French Onion Soup

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I have to say that this is my absolute favorite soup! It is simple to make, low in calorie (until you add the bread and cheese!), and tastes great! I don’t get to eat it very often though, because it is made with beef stock, which often contains gluten. Also, there is the bread and cheese to contend with!

Ingredients

2-3 medium onions, yellow or white, sliced thinly

1 – 32 oz box of GF Beef broth (I used Rachel Ray’s brand, because it is all natural)

1 bay leaf

1 tsp of dried thyme (or 1 sprig of fresh)

1 Tbl of GF Worcestershire Sauce (I used Lea & Perrins)

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  1. Slice onions and saute until translucent in a small amount of oil or butter. This can be done in the same stockpot (4 qt for this recipe) you will cook the soup in, to save dishes.

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2. Add in bay leaf, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Cook 10-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

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3. Portion out into oven save bowls, top each with a piece of your favorite GF bread (the crustier the better), and your favorite cheese (soy mozzarella for me!) and broil in the oven until the cheese melts.

  • If you  do not have oven safe bowls or do not want to take the extra time to cook the soup altogether, you can cheat! While the soup is cooking, top your bread with the cheese and toast it in either a toaster oven or in your conventional oven. When the soup is ready, pop the toasted cheesy bread on top and serve!

Easy GF Vegan/Vegetarian Chili Recipe

One of the things that surprised me when going gluten free is the amount of soups and stews that contain gluten, especially chili. Chili is one of my favorite meals to make because it is hearty, wholesome, and delicious! It goes great on hot dogs, hamburgers, and french fries too. However, I have to be careful about ordering it when dining out. Many kinds of pre-packaged chili contain gluten. Premixed chili spice packets also can contain gluten. I even had a friend offer me some of her “famous” chili, but declined when she told me her secret is to dump a bottle of beer in it at the end! That is also why I ask what is in each thing I consider eating, even if it seems obvious.

This recipe is my favorite, because of it’s simplicity. Basically you dump a can of every vegetable you like into a pot and let it stew. You can do it quickly in a stock pot on the stove or let it stew all day in your crock pot. You can easily add or remove any ingredient, based on taste, without damaging the recipe overall. I added an onion and peppers for flavor, but they aren’t necessary. This time, I even replaced the chili spices with two of the new McCormick GF Chili spice packets, to make it even easier! It may not be haute cuisine, but it is great in a pinch. Probably the best aspect is its low cost. I purchase the canned goods when they are on sale, never paying more than $1 per can. I estimate it cost me $12.22 to make the whole pot. I usually get 8-10 servings per pot. Assuming the 8 servings, that is $1.52 per serving! It also freezes well too, so you don’t get tired of leftovers. I portion out the leftovers, so I can bring them to work or eat them later, when I don’t feel like making a meal from scratch.

Ingredients – Chili Base

1 small onion, white or yellow, rough chop

1 bell pepper, color of choice (I used green this time)

2 – McCormick Gluten Free Chili spice packets

1 – 15 oz can of black beans

1 – 15 oz can of kidney beans

1 – 15 oz can of corn

1 – 15 oz can of okra

1 – 15 oz can of sqaush

5 – 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes, flavor of choice (some brands offer chili seasoned ones!)

1 – 6 oz can of tomato paste

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  1. Saute onion and pepper, if desired. Add it to your stock pot or crock pot. If you are using a stock pot, you can saute in the same pot so you have less dishes.

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2. Add in spices or spice packet, cook for a few minutes until fragrant. This brings out the flavors more, so you can use less spice.

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3. Add in mixed veggies, making sure to drain the liquid from each can. Rinse the beans thoroughly too. I usually throw the contents of each can in a colander and rinse.

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4. Add in the tomatoes, also well drained. If you purchased spiced diced tomatoes, do not rinse them or you will loose the spices!

5. Cook on low crockpot setting for 6-8 hours or medium heat on the stove for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. As the vegetables cook down, the chili will look a little watery (see image above).

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6. Add in the tomato paste to thicken the chili. It is ready to eat!

  • I serve mine with vegan cheese and avocado or guacamole. Sometimes I also include tortilla chips or GF cornbread on the side too.
  • For a meaty version, add in 1 lb cooked ground beef or turkey in between steps 2 and 3.
  • For a fall twist add cooked pumpkin or another winter squash. Adding cinnamon to the squash version is great too!

