Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunday Pancakes (Whole Wheat or Gluten-Free Quinoa/Buckwheat)

These are only Sunday Pancakes because I never think to make time for pancakes during the week.  They are, however, fast and easy to make so could very well be Everyday Pancakes.  Usually I make a full batch and freeze the leftovers so I can just pop them in the toaster and eat in a pinch during the week.  They also make great peanut butter sammies.

This week, we have company in town, so I made regular and Gluten-Free for options.  I loved the flavor of the Gluten-Free ones and didn't find they lacked for texture, either.  The fam said the regular 'cakes were delish as well.  Regulars were adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and the Gluten-Free were adapted from Karen Robinson's Cooking Gluten-Free!: A Food Lover's Collection of Chef and Family Recipes Without Gluten or Wheat

Pancakes (Gluten-Full)
  • 2C flour (I use 1/2 all-purpose & 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 1T baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1.5T sugar or 1T agave
  • 1 or 2 eggs (or 1egg & 1egg white)
  • 1-2c milk (cow, soy, almond, rice.....)
1. Preheat griddle or large skillet over medium heat while you make the batter
2. Mix together the dry ingredients.  Beat the egg(s) into 1c of the milk, then gently stir the milk/eggs into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to cover the flour- many lumps will remain.  Add additional milk to adjust the thickness to your preference.  3. Put a bit of butter or oil in you skillet (you can skip this if using a non-stick), then drop into pan in ~1/4c blobs, leaving a few inches between if you care about them touching.
4. Cook them 1-2 minutes, until you see the top bubbling and the bottom golden brown, then flip for 1-2 minutes to brown the other side.
5. You can hold them in the oven on warm while cooking or just serve them up as they go!

Gluten-Free Pancakes
  • 1C Buckwheat or Quinoa Flour
  • 1C Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (Wendy Wark's or Tom Sawyer's are great) 
  • 1/2t Salt
  • 1t Cream of Tarter
  • 1/2t Baking Soda
  • 2t Baking Powder
  • 1/4c Sugar (or 2-3T agave)
  • 1/2c Vegetable oil (or 1/4c oil and 1/4c apple sauce)
  • 3 Eggs (or egg substitute- I used 2 eggs and 1T flax meal mixed with 2T water)
  • 1-11/2C Milk (Cow's, soy, almond, rice...)
1. Preheat griddle or large skillet over medium/medium-low heat while you make the batter
2. Mix together the dry ingredients.  Beat the egg(s) into 1c of the milk, then gently stir the milk/eggs into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to cover the flour- many lumps will remain.  Add additional milk to adjust the thickness to your preference. 
3. Put a bit of butter or oil in you skillet (you can skip this if using a non-stick), then drop into pan in ~1/4c blobs, leaving a few inches between if you care about them touching.
4. Cook them 1-2 minutes, until you see the top bubbling and the bottom golden brown, then flip for 1-2 minutes to brown the other side.  These pancakes cook much faster than the other recipe, so a lower heat is a good choice
5. You can hold them in the oven on warm while cooking or just serve them up as they go!

All good parents give their toddler a knife to help mix with, right?

If you like berries, just add some onto the batter once you drop them in the pan.

Serve with warm maple syrup and butter or peanut butter or powdered sugar....

Remember to keep the leftover pancakes in the freezer and toast them in the toaster for healthy snacks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baked Ziti (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Adaptable)

Mike's folks are in town this weekend and we made delicious regular and gluten-free pancakes which I will post soon, but we collectively decided that pancakes are not a good Sunday evening recipe to post- who is going to remember them by the end of the week?  On the other hand, Baked Ziti (or penne or rigatoni) is a great weekday dinner.  Furthermore, this recipe in particular lends itself very well to splitting into two batches and freezing for later use, or packing up to give to another family who could use some meal help. This is also a very fast and easy recipe to throw together quickly.  Recently we made a batch for a co-worker's family and were told that their finicky toddler ate it up- serious praise if you know just how discerning a toddler can be!
And while we are talking about toddlers, why not toss in a handful of finely chopped or pureed spinach or zucchini into the sauce when you are making it to boost the goodness?

