Who doesn’t love polenta?

Monica says:

Hello friends!

I know that I have been missing in action for quite some time now, and I apologize! Life gets in the way, but today I am here to share a yummy dinner that I recently made.

Normally I don’t watch daytime television, but since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, my energy level hasn’t been the greatest! But I am making time for self-care and that’s all you can ask for, right?

Anyway, since I am a fan of ABC’s The Chew, I was watching one day and my mouth began to water!

Michael Symon, the program’s resident Iron Chef, was making an Italian dish that I swore I could smell right through the television….anyone else out there know what I mean?

It’s called Polenta with Sausage Ragu and Fresh Mozzarella and it is so yummy!

Since we are fortunate to have an Italian grocer in our community and the proprietor makes the sausage fresh every Tuesday, I just had to try this recipe!

The only thing I did not follow in this recipe was to use a Dutch Oven…I used a nice fry pan with a lid and it worked just fine.  And of course, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Polenta!

Here are some of my pictures as I cooked my way through the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

What could go better with a great glass of wine?

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and I will definitely make this again!

This recipe is a KEEPER!

Hope you get a chance to try it and special thanks to Michael Symon (my favorite Iron Chef)!

© 2018, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

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Meatless Monday….any day of the week!

Monica says:

I woke up and I was craving risotto!

No kidding….couldn’t  stop thinking about it! Talk about strong Italian roots!

So I decided to scan the web and look for a recipe that included spinach. It was a must-have ingredient for me!

Lo and behold after a short while scanning recipes, I found it!

Woman’s Day never lets me down! LOVE their site and especially the recipes!

Here is what presented itself to me and I ran to the grocery store to fulfill the ingredient list. Such simple ingredients and so wholesome!

You gotta try this simple recipe!

Risotto with Scallions, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Upon reading the recipe, I did things in a little different sequence and chose to add ½ cup of veggie stock at a time, rather than all at once….the risotto came super creamy! If you have the extra time, in my humble opinion, it’s worth the effort!

Let the cooking begin!

Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil until they are happy!

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Now sauté the onions and garlic…smells amazing!

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Add the Arborio rice and then the white wine…oh yum!

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Start adding the veggie stock a little at a time and stir often….the consistency will be smooth as silk!

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Don’t these mushrooms look ready to jump in the risotto?

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Incorporate the mushrooms into the risotto…it’s almost done!

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Now let’s wilt the fresh organic baby spinach and pack in the vitamins!

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Looks amazing, huh?

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Plate and add a little Romano cheese…oh dear!

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Oh…forgot to add the scallions that I cut!

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They really add to the flavor profile…bon appetit!

© 2016, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

Pizza from a gluten-free mix!

Monica says:

Sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve posted, but this winter has not been kind to me!

Let’s just say I am so happy to say “Spring has sprung” and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you!

So here’s my story:

I rarely make anything from a gluten-free mix.

But I have to ask myself why I don’t!

If the ingredients in a mix are well balanced and don’t include much salt and/or sugar, I will consider trying it! Hey, I’ll try anything at least once and if it works, it’s a keeper!

Such is the case with Stonewall Kitchen Pizza Crust.

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I had not tried anything by this company yet and wanting something easy for the Lenten season,

I grabbed a box and decided to give it a whirl!

The directions were clear enough so I went to work.

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Of course, you needed to pat in onto the cookie sheet and at first I wasn’t sure if I would have enough dough to go around,

but to my surprise, it filled the pan!

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One problem: the dough didn’t rise as expected when I put it in a “warm” place. So I put it in the oven on warm for a short time and voila!

Now onto my toppings! Yay!

I generally just use a can of crushed organic tomatoes with lots of seasonings.

Since Daria started partnering with Calicutts Spice Co., I have become infatuated with Robert’s “Mediterranean” spice blend.

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It’s fantastic! A must-try!

Anyway, a little sprinkle of Romano cheese, lots of “Mediterrean” spice, some fresh onions, and black olives and it’s ready for the oven!

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I wish you could smell what my kitchen smells like now….oh dear!

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What a perfect Lenten meal when we are going meatless!

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Just glad I bought this mix….you should, too!

© 2016, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Veggie Lasagna…gluten-free and gorgeous!

Monica says:

Is your mouth watering looking at this picture?

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If so, then you need to make this gluten-free lasagna and make yourself happy!

Lasagna has always been a favorite meal in our household.

The saucier and cheesier the better!

But when Daria and I were diagnosed with celiac disease, our meals changed quite a bit….especially the Italian ones!

In 2002 the products that are on the market today were virtually non-existent. We ate very blandly and endured many a boring meal while we educated ourselves about this thing called a “gluten-free diet!”

We did have the occasional pasta but it was made by my hubby and Daria’s daddy who grew up making cavatelli with his Nana! He used Betty Hagman’s cookbook, The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy, like a bible. Thank God for Lewie because we were still getting used to our new lifestyle and were often sick!

Fast forward to today….gluten-free products abound! But we still find ourselves shying away from the commercially produced and processed items because we feel better eating “whole” foods.

