Pepperoni Pinwheel Bites

My Mom used to make something her and her sister called a Not-So-Hot. Something like a Calzone, a Stromboli of sorts, depending on who you are and where you’re from. Soda/Pop/Cola kinda like that.

I didn’t have enough energy to do that, not that it was extremely time consuming, but I didn’t have a rolling pin, and it was late in the day after David had his dentist appointment. So I wanted something a little quicker to make and just as tasty.

Pepperoni Pinwheel Bites it was.

 

I already had all the ingredients I needed to make it, although they were bought for the Not-So-Hot I was going to make, but nothing would go to waste and it was sure to taste just as good.

At least I hoped it would.

I haven’t made the pinwheels since going gluten free. I haven’t found a pizza dough that I like, and haven’t been able to create a dough I liked enough either. So there I was in the frozen section of the food store and I saw the Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Dough.

Why not? The worst that could happen is that it tastes worse than all the other gluten free pizzas that are out there, and the best that could happen is that we enjoy it.

So the process began.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb Boars Head Slicing Pepperoni (From the Deli Counter. You want the large slices of Pepperoni for this, although smaller pieces would work as well.
  • 1/4 lb Sliced Provolone Cheese
  • 1/4 lb Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
  • Pizza Dough I used Pillsbury Gluten Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Preheat oven to 400° and bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is cooked thoroughly.

*If you are using this brand of dough, it suggests (for pizza) to pre bake the dough for a few minutes, then top with your toppings and bake again. I was fearful that this wouldn’t work as a one time bake, but it totally did.*

 

I mentioned I didn’t have a rolling pin, right? Well I improvised with a can of black beans that would later make the black bean brownies and got to rolling out the dough. I placed it between two layers of parchment paper, that I would later use to line a cookie sheet and bake the pinwheels on.

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Once the dough was rolled out very thin, I kept it on the parchment paper and I put it back into the refrigerator for 5 minutes. All the manipulation of the dough had made it very warm and I feared it would stick and not be able to roll up.

I took the dough out and layered both cheeses, in rows, as to alternate the flavors.

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Then came the layer of pepperoni to cover all of that delicious cheese. You want to make sure you get both the cheese and pepperoni to the edges of the dough.

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Next was the rolling part. Although in this photo I am rolling the dough from the widest part over, I would attempt rolling in from the narrower sides, so the ends of the roll don’t lose any cheese or seem empty.

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Once the roll was complete, I transferred it to a cookie sheet and put it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

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Then the fun part. Cutting them into pinwheels. They do get a little flat bottom on some of them, but all you have to do is reshape them into circles. Or leave them as is.

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After cutting them into pinwheels, I placed them on the cookie sheet, and popped them into the oven to bake away.

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After 25-30 min baking, I didn’t even have time to take a decent picture, as David was already trying to get his hands on them lol.

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They looked just as good as mom’s real pinwheels!

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And they tasted fantastic. No leftovers here, sadly. But that’s ok, because they were so easy to make, I’m sure they will be on the menu again very soon.

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Serve with your favorite sauce, and enjoy.

Lip Smacking Ribs in 1 hour! Say what?!

David has been loving his grill that he got back on Mother’s Day weekend and has been getting good use out of it too.

This weekend we went and did some food shopping at Aldi’s. If you have one nearby I suggest giving it a try. It is after all owned by the brother of the owner of Trader Joe’s. Yep the stores are brothers. They don’t have the exact same products, but the variety of items in Aldi’s is pretty extensive and they also have their own Gluten Free line of food called LiveGFree. Inexpensive, and quite good for 90% of the products. I personally don’t like the frozen pancakes, or the hot pocket knock offs. Let me also say, I was never a fan of the real hot pockets either so maybe that’s why.

While in Aldi, after hitting up Petco for some new food for Lilo & Stitch, we were searching for the rack of ribs we picked up a few weeks ago. One of the downfalls of Aldi is that some of their items are “Seasonal” and often aren’t there every trip.

I’m not normally a huge rib fan. I do enjoy them once in a while, but now that David has perfected a lip smacking rack of ribs (in no time I might add) they have become a more frequent request around the house. Even from, J his oldest son. Sadly, there were no ribs. Not the kind he wanted to buy anyway. So we settled on a rack of baby back ribs instead.

Oh my goodness, let me just tell you. The most juicy, tender, fall of the bone ribs I’ve ever eaten. Even compared to some smokehouse restaurants I’ve eaten at over the years. This was the bombdiggity!

We took the rack and cut it in half. Originally we were going to freeze one half of the ribs since it was just the two of us eating it this time, but decided to cook em up all at once and any leftovers could be frozen.

Time to prepare the rub, and figure out the best method to grill them up. We weren’t sure how we were going to go about seasoning them. Usually we just throw some Sweet Baby Rays Hickory BBQ Sauce on it, but we didn’t want sloppy wet ribs this night. We did want juicy however.

Our Rub: For 4 1/2 lbs of Ribs

  • 1 Tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Celery Salt
  • 1 Tbs Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Paprika
  • 1 Tbs Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbs Onion Powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set a side until ready to rub it up.

Make sure to remove the silver skin in the back end of the ribs. This will make them more tender and easier to cook.

Next step after getting the rub on is to wrap each half  up in aluminum foil. Then place them in fridge for at least a half hour *you could marinade it longer if you’d like and had the time.

Meanwhile get your gas grill at a temperature of at least 300°-350° Once your grill is maintaining a steady temperature, place your rib packages bone side down and grill for 25 min. Turning once and grill again for 25 min longer with the rib side facing down.

 

Once the 50 minutes are up remove the packages from the heat and carefully open them up. Remove the ribs out of the foil package, and drain off the juices that have collected and set them aside.

Transfer the ribs back to the grill and cook for about 5 minutes each side. Let the ribs rest for about 10 min after checking the temperature ~ it should reach 170°

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We’ve read a lot of recipes online about direct, indirect, smoking etc as far as grilling goes. All of the processes take a tremendous amount of time and yes they do yield fantastic results. But gotta be honest with you here, doing it this way, in a much shorter amount of time, gives us the best tasting ribs.

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Yes we might be biased to our recipe, but I guess anyone would if you found something you really liked and it didn’t take a huge amount of time to get a great pay off.

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All that extra juice we reserved earlier after removing the ribs from the foil pouches wasn’t needed. The ribs were so juicy and falling off the bone we didn’t feel the need for more. You could always add more if you’d like to.

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But with ribs like these, who really needs more sauce?

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Above all else, enjoy your lip smacking, fall of the bone in less than 1 hour ribs!!

 

 

Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper & Mozzarella stuffed Chicken Breasts

Yep it’s what’s for dinner. Well left overs for tonight, as I made this delectable dish last night.

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I’m often getting tired of making the same grilled chicken breasts marinated in Italian dressing, for dinner. Let’s face it, after so many times we feel we will cluck like a chicken sooner or later.  So while at the food store last night, I decided to reinvent a dish I made a few months ago after getting a great deal on asparagus. The only problem was, I wasn’t spending $4.99 lb for asparagus, so I improvised.

Dave and I love mushrooms, especially the baby portobello ones. So I bought my ingredients and went to work.

Ingredients:

  •  1 lb of thin sliced skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package of baby portobello mushrooms washed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup of diced roasted red peppers
  • 8 oz of sliced mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375° and set aside a 9 x 13 inch baking pan for use. Prep your mushrooms by washing, drying, and slicing into bite sized pieces. Place in a skillet over low heat and sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste.

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Remove mushrooms from skillet and place in a bowl. Mix in the roasted red peppers to the mushrooms and set aside. On a cutting board clean up your chicken cutlets removing any excess fat. Once chicken is trimmed up, lay pieces flat and pat dry with a paper towel. Layer cutlets with sliced mozzarella, then top with mushroom and roasted red pepper mixture.

Roll each chicken cutlet up, securing with toothpicks, and place in ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

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Bake for 30 min at 375° or until chicken is cooked to temperature and cheese is slightly browned.

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Remember we didn’t grease the pan, nor add any juice, but look at the amount of juice that came out of these cutlets. I skimmed some of the fat (which was almost none to be honest) in a gravy seperater cup and reserved the juice on the side.

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This was by far, the most tender, juicy and delicious chicken cutlets I’ve had in, well I don’t know how long. Surprisingly enough there are a few left over for tonight and we will be having it again.

Dinner is served, all because I took a few extra minutes in the produce aisle. I hope if you try this dish you enjoy it as much as we did, and please let me know how you liked it.

Enjoy !

