Monday, October 30, 2017

Instant Pot Hard-Cooked Eggs

I'm not breaking any new ground with this one, but having it here will help me remember the adjustments I made for yield and elevation. 
  • 1/2 C water
  • 6 large eggs
1.  Pour water into the inner pot of Instant Pot.  Insert steam rack, handles up, into the pot.  Carefully set eggs, in a single layer, on the rack, and place the inner pot into the cooker.
2.  Close and lock lid of Instant Pot.  Turn the steam release handle to "sealing" position.  Press "Manual" and cook at High Pressure 9 minutes.
3.  While eggs cook, fill a large bowl with cold water.  When time is up, immediately open the cooker using Quick Pressure Release.  Transfer eggs to cold water to stop the cooking process.  Cool completely and store in refrigerator.

Robyn's notes: this is the only way I make hard-cooked eggs anymore, and I've been making tons of them since I started doing it this way.  It's quick, I don't have to stand watching for the water to boil, and they cook exactly the way I want them to.  I've also found that they've been peeling more easily than hard-boiled eggs, but that could be more a function of the eggs themselves than the cooking process.  I fill the bowl with water and place it in the fridge while the eggs are cooking, so I don't have to bother with ice, taking it out just before the time is up.  Remember that 9 minutes is the cooktime for my altitude, sea level will be lower (though not by much).  Experiment to find your perfect time. 

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I will make this repeatedly

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Allergy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes


Everybody deserves a chance to celebrate with cake, even if that cake has to be friendly to their allergies!  Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, corn-free, vegan, this should take care of all your eaters.
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds (flaxmeal)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp warm water
  • 1/2 C gluten free flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 rounded tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dairy-free sour cream
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line four sections of full-size muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together flax and warm water, set aside.  In another small bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and xanthan gum.  Set aside.
2.  In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Stir in water, cocoa, sugar, and sour cream.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flax-water mixture; whisk in dry ingredients until combined.
3.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting with Allergy-Free Peppermint Frosting.

Robyn's notes: my only (minor) complaint about this recipe is that it's not quite as nice to lick the pan as it is with standard cake batter.  It doesn't taste bad--oddly it tasted a bit banana to me--it's just not as rich as the other type.  I really quite enjoyed the finished product, especially once the cupcakes were frosted.  There were no texture issues, and it was light and airy.  You may get 5 cupcakes out of this, I did, but I was using my "heart-shaped" silicone liners, which can't hold as much batter.  The finished product made in them has never once come out heart-shaped, but I needed silicone liners and these were 80% off so I chose them instead of the regular shape.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!


**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Allergy-Free Peppermint Frosting


Easily changed to other flavours, this makes just the right amount for a few cupcakes!
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 C allergy-free powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp dairy-free milk (almond, rice, soy, etc.)
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1.  In a small bowl, beat shortening with whisk or fork until light.  Gently mix in powdered sugar until well combined.  Add milk, a bit at a time, and beat together until desired consistency.  Mix extract in completely.

Robyn's notes: change the extract to change the flavour, but be sure to check for hidden allergens in your extract choices: some may contain gluten or corn.  To make vanilla frosting without using extract, scrape the "caviar" from a vanilla bean and stir it into the milk before adding that to the bowl.  If you haven't ground the sugar very well when making your powdered sugar, there might be a slight grainy texture to this frosting, but if you've gotten a nice fine grind this will come out exactly like the standard homemade frostings.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Allergy-Free Baking Powder


I know, it's astonishing that baking powder is yet another place that corn hides.  But corn starch is there to stop the clumping, so many baked goods are a problem for those with corn allergies. 
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1.  Combine all ingredients, mix together thoroughly.  Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

Robyn's notes: This can be easily sized up, just maintain the ratio of the ingredients.  Give the container a good shake before using, just to be sure it's properly mixed.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Allergy-Free Powdered Sugar

Corn-free powdered sugar, used just like store-bought, no need to adjust your recipes to use it!
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1.  Combine sugar and starch in a blender or spice grinder.  Process for 1-2 minutes, until consistency of light powdered sugar.  Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag.

Robyn's notes: this is very easy and quick.  If using a spice grinder or coffee grinder, it'll have to be done in batches, but in the blender it can all be done at once.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I will make this repeatedly

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Barbecue Chicken Stromboli


Taking advantage of a few of our made-ahead items makes this go quickly!
  • 1 portion Pizza Dough, thawed if frozen
  • 1 portion Shredded Chicken Base, thawed
  • 3/4 C barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 C chopped red onion
  • 1/3 C chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped sweet pickles or banana peppers (optional)
  • 1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp water
1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.  Roll Pizza Dough into a 10"x12" rectangle.
2.  For filling, in a medium bowl combine Shredded Chicken Base, barbecue sauce, red onion, green pepper, and pickles if desired.  Spread filling on dough to within 1 inch of the edges.  Sprinkle with cheese.  In a small bowl combine egg and water; brush some of the egg mixture on edges of dough.  Roll up the rectangle; pinch dough to seal seams and ends.
3.  Place loaf, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet.  Brush with more egg mixture.  Cover loosely with cling film.  Let rise in refrigerator overnight.
4.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Remove cling film from loaf.  Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in the top of the loaf for steam to escape.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden.  Cool slightly.  Cut into slices to serve.

Robyn's notes: I ought to have put more effort into pressing/rolling the dough into the right size rectangle, this was really bulging to burst.  But it was still tasty, and because of the overnight rest it just went straight into the oven to be served for dinner.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on YouTube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cajun Chicken Pasta


Not only does this move quickly by using another batch of the chicken and the cheese sauce that we made earlier, but it's another recipe that can be made ahead and frozen, ready to thaw, cook, and serve! 
  • 3 oz dried bow tie pasta
  • 1 portion Cheese Sauce
  • 1 portion Shredded Chicken Base
  • 1/2 C frozen sweet pepper and onion stir-fry vegetables
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/3 C chopped roma tomato (one small)
  • 3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/3 C panko bread crumbs
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 C shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Rinse with cold water until cool; drain again.  In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, Cheese Sauce, Shredded Chicken Base, frozen stir-fry vegetables, milk, tomato, Cajun seasoning, 1 clove minced garlic, and thyme.  Transfer pasta mixture to a 1-quart rectangular baking dish.
2.  For crumb topping, in a food processor or blender combine panko, bacon, 1 clove garlic, and paprika.  Cover and process until fine crumbs form.  Sprinkle shredded cheese and crumb topping on casserole.
3.  Bake, covered, for 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes more, or until heated through and golden.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

To make dish ahead: Prepare through Step 1.  Cover dish with foil, place entire dish in resealable freezer bag.  Seal and freeze up to 2 months.  To serve, thaw in refrigerator overnight, Preheat oven, and follow steps 2 and 3.

Robyn's notes: I really quite enjoyed this, and would definitely have it again.  If desired, you can add hot sauce when combining the main ingredients, that would make it too much for my taste.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently