Gluten-Free Heaven

If you ask someone who follows a gluten-free diet what their definition of gluten-free heaven is, you are likely to get a response that involves a bread/bakery product of some sort. My idea of gluten-free heaven is a bagel like the ones I remember from my pre-gluten-free days. Like the ones you get from Panera Bread…the harder outside “skin” and soft, chewy inside. If you have ever eaten a gluten-free bagel, you know that they are no where close to the “real” thing. I though I had found a pretty good bagel in the Kinnikinnick frozen bagels. They weren’t the “real” thing, but they passed b/c I didn’t really have much other choice. I used them mostly for tuna melts, open-faced. Then all of a sudden I couldn’t find them anymore and I had heard there were production issues. When they reappeared in stores, they had changed…the taste & texture was different and it wasn’t for the better. I was very disappointed. So, I remembered seeing a recipe for bagels on my trusty Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix bag. It didn’t look too difficult, so I decided to give it a try. I made a few modifications, added brushed egg white to the tops of the bagels after boiling and before baking and I sprinkled sea salt on a few after the egg whites. I was hoping for a hot soft pretzel effect. I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic these turned out. My bagel was like a big, round hot soft pretzel bagel. I had tears in my eyes. OMG…..BAGELS!!!!! This is what has been missing since I went GF. The taste, the texture. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe that I only ate one. I let the rest cool and then I froze them so that all of their yumminess would be preserved. Now, the dough is a little sticky. I had to oil my hands to shape the dough, but a few minutes of messy hands is SO worth it for the end result.

Before boiling/baking:

After coming out of the oven:

Made into a sandwich with turkey, swiss, dijon mustard & lettuce:

*Recipe courtesy of Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix Bag

1 bag Pamela’s Bread Mix
1 yeast packet (enclosed)
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil

Yield: Approximately 7 bagels

1. Combine dry mix, yeast packet, oil & water. (no eggs are used).
2. Mix on medium for 3 minutes.
3. Use 1/2 cup dough for each bagel. Oil hands and place on a greased baking sheet in the form of a bagel (don’t worry about the hole now, we will get to that later).
4. Let dough rise for 1 hour, then poke hole in the center of each bagel. (I took a wooden spoon and sprayed the handle with Pam and then used that to poke my holes).
5. In boiling water, boil bagels for 25 seconds.
6. Remove with slotted spoon and place on greased baking sheet. Brush with egg whites and top with sea salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc if you choose.
7. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes. (I baked for 23 minutes).

ENJOY!!!! Truly, gluten-free heaven.

Oh, and another bonus recipe. The dish pictured with my sandwich is an eggplant parmesan of sorts. I had some tomatoes that I needed to use, so I made a simple marinara and then made this recipe:

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
Mozzerella Cheese
Paremsan Cheese
Marinara Sauce (I used homemade today, but have used Prego 3 Cheese in the past)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Slice eggplant & zuccini.
3. Spread sauce in the bottom of a glass pyrex dish. Start to layer eggplant & zucchini and cheeses with sauce. Repeat until ingredients are gone.
4. Bake at least 30 minutes. Test the eggplant with a fork, it should be soft. Broil for a couple minutes to brown up the top.

**I have seen a variation of this recipe with ricotta cheese too. That would make it more a meal, suitable for vegetarians.

Weekly Menu Plan for August 25 – August 30, 2008

So last week I did pretty good and only deviated from the plan on one night because pork loin was on sale and we hadn’t had it for a while. Let’s see how I can do this week. We are now back in the swing of things with school. The kids have been 3 days so far. Jon is ready for summer (2009) and Hannah is counting the minutes until she goes in tomorrow. I am also getting ready to make some Pamela’s bread for Jon to take for lunch this week.

Sunday ~ P.F. Chang’s. We are meeting my Mom & Step Dad for dinner. Jon spent the weekend with them in Dayton, so we are meeting them to pick up Jon. Love the lettuce wraps and Singapore Street Noodles.

Monday ~ Salmon, brown rice, steamed green beans and salad. I may make some more Broiled Parmesan tomatoes for myself, Aaron won’t eat them.

Tuesday ~ Filet Mignon, baked sweet potato/yam, steamed broccoli & salad. Jon will eat this, Hannah will not. She will have Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with broccoli and salad.

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger in Paradise for the kids and I. Hannah has ice skating.

Thursady ~ BBQ Baby Back Ribs (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Sauce ~ I will post the recipe below), baked potato, steamed peas and salad.

Friday ~ Chicken Tenders, pan-fried potatoes & corn. I will post the recipe below.

Saturday ~ Homemade pizza (Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix crust) with cheese & turkey pepperoni for the kids and fresh veggies for me. Maybe a margherita style. We will probably have salad along with this.

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

2 racks of pork back ribs
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
Salt & Pepper

1. Do this step earlier in the day or at least 2-3 hours before you want to grill your ribs. Heat oven to 350. Cut each rack of ribs in half. S & P both sides. In a large, glass pyrex dish, pour some BBQ sauce. Coat each rack of ribs with sauce, don’t be stingy. 😉 Place ribs in dish in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil.

2. Bake ribs in oven for 2 hours at 350.

3. Remove ribs and let cool down before placing in fridge or hold aside to place on the grill.

4. Heat up grill.

5. Baste ribs with some more BBQ sauce. Place ribs on grill for just a few minutes a side to finish off cooking.

Chicken Tenders
**Recipe Courtesy of my sister, Kelly. I think she got it from the Bisquick Box

3 chicken breasts (cut crosswise into ½ inch strips)

2/3 cup of Bisquick (or Pamela’s baking mix)

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ tsp salt or garlic salt (I used a seasoned salt – Nature’s Seasoning)

½ tsp paprika

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 450. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Mix Bisquick, cheese, salt and paprika in ziplock bag. Dip chicken in egg and then place in bag to coat. Arrange in single layer on cookie sheet and drizzle with butter (I sprayed butter-flavored Pam on it instead). Bake 12-14 minutes, turning over half way through. Chicken strips should be golden brown when finished. Serve with honey mustard and enjoy!

I also make my own Honey Mustard with mayo, spicy brown mustard, a touch of yellow mustard and a drizzle of honey. I don’t use specific measurements, I keep tasting and adding until it tastes how I like it.

Make sure to check out Fresh Ginger, she is hosting the Menu Swap this week. She has lots of great stuff on her menu incorporating eggplant, one of my favs!!