Tag Archives: comfort food

Banana Muffins

 

I eat one of these every day for dessert!  They are perfect for making in big batches and then freezing, so you can pop one into the microwave anytime of the day you need one.

The best part of these muffins is that they taste amazing, but they are also GLUTEN FREE and WHOLE GRAIN.

 

Banana Muffins: (makes about 24)

6T butter, at room temperature

1/4 C applesauce

1 C sugar

4 eggs

8 very ripe bananas, mashed

2/3 C water

3 1/2 C gluten free whole grain flour mix (I use my Blendtec blender to grind whichever grains I have…brown rice, GF oatmeal, millet, etc… It’s best to use several kinds of grain, but there’s no exact ratio you have to use)

1/2 T cinnamon

2t baking soda

1 t salt

1 t xanthan gun

1/2 t baking powder

1 C chopped (or ground) walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.  Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until fluffy.  Add eggs and beat at medium until combined.  Add applesauce, water, and banana and beat on low for 1 minute.  Mix together all dry ingredients, then add to bowl of wet ingredients.  Mix with a spoon only until just combined.  Spoon batter into muffin tins almost to the top of each tin.  Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes.  Right out the oven, take a muffin out, break it open, and cover it with chocolate chips.  When they have mostly melted, reward yourself with the best muffin ever.  Let the rest cool, and then freeze.

 

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Tina’s Spaghetti

Until I had Tina’s Spaghetti, I had no idea how much difference a homemade sauce could make.   Canned sauce is like the TV dinner version of spaghetti.  Homemade sauce tastes like Grandma (or Cousin Tina) sat pouring love into the pot all day.

The beauty of homemade sauce though, is that it only takes a few minutes to put together, and then it works its magic as it simmers all by itself.  You can spend your day pouring love into other things, then sit down to the deliciousness at dinner.

Here’s how Tina taught me to make Spaghetti.

2 pounds Italian Sausage (can use ground beef too, but the sausage it what gives it that special flavor)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 T. minced garlic

1T. each of tarragon, basil, oregano, and crushed rosemary

2 t. salt or more to taste

1t. pepper

2 bay leaves

2 cans Italian stewed tomatoes (14 oz. each) (you can also just use crushed tomatoes or fire roasted diced tomatoes)

4 cans tomato sauce (14 oz. each)

1 can tomato paste (8 oz.)

Brown meat with onion and garlic.  Add to rest of ingredients.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes-1 hour, or put it in a crock pot on low all day.  Remove bay leaves.  Serve over gluten-free pasta.  Tinkyada is my favorite brand.

This makes a lot of sauce, so I put it in a Ziploc and freeze for another dinner or use it to make another dish like Chicken Parmesan (which you can find here) or pizza.

Thanks, Tina!  Our whole family now loves spaghetti, even the one who has avoided it since childhood.  🙂

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Breakfast Casserole

My husband’s family serves this casserole Christmas morning.  The smell fills the house and gathers everyone into the kitchen as we wait to eat.  It’s a nostalgic dish, and because it’s so easy to make, I think it should be welcomed at the dinner table several times a year.  We shouldn’t save something this good just for Christmas morning!

Here’s the recipe:

1 loaf of white gluten-free bread, cubed
2 C. Cheddar cheese
1 lb. Hormel Lil Smokies Beef sausage links
6 beaten eggs
2 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 can cream of mushroom soup (Nature Valley’s is GF) + 1/2 C. milk

Spray a 13×9 casserole dish with cooking spray or coat with butter.  Layer bread cubes, sausage, then cheese. Mix together and pour into casserole the eggs, milk, salt and mustard.  Refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, dilute one can cream of mushroom soup with 1/2 cup milk and pour over casserole.  Bake about 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees.

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

This recipe is a throwback to my childhood.  My Mom made very simple meals for our family growing up.  Gourmet meals never graced our table.  Instead we ate simple fare.  Mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, sour cream enchiladas, tortilla soup, chicken fried steak, porcupine meatballs, and Hamburger Helper were among my favorites.

My Mom sometimes comments on her “lack of cooking talents”.  What she doesn’t realize though, is that her cooking represented her.  Simple, easy crowd pleasers were her goal.  We loved her cooking.  We still do.  And, as I think about the family culture that I am representing to my kids, I realize that I am pleased to follow in my Mom’s footsteps and philosophy.  I love to cook, but it’s always simple.  I’m all about great taste, but I’m also about efficiency, shortcuts, and nutrition.  If I set a meal from a magazine and a meal from my Mom’s way of cooking on my table, my kids would pick my Mom’s food every time.  Simple,  Easy,  Familiar,  Balanced,  Quick Meals are Crowd Pleasers around here, and I’d like to thank my Mom being my example of a Mom who provides great food in such a balanced way.  🙂

Here is an example:

Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 small cans tuna, drained

1 16 oz.pkg. Tinkyada pasta, any shape

1 can Health Valley Cream of Mushroom Soup

a little sour cream if needed for sauce

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta until al dente and drain.  Add soup, tuna, salt, pepper.  Add some sour cream if you need more sauce.  Add in half the cheese.  Put in a casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.

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Chocolate Milkshake

It’s been freezing here lately.  I don’t remember a time when we’ve had temperatures in the teens for almost a week.  We do not know how to handle this weather here in the South!

For some reason, I thought it would help to make “milkshakes” for a snack one day.  Mostly, I was trying to figure out a way to sneak in extra yogurt into my kids bellies to give them some good immune boosting healthy flora to offset the round of antibiotics they had to take.  We had a great science discussion on bacteria as a bonus.  Then we had to sit by the fire for 3 days to warm up again.

My kids have had “real” milkshakes, so I’m not sure why they let me serve my version using the same name.  I don’t use ice cream or sugar.  I use vanilla yogurt, protein powder, and a little chocolate syrup, all blended with ice.  They think it’s a special occasion when they get one, and I think it should be.  It’s fun to make an ordinary day special.  I just tell them we’re celebrating my joy in loving them more today than yesterday.

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Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

We’ll be making these lovely Cinnamon Rolls today, created by the Gluten Free Girl, to have Christmas morning.  It’s a family tradition from the boys’ Great-Grandmother Neenie that we’ll enjoy for the first time this year since going gluten-free.  Thanks, Shauna!  You’ve given us a heartwarming treat to enjoy tomorrow, and you’re baking passion would make Neenie proud!

You can find Shauna’s recipe here.

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Pancakes

There’s just something cozy about pancakes for breakfast.  I love mixing, flipping, and stacking them on my kids’ plates.  It makes me feel very domestic, and it gives me points for “Mother of the Year”.  (I need all the points I can muster in the domestic part of the competition.)

My favorite gluten-free pancakes are from a mix by Pamela’s, appropriately called “Baking and Pancake Mix”.  They’re nice and fluffy and have great taste and texture.

If I’m going to go to the trouble of mixing, flipping, and stacking in the wee hours of the morning, I don’t just make enough for one meal either.  I make the whole darn thing.  You can put them in the freezer, pull them out one by one, and get that pancake feeling anytime you want.  And, that gives you point in the “wonderfully smart and ‘with it’ department.”  🙂

(As a side note, if you happen to need a good dairy-free pancake mix, I’ve also enjoyed Kinnikinnick’s brand.)


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