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Category: featured recipes

  1. Tuesday, June 30, 2020

    Carne Asada Salad with Cilantro Crema

    Side view of carne asada salad topped with avocado

    As promised, I am sharing my carne asada salad recipe, although it’s more of a guide than an actual recipe. This salad is flexible. If you’re missing something, no worries. Really the only required attendees in carne asada salad are, well, carne asada, salad (you know, the greens) and my homemade cilantro crema. Beyond that, do what I describe below or get creative! The world (well, this salad) is your oyster (except there aren’t oysters in this salad, and, actually, as flexible as the salad is, I would skip the oysters).

    Top view of carne asada salad on a white plate

    This is a great go-to dinner option. The cilantro crema dressing is easy to make, the carne asada (which I get from the butcher at the store) grills up in mere minutes, and the salad is super easy to throw together. Also, all my kids like this meal so that automatically makes it my favorite. But, seriously, Nate and I do love it as well!

    Carne asada salad with cilantro crema dressing

    Carne Asada Salad with Cilantro Crema
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Salad greens (whatever is your favorite!)
    • Sliced, grilled carne asada
    • Beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, whatever)
    • Fresh or canned corn
    • Chopped or sliced avocado
    • Chopped tomatoes (I usually forget these)
    • Fried tortilla strips or broken up tortilla chips
    • Cilantro Crema
    Instructions
    1. On a plate place your greens. Top with carne asada, beans, corn, avocado, tomato, then drizzle with dressing. Finish off with tortilla strips! Enjoy!

     

     


  2. Sunday, June 28, 2020

    Cilantro Crema Dressing Recipe (Also an Excellent Dip!)

    Carne Asada Salad served with Homemade Cilantro Crema Dressing

    This cilantro crema dressing recipe is divine. I first made up this concoction for carne asada salad (a salad we threw together one night that has since become a family favorite dinner) and have made it many times. Using crema Mexicana as the base, this sauce is a wonderful salad dressing but it is also a great dip for chips and raw vegetables. (Kettle crinkle-cut potato chips in the same room as this dip is my new kryptonite).

    Bowl of cilantro crema dressing

    We have also used this cilantro cream as toppings for other savory dishes, like baked potatoes and tacos. It would also be a great sauce to serve on top of a perfectly-cook steak. You get the idea, we’ve been using this stuff on everything.

    Top view of a cilantro crema dressing recipe

    If you’ve never had crema Mexicana, it’s used similarly to sour cream, but it is thinner in texture and doesn’t have a sour flavor. As a result, this cilantro crema dressing recipe makes for very fresh, light-tasting flavor, and the garlic and cilantro give it a nice brightness.

    Cilantro crema dressing recipe in a bowl with a spoon

    That’s about all I have to say about cilantro crema. Enjoy!

    Cilantro Crema Dressing and Dip
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Can be used as a salad dressing, a sauce topping for foods like baked potatoes, steak and tacos, or as a dip for chips or fresh vegetables
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped finely
    • 1 cup Mexican crema (see note below for details)
    • ½ cup avocado or olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • Juice from 2 limes
    • 2 garlic cloves, through a garlic press
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    Instructions
    1. Mix everything together and your done!
    2. The dressing is on the thicker side, but it still works great on salad!
    Notes
    Try to find crema Mexicana that is listed simply as "table cream." Sometimes crema Mexicana will be labeled "agria," or sour cream. While sour crema is still delicious, we like the dressing better when made with the plain, non-sour crema.

     


  3. Sunday, May 17, 2020

    How to Make Crispy Taco Shells (You’re Welcome)

    Two years ago I finally got my hands on fresh masa and learned how to make fresh masa corn tortillas. I thought at that point I had outdone myself when it came to homemade tacos. Then COVID-19 lockdown happened and I wasn’t hitting the tortilleria every week for fresh masa. Because I only had access to already-cooked corn tortillas, I thought to myself, “Self, what could make these store-bought corn tortillas taste better?” And then myself was like, “Self, fry them.” And that is how I figured out how to make crispy taco shells and, honestly, I think it might even be better than fresh masa corn tortillas…and I do NOT say that lightly.  

    Picture of ground beef tacos inside homemade crispy taco shells

    (I must admit that Jack In the Box tacos also inspired me to make these crispy taco shells at home. I know, Jack the bobble head inspired me in the kitchen. I’m as surprised as you are.)

    Top view of ground beef tacos inside homemade crispy taco shells with hot sauce

    For real, please don’t ever buy crispy taco shells at the store ever again. Buy corn tortillas and fry them. They really truly are the most delicious crispy taco shells you will ever eat. And they are fast to make. And unlike most frying recipes, you don’t use that much oil so clean up is easy, too.

    Step-by-step photos for how to make crispy taco shells

    The photos above show the step-by-step process for how to make crispy taco shells, and the details are explained in the recipe below. Below is a photo of what they look like fresh out of the pan! Enjoy!

    Homemade crispy tacos shells on a plate, two empty two with meat

    How to Make Crispy Taco Shells
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Corn Tortillas
    • Oil for frying (something with a high smoke-point and neutral flavor: peanut and vegetable, for example; I used avocado oil and it worked great perfect)
    Instructions
    1. I find the tacos are at their most delicious when you add the taco meat to the taco shell immediately after frying. I like to set up my taco shell frying station like so: Stack of corn tortillas, tongs, pot with oil on the stove, large plate lined with paper towels, taco meat. (This recipe for Cora's Ground Beef Taco Meat is amazing, but you could put any kind of meat for tacos in here: steak, chicken, whatever!)
    2. Add oil to a medium-large pot. It doesn't need to be that deep - it should cover the bottom of the pan and then add a bit more, probably about ⅛" - ¼" deep.
    3. Heat oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. A drop of water in the oil should sizzle.
    4. Using tongs, place one tortilla into the oil and let fry on the first side for 5-10 seconds.
    5. Flip the tortilla. Let it fry on the second side for just a couple seconds, then using your tongs sort of fold the tortilla in half. When I do this, I hold the folded half that is out of the oil up a little so you get kind of a flat bottom to the taco shell, if that makes sense. As it fries it will start to hold its shape on its own.
    6. Once the shell is holding its shape (this happens quickly), flip it over. I kind of push the side of the shell that's in the oil down into the oil so that the inside of the shell is frying, too. Just keep flipping and pressing until the shell starts to brown lightly.
    7. Once shell is done frying, remove form oil, let drip onto the paper towels, then set down on the paper towel-lined plate. Fill immediately with meat.
    8. For each shell, frying time total is only around 30 seconds or so. They fry up quickly!

     

     


  4. Wednesday, April 29, 2020

    Pressure Cooker Carnitas Recipe

    One of my most Slow Cooker Carnitas favorite recipes is the recipe I have here on the blog. It’s easy to make, doesn’t have any uncommon ingredients, and is SO DELICIOUS. I mean, honestly, every time I make that recipe I’m surprised at how good the carnitas taste! Since I love the recipe so much, I decided it would be worth figuring out a version for the Instant Pot. And so this pressure cooker carnitas recipe was born!

    Preparing pork shoulder for this pressure cooker carnitas recipe showing the ingredients in the Instant Pot before cooking

    It’s essentially the same recipe but I figured out the right amount of liquid and cooking time for the pressure cooker for you. Also, total cooking time is about 1 hour with the pressure cooker, as opposed to 8 hours in the slow cooker. So, you know, if you forget to prep the carnitas in the morning, throwing it together in the afternoon is totally possible!

    Pork carnitas cooked in a pressure cooker served on a corn tortilla with salsa and cilantro

    I’ve had people ask if the frying step is necessary. No, it’s not. But it makes the carnitas that much better. So, go ahead and choose your own adventure. I think it’s worth the extra step!

    Enjoy this pressure cooker carnitas recipe! I know I do!

    Pressure Cooker Carnitas Recipe
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
    • Salt (kosher preferred)
    • Black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 onion, cut into quarters
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, roughly chopped
    • 1 cup of liquid that includes the juice from 1 orange + water to fill to 1 cup total, save orange peels after juicing
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    Instructions
    1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper liberally. Place pork shoulder in a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot).
    2. Mix together the oregano, cumin, garlic and olive oil. Spread half of the oil mixture on one side of the pork shoulder, flip over and then rub the rest of the oil mixture on the other side of the pork shoulder.
    3. Place the onion, jalapeno, and orange peels in the slow cooker with the meat. I put some of the produce on top and some around the edges.
    4. Pour the water-orange juice mixture over the meat.
    5. Select High Pressure on the pressure cooker and set for 45 minutes. When it has cooked for 45 minutes and it beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, open the vent, then let it sit for 10 more minutes. Confirm the valve has dropped and then carefully remove the lid.
    6. Note: if the meat is not fall-apart tender at this point, put the pressure cooker on for another 20-25 minutes and you should be good to go!
    7. Carefully remove the meat from the pressure cooker and put in a bowl. Pull the meat apart with a fork.
    8. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Sprinkle pan liberally with more salt. Evenly layer the carnitas in the pan once the pan is hot and cook just one side until you get a nice crispy edge on the meat touching the pan.
    9. Remove from heat, stir together, do a little taste test and add a bit of salt if needed (probably not needed, but check anyway). Sometimes I pour over some of the juices from the cooker over the meat for extra flavor.
    10. Serve with fresh cilantro, salsa, hot sauce and tortillas. You could also add other items to your taco (rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, guac, etc), but Nate and I found that the carnitas were just so good it was better to have a simply-dressed taco.

     


  5. Sunday, April 26, 2020

    Pomona’s Pectin Freezer Jam, My New Favorite

    I have been writing about freezer jam for years. My mom always made it and I have continued the tradition as an adult. I love freezer jam – you don’t have to cook the jam, you can store it in any container you have handy and just pop it in the freezer, and it’s the best tasting jam around (in my humble opinion, at least!). I have a major update to share regarding my annual freezer jam process. I’ve always used Sure-Jell pectin because that’s what my mom always used and it’s what I could find in any standard grocery store. This year, however, I ended up trying Pomona’s Universal Pectin and I am in love!

    Boxes of Pomona's Universal Pectin in front of a jar of jam

    Since I have been limiting myself to just one grocery store per week (thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown), Pomona’s was my only option because that was what was available. I was a little nervous about switching it up, but I will for sure use Pomona’s Pectin over Sure-Jell going forward, pandemic lockdown or not!

    SURE-JELL PECTIN: CONS 

    While I love the freezer jam I have always made with Sure-Jell, there have been a few drawbacks over the years.

    1. Potential of jam not jelling: Sometimes the jam simply doesn’t jell. You’ll follow all the directions precisely and for whatever reason the jam just never jells. So, every batch was stressful. And when it didn’t jell, it was just such a waste of time and fruit. I know for a fact I’m not the only one this happens to, based on years of comments here on the blog.
    2. Recipe misprint: One year Sure-Jell misprinted the freezer jam recipe in the pectin boxes. It is amazing how many years those bad recipes keep turning up for people, ruining batch after batch of jam.
    3. Sugar Content. The classic Sure-Jell freezer jam recipe uses SO MUCH SUGAR. I know, I know, Sure-Jell has a low-sugar pectin option and I’ll admit I never tried it. I’m sure it’s great. But I love the original so much, but it is a heck of a lot of sugar.
    4. Different Recipes for Different Fruits: The recipes for different types of fruit are all different, so you have to be super careful when reading the recipe to prepare your jam or it won’t jell.
    5. Finicky Recipe: The directions are very finicky in general – you have to follow them precisely or else, well, see #1 and #4 for why this is frustrating!  

    Spoonful of raspberry freezer jam made with Pomona's Universal Pectin

    POMONA’S UNIVERSAL PECTIN: PROS

    Enter Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The texture of the jam is a little different from Sure-Jell’s, but it is equally as delicious. I will now address each of the issues listed above as applied to Pomona’s:

    1. Happy Jelling! This pectin is super reliable. I have made many batches now and every time the jam starts jelling instantly. It’s magic. And completely un-stressful.
    2. No misprinted recipe legacy. Pomona’s, however, does not include the freezer jam recipe in the box. You can find it on their website, but it’s kind of buried. So, I will share the recipe below (and re-write it with my notes). 
    3. Sugar Content: Pomona’s freezer jam recipe uses WAY LESS SUGAR and is still delicious. And the jam jells no problem and isn’t so dependent on sugar content. Also, the recipe gives you a range of the amount of sugar to use, so you can adjust to your taste.
    4. The recipe for different types of fruit are all the same. Four cups of prepared fruit per 4 teaspoons of pectin! (Note, there are approximately 9 teaspoons of pectin in 1 box, so don’t dump the whole thing for one batch…make sure you measure.)
    5. Simple Recipe: The directions are simper and seem no fail to me. I would be stunned if this recipe didn’t jell. It’s worked like a charm every time for me!

    So, there you have it. I’m a Pomona’s convert! 

    Looking down into a jar of raspberry freezer jam made with Pomona's Universal Pectin

    FREEZER JAM RESOURCES

    • Click here for my Freezer Jam Fruit Buying Guide. This guide will tell you how many ounces of fruit to buy for different amounts of pectin and sugar. I included measurements for both Sure-Jell and Pomona’s Universal pectins. This guide is a lifesaver for me year after year and I updated it with a nice graphic this year! Note: the guide is only for strawberries and raspberries.
    • Click here for the Sure-Jell raspberry and strawberry freezer jam recipe. Sure-Jell is delicious and some of you may still want to go that route. 
    • Lastly, the Pomona’s Universal Pectin freezer jam recipe! This recipe can be used for many types of fruits, listed below! 

    Boxes of Pomona's Universal Pectin in front of a jar of raspberry freezer jam

    Freezer Jam with Pomona's Universal Pectin
     
    This recipe is for raw freezer jam using Pomona's Universal Pectin. "Raw" simply means you do not cook the jam. The jam can be stored in any air-tight container, in the fridge for 1 week and up to 1 year in the freezer. (Note: I'm certain we've kept it in the fridge longer than 1 week without it going bad, but do what you feel safe with!) Recipe suitable for the following fruits: Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Sour Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Pear, Kiwi, Blackberry, Plum, Peach, Apricot, Nectarine This recipe is from Pomona's Pectin website, but I have re-written it for ease and specifically for raw freezer jam, and have added notes as well.
    Author:
    Serves: 4-6 cups
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups mashed fruit (see step 3 below for preparation details)
    • ½ cup to 1 cup honey OR ¾ to 2 cups sugar (I use sugar)
    • ¾ cup boiling water
    • 3 teaspoons pectin (or 4 teaspoons pectin if using peaches, apricots or nectarines)
    • 4 teaspoons calcium water (plus more if needed, see step 1 below for how to prepare)
    Instructions
    1. Prepare calcium water: Combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (included in the box) with ½ cup water in a small clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Set aside. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use if needed.
    2. Wash and rinse freezer containers. Set aside.
    3. If using Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Sour Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Pear, Kiwi, Blackberry, Plum: Remove hulls/stems/pits/skins as applicable, mash or grind, then measure to 4 cups. Make sure fruit is at room temperature when making the jam. If using Peach, Apricot or Nectarine: Pit/Chop/Mash OR peel/pit/mash fruit - bring to boil in a pan, boil for 2 minutes while stirring then let cool in a bowl, then measure to four cups.
    4. Measure fruit into large bowl. Add chosen sweetener (honey or sugar) to fruit and mix well.
    5. Bring ¾ cup water to a boil. Carefully pour into a food processor or blender. Add 3 teaspoons pectin (note: for peach, apricot, nectarine add 4 teaspoons pectin). Vent lid and blend 1-2 minutes, until all powder is dissolved. (Jane note: I brought the water to a boil, then removed the pan from the heat, added the pectin, and whisked vigorously for 2 minutes and this worked, too.)
    6. Add hot liquid pectin to fruit mixture and stir to mix well.
    7. Add 4 teaspoons calcium water from jar, mix well into fruit mixture. Jell should appear at this point. If not, stir in 1 teaspoon calcium water at a time until jam is jelled.
    8. Fill containers, leaving ½" space at top of container. Store in freezer immediately for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after thawing.

     


  6. Saturday, April 11, 2020

    Modified Funeral Potatoes (That Won’t Necessitate Your Own Funeral Quite So Quickly)

    Ah, funeral potatoes. The classic potato casserole served by the Church Ladies at funerals for generations. The classic potato casserole that may have unwittingly caused a few funerals in the process. Not today, Funeral Potatoes. Not today.

    Funeral Potatoes on a plate with salad and ham

    Last year when I pulled out the ol’ funeral potato recipe for our Easter dinner (hint: funeral potatoes are really good with ham), I decided to live dangerously and CHANGE THE RECIPE. I used the recipe that my grandma always used and, while delicious, is more fat than potato and, while delicious, makes you feel awful after eating.

    Top view of a plate of food with potato casserole, ham and salad

    I didn’t change any of the ingredients, I just changed the proportions. And guess what? Just as delicious. I’m using the modified-still-not-healthy-but-at-least-not-a-murder-weapon version from now on!

    Funeral Potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, on a plate

    Modified Funeral Potatoes
     
    Same recipe as my grandma used to make, just not quite so deadly.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 pounds frozen hashbrowns
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 can cream of chicken soup
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 3 chopped green onions
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup corn flakes, crushed
    • ¼ cup butter
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F and thaw the frozen hashbrowns.
    2. Mix all ingredients except butter and cornflakes in a large bowl. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.
    3. Sprinkle top of casserole with corn flakes. Drizzle melted butter evenly over the corn flakes.
    4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the top is nice and toasty!

     


  7. Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    Shepherd’s Pie. Nothing Crazy, Just Really Good.

    I have perfected Shepherd’s Pie. There’s nothing magic about this recipe, no secret ingredients. It’s just really, really good, with the right balance of spices and flavors. And that is seriously all I have to say about this recipe. Yup, that’s it. 

    Side view of Shepherd's Pie on White Plate

    Okay, actually, one more thing. You can use ground lamb, beef or turkey. I always use turkey. As I’ve started subbing in poultry products for beef products more and more, I’m discovering that I actually like ground turkey better better than beef in most recipes, and this recipe is no exception. Use whatever meat tickles your fancy, but I’m loving the ground turkey in this one.

    Side view of shepherd's pie in blue casserole dish

    Uh oh, I thought of something else. This recipe is gluten free and, if you use oat milk (which I do), it’s dairy free, too.

    Top view of shepherd's pie recipe in casserole dish

    Okay, okay, just one more thing. You may notice that there are no peas or corn in these photos. I totally forgot to add them even though I specifically made this batch of shepherd’s pie for photographing. Just pretend there are a few more veggies in the photos. You are now like one of the lost boys on Peter Pan. You’re welcome!

    Top view of shepherd's pie on a plate

    Here you go…classic shepherd’s pie, no bells and whistles, just deliciousness.

    Plated Shepherd's Pie

    Shepherd's Pie
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 6-8
    Ingredients
    • 2 standard-sized russet potatoes
    • ½ cup milk or oat milk
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 small onion
    • 2 full-sized carrots
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
    • ½ cup corn (fresh or canned)
    • 2 pounds ground meat (lamb, beef or turkey...I like turkey!)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon ground sage
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1½ cups beef, chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    Instructions
    1. Cut russet potatoes into evenly sized discs, about ¾" thick. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium or medium-high to maintain a light boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and drain. Put potatoes back into pot.
    2. Heat milk and butter in microwave until warmed, about 30-60 seconds.
    3. Add milk, butter, salt, pepper and egg yolk to potatoes and mash (with an electric hand blender or potato masher). Set aside.
    4. Preheat oven to 400º F.
    5. In a deep 12-inch frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook about 5 minutes.
    6. Add ground meat and cook until meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add the salt, pepper, sage and thyme while the meat is cooking.
    7. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the meat, then whisk in the broth. Stir in worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and cook a few minutes until everything is fully mixed.
    8. Pour meat mixture into a large casserole dish (a 13"x9" or equivalent). Carefully spread the mashed potatoes over the top, doing your best to create a seal around the edge between the potatoes and the pan and spreading the potatoes so there are no holes in the surface. If there are holes it's not the end of the world - you'll just get gravy bubbling up over the potatoes.
    9. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned and dish is bubbling. I will sometimes turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get the tops of the potatoes even more browned.

     


  8. Thursday, June 20, 2019

    Banana Oat Pancake Recipe (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

    I have another gluten-free, dairy-free recipe for you today…banana oat pancakes! There are a million blog posts out there sharing what is essentially this recipe, but I wasn’t loving any one version in particular. So, I ended up coming up with my own particular formula for this recipe. After a bit of tinkering I think the recipe is ready for public consumption! These banana oat pancakes are thick with great flavor and texture, almost like banana bread in pancake form. 

    Side view of gluten-free, dairy-free banana oat pancakes with blueberries on the side

    There were a few reasons I was not loving the banana oat pancake recipes out there. First, a lot of them use a blender, in which case the recipes calls for a measurement of rolled oats. I would rather have a recipe that lists a measurement for oat flour and skip the blender (at least at the time of making the pancakes…I do in fact use my blender to make my oat flour, but that’s another story for another blog post). I’m all about dirtying as few dishes as possible, so having to use the blender when wanting to throw together a quick batch of pancakes is annoying to me. Difference #1 from most other recipes: my recipe calls for oat flour and no blender.

    Top view of banana oat pancakes with blueberries, gluten-free recipe

    Second, most of the recipes had no fat source. I feel like a quick bread needs some sort of fat incorporated into the recipe to work to its best ability. I used coconut oil, but you could also use butter (if you don’t need to skip dairy). 

    Bite of banana oat pancakes, showing inside of the pancake on a fork

    Third, another feature that other recipes brag about is that they only has 3 ingredients! Two ingredients! No ingredients! 😉 With this recipe the additional ingredients are items you already have in your cupboard (salt, baking powder, etc) and I think they totally make the pancakes better. So, I’m resisting the urge to cut down the number of ingredients just so I can say “only 3 ingredients.” When the ingredients are something you have around, go ahead and use them! The recipe is still simple and tastes better with a little extra love.

    Banana Oat Pancakes on plate with blueberries, gluten-free and dairy-free recipe

    If you are looking for a recipe that uses a blender or less ingredients, definitely go ahead and Google banana oat pancakes. My recipe below, however, is my favorite version of banana oat pancakes. Enjoy!

    Banana Oat Pancakes (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
     
    Author:
    Serves: 2-3
    Ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (you can use butter instead if you aren't worried about dairy)
    • 1 average-sized banana
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup milk of your choice (I use oat milk)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1¼ cup oat flour
    Instructions
    1. In a large mixing bowl, melt the coconut oil (or butter if that's what you're using) in the microwave (takes about 20 seconds). If you are using coconut oil and it's already in liquid form, skip the melting step.
    2. Add the banana to the bowl and carefully mash the banana into the oil with a fork, taking care not to splash the oil all over your nice shirt! 😉
    3. Add the egg, milk, vanilla and salt and mix really well with the fork.
    4. If you don't mind getting a small bowl a little bit dirty, whisk together the baking powder and oat flour and then add that to the wet ingredients. This will ensure the most even distribution of ingredients. If you really want to keep this to one bowl, add the baking powder and whisk it in well, making sure to stir until you don't see anymore little baking powder lumps, then stir in the oat flour and mix well.
    5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan has been heating for 3-5 minutes, pour batter onto ban to form pancakes. I use my large cookie scoop, which makes 4-inch pancakes. The batter will thicken as it sits – if by the time you are pouring the batter onto the pan it is quite thick, don't be afraid to use your scoop/spoon/ladle to press the pancake batter out so the pancakes are not too thick.
    6. Let the pancakes cook on the first side until the edges start to look dry and you have a few popped bubbles starting to form on the top. (There won't be as many of these bubbles as with a normal pancake recipe, but there will be a few.)
    7. Flip the pancakes and immediately press them down to flatten them out a bit. The pancakes have no problem getting nice and thick, but you want to make sure they cook through, so forcing them to be a little less thick is a-okay. Cook until the second side is nicely browned.
    8. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings!
    Notes
    Makes 8 4-inch pancakes

     


  9. Wednesday, May 15, 2019

    Gluten-Free Banana Bread (that is totally awesome whether you eat gluten or not)

    I gave up wheat for the most part over a year ago, completely six months ago when I received my allergy test results. In the beginning I didn’t do any gluten-free baking because, well, I don’t eat much sugar anymore so I figured I may as well not tempt myself. BUUUUT…I couldn’t resist the baking bug forever. And now that I am finding and finessing more and more gluten-free baked goods recipes, I’m kind of hooked, as well as surprised and delighted at how good the new recipes are. The latest endeavor has been creating a recipe for gluten-free banana bread. Today I am ready to share that recipe and it is great, whether you eat gluten free or dairy free or not!

    Gluten-Free banana bread on a cutting board sliced

    The base (like many of my new gluten-free recipes) is oat flour. Oats have really stepped it up for me this past year in more ways than one, and this recipe is no exception. Using oat flour for this gluten-free banana bread yields a very moist quick bread with tons of flavor and great crumb. The texture is not quite as light and fluffy as my other regular banana breads, but it’s not a huge difference and, honestly, this bread is so good I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all. Also, this recipe is dairy free, so if you’re looking for dairy-free baking recipes, add this one to your list!

    Top view of gluten free banana breadTop view of gluten-free banana bread in a pan with a blue potholder

    Just like regular banana bread, I absolutely love putting leftover slices in the toaster before eating. With this particular bread you just need to be careful pulling the banana bread out as it tends to fall apart even more than regular banana bread. I use a toaster oven and not a top-loading toaster, too. I imagine it would be easy to lose your bread in a top loader!

    Side backlit view of gluten-free banana bread in pan

    Without further ado, here is my recipe for gluten-free banana bread. And I swear that even people who can eat gluten will love this recipe, too. Banana bread for all!

    Side view of gluten free banana bread cut

    Gluten-Free Banana Bread (Dairy Free)
     
    Inspired by a recipe for banana-bread muffins in "The Low-FODMAP Diet for Beginners" by Mollie Tunitsky. There are a lot of changes in my recipe below, but Mollie's original muffin recipe is also very good if you have her book and want to try it.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups oat flour
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ cup coconut oil
    • 3 medium-sized or 2 large unripe bananas (my bananas were still a bit green and worked really well; the riper the banana, the sweeter things will be and it could change the moisture content of the batter a bit, too, which may add cooking time)
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
    • ¼ cup maple syrup (if you don't have pure maple syrup, you can simply do ¾ cup raw sugar and leave out the syrup)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease a standard bread loaf pan well with coconut oil. (If you don't need to go dairy free, you can also use butter for greasing the pan.)
    2. Whisk together the oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
    3. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the coconut oil in the microwave (about 20 seconds on high). If your coconut oil is already in liquid form, skip this step.
    4. Add the bananas to the bowl with the oil and using a potato masher mash the bananas, being careful not to splash oil. (You can mash the bananas before adding them to the bowl, but I like doing it this way to save on dishes!)
    5. Add the eggs, sugar, syrup and vanilla. Mix well.
    6. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined with no more dry spots in the batter.
    7. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. I usually start checking for doneness around 20 minutes and then check every 3-5 minutes after that, depending on how done the bread is. The cook time could go much longer depending on the exact size and ripeness of your bananas. Just make sure that toothpick is squeaky clean and the loaf is rising in the center.

     


  10. Wednesday, May 1, 2019

    Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for ALL of the people, not just the gluten-free people. (GF & Dairy Free)

    Today I am sharing a gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe that is for everyone, not just gluten-free people. No, seriously, these cookies simply taste like awesome chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and no one would know they are gluten free just from eating them. They are also dairy free. And you also use a bit of black magic to make them so perfect sans flour and butter. But I swear this recipe is worth selling your soul to the devil for. 

    Top view of a platter of gluten-free, dairy-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

    Over a year ago I chose to stop eating wheat products and felt better so I stuck with it, for the most part, indulging now and again when it made sense (trip to Sweden, birthday cake, etc). Then in September I did a whole bunch of allergy testing and learned that I am actually allergic to wheat. So my optional break from wheat became a permanent one. Which, in all honesty, was a major bummer. Although, six months in and I can honestly say it’s been easier than I thought it would be. Except for a few items, I mostly don’t miss wheat products. But there are a couple foods that I really am sad I’ll never eat again, one of them being my homemade chocolate chip cookies. I spent about a decade tracking down recipes for and perfecting chocolate chip cookies. (Click here for the ultimate winning recipe in that decade-long quest.) I tried subbing in gluten-free flour in my favorite recipe, but the cookies were nowhere near as good. Not even close. I had pretty much given up hope on ever enjoying a homemade chocolate chip cookie 10-minutes-out-of-the-oven ever again. 

    Plate of gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, lit from the side

    Then Nate’s cousin Amanda told me about a gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe she loves in The Low FODMAP-Diet for Beginners cookbook by Mollie Tunitsky. Amanda told me this recipe would make it so I didn’t miss chocolate chip cookies anymore. I didn’t believe her. Then I tried the recipe and everyone was blown away at how good these cookies are. They just taste like awesome oatmeal cookies. IT IS THE BEST.

    Three gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on a wood surface

    I have made these cookies many times since that first try. The cookies came out differently between takes, so I really worked on the recipe to make sure it would be consistent as well as have perfect texture. I credit The Low FODMAP-Diet for Beginners with introducing me to this recipe, but I have made some ingredient adjustments and modifications to the technique, which I will share in the recipe card below.

    Side view of platter of gluten-free, dairy-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

    If you are dairy free, gluten free or just want to eat a really good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, this recipe is for you. Enjoy!

    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    These gluten-free and dairy-free oatmeal cookies are amazing and taste like the real deal. Adapted from "The Low FODMAP-Diet for Beginners" by Mollie Tutnitsky
    Author:
    Serves: 20-24 cookies
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup coconut oil
    • ⅔ cup lightly-packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ¾ teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling (or ½ teaspoon kosher salt)
    • 2¼ cup oat flour
    • ½ cup rolled oats
    • 1¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
    2. Put coconut oil in a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl. If the oil is already a liquid, you're all set. If it's in a solid state, microwave for appx. 20 seconds to melt it. Add the brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract to the oil and mix very well.
    3. Stir in the baking soda and salt.
    4. Stir in the oat flour, rolled oats, and chocolate chips.
    5. Place cookie dough balls on cookie sheet, leaving space between them for spreading. The dough balls should be about 2 tablespoons (medium cookie scoop size). Once you place the dough on the cookie sheet, using wet fingers gently smooth out the cookie dough balls and light press down on them, to make them all the same shape and size. They don't need to be flattened, just lightly squished a bit.
    6. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned and look done in the centers. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt immediately after taking out of the oven, then gently drop the pan flat onto the stovetop or counter to force the cookies to settle. Let cool then enjoy!