Crepes make delicious snacks

Gluten-free bread is expensive, and flavor is always kind of a crapshoot. It’s never really going to taste exactly like bread and different flours taste different. I like the bread I make from scratch.

But here’s the thing: making bread from scratch takes forever. Even (especially?) gluten-free bread. I’ve got a good recipe – that’s another post though.

So a couple of weekends ago, I was craving peanut butter. Normally, I’ll cut up an apple or cut a celery stalk and have some peanut butter. That was not going to work this time, because it turns out that I was craving a peanut butter sandwich. And of course – no bread in the house. (There’s almost never GF bread in the house.) Peanut butter tastes terrible on corn tortillas – don’t try it, just trust me – and so what to do?

The answer, my friends, is crepes. Crepes are quick to make, quick to cook, easy to eat (I had one with peanut butter while I was finishing cooking the batch, thus sating my craving), and then you have extra crepes around! At least for a bit until everyone else eats them. They go fast.

Gluten-Free Crepes

5.5oz ATK GF flour blend
1.5t sugar
0.25t salt
1.5c milk (the recipe calls for whole, we never have whole in the house, 1% works fine)
2 large eggs
2T unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Start heating a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. We actually have a crepe pan, so if you have one, please use it instead. A skillet is a fine substitute and not having a crepe pan should not stop you.

Whisk the dry ingredients (which includes the sugar this time!) into a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisk until all the lumps are gone.**

Once the pan is heated, pour about 0.25c of batter into the pan and swirl to get a thin, even layer of batter. (This is easily the hardest part of making crepes, and your first crepe is often kind of a mess. It’s ok, even if it looks bad, it makes a nice snack while you’re cooking the rest of them.)

Cook the crepe without moving until the edges are brown (about a minute). Gently slide a spatula around and under the crepe, loosening and then trying to flip. Cook until second side is lightly spotted – only about 30 seconds or so. Then transfer to a waiting plate. Repeat until your batter is done, placing one crepe on top of another.

This is the crepe recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Be Gluten-Free, which is a cookbook I HIGHLY recommend if you’re a gluten-free person like myself.

** Aside: I often mix the wet ingredients together in to a 4c pyrex measuring cup and then put the dry into the wet, to make the batter easier to pour into the pan.

Snack time: granola

One of my big life hacks, it seems, is “make a big batch of something and then eat it bit by bit!” Turns out you can do that with granola as well as soup. I make a batch on Sunday, and then it’s my work snack all week long.

3c rolled oats (Not instant. Instant bad.)
3T brown sugar
0.5t ground cinnamon
0.25t kosher salt

Mix these all together in a big bowl. Heat the oven to 300F.

0.33c honey
0.25c olive oil
1t vanilla

Whisk these ingredients together. I usually do it in a measuring cup, but a small bowl will work too. Pour into oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well mixed.

Spread it all on a cookie sheet. Cook for 15 minutes, pull it out and stir. Put back in the oven for 5-15 minutes, until it’s golden brown.

Cool the granola on the sheet for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The granola hardens as it cools; also, if you don’t stir it the liquified sugars will cement the granola to your pan. Stirring. It’s important.

1c total various assorted add-ins: peanuts, dried fruit, seeds, tree nuts, whatever

I usually use peanuts, pepitas, and dark chocolate chips. (One-third cup of each, totaling 1 cup.) Put them in a super big bowl. Once the granola is dried, put that in the bowl and mix until well-blended. Store in an air-tight container.

It’s like a pasta-y stir fry

Because I am a working parent, quick dinners are a must. I’m a big fan of making a big pot of soup on the weekends and storing it in individual sized containers.

I’m also a big fan of stir-fries and pastas. This drunken noodle recipe is a bit of a hybrid. It’s an asian-style stir fry that uses rice noodles. Like any stir-fry, it requires some chopping, but it cooks quickly. It’s probably 45-ish minutes from pulling out the recipe to setting the serving dish on the table.

