Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Savory Polenta Rounds - Easter or Anytime Appetizers!

I almost titled this post “polenta and probability”, but had a change of heart at the last moment. As you know, I’m a homeschooling mom, and I recently taught my son the joys of probability. Now, now ... no groaning. Math is your friend, your compadre, your kemosabe. I’m pushing it, aren’t I?I don't think I'd have to push these appetizers onto anybody. They are soooo goooood! I love appetizers. There’s something wonderful about sampling finger food, no matter if it’s a tried and true thing like shrimp cocktail or something more intricate like phyllo tartlets. Appetizers can take the place of a meal, too; and because you're nibbling here and there, you can enjoy some guilty pleasure by sampling bits of this and that without overloading your plate or your metabolism.

Today’s recipe at It’s All Gouda is a scrumptious, savory polenta appetizer that can be prepared in so many varieties -- it’s hard to pin down all the combinations that you can create. I started with 3 different cheeses and 3 different meats, which gave me 9 different meat/cheese pair combinations to make. Go ahead ... make a probability tree ... you’ll come up with 9 pairs as well.Anyway, with Easter around the corner, I thought I’d have a go at preparing some gluten free finger foods. I’ve always hosted an Easter brunch at my house; however, this year will be the first time it will purposefully include some gluten free offerings. I’d recently received a glorious package of goat cheese from Ile de France, and thought I’d revise an appetizer that I’d made for years that includes goat cheese and onions. These are really, really easy to make, but they do take time. It would be fun to make these delightful rounds with your kids, or with your guests for that matter, as everyone can design their own.Helloooo, beautiful! Basically, these gorgeous, circular beauties bites consist of a firm polenta base, topped with the most amazing, crispy fried onions, your choice of cheese, your choice of meat, and then drizzled with gorgeous chive oil. In the past, I’d made these using either thick pita bread or pizza dough, and they turn out wonderful that way, too. They are soft, chewy, crispy, creamy, salty, and mmm, mmm, good!

You start by making a basic, seasoned polenta, and spread it out on a sheet pan to cool and firm up.When cool, cut into small rounds using a glass or cookie cutter. Then either pop under the broiler or pan sauté to produce a golden crust. Set aside.

Meanwhile, slice an onion into very thin, half rounds. Sprinkle with some sea salt. Sauté in olive oil and butter until just starting to caramelize. Then turn the heat up, and fry until crispy. NOTE: These are addicting. Make extra. Trust me. You’ll be nibbling on these as you cook. It’s not possible to ignore them.

Next, prepare your protein. I used prosciutto, which didn’t need any prep work other than to open the package. I also microwaved some thin bacon until crisp, and very quickly seasoned and fried some super thin strips of steak on top of the stove. You could, of course, use left over grilled steak, sliced ultra thin.Now, set out your cheeses. I used my lovely goat cheese from Ile de France, some creamy brie, and a lovely, crumbled gorgonzola. Feta would be wonderful here, too, but I didn’t use Feta this time. If I had, that would increase my probability to 12 pairings. Ahem.You could also just serve a vegetarian version of just cheese and onions. That changes our probability options as well!

Time to assemble your rounds. Heat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place all your golden polenta rounds on the foil. Top each round with one type of cheese (don’t combine the cheeses). Then put some of the crispy onions on top of the cheese. Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove, and top each round with your choice of meat (don’t combine them). Drizzle with a chive oil made from pureeing chives in olive oil. It’s amazing.Garnish with chopped tomatoes and serve warm.

These lovely savory polenta rounds are gluten free, all the way. Take care, though, as not all corn meal products are gluten free, and not all gluten free eaters can eat corn. We have no problem with corn. My youngest appetizer eater, the gluten free girl, gobbled these up like there was no tomorrow.They will find their way onto my Easter buffet. What’s your favorite appetizer?

Friday, March 27, 2009

C.A.M.P. - Chicken Artichoke Mushroom Piccata!

