Chicken and Noodles


Jovial Foods was kind enough to send me some of their gluten-free Brown Rice Tagliatelle pasta to review. With the nasty cold and wet weather we’ve been having lately, the first recipe that sprang to mind was a hearty Chicken and Noodles.

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2-3 cloves or garlic, crushed and diced
1 (12-ounce) box Pacific Natural Foods Organic Condensed Soup Cream Of Chicken
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box (9-ounces) Jovial Gluten-Free Brown Rice Tagliatelle

Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about another 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until everything is heated through and the onions have just started to brown a little bit.Jovial-Chicken-Noodles

Add the soup and milk and stir to combine. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the carrots are tender.

While the chicken and veggies are simmering, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Rinse with cold water and let drain.Jovial-Chicken-Noodles

Add the cheese to the chicken and veggies and stir until it is melted in. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve hot over noodles. Top with a sprinkle of cheese if you feel like it.


The Verdict: ★★★★★
Good egg noodles are one on the things that I have really missed since going gluten free. Jovial’s Gluten-Free Tagliatelle sure hit the mark here – tender but with substantial, with enough thickness and body to it to stand up to the sauce.

What impressed me the most was how different the Jovial pasta is from a lot of other gluten-free pastas I’ve tried. It wasn’t sticky or starchy. It didn’t solidify or dry out while it was draining. There where no “off” flavors, grittiness, or odd textures. If I didn’t know this was a GF pasta, I don’t think I could have told the difference.

One thing to note is that your cooking times may vary. I always start checking GF pastas for doneness at about half the recommend cooking time, and then every minute there after. Like any good pasta, you want it to be al dente – firm, but not soft. This is a narrow window that can be even narrower with GF pastas. My pasta ended up being done almost 2 minutes early.

Gluten-Free Tostadas

A Gluten-Free Tostadas

I was very happy to see that Udi’s is now offering gluten-free tortillas. I decided to give them a test drive on “man-food night” while the dear wife was away and make tostadas.

1 (8-ounce) package of Mexican chorizo
1 (15.4-ounce) can refried black beans with chilies
4 Udi’s tortillas

For topping:
Cojita and/or shredded co-jack cheese
Salsa verde
Sour cream
Choula hot sauce

Preheat your oven to 350°F. While oven is heating up, crumble chorizo into a medium skillet and brown over medium heat – about 5 minutes. Stir in refried beans and reduce heat to low.

Arrange tortillas on a cookie sheet and slide into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip and cook until they get browned and puffy – about 5 more minutes, but watch them as they can burn quickly.

Udis Tortillas
Tortilla inflada – the sign of a good tortilla is when it inflates when heated.

Assemble the tostadas by laying down the first tortilla on an oven-proof serving plate and spreading it with a layer of refried beans and meat. Add a little cheese and salsa if you want. Top with a second tortilla and spread some meat and bean goodness on that. Top with cheese, salsa, hot sauce, and maybe some more cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Slide the tostada-covered plates back in the oven and let cook at 350°F until the cheese starts to melt – about 5 minutes.

I served these with a dollop of sour cream, a little more Choula, and a squeeze of lime (okay, and more cojita too).

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Crunchy, cheesy, spicy, and just a little greasy – perfect for bach’ing it in front of the TV.  I have to give Udi’s a lot of credit for making tortillas that I couldn’t tell were gluten free.

The Nutrition:
Man food has no calories.

One year ago – Grilled Sweet Corn in the Husk
Two years ago – Saucy Wings

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Another “mystery meat” package from my butcher. The handwriting on the butcher paper said “sirloin”, so I assumed it was a steak. It turned out to be a big ol’ sirloin roast – three small bones, multiple muscle groups, and a thin strip of connective tissue holding two nice cuts of meat together.

I trimmed the roast down to two steaks and decided to treat them to a mushroom baste.

2 sirloin steaks
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Remove the steaks from the fridge and give them a good dusting with some ground sea salt and black pepper. Then set your grill up for a direct cook at slightly sub-nuclear temperature (about 600°F).

When the grill is getting up to temp, sauté the mushrooms. Combine the mushrooms, butter, and oil in a shallow baking pan (I use a 9×13 disposable foil pan) and heat it up right on the grill, stirring to combine everything as the butter melts. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and keep cooking until the mushrooms are tender and browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the Worcestershire and thyme and stir to combine. Let cook until the mixture starts to bubble, about another minute. Set the pan beside the grill to keep it warm.

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Sear the steaks for 60 seconds on each side, then move them off into the mushroom baste. Flip them a couple of times to coat both sides with all that earthy and buttery joy, then put the steaks back on the grill for another 30 seconds on each side. Keep flipping every 30 seconds or so and start checking for doness – I like my steaks medium-rare, so 125°F internal. These steaks took just under 2 minutes per side total.

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Move the steaks off into the mushroom baste and give them another flip. Let rest for 10 minutes, then move the steaks to a cutting board. Reserve the mushroom baste and keep the pan warm.

Trim off any fat or connective tissue from the steaks and then slice the meat on a diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Put the sliced steak and any accumulated meat juices from the cutting board back into the mushroom mix. Give the pan a stir to coat the meat.

Move meat to a serving platter and serve topped with the mushrooms.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Sirloin is a very flavorful cut of meat, but it can be tough. I really like this grill and baste technique because it lets me build up that flavor while keeping the meat moist and tender.

The Nutrition:
If you trim it, sirloin steak is 5 points for 3 ounces of meat. The baste adds about 3 more points for the oil. Serve it with a salad and it’s all good.

One year ago – Mixed Berry Pretzel Icebox Dessert
Two years ago –
Pulled Picnic

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

There are two sources of inspiration for these wings – the Sriracha Honey Cashew Chicken Stir Fry from Lea Ann at Highlands Ranch Foodie and the tub of Korean chili paste left over from our New Year’s Bo Ssam.

I really liked the way the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha played together in stir-fry sauce, so I started looking at other recipes to bring this combo together and settled on using it as a wing sauce and substituting the it’s-taking-up-too-much-room-in-the-fridge gochujang for the sriracha.

The Brine
3 lbs chicken wings
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon powder ginger
1 teaspoon fresh-ground back pepper
1/4 cup kosher salt
8 cups water

Make the brine by combining the lemon juice, honey, garlic, ginger, pepper, salt, and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat, pour into a covered non-reactive container and refrigerate until cool.

Once cool, add the wings, arranging so they are all covered in brine. Stash in the fridge for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 24.

The Sauce
3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
3 tablespoons gochujang Korean chili paste (as best I can tell this one is gluten free)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Combine the soy sauce, chili paste, honey, and vinegar in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the sesame oil, and set aside.

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

The Cook
About an hour before you plan to grill, remove the wings from the brine, pat them dry, and set them uncovered on a rack in the fridge. This will help keep the skin crispy.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook over high (400°F) heat. I set the Big Green Egg up using the inverted plate setter to diffuse the heat.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on and let them cook for 30 minutes. Flip them and let them go for another 20. Flip them again and check for doneness. The skin should be fairly crisp and the internal temp should be 165°F or higher.

Grilled Korean Chicken Wings

When they are done, baste them with sauce on both sides, then let them cook for another 5 minutes. Sauce them again and let them go for another 5 minutes. Sauce them one last time and move them off to a plate. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve with remaining sauce on the side.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The sauce on these babies absolutely rocked! It was the perfect blend of heat and sweet with a nice umami base. The gochujang I used wasn’t too fiery (Koreans probably use it as baby food), but the heat was very rich and consistent. I might add a teaspoon or so of garlic chili paste next time to brighten the heat a little bit. I also see this sauce glazing some pork chops in the near future.

Why not 5 stars? As I’ve said before: a good chicken wing must be crispy, it must be spicy enough to require a cold adult beverage, and it should be flavorful enough to be addictive. These wing hit 2 outta 3 – the brine made the wings nice and juicy, but it also made the skin a bit rubbery. I would ditch it next time.

The Nutrition:
Sadly, wings are 150 calories and 3 Weight Watchers points a piece.

One year ago – Yoga – Getting My Om On
Two years ago – Swamp Venom Thighs

Cheesy Grits with Sausage Gravy

Cheesy Grits and Sausage

I have always enjoyed biscuits and gravy, but (as a northerner) could never quite get the idea of serving the gravy over grits. This is the recipe I went with to try to expand my palate.

