Author Archives: ClareCooks!

About ClareCooks!

My name's Clare and I like to cook!

Gluten-Free Pizza Bianca with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Spinach

Pizza Bianca with Caramelized Onions & Spinach

A while ago I read about Pillsbury coming out with a line of gluten-free doughs. As much as I love making my own doughs, I wanted to test out the doughs and see how they held up to my own. My first test was with their thin crust pizza dough. It’s hard to find a good gluten free thin crust pizza and I’ve yet to find a gluten-free one that is on par with gluten filled dough.

Straight out of the oven, the crust was great. Super thin and crunchy. I have never had a gluten-free pizza crust get this crispy before. After a few minutes, the quality of the crust went down hill. The pizza turned rock hard, almost to the point of being too hard to even eat. With the leftovers, it was probably the one time I was happy to zap the pizza in the microwave so the crust would soften up a bit. This was my first time using this dough, so it could be entirely my fault for rolling it out too thin. I will definitely buy the dough again in the future because the convenience is nice, but I might leave the dough a bit thicker next time and see how it fares.

The toppings on the pizza were absolutely delicious. This was more of a ‘clean out the fridge’ kind of meal than a planned recipe, but it made for a great lunch. The caramelized onions can be a time consuming addition to the pizza, but caramelized onions make everything better so I think they are worth the effort. I wanted to get a bit more color on the goat cheese, but as you can see the crust was already quite brown, so I decided not to risk burning it.

Disclaimer – I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post. I just like trying out new to me products and thought I would pass along my thoughts.

Gluten-Free Pizza Bianca with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Spinach

Ingredients

  • 1 container of Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Dough (or pizza dough of choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 log goat cheese, cut into slices

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tablespoon of oil over medium-high and add onion when oil is heated. Stir to coat onion with oil and allow onion to cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle in a bit of salt, stir again and allow onions to continue darkening and caramelizing stirring every 10 minutes or so, until desired color has been reached. Remove from oil.
  2. Add spinach to remaining oil in the skillet and sauté until slightly wilted, then remove from skillet.
  3. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease cookie sheet and hands. Press dough into 11-inch round on cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the minced garlic over the dough and lightly brush with half the olive oil. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until edge is beginning to brown.
  5. Sprinkle mozzarella over the crust, top with onions and spinach and goat cheese slices.
  6. Return crust to the oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes longer or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with basil leaves. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
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BLT Tomato Bites (Gluten Free)

BLT Tomato Bites

These are the tastiest little bites I’ve had in a while. Tomatoes are in their prime at the moment and I suggest you make these as soon as you can! Every single bite was a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, a little bit spicy, and a whole lot of delicious.

I have been attempting to make these nearly all summer, but seemed to encounter a Goldilocks dilemma every single time. Definitely make sure you get actual cherry tomatoes. I made the mistake of buying a Costco sized box of grape tomatoes, twice, and they are just too small. Then I tried Campari tomatoes and they are just too big, but finally I actually found cherry tomatoes! And they are just right. I used the small end of a melon baller to ‘pit’ the tomatoes and it was the easiest thing ever.

You can use just about any hot sauce you want. I personally used chipotle Tabasco for just about everything and it was absolutely perfect for these. I am sure your personal favorite will work just fine. I think sriracha or a Mexican hot sauce, like Cholula or Tapitio, would be great as well.

BLT Tomato Bites (Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (about 32)
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and broken into big pieces
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt (I used half and half of each)
  • 2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce (I recommend Chipotle Tabasco)
  • 1 cup finely chopped romaine lettuce leaves from the heart

Instructions

  1. Cut off the stem ends of the tomatoes and discard. Using a paring knife or the small end of a melon baller, remove the seeds and discard; place the tomatoes cut side down on paper towels to drain.
  2. Stir together the mayonnaise/yogurt and chipotle and spoon into a resealable bag. Cut off the tip of one corner.
  3. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a platter and press some romaine inside each tomato; sprinkle with salt. Pipe some chipotle mayo over the romaine and top with bacon.
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Hatch Chile Egg Puff with Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa

Hatch Chile Egg Puff with Roasted Hatch Chile SalsaIt’s hatch chile season! I don’t know if hatch chiles are a big thing outside of the southwestern United States, but they have been on my radar for several years now, and their popularity only seems to be growing. Fine by me!

I absolutely loved this egg dish. The flour helped make it super light and fluffy (or puffy I guess) almost like a soufflé, which made breakfast feel kind of fancy. Plus, it was super easy to make! I liked using the cottage cheese in it too since it gave the dish a creamy texture and an extra dose of protein. 

