Category Archives: Cooking

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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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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Halloumi, Snap Pea & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Halloumi, Snap Pea, Tomato & Quinoa Salad I’ve been on a bit of a halloumi kick lately. Normally I would feel bad about sharing recipes with ‘exotic’ ingredients in them, like halloumi, but now that Trader Joe’s now sells this amazing cheese, I would hardly count it as exotic anymore. This salad is not only quick and easy to make, it is delicious too. The snap peas and tomatoes around here are absolutely delicious at the moment. Their sweetness combined with the salty halloumi help makes every bite delicious. The dressing is light and flavorful. It really adds to the salad and helps all the delicious flavors come together. Halloumi, Snap Pea, Tomato & Quinoa Salad

 

Halloumi, Snap Pea & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

    For the Dressing:
  • 4 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh chives, minced
  • For the Salad:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pack Halloumi, cut into slices
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 4 ounces snap peas, cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces mixed spring greens
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add halloumi and cooked until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Place cooked halloumi on paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine greens, snap peas and tomatoes and about half the dressing. Toss to mix all the ingredients.
  5. Divide between 4 serving bowls. Top with about 1/2 cup of the cooked quinoa and 2-3 slices of the halloumi and serve.
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Tomato Basil Spread

Basil Tomato Spread

A few weeks ago I was up visiting my best friends and her husband and pugs in San Francisco. They have the cutest farmers’ market right around the corner from them on the weekends and we took a visit before I had to head home. One of the stalls (Hummus Heaven) was selling absolutely delicious hummus and pita chips. They also had some incredible dips and spreads. I fell in love with the tomato basil spread. It was light, tangy, garlicky and fresh. It was delicious with pita chips, but I also used it for dipping veggies, crackers and as a sandwich spread. All wining combinations.

Since I (tragically) have no clue when my next visit to San Francisco will be, I decided I needed to attempt to recreate it. I will say that the original was a little more creamy (almost mayo/aioli like), but I wasn’t really in the mood to keep adding oil or mayo to get mine to the same consistency. I thought that some greek yogurt might take it more in that direction, but it didn’t. It did help it make it more like a dip or sandwich spread, which was perfect for me. I did save a little of the original to do a side by side taste test and that my version is  just as good as the original, if not a little bit better.

Tomato Basil Spread

Ingredients

  • 4+ cloves garlic
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 10-15 basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine until desired consistency is reached (I did mine so it was very smooth).
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Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken (gluten free!)

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

My wonderful friend Andrea introduced me to this meal when I was visiting her and her husband in DC last summer. It was love at first bite. She also introduced me to my first food blog (Smitten Kitchen), so I really have a lot to thank her for. This recipe also happens to be from Smitten Kitchen (did everything just come full circle?).

This meal is one of my all-time favorite summer time dishes. The ingredient list and instructions might look a bit long and daunting, but once all the chopping and slicing is finished, it’s pretty easy to get together. I will be quite honest and admit there are a few things in here that I would never be caught eating by themselves (I’m looking at you cucumbers!), but put them all together with some peanut sauce, cilantro, and lime, it’s hard not to like everything in this meal.

Despite my reservations about cucumbers (and bell peppers too), I left the recipe nearly all the same, except for using chicken breasts and all gluten-free ingredients. I also used more cilantro than mint and basil, but that’s just because I love cilantro (I’m lukewarm on basil and barely acquaintances with mint). Luckily, just about everything in this recipe can be adjusted to every individual taste. When you serve this delicious meal up, it’s kind of like a noodle-taco bar scenario. Everything is prepared separately and you get to pick and choose what you do and don’t like, which makes it good for a small crowd. And I am happy to report that this meal is one that gets better with age. The leftovers are even better than the original meal!

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Ingredients

    For the Dipping sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
  • For the Peanut dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 9 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • For the Chicken and noodle salad:
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
  • 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
  • Additional vegetables, as suggested above
  • Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
  • 4 or more scallions, slivered
  • 1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
  • Lime wedges (to serve)

Instructions

    Make the dipping sauce:
  1. Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
  2. Make the peanut dressing:
  3. In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
  4. Marinate the chicken:
  5. Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
  6. Cook the noodles:
  7. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
  8. Cook the chicken:
  9. Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
  10. To serve:
  11. At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish.
  12. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

Notes

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

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