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Black Bean Bonanza Burger

photo 1 (1)Well, it’s been a while folks. But, I’m back! There’s nothing like a “My 600-lb Life”-marathon on TLC to put me in the mood for cooking. Not gonna lie, I’m a little embarrassed by my viewing pleasure the past 2 hours. But hey, I enjoyed my relaxation, so that’s all that counts!

With that said, I decided to go with something healthy for dinner this evening – veggie burgers! I love my meat, but I’m also perfectly content eating vegetarian – as long as it’s good eats. I decided to experiment and make my own recipe this evening. After perusing Foodgawker.com, I came up with the following. photo 1

15.5 oz can of black beans
½ cup corn
½ chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 small sweet potato
½ cup quinoa
3 tablespoons of corn starch
3 tablespoons of ketchup
hot sauce
spices

First, I cooked my quinoa and potato. I cooked ½ a cup of dry quinoa – this makes about 1 cup of cooked quinoa—so you will have leftovers to make something else for another meal. While my quinoa cooked away, I chopped my onions and garlic. Then, I mashed my beans in a mixing bowl. After the quinoa was cooked, I added the quinoa and cooked sweet potato to my beans, and then mashed things a bit more. Then, I added the rest of the ingredients. To thicken things up, I added a little cornstarch. Instead of cornstarch, you could use flour or another thickening agent. Just get the consistency thick enough to form patties. Oats would have been a nice thickener. Too bad I thought of that after I went to the store.photo 2photo 3photo 2 (1)

I preheated my oven to 400 degrees. Then, I formed my patties and put them on an oiled cooking tray. A little oil won’t hurt you folks! Oil works best for a recipe like this, cause it gives your burgers a little crunch on the outside. I cooked the burgers about 15 minutes on each side. Then, I topped things off with some cheese and popped the patties under the broiler for a few minutes. In my opinion, cheese makes any meal divine. As the final adornment to my creation, I added some avocado and ketchup. Best of all, I now have lunch for the rest of the week!Madeline Signature

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The Celiac’s Cobbler

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I know, I promised that the next few posts would be a continuation of my New Year’s Eve creations. But sorry folks, you’re just going to have to wait a little bit longer. Last night I attended a “family dinner” with close family friends and their kids and spouses. I was asked to bring a gluten free dessert for our gluten intolerant friends in attendance. Now, I must say, whenever I’m tasked with making a gluten free dessert, I get bummed out. To me, a gluten free dessert equals, “gross.” After reviewing several gluten free dessert recipes, I got frustrated because they all had weird, gluten free junk in them. So alas, I decided to make up my own recipe for cobbler and use all “normal” ingredients.

2 sticks of butter or margerine
6 nectarines
1 ¼ cups blueberries
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
½  cup walnuts
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup gluten free oats
salt

Keep in mind, you can use any fruit you like. I went with the freshest looking fruit that I saw at the store. Slice your nectarines into semi-thin slices. Then, add the nectarines and blueberries to a large mixing bowl. Toss the fruit with 1 cup of white sugar, half of the cornstarch, and the vanilla. Next, dump the fruit mixture into a serving dish. Voila, you’re done with the main part of the dessert!

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Next, it’s time to make the yummiest part of all — the topping! Add your 2 sticks of butter or margarine, the remaining white sugar, all the brown sugar, walnuts, salt, oats, and remaining cornstarch. Slice and dice this mixture until you reach a course, crumbly consistency.

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Carefully sprinkle this mixture on top of your fruit, I kept about a ⅓ cup to the side and added it about halfway through the baking process. Place the cobbler into the oven at 350 degrees and cook for about 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Beware, this is going to be a very juicy creation. I always bake pies and cobblers on top of a cookie sheet — in case it drips out of the dish (which of course mine did). Keep in mind, if you don’t need to make this gluten free, you can use flour and regular oats, instead of cornstarch. This was a very soupy cobbler, so you will want to serve it in bowls. Next time I make this dessert, I may add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch to the fruit mixture.

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I cooked this dish ahead of time and then stuck it back in the oven at a very low temperature to warm up while the gang ate dinner. Once it was dessert time, we had a nice warm and juicy cobbler. I accompanied this dish with Kansas City’s local, Shatto vanilla ice cream. As a milk fiend, I love all things Shatto. To me, there’s nothing better than a good, cold glass of milk. Now, Shatto has ice cream, too! So folks, next time you’re dining with someone who has celiac disease or is gluten intolerant, go with the fruit cobbler — it will surely be a hit!

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Fun with Fungus

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I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the old wives’ tale, “There’s no better way to start off the new year than with stuffed ‘shrooms.” Well folks, it’s true. Over the next month (and let’s be real here, this may spill into next month) I will share my creations from New Year’s Eve. Now prepare yourselves for part 1 of “Madz’s New Year’s Madness.” Let me prepare you with some fun funghi jokes.

This year, my roomie and I hosted a New Year’s Eve party—the first formal gathering at our new house. We decided that appetizers, desserts, and drinks were the way to go for these festivities. Being me, it was quite the conundrum thinking of how I could weave a vegetable or two into the mix. No meal is complete without a vegetable. So, I decided that stuffed ‘shrooms would be the perfect, festive treat. After researching recipes, I decided to make up my own concoction.

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1 Box of ‘shrooms (about 20)

8.5 oz jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes (in oil) (Trader Joe’s has the perfect size jar)

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (Feel free to add more or less cheese, if you like.)

3 garlic cloves

3/4 cup of walnuts

olive oil

Dump the entire jar of sun dried tomatoes (oil included) into the blender. Chop it up until it is semi smooth. Next, dump in the parmesan, garlic and walnuts. Feel free to add in a little more or less of any ingredient, if you like. After blending all of that together, stream in olive oil until the desired smoothness. The mixture should be a little softer than a tomato paste.

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Next, I scooped out my ‘shrooms. I purchased the tiny button mushrooms because they make  good bite sized appetizers. A larger portabella  also would be tasty. Then, I found the tiniest spoon possible (I used a teaspoon) to fill them up. Lastly, I popped my ‘shrooms into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Then, I sprinkled a little more parmesean on top of the ‘shrooms and let them cook a few minutes longer until they get cheesy and gooey good on top.

Now, to divulge the best part of this recipe … LEFTOVERS! After filling all of my ‘shrooms I had about 1 cup of leftover filling. The leftover sun dried tomato mixture is great on sandwiches, chips, and pasta. Go crazy! This filling also freezes well. A fun trick is to put it into an ice cube tray. Then, you can pop out a cube or two when you are ready to partake!

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Souper Yummy Butternut Squash Soup

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Sorry friends, it’s been a while since I last blogged. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!  Typically, I find Thanksgiving to be a particularly relaxing holiday. This year, though, I decided it’d be a good idea to move on Thanksgiving weekend. After a long weekend, I am now about 80% settled in my new digs. So, I decided to try out the kitchen for the first time. Fortunately, my roomie is quite methodical, so I thoroughly enjoyed using a clean and organized kitchen! For the first meal in my new kitchen, I made a nice butternut squash soup. Soups are perfect to make on the weekend, because then you have lunch for the rest of the week! I don’t know about you, but I dread having to make lunch everyday!

After perusing a few butternut squash recipes, I wasn’t pleased with what I found. So, I decided to experiment. Soup is great, because it is very difficult to mess up a batch. You can spice it up and add whatever suits your fancy. Here’s my recipe:

Olive Oil
2 lbs Diced Butternut Squash
3 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
15-20 Baby Carrots
2 Tablespoons Skim Milk (optional)
4 Leaves Fresh Sage
Spices (salt, pepper, garlic, bbq spices…)
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First, I sliced my onion and sautéed it in olive oil. Then, I let it sweat a little in the heat and get soft. Next, I chopped up my garlic and put it in the pot. Don’t worry about slicing things perfectly, because in the end, it will all be blended together. Next, I added my diced butternut squash and baby carrots. Typically, I stray away from buying pre-cut food at the grocery store, but butternut squash is the exception. This veg is super hard to cut!  At Trader Joe’s they have a nice 2 lb. bag of cubed squash. I let the butternut squash, carrots, onions, and garlic sauté for about 5 minutes or so, and then added the vegetable broth and spices.
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Let your concoction come to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer until everything looks nice and soft — about 40 minutes. Add your sage and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Last but not least, it’s now time to blend the soup. I use an immersion blender. This sounds like a fancy kitchen tool, but it’s really not. You can get one for about $30 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. This is the one that I have. It really comes in handy — especially when you’re making soup! If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender will work –just do it in batches and be careful not to burn yourself!
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After everything is blended, give your soup a taste and add more spices if needed. I like to add a bit of skim milk at the end, but this is optional. Now, your soup is ready to go! If you have goat cheese, crumble a little on top to add a little zing to your soup. It’s souper!  If you made a bigger batch than you bargained for, just pop some in the freezer to enjoy at a later date.
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Easy As Pie

photo 1Well folks, pardon my delay in posting. Come next week, I will be a working woman again, so hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with my posting. After all, I have to keep all of my many, many followers coming back for more!

This past weekend, I made my all time favorite dessert — cherry pie. I’ve always been a pie gal. Growing up, there was rarely a cake at my birthday party. Instead, I had pie. My favorite pies are from Tippin’s. For all of you non-Kansas City folks out there, Tippin’s used to be a little hometown restaurant. The food wasn’t particularly good. But, they had a full selection of fresh pies to order and devour after your mediocre meal. The restaurant is no more, but the pies live on at the local grocery store (phew!).

The recipe that I used came from an old edition of Cooking Light magazine. You can view it here. This recipe is just for the cherry filling — which literally takes a few minutes to prepare. I made my own crust. I wasn’t a huge fan of my crust recipe, so I won’t share it. It tasted delicious, but it was just sort of dry and crumbly and made my lattice weave harder than it should have been. Making a crust is daunting for many people, but if you follow the directions closely, it’s very easy. You just need to have patience! If you have the time, I highly suggest that you make your own crust.

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For the filling, I made a few minor changes. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the recipe ahead of time, so I didn’t have any quick-cooking tapioca on hand. Then again, who knew this even existed? So, I used 2 tablespoons of corn starch instead. If you don’t have cornstarch, you could also use flour — this is purely used as a thickening agent for the filling. For the cherries, I purchased two bags of frozen cherries — one bag of sweet cherries and one bag of tart cherries. You can easily find these in the freezer section of your grocery store. Other then these minor changes, I followed things pretty closely. After the cherries are mixed together, you let them sit for 30 minutes to thicken, and then you just add them to your rolled out crust and bake everything. If you’re feeling wild and crazy, I suggest doing a fun lattice weave — it’ll really “wow” your guests!

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Spooktacular Cupcakes

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Every Wednesday night, I tutor for an organization called Boys Hope Girls Hope. Tonight, I’m going with special Halloween cupcakes in tow. The boys are all in middle school or high school, so I decided to go with a dessert that would please the masses. The cupcakes are bound to be a good study tool for the boys. Dessert is the key to success in my book.

My special Halloween cupcakes began by visiting Ming Makes Cupcakes. These cupcakes are made from the recipe for “Cupcake 22.” I’ve had this website saved in the bookmark toolbar on my browser for several years. I’m not quite sure why I’ve kept it there for so long without actually using the recipes, but I guess it was destined to come in handy at some point! The one addition that I made to the recipe was adding about 1 teaspoon of espresso powder. Adding a little coffee to chocolate recipes really enhances the chocolate flavor and gives it a nice kick.

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My recipe yielded a dozen cupcakes. After letting them cool completely, I began my icing process. I made a simple vanilla icing and added food coloring to give my cupcakes a good Halloween glow. For my icing, I used the following ingredients (this yielded about 2 cups of icing):

12 T. — Butter or Margerine

1 Cups — Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 t. — Vanilla

Food Coloring

I used a mixer to beat the butter to a nice creamy consistency. I then slowly mixed in the sugar about a 1/2 cup at a time. Next, I added the vanilla and food coloring until everything was mixed sufficiently. Lastly, I beat the concoction until it looked fluffy and icing-like. You can find many different icing recipes online. This just happens to be one that I know by heart and typically use.

After creating a nice and creamy icing, I piped it onto my cupcakes so that they’d have a professional look. Since I’m an amateur chef and don’t have proper piping tools, I used a plastic bag. As you can see below, I put all of the icing into a plastic baggy and smooshed it towards one corner of the bag. I then snipped the corner and squirted it onto my cupcakes in a nice swirled pattern. And there you have it — a homemade piping bag!

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As a sprinkle fiend, I finished off my cupcakes with a myriad of sprinkle shapes. I hope everyone has a “Spooktacular” Halloween!

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Caul-ing All Pizza Lovers

photo 2These days everyone knows someone with a food allergy or intolerance. It’s harder than ever to appeal to everyone’s special diet. Due to people in my family, I often find myself eating many gluten-free “delicacies.” I must say that I’m typically underwhelmed by most things gluten-free — particularly items that are created from overpriced mixes.

As is typically the case though, I decided to be my usual inclusive self and make sure that everyone at the dinner table could partake. Having gone through a bout of vegetarianism back in the day, I understand what it’s like to sit down for dinner and realize that there is nothing on the table/menu that aligns with my dietary choice. So, I give you gluten-free, cauliflower crust pizza. I was very impressed by the presentability of this creation as well as the taste. I used this recipe for my crust. I followed the directions fairly closely since you just never know what is going to happen with flour-less creations. I added some extra spices to give it a little more flavor — garlic powder (lots of it!), pepper, and some BBQ spice. The goat cheese in the crust is a delicious addition — it served as a sort of binding agent.

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After the crust cooked to a nice golden brown color, I added my toppings. Due to my starvation level at that moment, I used some regular ol’ pizza sauce from the store. I added some fresh garlic to it to add a little more pizzaz. If I weren’t so hungry, homemade tomato sauce would probably have been a better route. The nice thing about making your own sauce is that you typically have a ton left over and can then have a variety of meals throughout the week using the same sauce — chicken parmesan is a nice way to recycle your sauce!

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For my pizza I used shredded mozzarella, mushrooms, and chicken sausage. Chicken sausage is a good pepperoni alternative if you’re trying to eat a little healthier. Trader Joe’s has a good chicken sausage selection. After decorating my pizza it went back in the oven for another 20 minutes. This recipe has renewed by faith that gluten-free indeed can be tasty.

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