Fresh Caprese Salad {Gluten Free}

capreseThis gluten free girl sometimes really misses Italian food. I see angel hair Alfredo pasta and my mouth waters. The rich flavors just pervade my senses, and I miss consuming such creamy meals.

However, skipping the wheat laden bread is a better alternative than an upset stomach. So, I find ways to satisfy my Italian cravings. And the best way to do that is – eat a lovely bowl of Caprese Salad.

I can remember my first plate of this yummy salad, which is interesting. This was even before I knew about my gluten allergy. As you can tell, I am not lying about liking this dish.

There we were, my sweet family of four, eating on a mountaintop bistro in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And, little did I know, I would fall in love that day with – Caprese Salad.

tomatoes

These beauties were too pretty not to share!

Now that I am older, I make this as a quick dinner or treat for myself. It is heavenly.

So, if you are gluten free and missing out on your garlic and olive oil flavors, this is the dish for you!

You will need: 3 medium tomatoes, 1 ball of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, olive oil and salt and pepper.

All you need to do is – get out a cutting board and chop up your pretty tomatoes. You can chop huge chunks or little chunks. The choice is really up to you.

Next, chop up your fresh basil leaves and ball of mozzarella. Mix up these pieces with the tomatoes in a larger bowl.

Sprinkle in some olive oil. The amount of drizzle is up to you. Then add some salt and pepper to taste.

You are done! This can be a little dinner or maybe a side salad with your main course. It is completely gluten free and very delicious. Munch on gluten free ladies!

You might also like this delish ‘Caprese Gluten Free Bread’ recipe too!

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Rosemary Bread Bites {Gluten Free}

IMG_6853This is a surefire appetizer winner especially for you gluten free mavens!

Don’t get jealous of those Olive Garden breadsticks. Now, you can make your own in like 15 minutes.

This is a great way to use some of that gluten free pizza crust mix, you may have laying around at home. My problem is I will use ¾ of the package and have that awkward ¼ mix laying around.

Now, you don’t have to throw that not so cheap mixture away – use it to make a bread bite appetizer!

You will need: ¾ cup gluten free pizza bread crust mix (I used Bloomfield Farms Mix), ½ cup water, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. dried rosemary, 1 tbsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.

In a bowl, pour in your gluten free mix and add in the water. Stir this up to create a pastey dough. Next add in the olive oil and stir it up again.

Add in the parmesan cheese and fold into the dough. It should make the dough thicker and not as runny. Sprinkle in the spices: rosemary, garlic and Italian seasoning. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475. You need it hot to make your bread bites. And then spray a pan with some cooking spray. Take the dough and mash it down into the pan- creating a flat surface.

Once the oven is heated, pop it in there for about 18 minutes. After it’s baked to your liking – take it out and cut into little strips and serve with an olive oil and rosemary dip mixture. Yum.

Pesto Tomato Pizza {Gluten Free, Meat Free}

ImageCheese is great – but it may be a little too great. I am trying to wean myself off this creamy goodness for the time being.

So when thinking about dinner recipe options – my choices were limited and semi depressing. Because I love cheese so much.

Haha. But, everything takes discipline. I found this tasty gluten free and vegan pizza recipe that looked amazing. Though I was a little skeptical of the lack of cheese, y’all –to take from Tina Turner – it was ‘simply the best!’ Throw down the microphone good.

Please make this. You will thank yourself for taking the time to do it. Here we go!

You will need: 1 {2 cups} package of gluten free pizza dough mix {I used Bloomfield Farms}. This mixture calls for two cups of water and 1 tbsp. olive oil. If you are trying to go full force vegan – let me suggest this cauliflower crust. I have not made this yet – but it’s next on my list!   

To make your own pesto sauce you’ll need: 1/4 cup pine nuts, 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil, 1/2 – 1 clove of garlic, salt and pepper to taste and olive oil (you decide the quantity here).

Additional glaze: 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp. of garlic powder.

First, dump 2 cups of the pizza mix into a bowl and add your two cups of water and oil. Knead with your hands and make a nice little ball of dough.

I lined a foil sheet with some more of the dry mixture and placed the ball in the center of the foil. Then rolled the ball in it, so it was not as sticky. Then flattened the crust with my hands to make a nice little round piece to place all your toppings on! I tried to make the bread as thin as possible.

Preheat the oven to 425 – to get the oven nice and toasty.

I added a garlic glaze to the top of my pizza to make it nice and garlic tasting. Just drizzled the oil infused with garlic on top of the dough. Pop this in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Now, on to the pesto sauce! Add all your ingredients from above into the food processor. So drop the pine nuts, basil, garlic, spices and oil – and pulse until creamy.

While the crust is still in the oven, I sautéed some garlic and onions with a little bit of dried basil. And chopped up some fresh grape tomatoes for the topping!

Once the crust is nice and toasty, I pulled it out of the oven and spread my yummy pesto sauce on top. Then arranged the tomatoes and slowly spread my garlic onion mixture on a well.

Let this cook for about 7 minutes – and you have a beautiful cheese and meat free pizza!

It is so fantastic, let me tell you!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Gnocchi

ImageIf you are a pasta lover, but, sadly, gluten free – this is the dish for you. I tried to recreate a wonderful dish I had in New York last month on a business trip.

That dish was not gluten free (shame on me). And, I felt horrible after eating it – but it was delicious.

However, this gluten free gnocchi (made from scratch, mind you) was just as good!

I used butternut squash because I had it in the kitchen. Yet, I feel like it is a little bit lighter than potatoes and tastes just as good. So, c’mon cooks, this is a process; but, you will feel like a bonafide chef afterward.  Seriously.

You will need: 1 butternut squash, dash of cinnamon, 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning or sage, 1 cage free egg, dash of ground red pepper, dash of salt and pepper, dash of olive oil, 2 ¼ cups of gluten free all-purpose baking flour. And a mix of pesto sauce. If you don’t have this or don’t want to buy a mix, read how to make it – here.

First, cut the squash in half and scoop out all the seeds. You do not want to bake those. Preheat the oven to 400. Set the squash on a lined cooking tray (fleshy side up) and sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper across the meat of the squash. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

After the squash is done. Let it cool a little while – and scoop out the flesh. You can either mash it up with a big fork or put it in the food processor. I put it in the food processor. Empty the mashed up meat of the squash into a large cooking bowl.

Add in egg, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, red pepper and 1 cup of gluten free flour. Stir this up. And gradually add in the remaining flour until your mixture is thick and creates a nice little ball. You may need to add more flour. Use your judgment on this.

Make sure there is a boiling pot of hot water on the stove. Let it boil for a little bit – while you fashion your gnocchi pieces. You want the pot super boiling hot!

gnocchirecipe_07

The uncooked gnocchi should look like this. Photo courtesy of: 101 Cookbooks

Roll out the dough ball on wax paper coated with flour (similar to cookies). I rolled the dough into two long ropes – and sliced the rope in little pieces with a cutting knife. Then pressed my fork into the dough making a nice little line design – like peanut butter cookies!

You are almost done – drop the dough pieces one at a time into the boiling pot of hot water. I would not cook more than a dozen at a time. They cook for about 4 minutes – then will float at the top of the pot when done.

After all the gnocchi is done – coat with your pesto. And, you have a gluten free masterpiece made from scratch! Viola!