Brains for dinner

I’m speaking of course of jello brains.  In honor of Halloween I made a jello brain as a side dish and the kids loved it!  I bought a jello brain mold about 6 weeks ago when there was a special offer to just pay shipping of $2.95.  Here is the recipe we used to make our yummy cerebral concoction.

Ingredients:

one brain mold

2 packages of jello orange flavored gelatin (6 oz each)

3/4 c cold water

1 3/4 c boiling water

non-stick cooking spray

Spray your mold with cooking spray.  Add boiling water to your gelatin mix in a large bowl and whisk until disolved.  Add your cold water and stir to combine.  Pour jello into mold and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until firm.  When ready to serve submerge mold in warm water for a couple of minutes and then invert onto a serving plate. 

The texture of this jello is thicker than you may be used to, but it is quite a creepy treat.

Happy Halloween!

Food for Life English Muffins

I have always loved english muffins.  The way the butter seeps into the little crevices and softens the inner muffin while the outer muffin retains its crispy crunch  has always been a special breakfast treat.  I’ve tried one other gluten-free english muffin before and was not pleased with the texture, but thought I would give it a go again.  I bought the Food for Life variety today at Publix.  I had contacted Food for Life directly a while back and they sent me a package of manufactuers coupons to use on any of their products so after coupon these muffins were only $2.50 which is a great bargain for gluten-free bread items.

Will these muffins meet up to my standards?  After defrosting one in the microwave for about 30 seconds I separated it and put it in my toaster.  The muffin didn’t get very brown in there, but maybe I should have tried to toast it longer.  I smothered it in butter and strawberry jam and tried my first bite.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The muffin tasted very similiar to what I had remembered an english muffin should taste like.  One warning though….there are little sprouts sprinkled throughout the muffin so the texture of those is different.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!  I found a decent english muffin!

Bat treats

I was searching for some Halloween treats to make and came across these cute bat Rice Krispies treats and figured I could try to make them using the new gluten-free Rice Krispies.  Aren’t they adorable?

Ingredients

3T unsalted butter

4c mini marshmallows

6c gluten-free Rice Krispies cereal

canned frosting or decorating gel or candies

cooking spray

Melt butter over low heat in a large saucepan and once melted add marshmallows.  Remove from heat.  Add cereal and stir until well coated.  Use a sheet of wax paper to press mixture into a 13X9 pan coated with cooking spray.  Cool slightly and then use cookie cutters coated with cooking spray to cut into bat shapes.  Decorate your bats with frosting or gel or assorted candies.  Serve the same day.

I’ll let you know how mine turn out.

UPDATE:  Okay so I tried these today (10/29/11) and they didn’t work so well using plastic cookie cutters, but using my pumpkin shaped metal cookie cutter worked like a charm.  This was my result:

Training continues….

This past weekend was jam packed.  My daughter’s 5th birthday party was on Saturday and then afterwards we went home to carve some jack o’lanterns and make dinner.  I planned on doing some more running to train for my first 5K on Sunday. 

We woke up Sunday and got ready for church.  Afterwards we headed home for lunch and then the kids wanted to watch Goonies which I had taped for them.  After a busy Saturday and watching a movie on my comfy bed I dozed off for about an hour.  I needed to get dinner going after I woke up so I trotted off to the kitchen to get things going.  My hubby decided to take the kids to the playground.  Did I mention this is the same playground with a running track beside it? 

 I feverishly got my dinner in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.  I grabbed a water bottle and drove the 5 minutes to the track to squeeze in a quick run.  One lap around the track is 1/8 of a mile so my goal was to try to get in 8 laps and head back home to pull dinner out of the oven to cool.  I ran 5 of the 8 laps and walked 3 of them.  I had gotten in a mile….yippee!  I drove back home in time to hear the timer going off and pulled my casserole out of the oven.  I didn’t burn dinner…another yippee!

My training continues, but I’ve got to crank it up a notch if I’m going to survive this 5k!

I leave you with my jack o’lanterns…..BOO!!

After writing this my husband talked me into running again Tuesday evening.  Even though I was tired and bloated I did 10 laps around the track this time running for 6 of them.  My heart was thanking me afterwards!

 

Johnny’s Pizza Mediterranean Salad

If you haven’t guessed already, I love italian food.  Some of our friends recently took a trip to southern Italy and I was so intrigued be the culture and the food.  I really want to go there and visit…..who am I kidding?  I want to go there and EAT!  I’m trying to talk my husband into going in about 5 years to northern Italy…..places like Venice and Tuscany.  Until then I will just enjoy this salad from Johnny’s Pizza on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs which combines lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, greek olives, salami, pepperoni, capicolla, provolone cheese and ham.  I opted for the oil and vinegar dressing.  This large salad was huge and full of delicious mediterranean flavors.  To try one yourself visit Johnny’s Pizza today!

Delicioso!

I will leave you with a picture of Tuscany (sigh)!

