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Gourmet Turkey Burgers: Sweet Thai Burgers

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I thought food blogging would be easy. Creative cooking is one of my talents. I figured I’d just snap a few photos before each meal and then post them online with the recipe. Yeah, it’s not that simple. The recipe development comes naturally to me but the photography, not so much.

Lets take these burgers for example, which I have tried to photograph now on two occasions. Luckily, they are really good, so we haven’t minded having them a few weeks in a row.

The first round of photographs went badly all due to my hungry and lack of patience. I was a little lazy and just wanted to eat my dinner. And warm. After taking pictures for half an hour the burger is only lukewarm and the cheese is not melt-y anymore. That takes half the fun out of a cheese burger. So, I gave in to my taste buds after about a dozen photos, most of which turned out poorly.

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Second photo shoot, I was totally prepared. Like, I ate a snack while I was cooking so that I would have the patience to get through taking the pictures without getting hungry and frustrated. Well, I’m grilling the burgers and it starts raining and storming. We have a tarp hanging up on the deck to keep the grill area dry, so that was fine, but it was DARK. And this is what happens when you try to take pictures in the kitchen with a really crappy artificial light instead of using natural light:

Now, pretend you never saw that!

So, my other pictures of these burgers are not quite as awful as that one, but didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped for, either. I’m sorry. I hope you try them, anyway!

Moving past the photography and onto the food (that is what we’re all here for, right?), these burgers I’ve been having such a hard time capturing on film are pretty darn tasty. As a GF person, who rarely eats a burger with a bun, I feel pretty strongly about having a burger that is so delicious that I won’t even miss not being able to have the bun. These burgers fit the bill perfectly. With one pound of ground turkey, an onion, 2 seasonings, and 20 minutes of time you get a mouthwatering dinner that is naturally GF. You will enjoy these Thai burgers with or without a GF hamburger bun!

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Gourmet Turkey Burgers: Sweet Thai Burgers

 
Ingredients (makes 6 burgers)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or ground beef or chicken)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 c Thai sweet chili sauce (check label to make sure its GF – I use the Maggi variety)
  • 2 Tbs chopped Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
  • optional: GF hamburger buns (You can easily turn this into a PGF meal by having regular hamburger buns available for anyone who doesn’t need GF buns.)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft.
  2. In a bowl combine the ground turkey sweet chili sauce, chopped basil and softened onions. Form into 6 patties.
  3. Grill the burgers for about 5-8 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature is 165°F.
  4. Serve plain or with additional sweet chili sauce, basil leave, and hamburger buns.

PGF: Naan Bread

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I can’t stop eating this bread! It’s actually good!

Usually, I dislike GF bread, but this is made fresh and that seems to make all of the difference. I’ve made this naan bread to go with a few curry dishes. I love curry (I mean it! and the spicier the better!), but I end up filling myself up on bread. In fact, it’s so good that when I make curry dishes I’ve stopped serving them with rice because this naan bread is such a good fit that we don’t even touch the rice.

This bread is not just a side dish for Indian/curry meals. I somehow ended up with a piece leftover after I last made this bread and had it for lunch with some tomato soup. So good! It reheats perfectly in the microwave.

Let’s talk about texture for a minute. I was flipping out about this bread, but before I decided to call it the most amazing GF bread I’ve ever had I wanted to get another opinion. I’d made half the batch GF for myself and the other half batch with wheat flour for Steve. He ate some of his, thought it was amazing, so I told him to eat some of mine to see how it compared. What was his response? The only difference he could come up with between the GF and regular naan was that the inside of the GF version looked different. Fresh GF bread that tastes exactly the same as the regular version? I’ll take it!

The wheat flour Naan bread

The GF Naan bread

 

Naan Bread

This recipe is written to make half of the batch GF and half of the batch with wheat flour. You can easily adjust quantities to make more or less or each. If you want suggestions for adjusting quantities let me know.
 
Ingredients (makes 4 GF and 4 regular)
  • 1/4 c hot tap water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 c potato starch
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 c wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (divided in half)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (divided in half)
  • 1 c plain greek yogurt (divided in half)
  • 3/4 c almond milk or other milk of choice (divided in half)
  • salt and garlic powder, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Dissolve the sugar in the hot tap water. Add the yeast, and let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes. It will foam.
  2. While the yeast mixture is sitting, make the flour mixtures. In one bowl, combine white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, and gelatin powder. This is the GF bowl. In the second bowl (preferably on a different table/countertop area than the GF bowl), measure out the wheat flour.
  3. Add 1/2 a tsp of baking powder and baking soda to each bowl, adding to the GF bowl first.
  4. Add 1/2 c of yogurt to each bowl, and half of the almond milk (just measure out 3/4 c and then eyeball half. That’s what I’ve always done and it’s turned out fine each time), again, adding each to the GF bowl first.
  5. By now, the yeast mixture should be foamy. Eyeballing it, add half of the mixture to each bowl, starting with the GF bowl.
  6. Using separate spoons, stir the contents of each bowl thoroughly.
  7. Cover each bowl with a towel and let them rise, at least 1 hour up to overnight.
  8. After the dough has risen, divide the GF dough into four pieces. Flatten each piece into an oblong shape. If the dough is sticky, spray your hands and working area with a bit of cooking spray. Spray each uncooked piece of bread with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and/or garlic powder, if desired.
  9. Heat a nonstick skillet (that has a fitting lid) to medium high heat (I set my stove top to 6, on a 1 – 10 dial). When the skillet is warm place a piece of uncooked bread in the skillet and cover immediately. Check the bottom of the bread after a minute or two, and flip when the bottom has blackened in a few spots. Let cook for another minute or two on the other side, with the lid on the pan. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining 3 GF bread pieces.
  10. When the GF bread has cooked, form the wheat dough into 4 oblong shapes and repeat the exact same cooking process.

PGF: Toad in a Hole

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Toad in a Hole is a recipe from my childhood. It reminds me of of sleepovers at my grandparents house. My parents, sister, and I would go to their house on Fridays, and usually have tuna fish sandwiches for dinner and ice cream for dessert. Sometimes, my sister and I would get to spend the night there. This was a very exciting thing. We’d play card games with Grandma and Grandpa all evening, sometimes make a play in the basement, and then fight over who got to sleep in which bed. One bed frame was higher off the ground than the other, and somehow that made it soooooo much better. We’d fall asleep to the sounds of our grandparents watching a baseball game on TV with the volume very loud, and wake up to the sounds of them preparing breakfast.

In the morning we always had to brush our teeth before breakfast. This was not something we did at home. After teeth brushing we went to the kitchen table where Grandma would already be underway in making some special breakfast, and Grandpa would have orange juice poured ready for us to drink. I remember it so vividly because the orange juice always tasted so disgusting just after brushing your teeth.

One of our breakfast favorites was pancakes. Grandma would whip up some batter and serve us pancakes in any shape we requested. It was often a “K” or an “L”, for our names, or sometimes a plateful of tiny pancake dots. It got more and more complicated, and eventually we were requesting elephant and butterfly pancakes. Grandpa would cart plates of the different shaped pancakes from the stove over to the table where my sister and I were eagerly awaiting them. There was always syrup at the table, and I only even dunked the edge of a pancake in syrup, which is apparently not normal.

Other times, we had toad in a hole for breakfast. Toad in a hole is, I believe, a creation from WWII that combines your egg and toast. You cut a hole in the center of the toast and cook an over easy egg in that hole.

Toad (egg) in a (bread) hole. Creative, huh?

Although there are some advanced bread/egg flipping skills required to make this, the process is pretty simple, even to make GF and non-GF at the same time.

First, I always get out two plates, two skillets, and two spatulas! One set for the GF version and one set for the wheat toast version.

The GF set up is on the left, and the wheat bread set up is on the right. Everything is separate!

Next, you’ll cut a hole in the middle of the slices of bread. You can do it freehand with a knife, use a round cookie cutter if you have one, or even use a glass jar as the cookie cutter.

GF Bread and “holes”, cut and buttered.

After you’ve buttered the wheat bread, cut a pad of butter with the knife and put it on a plate. Butter the wheat bread from that pad, to keep the stick/tub of butter free of crumbs.

To cook, you put the bread in a heated pan and crack an egg right into the hole. It’s kind of fun.

Once the egg has solidified (it will be white and solid on the bottom, but not on the top) it’s time to flip the bread. Now, this can be tricky to do and keep the egg intact. I remember many Saturday mornings when Grandpa would shout over to us “Uh, oh! Grandma just broke a yolk!” I loosen the bread on each side before trying to lift it up and flip it. Still, sometimes yolks will break.

A GF Toad in a Hole, just after being flipped.

Once the egg has cooked through the toad in a hole is done. I like to cook the little bread circles right in the skillet, too, although a toaster will work. Best way to eat these (in my opinon): break the yolk and use the toast circles to scoop it up.

If you want to get really creative, like my Grandmother, you can use cookie cutters to make special shaped holes. We always asked for elephants (we had a special joke with my grandparents about an elephant hiding behind a butterfly. I can’t even explain it.)

My grandparents both passed away last fall, but this breakfast is not gone with them. I still enjoy it on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I think of them every time I make it. I plan to someday make it for my own children and grandchildren and keep the breakfast tradition alive. Sometimes just a simple breakfast can make some great memories!

Toad in a Hole

Ingredients

  • sandwich bread
  • eggs
  • butter, room temperature
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut a hole in the center of your sandwich bread, freehand, or using a cookie cutter. Lightly spread butter on both sides of the bread, and the circle you cut out of the bread. If preparing GF and non-GF, cut and butter all GF bread slices first, then prepare all wheat bread, then wash your hands.
  2. Heat two skillets over medium heat (or one skillet, if you are only using one type of bread).
  3. When pan is warm, place a slice of bread in the pan along with it’s cut out center. Crack and egg into the hole in the slice of bread. Use one skillet for all GF bread, and another for all wheat bread.
  4. When the egg has solidified on the bottom, use a spatula to flip the bread/egg over. If the egg is sticking a lot, it’s probably too soon to flip it. Flip over the small toast circle, also. Try not to break the egg yolk when you flip it!
  5. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the egg is cooked through and the bread is golden brown on the bottom.
  6. Repeat with any remaining bread slices.

PGF: Green Chili Enchiladas

Mmmmmmmm, these enchiladas are sooooo good!

Green Chili Enchiladas

Ingredients wise, they are so full of flavor. Coming from green chilis and spices, the flavor is totally guilt-free. The rest of the creamy filling is made up of shredded chicken and greek yogurt. Much healthier than the usual cream cheese or sour cream enchilada filling. I promise, you will not notice the difference! I think you’ll find the green chili flavor will fit a wide variety of palates, too. It’s not overly spicy or strong, but still delicious!

This is an easy dinner to prepare, and really doesn’t take too much hands on cooking time. It also takes almost no extra effort to make one pan with GF corn tortillas and another pan with flour tortillas. I think you’ll find that even if you make the recipe entirely with corn tortillas, even non-GF eaters will totally enjoy this meal. The GF corn tortilla version will work with homemade corn tortillas or store bought!

Green Chili Enchiladas

GF corn enchiladas on the left, flour enchiladas on the right.

Another thing I love about these enchiladas (and really, all enchiladas!) is that they can be prepared ahead of time and then baked when you’re ready to eat. I’ll often make these earlier in the day, store them in the refrigerator, and then bake them when it is dinner time. It makes for a very stress free dinner time, especially at the end of a long day. Although I haven’t done it, I’m sure these would freeze well, too!

By the way, I’ve been using a canned green chili sauce. It’s very good, but I always prefer to make things from scratch, if possible! Does anyone have a good recipe for green chili sauce? I’d love to try it if you are willing to share 🙂

Green Chili Enchiladas

 

Green Chili Enchiladas

 
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 4 oz. can of diced green chilis
  • 1/2c plain greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4c shredded cheese (I used a mexican blend)
  • 2 14 oz. cans green chili sauce
  • corn and/or flour tortillas (I used 6 small corn tortillas, and 4 burrito sized flour tortillas)
  • olive oil spray or cooking spray
  • coarse sea salt
  • cilantro, for garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine shredded chicken, diced green chilis, yogurt, lime juice, galic powder, chili powder, cumin, and cheese.
  3. Get out two glass baking dishes and spray each with your cooking spray.
  4. Starting with the corn tortillas, put about 2 Tbs of the chicken mixture at one edge of the tortilla, roll it up, and place it in the baking dish. (Tip: microwave three corn tortillas at a time in between two pieces of damp paper towel for 25 seconds. This will soften them up so you can roll them up without getting any cracks in the tortilla).
  5. Follow the same procedure with the flour tortillas. Depending on the size you are using you may need more chicken mixture per tortillas than from the corn tortillas.
  6. Spray the tops of the enchiladas with olive oil/cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt.
  7. Put both dishes in the oven, with the corn enchiladas on the top rack to prevent cross contaminator. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven temporarily to pour the green chili sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Put back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is heated.
  8. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro, if desired. Make sure you get out separate serving utensils for the corn and flour enchiladas!

Introducing: Portionally Gluten Free

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When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease I attend a few local celiac support group meetings. The group was great for getting started with the diet, learning how to eat at restaurants, where to shop, etc. Sadly, the group was very somber, and I eventually stopped going because of the attitude of many of the other members. A lot of the group members were angry and bitter towards gluten. They were literally trying to punish gluten by refusing to let it in their homes or eat at restaurants that served it, and in some situations even cutting ties to family members who would serve gluten containing items at family gatherings. This attitude saddened me.  First off, because retaliating against gluten and trying to hurt it’s feelings just isn’t going to happen. It’s a fruitless battle that will keep making you angry. Gluten does not have feelings to be hurt. The second reason I felt sad was because these people (and their families) were missing out on some great gluten free options (like dining out!) because of anger towards gluten.

Sure, I was upset when I initially found out I had celiac disease and was going through all of the lifestyle changes. Six years later, I am at terms with the gluten free diet. In fact, most days I don’t even remember that I have this food sensitivity to deal with! After living alone for a few years and having only gluten free food in the house, I got married last year. Steve, my husband, is not celiac and not gluten sensitive. Luckily, he will eat anything and has no complaints about eating gluten free – most of the time.

Let’s face it: gluten free flours CANNOT always seamlessly replace wheat flour. Let’s take pizza dough, for example. If you do any research on what makes a good pizza dough you will hear a lot about gluten. Gluten is what causes the pizza dough to be stretchy and have elasticity. We cannot recreate that exactly without gluten. I started to wonder why I was feeding both of us these somewhat mediocre, but very expensive, and sometimes difficult and time consuming to prepare gluten free foods. I began experimenting by making simple substitutions. For example: I would eat a tuna fish sandwich on GF bread and Steve would eat a sandwich on wheat bread. It took minimal effort to keep my food uncontaminated, we save a ton of money from not buying as much specialty gluten free food, and we were both totally satisfied with our meals! Cooking only a single serving of the meal gluten free was a winner!

You might be wondering if having gluten in the house is torture. Does it tempt me? Maybe some of you may struggle with resenting the people in your life who can eat gluten. All of those things can be true and can be frustrating. Making my health a priority helps me avoid temptation. Keeping my diet in perspective helps me to not resent family and friends who eat gluten. What I mean by that is that I remember that me and my GF diet are important, but not the center of the universe. I know people with other allergies and dietary restrictions, as I’m sure we all do. All food cannot cater to everyone! A GF meal might be bad for a lactose intolerant person and what works for someone with a shellfish allergy might be harmful to someone with an egg allergy. If we all eat what is right for us, we should all be happy an healthy. It turns out I feel a lot happier in general if I adopt that positive attitude, rather than feel super jealous whenever I see anyone eat Cheez-Its or Thin Mints.

Up until this point I have been posting naturally gluten free recipes on this blog. That makes up a significant portion of what I cook, and I will continue to post those recipes. However, this type of cooking is the real reason I started this blog. Like the people in that support group, I know there are celiacs out there who are nervous about letting gluten into their homes. Or, some people may want to be able to prepare GF and non-GF meals but aren’t sure exactly how to do it safely. If you have found this blog, I really hope these recipes will be blessing to you and your family!

I’ve created a new page on the blog dedication to cooking “portionally” gluten free. There you will find specific directions about how to safely prepare gluten free and non-gluten free foods simultaneously. I’ll also be posting these “portionally” gluten free (PGF) recipes on a regular basis. Check back on Thursday for a super simple PGF recipe that you will easily be able to safely prepare!

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