Salsa making time!!! #hatchchiles

I rarely buy salsa, but I was super intrigued by a jar of roasted hatch chile salsa I saw at Costco and decided to just go for it. Excellent decision. It was so good, I had to make an additional trip to Costco and get two more jars the next day, but at $7.99 a pop, it was turning into a rather expensive habit. Naturally, I decided to try to make my own! I used a pound of hatch chiles, a pound of jalapeños, around four pounds of tomatoes of various shapes and forms, one extremely large onion that weighed nearly two pounds. Of the five heads of garlic pictured, tragically only four just four of them made it into the salsa. I roasted everything over the flames on my stove (using this method, it’s super simple), except the garlic, which I did in the oven. You could definitely do everything in the oven if you wanted. Once everything was peeled, I threw them in the blender and spun everything around a few times until I go the consistency I wanted and proceeded to use this salsa on absolutely everything. It was delicious.

Hatch Chile Egg Puff with Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa

Hatch Chile Egg Puff with Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2+ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 roasted green hatch chiles, peeled, veined, seeded and diced -OR-1 (7 ounce) can diced green hatch chilies, drained

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a 7x11 inch casserole dish.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and garlic powder. In a separate bowl, beat eggs well. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Blend in cheeses, green onions, and chilies. Pour batter into prepared casserole dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until firm and a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes.
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Blue Barn Arugula Salad

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

So, this is my recreation of a salad I’ve never eaten, from a restaurant I have never been to, but have talked about going to a lot. Blue Barn is a deli in San Francisco that has a creative menu with a local and organic focus. I think every time I have gone to visit my friends in San Francisco we have discussed going there and even attempted to go twice, but every single time something thwarts our plans. Since so many attempts have been made to get to this restaurant I have looked over their menu many times and every time this salad stood out to me.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

After my last trip to San Francisco and another failed visit to the restaurant, I decided to attempt my own version. I have absolutely no idea how close or accurate an interpretation this is of the Blue Barn original, but damned if I can, it was absolutely delicious!

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

I did make a couple minor changes. Instead of sun-dried tomatoes, I used oven roasted roma tomatoes and instead of grilled balsamic onions, I again used oven roasted balsamic onions (I used this recipe, minus the sugar). For the crispy chickpeas, I made garlic and paprika roasted chickpeas (using this recipe). They were delicious and the leftovers made for a great snack later in the week.

Now, I will admit, there are a lot of parts to this salad and most of them have to be prepared individually ahead of time, which is kind of a major pain, but since I knew I would like all the ingredients in the salad, I didn’t mind taking the extra time and effort to prepare everything. Plus, you’ll have a lot of leftovers of the individual ingredients, so they are perfect for other salads during the week, adding to other meals (the roasted tomatoes and balsamic onions were heavenly with a turkey burger), or as snacks.

Blue Barn Arugula Salad

1 salad

Ingredients

    For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 large handful mixed greens
  • 1 large handfuls arugula
  • 1 ounce grated manchego
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 whole roasted roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup roasted balsamic onions
  • 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas

Instructions

    For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. Prepare all the ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.
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Pineapple Jicama Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Pineapple Jicama Salad

This salad is sweet, tangy and delicious. I originally read a similar recipe in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I was intrigued because I love love pineapple, but it had cucumber in it, which I absolutely abhor! Cumber is one of the four foods in the world that turn me into a picky eater toddler throwing a tantrum at the dinner table. I will not eat them. I do not like them touching my food and I will sit and pout if they are near my plate (bananas, celery and eggplant would be the others). I have been using a lot of jicama this summer and thought that it would make a great substitute for cucumber. It has the same kind of crunchy texture.

I served this salad with a side of chips for a super chunky chips and salsa kind of thing. You could also serve it over a bed of mixed greens or it would also go great with some grilled shrimp or tequila lime chicken as well.

Pineapple Jicama Salad

Pineapple Jicama Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette (gluten free)

Ingredients

    For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil (I used 3)
  • For the salad:
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced

Instructions

    For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until well blended. Set aside. (Vinaigrette can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.)
  2. For the salad:
  3. Combine all ingredients, except the avocado, in a bowl and mix together. Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to coat. Salad can now be kept in fridge for up to 4 hours or served immediately.
  4. Right before serving add avocado and gently toss to to coat avocado with dressing, but be sure not to mush it too much.
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Gluten Free Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars

Gluten Free Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars

Cheesecake is one of the few desserts I actually go out of my way for. I kind of really love cheesecake. And this cheesecake is delicious. Using ricotta instead of traditional cream cheese really makes the cheesecake seem both rich and creamy, but without the heaviness cheesecakes normally have. I also think that the blueberry and lemon flavors really help keep the cheesecake feeling light and summery almost. I think a fruit centered cheesecake is much more appealing in the summer than something super rich and chocolatey.

Definitely make sure you let these cool overnight! You cannot skimp on the cooling time with these ones. But trust me, it’s totally worth the wait. The blueberry and lemon flavors really, really develop and get nice and friendly together the longer they And since this cheesecake is cut up into bars, it makes a great dessert for picnics, barbecues or when you need a portable dessert (obviously leave the blueberry sauce off to keep it clean and portable!).