Not to say that we aren’t grateful for the strides made in gluten-free food….we are! We just know what’s best for us…

as I’m sure you know what is best for you!

That being said, I have developed a recipe for gluten-free veggie lasagna that incorporates

all of the fresh and wonderful vegetables that I love.

Hope you give this recipe a try!

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Gluten-free Veggie Lasagna

This recipe has five parts…first, make the sauce…second, blend the cheese mixture…third, boil the noodles…fourth, sauté your veggies…and fifth, put it all together!

Sounds like a lot of work but it is so worth it!

Let’s get started…

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped fine

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1-15 oz. can tomato sauce

Sprinkle of basil

Sprinkle of oregano

Dash of cracked pepper

Directions

Sauté the onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a rolling boil.

Then reduce heat to medium low and cook for an hour making sure to stir every now and then.

After one hour, simmer for an additional hour.

MEANWHILE, while your sauce is getting lovely….

Cheese Mixture

Combine these Ingredients

32 oz. of Ricotta cheese

1 egg

Pinches of parsley, oregano, and basil

Dash of salt and pepper

Set the mixture aside and place in refrigerator.

NOW it’s time to make the…

Pasta

Boil ONE box of gluten-free lasagna noodles according to the package directions.

Cool.

Time to chop and sauté the…

Vegetable Blend

Ingredients

2-3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2-8 oz. packages of mushrooms, chopped (baby bellas)

3 large carrots, chopped

3 small to medium zucchini, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 bag organic baby spinach

Mozzarella cheese, grated

Romano cheese, grated

Directions

Sauté mushrooms and onions in extra virgin olive oil first. When translucent and semi-soft, remove to a plate.

Next, sauté the carrots, zucchini, and garlic until semi-soft.  Add in the spinach and stir through the veggie mixture until it wilts slightly.

Remove to the plate with the mushrooms and onions.

And now it’s time to assemble the lasagna!

Get your favorite 9 x 13 pan out and get ready to layer! (I use a non-stick ceramic baking dish)

Place sauce on the bottom of the pan, followed by noodles, followed by veggies, followed by ricotta mixture topped with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella and Romano cheeses.

Repeat.

Make sure you end with a layer of noodles on top, covered with sauce and topped with Romano cheese!

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 whisks   © 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

So the next time you are craving lasagna, why not try a vegetable version?

You can really pump up your recommended veggie intake for the day and have fun doing it!

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Buon Appetito!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Easiest supper ever!

Monica says:

My sister, Maria, and I went to Sam’s Club last week to pick up a few necessities.

Well, if you’ve never been to Sam’s or a “warehouse” store like it, then you can only imagine that it is nearly impossible to stick to your list!

Strolling through the huge aisles, you see so many items that would be great to buy, but are so NOT necessities.

With more and more gluten-free items hitting the grocery stores, supermarkets, and retailers, I suppose Sam’s is getting in on the action, too. But the two purchases that I made were very good, indeed!

The first was gluten-free orzo pasta! Daria and I have never seen it in the store before and needless to say, I was super excited!

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Thanks, Delallo’s!

The second was the jar of roasted peppers …. A medley of green, and yellow peppers.

Once again, thanks, Delallo’s, which by the way, is an awesome Italian marketplace in Jeannette, PA! Lewie and I have visited there and you feel like you are in an Italian food heaven!!

The jar of peppers had a recipe right on the jar’s tag…all I had to do was substitute the whole-wheat orzo for the gluten-free and voilà!

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Supper is born!

When I got home, I ran to Tarone’s Italian Market in town, and purchased some mild Italian sausage (we don’t do HOT sausage) to round out my ingredients! All the rest I had at home!

I just followed the instructions on the label and here’s my easy supper!

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We thoroughly enjoyed this meal and will definitely make it again….I split the orzo packages with Daria and gave her the peppers so that she can try it, too!

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So, make it an Italian night….a simple Italian night!

And don’t forget the wine!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

February Foods We LOVE! Italian Wedding Soup

Monica and Daria say:

Everyone has an idea of their perfect comfort food. Maybe it’s chicken and dumplings, mac ‘n cheese, or apple pie.

We have several….and one of our favorites on this “National Homemade Soup Day” happens to be Italian wedding soup!

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“For me, it reminds me of my Aunt Kate,” says Monica. “She raised my Dad when he lost his Mom as an infant, and she really was more of a Grandmother to me and my sisters, than an aunt. The fact that this wonderful Italian woman lived right down the street when we were growing up, impacted our relationship. And best of all, she was a great cook!”

“Italian wedding soup will always remind me of snow days!” says Daria. “Since my Mom was a school librarian, she would have off when we did, and our ‘jammy days’ were celebrated with lots of cooking, baking and great food. We absolutely loved our ‘next-doors’ and would exchange our snow day creations with them (they were cooking and baking, too) and just play and eat all day! Such great memories!”

We have our Aunt Kate’s “original” Italian wedding soup recipe, which she called “Chicken Endive Soup” but had to update it when we became gluten-free. And remember, she was Italian and cooked by instinct, so it was more “a little bit of this and a little bit of that!” We really had to try and pin down the amount of each ingredient!

So the recipe we present here is based on the original and even though it’s gluten-free, it has the same flavor profile.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients

For soup base:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 celery stalks, chopped into bite-size pieces

6 chicken cutlets (thick-cut) or 2 chicken breasts (we use organic), cut into bite-size pieces

3 boxes of chicken broth (32-oz.); low sodium/no MSG (we use College Inn)

2 cups of additional chicken broth (use Herb Ox chicken packets to season)

For bite-sized meatballs:

1 lb. ground chuck

½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

3 T Locatelli (Pecorino Romano) grated cheese

1 large egg, organic

For later:

1 bag fresh baby spinach (8 oz.)

1 cup Schär Anellini gluten-free pasta

3 large eggs, organic

2 T Locatelli (Pecorino Romano) grated cheese

Directions

Chop all ingredients for soup base first. Then in a large stock pot, sauté onion and garlic in 1-2 T of olive oil until fragrant on medium heat.

Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté for a few minutes while stirring every so often.

Next add chopped chicken and sauté until each piece is slightly browned on all sides.

Now add the 3 boxes of chicken broth and the additional 2 cups of broth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined and cook for at least ½ hour.

In the meantime, mix the bite-sized meatballs by combining the ground chuck, gluten-free breadcrumbs, grated cheese, and egg until well combined. Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a plate.

Turn up the heat a notch to a rolling boil, and place the meatballs into the pot. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes. The meatballs will become nice and brown.

Lower the heat now to low, cover, and let the soup cook for at least one hour to allow the flavors to infuse.

Now it’s time to add the pasta!

Increase the heat to medium and place pasta into the pot. The pasta will only take a few minutes to cook, so keep an eye on the soup and when you are satisfied with it, turn it down to low. Cover and add the washed baby spinach and let it wilt. Keep soup on low heat.

Right before serving
Beat 3 eggs with a fork and add 2 T grated cheese into it. Beat until combined. Add this mixture into the soup on low heat now and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes.

Ladle soup into large bowls and serve with gluten-free bread of your choice.

Have additional grated Locatelli cheese on hand for your family and guests to add to their delicious bowl of soup!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk   whisks

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Note that the original endive was replaced with fresh baby spinach. Spinach provides more vitamin A and protein, so it seemed a logical choice!

The pastina (tiny pieces of pasta) was replaced with gluten-free Anellini pasta by Schär….perfect for our soup!

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We hope you try making this great soup and realize that it really isn’t that hard!

It’s so worth the effort!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

Marinara Sauce the Italian Way!

Monica says:

Oh we just love Italian food!

Since my husband, Lewie, and I are both ½ Italian, it just seems that we are wired to eat the Mediterranean way.

Our girls are ¼ Croatian, ¼ Polish, and ½ Italian, or CroPoTalian as we nicknamed them! They grew up with Daddy’s famous meatballs, and homemade noodles by the score!

You get it now….we LOVE Italian food!

Being diagnosed with celiac disease made eating Italian a big problem. Twelve years ago we didn’t even know how to make gluten-free meatballs, noodles, etc.

But guess what? We learned little by little and now, with the market being flooded daily with a new gluten-free product, it’s hard to keep up!

When Daria and I were in Florida last April at the Gluten Free Living conference, we met a sales representative for Conte’s Pasta. We struck up a lively conversation about missing really good pasta and he had us taste the ravioli he was making on site….it was delicious! And it turned out that he was from good old Pennsylvania and lived only a few miles from me! Talk about crazy, huh?

Anyway, I was on a mission when I got home to find these ravioli and luckily I did at Wegman’s .

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As soon as I purchased a bag or two (one for Daria), I rushed home and made my favorite marinara sauce from my favorite Italian cookbook, Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better! by Dom DeLuise.

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Well, I have been keeping these ravioli in my freezer and decided to make them for dinner last night. They are delightful…you must try them!

And here is the recipe for the marinara sauce from my beloved cookbook….compliments of the late and great Dom DeLuise. By the way, I highly recommend your purchasing the cookbook. You not only get great recipes, but stories that make the recipes come alive! It is available on amazon.com.

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Mamma’s Marinara Sauce

4 T olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 28 oz. cans ready-cut peeled tomatoes  OR  5 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled & sliced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

4 T sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)

10 fresh basil leaves

Pepper

Grated cheese

In a deep 10-inch frying pan, heat the olive oil and gently sauté garlic on medium heat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and sun-dried tomatoes, if you are using them.

Continue to heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When serving pasta, tear basil leaves and sprinkle on top of the pasta. Add pepper and grated cheese to taste.

Optional: You can add 1 medium onion, finely chopped, and sauté with the garlic.

©Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better! by Dom DeLuise

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Add a side salad, a little grated cheese, maybe some vino, and you have dinner!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk