together until cooked through. Drain the fat. Add salt and pepper to liking.

Place 8 halves of corn tortillas in bottom of casserole dish, flat sides to the edge except for the two in center, to cover the bottom with one layer. Pour 1/3 can of Enchilada sauce (shake the can to mix the sauce) over tortillas (I poke two holes in can with can opener to pour out contents from can). Spread 1/2 of hamburger mix evenly over the tortillas, sprinkle 1/2 can of black beans evenly over meat, sprinkle 1/2 can of corn evenly over meat and beans, sprinkle 1 cup of cheese evenly over all and dot with 1/2 can of green chiles. Repeat tortilla layer and repeat filling layer saving about a handful of the cheese. Top with last tortilla layer, cover with remaining 1/3 can of Enchilada sauce and distribute remaining cheese over the top.

Place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 mins. When cooked through, the sauce should be bubbling and the cheese on top melted.

Remove from oven and serve by cutting into pieces. Top each serving with sour cream, shredded lettuce, salsa, fresh cilanto and lime juice. We place the condiments on the table for each person to “dress” his or her serving to taste.

This makes great left-overs too!

Thai Red Curry (Trader Joe’s) Chicken

Trader Joe’s products to the rescue again! For those of you who have a Trader Joe’s market nearby you know what I mean . . . for those of you who don’t, well sorry you’ll have to make your own Red Curry sauce.

Soccer season is here which means really fast dinners need to be on the agenda. Oldest son had his first practice last night (Monday) and everyone was ready to eat BEFORE we got home. No fear! I had a plan which was helped by middle son calling me on our way home – Oldest son was driving, so I can use the phone while driving now – asking how he could help get dinner started!

Here is what I told my helping son.

Serves 4-5 people

Put rice and water together in a saucepan but don’t turn on yet.
Set a large saucepan full of water on a burner (For Thai noodles)
(We salt the water for both with Garlic Salt)

3 Boneless, skinless Chicken breast halves – cut into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 box Thai rice noodles (stir fry kind)
1 bottle Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce
Frozen peas and carrots mixture
1 can diced water chestnuts

Fresh Cilantro chopped
1 whole (or more) fresh lime cut into slices

The toppings

Place chicken breast pieces in a casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in 350 degree oven. Start the rice. Cook chicken for 10 mins then pull out the chicken and stir to turn pieces over then place back in oven. Turn on the burner under the the noodle water. After another 10 mins pour whole bottle of Trader Joe’s Red Curry Chicken over chicken in pan and add frozen peas and carrots (a portion of the bag – to liking) and water chestnuts then place back in oven for another 10 mins. Meanwhile make the Thai rice noodles according to package directions.

When we returned home, helping son had the chicken in the oven, the rice started and a pan of water ready for boiling. I took over from there. Great work from middle son!

Prepare toppings: Chop washed cilantro, cut up lime, pour out peanuts.
Serve chicken mixture over rice or noodles or both. Top with Cilantro and peanuts and drizzle with fresh-squeezed lime. Serve with a salad and enjoy. The toppings really set this dish up to be a “knock-out”!


Honey-Mustard Gravy Chicken

“What’s for dinner tonight?” That question rings through our kitchen on an almost daily basis. Usually I have an answer to that question but sometimes I just don’t have a clue; so I rely on a tried-and-true standard option. Honey-Mustard Gravy Chicken is one of those tried-and-true creations that is easy to make and tasty for all to eat.

Honey Mustard Gravy Chicken

Serves: 4

Ready to eat in about 30 minutes or so

Need: Large skillet


8 Chicken tenderloins


Fresh ground pepper

2 Tbls butter

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp honey

2 tsp Tarragon


Melt butter in skillet. Sprinkle tenderloins with salt and pepper and place in heated skillet with melted butter. Cook on medium-high heat until tenderloins are browned and cooked through. Meanwhile, mix together the sour cream, mustard, honey and Tarragon in a small bowl or pourable cup to make the gravy. Pour gravy mix onto cooked chicken and cook and stir over low heat until gravy has warmed up and covers the chicken.

Serve with cooked rice and a veggie. The gravy tastes great on the rice too!

See . . . super easy!