recipe two

Brunch is a lovely way to entertain, especially for Easter. Typically, brunch is less expensive to host than serving the same amount of people at a dinner party. And what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day?

A brunch menu can really include any type of food you want – breakfast, lunch, sweet, savory – but it is best to include a combination.

If the idea of hosting a party earlier in the day makes you nervous, don’t fret. We have come up with ways to take out the stress and leave in the fun.

The trick to reducing stress is to be prepared. Prepare the food in advance, decorate and arrange flowers the day before, and set up food stations where people can serve themselves.

Another tip for easy parties is to combine dishes that you make with ones that can be assembled.

Gluten Free & Grain-free Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Gluten-free nonstick cooking spray
3¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon gluten-free finely ground almond flour, divided
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup coconut sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup sliced almonds

Directions

Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, combine 3¼ cups almond flour, salt, and baking soda and pulse a few times to combine. Add the eggs, applesauce, honey, and vanilla and process until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the blueberries with 1 tablespoon almond flour, tossing to coat. Pour the batter into the bowl and fold gently to stir the blueberries into the batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut sugar, cinnamon, and sliced almonds. Sprinkle on top of the cake and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (It is a good idea to start checking the cake after 45 minutes. If it is getting too dark on top, place a piece of foil loosely over the top while it finishes baking.) Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before serving.

Servings:

Makes 8-10 gluten free & grain free blueberry coffee cake recipe servings

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Brunch is a lovely way to entertain, especially for Easter. Typically, brunch is less expensive to host than serving the same amount of people at a dinner party. And what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day?

A brunch menu can really include any type of food you want – breakfast, lunch, sweet, savory – but it is best to include a combination.

If the idea of hosting a party earlier in the day makes you nervous, don’t fret. We have come up with ways to take out the stress and leave in the fun.

The trick to reducing stress is to be prepared. Prepare the food in advance, decorate and arrange flowers the day before, and set up food stations where people can serve themselves.

Another tip for easy parties is to combine dishes that you make with ones that can be assembled.

Gluten Free Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
5 pounds red or gold potatoes (or a combination of both), quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic and onion powders.

Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl, add the oil and spice mixture, and toss to coat the potatoes well. Spread the potatoes in even layers on two baking sheets. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring twice while baking, or until the potatoes are fork tender and starting to brown.

Can be made a day ahead. To reheat, spread on two baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes at 375°F.

Servings:

Makes 8-10 gluten free rosemary roasted potatoes recipe servings

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Brunch is a lovely way to entertain, especially for Easter. Typically, brunch is less expensive to host than serving the same amount of people at a dinner party. And what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day?

A brunch menu can really include any type of food you want – breakfast, lunch, sweet, savory – but it is best to include a combination.

If the idea of hosting a party earlier in the day makes you nervous, don’t fret. We have come up with ways to take out the stress and leave in the fun.

The trick to reducing stress is to be prepared. Prepare the food in advance, decorate and arrange flowers the day before, and set up food stations where people can serve themselves.

Another tip for easy parties is to combine dishes that you make with ones that can be assembled.

Gluten Free Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Recipe

Ingredients

16-20 thick asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
8-10 bacon slices, cut in half

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Wrap half a slice of bacon around the stalk of each asparagus spear, leaving the buds at the top unwrapped. Place on the prepared baking sheet. (Can be prepared up to this point a day ahead. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until baking time.)

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the bacon is as crisp as you like it.

Servings:

Serves 8-10

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Brunch is a lovely way to entertain, especially for Easter. Typically, brunch is less expensive to host than serving the same amount of people at a dinner party. And what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day?

A brunch menu can really include any type of food you want – breakfast, lunch, sweet, savory – but it is best to include a combination.

If the idea of hosting a party earlier in the day makes you nervous, don’t fret. We have come up with ways to take out the stress and leave in the fun.

The trick to reducing stress is to be prepared. Prepare the food in advance, decorate and arrange flowers the day before, and set up food stations where people can serve themselves.

Another tip for easy parties is to combine dishes that you make with ones that can be assembled.