Tuscany Photos
This photo of Tuscany is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Johnny's New York Style Pizza on Urbanspoon

 

Mexican Lasagna

Don’t you just love casseroles and one pot meals?  I love building flavors in a pot and then having everything come together to make one delish dish!  This is a new dish I tried which is a take on a Nigella Lawson recipe that I tweaked.  This will keep you warm on a chilly fall day.

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef

1 large clove of garlic

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion peeled and chopped

1 red bell pepper peeled and chopped

1  4 oz can of diced green chiles

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 8 oz can Rotel tomato and green chile sauce

2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 T sliced black olives

2 C shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can whole kernal corn drained

9 corn tortillas

Non-stick cooking spray

14 oz water

1T ketchup

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Sour cream

Spray a deep round casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and preheat an oven to 400F.  Add your oil to a deep pot on the stove over medium high heat and brown your ground beef adding salt and pepper to taste.  Remove beef from the pot and add your garlic, onion, green chiles and bell pepper, salt and pepper to the pot and cook for about 6-7 minutes stirring frequently.  Next add your can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, 14 oz of water and cilantro and your ketchup.  Season with salt and pepper and let mixture come to a simmer and then add back in your beef.  Mix your black beans and corn in a separate bowl.  Assemble the lasagna in your casserole dish starting with a couple of ladles of the ground beef sauce then add tortillas, then a layer of the corn and beans and then cheese.  Repeat this process ending with a layer of cheese on top.  Sprinkle the top with sliced olives and bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes.  Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving with sour cream.

What is your favorite fall casserole or one pot dish?

Foodgasmic Pot Roast

Have you ever experienced a foodgasim?  Many times I have tasted something so amazing that my mouth and tongue are in ecstasy…..this is a foodgasim.  This pot roast recipe will give you a foodgasim if you have never experienced one.  You’ll want to drink this gravy and the fall apart pot roast will leave you salivating for more.  I adapted this recipe from a Claire Robinson one.

Ingredients:

3-4 lb pot roast (I’ve used chuck and bottom round roasts and they both work fine)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2T olive oil

1 pkg of white mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms cleaned and sliced

1 large yellow onion

1/4 c red wine

4C beef broth

cornstarch and water

Preheat your oven to 325F.  Completely dry your meat with paper towels and season the roast with salt and pepper on all sides.  Heat your oil in an oven proof dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown the roast on all sides getting a good sear on the meat (3-4 minutes per side).  Transfer your roast to a plate and add in your mushrooms.  Add your wine and season again with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes.  Add your onions and cook for 2-3 minutes then add your broth.  Once this mixture comes to a bubble add your roast back to the pot with any juices that were released on the plate.  Cover and cook in the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours.  Remove the meat and then put your pot back on the stove over medium heat.  Ladle about 1 1/2 c of your mushroom mixture to a blender and puree and then transfer puree back to the pot on the stove.  Add a slurry of cornstarch and water to the bubbling mushroom gravy until it thickens.  Taste the gravy and adjust your seasoning as needed. 

Serve gravy over pot roast and creamy mashed potatoes…..your mouth will thank me!

 

Gluten-free cake

My daughter is turning 5 years old in a few days so this Saturday is her birthday party.  She wanted a cake with pink roses and strawberries.  She is very specific and knows what she likes!  Since I am a horrible cake decorator I opted to go with the Publix vanilla cake loaded with gluten

I didn’t want my Mom and I to be left out of the birthday sugar experience so I instructed my hubby to pick up one of the gluten-free Betty Crocker cake mixes so I can make some quick cupcakes.  I just simply don’t have time to make a homemade gluten-free cake this time with everything that is going on and it is OKAY in my mind sometimes to take a shortcut if needed.  I’ve tried these cake mixes before and they are good to use in a pinch.

I’m also having my hubby pick up some ready made frosting and then I’ll dust them with some fun candy sprinkles.

Sometimes life is busy……relax, and go with a box when you need to!

 

Chick-fil-A Southwest Salad

Always on the quest for a delicious salad and this one from Chick-fil-A does not disappoint.  Topped with spicy corn tortilla strips this salad is sure to satisfy.  UPDATE- Tell them to skip the corn/black bean relish as this contains wheat germ.  The salad is loaded with veggies and that delicious chargrilled chicken we love.  I like this one best with the Buttermilk Ranch dressing.

The best part is that you can also order the gluten-free waffle fries with your salad as a bonus.  What a treat!

Mmmmmm….waffle fries!

Italian Night Club

Once again Jimmy John’s has delivered a great tasting Unwich!  I tried teh Italian Night Club this time and was blown away by the flavorful sandwich wrapped in lettuce leaves.  The genoa salami, capicola and smoked ham were delicious.  Let’s face it, nobody does smoked cured meats like the italians.  This sandwich also came with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo (I opted to leave off the onions) and I added cucumber and sprouts.  The lettuce leaves and other veggies make it taste so crisp and fresh….this one really hit the spot!

Apparently Jimmy John’s will also deliver just one sandwich so you don’t even have to make the effort to pick it up.  They are open 7 days a week.  If you haven’t had a chance to try them out yet I highly recommend it!

Jimmy Johns