Gluten-Free Sausage Balls

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Heather says

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of our systems right now. It’s Saturday Night Live, so if you’re easily offended don’t click. The rest of us will embrace our inner twelve-year-olds.

Better now? Yeah, me neither, but hey I know two things:

The sausage balls are highly entertaining, I’ve been giggling all day.

The sausage balls are also dang good, getting three out of four kid’s approval. The fourth one is like that fifth dentist who never recommends anything, so don’t read too much into her opinion.

I based this recipe on one I found over at Plainchicken.com. She’s got a great site with a lot of realistic recipes that I’m looking forward to diving into.

When would one serve sausage balls? Anytime a savory, not exactly highbrow appetizer or hors d’oeuvres is wanted. For breakfast instead of  biscuits would work, too. Today they were lunch.

Here is my usual caveat: If you are cooking for someone with celiac disease you need to be certain the ingredients you choose are also gluten-free. Bulk sausage varies, depending on the brand as does shredded cheese. I am lucky, I cook for someone with a wheat allergy, not celiac (he may disagree with how lucky that is, food allergies aren’t fun). Trace amounts don’t seem to be an issue here, we watch for “hidden” sources but don’t have to stress cross-contamination. Do your homework.

 

 Gluten-Free Sausage Balls with Hash Browns and Cheddar

Gluten-Free Sausage Balls

Ingredients:

Directions:

I find these easier to assemble if done in this order, stir the sausage and cream cheese together before adding the flours. Follow with the cheese and hash browns.

If you have a stand mixer, use that, if not just be prepared for a little but of an upper arm workout.

Pre-Heat the oven to 400ºF.

Grab and grease a baking sheet.

Roll the dough into 1.5 inch balls and make slightly off-color jokes to anyone who appreciates that humor. (It took me 1.5 baking sheets and 5.75 jokes)

Bake 25-30 minutes. (I like mine a little darker?) You may opt to check a little sooner.

Enjoy.

Gluten-Free Chicken Gumbo

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Heather says:

I am ridiculously happy. I was recently doing my weekly shopping and found Pillsbury Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix near the regular flour at Publix. It isn’t the fanciest of grocery stores, but it’s generally a step above of say Food Lion. Long story short, this gluten-free flour mix already contains xanthan gum which mimics the elastic nature of wheat gluten. Happy day, I can now make a gluten-free roux that doesn’t break down. The gumbo was still thick after re-heating to take pack for the kids’ lunch.

Easily Make Gluten-FrAee Chicken Gumbo

And even better than staying thick? It’s a one-to-one substitution. Please note, you may notice that the roux doesn’t get as dark as a traditional roux. I gave up on a dark roux after 15 minutes. I was starving and really didn’t want to crank up the heat only to have to start over if the roux began to break down, so it was a blonde roux gumbo, but it was gluten-free which made everyone happy.

Shortcut – substitute frozen trinity and onion / pepper seasoning mix instead of chopping everything, for a much faster prep. (Yes, working full time and commuting the chauffeur the kids does cause me to take some short cuts some nights. Please don’t ask how often we have breakfast for dinner, now be quiet and eat your scrambled eggs)

: Chicken Gumbo

  • 3 – 5 lbs bone-in, chicken (chicken thighs work perfectly)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, with leaves, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb andouille sausage
  • 2 Tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning -please check that the brand you use is gluten-free
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 lb frozen okra pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix that contains xantham gum
  • 1/3 cup bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • OPTIONAL 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • file seasoning (when serving)
  • Hot Sauce (Tabasco or my favorite Louisiana Hot Sauce)

  • In a large pot (6 quart minimum) add the water, chicken, sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. Bring the water to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer and cook over low – medium low heat for 2 hours.
  • Remove the chicken, cool enough to handle, and debone, discarding the skin and bones. Return the chicken to the gumbo along with the okra and tomatoes.
  • In a heavy skillet heat the bacon fat or vegetable oil until hot, reduce the heat to low and sprinkle in the flour and stir carefully to begin making roux. Cook the roux until the color is somewhere between peanut butter and milk chocolate, depending on your preference.
  • Whisk the roux into the gumbo and cook over low heat (at a simmer) for twenty minutes.
  • Taste and add additional seasoning, if necessary.
  • In each bowl, stir in a scoop of cooked rice, a pinch of file, and a dash of hot sauce.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Boneless chicken alteration

Use 2 -3lbs, weighed before cooking.

Brown the chicken and dice. Skip to the roux making portion of the recipe and make the roux, then add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic directly to the roux, just as you would in shrimp étouffée. Then slowly stir in the chicken stock you have substituted for water and then add the Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, chicken, okra and tomatoes. Stir well and simmer for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps, Regular and Gluten-Free

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Heather says

Did you think oven fried goodness was out of reach just because you have to go gluten-free?

Here’s a simple, magic substitution for you… swap crushed Rice Chex for Panko crumbs and you’re set. No other changes, no mixing a bazillion different flours or buying special bread to make your own crumbs. Take out your aggression on a handful of cereal and call it a day.

Tested. Tasted. Proven.

I really like oven-fried zucchini chips, but find them a bit too fiddly for most occasions. If you have older kids, make them bread the zucchini, it’s a great exercise in patience with a decent pay off. I see these often suggested for parties, but unless you want to keep the oven on until serving time, save them for a rainy afternoon with a craving for some savory, crispy deliciousness.

zucchini crisps

 

: Zucchini Parmesan Crisps (Gluten-Free)

: Crisp, cheesy, oven-fried zucchini chips

  • 2 medium – large zucchini sliced thinly (use the slicer on a grater)
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of milk or water
  • 1 cup grated parmesan -yes, the cheap stuff
  • 1 cup Rice Chex, crushed  -if you don’t have a wheat allergy / you can use Panko crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions:

  • Spread the sliced zucchini on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt
  • Turn the oven on to 450°F
  • Beat the eggs with either a splash of milk or water in a shallow bowl to create an egg wash.
  • In a second shallow bowl or dish, combine the crushed cereal, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, a pinch of salt if desired, and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. (If you want to kick up the heat a little, cayenne pepper is a nice addition)
  • Grease a baking sheet.
  • Roll or blot the zucchini in the paper towel to absorb the moisture it sweated due to the sprinkle of salt.
  • Dip the zucchini slices in the egg wash and then the breading.
  • Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes and flip the zucchini slices with a fork or tongs. Bake for another 8 – 10 minutes depending on how done / crispy you like your cheese. Watch them carefully toward the end.
  • Serve immediately.

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

How to Fry an Egg

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Heather says:

Today we’re covering fried eggs -as new projects to procrastinate develop- I’ll also address: scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, quiche, and my as yet unnamed hybrid of the three techniques that feeds my family on a busy evening when I have no interest in effort.

 

How to Fry an Egg Tutorial

 

So what is a fried egg? Well there are five ways to have them, in this tutorial:

The Great Fried Egg TutorialGot that?

If you do not have a nonstick pan before you even pull the eggs out of the fridge, you have a little prep work. Grab a bottle of vegetable oil, a paper towel, salt, and your pan. Wipe the pan with a thin coat of vegetable oil. Heat the pan over medium high heat until it is very hot, but not smoking. Turn off the burner and let it cool completely. Your pan is now conditioned and primed for use.

You must do this if you are using a stainless steel pan or the eggs will stick in the tiny scratches and pits on your pan’s surface. The vegetable oil seals these cracks and lets the eggs fry without making a horrific stuck on mess. If some bits of egg do stick to your pan, scrub with a little bit of salt and a paper towel between batches. If you use soap and water, you’ll have to recondition your pan before cooking more eggs.

Now we’re ready to fry some eggs.

Whether the eggs are basted, sunny side up, over light (easy), over medium, or over hard they all start the same:

Gather your conditioned or nonstick pan, your fat -butter, bacon grease, coconut oil, or vegetable oil,- and a spatula. Flipping eggs without a spatula will be covered in a future post. Just hang tight if that’s your goal.

The amount of fat you’ll use depends completely on the size of your pan. You want 1/8″ of fat / oil, less than that and the eggs may stick with more, they may be greasy.

Turn your burner to medium or your griddle to 325F. Allow the pan and fat to heat. To check and see if the pan is ready sprinkle a TINY -you read that right? TINY- amount of water. It should sizzle. If it pops, turn the heat DOWN.

Oil that is too hot causes brown, crispy edges.

Oil that is too cool lets the eggs spread too far which makes them harder to flip.

Reduce the heat to low, unless you’re using a griddle, in that case just leave it alone, but know you’ll have to flip sooner.

Now here’s where the methods diverge.

Baste with a lidFor basted eggs, sprinkle a few drops of water over the eggs and cover. Cook just until the whites are set. The steam will create a thin film of cooked white over the yolk.

For sunny side up eggs cook slowly until the whites are set, then use a spatula to remove from the pan. This is boring, but effective.

To fry eggs over light, medium, or hard they must be turned.

Egg Flip Slide the tip of your spatula all the way around the edge of the white, to ensure the egg is not sticking the pan. Then, slide the spatula halfway under the eggs, in one motion lift up and turn over toward the side of the egg that does not have the spatula under it. That edge (marked in my ever so spiffy illustration with a blue arrow) should never lose contact with the pan.

Remember! Flip gently or suffer the consequence of broken yolks. Remember you will probably break a few before you get the hang of the turn.

Ready to flipFor over light / easy eggs leave them alone until the edge of the white is set, there will still be a pool of unset white surrounding the yolk. Let the egg cook for only a few seconds to set the rest of the white and transfer it to a plate to serve.

Over medium eggs should cook until the white is mostly set, then turned and allowed to cook for 15 – 20 seconds. The yolk should be thick and partially, but not fully cooked. If you break it with a fork, it should still flow, but not be super runny.

Break YolksFor over hard eggs, break the yolk with a fork, then flip and allow to cook until the yolk is completely set.

Enjoy!

Related Post:

How to Hard Boil an Egg

Easy Grilled Foil Vegetable Packets

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Heather says:

Get ready to grill.  Today we’re using foil packets to to turn a pile of vegetables into a fantastic summer side dish. Actually if you look at the portions, the grilled vegetables were the main feature. I would like, at least while we’re rolling in produce, for you to consider treating vegetables as your main dish. Spend your time and energy planning your meals around the available, seasonal produce rather than treating slapping a can of green beans in the microwave as an after thought. Just give it a try, you may discover a new world of flavor or you’ll hate it, but you won’t have caused any harm.

Easy Grilled Foil Vegetable Packets

 

This tutorial is a guide rather than a strict recipe as the amounts are going to vary widely, but the technique remains the same.

Gather your vegetables and slice or mince as appropriate. These vegetable packets will contain: bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic and mushrooms. *Note* Do not be lazy and assume your chef knife can go one more day without sharpening, even good cooks get distracted with less than fun results. Sharpen your knives regularly.

Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil or homemade Italian dressing.  If you choose to omit the dressing and go with straight olive oil, don’t be scared to add a sprinkle of your favorite herbs, some rosemary, thyme,  basil etc. Choose your seasoning based on the other items being served. Try to carry the same flavors throughout. Since we’re serving these packets with grilled Italian sausage, I went with an extra sprinkling of Italian seasoning. If I’d had fresh basil on hand, that would have been in there, too. Let the flavors mingle for a little while. A pinch of salt can be added now or at the table, either way works. While vegetables have wonderful flavor, herbs and aromatics like garlic and onions can go a long way to making them even better. This was almost a summer version of one of our favorite recipes, sausage, peppers, and onions.

Grab a sheet of heavy duty foil, don’t get the wimpy stuff, you don’t need it tearing on the grill. Arrange a couple of healthy handfuls of vegetables in the center of the foil. Bring the long sides together and fold over in an accordion or pleat type fold. You want to keep the steam that will develop inside your packet. Fold the short side over a couple of times to close the packet tightly.

Do not juggle with your packets. They are not that sturdy. They should be sturdy enough to handle being turned over.

Heat your grill, these should be grilled 10 – 15 minutes per side on a hot grill. If you cut your vegetables very thinly or used butter, you may want to grill indirectly or pay close attention and grill for less time. Packets with tender vegetables like zucchini and squash will be done faster than packets with sturdier vegetables like carrots and celery.

Enjoy!