Have you ever kind of thrown together a dish at the last minute and ended up being *wow'd* by the results? Well, that exactly what happened to me with this lovely little dish I refer to as C.A.M.P.! I literally stumbled upon this goody and it's safe to say that it is now one of my most favorite chicken dishes of all time. If you are a fan of anything piccata, you’ll be lovin this, too.An added bonus is that this version is gluten free! Now I know that most piccata recipes call for flouring the meat, but trust me, you won’t miss it! *The trick here is to use thin sliced chicken breasts. By that I mean slicing your chicken breasts horizontally so you have two, thin, equal sized pieces per breast half. You could, of course, use chicken cutlets or tenders instead, or simply slice your chicken breasts into thin medallions. The choice is yours. One note: I’m cooking for a family of five, and like most family cooks, I grab and improvise as I go along. I encourage you to do the same. Experiment! Have fun! If you get stuck or need some advice, feel free to email me and I’ll help you out! Let’s go C.A.M.P.ing!You will need:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons butter
*Thin sliced chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, enough for 5 servings (see above)
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup quartered baby artichoke hearts (I used the jarred ones)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon capers
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
Juice from ½ a lemon
Herbs/Spices - your favorite (I used thyme, pepper, a shake of a seasoning blend)
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with a little bit of water to make a slurry
ParsleyIn a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over med high heat. When the butter starts sizzling, add the chicken taking care not to crowd the pan. Better to prepare the chicken in two batches than to overcrowd the pan. Saute until lightly golden, flip and sauté the second side until lightly golden. This takes just a couple minutes per side. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm. In the same skillet, add the sliced mushroom to the remaining butter/olive oil. Saute quickly over med/high heat until golden, takes less than 5 minutes. Remove and place with the chicken. Add the artichokes and quickly sauté them until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the artichokes and place them with the chicken and mushrooms. Add the additional 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When it is melted, add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, and stir to combine scraping up any fond on the bottom of the pan. Wisk in the cornstarch slurry, and bring to a low simmer. Stir in the capers. Return the chicken, mushrooms, and artichokes back to the pan and gently combine. Done!I served this with a simple rice pilaf and some fruit. YUM!Just look at how yummy it is! Now this is my idea of C.A.M.P.! Would you like to go C.A.M.P.ing with me?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mon Petite Chou ... My Little Cabbage ...Cabbage Roll Soup that is!

Do you ever equate a certain food to your friends? Years ago, one of the first friends that hubbyman and I made upon moving to Oregon was a lovely couple who had moved here from Poland. Their vibrant verbal exchanges with each other always entertained me, especially when they would slip very naturally into their native language. Growing up around Italians, I was used to being in the company of others whose first language was not English, so even though I didn’t speak Polish, I could follow their conversations based on years of experience. In addition to speaking Polish, my friends were also fluent in French, Russian, German, and English. Oh, how I wish I had learned multiple languages growing up! Anyway, it always cracked me up that one of the terms of endearment that they had for each other was, “Mon Petite Chou”, which is French for My Little Cabbage! To this day, whenever I eat cabbage, which is fairly often, I almost always have a heart warming moment thinking of our old friends!

Today’s recipe will warm not only your heart, but will also warm your insides on these lingering cool days. I love, love, love old world cabbage rolls, but rarely make them. So when it came time to prepare this week’s soup, and I saw the lonely cabbage sitting in my fridge, I thought why not make cabbage roll soup!

Now, let me point out that the version that I make of this soup is not a quick soup. It takes about 2 ½ hours from start to finish, including prep time. Like many good homemade soup recipes, this one tastes better if you let it simmer for a while to develop flavors. It also tastes even better the next day. You could eliminate the long simmering process, but I’d advise against it. Just as a slow braising yields a tender roast, slow simmering the ground beef in this recipe will gift you with an amazing texture and awesome flavor.Just look at the meat! Alton Brown could probably explain how the meat benefits from the long cooking, just suffice it to say that the longer cooking time works here. This yummy bowl of goodness is low in fat and gluten free, too. If you like nostalgic style soups, this baby is for you! Let’s begin.

