Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

New Blog (and Gluten Free Dressing Recipe) November 14, 2014

I’ve slowly been starting up another Gluten Free Website, and I wanted to share it with you today.

the new Website will be more for national things, like chain restaurants, restaurants at various travel destinations, my recipes will go here, as will product reviews, etc. and this current Gluten Free Blog will be more about local (Minnesota and North Dakota) restaurants that aren’t chains (in more than two states).

my list of gluten free restaurants is one of my favorite features (it’s why I originally began this Blog, so I’d have a complete list that I could update as needed). so I will not only continue to update it on this Blog, but I’m also adding multiple tabs for this in my new Website. the advantage of the new Website is that I can get a layout that I prefer, where I can list restaurants easier by city. so if you’re wondering about restaurants in a particular city (in Minnesota or North Dakota, anyway), you won’t need to scan through the list like you do on the Blog.

anyway, I was going to wait until there was more on it, but I just posted a Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe, and I wanted to share that with you as well. so please check it out, and also the new restaurant list layout.

www.rebeccagf.com

(and yes, that picture is of my homemade gluten free spinach and cheese ravioli, for which I will post a recipe eventually on the new Website!)

 

Taste Test: Gluten Free Pizza Crusts June 16, 2014

there are so many gluten free pizza crusts available these days, that I know I’m no where near halfway through trying them. but since I have tried a lot of them, I thought I’d share what I’ve found, and help you go straight to the good ones 🙂

PREMADE CRUSTS

Udi’s pizza crust is my overall favorite. you can cook it on a pizza pan, on tinfoil, directly on the rack, it doesn’t matter. it’ll still turn out great! it’s a perfect level of thickness for me, and crisp without being too crisp. it holds any and all toppings wonderfully, and probably tastes the most normal out of all the crusts I’ve tried. when I make pizza using an Udi’s crust, goat mozzarella, Davanni’s pizza sauce, Hormel pepperoni, and fresh basil pieces cut up and sprinkled throughout, I’ve had multiple people tell me over time that it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had (and mostly from non-gluten free people!) so it’s got the stamp of approval from a lot of people! a supreme pizza with Italian sausage meat (available at Kowalski’s and SuperTargets and sometimes Cub’s freezer section), green pepper, and onion, is another favorite way that I make these. I usually do supremes only when I buy the crusts by the case (there’s a 10% discount to do so at most co-ops or Whole Foods). I make a pizza prep station and separate the two crusts that come in each pack with parchment paper, once prepared, then put them back in the package, label it, and throw them in the freezer. that way I can buy the fresh basil and other fun ingredients just once, and have a frozen pizza ready to go, whenever I want. my only complaint is that if these 9″ pizzas were 1-2 inches wider, it’d be a much better serving size for two people. it’s just a bit small for two, and leaves you wanting. but a whole pizza for one is a little too much. so it’s probably best to make it a personal pizza with a little bit of leftovers (if you can resist eating it all!) the crusts are two to a pack and are gluten, soy and dairy free.

Venice Bakery (available online) is the company whose flatbread supplies Biaggi’s (the variety pack is a great way to check out both the pizza crusts and flatbread). they have a few pizza crust options available as well, plain or seasoned, and 5″ or 12″. the pizza crusts are about the same “thinness” as the flatbread, and really, really good. this is my second-favorite crust (although a little too thin for some of my family). the only issue I have with them is that with the larger size, it can bake really limp in the middle. I’ve found that using a pizza pan with holes perforated into it really helps (make sure it’s a dedicated pan, otherwise gluten can get trapped in those little holes and contaminate you). the other thing that really helps is letting it sit for 3-5 minutes after removing from the oven, and it’ll be much firmer when you serve. once I tried brushing the bottom with olive oil~ that helped some, but not enough to make it worth the hassle. I’ve also tried cooking it directly on the rack, but this was a gooey nightmare, so I don’t recommend it. but with those two adjustments, I think it turns out quite well. another thing you could do is just order the small size, but it’s really small~ I’d probably make two of them for a one-person serving, unless it’s just a light meal or if you’ll have sides with it. I should also mentioned that these crusts are vegan, and therefore dairy and egg-free, and it’s also soy, corn, and, of course, gluten-free. my favorite way to eat these pizzas are with a mixture of different flavors of goat cheese~ about half mozzarella, with some cojack and/or cheddar thrown in, plus Davanni’s pizza sauce (my favorite), Hormel pepperoni, and a healthy sprinkling of Litehouse freeze-dried oregano (available at Target, just like fresh herbs but without having to spend a ton each time). this pizza combo tastes a lot like a regular restaurant pizza. and it’s large enough for two people to share, and be quite full afterwards.

