Monday, November 24, 2014

Gluten Free Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread

 Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread - Gluten Free
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I needed to whip up a batch of gluten free skillet cornbread for the stuffing.  Many years I make both corn bread stuffing and the white bread variety.  Last year most of my guests were mixing them together.  

So this year I decided to make my stuffing with a mix of both toasted gluten free white bread and corn bread loaded with everything my family loves in their stuffing.  Let’s just say, if it doesn't have sausage and apples they’ll be disappointed.

Now onto the skillet cornbread, nothing beats the crust you get from baking your corn bread in a cast iron skillet. And a crusty cornbread is exactly what you need for stuffing or it could easily end up a mushy mess. 

For the skillet, I used my Lodge 10-inch to get the job done.  I love Lodge.  Cast iron cookware in general is so economical.  It lasts generations versus the few good years you’re able to get from even the priciest non-stick cookware I've tried.    

And I really enjoy sharing my cast iron cooking and care tutorials with my daughter.  I always finish up with a promise that someday my whole collection will be hers.  And of course she responds with that obligatory eye roll that all young teens have mastered. 

It’s all good. 

One day she’ll appreciate the cast iron collection as much as I do. 

Old Fashioned Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread
Prep time:  10 min
Cook time: 30-35 min
Servings: 8-10

  • 2 cups gluten free Flour (I used Betty Crocker's All Purpose Blend)
  • 1 ½ cups fine ground corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs (at room temp)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil or melted butter or melted lard
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or melted lard (to grease the pan)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Set the oven to 400°F (or 205 °C) and place a 10 inch cast iron skillet into the center oven to preheat.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs and sugar together then add the milk, buttermilk and ½ cup of vegetable oil or melted lard together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until they’re well combined.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven, add the ¼ cup of melted lard or oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides.
  6. Pour in the batter, spread to the edges of the pan and smooth the top.  The grease should come up around the sides of the batter and onto the top where it should be spread around with a spatula to aid the top crust browning. 
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto a serving plate or slice directly in the pan and serve.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mockingjay Mud Pie

Mockingjay Mississippi Mud Pie

Folks there’s just three more days until the release of Mockingjay Part 1.  ... So, who’s excited?

My kids are bouncing off the walls.  This past weekend, my older sons brought over the first two Hunger Games films so we could have a watch party in preparation of the arrival of Mockingjay part 1 this Friday. 

And being the magnificent mom ,that I am (wishful thinking), I created a Mockingjay mud pie for the occasion.  It’s a marshmallow topped Mississippi mud pie with a chocolate graham cracker crust and dense brownie-like consistency.  It seems more cake than pie to me and is actually best served slightly warm and drowning in additional chocolate sauce and ice cream. 

It’s a little tedious to create so I’d advise watching the video tutorial for this one.

Mockingjay Mississippi Mud Pie
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 40-45 min
Servings: 8

Crust Ingredients:
  • 6 oz of crushed gluten free graham crackers (I used a 5.6 oz box of Schar Honeygrams)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp melted butter

Filling Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz pecans

Topping Ingredients:
  • marshmallows (cut into quarters lengthwise)
  • red and yellow colored sugar
  • 150 grams dark chocolate
  • 30 grams coconut oil

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175 °C).
  2. For the crust mix the crushed grahams, cocoa and sugar together then stir in the melted butter until you have a wet sand consistency. 
  3. Place a 9 inch tart pan or spring-form pan onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Line the pan with a round of parchment then press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan and chill for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  4. Stir together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside.
  5. Melt the chocolate and butter together and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and set aside.
  6. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until very well combined then stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until well combined.
  7. Gradually add the cocoa and flour mixture and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  8. Scatter the pecans over the chilled pie shell, then pour the chocolate mixture on top, smooth with a spatula and bake for 40-45 minutes or until just set.
  9. Remove from the oven, top with marshmallows, place the pie back in the oven under the broiler for less than a minute watching it constantly and moving if necessary until the marshmallows just start to toast.
  10. Top with fudge or caramel sauce and additional pecans or watch my video tutorial to make the Mockingjay symbol. 


  1. To finish the mud pie like I did to honor Mockingjay part 1, it’s best to watch the video tutorial above.
  2. This pie must be served at room temperature or slightly warm.  If refrigerated it becomes so dense it's almost impossible to even cut. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cups with Spiced Chocolate Ganache

Pumpkin Pie Cups with Spiced Chocolate Ganache

I'm sure you're all familiar with Bisquick's impossible pie series.  These mini pumpkin pie cups are accomplished using gluten free Bisquick to get the job done.  

Dessert recipes don't get much easier than this since impossible pies have no crust to deal with.  Instead, there's enough flour in the recipe to make them firm enough to cut or in my case pick up like a cupcake.

The spiced dark chocolate ganache give these little pies a more upscale feel than a simple slice of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream.  I think they'd make a great addition to the holiday dessert table although without the crust I did find them just a bit messy as a finger food.  I'd suggest serving them in their liners with a plate and a fork.   

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 22-24 min
Servings: 12

  • (1) 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 cup gluten free Bisquick (see note)

Ganache Ingredients
  • 4 oz of dark chocolate
  • 3 oz of heavy cream
  • dash of the pumpkin spice

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175 °C) and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper or silicone liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half and pumpkin pie spice until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add in gluten free Bisquick or self-rising flour and whisk until no well incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners and bake for 22 -24 minutes.
  5. Cool the cupcakes in pan. They will contract and sink as they cool.
  6. To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate, heavy cream and pumpkin pie spice then microwave in 30 second increments stirring after each session until you've got a smooth glossy ganache. 
  7. Let the ganache cool for a few minutes then spoon it over each of the cooled cupcakes. (see notes)
  8. Chill cupcakes before serving.

  1. The gluten free Bisquick can be substituted for gluten free self-rising flour or (2/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt).  If you are not following a gluten free diet, you can use regular all-purpose flour with the other ingredients previously listed.
  2. I only used about half the ganache so you can probably halve the recipe if you don’t want any leftover.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quinoa and Crimini Risotto

Quinoa and Crimini Risotto

This quinoa and Crimini Risotto is a perfect gluten free grain free alternative to the stuffing this Thanksgiving.  Not only have I replaced the rice typically used in risotto with the much more nutritious quinoa,  I’ve also used coconut water to make the broth.

Earlier this year I reviewed Cocozia coconut water.  If you missed it you can check out that post HERE. Recently, I was happy to learn that nature’s finest sports drink is now available in larger 16.9 oz cartons.

This was great news to me since I’ve been using coconut water in all sorts of applications beyond just drinks and smoothies.  Coconut water is much more nutritious than regular water so likewise I’ve made it a part of my strategy for fighting off colds and flus.       

Perhaps I’m deluding myself, but everyone knows that a well hydrated, well rested body has a higher ability of mounting a defense against the cold or flu bugs that are so prevalent this time of the year than a tired dehydrated body.  And I can’t think of a better way to stay hydrated than with a natural product like coconut water.

Beyond being naturally gluten free, rich in magnesium, potassium and other electrolytes, I’m also excited by the facts that Cocozia is certified organic, kosher, and free of GMO's or preservatives.  And while researching the product for my last review I learned that the Tetra packaging was free of BPA’s and the product was Fair Trade Licensed. 

I love when companies promote fair trade.

But beyond just drinking the water I’ve found it to be the perfect ingredient in quick homemade soups or risotto dishes.  Its clean, almost imperceptible coconut flavor adds a lovely flavor to savory dishes that you’d never imagine.  It’s also a great way for family members that might not enjoy drinking it straight from the carton to consume the benefits in their food instead. 

Find Cocozia for purchase at Amazon HERE.

Quinoa and Crimini Risotto
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Servings: 2 – 4

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I used coconut water mixed with 2 tsp Herb-ox Boulllion)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • parsley or basil for garnish
Video Tutorial: 

  1. In a stainless steel skillet, over a medium heat, add the butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan then add the onion, carrot and garlic with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are slightly translucent but not browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms and saute until they just start to brown.
  3. Push the mushrooms to the edges of the pan and add the quinoa and olive oil and toast it with the veggies for a minute or so before adding 2 cups of chicken broth.
  4. Add the bay leaf, and dried thyme.  Stir to combine then bring it up to a boil, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes (or according to the package instructions).
  5. Uncover, remove the bay leaf and serve immediately if you want a looser risotto like consistency or let it stand for five minutes or so and it will get more like a pilaf. 
  • This serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.  
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