12oz rice noodles
12 oz chicken breast (the packages of chicken breast at our grocery store are 1lb, we just use the whole thing)
1T + 0.25c tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or heck, if you’re not gluten-free, regular soy sauce is probably fine!)
0.75c packed brown sugar
0.33c lime juice (~3 limes if you’re juicing your own)
0.25c water
0.25c Asian chili-garlic sauce
0.25 c vegetable oil
0.5 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces (~6c)
1.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

  1. Cover noodles in very hot tap water. Leave until pliable (~35 minutes, which, if you do this first and then chop the chicken & veggies, is conveniently about how long until you’ll need them again).
  2. Slice chicken breasts into strips 0.25″ thick. Toss with 1T tamari sauce.
  3. Whisk together remaining tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2T oil in 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for ~3 minutes. The strips should be nearly cooked through. Transfer to clean bowl.
  5. Add 1T oil to skillet. Add cabbage and cook until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
  6. Wipe out skillet, add 3T oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add drained rice noodles and tamari mixture, tossing gently until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender. (This typically takes ~5 minutes, but the recipe claims it could take as long as 10. That’s never been my experience.) Add chicken-cabbage mixture and cilantro. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Sprinkle scallions & serve.

Tuna salad is yummy

I wish I had something more interesting to say about tuna salad other than: it’s delicious! Some spread on a piece of toast makes a good protein-y snack! It’s easy to make a double-batch and then leave it in the fridge for the week! All of these things are true, of course. They just aren’t great insights. OTOH, what would an insight about tuna salad look like?*

To make your own yummy tuna salad:
2-6oz containers of tuna packed in water
2T lemon juice
0.5t salt
0.25t pepper
1 rib celery, minced
2T minced red onion
2T minced pickle
1 small garlic clove, minced
2T fresh parsley, minced
0.5c mayo
0.25t dijon mustard

Thoroughly drain the the tuna and shred with fingers. Put in bowl along with all ingredients on the list up to the mayo. Mix well. Then add the mayo and mustard. Mix again. You’re done!

* “The history of tuna salad goes back the court tradition of giving a large fish to your lover during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine…” Yeah, no.

 

Mmm…. guacamole

a bowl of homemade guacamoleThere’s really only one thing to do when you have a bunch of avocados that are about to be too squishy to use: make guacamole!

This is the Alton Brown guac recipe, and yes, it controversially uses tomatoes. I like extra veggies.

3 Haas Avocados (I had a bunch of small avocados from Trader Joe’s – I just used the 4 or 5 I had since they were on the teeny side)
1 lime, juiced
0.5t kosher salt
0.5t cumin
0.5t cayenne (yes, you can lower this amount if you find it too spicy)
0.5 onion, diced
0.5 jalapeño, diced (I remove the seeds – the cayenne gives it enough kick)
1 roma tomato (the recipe calls for 2, but that always seems like overkill to me)
1T chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Scoop out the avocado pulp and put it in a large bowl with the lime juice, toss to coat. Add the spices, then use a fork (or your potato masher if you have one) to mash everything together. Fold in all the other ingredients. Let it sit for an hour, then serve.

Corn muffins: better than you remember

Corn muffins, in my world, are a breakfast food. Hot from the oven, broken into pieces, butter and some maple syrup on them? They’re a pretty good breakfast food. Bacon is a fine accompaniment, if you want a little protein. They’re also good with chili, if you want them for a non-breakfast meal. Between my husband, my daughter, and myself, a dozen lasts less than 24 hours in our house.

Corn Muffins

7.5oz GF flour (I use ATK’s GF flour)
6.67oz corn meal
1.5t baking powder
1t baking soda
0.5t salt
0.25t xanthan gum
1.33c sour cream (we were short of sour cream, so I substituted plain whole fat greek yogurt – worked like a charm)
5.25oz sugar
0.67c milk
2 large eggs
10T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. Mix dry ingredients (not the sugar, which is a wet ingredient) together in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients (but only 8T of melted unsalted butter) in another. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix until no lumps remain. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 500F. Spray muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Portion batter evenly into muffin tin, brush tops with last 2T of butter. Bake for 7 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temp to 400F, and bake for 7 more minutes.
  4. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, and on wire rack for 10 more minutes. Serve warm.

Madeleines are wonderful and delicious

I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was to find a madeleine recipe in the second volume of America’s Test Kitchen’s Gluten Free cookbook. I bought a madeleine pan shortly before discovering that not eating gluten made me feel better, so it only got used a few times, mostly for bake sales. It’s hard to cook something you love but can’t eat. It was the first recipe I made out of the book.

Lemon Madelines

2.5oz GF flour (I usually use the ATK GF blend)
0.25t baking powder
0.125t salt
1 large egg + 2 large yolks
2.67oz sugar
4T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1T grated lemon zest
1.5t vanilla

  1. Mix dry ingredients (sugar is a wet ingredient, remember) in a bowl. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl until well combined and very smooth. Stir in flour mixture with rubber spatula and mix until dough is homogeneous and smooth. Let batter rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Spray pan with vegetable oil spray (I forgot to do this with one of my two batches and getting the cookies out was doable, but it was easier with the spray). Portion batter into molds of madeleine pan, about 2t per cookie. (Seriously, BUY ONE. Madeleines are SO EASY to make and everyone is so impressed when you can do it, but the hardest part is talking yourself into buying a specialized pan.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and they spring back when pressed lightly.
  3. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then let them cool completely on a clean dishtowel.

I suspect you can make them without the lemon and they’ll be fine. I also made an orange-cardamom batch (I love cardamom) – you omit the vanilla, swap the lemon zest for orange, and add 0.5t ground cardamom to sugar mixture in step 1. So good.

A near-perfect breakfast food

Because sometimes you just crave pancakes, even when you’re gluten-free. Add maple syrup and bacon (sometimes I substitute raspberry jam for the syrup), and you’re good to go.

Pro tip: if you’re reheating pancakes, the toaster oven is a better choice than the microwave.

Buttermilk Pancakes

10.5oz GF flour (I use the America’s Test Kitchen blend)
1t salt
1t baking powder
0.5t baking soda
2T sugar
1.75 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
4T unsalted butter, melted

  1. Start heating skillet/griddle. Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl and wet ingredients in another. (I use a 4-c measuring cup for the wet ingredients. It works well.)
  2. (Redacted because the ATK GF Cookbook wants you to separate the eggs, and whip the whites separately to make the pancakes lighter and fluffier. I find that this makes the pancakes so tall they don’t cook well – the middle never gets all the way done. So you can whip the egg whites to a froth, but be forewarned.)
  3. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until batter has thickened and there are no lumps. (If you’ve actually done the thing where you whip the egg whites, this is when you fold them into the rest of the batter.)
  4. Use a 0.25c measure to portion batter onto skillet/griddle. Cook pancakes until the tops bubble and bottom is browned. Flip. Cook for a couple minutes longer. Eat immediately.

 

Eat yer veggies


I am a pretty boring lunch person. It’s either leftovers (if I’m feeling lazy) or a salad. Honestly, I prefer the salad. But it’s almost always the *same* salad, the one pictured above.

What’s in it? I’m glad you asked:

  • Quinoa
  • Refried Beans
  • Cheese

I put these three ingredients on a plate or in a bowl and then heat them up in the microwave. Then I add:

  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Diced red and green bell peppers
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole

The best part about this salad is that I can make 5 days of it on a Sunday night (two containers, one that gets heated up, the other of cold ingredients) and then I have a good selection of veggies for lunch throughout the week.

Leftover taco meat, if that’s a thing in your house, is a great addition.

Consider this today’s adulting tip.

Homemade chicken stock is easier than you think

This is a terrible photo.

Whilst cleaning out the freezer (still nesting, y’all – not pregnant. Really, really not pregnant. *shudders*), I found a number of stashed leftover chicken backs and wings and necks. I must have saved them to make stock and then forgotten about them.

My go-to chicken stock recipe is easy enough that if I’d remembered they were there, I’d totally have used them. It takes roughly an hour and minimal ingredients for some pretty good broth.

Chicken Stock

a couple of pounds of leftover chicken bits, preferably frozen raw, not already cooked, chopped into 2″ pieces (this is when a meat cleaver comes in handy)
an onion, chopped
some salt
8c boiling water

  1. Heat some oil (1T-ish) in a stock pot on medium heat. Sauté the onion pieces. Once done, move them to a separate bowl.
  2. Add a little more oil. Place about half the chicken pieces in the bottom of the pan. Sauté until they’re no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Move to the bowl with the onions.
  3. Add a little more oil and repeat with the second batch of chicken pieces.
  4. Return the contents of the bowl to the stockpot, cover, and lower heat to low or medium low. Let cook for 20 minutes, until the juices have come out.
  5. Add 8c of boiling water to the pan along with 0.5t of salt. You can add a bay leaf at this point if you want.
  6. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Voila! Use a strainer to drain the stock into a bowl, separating out the chicken and onion pieces. Let cool, remove fat that accumulates at the top of the bowl.
  8. Store until you’re ready to use it.

This is one of the first things I learned how to cook as a post-college adult. It’s pretty easy, and homemade stock tastes SO MUCH BETTER that the store-bought stuff.