Gluten Free Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta

Using simple ingredients from the pantry, this plate full of happiness is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds!  Other than the pasta, the ingredients are naturally gluten free.  A fast easy dinner to enjoy any night of the week!

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

Preparation:

This is one of those recipes that goes very quickly once you begin, so you want to have all of your ingredients at the ready.  Heat a pot of salted water for the pasta.  Mince the garlic and grate the cheese.

Heat a deep skillet with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and add the chicken.  Sprinkle it with Italian seasoning and paprika.  Cook for 1 minute each side (longer if you have thicker slices) and remove to a plate.

By now the pasta water should be ready, cook the pasta to a few minutes less than the package directions, it will finish cooking in the sauce.

Next add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan with their oil.  Cook until they begin to sizzle, then remove and rough chop them or use kitchen shears to julienne.

Return the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan with the minced garlic and 1 tbsp. tomato paste.

Cook for 1 minute, stir it all together and return the chicken to the pan.

Top it with the Gruyere cheese and pour in the half and half.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan, toss well and cook for one more minute.

Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the remaining tbsp. of olive oil and garnish with Italian parsley.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.  This was SO good!  Sometimes I even amaze myself.

Notes ♪♫ For this dish, use sun-dried tomatoes in oil.  The oil in the jar is infused with flavor and gives the entire dish a beautiful color.

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Gluten Free Herb Focaccia

Focaccia Bread Art is something I have always wanted to try.  Encouraged by my recent success making a Caramelized Onion Focaccia, I decided to give it a go while I still have fresh herbs from my garden.  Here is my little masterpiece, a very simple first effort that I will definitely do more of!

I used chives for the stems, rosemary and oregano for the leaves, parsley and shallots for the flowers.  There is a bit of fresh thyme sprinkled throughout.  I wondered how the fresh herbs would taste in the finished product and they were delicious!

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INGREDIENTS:

PREPARATION:

Combine water and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer and give it about 10 minutes to activate.  Whisk together the flour and salt and add to the yeast mixture along with 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Mix with the paddle attachment for 8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and refrigerate for one hour.

Cut parchment paper to fit a quarter sheet pan and mist with cooking spray.  Place chilled dough in the center of the parchment.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, slide it onto the sheet pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap.  Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 425º.

Create dimples in the dough by pushing down with your fingertips.  Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning.  Here’s what I used.

Arrange the fresh herbs on your dough and brush them lightly with olive oil so they don’t burn.

Place the sheet pan in the oven on top of the baking stone.  Bake for 25 minutes total.  During the last 10 minutes carefully slide the pizza out of the pan, remove the parchment and finish baking directly on the pizza stone.

So pretty, I hated to cut it (at least not until I took pictures ????).  Use a pizza wheel to cut into squares.

Here’s the crumb shot!

Notes ♪♫ If you follow me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Better Batter gluten free flour.  I used their Artisan Flour Blend in this recipe, it is a little miracle in a bag that I recommend for pizza and yeasted bread recipes.  Try it, you will not be disappointed (be sure to use my code MGFC30 at checkout for 30% off your non-sale purchase)!

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Gluten Free Italian Wine Biscuits

This recipe is about a memory.  Of my long-ago childhood home, when my younger self would arrive home from school to find that my mother had been baking.  Of the aroma that filled the kitchen, the table covered with racks holding dozens and dozens of these fragrant Italian treats just out of the oven.  We would devour them still warm, when they had the consistency of a soft cookie.  Later, when fully cooled they would firm up to a crisp exterior perfect for dunking in coffee!

Why do I remember this particular recipe so fondly?  Like most women of her generation my mother embraced convenience foods, and her cookies and cakes were usually made from a boxed mix.  Not these Wine Biscuits though, they were always made from scratch!

It’s a popular recipe and an easy one too!  Every Italian has their own little variation, but the basic ingredients include a cup of sugar, a cup of oil and a cup of wine.  My mother used eggs in hers.  I know that others do not, but I think the egg definitely helped with the consistency in this gluten free makeover.

It was a challenge to recreate the exact texture of these biscuits with a gluten free flour.  Although we call them biscuits, they are actually a shaped cookie.  The dough had to be workable enough to roll into thin ropes, to form the traditional twist and knot shapes.  A tall order for gluten free!

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The Flour

In keeping with the simplicity of my mother’s recipe, I did not want to make a 20-ingredient flour blend.  So, I used Better Batter Original All Purpose Flour and was very pleased with the taste and texture of the wine biscuits.  They got a big thumbs up from family and friends who sampled them!  Please note that other gluten free flour blends may work, but since every brand is different, you may not achieve the same results with another flour.

When you shop Better Batter and use my (affiliate) code MGFC30 at checkout, you will receive 30% off any non-sale item! 

CLICK HERE to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to try the flour that I call my little miracle in a bag!

Yield: 2 dozen

My mother’s original recipe made 4 dozen wine biscuits, way too many for our 2-person household.  I decided to cut the recipe in half, and it was just the right amount for us.  You can double it for a large family or holiday baking.

Ingredients:

Plus . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • additional flour for dusting and rolling
  • 1 beaten egg, for egg wash

Preparation:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg, sugar, oil and wine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to wet and beat until a soft dough forms.

Lightly flour a cutting board, and scoop out one rounded tablespoon of dough at a time.  Roll each piece into a rope, about 1/2″ thick and 10″ long.  Keep the board and your fingers lightly floured while handling the dough.

You can shape the ropes into a knot or a twist.  My mother would simply form a round and pinch the ends together, that works too!  You should have enough for about 2 dozen.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and arrange the formed wine biscuits, leaving a few inches of space in between.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before baking.  Keeping them cold helps the biscuits retain their shape.

Preheat the oven to 325º.  Whisk together 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water and lightly brush the wine biscuits with the egg wash.

Bake for 22-25 minutes.  Cool in the pan 10 minutes then transfer to a rack.  Enjoy them warm or at room temperature.

Store airtight at room temperature 2-3 days.  I imagine they would freeze well but this batch did not last long enough to find out!

Notes ♪♫ My mother made these biscuits with my grandfather’s homemade red wine. ???? There was always a bottle in the refrigerator.  Even when the wine was past its prime, it was good for cooking, and this was how it usually got used up!  You can use any red wine that you enjoy drinking (i.e., not cooking wine!).

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Gluten Free Chicken Tenders Saltimbocca

Saltimbocca is one of those restaurant classics that I have had on my recipe bucket list.  It can be made with chicken or veal; I’ve even had it as an appetizer with jumbo shrimp!  Today though, I’m going with something a bit humbler.  I’m using chicken tenders, easy on the pocketbook and easy on the prep!  Each tender is wrapped in prosciutto with a beautiful fresh sage leaf tucked in.  The bundles are then simmered in a simple sauce made with shallots, chicken broth, lemon and wine.

The inspiration for this post was a beautiful pot of sage from my herb garden.  I’m really proud that I grew it from seed!

When my husband tasted this, he said what is that sweet flavor?  It’s the fresh sage, really different than dried!  If you don’t have an herb garden look for it at the market.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders, 5-6 pieces
  • fresh ground pepper
  • fresh sage leaves, whole plus 2 tbsp. minced
  • 6 slices of prosciutto, or 1 per tender
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 cup gluten free, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • remaining half lemon, cut into wedges for serving

Preparation:

Line your counter with wax paper and lay out the prosciutto slices.  Place one whole sage leaf on the lower half of each slice.

Place one chicken tender on each sage leaf.  Sprinkle with the minced sage and fresh ground pepper.

Roll each into a bundle.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tbsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Place the bundles seam side down in the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through.  See how searing the prosciutto has sealed the bundles, no toothpicks or twine needed!

Transfer the tenders to a platter while you make the sauce.

Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to the skillet and stir in the shallots.  Cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the corn starch for about 30 seconds.  Stream in the broth and the wine.  Bring to a simmer, then finish with the butter, lemon juice and parsley.  When the butter has melted, return the chicken to the skillet.  Toss with the sauce, then cover and cook several minutes longer to heat through.

Transfer to a serving dish and spoon sauce over the top.  Garnish with fresh sage and lemon wedges.

I served it with roasted potato slices and sugar snap peas.  So simple and delicious, as good as any restaurant!  Isn’t it great that we can still enjoy this traditional Italian favorite on the gluten free diet?

Notes ♪♫ In addition to being gluten free, we are a low sodium household.  Since the prosciutto in this recipe has plenty of salt, I did not add more to the recipe. 

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Italian Pot Roast

When I was growing up in the 1960’s, Sunday morning in our Italian neighborhood was all about making the sauce.  I can still see my Mom’s Farberware Stockpot simmering on the stove, filled to the rim.

She often cooked a pot roast right in the sauce, as it was so easy to do and the resulting meal was delicious.  The aromas filled our home and beyond, in fact it seemed every kitchen in the neighborhood was busy preparing their own Italian Sunday Dinner.

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I always think of my Mom when I make this recipe, but instead of stovetop I prefer using my crock-pot, which makes it virtually hands off while you go about your busy day.  The roast can be cooked on the weekend and reheated during the week, for an easy meal when you get home from work.  Chuck roast is an economical cut of beef and after nine hours in the crock-pot the meat will be melt in your mouth tender!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 lb. chuck roast, allow 1/2 lb. per serving
  • 4 garlic cloves cut into slivers
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • cooking spray
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

Preparation:

I got a great deal on a 4 lb. chuck roast, so I cut it into 2 pieces and froze half.  A roast like this will shrink during cooking, so when planning portions I allow 1/2 lb. per person.  If you have leftovers, this pot roast is great in sandwiches the next day.

To get started, set up your crock-pot and mist with cooking spray.  Cut the garlic cloves into long slivers.  Use a paring knife to make slits in the top of the roast and insert the garlic slivers.

Sear the roast on all sides in a hot skillet with olive oil, then place it in the crock-pot.

Add onions to the same skillet and cook until translucent.  Add them to the roast then deglaze the skillet with the red wine and pour over everything.

Whisk the tomato paste into the tomato sauce along with the remaining ingredients, through brown sugar.  Add to the crock-pot and cook on low for 9 hours.  Give it a stir about half way through.  You can serve it immediately but my personal preference is to refrigerate it overnight.  The flavors will continue to meld and the sauce will thicken.

The next day, reheat the roast on the stovetop over low heat.  You can see that mine was so tender that it had broken into two pieces.

Most of the onions will have melted into the sauce at this point, but if you want an extra smooth sauce (or have picky eaters) you can puree it with a stick blender.

Slice the roast and arrange on a serving platter.

Serve with your favorite gluten free pasta.  Jovial gluten free penne is one of mine.

Bring to the table with extra sauce and grated cheese.  The only thing missing here is fresh parsley from my herb garden.  I guess I’ll have to wait for summer and make this again!

Notes: ♪♫  When starting the gluten free diet, you may feel like you will never enjoy your old family recipes again.  The truth is, many recipes like this one are naturally gluten free.  The only thing I changed was the pasta.  With a little patience and experimentation, I have learned that many of my childhood favorites can be recreated in My Gluten Free Cucina.

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Easy Gluten Free Italian Sausage Patties No Salt

Why make your own sausage?  Today we have so many brands of gluten free sausage that are widely available.  Why am I going through the trouble of making it from scratch?  The short answer, sodium.

As a woman of a certain age, I can tell you that when that check engine light goes on, you had best take it seriously.  So, a couple of years ago when my blood pressure started going up, up, up I decided to embrace low sodium cooking.

Just as when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, I went through everything in my pantry and checked the labels.  This time, instead of gluten I was looking for sodium.  Like gluten, it’s EVERYWHERE!

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I have replaced my favorite convenience items like chicken broth, canned tomatoes and beans with the unsalted version.  Some of my purchased spice blends had to go, and I’m ok with that since I can make my own without salt.

Now back to the sausage.  I love using Italian sausage in my recipes.  I add a little to my Meatloaf, Meatballs, Pizza, even my Shepherd’s Pie!  Alas, the store-bought sausage has way too much salt and now it too had got to go.

So today I made my first batch of Italian Sausage with NO SALT.  With this base, I can use it freely without worry about adding yet more salt into a recipe.

Maybe you’re not worried about sodium.  Why make your own sausage?  Because you control the ingredients.  Want less fat?  Instead of all pork use a combination of pork and turkey or use all turkey or chicken.  Don’t like fennel?  Leave it out.  Like it spicy?  Add more hot pepper flakes.  You get the idea.

My mother used to say that no one really knows what is in sausage.  Make your own and you will know!

Please note that I am not grinding my own meat nor am I using casings.  Remember, I called this an easy recipe.  ????

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. peppercorns, ground
  • 2 tsp. parsley
  • 2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 2 tsp. onion granules
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Preparation:

Measure the spices before you begin.  I used a coffee grinder to break up my peppercorns, fennel seed and red pepper flakes.

Add the pork and turkey to a large bowl.

Use 2 forks to break apart the meat and mix it together.  This will take some time and patience, as you want it well mixed but not compressed.

Add the vinegar one tbsp. at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Whisk the spices together and sprinkle over the meat, using the forks to incorporate the spices throughout the mixture.  If you’re not watching salt go ahead and add some here.

I used a scale to measure out 4 oz. patties.  I pressed them between wax paper squares.  This recipe yields 8 patties.

The patties need to rest for 12 hours in the refrigerator prior to cooking, this allows the flavors to meld, and the vinegar tenderizes the meat.

After 12 hours in the fridge the sausage patties are ready to be cooked or frozen.  They are great for breakfast or in a sandwich.

Use them in meat sauce, casseroles and stuffing.

Notes ♪♫ In most of my recipes I will recommend that you add salt or seasoning to taste.  Whether you need to limit salt for medical reasons or just a personal preference, when you cook from scratch you are always in control.

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Beef Short Ribs with Polenta

With time on my hands this week, I decided to make hubby one of his favorite slow cooked meals, Braised Beef Short Ribs.  The ribs were marinated in red wine with herbs, then slowly simmered on the stove top until the meat was tender and falling off the bone.  I served them over creamy Polenta, with a side of roasted green beans.

2 Servings (for heartier appetites, allow 2 ribs per serving)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 bone in beef short ribs
  • 3/4 cup of red wine
  • sprigs of rosemary, thyme and chives
  • salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cups gluten free stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)

Preparation:

Combine the wine and herbs in a covered baking dish with lid.  Add the short ribs and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Cover and marinate the short ribs for 2 hours at room temperature, turning every 30 minutes.

About 3 hours before dinner, pour the marinade into a sauce pan and keep warm.  Sear the ribs in a deep skillet with 2 tbsp. olive oil.  You can also use a Dutch oven, or other heavy pan with a cover.

Remove the ribs, and add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic with 1 tbsp. more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Take the skillet off the heat and pour in the reserved marinade.  Deglaze the pan, then add the stock, honey and ketchup.

Return the short ribs, cover and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.  You want a constant slow simmer.

After 3 hours of gentle heat, the ribs are melt in your mouth tender and pulling away from the bone.

The skillet liquid is full of rich flavor.  Strain it into a sauce pan and reserve for soup stock!

I made individual serving bowls, and set each short rib over Polenta, with just a drizzle of the pan juices.  Carrots and fresh parsley add a pop of color.  Roasted green beans were served up on the side.

Notes ♪♫ I used a simmer mat in this recipe.  It’s one of those kitchen gadgets you didn’t know you needed until you have one.  It will prevent hot spots, maintain that low steady simmer, and keep your rice and delicate sauces from burning.  It is perfect for recipes like this one, where braising is done on the stove top.

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