Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

For years I have been making stuffed bell peppers for dinner. I never use a recipe, but rather throw ingredients in as my mood dictates. But this evening, Jeff really liked the peppers more than any I've ever made before, so I thought I'd put it down here, lest I forget!

***So this morning, my youngest son and I clipped some Thai basil leaves and large-leaf basil leaves off my plants (he calls these plants 'breath fresheners' because he plucks leaves off periodically and chews on them.) We cut them and placed them in a bowl (about 1/3 cup leaves) and added about 1/4 cup of pure olive oil. We covered them and let them sit all day. Now for the recipe:

1 lb ground beef or turkey
4 bell peppers (assorted colors) halved and steamed until tender, but not overdone. 
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
***basil leaves soaked in pure olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (make sure they are gluten free)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups instant rice
scant teaspoon of each: marjoram, rosemary, thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
few dashes of tobasco sauce 
shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350◦. Strain the basil leaves from the olive oil and preheat the oil in a skillet. (Reserve the basil.) Saute the onions for 2 minutes, then add the zucchini and saute for a minute more. Then add the minced garlic and the basil leaves. Heat briefly--no more than 30 seconds. 

Remove contents of skillet to a bowl and then brown the ground meat. 

In the meantime, half and steam peppers. 

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cheddar cheese and peppers, and cook covered over medium heat until all the water is absorbed by the rice. You may need to add more rice if there is still water remaining. 

Place peppers hollow side up and fill with meat/rice mixture. Top with shredded cheddar just for taste. Do not add more than a tablespoon to each, otherwise the flavor and texture will not be ideal.

Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

I had taken a standard banana bread recipe and converted it to gluten free and added my own twist. It turned out fabulous! Here's the recipe:

2 cups of Carol Kicinski's flour recipe***
1 cup of gluten-free rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
3-4 medium-sized ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce (be brave: try the chunky kind!)
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix together the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, then add the remaining ingredients. Mix together the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix until blended. Do not over mix.

Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Mix a tablespoon of sugar and a scant teaspoon of cinnamon together. Sprinkle on the prepared pans. Divide mixture between two loaf pans, or if you want a large loaf, you can use one--but you'll need to increase the time to bake. (You may need to cover the bread with foil if you need to increase the time so as not to burn the loaf.)

Bake at 350ยบ for 45-55 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of the loaves. If it comes out clean it is done. Cool at least 10 minutes. Slowly remove the loaves and transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Tastes excellent toasted!

***Carol Kicinski's flour recipe
4 1/2 cups white rice flour
1 1/2 cups sweet glutinous rice flour (can find in the Asian section of grocery stores)
2 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
1 cup tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour)
4 teaspoons xanthan gum