Cabbage Roll Soup (Makes 10 servings)

1 ½ lbs leanest ground beef
½ onion – chopped
1 garlic clove – minced
Generous dash of Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 teaspoon of dried Thyme
2 teaspoon dried Basil
2 teaspoon dried Oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
2 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 14 oz cans tomato sauce
6 oz white wine
2 14 oz cans beef broth (or homemade equivalent)
3 14 oz cans chicken broth (or homemade equivalent)
2 cups water
2 cups cooked rice (I used basmati, but any cooked rice will work)
About 4 cups cabbage – sliced into short shreds (about 1 small cabbage. I used Napa this time, but any green cabbage will work)
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper – to taste
Grated Pecorino cheese (or Parma would work fine)In a large dutch oven, brown the ground beef over med high heat. Drain the beef in a colander, and rinse with super hot water to remove any residual fat. Don’t skip this step, as you really want to keep this lean. Put the meat back into the dutch oven, add the onions and garlic, and stir over medium high heat for about a minute. All at once, add the Mont. Seasoning, herbs, tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Bring to a low boil, then add the wine and ½ of the broths and ½ the water. Bring to a low boil again, cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Your patience will be rewarded. After 2 hours, stir in the remaining broths and water, plus the rice and cabbage. Cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Let each person season their own bowl with salt, pepper, and cheese, if desired.Mmmmm ... yummy! Come on over; I'll warm up a bowl for you. I ate mine with these darling mini crackers that fit perfectly on the spoon. This would also be great with garlic toast as well as just plain old thick slices of bread. Any and all of Marjie's breads would be great here! Especially that Homestead bread she makes that always makes me want to reach through the computer screen and snatch a slice or two!

So, what do you think of cabbage? What's your favorite variety? How about cabbage rolls? Do you have a favorite family recipe using cabbage that you want to share?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leapin’ Leprechauns! – Corned Beef Hash and Eggs with Mustardy Hollandaise

How was your St. Paddy’s Day? Did any little leprechauns lead you to lovely pots of gleaming gold? Today’s recipe will lead you to a pot, well a pan actually, worth its taste in gold. How does homemade corned beef hash served up with heavenly fried eggs drizzled with a golden mustardy hollandaise sound? Not quite sure? No problemo! Let me show you what I have in mind.

If you are like me, you may have some extra corned beef hanging about in your fridge. Not only did I have some left over meat from St. Paddy’s Day, but I also was in possession of a few boiled potatoes from the same meal waiting to be used up. What to do, what to do? A lovely hash sounded in order. Plus, I had just read about a mustardy hollandaise that I wanted to try, which meant that since I’d have the eggs out anyway for the sauce, I might as well fry one up, too! (Picture me wiggling my eye brows up and down!) I have such a *thing* for eggs. If I were ever stranded on an island in the middle of no where and was allowed to bring a food with me, those lovely orbs would be my first choice. ANYWAY ... back to reality ...This hash was a snap to fix. Because the potatoes were already boiled, you do have to take a bit of care when frying them that you don’t squash them. I prepared this in my handy dandy cast iron skillet, which provided great even heat and allowed the potatoes to turn a lovely golden shade in no time at all. Let’s get crackin. (Get it? Crackin? Eggs? I know. Don’t quit my day job.)

Corned Beef Hash: Serves Two

About 1 tablespoon butter
About 1 tablespoon olive oil
About 2 tablespoons diced onion
About 2 tablespoons diced green pepper
About 2 tablespoons diced red pepper
About 2 cups of leftover cubed cooked red potatoes
About 1 cup of leftover cubed cooked corned beef

Melt the butter into the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When sizzling, add the onion and peppers, and sauté for about a minute or so. Add the potatoes, turn heat down to medium and let sizzle for about 3-4 minutes. When they start to look golden, add the corned beef. Stir/fold gently with a large spoon for about another 5 minutes. Done. Because the corned beef is so highly seasoned and since the potatoes were cooked with the corned beef, I didn’t add a single spice to this.

Meanwhile, in another pan, prepare your egg. I fried mine over medium, but any style, even scrambled, would work great. Need some help in learning how to fry an egg? No worries. Here’s one of many fool proof methods for preparing fried eggs. This will produce an egg where the white is cooked, and the yolk is runny. Melt a little butter or olive oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat. When almost sizzling, crack an egg into the pan. It should sizzle right up. Lift the pan off the burner, and very gently shake the pan. Hold this position for about 30 seconds to one minute. Then put the pan back on the burner, and using a spatula, slip the spatula under the egg and gently invert the egg back into the skillet. You can tip the skillet a bit if that helps. Set the pan back on the burner and turn off the heat. Let sit for about 30 seconds, and then using the spatula, invert again.Remove from the pan and serve immediately. I like to sprinkle a little bit of seasoned salt on mine just before serving.

For the hollandaise, simply make a basic hollandaise and just before completing, stir in a generous teaspoon of Dijon mustard. I actually prefer a spicy brown mustard and so that’s what I used. If you don’t have a recipe for hollandaise, there are multiple recipes on the internet for instructing how to make this delicious sauce. Don’t be intimidated. It’s not hard at all, and the results are wonderful. It reheats well, too.Leapin’ Leprechauns! This dish was utterly delightful! I know that I emitted multiple yummy noises as I savored bite after bite. Just look at these eggs!The yolks are perfect here, and don’t you just love their deep orange color? Now I know that some folks prefer their yolks cooked hard. Again, no worries. Any type of egg would work here. You could even scramble one into the hash if you’d like! Homemade corned beef hash is just soooo amazing. It’s a thrifty way of using up leftovers, and by no means does it appear to be a “left over” dish. The mustardy sauce was simply supreme, and elevated this dish from yum to WOW!This was a great way to use up leftovers from St. Paddy’s day, and definitely put a spring in my step. Did you have any leftover corned beef? What are you making with it? Oh, and like most recipes here at It's All Gouda, this is gluten free, all the way, baby! Happy (almost) Spring!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Home On The Range – Bodacious Bison Burgers

Did you ever see the movie Jurassic Park? Do you remember the scene where the power in the park has just gone out, and the children are stuck out in the park in the jeep, its dark and rainy outside, and the young boy notices that the surface of a glass of water in the jeep keeps rippling every couple of seconds? It’s a great scene that foreshadows the arrival of a sharp toothed, hungry dinosaur with a bad attitude. Even before they could see the belligerent beast, the earth shook with each step announcing its arrival.

Well, the first time I ever saw a Bison (aka Buffalo) up close, I was sitting in the passenger seat in our car at Yellowstone National Park, and the surface of my beverage rippled just as the one in the movie had. Unlike the movie, however, it announced the arrival of a small herd of amazing bison who were preparing to cross the road. We sat in awe as the majestic, four-hoofed group of horned creatures passed right next to us. And I mean right. next. to. us. With each step they took, our little car shook and shivered as they made their way first next to and then in front of our car. And while I was, quite honestly, a tad intimidated by a) their massive size, and b) their close proximity to my personal space, I have to admit that I was mesmerized by these creatures that used to roam free in the millions. There’s something very special about American Bison, and I’ll always treasure my up close and personal moment.In my quest for healthy meals, I recently read about the nutritional value of buffalo meat. Low in fat and high in protein, buffalo meat is becoming less of an afterthought in meat food groups. After beefing up on preparation techniques, I thought I’d have a go at preparing a bodacious bison burger.Most of the recipes I read called for the addition of fat because the buffalo meat is so lean. However, the thought of mixing in a quantity of ground beef and even oil! didn’t appeal to me. Instead, for moisture, I mixed shredded mozzarella cheese right into the raw meat, and topped the cooked burgers with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and warm bbq sauce. A fresh, creamy coleslaw on the side rounded out the meal nicely.

1 lb ground buffalo
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 onion – sautéed
2 cups sliced mushrooms – sautéed
Good quality bbq sauce
Toasted buns

Separate the buffalo and cheese into 5 equal sized portions, sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning, and mix one portion of each and shape into a patty. Repeat with all portions. The mixture will look funny because there is so very little fat to hold it together. Unlike beef patties, your hands will feel wet not greasy after shaping the burgers. Don’t worry if the cheese sticks out all over the place like a porcupine; that’s a good thing.

Also, unlike beef burgers, you want to cook your buffalo burgers low and slow no matter if you grill them, pan fry them, or broil them. They take longer to cook, and there is virtually no fat left in the pan afterward. The cheese sticking out of the burgers ends up browning up so wonderfully and adds that lovely flavor that only crisped cheese can provide.

The bodacious bison burgers were really good! Why the descriptor word 'bodacious', you ask? Well, these babies hardly shrink at all. They pretty much retain both height and width when you cook them, so you don’t need as much meat as you do when preparing beef burgers. Take a good look at the interior of this burger.
You can see that they are not juicy by any means, but they aren’t dry either. My oldest daughter really liked hers, plain of course, and she’s not a big meat eater so that’s saying something. The onions and mushrooms served as a great compliment.These burgers made themselves right at home on my range. Have you ever cooked buffalo? What did you think? I’d love to try this lean meat again. Do you have any recipes to share?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Pepper Too? – Dr. Pepper Taco Soup

Okay. Before we even begin reviewing today’s recipe, let me point out that I realize that you may already be wrinkling your nose and shaking your head in disbelief. I mean, come on, making a soup with canned veggies, seasoning packets, and with ... with ... with ... Dr. Pepper?!!

Well, folks, I stand guilty as charged. I made this soup. With Dr. Pepper. With canned stuff. With seasoning packets. And you know what? It delivered. After all, we've all see recipes for roasts made with soda, and I've even seen baked goods that have lemon/lime soda in them. Sodas function as a sweetener in stews and roasts. It's been eons since I had a Dr. Pepper, and for some reason, I just felt compelled to try it. Plus, I was curious to see what reactions I'd get here in blogland.

All the reviews about this soup were 5-star ravings, and while it’s quite simply a basic chili, it was easy to make and eaten down to the last drop. I will make this again, next time using my own spices and goodies, but it was well worth making it this way first to get a feel for what it is supposed to taste like.This kind of reminds me of recipes that you’d find in a community cookbook ... simple ingredients, no special bells and whistles required, and actually pretty tasty. I found this recipe as I was searching for some regional Texas foods, and this recipe kept popping up. Now, I’ve never been to Texas, except to change planes, and so I can’t really say how Texan’s feel about their Dr. Pepper. But as I said earlier, this got really good reviews. So, like the old commercial jingle that used to say, “Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper, too. Be a pepper, drink Dr. Pepper!,” I gave this a whirl.

Here we go:

1-1/2 lbs. Extra Lean Ground Beef
½ cup chopped onion
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 15 oz can corn
1 15 oz can ranch style beans (I'm sure any chili style beans would do)
1 packet taco seasoning (I used a wheat free/low sodium mix. Next time, I'll use my own blend)
1 packet ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley brand; again, wheat free)
Dash Garlic Powder
12 oz Dr. Pepper

Shredded cheese (Please make me a happy gal and shred your own!)
Corn Chips

In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef and onions. Drain any fat. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except for the cheese and corn chips. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Done. Garnish with shredded cheese and serve with corn chips. Note: The original recipe called for salt. There was no way I was going to add additional salt to this since the packets already contain sodium (and I used reduced sodium stuff). Garnish as you would for chili ... sour cream would be good, too. Also, some of the reviews I read suggested serving with cocktail peanuts on the side, too.Mmm. Have a bite! This tastes very similar to chili made with beer. I mean REALLY similar to it. Surprisingly, you can't taste the Dr. Pepper flavor at all. It has great texture with the beef, corn, tomatoes, and beans vying for attention. I really enjoyed the corn in it, and immediately thought how good this will this summer with fresh corn at my disposal. And, this is gluten free!
Do you ever dip corn chips into your chili?How about using the chip as a spoon?Go ahead, let your inner child out and just drop a few right into the soup!. My littlest one and I had lunch together today -- just the two of us while hubbyman took the older two out for lunch, and she gobbled it right up. Guess that means that she and I are Peppers.Would you like to be a pepper, too?

Now’s here’s something we hope you’ll really like .... Speaking of my little one, hubbyman took all three kids to the Portland Trailblazer’s game last night. For those who don’t follow sports, the Trailblazer’s are Portland’s Professional Basketball team. Anyway, my littlest trailblazer got all dressed up for the game – all on her own I might add. She wore her hair up and stuck a black and red pompom in her hair like a wig, and made a poster cheering on her hometown team. Well, during the game, the camera man pans the crowd and puts up photos of various fans on the gargantuan sized jumbo-tron screen.Isn't she a doll? (All my kids are charming.) My little miss got her picture up 7 times last night. Hubbyman said that the wee one’s photo was up more often and longer than anyone else. Considering that their seats were up in what we lovingly call the nose bleed section because they are up so high and far from the court, that’s pretty cool. Oh, and the cameraman also included my other two a couple times as well. Fun Stuff!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Less Is More: aka: Cheesy Potato Slices and 38 Clove Garlic Chicken

Have you ever heard the expression, “Less is More”? This post was originally supposed to entice all of you with a mouthwatering rendition of that famous vampire-repelling chicken dish called 40 Clove Garlic Chicken. But then I was hit with a B.S. situation. Now behave, everyone. I’m referring to “Bait and Switch” not the other thing. Besides, how often do you hear me swear? I mean come on. If I ever did let loose, you’d pull me aside all the while trying to suppress your guffaws, and tell me to give it up. Some people can swear with great gusto and some people just can’t. I’m firmly entrenched in the latter category. I’ve accepted it. Excuse me while I polish my halo. Ahem. Anyway ... back to the bait and switch.

Like I said, this was to be about the 40 clove recipe. I’ve seen a handful of these recipes recently as well as a video about preparing it, and wanted to give it a go myself. Actually, I, uh, only had 38 cloves to which my husband asked with raised eyebrows if, you know, the missing two were really going to make a difference. Answer: No. No WAY. Not in this lifetime. In fact, next time, I think I’m going to make this with significantly fewer cloves. The garlic that I have is rather pungent, and despite the caramelization and simmering, the little beasties still came on super strong. And I like garlic. Love it, in fact. So even though the garlic perfumed my kitchen in the most tantalizing way while it was simmering on the stove top, this was just too much of a good thing. Perhaps if I had a mild garlic I’d consider using more, but for moi, 10 or 15 will suffice next time just fine. Plus, um, my frugal side won’t allow me to use that much of any ingredient let alone my precious garlic at one time again. For me, in this instance, less is definitely more.

So here’s the bait and switch part ... the big hit of the meal was the potatoes.It’s a less is more type of dish, and was completely, hungrily, masterfully devoured. It totally usurped the chix. The picky eaters club members ravenously chowed down, as did hubbyman. These quickly thrown together little earth tubers completely overshadowed the chicken. Don’t get me wrong, the chicken was very good, and I’ll make it again, but the potatoes were SPECTACULAR! Even better, they are economical and quick to make with regular pantry ingredients. Let’s make some potatoes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Regular russet potatoes, sliced very thin, peel left on. (I used one per person.)
Seasoned Salt (I used Lawrey’s)
About 2 cups of cheese (Shred it yourself please! You'll make me so oh so happy if you do! I used cheddar and a wee bit of mont. jack.)
A tablespoon of canola or olive oil
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large Ziploc bag, add the oil of your choice and melted butter. Add the thinly sliced potatoes, and smoosh them around to get coated by the oil/butter mixture. I find this to be more effective than drizzling. Any excess oil and liquid from the potatoes remains in the bag and not on the baking sheet.Get a large baking sheet and spread the potatoes out in as thin and even layer as you can. The potatoes will, of course, be stacked on top of each other depending upon how many you use. If you prepare more than 5 potatoes, use two baking sheets. Now generously sprinkle the potatoes with seasoned salt. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until crispy looking.See how these are crispy looking. Crispy on the outside, yummiliously creamy on the thin inside. Turn off the oven.Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the potatoes, and keep in the oven until melted ... about 2 minutes. DONE.Hello you lovely tubers. Like I said, my kids couldn’t eat these fast enough. They had very generous servings and asked for seconds. Then they were devastated when after requesting thirds were told there was no more. I did, of course, suggest that if they were still hungry, they could choke down the teeny, tiny speck of spinach I put on their plate. That silenced the raving beasts. They did eat the chicken, but weren't crazy about it. Hubbyman liked it, though. Of course, he was wrestling the stray potato bits away from the children. I just ate with a smile on my face. It’s that halo thing again.Here’s a photo of the chicken to show how wonderful it really was. Poor thing getting totally wall-flowered by the potatoes. I used Ina Garten’s recipe as my foundation, only modifying it slightly to make it gluten free. I’ve got to say that I really don’t miss using flour to thicken sauces at all anymore. If you haven’t tried corn starch, please consider it. It makes such a satiny sauce without any heaviness to it.Just look at it here. Doesn’t the sauce look dreamy? Let me know if you want the gluten free recipe, and I’ll gladly send it to you.

