Baked Apple Ice Cream Bowl (gluten & sugar free)

2012-10-06 18.35.31[Update: I’m now allergic to apples and dairy, which makes this a no go for me.  But it’s good.  You should try it!]

Desserts have got to be one of the trickiest things, at least for me, to find yummy, naturally gluten-free recipes of.  It doesn’t help that I’m also sugar-free and have a whole litany of food allergies.  Makes desserts, well, challenging to find.

When I was a kid my grandma made the best apple dumplings every year during the holidays, and I’ve been wanting something similar that’d be gluten-free, sugar-free, and hopefully less labor intensive.  A pretty high order.

Pinterest provided a good starting point though when I stumbled across an apple recipe.  I altered it a bit–the apples are baked, mine’s sugar-free, along with a couple other alterations.  So Mr. Munger, the fiancé, and I tried it out when he was in the area this last weekend.  And it was a huge hit, even with the wheat-eaters.  Its picture really doesn’t do it justice.


Ingredients:

  • 6 large apples (personally, I like red apples)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon Splenda® (or sugar)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Vanilla ice cream (make sure it’s gluten-free!)
  • Caramel topping (be sure that this one’s gluten-free too, and if you want it to be sugar-free buy the kind sweetened with Spenda®)

Directions:

  1. Cut the tops of apples the way you would a pumpkin (enough so that the hole is big enough to allow you to hollow out the insides but still leaving the majority of the apple intact).
  2. Slowly, carefully hollow out each apple using a metal tablespoon or melon baller.  Unlike a pumpkin, the skin on the apples is fragile so don’t go too quickly or you might end up with a hole. (Don’t worry if it looks uneven on the inside because no one will see it anyway.)
  3. Mix the Spenda®/sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a small bowl.  And then rub mixture on the inside of all of the apples so that they all have a coating.
  4. Set the oven for 350 degrees F.  And bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  (The trick is to have your apples soft enough to easily eat while also being stable enough to hold together.)
  5. Once baked, immediately fill with the vanilla ice cream of your choosing (vanilla bean or French vanilla are my favorites) and top with warm caramel.
  6. Serve immediate.  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.

Blueberry Cheesecake (gluten & sugar-free)

Cream cheese cupcakes[Update: Due to my dairy allergy, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But give it a try!  It’s tasty]

Mr. M’s just celebrated his 28th rotation around the sun.  Since our very first date to Seattle almost two years ago he’s been wanting to tour Seattle in the most culturally sophisticated way possible—The Duck.  When Mr. M first pointed out the super touristy, tacky duck-shaped boats and announced that he wanted to ride one I just laughed.

In honor of his birthday though I’m going to treat him to a tour via The Duck once spring quarter is over and he’s back for a week over break.  And I also made him mini blueberry cheesecakes to celebrate (note the lovely lit candles below).  And he seemed to really enjoy them.

I highly modified Suzanne Somers’ New York Cheesecake recipe from her book Somersize Desserts.  While it isn’t specifically gluten-free, a lot of the recipes in the book tend to be naturally gluten-free.


Yields: About 18 cupcakes.

Ingredients for Cupcakes :

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Splenda/sucralose
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Splenda/sucralose

Directions:

  1. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins and set aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese and Spenda together in a large bowl (it will turn out better if you wait until the cream cheese is at room temperature).
  3. Add eggs, beating after each addition.  Then add sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.  After mixing, carefully add blueberries.  Don’t kill it, just mix until it’s smooth.
  4. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to divvy up the cream cheese mixture evenly into the cupcake liners.  Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full.
  5. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes (0r until a toothpick comes out clean).
  6. In a smaller bowl, mix together sour cream and Splenda for the topping.  Once the cupcakes have cooled completely the in the refrigerator, spread sour cream frosting on top of them.

Cream Cheese cupcakes 3

Pepperoni Pizza (gluten-free & low carb)

Pizza[Update: Sadly, due to new allergies, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But I still highly recommend it if you’re gluten-free or on a low carb diet]

One of the low points commonly reached by newly gluten-free folks is the oh-my-gosh-I’ll-never-eat-pizza-again phase.

Of course, this isn’t true because there are several good pizza options and some restaurants now even serve gluten-free pizzas.  But when you’re new, all you know is that your favorite comfort food is suddenly strictly off-limits.

That’s why this cream cheese crust was such an exciting discovery when I first went gluten-free.  This recipe is a modified version of Suzanne Somers’ Mini-Pepperoni Pizzas from her book Suzanne Somers’ Fast & Easy.  While I don’t recommend Suzanne’s books for newbies because they’re not specifically gluten-free, she has a lot of low-carb, grain-free recipes in her books that I’ve found very helpful!  


Ingredients for Crust:

  • 1 (8-ounce) packed of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Toppings:

  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce (if you use a can, make sure to read the ingredient list to make sure it’s okay for your diet)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • Package peperoni (I used turkey because I can’t eat beef)
  • 2 small zucchinis (optional)
  • 3 Tomatoes (optional)
  •   Parmesan (just enough to sprinkle on top of the pizza)

Directions:

1. Mix cream cheese and eggs together with a spoon.  Once mixed together, add salt and pepper (just a dash for seasoning).  And then blend in the parmesan.

2. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Pour the cream cheese mixture into the dish and bake at 350 for 15 minutes (the crust should be a light golden brown but not burnt).  Once out of the oven, let the crust cool before adding marinara sauce or toppings.

DSCF06892

4. Cut up the zucchini and tomatoes and sauté them in a pan with the pepperoni.

DSCF0699

5. Thinly spread marinara sauce over the cooled cream cheese crust.

DSCF0701

6. Add mozzarella cheese, zucchini, pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, and parmesan on top (it helps glue everything in place).

DSCF07162

7. Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees (cheese should be gooey).  If you want to be able to eat it with your fingers, let the pizza cool completely in the refrigerator.  It makes a great breakfast if you have leftovers!  Or if you’re in a hurry, let it cool for a couple of minutes so you don’t burn yourself and then grab a fork.

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.

Tomato and Tuna "Sandwich" (gluten-free)

DSCN1421One of my biggest complaints about a lot of gluten-free cookbooks is that they focus almost exclusively on how to bake breads.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with a piece of toast now and then.  But prior to going gluten-free I never ate bread exclusively, so why would I do that now?   

I’ve heard that a lot of people on gluten-free diets end up getting sick despite getting rid of gluten because they’re not getting enough variety in their diets.  A lot of gluten-free folks end up on extremely high carb diets; eating mostly gluten-free bread and pasta while they’re still figuring out what they can eat. 

But there are a lot of healthy, naturally gluten-free foods that are too often overlooked (fruits, veggies, unbreaded meats and fish, beans, nuts).  And it’s not only much cheaper and easier but even healthier to just leave out the bread completely sometimes. 


Allergen/Sensitivity Info: Gluten/wheat-free, egg-free, soy-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes (regular tomatoes look prettier but I tend to use Roma tomatoes because they’re cheaper)
  • Spoon full of Mayonnaise (it really depends on how mayo-y you want your food to taste)
  • Relish (or whatever condiments or seasonings you like, just make sure they’re gluten-free)

Directions:

  1. Mix tuna, mayo, and relish in a bowl.
  2. Cut a hole in the top of the tomatoes and hollow out some of the center goop with a small spoon (just like a pumpkin). 
  3. Use a small spoon to stuff the tomatoes with the tuna.
  4. And you’re done!