Gluten Free Eggs Benedict Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

Gluten-free nonstick cooking spray
6 gluten-free English muffins, split and toasted
8 ounces Canadian bacon
10 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder, divided
1½ teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2¼ cups milk or dairy-free milk of choice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 dashes hot sauce
½ cup butter or dairy-free butter substitute, melted

Directions

The day before you plan to serve this, spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cut the toasted English muffins into 1-inch chunks. Cut the Canadian bacon into 1-inch pieces. Layer half the Canadian bacon in the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with the English muffin chunks, then with the remaining Canadian bacon pieces.

Separate the yolks from the whites of 4 of the eggs. Put the yolks in an airtight container and refrigerate until it is time to make the hollandaise sauce. Put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl with the remaining 6 whole eggs, ½ teaspoon dried mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, paprika, and milk. Whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the muffin chunks and Canadian bacon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (8-12 hours).

About an hour before planning to serve the dish, preheat the oven to 375°F and remove the casserole from the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the casserole is set. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

While the casserole is cooling, make the hollandaise sauce. Put the reserved egg yolks in a blender with the remaining ½ teaspoon dried mustard, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Blend for 5 seconds. Remove the small plastic top from the blender lid and, with the blender running, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Continue blending until all the butter has been incorporated. The sauce can be kept warm, if needed, by placing in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. (It takes so little time and effort to make the hollandaise, I usually just whip it up while the casserole is cooling.) Put the sauce in a small serving bowl and serve with the casserole.

Servings:

Makes 8-10 gluten free eggs benedict casserole recipe servings

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Brunch is a lovely way to entertain, especially for Easter. Typically, brunch is less expensive to host than serving the same amount of people at a dinner party. And what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day?

A brunch menu can really include any type of food you want – breakfast, lunch, sweet, savory – but it is best to include a combination.

If the idea of hosting a party earlier in the day makes you nervous, don’t fret. We have come up with ways to take out the stress and leave in the fun.

The trick to reducing stress is to be prepared. Prepare the food in advance, decorate and arrange flowers the day before, and set up food stations where people can serve themselves.

Another tip for easy parties is to combine dishes that you make with ones that can be assembled.

Gluten Free Deviled Green Eggs and Ham Recipe

Ingredients

3 thin slices prosciutto
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 ripe avocados
⅓ cup mayonnaise
2 limes, zest finely grated and juiced
¾ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 dashes hot sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the prosciutto on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until crispy. Let cool. Break into 24 shards. Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in a food storage bag at room temperature.

Remove the yolks from the eggs and place in a medium mixing bowl. Place the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add the flesh from the avocados, mayonnaise, lime zest and juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Mix well. Spoon or pipe the filling into the egg whites (feel free to over-stuff them, as you will have a lot of filling). Sprinkle the chives over the tops of the egg yolk mixture. Can be made the night before – cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving, stick one prosciutto shard into each egg.

Servings:

Makes 24 deviled green eggs and ham

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Spiral-cut ham is perfect for Easter – it’s so easy to prepare and serve. Ditch the glaze packet that comes with the ham and make your own sweet and spicy glaze. This dish looks pretty served with grilled pineapple slices alongside – an updated version of the pineapple-studded hams our mothers liked to serve.

Gluten Free Pineapple Sriracha Ham Recipe

Ingredients

1 (6- to 8-pound) bone-in half spiral ham
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1-4 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (depending on how spicy you want the glaze)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place the ham, cut side down, on the pan and cover with more foil, sealing tightly. Bake for 10 minutes per pound.

While the ham is baking, make the glaze. Combine the pineapple, brown sugar, honey, and Sriracha in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and is syrupy, about 20-30 minutes.

When the ham is done baking, remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Discard the foil and spoon the glaze all over the ham. Cook for another 30 minutes.

Transfer the ham to a serving platter and serve.

Servings:

Makes 8-10 gluten free pineapple sriracha ham servings

Written by Carol Kicinski

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I asked my friend Sandy for tips on making brisket for Passover. She told me her mom always made it the day before, sliced the brisket while cold for a prettier presentation, and then warmed everything up before dinner. Not only does the brisket slice easier, the flavor just gets better when made ahead.