Down in the Valley Bakehouse was my third choice (second favorite of some of my family). it’s a local brand, made by Valley Natural Foods. it looks similar to Udi’s crusts, both are 9 inches, come two to a pack, and are about the same thickness.  this one had a bit of a more homemade taste, as you could smell and taste a yeast flavor, for better or worse depending on your personal preferences.

Bittersweet Bakery is a local one that I finally tried. they do take & bake or just plain crusts, from their Eagan location. or you can find the crusts from a few places around town, such as Fresh & Natural. this crust is on the thicker side, has some seasoning in it, and all around tastes pretty good! plus, it’s nice to support local places, especially since we have so few dedicated gluten free bakeries. some pizza places around town use this crust, like Fresh Picked Pizza in Shoreview. they come in 8 or 12 inch sizes, and are gluten, dairy, and soy-free.

Schar’s pizza crust is probably a good option for people who like thicker crusts. I won’t say that it’s quite like a fresh deep-dish or anything, but maybe comparable to the Red Baron Singles Deep Dish (frozen pizza). I’ve never been a fan of deep dish or too thick of a crust, so this wasn’t my favorite, but my family said that it was decent, particularly for gluten free. I usually love Schar products (Dr Schar in Europe), so this anomaly was just due to a personal preference. I will say that with such a sturdy crust, it will easily hold any and all toppings. so if you want to pile your pizza high, this could also be a good option for you. it’s also a really nice size for a personal pizza, at 8″ (2 per box), it’s gluten, soy and egg free.

Kinnikinnick makes little rectangular pizza crusts. they looked small to me at first, but they’re actually a really good personal pizza size~ it’s like one really large slice of pizza. this crust is also on the thicker side, so it filled me up before I even finished. it’s actually just a bit thicker than I like, but many people prefer a thick crust. I think it would be much better with more toppings to balance it out, so I think I’ll make a supreme pizza on this crust next time (instead of just pepperoni). the bottom of the crust is a cornmeal dusting. I like the thought of the cornmeal more than I liked it in practice. the little pieces ore corn were falling everywhere, and they cut up my mouth a little. next time I’ll probably use that as the side I top, to avoid the mess. the crusts come 4 to a pack, and they are gluten, soy and dairy free.

Against the Grain: I liked the texture and the size of this crust (12″), and also the sturdiness to hold any toppings. however, with 3 cheeses in the crust (mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan), I must say that I got a little cheesed-out. I likened it to the cheese-stuffed pizza crusts at Pizza Hut, except none of the fun goo, and you can eat around it if you don’t want it. maybe next time, with less cheese of my own on top, it could taste great (and more economical), I don’t know. I also thought about the possibility of just making it into a flatbread, but I think it may be too thick for that. anyway, I was a bit overloaded, but if you really love lots of cheese, it could end up being the right pizza for you. this is gluten, soy, corn, and yeast-free.

Nature’s Hilights’ Brown Rice Pizza Crust is the ultimate allergy-friendly crust. the ingredients are literally brown rice flour and water. beyond being free of everything in the world except brown rice, I’ve found that it’s one of the few I’ve found that is yeast-free. but for the bad news, if you can eat other alternatives, you may opt for those first. the crust usually turns out quite gummy. unfortunately I didn’t have a perforated, dedicated pizza rack back then. that probably would’ve helped, and I also should’ve let it sit for a few minutes, now that I’ve since discovered that trick. and unless you have no other options with preventing cross-contamination, do not use tinfoil underneath. it seems to exacerbate the problem. if I made them again, another thing I’d try would be to quarter the pizza and cook in smaller pieces. because once you can get it crisp (like the edges), it’s actually surprisingly good. and for those who can’t find gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, and yeast-free pizza, it tastes amazing 🙂 I made these with just tomato sauce, some veggies, and pepperoni back when I was avoiding more allergens, and appreciated them very much! Whole Foods carries them, and they come two to a pack.

I hope this helps you make your pizza crust decisions easier to make! and don’t be afraid to do a little taste-testing of your own~ there are a lot of options these days!

 

Pillsbury Gluten Free! May 14, 2013

Filed under: Cooking & Baking,News — rebeccagf @ 12:37 pm
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Pillsbury has just launched a line of premade gluten-free items! this includes cookie dough, pie crust dough, and pizza dough! they should be in grocery stores by August, so keep your eyes open for them!

 

My Gluten Free Favorites 2013 May 8, 2013

Triumph Dining recently came out with their “best of ” gluten free awards, and since it’s been years since I wrote about my favorite things, I thought I’d do an update a la Triumph Dining.

***MAINSTREAM GROCERY PRODUCTS THAT HAPPEN TO BE GLUTEN FREE:

SAUCES, CONDIMENTS, & BROTHS:

Favorite Pizza Sauce: Davanni’s (Green Mill is my second choice)

Favorite Pasta Sauce: HyVee Traditional

Favorite Enchilada Sauce: HyVee

Favorite Ketchup: Simply Heinz/ Heinz (beware of Organic Heinz though~ it used to contain gluten, not sure about currently)

Favorite Barbecue Sauce: Sweet Baby Ray’s Original

Favorite Mayonnaise: Vegannaise Grapeseed Oil “Mayo” (surprisingly way better and lighter than normal mayo, can’t go back to the regular now! at Whole Foods, Co-ops, etc)

Favorite Soy Sauce: San-J GF Tamari Sauce

Favorite Soup Broth (Beef): Full Flavor Foods packets

Favorite Soup Broth (Chicken, Vegetable): Whole Foods 365 Brand

Favorite Gravy: Full Flavor Foods, second choice is Imagine

MEATS:

Favorite Bacon: Oscar Mayer Sliced Bacon  (Hormel Black Label is my second choice)

Favorite Pepperoni: Hormel

Favorite Hot Dogs: Hebrew National (Beef), second choice is Oscar Mayer (Beef)

Favorite Italian Sausage: Kowalski’s (normal refrigerated store meats)

Favorite Summer Sausage: Johnsonville (Beef)

Favorite Rotisserie Chicken: Kowalski’s, second choice is Whole Foods

Favorite Ham: Costco (very cost-efficient!)

Favorite Deli Meat: Hormel Natural Choice (also Boar’s Head, which is more difficult to find)

SIDES & SNACKS:

Favorite Frozen Potatoes: Ore Ida Crispy Crowns (Whole Foods’ 365 Brand tater tots is my second choice)

Favorite Frozen Snacks: Trader Joes Beef Mini Tacos

Favorite Snacks on the Go: Trader Joe’s nuts and/or dehydrated fruits, second favorite are Lara Bars

Favorite GFCF chocolate chips: Trader Joes (really inexpensive!)