Oh, and like most things here at It’s all gouda, this entire meal was gluten free, all the way baby!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

They Call Me Mellow Jello ... Jello Parfait Dessert!

Well, they don’t really call me Mellow Jello. Thank heaven. What are your thoughts on jello? I happen to enjoy the wiggly jiggly stuff, and my favorite way to eat it is parfait style. Even better, those wiggly children of mine enjoy it, too. This is the easiest dessert on the planet to make and is very economical as well. It’s fluffy light and will tickle your tastebuds with it’s refreshing fruity flavor.Plus, it looks so gosh darn pretty, too. I just love looking at those layers! With Easter around the corner, this is a nice light dessert to offer your family and friends ... and yourself!

All you need is jello and whipped cream. That’s it, my blogging jello loving friends. Come on and make it with me! Come on, you’ll love it.Ingredients:
Jello – I used two 3 oz strawberry packets to make 6 generous servings.
2 cups whipping cream

Before you begin, clear a space in your fridge to set the jello cups and bowl.Next, set out six serving dishes. I like to use glass ones so that everyone can see the pretty layers. It’s kind of fun to use different types and sizes of serving glasses. Anything will work ... I used juice glasses, a custard dish, a glass tea cup, a wine class, and a dessert cup. Now simply make the jello according to the package directions. For any jello novices out there, for two boxes that means adding two cups of boiling water, stir, then add 2 cups cold water. Done.Pour some of the liquid jello into the bottom of the serving dishes. I filled them about ¼ - 1/3 full of jello. You will have a lot of jello left in the mixing bowl. Put all the dishes and the mixing bowl in the fridge, and let set until the jello is firm. About 3-4 hours. When the jello in the mixing bowl is firm, prepare the whipped cream.Use 2 cups whipping cream, and whip it very, very stiff. More stiff than you usually would for whipped topping.Take about half the whipped cream and fold into the jello in the mixing bowl, taking care to make sure you incorporate all the jello. Now simply spoon it on top of the jello in the serving dishes, leaving space at the top to add add’l whipped cream.Use the back of a spoon to smooth the top of the jello/whipped cream mixture. Now top with the remaining whipped cream. I used an offset spatula to smooth the tops flat. DONE!You could add some fruit on top. I had blueberries, so I put a couple on top. Sliced strawberries would be yummy too.Any flavor of jello will work. I tend to prefer strawberry for this, as I like the flavor as well as the vibrant color, but really, anything will do. I always use regular jello, but I'm sure that the sugar-free version would work just as well. Which reminds me, I tend to prefer whipped cream unsweetened or just slightly sweet, so I didn't add powdered sugar to this recipe. If you prefer a sweeter topping, simply add a tablespoon (or to taste) of powdered sugar to the cream as you whip it.

This is AWESOME, and it's gluten free, all the way, baby!