  • 1lb Ziti, Rigatoni, Penne or other totally tubular pasta*
  • 2C Mozzarella cheese, shredded**
  • 1/4C Pecorino or Parmesan cheese**
  • 5-6C Marinara (See Below) or Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • 1lb ground beef, ground turkey breast or chicken/turkey sausage (optional)***
Quick Marinara
  • 1T Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2T minced fresh basil or 2T basil pesto
  • 1/4t sugar
  • salt/pepper to taste
1.  Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 400deg.  Meanwhile, bring 4qt of salted water to boil in large pot.
~*(see note below regarding using the ground meat)~
2.  If using already made sauce, heat it on the stove on medium heat in small/medium sauce pan.  Otherwise, prepare the Quick Marinara as follows: Heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium sized sauce pan over medium  heat until garlic is fragrant (~1-2 minutes).  Stir in the tomatoes with the juice and bring to simmer, cooking until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the basil/pesto, sugar and salt/pepper to taste.
3.  Cook the pasta according to directions for 'al dente' and drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
4.  Return pasta to the pot, then add the sauce to the pasta and stir, using the reserved pasta water to loosed the mixture as needed.
5.  Spread half of the pasta mix into an oiled 9x13" pan (or 2 9x9" pans), sprinkle half of the Mozzarella and half of the parm/pec.  Spread the remaining pasta mix and cover with the rest of the cheese.
6.  Bake until cheeses turn golden brown, about 20  minutes.  Let stand ~5min before serving.

*Gluten-Free Note: I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Penne and it was delicious!  I haven't tried freezing these noodles yet,  but with all leftover GF pasta, I would add some extra liquid during the second heating process.  Please, if anyone tries this, do leave a comment for all of our growth.

**Dairy-Free Note: I used soy-cheese and Pecorino and it was also great for me.  Try any cheese alternative here as long as it melts.  Even a goat Feta would be excellent!

***Meaty Note:  If using ground beef, sausage, turkey or your favorite other choice, add this to the pan and cook it fully prior to adding your Roasted Tomato Sauce.  If using the Quick Marinara, add it in the oil/garlic step and continue as listed once the meat is fully cooked.  Incidentally, in our house we found that half turkey breast and half chix sausage is our favorite mix.  I typically make a boatload of the meat sauce and freeze what I don't use for quick future meals.

Because I was making a standard pasta and GF option,  I didn't mix the noodles with the sauce this time- instead I layered them all in like a lasagna so I could make one sauce, but separate pans of noodles.

Immediate on the L, freezer on the R

This is the GF/DF version- yum!
~Adapted from a recipe in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, revised edition.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel pretty sure that these just may be the best ever chocolate chip cookies ever in the whole wide world.  They have completely allowed me to get my Chocolate Chip Cookie Confidence back, which had been deeply damaged for years.  Since I have only slightly adapted this from a Cooks Illustrated recipe in the May/June 2009 issue, I can say this without any ego involved.  You will have to try them to confirm, but I look forward to the feedback.  They are absolutely full of all things gluten, dairy, sugar, egg and you-name-it, and should never be stripped of their very necessity in creating this harmony of sweet success. 

The need for me to find this recipe had been deep and long-lasting.  Many lifetimes ago, I actually used to be a good baker- even baked for a few different restaurants - but I went a desperately long decade+ with rock-bottom Chocolate Chip Cookie Confidence.  Year after year of crispy, hard, nasty attempts had left me but a puddle of pathetic memories and almost pure fear-avoidance behaviours when the thought of trying again came along.  If I hadn't been able to make Oatmeal or Snickerdoodles, I may not have made it at all. 