Gluten Free Sandy’s Mom’s Brisket Recipe

Ingredients

1 (5-pound) flat brisket with about ¼-inch fat cap
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2-4 cups gluten-free beef stock, divided
2 pounds baby carrots
1½ pounds frozen pearl onions, thawed

Directions

One to two days before planning to serve:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Season the brisket generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In a roasting pan large enough to hold the brisket, pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the brisket, fat side down, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Take the pan off the heat and add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, sugar, and oregano, and stir to combine. Pour in enough beef stock to come ¾ up the side of the brisket.

Cover the pan with two sheets of parchment paper, then cover tightly with foil. (The foil will react adversely with the tomatoes if they touch.) Bake for 3½ hours. Remove the foil, let the brisket cool down, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until 2 hours before planning to serve.

Two hours before planning to serve:

Remove the brisket from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Skim off any fat that has congealed on top of the sauce. Remove the brisket and slice against the grain. Keeping the original shape of the brisket, place the slices back in the pan. Pour about 1 cup of beef stock over the brisket. Top with the carrots and pearl onions, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and cook for another 1-1½ hours or until the carrots are tender and everything is hot. Serve in the roasting pan or place on a platter with the sauce on the side.

Servings:

Makes 8 gluten free Sandy’s Mom’s brisket servings

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Crostini Corner

Brunch is a lovely way to entertain, especially for Easter. Typically, brunch is less expensive to host than serving the same amount of people at a dinner party. And what better way to enjoy a lovely spring day?

A brunch menu can really include any type of food you want – breakfast, lunch, sweet, savory – but it is best to include a combination.

If the idea of hosting a party earlier in the day makes you nervous, don’t fret. We have come up with ways to take out the stress and leave in the fun.

The trick to reducing stress is to be prepared. Prepare the food in advance, decorate and arrange flowers the day before, and set up food stations where people can serve themselves. Our brunch includes a Bellini bar (click here), crostini corner recipe follows), and self-serve yogurt station (click here).

Another tip for easy parties is to combine dishes that you make with ones that can be assembled.

This is a perfect example of making a couple things and assembling the rest. Make the olive tapenade and salsa cruda, toast the crostini, and then add some delicious tidbits from the deli, such as herbed cheese, soft goat cheese, prosciutto, salami, olives, pepperoncini – whatever you like!

Gluten Free Crostini Recipe

Ingredients

4 gluten-free baguettes, cut into ¾-inch slices
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the baguette slices on the prepared baking sheets, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool.

Can be made a day ahead. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or food storage bag.

Salsa Cruda

Ingredients

2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ medium white or yellow onion, diced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

To serve, remove the salsa cruda from the bowl with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.

Mixed Olive Tapenade

Makes about 1½ cups

Ingredients

1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup Spanish green pimento-stuffed olives
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 basil leaves, chopped
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Combine the olives, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and red pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse several times to chop the olives. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil.

Can be made up to a week ahead. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Servings:

Serves 8-10

Written by Carol Kicinski

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Sweet Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

I am not wealthy. I am not even on the upswing of wealthy. My husband and I work hard in our careers and make a good living, but with two kids active in everything under the sun, a zoo of well-loved pets, and the never-ending pile of bills, we’re just like the rest of the working middle-class: making ends meet the best we can.

Saving money is my happy place. I guess maybe it’s because people think I can’t do it. How can I possibly feed a family of four healthy food on a tight budget (plus there is always a random kid – or six – in the house)? While I admit, it takes a little extra work, it is by far not impossible.

Because I have so much to share with you on how to eat real food on a real-life budget, this will be broken into two parts. The first will contain a few tips and easy recipes for things you can use every day. These recipes savemoney by showing you how to maketraditionally store-bought items from scratch, which is also healthier! The second part in a future issue will show you how to create and make affordable real food meals, including meal plans, gardening tips, and cost breakdown!