***GLUTEN-FREE SPECIALTY GROCERY STORE PRODUCTS:

PASTA

Favorite Gluten Free Pasta (cheapest): Tradar Joes Brown Rice Ziti

Favorite Gluten Free Pasta (tastiest): Bionaturae brand (any style)

PIZZA

Favorite Pizza crust (all purpose): Udi’s pizza crust

Favorite Pizza crust (Italian-style): Venice Bakery (order online)

BREAD

Favorite Bread (all purpose): Whole Foods brand sandwich bread

Favorite Bread (most sandwiches, grilled cheese, anything requiring soft, fresh bread): Udi’s

Favorite Bread (thick or many toppings): Food For Life Millet Bread

Favorite Bread (splurge): French Meadow

Favorite Bread (dinner rolls): French Meadow (available at select restaurants only right now, like Donatellis and Victorias, not in grocery stores), otherwise Schar ciabatta rolls

Favorite Bread (Italian dipping bread): Venice Bakery’s flatbread (order online), second choice: Canyon Bakehouse’s Foccacia

MISC BREAD PRODUCTS

Favorite Pancakes: homemade with this easy recipe

Favorite Bread Crumbs: Kinnikinnick Panko-Style Bread Crumbs

Favorite Croutons: Gillian’s Garlic Croutons

Favorite Pretzels: Glutino

Favorite Graham Crackers: Kinnikinnick S’Moreables

Favorite Crackers: Yehuda Matzo-Style Squares, Toasted Onion Flavor (available only before Passover, so stock up!)

BAKED GOODS/ DESSERTS

Favorite Bakery (local): Bittersweet Bakery

Favorite Bakery (order online or on vacation): Babycakes

Favorite Donuts: Kinnikinnick, though I’ve been testing out many more lately!

Favorite Cookies (Baked): Liz Lovely Chocolate Chip Cookies (any of their GF cookies are amazing though!), second favorite is Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle Cookies

Favorite Sandwich Cookies: Kinnikinnick’s Kinnitoos (vanilla) and Josef’s Cinnamon O’s

Favorite Cookie Dough Mix (with no intention of baking): Cherrybrook Kitchen (egg-free)

Favorite Frozen Cookie Dough (with no intention of baking): French Meadow

Favorite GFCF “Ice Cream”: Good Karma Rice Divine brand (any flavor!)

Favorite Raw Food Treats: Pure Market Express (just moved out of MN, but still available online) – I highly recommend the “cinnamon rolls”

***RESTAURANTS (MINNEAPOLIS/ ST PAUL METRO)

Favorite all-around: Pizza Luce (eggs benedict, pizzas, spinach dip, caesar salads)

Favorite Brunch: Pizza Luce

Favorite Seafood: Oceanaire

Favorite Steakhouse: Wildfire

Favorite BBQ: Dickie’s BBQ

Favorite Burgers; Five Guys AND Red Robin (Red Robin has unlimited steak fries and fantastic GF buns, Five Guys has better meat and toppings, state-fair-like fries)

Favorite Soup (Chili): Crumb Deli

Favorite Soup (Variety): Jason’s Deli

Favorite GFCF Pizza: Z Pizza (Pizza Luce and Pizza Ranch’s taco pizza without cheese tie for second)

Favorite Pasta: Victorias (in Rochester)

Favorite Asian: PF Changs

Favorite Mexican: Rojo (La Casita second, Don Pablos third)

Favorite Salads: Biaggis, second favorite is French Meadow

Favorite Raw Food/ Vegan: Ecopolitan

Favorite Fast Casual: Chipotle

Favorite Mall of America Restaurant: Cadillac Ranch

Most Anticipated (what I think could be a favorite all-around if I finally got there to try it out): Mad Jacks

Favorite Food Destination: Disney World, followed by Las Vegas

***GLUTEN FREE BOOKS & RECIPES

Favorite Cookbook: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli & Peter Bronski

Favorite Baking Book: Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts

Favorite Cookbook Series: Gluten Free Gourmet by Bette Hagman (in particular, her GF Comfort Foods Cookbook)

Favorite Magazine: Living Without

Favorite Blog: Gluten Free on a Shoestring, second favorite is Tartelette (only about half are GF, and are marked as such)

Favorite Local Chef: Angela Litzinger (she does cooking classes locally and has a wonderful blog with recipes and ebooks, all of which are GFCF)

Favorite GF Grocery Guide: Cecelia’s Marketplace

 

