Simple Spaghetti (gluten & allergen free)

PastaTomatoes.  I’ve really been missing tomatoes since I found out I was allergic to them three weeks ago.  Partly because they’re yummy and go well with so many things, but mostly, at least at the moment, because I’m having a hard time adjusting to life without spaghetti sauce.

This is something my mom has made for me before but I hadn’t made it myself until this week because previously I’d just dump red sauce on everything.  But it’s pretty darn easy.  And yummy.  And gives me hope that a red-sauce-free live doesn’t have to be one void of flavor.


Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces of gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2 large minced garlic leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook spaghetti as usual—boil water in a pot, put pasta in, cook until soft, and strain.
  2. Place cooked spaghetti in a large bowl.
  3. Mix all other ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. Pour olive oil sauce over the pasta and mix it together well.
  5. Serve, and enjoy.
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Debi’s Sour Cream and Cheese Enchiladas

Sour cream and cheese enchiladas[Update: As a result of tomato and dairy allergies, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But it’s good!  Give it a try]

Whenever I tell anyone that I’m gluten-free the first thing they usually do is list off all of their favorite bready foods—breadsticks, sourdough, donuts, fried chicken, waffles—and lament my inability to eat them.  They imagine my regular diet being completely void of flavor and tasting like a second-rate imitation.  But what they don’t realize is that there are countless delicious, healthy foods and recipes that are naturally gluten-free.  No modification required.

Mexican food (both the authentic and Americanized variety) is an especially good source of naturally gluten-free meal ideas because a lot of the dishes tend to focus on rice or corn rather than wheat.  And this Sour Cream and Cheese Enchilada recipe, shared by Debi at The Original Simple Mom, is the perfect example.

Special thanks to Debi for being willing to be The Crunchy Cook’s very first guest post. The following is copyrighted to Deborah Taylor-Hough. And used with permission.


I usually serve these with something simple like refried beans and rice as a side dish with a tossed green salad.  And don’t forget the mandatory basket of chips and salsa.  I personally feel that these taste the best when the tortillas are fried first to soften, but when I’m pressed for time or want to cut down on the amount of oil used, I simply place the stack of tortillas on a plate and microwave for about 1 minute to soften.

Sour Cream and Cheese Enchiladas
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pour enchilada sauce into a flat pan or pie plate (you’ll be dipping freshly softened tortillas in the sauce).
  3. In small frying pan, heat salad oil over medium-high heat. Fry the tortillas–one at a time–turning once, just to soften (won’t take more than about 10 to 15 seconds). Remove from oil.
  4. Dip softened tortilla on both sides into the enchilada sauce. Stack dipped tortillas in an empty pan or pie plate.
  5. Repeat the softening/dipping process for each tortilla. Add more oil to the frying pan, if needed.
  6. Don’t forget to turn off the oil when you’re done softening the tortillas!
  7. In a large mixing bowl, blend 2 cups of the sour cream, 1 cup of the green onions, the cumin, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. (Remaining sour cream, onions and cheese will be used later.)
  8. In a 9×13-inch casserole or baking dish, carefully roll each tortilla around about 3 tablespoons of the sour cream mixture. Work gently because the tortillas will want to rip.
  9. Repeat with all tortillas, placing them side-by-side and covering the bottom of the baking dish. If it’s tight, just squeeze them in as best you can.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining 3 cups of cheese evenly over the top.
  11. Bake uncovered at 375 F degrees for 20 minutes.
  12. Garnish with more sour cream spooned down the center and sprinkle with chopped green onions.

MAKE-AHEAD NOTE: This can be covered and frozen (or stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours) before baking. Save garnishes for serving day. If frozen, thaw completely and then bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Optional Ingredients: Depending on what I have on hand, these can morph into all sorts of things with just a few changes or simple additions:  Shredded leftover chicken, fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices, diced chilis, freshly diced tomatoes, Jack cheese instead of Cheddar.  Don’t be afraid to play with these a bit.  But be sure to try the recipe “as is” first … it’s SUPER good!

Enjoy!  And don’t forget to check out Debi’s website, The Original Simple Mom.

Ratatouille (gluten & allergen free)

DSCN1461Ratatouille is wonderful because not only is it tasty, it’s also one of the few foods my entire family can actually all eat.   And it’s naturally gluten-free.

Often times when people first go gluten-free they focus on breads and pastas almost exclusively, but I think that one of the simplest, healthiest ways to handle a gluten-free diet is eat naturally gluten-free foods.  Something like Ratatouille is a great option because you don’t have to mess with funky gluten-free flours or substitute anything.  And, hey, it’s good for you.

This recipe is my mom’s.  She originally posted on her blog, but she gave me permission to share it with all of you.  For the original post or to try out some of her other recipes, check out her blog!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less)
  • 2 large onions, sliced (or one gigantic one like I used)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4-6 medium sized zucchini (or one humungous one from the garden), thickly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and cut into chunks (I used 1 green pepper and 1/2 each of a red pepper and yellow pepper … makes it more colorful)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley (I was out of parsley so didn’t use it … didn’t miss it, either)
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut in chunks (Because I can no longer eat tomatoes, I now leave this step off.  Using red peppers is a nice way to still get red in there)

Directions:

  1. Over high heat, heat olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened but not brown.
  2. Stir in eggplant, zucchini, peppers, salt, basil and parsley.  Add a little more oil if needed to keep the veggies from sticking.
  3. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir gently and carefully to retain shape of veggies as they soften.
  4. Add tomatoes.  Stir gently.  Add more oil if sticking.
  5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This is best if served a day or more after preparation.  It can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature.

Eggplant Bake (gluten-free & vegetarian)

Step 4[Update: This is no longer something I can eat due to new allergies, but still something I recommend.  I know it looks weird in the picture but it’s actually really tasty!]

Well, I might not have been posting but I’ve still been photographing pictures of my food and taking notes on how I’ve altered different recipes.  My laptop was temporarily out of commission, but now that I’m back online I can finally share what I’ve been up to.

Eggplant bake is one of my new favorite naturally gluten-free dinners.  The original version of this recipe came from  Frozen Assets: Lite and Easy by Deborah Taylor-Hough (check out her blog Cheap Eats).  In addition to being gluten-free, it’s also vegetarian and it’s easily made vegan (just leave off the yogurt topping).  So, what have all of you been cooking/baking this week?


Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 (4 ounce) can of green chili
  • 1 (16 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 8 small tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used white cheddar)

Directions:

1.  Caramelize onions that have been cut into rings (sauté until golden brown) .

2.  Then, add can of green chili, onions, and turmeric  to the skillet.  After you’ve mixed it together, let it cook for a couple of minutes.

3.  Remove onion mixture from the skillet and put in the blender or a food processer with the can of stewed tomatoes.  Blend until it’s a sauce (but it’s okay if it’s still kind of chunky).

4.  Put the slices of eggplant evenly in the bottom of a dish (see bellow).

Step 1

6. Spoon the tomato/onion sauce onto the eggplant.  Top with another layer of eggplant.  And then another layer of sauce and sliced tomatoes (the layering will go every other until the ingredients are used up, like you’re making a lasagna).

Step 2

7.  Combine plain yogurt, cheddar, and pepper together in a bowl.  Once mixed, spread over the top layer of the eggplant bake.

Step 3

8. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.  Or you can wrap it with foil and freeze it for later.