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!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper (Gluten-Free/Adaptable, Dairy-Free/Adaptable)

Time for some serious home cookin' here in the Great Northwest.  While our family did have one blissful week of sun and BBQ while watching spring baseball and talking endless Physical Therapy with good friends, we are back to what may be the rainiest six months ever in Seattle (somehow, rain just isn't as romantic when I can't leave the house on a whim with my snowboard anymore...).  Gratefully there is the kitchen and my beautiful 2-and-a half-year-old sidekick who is showing lots of interest in being in the kitchen with me. 

This has been one of my friends and my favorite easy meals for several years now and it just occurred to me the other day to adapt it for a gluten/dairy sensitive meal and enjoy it again.  I found that the brown rice pasta I used absorbed less stock than it's semolina cousin, so I would reduce it by a bit from the original next time.  I had to simmer it several minutes longer to absorb/evaporate the extra broth which left the pasta much softer than I would prefer, but Mike loved it ("It's almost like a stroganoff").  Gratefully he doesn't mind a mushy noodle, but I will change the ratio in the list below for others.  I hope you like it!  I further adapted it to suit what I had on hand in the kitchen and strongly encourage you to do the same as it is very forgivable and delicious.  Also, its fast!

Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper
  • 1 tbls Olive oil
  • 1 Onion minced (I skipped this, I didn't have one)
  • 1 lb. Chicken or Turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 3 medium Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 C Oil-packed Sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine (canned diced tomatoes will sub in here fine if you don't have SD-toms on hand)
  • 8 oz penne (~2.5C) - I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Penne
  • 2 C Low-sodium Chicken broth
  • 1/2C Heavy cream (I subbed MimicCream)
  • 5oz baby spinach leaves (I used dried wild mushrooms and peas instead tonight)
  • 1oz grated Parmesan or Pecorino (~1/2cup)
  • salt & pepper
1.  Heat oil over medium heat in deep sided 12" skillet until shimmering .  Add the onion if using and about 1/2tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2.  Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes.
3.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Sprinkle the tomatoes over the sausage.  If you are substituting something instead of the spinach, this is a great time to add it to the mix.  Pour the broth and cream or MimiCream over the pasta.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.  About 10 minutes for semolina pasta, or about 12-15 minutes for rice pasta.
4. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the Parmesan or Pecorino and season to  taste with salt & pepper.

I added a bit of broth to deglaze the pan before putting the pasta and such in because the bits on the pan are just too good to not scrape up into the sauce!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Simple Split Pea Soup

We recently spent the weekend enjoying copious amounts of indulgent, delicious food and (plenty of) drinks while celebrating a friend's wedding here in town.  On the heels of such debauchery, a simple meal was required.  The following 'recipe' is really just a simple way to put together a few ingredients that are easily stored in the kitchen for a quick, healthy and filling meal. 

In addition, this makes an excellent Friday meal for those observing Lent....

  • 1tbls olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot or small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 4-6 cups of water or low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • ~1 tsp salt, divided
  • ~1 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1. In large pot over medium-high, heat olive oil and add the shallot or onion with about 1/2tsp salt and 1/2tsp pepper. Saute until transparent, about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and saute for a minute or so more.
2.  Add the split peas and 4 cups of the water or stock, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring periodically.  You may need to add additional water/stock if the peas absorb it too much.
3.  Once cooked, adjust the flavor with salt and pepper to taste and adjust the consistency with additional stock or water as you like. 

Serve with a good crusty bread (try this one) and if you like, sprinkle with pecorino or parmesan.  Also, I often make it very thick so we can scoop it over a bowl of rice.  Yum!
Shallots here.  I prefer them for their sweeter and more delicate flavor vs. the mighty onion.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Oat Soda Bread (Gluten-Free Adaptable/Dairy-Free Adaptable)

People, this is NO APOLOGIES GLUTEN-FREE BREAD!  With crust and chew and no strange sponginess.  Gluten-free eaters will know what I am talking about.  I haven't even made the recipe with wheat flour because it is so dang tasty without.  I can only imagine that the gluten-full recipe is amazing, too, maybe even with spelt or rye as noted in the original recipe.  I have been making this for several weeks now and keep varying the gluten-free flours I use and they are all delicious in different ways.... use Tom Sawyer's flour for a more white, neutral flavor; use garbanzo &/or brown rice flour for a more substantial and round flavor with more protein; use quinoa and .....  you get the picture.  I think the next time I make it I will try it in part with my new favorite 'flour' of finely crushed pecans or almonds to make a good breakfast version.  Anyway, eat it plain with good salted butter, with jam, soup or the next day as a PB & J.  So good!  And very fast to make, too.  I strongly recommend making at least 4C worth of the oat flour, because you will want another loaf very soon and this  makes it even faster the next time.

  • butter, to grease pan
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 2 1/4C unbleached all-purpose flour*, plus more for dusting and kneading
  • 2tsp xanthan gum* (only if making gluten-free)
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 3/4 c buttermilk**, plus more if needed, and 2T. for brushing
  • mixed seeds - sesame, caraway, poppy, etc. (I like black and golden sesame seeds)

* If Tom Sawyer's Gluten-Free Flour here, it has the xanthan gum mixed in, otherwise you can substitute your favorite gluten-free flour mix and make sure it either has xanthan gum in it, or use approximately 1tsp Xanthan Gum:1cup flour.  Round down for partial cup measurements, for example here, use 2tsp Xanthan Gum with the 2-1/4c flour
** I made my own buttermilk as noted in this previous recipe for buttermilk biscuits, using 1-3/4c soy milk or almond milk with 1-3/4tsp white vinegar

1.Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and line a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or one with ~8 cup capacity) with parchment paper and set aside.
2. To make the oat flour, use a food processor to pulse the rolled oats a few times. Then process into a fine powder - another minute or two. If you are buying oat flour, not making your own, measure out a scant 2 cups. (skip this step if you have oat flour in your pantry already, I don't typically)
3. Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Stir just until everything comes together into a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter top and knead for 30 seconds or so, just long enough for the dough to come together into a cohesive, slightly flattened ball without many cracks or fissures. If your dough is on the dry side, add more buttermilk a small splash at a time.
4. Now ease the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Brush all over the top and sides with buttermilk and sprinkle generously with mixed seeds or flour, 2 tablespoons or so. Slice a few deep slashes across the top of the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, then quickly (without letting all the hot air out of the oven), move the rack and the bread up a level, so the top of the bread gets nice and toasted. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until a hard crust forms and the bread is baked through. It will feel very solid and sound hollow when you knock on it. Carefully lift it out of the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Oats in the food processor~
"buttermilk"- actually almond milk with vinegar in this batch. 


Adapted from this recipe by Heidi Swanson.