Gluten Free Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars

Recipe from Our Best Bites.

Ingredients

    Crust and Topping Layers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, very cold
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • Cheesecake Layer
  • 15 ounce container ricotta
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, plus one egg white
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries
  • Quick Blueberry Sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. To prepare crust and topping, combine sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir to combine. Use a large-hole cheese grater to grate butter into flour mixture, or alternately cut butter into small chunks and add to flour mixture. Use clean hands to break up butter and flour mixture until it resembles large crumbs. Add egg yolk from separated egg (reserve egg white for the next step) and add to crumb mixture. Quickly toss to incorporate egg yolk into crumbs. Remove half of crumb mixture (about 1 ½ cups) and lightly press into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven. Add lemon zest to the remaining crumb mixture, stir to combine, and set aside.
  3. To prepare filling, place ricotta and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy (about 1-2 minutes), scraping down sides as necessary. Place mixture in a mixing bowl and stir in flour, vanilla, eggs, plus the reserved egg white from the first step, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine and pour mixture over crust in pan. Sprinkle ¾ cup blueberries over the top of filling and then top with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Bars should be just golden on top and slightly jiggly in center when shaken. Remove and let cool completely. Cover, and Place in fridge overnight to chill. When ready to serve, slice into bars.
  4. For Sauce: Combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, smashing berries with a fork. Cool. Sauce will thicken once cooled and chilled, adjust consistency by adding water until desired consistency is reached.
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Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This salad has it all; sweet, salty, cheesy, and all delicious. Mango, blue cheese and broccoli are some of my favorite foods, but never in a million years would I think of combining them. Ever. But somehow, it totally works. The flavor combinations definitely make for a very unique meal.

I definitely plan on making this salad again, but next time I think I might add a couple of other things to make it even better. Adding some toasted cashews or almonds would add a great crunch to the salad. I could also imagine substituting the chicken for shrimp (maybe even coconut shrimp for more of a tropical twist).

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Mango Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

4 salads

Ingredients

    For the Vinaigrette:
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the Salad:
  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 mango, pitted, peeled, and cut up
  • 12 ounces chicken breast
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets

Instructions

    For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Season to taste and set aside.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. On a serving platter place romaine lettuce. Top with blueberries and mango; set aside.
  4. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in 1 tablespoon of the butter with minced garlic over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Transfer to a cutting board; slice. Allow to cool slight and arrange atop salad.
  5. In the same skillet cook broccoli in the remaining tablespoon garlic butter over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes until tender. Place atop salad. Drizzle salad with blue cheese vinaigrette. If desired, sprinkle with blue cheese.
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Gluten Free BLT Spring Rolls

Gluten Free BLT Spring Rolls

I love coming up with new ways to eat my favorite sandwiches in gluten free ways. A good BLT (I guess these are technically BLATs) are pretty amazing sandwiches and these spring rolls do not disappoint despite the lack of bread. The lime-sriracha dipping sauce is also pretty delicious. It’s creamy, spicy and tangy and really worked well the rest of the BLT ingredients.

These rolls are also super, super filling. I had originally planned on using these as an appetizer, but they were so tasty and filling, they ended up being the perfect (almost) no cook meal. I would recommend serving these as soon as possible after making them, but if you have to they will keep pretty well for up to three hours after assembly.

Gluten Free BLT Spring Rolls

Gluten Free BLT Spring Rolls

16 rolls

Ingredients

    For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-5 teaspoons Sriracha or garlic chili sauce (depending on you spice preference)
  • For the Spring Rolls:
  • 8 8-inch rice paper (spring roll) wrappers
  • 2 cups baby lettuce/spring mix
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into thin slices
  • 8 slices crispy, cooked center-cut bacon
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cubed

Instructions

    For the Dipping Sauce:
  1. Combine the mayo, yogurt, lime, and sriracha in a small bowl. Whisk it together and set aside.
  2. For the Spring Rolls:
  3. Make an assembly line with the bacon, tomato avocado and lettuce. (These spring rolls are best when served immediately, but can be served up to 3 hours later)
  4. Fill a large pan with hot water and add one rice paper round. Allow it to sit in the water until it softens, about 15-30 seconds. (If your rice paper has a pattern on it, it will be ready to remove when the pattern disappears.)
  5. Stack shredded or baby lettuce leaves on the lower third of the rice paper. Add tomatoes then a strip of bacon.
  6. Fold the bottom of the rice paper up over the lettuce, tomato and bacon. Fold in the sides, then roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. If one of the wrappers rips, carefully overlap the two edges then continue to assemble the roll.
  7. Cut each roll in half. Serve with dipping sauce.
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