For those of you who don’t want to use a spice packet:

Ingredients – Homemade Chili Spice

2 Tbl Chili powder

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1.5 Tbl Garlic Powder

1 Tsp Onion Powder

1.5 Tbl Cumin Powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sugar

Gluten Free Banana Bread

This is my favorite quickbread recipe and also my most frequently used recipe over all. It makes a great breakfast item or a nice snack with a cup of coffee. It works well for potlucks, bake sales, welcome wagons/baskets, gifts, and as an easy breakfast when you have visitors. I have even brought one, instead of the customary casserole, to a grieving family. They really appreciated a breakfast option, since everyone else gave them lunch or dinner items.

This recipe is a favorite, because I love adaptable recipes. The batter can be scooped into muffin tins for those who don’t like having to slice a loaf. It can be topped with oats, crushed nuts, or a gluten free streusel to make it more attractive. My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can switch out the nuts for dried fruit or chocolate chips. Cranberries add a holiday flair! You can also experiment with the spices or leave them out for a more basic banana bread. I have been known to add a gluten free bourbon or coconut flavoring in the past too! Just be careful not to add more than two tbsp of liquid (this includes the vanilla) or it will effect how the bread rises.

Ingredients

2 c GF Flour blend – I used Domata in this one, but have used Bob’s Red Mill and Wholesome Chow with success in the past

1 tsp Xanthan gum – only if your flour blend doesn’t already contain it

2 tsp GF baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 c sugar, granulated

1/2 c sugar, brown, not packed

1 stick butter, margarine, or earth balance, melted

3 bananas, medium, smashed

2 ea egg, large, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c pecans, pieces

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Sift flour, Xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon , and nutmeg together.

3. Mix in both sugars.

4. Mix in melted butter, mashed bananas, and eggs.

5. Fold in pecans.

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6. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, then pour in batter.

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7. Bake 45-60 minutes until crust is golden or until a knife or toothpick you stick in the middle comes out clean.

8. Allow to cool in a pan for 30-40 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack.

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Pro Tips:

*DO NOT open the oven to check on the bread while it is baking. I know this is a well ingrained habit, but gluten free baked goods will collapse if you do this! Gluten is what normally gives breads and cakes their structure and stability. The rapid change in temperature caused by opening the oven will collapse what little structure is created by the xanthan gum. It is better to use the oven light to check on your baked goods through the oven window. I do not recommend opening the oven until the 45 minute mark to quickly check the doneness on this specific bread.

*If you have parchment or wax paper on hand, cut a piece the size and shape of the bottom of your pan (this works for cakes and bar cookies too!) place it in the pan after it has been greased. Having this paper at the bottom of the pan, keeps your baked good from sticking to the bottom of the pan and tearing apart when removing it.

Sweet Coleslaw

One of my favorite sides in the summertime is coleslaw. It is easy to make, since you simply mix everything together and let it sit overnight. This also makes it a great pot luck dish!

The origional dish was brought to the Americas by Dutch settlers who called it koolsla, meaning cabbage salad. Today there are many types of slaw, some of which are mayonnaise based, vinegar based, and red slaw.

My favorite is the classic sweet mayonnaise based slaw that you get in most fried chicken restaurants. Since I can’t eat the chicken, I don’t get to eat the slaw too often. Here is my version of the sweet coleslaw:

Ingredients

1 small onion, minced (or 1 Tbl onion powder)

2/3 cup mayonnaise

½ cup white sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon gluten-free white vinegar (Heinz is a safe option)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

½ teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

1 small fresh cabbage, chopped to desired size

1 medium carrot, grated

1. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, vegetable oil, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds together in a large bowl until smooth.

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2. Add in cabbage and carrot (or coleslaw mix) and toss to coat.

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3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or lid; refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Overnight works best.

Tips:

*You can substitute the fresh cabbage and carrot with a 16 ounce bag of coleslaw mix from the bag lettuce section of the grocery store. It also saves you from having to chop and grate.

*For a tangy version of this coleslaw add 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

*I have in the past used Veganaise instead of mayonnaise for an egg-free version. It works, but the flavor is not quite the same.