#AtoZChallenge Y is for Yummy Chicken Enchiladas with green chilies and sour cream sauce

One of my favorite dishes to make recently is a version of Chicken Enchiladas with green chilies and sour cream sauce. Of course I took a traditional recipe using flour tortillas and AP flour and used Gluten Free substitutions. So for this recipe we are using Corn Tortillas and cornstarch. Where indicated you can use flour tortillas and all purpose flour. Totally up to you but let me tell you, David had never had an enchilada before this one, and he fell in love with it. After having this version, and trying a “real one” he only wants it this way.

Here’s a little YUM for today’s letter Y!

Ingredients For Enchiladas 

  • 10 or 12 pack of Mission brand Super Soft Extra Thin Style or Restaurant Style, Yellow or White Corn Tortillas.
  • 2 C shredded cooked chicken (I use Rotisserie Chicken from the store)
  • 2 C Sargentto brand 4 cheese Mexican style shredded cheese (Measure 1 C of cheese for mixing in with the chicken and set aside)
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 C of chicken broth
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 4oz can diced green chilies
  • 3 Tbs Pace Medium Chunky Salsa
  • 1 Tsp of black pepper
  • 1 Tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

In a skillet warm 7-8 corn tortillas until each one is soft and pliable, place on a dish and cover until ready to stuff with chicken mixture. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine shredded chicken, and 1 cup of shredded cheese, spoon mixture into each of the warmed tortilla shells and roll up. Place seam side down in pan until all of your shells are filled.

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In the same skillet you warmed the tortillas up in, melt the butter and add cornstarch and coook for at least 2 minutes. Add in the chicken broth while whisking until smooth and no lumps. Heat over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken and bubbles slightly. Stir in green chilies, salsa and then sour cream. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens again but do not let it come to a boil.

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Pour cheese mixture over enchiladas and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Once removed, let cool for a few minutes before serving with your favorite guacamole. For us that would be a homemade version that David has become a pro at. Honestly I enjoy his version the best. Funny thing is before we started dating he didn’t really eat much as far as Latin inspired food was concerned, unless you talk about a trip to Taco Bell :0) Now he loves eating it and more importantly he loves cooking it and he’s really good at it too. It’s so much fun cooking together even when he smears avocado on my nose lol.

imageIngredients for Guacamole

  • 1 Avocado
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 tbs chopped onion
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

 

Slice your avocado in half around the rim of the seed, remove the seed and scoop out the meat into a dish of choice.

Chop onion, grate garlic, juice lemon and set aside. Using the back of a fork mash the avocado leaving it a little chunky (or mash away depending how you like the texture) Add in the onion, garlic, garlic powder, lemon juice, Adobo, pepper and salt to taste. Mixing the least amount as possible. Refrigerate for a few minutes until ready to eat. Serve along side your favorite dish or eat it right out of the container for no reason at all except that Guacamole is delish!!.

 

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I hope you get to try out our version of Chicken Enchiladas with green chilies and sour cream sauce. It’s a fan favorite around our place, and I hope one day it will be for you as well!!

Damn good chowder

Dave and I have been experimenting in the kitchen a lot lately. 99% of our experiments turn out fantastic (to us) and most of the people we are cooking for if it’s not just us. We enjoy the time spent side by side mixing up something special to eat. It’s not always perfection, and sometimes he likes to add red pepper flakes to meatballs or something else we’re making and he can annoy me because I’m so used to doing something one particular way, but at the end of it all, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

This past weekend we were at it again, and decided to whip up some New England Clam Chowder. Neither of us had ever made it before, but we’ve eaten it plenty of times. I went to the fish market and picked up a dozen chowder clams, when we were getting ready to shuck them, we didn’t have a shucker. So hammer and butter knife and two sets of hands were going to have to work. It did, but after 17 clams ( the fish monger gave me more than the dozen I paid for thankfully) there wasn’t all that much in way of clams. So we went to the food store and picked up a can of Cento brand clams. Good idea because it helped make this chowder nice, thick, and hearty. Every bite had a decent amount of clams, you certainly weren’t missing them.

**I made this recipe gluten free because of my gluten sensitivity, but you can substitute regular all purpose flour.   image

Damn Good New England Clam Chowder

  • 5 slices bacon cooked
  • 6 oz diced cooked spiral ham (optional but added a lovely flavor)
  • 1 c finely chopped sweet onion
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 1 quart half & half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 c cooked diced potatoes
  • 1 10 oz can whole baby clams plus juice
  • 1 dozen chowder clams shucked and cleaned
  • 1 cup of bottled clam juice
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

*When we made this recipe we had intentions of using fresh clams like I mentioned above. If you would like to do the same, follow recipe instructions as listed above. If you don’t want to shuck your clams use 2~ 10 oz cans of whole baby clams and you will yield the same results.*

Peel, wash, dice, and cook your potatoes till almost fork tender but not fully cooked. Cook bacon until crispy, chop and set aside. Chop ham into bite sized pieces if using and set aside.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, over low heat melt butter, then saute onions until golden brown. Once onions have the right color, add bacon, ham, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Saute about 3 min, then sprinkle in flour and cook for 7 minutes; stirring constantly.

Raise heat to low~medium, add half & half, chicken broth, and cooked potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes; stirring frequently.

Add the canned clams with their juice, fresh clams (if you are using), bottled clam juice, and lemon juice. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with gluten free crackers or bread and enjoy. Makes 6 servings. 

 

 

Gluten free meatloaf, and stuffed sweet baby peppers. It’s what’s for dinner.

 

Or at least it WAS for dinner the other night 🙂

We’ve been cooking a lot more at Dave’s lately, and it’s been fun. A little messy, and a few mishaps, but totally fun. We like to change it up a little bit, well as much as we can, having to stick to gluten free and sometimes nut free because of his youngest son, N.

We’ve often made meatloaf, and Dave loves the way we make it. Usually stuffed with a cheesy center, but this time I went a different direction. I followed a recipe a gluten free friend had shared this time last year. I had made it before, adapting to my personal tastes and it turned out well. So the other night I went a little different as well and Dave proclaimed as we were devouring the meatloaf that “You MUST remember how you made this, the type of cheese you used and everything else. This is the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever eaten and the best you’ve ever made” We also tried a recipe my friend Kathy made on New Years Eve of stuffed sweet baby peppers that she knew I could eat. They were bite-sized little flavor bombs lol so I tried to re-create them. I admit I didn’t like the way they looked while cooking in the oven, but they tasted amazeballs.

So I proceeded to jot down my adjustments to the original recipes, which you can find here and here.

Gluten Free Meatloaf

  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • ½ tsps of salt
  • 1 tsp Goya Adobo
  • ½ tsp freshly ground cracked pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, minced
  • 1 cup of gluten free breadcrumbs
  • A little butter
  • 1 tsp red chile pepper flakes or powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Baby Rays hickory & brown sugar bbq sauce + 1 tbs for topping.
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire (The Worcestershire may contain gluten… be careful to check and omit if desired)
  • 1 cup shredded Kraft Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cabbot Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese

Mix cheeses together and set aside 1/4 of a cup for topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over low/medium heat and saute onion until translucent. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, minus the bbq sauce and cheese that is reserved for topping.
  4. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place on parchment lined baking sheet. (I don’t like using a loaf pan because depending on what grade meat you use, there can be way too much oil).
  5. Place the meatloaf into the preheated oven, and for the last 10 min cover the top of meatloaf with reserved bbq sauce and cheese. Continue cooking until you reach 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer in the deepest interior of the loaf (about 50 min)

Oven times and temperatures can vary so please follow cooking instructions carefully.img_0434

 

 

Stuffed Baby Peppers

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby pepper
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the onion, cheeses, and thawed peas, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon,(chopsticks, or seafood spoon) and fill each pepper with the mixture.
  5. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*Cooking tip: I didn’t have a small dessert spoon on hand only a normal dinnerware teaspoon which I found to be too big for stuffing the small peppers. Using chopsticks, or even a small seafood spoon/fork helped fill the peppers.

I admit, they don’t look all that pretty, but like I said before they sure tasted amazing. The best part was cooking together. We have fun, get on each others nerves, ok he kinda gets on mine sometimes because I’ve never had a boyfriend who wanted to cook together and as much fun as it is because we can do it together it takes some getting used to. BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world.

It’s brought us closer together and if I could impart some relationship wisdom, I suggest cooking with your significant other once in a while. Even if you have specific ways of doing things, you can learn from each other and about each other. Plus who doesn’t like getting messy in the kitchen with your man/woman? 😉