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In these recipes, I offer time saving options and also healthier ingredient options, because everyone's lifestyle is different and recipes should be adaptable.  Please note, always check labels on the processed products in these recipes to make sure the kind you use does not contain gluten as an ingredient.

Blueberry Crisp
This recipe is a gluten free adaptation using blueberries of a recipe my mom won 1st place for in a cooking contest back in 1966 for her Concord Grape Crisps. It is a family favorite and I thought you might enjoy trying it.

4 cups blueberries
1 T. lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch or 1/4 cup Tapioca
3 T. water

Crust & Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup softened butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups gluten free quick oats (run through the blender just a little)
1/3 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup flake coconut

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Make the filling first. Mix the filling ingredients together in a 2 quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. To prepare the crust and topping, cream together in a mixing bowl the butter, brown sugar and baking soda. Add the oats and mix.  Sprinkle a generous 1 1/2 cups of this mixture into a 9x13 cake pan (I prefer glass because it makes the crisps easier to remove) and press out evenly to make the crust. To do this, lay a piece of wax paper on the crumbs and using a glass roll out the crust. Peel off the wax paper and then fine tune with your fingers. To the remaining crumb mixture add the pecans and coconut and stir. Spread this out evenly into another 9x13 pan.  Bake both the crust and topping crumbs for 10-12 minutes, with crumbs on top shelf - stir them at 6 minutes.  Let these cool slightly before spreading out the filling mixture evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle the crumbs over the top evenly and refrigerate until cool and set.  Cut into squares and enjoy. 

Low-Fat Oven Fried Potatoes
Everyone loves fried potatoes but not that they are fattening. My dad use to say, "It's not the potato that will make you fat, it's what you do to it". Well, these potatoes have less than 3g of fat per serving and are moist on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside and full of flavor. The recipe makes a lot but they re-heat so nicely you'll want to have some for leftovers.

Approximately 6-8 potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into bite size pieces, enough to fill a 2 quart glass casserole dish (it'll need to have a lid)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon butter or oil of your choice
1 Tablespoon Ranch or Italian dressing
seasoning options:  onion powder, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, parsley, smokey paprika or whatever you'd like

Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees and make sure there is a rack set to the middle. Put your washed, peeled and cut potatoes in the 2 quart glass casserole dish, sprinkle the teaspoon of salt over them and add the 1/3 cup of water. Cover with the lid but vent slightly. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave 4-5 minutes more. The potatoes should be cooked but still firm. Now take a 10"x15" glass roasting pan and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Put the potatoes and all liquid into the pan.  Add the 1 T. butter or oil (more is not better) and the 1 T. of salad dressing. Stir to mix and then spread out a little. Sprinkle with the seasonings of your choice, stir again and spread out potatoes in an even layer. Put them in the 500 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Take out and stir and then bake again for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how crispy and brown you'd like them. Take the sizzling potatoes out of the oven and enjoy. These potatoes re-heat beautifully in a toaster oven (no need to add any extra oil).
Note:  I have always made these in a glass roasting pan but feel certain a metal pan would work fine too. If you do use glass, make sure to set it on a pot holder when it comes out of the oven. If you don't, you could shatter the glass (I've done it before - it's no fun!)


Squash Goulash
At this time of year we are usually picking squash by the bagful and it use to be a dilemma knowing what to do with it all. This recipe was created to make use of that abundance. I had no idea it would become one of our favorite ways to eat squash. It also freezes well, so you can enjoy it when you first make it and then freeze up the rest to enjoy this winter.

1/4 pound bulk country sausage (hot)
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey (I think turkey tastes better)
2-3 Tablespoons Italian dressing
1/2 of a large onion chopped (I think sweet onions taste better)
Lots of squash:  Summer squash, Zucchini squash, & Eggplant (see below for ratios & quantities)
Seasonings to taste
one 15 oz. can of Italian diced tomatoes
grated Parmesan cheese to add at table

Use at least a 6 quart stock pot, 8 quart is even better. On medium heat brown your sausage and ground beef or turkey until loose and crumbly. Drain off the fat. (I even use a paper towel to run around the bottom of the pan.) Add the Italian dressing and chopped onions. Saute for a few minutes. Now for the squash, it should mostly all go in at once (I usually get it cut up while the meat's browning). You will need to fill that pot at least 3/4 of the way full with bite size cut up squash pieces. It will cook down so don't be leery about how much you're putting in there. It usually takes about a plastic grocery bag of squash. Ratios are really just taste preference and well, what you've got the most of. What I like best is 2 parts eggplant, 2 parts summer squash and 1 part zucchini. You will want to saute this squash, not stew it, so you'll have to turn the heat up as much as you can to keep it from getting all soggy in the bottom, but not so high that you burn it. Stir frequently and ad your seasonings as you go until the squash is tender. Seasonings I like best are salt or season salt, garlic powder, onion powder and basil. When it's tender, taste it and make sure you've got it seasoned to your liking. Go shy on the salt to save room for the grated Parmesan cheese at the table. Remove it from the heat and ad your can of Italian diced tomatoes, juice and all. Stir to mix and serve in bowls. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. 
Note:  For best results reheating your frozen Squash Goulash, don't cook it again. Let it defrost in the refrigerator and then just heat enough to eat.

Skinny Squash Frittata

This is a quick favorite summer meal that you can fix for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's perfect when that first tender squash comes in. You can easily adapt this recipe to the number of people. Quantities are given here for 1-2 people, using a 9" omelet pan.  When using a 12" skillet for 3-4 people, just double the recipe.

one teaspoon butter
one summer squash, cut up for sauteing
one zucchini squash, cut up for sauteing
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
seasonings to taste
2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or whatever sounds good to you)

Melt the butter in a 9" skillet over medium heat. Add the squashes and onion and saute for a few minutes, until crisp tender. Season to taste. I use whatever I'm in the mood for, sometimes spicy sometimes not, but always salt, garlic and onion powder. Spread the vegetables out evenly in your pan and then carefully pour your lightly beaten eggs over them. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Cover, but vent the lid.  Cook on low-med heat for several minutes until you see the eggs are cooked. Remove the lid and let any moisture evaporate. If you used a non-stick skillet, slide the whole thing off onto a plate for cutting and serving. If you didn't use non-stick, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. This will make the egg let go of the pan. Then using a spatula, you should be able to easily remove it from the pan. My mom taught me that trick years ago and it works like a dream.
NOTE: This recipe is one that you can change the ingredient quantities of so easily to suite your taste, whether you like more veggies, or eggs or cheese. Make it your own.  Just make sure to taste your squash when you season it and you can't go wrong on the rest.

Very Veggie Wraps
Fresh garden lettuce is in season and this is a recipe that uses it as a platform - literally. Who said you had to use a flour tortilla for a wrap.

one 15 oz. can of Italian diced tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes
one cubed ripe (yet firm) avocado
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup chunky 'medium' salsa
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
a few sliced olives, to taste (optional)

Bean Spread:
one 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
one or two cloves minced garlic

Approximately 6 pretty Romaine lettuce leaves (no holes or cracks preferably)

To prepare the topping, open the can of Italian tomatoes and empty contents into a sieve to drain. Cut up the avocado and onion and put into a bowl. Add the salsa, balsamic vinegar and the (optional) olives. Then add the drained Italian tomatoes or drained fresh tomatoes to the bowl and stir to blend.  (If you are using fresh tomatoes you may want to taste and add additional seasoning to suite you.) Set this bowl aside.

To prepare bean spread open the black beans, drain and empty into a one quart casserole dish. Using a 'ricer' or masher, lightly mash the beans. Add the grated sharp cheddar cheese and the minced garlic. Stir well, cover and microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted. The mixture should be warm but not hot.

Last, wash the romaine lettuce leaves and pat dry.

To serve, spread the bean mixture on a lettuce leaf and then top with the tomato/avocado topping. Wrap up the sides and eat it like a burrito. (Don't make the mistake of overstuffing your wrap.  You can always have a second one.  :-) This is great for a weekend lunch, eaten outside with friends and family. Corn tortillas are optional but licking your fingers is a must.  


Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies
This is a unique recipe, in that it does not contain any flour, of any kind. These cookies are crisp to the bite but will melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more - a real treat. (Don't look for healthier options here - these are just to satisfy your sweet tooth!)

4 egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts of your choice
6 ozs. of chocolate bits or brickle

Beat egg whites with salt until it forms firm moist peaks. Add sugar slowly, beating constantly.  When last of sugar is added, beat another 2 minutes. Fold in nuts and chocolate or brickle. Drop by teaspoons onto well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until dry. Let cool just a minute or two before removing from cookie sheet. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid.

Cabbage Unrolls
This has all the flavor of cabbage rolls but much less work.  Since there is no 'rolling' involved, I call them 'unrolls'. It also has more veggies, so it's healthier and a complete meal.

one pound ground turkey or lean ground beef
1/4 pound bulk country sausage (hot)
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup finely cut onion
2 stalks cut celery (optional)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 or 2 cloves garlic (minced)
one small to medium head cabbage (chopped)
one 15 oz. can diced Italian tomatoes
one 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth  (See Cook's Notes from February 2010)

In a crock pot, mix together the turkey or beef and sausage, rice, onion, celery, black pepper and garlic. Spread out evenly. Add your chopped cabbage on top (don't be afraid to pack your cabbage in, as it will cook down in no time). In a separate bowl combine your diced tomatoes and tomato sauce with the chicken broth, then carefully pour over cabbage. Cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours (until cabbage is tender). Let sit for 15 - 30 minutes. Stir to combine everything and serve in bowls.

Asparagus Soup
First, let me say that this soup really does taste good, so don't let the color throw you. My daughter turned up her nose when she first saw it but finished the bowl in no time. This soup really satisfies and chases the chill away too.

one medium potato, peeled and cubed  OR 1/2 cup potato flakes
one cup seasoned chicken broth *See Cooks Notes at the bottom of this page.
one 14.5 ounce can cut asparagus (save the water)  OR 1 1/2 cups fresh asparagus (cut & cook covered on medium with 1/2 cup water until tender - save the water)
one cup milk
dash garlic powder
salt to taste
bacon bits (optional)

Combine potato and chicken broth in medium saucepan and cook until fork tender. If you're using potato flakes skip that step. Using a blender or food processor, puree the asparagus with its water. If you cooked the potato, puree that too. Return this to the saucepan. Use your cup of milk to rinse out the blender and then add that to the saucepan. If you didn't use a potato, add your chicken broth and flakes now. Stir and cook on medium heat until thoroughly heated. Add a dash of garlic powder and salt to taste. (You'll need quite a bit more salt for the fresh asparagus than the canned.) Optional:  Garnish bowls with bacon bits.

*Cooks Notes:  Don't throw out your bones!  You're throwing away some of the best part of a bird.  It is so easy to make your own chicken or turkey broth and once you do and you see how rich and flavorful it is, you'll wonder why you ever used canned.  Whenever you roast a chicken or a turkey and have cleaned the meat off the bones, break them up so they will fit better in a stock pot.  Don't forget to put in any leftover skin you thought too fattening to eat and also any remaining drippings.  (You're going to skim the fat off the broth anyway later and you will get a much richer broth if you use it.) Use just enough water to cover the bones; about 4 cups for a chicken and 8 cups for a turkey.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Drain the broth off into a glass heat safe casserole dish. When cool enough, put it in the fridge overnight.  At this point you'll be surprised at how much meat you actually missed on the bones. If you feel industrious, pick the bones again. I sometimes get enough meat to make another whole casserole dish. Anyway, back to the broth. When chilled, the broth will set up like jelly. Use a spoon and scrape off all the fat and throw it away. Put the broth in one cup containers and freeze and that way you'll always have your own terrific gluten free broth on hand.