The relevance of this is very profound, since I married a man who loves cookies as much as baseball or family.  He is powerless against even the most modestly tasty cookie- so one can only imagine how I must have felt when four years ago, after a fresh batch of nasties came out of the oven, he replied "no thank  you" without even looking me in the eyes.  NO THANK YOU? .....NO THANK YOU???? Naturally, I was furious.  I proceeded to chip the rest of the cookies off of the cookie sheet and let them shatter into the compost bin.  Then I waited..... and then these appeared.  They are perfect- chewy, but with a bit of a crispness to the edge and they stay soft until the very last cookie is gone.  They are rich and toffee-like, but not so much that you can't eat the whole batch if you are so inclined.

The Cookies (makes 22-24 cookies: serves 1)

  • 1-3/4C unbleached all-purpose flour*
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 14T (1-3/4sticks) unsalted butter**
  • 1/2C granulated sugar
  • 3/4C packed dark brown sugar
  • 1t table salt
  • 2t vanilla
  • 1 large egg (umbilical cords removed, obviously)
  • 1 large egg  yolk (remove these, too)
  • 1 to1-1/4C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts (totally optional- These don't fly in our household)
1.  Preheat oven to 375 and adjust oven rack to middle position.
2.  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3.  Whisk flour(s) and baking soda together in small/medium bowl and set aside.
4.  Heat 10T of the butter in a small/medium skilled over medium heat until melted, about 2 minutes.  Then continue cooking with heat on med-high swirling pan continuously until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma- 1-3 minutes longer.  Remove the skillet front the heat and, using large heatproof spatula, transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl.  Stir the remaining 4T butter into the hot butter until completely melted.
5.  Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until incorporated.  Add the egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps left, about 30 sec.  Let the mix stand and rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 sec.  Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times- it will become thick, shiny and smooth. 
6.  Using spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in chips (and nuts) until just completely combined.
7.  Scoop in 2T heaps (I use a cookie/ice cream scooper) onto prepared sheets, leaving ample space for the cookie to spread out.  I put ~8 per sheet.
8.  Bake cookies one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set, but centers are still soft- about 9-12 minutes.  If you are quite particular, you can rotate the pan half way through for complete perfection.  Transfer to wire rack to cool if you think they will last that long.

*I often mix white and whole wheat with no flavor or texture sacrifice- that makes them healthy, right?
**If you don't have unsalted butter in your pantry, reduce the salt in the recipe by maybe 1/2 or so

NOTE:  Important final note here.... Do not be put off by the apparent extra steps of melting the butter and such.  First of all, they are so flipping good, you will never go back once you have tried them.  Second of all, it is actually quite a time saving measure given that you no longer need to go through the arm aching steps of creaming the butter and sugars together.  Plus, while you are letting it all rest for 3 minutes, you can get all of the cleaning done and it is all a wrap when the cookies are out of the oven.  For me, it is much easier than typical recipes.  Try it!

Bubblin' butter in the pan- keep swirling...

Get all those browned bits!

We all need some space


Valenintes greetings to all!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chicken Marsala Quinoa Casserole (Gluten-Free/Dairy Adaptable)

It ain't pretty, but it's tasty!
This was adapted from this recipe that I found in the Seattle Times.  It happened to come out on the exact day that all of the necessary ingredients arrived in my CSA box. Quinoa? Crimini mushrooms? Sweet potatoes? Booze?  Sign me up!  Only one snag here...... I find Marsala wine most distasteful.  Gratefully, this was easily remedied with a mix n' match with some goodies from the liquor cupboard- and even better that I made it during nap time, thereby making it totally acceptable to be sampling the sweet boozey nectar before 5:00pm PST.  For those of you who like Marsala wine, this will be even easier, but you may have to forgo the sampling.

Anyway, collectively our family thought this was a delicious wintry meal with rich, hearty, stick-to-your-ribsedness.  It will certainly be a seasonal player here.

  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked*
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 12 oz crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced or quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or 1t dry)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 11/2t salt, divided
  • 1/2t ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (about 1-1.5lbs)
  • 3/4 Marsala wine (or about 1:1 mixed of Dry Vermouth & Sherry wine or Tawny Port)
  • 1T cornstarch
  • 1/2 heavy cream (I used soy creamer here)
  • 4c cooked quinoa, cooled (about 1c dry: 2c water)
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2c Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
*for cooking the sweet potato, pierce the skin and either roast it in the oven for about 40 minutes or so, or microwave it on high for 6-7 minutes.  I barely know how to reheat Chinese food in the microwave, so please feel free to let me know how this goes, I hear it is a snap.

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, then mushrooms, garlic, thyme, pepper onion plus 1t of the salt and cook until mushrooms have released all of their liquid and onions are very soft and translucent.  (about 8-9 minutes for most folks, I have a need to kill my onions and make them barely recognizable as their former selves, so this step took me about 20 min)
3. While these are cooking, mix together cornstarch, wine and cream in small bowl.
4. Add the chicken to the mushroom/onion skillet and cook until the chicken is browned and almost fully cooked through, then add the wine/cream mixture and bring to simmer. Let simmer 2 minutes.
5. Arrange the chicken and mushroom goodness in and even layer over the bottom of a 2-qt casserole dish.
6. In separate bowl, smash up the peeled sweet potato, then add the cooked quinoa, eggs, remaining 1/2t salt and pinch o' nutmeg and mix it up.
7. Spread the quinoa and such over the top of the chicken and mushroom mixture.  Sprinkle with parm or pecorino an bake for about 25 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling.

One should never cut onions without the proper equipment
just in the pan

cooked to perfection!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oatmeal Everyday Cookies (Wheat-free/Adaptable, Dairy-Free/Adaptable)

It has recently come to my attention that bacon is not an everyday food.  Therefore, it seems only fair to have a delightful treat that is.  Hence, the everyday cookie.  This has not been created in this house as Gluten-free, but the incidental wheat free version (since I ran out of whole wheat flour) was great!  My first wheat-free trial was with rye flour and was delicious, but the spelt flour was even better!  I imagine a combination of brown rice flour and maybe buckwheat with 1/2-1tsp xanthan gum would work well for the flour listed below, too.  As with all things Fawnalicious, this is most definitely adaptable to whatever you decide to substitute in it where you see fit for your taste and what you are trying to use up in your fridge!  Don't have a banana around?  Use more yam or maybe applesauce.  No yam?  Use butternut squash....  The real issue here is how to still maintain the mystique of a cookie being a treat, while letting your wee ones eat as much as they like since it is packed with goodness.

  • 1C Flour (whole wheat, rye, spelt or GF flours as noted above)
  • 1C Old fashion rolled oats
  • 1tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1/2tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/3C firmly packed brown sugar (Or 2/3c if skipping agave)
  • 3T Agave nectar
  • 6T butter or non-dairy choice
  • 1/2C Banana puree or mashed banana (about one banana is enough without making the flavor too dominant)
  • 1/2 C Yam or Sweet potato puree/mash (can sub applesauce...)
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • 1lg egg (OK egg white only)
  • 1/2 C raisins, currents or cranberries...
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts if you play that game
Directions: Preheat oven to 350.
1.  In small bowl, thoroughly mix all dry ingredients except sugar together
2.  Cream together butter and sugar in medium bowl til just mixed
3.  Add the pureed veg/banana, egg, agave and vanilla to the butter mixture and combine, then add the dry ingredients and combine til just mixed.
4.  Mix in your currents or raisins and nuts if using.
5.  Scoop heaping tablespoon size  dollops onto greased cookie sheet or parchment lined cookie sheet
6.  Cook 12-15 minutes, then cool on sheet ~2 minutes before transferring to your tummy, I mean cooling rack.

Smushed up banana and roasted yams here

I like currents the best for a non-dominating raisin option

Adapted from a recipe in Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld.