Baking With Buddy: Homemade Black Raspberry Ice Cream

Really this blog post should be titled “The Three-Day Homemade Black Raspberry Ice Cream,” because that is legitmately how long it took to make. Seriously, if you think you’ll make this to satisfy a craving, get in your car and go get some Breyer’s from the grocery store because this is not an immediate gratification thing. However, if you’re ready to muster up every ounce of patience you have and make some amazing ice cream (it really is amazing), then proceed.

I mentioned in my previous post that my husband and I recently went berry picking. In addition to picking blueberries (which I used to make Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins), we also picked black raspberries which I just knew had to be turned into some kind of frosty treat. Enter the homemade ice cream recipe.

I found the recipe via Pinterest and you can view it here. I will say, I found it to be a little light on instructions so I’ll fill in the blanks using what I learned.

To begin, before you even gather ingredients, figure out what ice cream maker you’re going to use. I used the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment which fits on a KitchenAid mixer. I actually received it almost five years ago as a wedding present from my husband, but this was my first time using it since it’s fairly large and I never had enough space for it in our old freezer. Now this is where the first day of the three days comes into play. I didn’t realize it needed to be fully frozen before using, as in sitting in the freezer for a good 18 hours before it can be used to make ice cream. I left mine in the freezer for a good day, day and a half to make sure it would be fully frozen.

Now you can move on to gathering ingredients.

2015-07-30_0001.jpgIngredients:

2 cups whipping cream (I used heavy whipping cream)
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
2 cups strained black raspberry puree (This needs to be made ahead of time. See why this thing takes multiple days?)

To make the puree, start off by cleaning and drying your raspberries. I washed mine and then laid them on a paper towel to dry. Then, add them to a food processor (could probably also use a blender). Add 2 tbsp of water to the processor and mix until pureed. Then, using a sieve (I used a mesh strainer), separate the puree from the seeds. I will say I thought I nailed this one, but in eating my ice cream I occasionally find a seed. Go figure.2015-07-30_0002.jpg

Now, set your puree aside and move on to the next steps.
1. Combine milk, cream, 1 cup sugar , vanilla and the salt in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Heat until almost boiling and then remove from heat.
2. In a separate bowl whisk or use a mixer to beat the eggs and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until it reaches the ribbon stage. (I had no idea what the ribbon stage was, so I googled it. Basically, it’s where the mix starts to thicken and leave that nice, drizzly ribbon off the whisk.)
3. While still whisking/beating pour the warm milk into the eggs and beat until combine. Pour the egg milk mixture back into the clean pot and heat over medium until the mixture thickens while stirring constantly. This takes a little over ten minutes.
4. Take the custard off the heat and stir in the raspberry puree.
2015-07-30_0003.jpg5. Chill custard in fridge with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. (She suggests in the recipe to chill overnight, which I did, but unfortunately I put it in the freezer, not the fridge. No worries. I just had to let it defrost and then warm it back up to a nice, melted consistency before putting it in the ice cream maker.)2015-07-30_0004.jpg6. Then churn in an ice cream maker and either enjoy it as a soft serve ice cream right away or put it in your freezer to firm up and enjoy as scoops of ice cream. (The time you churn it will largely depend on your ice cream maker. I think mine was something like 10 minutes.)
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Once churned, I put mine in a bowl and placed it in the freezer to firm up a little before eating. Doesn’t it look amazing?
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I have to say, even though it took three days, it was definitely worth it. The ice cream was amazing, far better than anything I could have went to the store and purchased. Plus, it was neat to take something handpicked from the plant and turn it into a dessert. I’d like to make it again with a different type of handpicked fruit, maybe peaches or strawberries. Let me know if you try it and what fruit you decide to use. I’m open to suggestions.

I do not own this recipe. This post merely represents my experience with it.

Baking With Buddy: Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberry muffins. My mom used to make them for me as a child and I think that’s where the love affair, okay maybe slight obsession, started. There’s nothing better than a warm blueberry muffin with melted butter. Having gone gluten free a few years ago due to stomach issues, my obsession got a little harder to satisfy. I can’t just go by a bakery or the grocery store and buy blueberry muffins, at least not most of the time–I have to make my own. I will say, my husband makes some amazing muffins using organic frozen blueberries and gluten free boxed mix, but when we actually picked our own berries last month I knew I had to make muffins from scratch.
To make my muffins, I adapted a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen “How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook.” I switched up the ingredients a little so here’s what I used:

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Ingredients

11 ounces (1 3/4 cups plus 2/3 cup ATK Gluten Free Flour Blend) I didn’t use the blend the recipe recommended. Instead, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum Again, I use the Bob’s Red Mill brand of this.
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled I used organic unsalted butter.
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt I substituted milk for this because I forgot to pick up yogurt at the grocery store.
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blueberries
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar I took this out completely as I couldn’t find it anywhere at the grocery store.

Instructions

  1. Whisk flour blend, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum together in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk granulated sugar, melted butter, MILK, eggs, and vanilla together until well combined. Using rubber spatula, stir egg mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. (You’ll notice from the photos that I didn’t do this exactly as the recipe instructs. I actually added the first set of ingredients together in my KitchenAid mixer and then added the other ingredients to it instead of mixing them seperately.) Gently fold in blueberries until evenly distributed (batter will be thick and stiff). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Again, I didn’t do this step. Why they suggest letting it sit for 30 minutes is beyond me.)2015-07-29_0007.jpg
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray (I used cupcake liners. I think they make much less mess so I prefer them.) Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, portion batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. (Skipped this step as well because I didn’t have the sugar.) Bake until muffins are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 16-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. (Keep an eye on your muffins. Depending on your oven, they may not take long to bake.)2015-07-29_0008.jpg
  3. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
    2015-07-29_0009.jpgI was really pleased with how they turned out, although if I did it again, I would probably chop my blueberries up. Because they were picked right from the bush, they were a little large for the muffins. I think I would have preferred them chopped a little better than whole, which is what I did. Overall, I’ll definitely be making these again as they were very good.
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See how that melted butter looks? Doesn’t it just make you want a blueberry muffin?

i do not own this recipe. this post merely represents my experience and take on it.

Baking With Buddy: Richie’s Turkey Meatloaf

You’re likely wondering who is Richie and what’s so fabulous about his meatloaf? Honestly, I have no idea who Richie is, but his meatloaf recipe is amazing. This is absolutely one of my favorite recipes, plus my husband loves it.

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Here’s the recipe, which I stumbled upon years ago via food.com:

Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey breast
    • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
    • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/3 cup chili sauce
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • salt and pepper
    • ketchup

Directions

  1. In small bowl combine oats and milk–let absorb about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine absorbed oats and all ingredients–except for ketchup– in a large bowl.
  3. Mix with large fork.
  4. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  5. Shape meat mixture into loaf.
  6. Brush with ketchup.
  7. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
  8. Enjoy.

20150114_170753It’s fairly easy to make. I use ground turkey breast, which I purchase in a large quantity at Wegman’s and then, using a food sealer, divide into one-pound portions for freezing. I also use Heinz chili sauce because it’s generally the only one I can find at the grocery store. As for oats, I think the canister I have in the cabinet right now is the Walmart brand, which works just fine. Keep in mind that this recipe is gluten free, but the jury is still out on oats. I can eat them with no problem, but that might not be the case for everyone.

20150114_171519Also, worth noting, instead of using a baking pan, I use a Pyrex loaf pan. And, because turkey is fairly moist, I drain the pan once or twice about halfway through cooking so that it won’t be too mushy when finished. After draining, I typically add a little more ketchup to the top, but that’s a personal preference.

Other than that, I really just follow the instructions included in the recipe. I hope you’ll try this one, and be sure to let me know if you love it as much as I do.

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Baking With Buddy: Salsa

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and I have to work so tonight is the night for salsa making. I love the word “salsa” and can’t say it without a thick Latina accent that’s reminiscent of a telanovela actress. Also, there may be some Zumba tossed in there, too.

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On to the salsa making! Here’s the recipe, discovered via Pinterest of course:

Restaurant Style Salsa

20150504_183237Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 8-12 servings
Ingredients
  • 20150504_1840531 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Rotelle tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped, with most of the seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend on low to desired consistency. Serve with tortilla chips.
The recipe comes from Let’s Dish which got it from Allrecipes.com. I’m not sure how much it was adapted from the original, but I adapted it some more. Here’s my ingredients list:
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Rotelle mild tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (Who has time to juice a lime? Not I.)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped, with most of the seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash black pepper

20150504_18381920150504_185109I hand chopped the yellow onion, green onion, cilantro and jalapeno. I then added the ingredients to a seven cup food processor according to the order they appear in the ingredients list. I will say I didn’t blend it for very long; it was definitely less than a minute. I like my salsa a little chunky. And it turned out amazing!

Looking back, I would add a bit less cilantro just because I’m not a huge fan of the flavor it brings, but overall I’m pleasantly pleased with the dish. I didn’t measure the cilantro, but it was less than the three tablespoons that it called for. It was likely in the two tablespoon range. I should also note that this recipe is naturally gluten free! Woo-hoo!

I paired the salsa with Snyder’s All Natural Reduced Fat White Corn Tortilla Chips. Perfecto!20150504_190239

For dinner tomorrow, I’m going to crockpot some Cinco de Mayo chicken so be on the lookout for that recipe in the near future. Also, have a salsa you love? Share it in the comments. Maybe I’ll make it and hopefully not dance around the kitchen like this…

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I do not own this salsa recipe. This post represents my experience with it.

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken

20141103_185027I’ll start off by saying I’m not a huge fan of pineapple, but this recipe wasn’t bad. It actually didn’t turn out that pineapple-y. My guess is the soy sauce mellows out the fruity flavor of the pineapple.

I found the recipe via Pinterest and it comes from “Moms with Crockpots:”

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken

Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
6 hours
Total time
6 hours 5 mins
 
Author: Amanda@MomsWithCrockpots.com
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Chicken Breasts (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 can of pineapple in juice (tidbits, chucks, rings, it doesn’t matter)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Chop onion and place in crock pot.
  2. Place Chicken Breast on top of onion.
  3. Dump the can of pineapple (juice and all) over the chicken.
  4. Dump the soy sauce and the chicken broth on top of everything.
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH in the crockpot for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8
  6. hours.
  7. Serve over rice and with a steamed veggie.

20141103_090341For my recipe, I used three chicken breasts from Wegmans. My husband and I buy the big club packs and freeze the breasts individually to cut costs. My pineapple was a can of the Dole Pineapple Tidbits and I used a white onion, plus gluten free soy sauce and Wegmans organic chicken broth.

20141103_090628Following the instructions, I hand chopped my onion and placed it in my crockpot that I had sprayed with Coconut Oil to minimize sticking. I then added my defrosted chicken breasts on top of the onion before adding the can of pineapple, soy sauce and chicken broth. I then set my crockpot on low for 6 hours which ended up being more than enough time. When finished, I served over Market Pantry White Rice. I skipped the vegetable since the chicken was fairy thick and I felt the starchiness of the rice would be too much to then add a vegetable.

The chicken was well-cooked and had a good flavor to it. I will say I’m finding out that I’m not a fan of soy sauce and chicken in the crockpot. It creates a strange flavor that I can’t really put my finger on. It’s a little heavy and with chicken, I would rather it be lighter. It could also be that this dish needs a little more seasoning or something extra. I can’t quite figure it out, but it was missing something. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks after trying it. In the meantime, enjoy!

I do not own this recipe. This blog represents my own experience with it.

Fajita, fajita…

I’m a huge fan of naturally colorful food. There’s just something about it that screams healthy. Now note I say NATURALLY colored food. No, Cheetos do not count. I’m talking vibrant peppers and scallions, colorful fruit, green vegetables. Those kinds of things. So really, taking that into account, it’s no wonder that I love fajitas!

I usually choose to make steak fajitas with bright peppers and onions. They’re not my husbands favorite, but he loves me so he eats them anyway.

What you need to make Fajitas, Fajitas:

  • Steak
  • A variety of peppers (I usually use some combination of red, orange and yellow, sometimes adding in a green one here or there) 20140901_193611
  • Olive oil
  • An onion (I usually use a white onion, but really I’ll rock whatever’s on sale)
  • Fajita seasoning (I use Ortega)

1. I start off by cutting my steak into thin strips. I try to use organic steak, grass fed beef. I find it has a better quality and plus it doesn’t contain all the crazy things other beef does thanks to what the cows are fed and how the meat is treated.

2. 20140901_193425Once my steak is cut into strips, I put a small amount of Olive Oil in a skillet and add the steak. I cook it until it’s well done, but not burnt. I like it done, but not overdone.

3. Setting my steak aside, I chop my peppers and onions into large pieces and add them to the already hot skillet. Adding a small amount of oil, I sautee the vegetables until finished. I don’t like them too cooked, but I do like them a little soft. Usually, when the onions are being to take on a darker appearance I know my vegetables are done. It’s really up to you how you want them. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here.20140901_195039

4. When the vegetables are finished, I add the steak back into the skillet and heat everything together adding fajita seasoning.

5. When done, I usually serve them on a corn tortilla with shredded cheese and occasionally lettuce and tomato, depending on the mood I’m in. I will say corn tortillas are an acquired taste, so flour tortillas work just as good.

Okay, now that I’ve made myself super hungry, enjoy your fajitas. Let me know how they come out. And if you wanted to send me some, I wouldn’t hate that either. Keep in mind if you’re in a rush or don’t feel like working with raw meat, you can also pick up preseasoned fajita steak strips that you just have to heat up. It’s an option.

Baking with Buddy: Grilled Chicken Squash and Zucchini Bake

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is visit the local farmer’s market. I take my Thirty-One Market Tote and head out with my husband to find some produce. Recently, we picked up zucchini and squash, two vegetables I absolutely love. I usually saute them, but I wanted to try something a little different. Behold, the grilled chicken squash and zucchini bake!

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I found a recipe on Relish.com for a squash and zucchini bake and then tweaked it. Here’s that recipe:

Ingredients

4 small zucchini, diced (about 3 cups total)
2 cups (about 5 1/2 ounces) club cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or 9-inch-square baking dish.
  2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add zucchini; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
  3. Press cracker crumbs on bottom of prepared pan to form a crust. Dot with butter. Spoon zucchini on top.
  4. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until fluffy. Stir in onion, milk, 2/3 cup Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over zucchini and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Cheddar and Parmesan.
  5. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes, or until golden on edges.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m gluten free so the first thing out the door were the cracker crumbs. Instead, I substituted in two cups of gluten free bread crumbs. I then used organic eggs and milk and reduced fat cheese. I didn’t buy enough squash and zucchini at the market, so I added in some organic ones purchased at Wegmans. I also added in Bare Naked chicken tenders.

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Here’s my recipe:

1 package of Bare Naked chicken tenders

2 zucchini

2 squash

2 cups (about 5 1/2 ounces) gluten free bread crumbs

2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter

3 organic eggs

1 small onion, grated

1/2 cup 2% organic milk

1 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or 9-inch-square baking dish. I figured the chicken would add some size to the dish and I didn’t want it to be too thick so I used my Pyrex 9 x 13 baking dish. I sprayed it with Pam Organic Olive Oil to keep the casserole from sticking.
  2. Melt one tablespoon of organic butter in a large skillet and add chicken, cook until golden brown.20140707_190613
  3. While the chicken is cooking, slice the zucchini and squash into triangular pieces. I first cut it into slices and then cut those slices into fourths. Why? I don’t know, it just seems to be the best size for a casserole. You don’t want the chunks to be too big.20140707_190817
  4. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add zucchini and squash; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander. 20140707_193821
  5. With the zucchini and squash ready, the chicken should be finished cooking. Put the grilled tenders into a food processor (I used the 7-cup Cuisinart Food Processor (which I love)) and pulse them until finely chopped.
  6. Press the bread crumbs on the bottom of the prepared Pyrex dish to form a crust and dot it with the remaining butter.  Spoon zucchini and squash on top.20140707_192518
  7. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until fluffy. Stir in onion, milk, 2/3 cup Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over zucchini and squash and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Cheddar and Parmesan. 20140707_195024
  8. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes, or until golden on edges.
  9. Enjoy!

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I absolutely loved this dish and I hope you will too. It offered a new way to cook some old favorites. Let me know if you try it. I want to hear what you think!

Baking with Buddy: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Let’s talk about fish baby, let’s talk about you and me…20140630_200759

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a huge fish fan. Really, I’m a big fan of seafood in general, but I love trying different types of fish, from the more fishy options to the less fishy options, like tuna and even, I know forgive me here, fish sticks.

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Tilapia is an easy go-to for nights when I want to eat healthy, but also have something that tastes well and isn’t complicated. My favorite tilapia recipe has to be this one from Rachel Ray:


Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia

20140630_200421Makes: 4 servings

ingredients

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)
  • lemon, cut into wedges
directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with oliveoil and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.20140630_202915

See? So easy! I actually cut the recipe down to make only two fillets and skip the lemon wedges. I use Simply Balanced fish because it’s sustainable and also I can avoid the disaster that is Fukushima seafood. I know there’s conflicting reports on that, but I’d like to err on the side of caution. I want my fish to have two eyeballs, not ten. Plus, this time, I didn’t have grated Parmesan and used shredded Parmesan instead. It worked, but the cheese browned more than the grated usually does. Also, I don’t use a foil-lined baking sheet. Instead, I use a shallow Pyrex baking dish sprayed with non-stick Pam Organic Olive Oil. Comes out perfectly. You know you want fish now…

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I do not own this recipe. This post represents my own experience and take on it.

DIY Fourth of July: Gigantic Patriotic Cookie

20140704_181919It’s here! It’s finally the fourth of July! If you’ve been following my posts, you should be all decorated. Now, you need dessert. Enter the gigantic, festive cookie! Seriously, it’s so big, it actually spilled over the sides of my pan and I’ll need to de-cookify the oven. Moving on… I used a recipe from Around My Family Table and tweaked it. Here’s the portion I used:

Giant Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie {Gluten Free/Vegan}

 1-2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, prepared as directed, but not baked

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie/pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare cookie mix according to package/recipe instructions. (You will probably need two mixes to fill the pan.) Spread cookie dough evenly in pan, pressing all the way to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes and then check every few minutes until cookies are baked and almost fully set in the middle.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Decorate with red white and blue icing
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Their recipe calls for handmade icing. I wasn’t feeling up to that so I decided to cheat and purchased Wilton icing instead. As a tip, you’ll need one tube for the blue and two tubes for the red. I found this out the hard way when I was halfway through decorating and ran out of icing.
 
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For the cookie itself, I used two boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Each box requires one stick of butter (I used Simply Balanced Organic Unsalted Butter), one egg (I used brown eggs) and one teaspoon of gluten free Vanilla (I used McCormick).
  • 20140704_162925Following the directions from the original recipe, I prepared the two boxes of cookie mix using my KitchenAid Mixer. If you don’t have one, break down and buy one. You’ll love it and, if you look hard enough, you can find them at a great price thanks to sales. I also used the KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater which actually scrapes the bowl as you mix. My parents gave me the attachment as part of a Christmas gift and I love it. I don’t have to occasionally stop the mixer to scrape the bowl.
  • Once the mix was prepared, I scooped it into my Chefmate Pizza Pan. You really have to press down on the dough and work it a bit to get it to spread out and fill the entire pan, up to the edges.20140704_163555
  • Bake your massively large cookie for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. There’s almost a little too much dough for the pan, so the cookie will spill over when it’s baking. I actually left it in the pan once it was done cooking and trimmed around the edges to make it perfectly round. It was far too heavy to try to move onto something else.
 
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  • Let the cookie cool completely before decorating. This is a perfect time to eat the pieces that you trimmed off.
 
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  • Using the blue icing, draw the square for the flag and fill it in. You can use a butter knife dipped in water to help evenly spread the icing.
  • 20140704_172654Using the white icing, draw the stripes, leaving space for the red stripes between. Also, with a star tip, add white stars to the blue square.
  • Fill in the empty space between the white stripes with red, finishing up the flag design.
  • Rejoice in your cookie talent. And, of course, eat it!

Happy fourth of July!

 
 
 
 

Baking With Buddy: Taco Casserole

20140505_213921A few weeks ago I saw a recipe pop up on Facebook that I figured I would try. It didn’t hurt that it was a Mexican dish and I saw it on Cinco de Mayo. I’m not a margarita girl, but I love tacos so I chose to observe the holiday through food, not booze.

I made several substitutions with this recipe because I’m gluten free and also it just seemed a little too unhealthy. Here it is via Food.com.

Taco Casserole

By Dawn Reid on February 03, 2007

  • Prep Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Servings: 12

Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelopes taco seasoning
    • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans mushroom soup
    • 1 (8 ounce) cans beef broth
    • 1 (14 ounce) cans rotel
    • 6 slices cheddar cheese
    • 1 (8 ounce) bags tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef.
  2. Add taco seasoning, mushroom soup, beef broth, and Rotel tomatoes.
  3. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Pour chips into bottom of casserole dish (leave whole).
  5. Pour beef mixture over chips.
  6. Place sliced cheese on top.
  7. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes or until cheese looks melted.

20140505_211251Ok, so first, I’m not a huge fan of Rotel. Unfortunately, it’s not just tomatoes and spices. Instead, I picked up a can of organic diced tomatoes. I wanted to stick with a canned tomato because it would add more juice than a hand-diced tomato would. The juice is important because it’s very hard and very expensive to find a gluten free mushroom . Because of that, I eliminated it altogether. To get more of a Rotel flavor, I added a diced jalapeno to the diced tomatoes to spice them up a little.

I also used lean ground beef, Wegman’s Organic Beef Broth (love this stuff and always keep it and the chicken broth on hand), low fat shredded cheese instead of cheese slices, Oretega taco seasoning (I know it’s not as good for you as homemade taco seasoning but the flavor is on-point) and all-natural yellow tortilla chips.

20140505_212607Making the dish was super easy. Brown the beef, add the taco seasoning, beef broth and diced tomatoes with jalepeno and bring it to a simmer. I found even without the mushroom soup, the mixture was still too moist so I let it simmer about 15-20 minutes versus the 5-10 the recipe calls for. Meanwhile, I filled the bottom of a Pyrex casserole dish with the corn chips and then poured the meat mixture over them, added the low fat shredded cheese and baked it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

20140505_213207I was pleased with the end result. It was more like nachos than a casserole and would be perfect for a get together. It’s easy to eat and had a great taste. Even with the meat and cheese, it made for a fairly light dinner. I do think next time, I’ll add some shredded lettuce and fresh tomato once it comes out of the oven. Overall, it’s definitely a recipe worth trying, especially if you’re looking for a different take on traditional tacos.

I did not receive compensation for this review nor do I own the original recipe. This post represents my own experience with the recipe.