Light Chicken Alfredo

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Our family is split down the middle on the question of red or white sauce with pasta.  I’m in the white sauce camp, and my difficult daughter agrees; she doesn’t like the texture of tomatoes.

I’m not a huge fan of carbonara, because of the quantity of eggs involved AND I tend to spoil the recipe by wandering away mid recipe to make a phone call so that my spaghetti carbonara invariably turns to scrambled egg spaghetti.


This light Chicken Alfredo recipe leans on just two eggs, still includes heavy cream, but lightens the sauce with a generous quantity of chicken stock.

I threw in crispy turkey bacon and caramelized onions for added oomph: I only wish I’d used more garlic…

It was still very good indeed.

I am indebted to my stock online resource for this Chicken Alfredo recipe.

To make a gluten free friendly version of this recipe, simply use gluten free pasta and double double check that there is no wheat filler or yeast in the chicken stock that you use.

You Say Tomato, I Say Dinner!


I was the delighted recipient of a bushel of garden grown tomatoes last week.  I immediately ate two of the luscious orbs for lunch with some tuna salad, and then set to using the rest to their greatest advantage.


Raw tomatoes don’t require much, and I was determined to showcase them in a way that did them justice.  A simple sauce of chopped tomatoes spoke to me, and best of all it was completely fuss-free and super quick.  An added bonus:  this can do double duty as bruschetta or to top grilled fish/meats.  Here’s what I did:


The sauce, pre pasta

6 plum tomatoes (or 3 large heirlooms) coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)

10 basil leaves, coarsely chopped

1 lb pasta

Grated cheese for serving

In a large, shallow bowl, add tomatoes with their juice, along with oil, garlic, salt, pepper and basil.   Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions; drain thoroughly and toss with sauce.  Serve with grated cheese and enjoy.



Home Baked Cuban Bread (Gluten-free!)


This recipe was very tasty and had a great texture.  Thumbs up from the whole family!

This recipe was very tasty and had a great texture. Thumbs up from the whole family!

My daughter had a meal at Alma de Cuba in Center City Philadelphia and came home raving about the bread there – it’s gluten-free and she didn’t wind up feeling like a second-class citizen.

I jumped online to find the recipe; I struggled.  Most of the recipes use real wheat flour.  No good. I saw some recipes for gluten-free foccacia, but I wanted to make CUBAN bread, because it sounds cooool.

After much surfing, I found this recipe embedded in a Cuban Pork sandwich recipe.  I’ve not tried the full recipe, but I have ‘borrowed’ ie nicked wholesale the recipe from this blogger.

Credit where it’s due, to try this recipe, visit the following blog

The recipe uses a Bob’s Red Mill gluten free bread mix and is so easy.  (There are a scant five ingredients!).  Idiot proof, for sure.

If the bread is this good, I can’t wait to try the full recipe!

Spicy Slaw, Versatile and Delicious


Ever on the hunt for a crowd pleasing side, I came up with this treasure, which adds a zingy crunch to just about anything.  I’ve served it with tacos as flavorful enhancement to the meat filling; with Indian food in place of a more traditional kichumber salad; with barbecue, as a side dish with a traditional steak dinner, as an accompaniment to Chinese stir fry, and even on deli sandwiches instead of mayo and mustard.

This spicy slaw kicks pretty much everything up a notch.   It’s absolutely divine with green cabbage, but the red cabbage adds a beautiful color accent to your table.  Here’s how I make it:


1 head cabbage, chopped finely or run through food processor

1 onion, chopped finely

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream

juice of 2 limes

Sriracha, salt, and black pepper to taste–don’t be shy, this should have some kick!

splash of pickle juice

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover, chill, and let sit for several hours to allow flavors to blend.  This keeps for up to a week in the fridge.


Gluten Free Stonewall Donuts

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Very excited to find a mix for gluten-free donuts from Stonewall Kitchen – that purveyor of delicious condiments, dips and spices.  I’d not tried any of their baked goods mixes before but I grabbed this one when I saw it in the food section of Marshalls (you just never know where interesting gluten-free produce will show up!)

“It’s bad”, said my sweet toothed Celiac daughter when I served her the tenderly made steaming fresh donut.  Well they looked good.  But unfortunately she was right..they taste like the lint you pick out of your tumble dryer – I’ve not tried it myself, but that gives you a good idea of the texture of the donuts.

What a disappointment.  This one is a no-no.

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Looks just aint enough, as every mother knows!

On the upside, these Nairns oatmeal cookies are the bees-knees.  They come in snack packs and unlike many other cardboard like gluten free cookies these ones are actually indistinguishable from non gluten-free food.  And the cookies are GUARANTEED GLUTEN-FREE; they are grown on a farm in Wisconsin by a farming family who are all Celiacs and take this stuff very seriously.


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Gooooooo Wisconsin Farmers.



Summer Salad Starring Seasonal Fruit


This time of year we naturally gravitate towards lighter fare–and the summer’s bounty of seasonal fruit makes that all the more tempting.  My latest obsession is a green salad generously interspersed with a chopped summer fruit and some crumbled cheese, and drizzled lightly with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  So far, I have tried the following combos with great effect:

Arugula, strawberries, almonds, crumbled goat cheese.