Recipe: (Gluten Free) Meatloaf, Grilled May 6, 2013

Filed under: Cooking & Baking — rebeccagf @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , ,

now that it’s FINALLY starting to warm up this year, I can’t wait to make my favorite recipe for the grill: meatloaf! I adapted my recipe from Weber’s Way to Grill in a few ways, which make it cook through much better and just adapted to my preferences.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork

1/2-1 cup GF breadcrumbs

1/2-1 cup chopped onions

1 egg

1/2 tsp GF Worhestershire sauce

1/2 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup GF BBQ sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

DIRECTIONS

mix all of the ingredients together, except for the BBQ sauce and ketchup. divide into 4 mini-loaves, and place on pre-heated grill. the heat should be around 300 degrees optimally, or as low as you can get it if higher. after the bottom starts getting a little crispy, flip them over. mix the BBQ sauce and ketchup together. start with a quarter of this mixture in a bowl and grab something to baste the outside of the meatloaf with it. smear the sauce all over the sides and top of each mini-loaf. if you need more sauce, get it, just use a new utensil to add it to your bowl, so you don’t contaminate the rest of it with semi-raw meat juices. after the inside temp of the loaf hits 165 degrees or so (to your taste), take them off and slice them up. with these mini-loaves, there should be plenty of crispy edges, and by grilling you avoid the slimy fatty oil layer that forms when you bake it in the oven. I never liked meatloaf until I tried this grilling method, and now it’s one of my favorites! I hope you enjoy as well!

 

Recipe: (Gluten Free) Macaroni & Cheese May 3, 2013

Filed under: Cooking & Baking — rebeccagf @ 8:48 am

this is the easiest recipe and one of them most-requested dishes I make, no matter what the age.

INGREDIENTS:

16 oz package of (gluten free) pasta: I recommend Trader Joes GF Ziti for $2 a package

8 oz shredded cheese mixture (I mix 2 kinds of goat cheese: cojack and mild cheddar)

PREPARATION:

cook the pasta according to the package. strain with a plate over the edge of the pot (DON’T use a strainer, you need a tiny bit of watery liquid left with the noodles and a strainer is too efficient). then dump in the shredded cheese and mix while it’s still warm. and then it’s ready!

I used to make a whole fancy cheese sauce, and after a few failed attempts, just made it this way one day. it was so easy and tasted far better (and creamier somehow) than any of the fancier sauces did anyway! so keep it simple and enjoy!

 

recipe: risotto September 14, 2012

Filed under: Cooking & Baking — rebeccagf @ 9:02 am
Tags: ,

this is my favorite recipe for risotto, which I adapt each time I make it, for what I have on hand.

 

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil

1 yellow onion

1  1/4 cups arborio rice (Trader Joes brand is great, because it’s almost exaclty half a box)

1  1/4 cups dry white wine (again, I use Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw sauvignon blanc wine, which is only $3 a bottle)

3 1/3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (this time, Trader Joe’s is a little too thick for me, so I go with Whole Foods’ brand)

salt and pepper

basil (about 15-20 leaves)

 

OPTIONAL ADD-INS:

one large or 2 small chicken breasts

2 Tbl additional fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, etc: whatever you have on hand that sounds good!)

vegetables of your choice

 

RECIPE:

for chicken risotto: bake chicken breasts at 350 degrees while you start on the rest

in a frying pan, start cooking the onion in olive oil

when the onion becomes clear, add half of each herb that you’re using, and then add the arborio rice for a minute or so, so that each grain is coated with oil

then add the white wine slowly (add a portion of it 2-3 times, adding more when the previous amount has been mostly soaked up)

after the rice has soaked up the wine, add in the broth slowly (in another 3-4 portions)

when the chicken is done baking, cut into cubes and add to the risotto. if you want to add any vegetables, I’d prepare them separately and then add at the end as well.

add the salt and pepper, and then top with the remaining herbs

I like to let it sit for 15-30 minutes before eating, because it gets better as the flavors meld, but you can eat immediately if you wish. and don’t forget to drink the extra wine!