Buy in bulk. When possible, me and my husband try to set aside a larger sum of money to buy meat in bulk every month or so. Typically, the more you buy, the cheaper the cost. Most of the best deals will be on “case prices” at your local warehouse club (yes, the $40 yearly membership fee pays for itself almost immediately). Here are some cost differences: Chicken breast averages nationally for $3.70/lb. If you buy at a case price (between 38 and 65 pounds), it will cost you $1.59/lb. Does that initial bill of $103.35 for chicken sting a bit? Sure, but having a freezer full of meat for more than $2/lb less is worth it. Ground beef nationally is $3.69/lb ($5.61 for extra lean), whereas the case price is $2.37/lb when you buy 75 to 85 pounds. We alternate which meats we buy so our freezer is always stocked with a good variety. If you can’t afford the case price, most warehouse stores also have regular-sized packages of meat marked way below the average grocery store price.

Meat isn’t the only item you can buy in bulk to save money. Consider these items in bulk: nuts, spices, honey, maple syrup, olive oil, orcoconut oil (Tropical Traditions online often has huge sales; for instance, I just purchased a two-pack of 2 quarts for $40 and got another two-pack free! That’s $0.31/oz!). Especially if you have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer (a great purchase for saving money long-term!), buying items in bulk and separating/storing them properly saves you hundreds of dollars each year.

Let go and go easy. Not everything has to be organic, pasture-raised, and sang to by magical unicorns as it grazed in the field. You are still a good mom or dad if you buy meat at the warehouse club instead of the farm. Is it amazing to shop local and support farmers when you can? Absolutely. But if your third kid needs braces or your first kid lost his trombone, getting whole, real food in their bodies at a price you can afford matters more in my opinion. Go easy on yourself. Don’t choose recipes that take up too much of your schedule and find the simplest ways to maximize your time and budget.

Make your own. You don’t have to be Julia Child to make your own condiments, salad dressings, or spice blends, plus this will save you a ton of money. Here are a few recipes for things you probably use quite often and don’t even realize the cost savings of making your own.

This recipe will stop you from buying store-bought dressing! This is one of my favorite go-to dressings and it can also be used as a marinade for almost all meats. I’ve used bulk store prices and sizes, bought at my local warehouse club.

Sweet Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

¼ cup balsamic vinegar                                     ($3.48/16 oz), 2 oz = $0.43
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil                               ($9.98/50 oz), 4 oz = $0.80
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup                            ($9.98/32 oz), 0.17 oz, = $0.05
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard                              ($1.88/12 oz), 0.5 oz = $0.08
1 teaspoon minced garlic                                    ($4.48/48 oz), 0.17oz = $0.02
Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste                         (nominal cost)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste             (nominal cost)

Directions

Mix/shake all together.

Servings

Total amount made = 1 cup (8 oz), enough for 4 large salads (2 oz each).
Total cost of recipe = $1.38
Total cost per serving = $0.35
Compare to store-bought all-natural balsamic vinaigrette = $3.99/12 oz; $0.67 per serving

Although the savings here won’t make or break the bank, when you can make this again and again or double/triple the recipe with the ingredients you’ve purchased, the savings continue. Plus, being able to make it on demand saves you time, energy, and the cost of all the other impulse purchases you may make when making multiple trips to the store! You can make this recipe 8 times (the vinegar will run out first). That is a total cost of $12.08 for 32 servings!

Written by AndreAnna McLean

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While not traditional in Ireland, this is the classic Irish-American feast for St. Patrick’s Day.

Gluten Free Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe

Ingredients

1 (4-pound) corned beef brisket (with seasoning packet)
1 (12-ounce) bottle gluten-free beer, optional
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1½ pounds carrots, peeled and quartered
8 medium red potatoes, scrubbed, eyes removed, and halved
1 head of cabbage, trimmed and cut into 6 or 8 wedges
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the corned beef and the seasoning it came with in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the beer (if using), the bay leaves, and peppercorns. Cover with water, place the lid on the pot, and bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add the onions, carrots, and potatoes, and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Add the cabbage to the pot and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.

Add the melted butter, parsley, and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the potatoes. Toss to coat and keep warm while the cabbage cooks.

Remove the brisket and vegetables from the pot, slice the corned beef against the grain, and serve with the potatoes and vegetables.

Servings:

Makes 6-8 corned beef & cabbage servings

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