Baby kale, peaches, cashews, ricotta salata.

Spring mix, blueberries, pecans, asiago.



The combination of flavors is terrific; the crunchy salt of the nuts plays beautifully with the sweetness of the fruit, and the cheese adds depth which brings the dish from a basic, healthy side to something quite special.  And it looks beautiful on the table because of the array of colors.

Please share any unique salad combos you may have discovered recently–we’re always on the hunt for interesting uses of fresh, seasonal produce!


Korean Chicken Sliders


With less than 24 hours notice, my son informed me he was hosting friends to watch the USA play Belgium in the World Cup – and could I put on some food for them.  Always ready to feed said son and friends (it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble), I chose to test out a ridiculously simple chicken sliders recipe.

I found the recipe in a gluten-free mag and unlike most gluten free recipes, the ingredient list was short and sweet:


1lb chicken breasts off the bone and skinned

1 jar of gluten free Asian bbq or Korean style bbq sauce

Small bunch of scallions

Rolls to serve

It’s hard to believe it’s that easy!



1. Place chicken and sauce in slow cooker

2. Cook on high for two hours and low for approx four hours.   (Test the chicken breast; you know when it’s done when it falls apart easily)

3. Lightly toast bread rolls and then fill with the cooked chicken meat and sprinkle finely diced scallions on top of the chicken.


Pep it up!

Having tried this once now, I plan to chop and change the recipe and pep it up a bit…

* Add extra heaped teaspoon of pureed garlic to make sauce flavor more intense

* Add 1 cup of ginger beer to increase that Asian dynamic!

* Make a side salad of fresh bean sprouts, chopped coriander, sliced tinned water chestnuts finely sliced and a couple of finely chopped radishes; add 1 tbsp of mayonnaise and make an Asian-style slaw to serve as a side.

* Use sesame topped bread rolls to add to the crunch

My photos tell the story. By adding some interesting sides and garnishes, what was initially a quick fix supper becomes a proper robust dinner.  Serves 4.

USA lost by the way.  The goalie was my “man of the match”, if you’re interested.



Butter Tomato Sauce: Grazie, Marcella Hazan

In this season of bountiful tomatoes, I’m always on the hunt for a good use of them.  Thanks to the esteemed Marcella Hazan’s justifiably famed Butter Tomato Marinara, I recently discovered a new one.  Here’s the recipe.

I did use fresh tomatoes, which means I peeled them.  Not my favorite use of time, but the first time I try a new recipe I try to follow it accurately.  Since the rest of the sauce was so blissfully simple and undemanding, I actually might repeat this method.  But, it is also recommended to use high quality canned (read:  already peeled) tomatoes, and particularly if I were feeding a crowd, I would go that route.


Per the recipe, I peeled and coarsely chopped the tomatoes, and placed them in a pot with butter, salt,  and an onion cut in half.




I simmered it, uncovered, on med-low for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing the large tomato pieces with the spoon.



When the sauce was a uniform texture, it was done.  I served it with fresh spinach gnocchi, topped with parmesan cheese and snipped basil leaves pulled from the garden that afternoon.

Gracie, Marcella.


Bon Appetit Boiled Shrimp with Mustard-Lime Dressing


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I’ve never boiled shrimp before.

Fried shrimp, grilled shrimp, jambalaya-d shrimp, you name it …but   I’ve never boiled up shrimp.  I always imagined they’d be soggy and wet.

In need of a quick fix July 4th appetizer, I tried this boiled shrimp recipe in July’s issue of Bon Appetit and I was blown away.

This one is definitely a keeper..

My shrimp taking swimming lessons...

My shrimp taking swimming lessons…

As I was out of Old Bay, I turned to a stalwart seasoning in my pantry – Beck’s Devils Dust.  The result was phenomenal.  Needless to say I am a convert to boiled shrimp – when they are cooked for no more than 3-4 minutes and are bathed in a mix of Old Bay and lemon juice.

Try it: Bon Appetit Shrimp






Honeyed Hazelnuts, a Great Addition

hazelnutsHoneyed Hazelnuts add a sweet crunch to just about anything.

I was throwing together dinner one hurried evening last week and the salad began to look rather forlorn.  That is pretty inexcusable these days when produce is at its summer best.  But, the crisper drawer was pretty bare save some decent salad greens, so I put my thinking cap on.


I foraged and found some good looking hazelnuts in my pantry, but again, they needed something.   Inspiration struck, and i dumped them into a skillet with some honey, a pinch of salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper, and let them cook for about 5 minutes to coat thoroughly.    Then I dumped them onto a plate, and to accelerate the hardening process, put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes. The result was a slightly sticky and totally delicious crunch.


The finished product did clump together a fair bit and I had to pry them off the plate, but no one cared.  The salad, which was also gussied up with some crumbled goat cheese and chopped prunes was consumed down to the last leaf, thanks mostly to the hazlenuts.


These would be delightful on a cheese plate, sprinkled over ice cream, or decoratively placed atop a cake.