Cheesy Grits
3 cups water
3/4 cup stone-ground grits
4-ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot on the stove top. Whisk in the grits and then turn the heat to the lowest setting and put a lid on top.

While the grits are cooking, assemble the gravy.

Sausage Gravy
1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee
1-3 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Do not drain. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until it forms a roux and begins to brown.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the coffee. Scape the bottom to get up any brown bits. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally until gravy comes to a simmer and starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

The grits should be soft and creamy by this point. Stir in the cheese and butter.

Divide the grits into shallow bowls and top with gravy. Serve with more hot sauce.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Okay, now I’m starting to get grits.They were rich and creamy and stood up nicely to the gravy. Adding just the 1/4 cup of coffee really gave the gravy more depth.

The Nutrition:
Cheese + butter + sausage + gravy ? health food.

One year ago – General Purpose Rub v1.5
Two years ago – Flashback Friday

Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies

Lace Cookies

Being gluten free is hard enough the rest of the year, but it really stinks at the holidays. There’s just nothing like the memories and cookies that Mom used to make.

Thankfully, my dear wife converted a couple of old family recipes to gluten free, so I didn’t suffer too much this year;).

Lace Cookies
1 stick butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix
1 cup finely-chopped pecans or walnuts (we used Dad’s hand-picked with love black walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine butter, corn syrup and brown sugar in a heavy medium-sized saucepan. Heat just to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in baking mix, nuts, and vanilla.

Drop by scant teaspoons, 3 inches apart, on foil-covered baking sheet.

Bake at 350°F for 7-8 minutes or until light golden brown.

Let cookies remain on sheet for a few minutes to stiffen a bit and become easier to remove. Place on waxed paper to cool, then store in airtight container. Makes 5 dozen.

Notes – these spread a lot. If evenly sized, perfect cookies are important to you, it might be worth your time to do a test bake of 3 or so your first batch so you can see what you’ll be getting and adjust accordingly. Also, having two cookie sheets going would be a real time saver.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons
1/3 cup Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix
2 1/2 cup flaked or chipped coconut
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine baking mix, coconut, and salt in a bowl. Add milk and vanilla and mix well; batter will be stiff. Drop by tablespoons one inch apart onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 13-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

One year ago – Looking Forward
Two years ago – Oysters!

Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

A big challenge of going gluten-free has been finding products that are naturally gluten-free. There are now (thankfully) lots of products that have been made gluten-free, but that involves some processing. Quinoa is a South America seed that is a naturally gluten-free alternative to couscous or bulgur wheat. It’s light and nutty and has a little crunch to it. It works really well in this salad from Fitness & Feta that my dear wife whipped up to go with our planked salmon.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa
4-5 big handfuls of baby spinach
2 handfuls of grape tomatoes
4-5 scallion, washed & sliced
Spices to taste:  sea salt, ground pepper, parsley, thyme, basil, or mint
Tiny pinch of nutmeg
Fresh lemon juice or rice vinegar

Gently heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the cooked quinoa,  stir, and cook until it is heated through.

Add the baby spinach leaves, tomatoes, and scallions. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with nutmeg and other herbs. Stir to mix, then sprinkle with lemon juice or rice vinegar and stir.

When the spinach begins to wilt remove from heat and serve.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This was a very nutty and satisfying side dish that paired well with the salmon. While there’s just a pinch of nutmeg in it, it really stands out and adds a lot to the flavor. This dish is also a great chance to use your fresh herbs. I think we’ll be eating a lot of quinoa salads this summer.

The Nutrition:
A 1/4 cup serving of quinoa is only 1 Weight Watchers point and 172 calories. Plus it’s high in protein and loaded with magnesium.

ONE YEAR AGO –  1st Sweet Corn

TWO YEARS AGO – Memorial Day


Gluten-Free Biscuits & Gravy

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. I won’t be cooking since we’ll be out of town, but if I where this is what I would make for my dear wife.

2 cups Bisquick Gluten-Free mix
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
3 eggs

1 pound pork breakfast sausage
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons Bisquick Gluten-Free mix
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, combine Bisquick mix and butter. Cut in the butter into the mix using pastry blender or fork until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk and eggs and mix just until a soft dough forms. Try not to over-work the dough.

Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto an cookie sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Do not drain.  Add the Bisquick and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until it forms a roux and begins to brown.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the milk a little at a time. Scape the bottom to get up any brown bits. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally until gravy comes to a simmer and starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the hot sauce, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat and ladle over warm biscuits.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Polenta Dressing

Being a northerner with not a speck of Italian heritage, my experience with corn grits has been pretty limited. Growing up, it (sadly) just wasn’t a food that was on my radar.

Since becoming gluten-free, however, that’s all changed. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Corn Grits/Polenta has become my new best friend. My dear wife makes wonderful pizza crusts with it, and I’ve served it as both a cheesy side dish and as a pasta-replacement topped with pork ragú. This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to try a polenta dressing in place of my usual cornbread recipe.

6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups coarse-ground grits
16 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk
6 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion,chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces Andouille sausage, chopped
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1-2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease up a 4-quart Dutch oven.

In a large saucepan, bring the broth, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to a boil. Whisk in the grits. Bring to a low boil, whisking frequently, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

While the grits are cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until the onion softens (about 5 minutes). Add the Andouille and cook until it is heated through and starts to give off some oil (about another 5 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. In a large bowl, pour in the polenta and then stir in both the cheese and sausage mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Gradually stir the egg mixture into the polenta, mixing until everything is combined. Pour the works into the Dutch oven.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is set and the edges are a bit brown.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
While this was way too spicy for my relatives, my dear wife and I loved it – rich, creamy, crunchy, and spicy. I still miss my Mom’s gluteny stuffing, but this got me through Thanksgiving without feeling too deprived.

The Nutrition:

Sweet & Tangy Thighs with Peanut Noodles

Sometimes you need a little help. We had a friend visiting from out-of-town and I wanted to put together a nice meal on the Big Green Egg. We also had a lot of other things that we wanted to do, but was really feeling short on time.  Lucky for me, I hit these two two saviors while I was digging through our pantry.

SAN-J makes a lot of gluten-free sauces, but they are hard to find in our local grocery stores. Fortunately, I’d run into a bunch of them at an Asian market and grabbed a few to try.

Peanut Noodles
3/4 pound dried spaghetti (use corn or rice noodles to make it gluten-free)
1 (10-ounce) bottle SAN-J Gluten Free Thai Peanut Sauce
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips

Cook the pasta according to the direction on the package until al dente (if you are going to let this sit in the fridge, shorten the cooking time for a little firmer pasta). Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water.

Dump the pasta and veggies into a lidded container and pour about 2/3 cup of the peanut sauce over them.  Put the lid on and toss to combine. Store in the fridge until just before dinner, then remove and let warm up a bit before serving. Add more sauce and maybe a squirt of sriracha before serving if needed.

Sweet & Tangy Thighs
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 (10-ounce) bottle SAN-J Gluten Free Sweet & Tangy Glaze
4 flat, wooden skewers

Put the chicken in a zip-top bag and pour on enough of the glaze to cover them (about 2/3 cup). Toss to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it, and put it in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours. Put the skewers in a pan of water to soak.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over high (450°F) heat.

Thread the thighs onto the skewers (about 3 on each). Grill chicken about 10 minutes per side or until the internal temp hits at least 180°F. I like my thighs a little more done, so I went another 10 minutes until the meat started to get a good crispy char on it and the internal temp was 200°F.

Remove the skewers from the grill and let rest 10 minutes before serving over the noodles.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
Where these as good as my usual Teriyaki Kabobs and Peanut Noodles? I didn’t think so, but the meal met with rave reviews (although that may have been the Cucumber Margaritas talking), so who am I to argue?

The thighs were indeed sweet and tangy with a good mix of savory umami and bright fruit flavors. The noodles were rich and peanutty and had a nice crunch from the veggies. I would have added a bit more garlic to the chicken and a little lime juice to lighten up the noodles,  but that’s more niggling than complaining. In the end, the trade off in taste was minor for the ease of putting this meal together.

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