Saturday, June 29, 2013

Simple Oven BBQ Chicken

If you read my Meal Plan Monday posts, you may have noticed Oven BBQ Chicken making very frequent appearances.  It is so incredibly easy, and it really stretches a buck when it comes to boneless skinless chicken breasts.  The best part is, all you need is chicken and barbecue sauce!  One of the keys, though, is really good barbecue sauce, and I have consistently gotten good results with Sweet Baby Ray's sauce.'


True to its name, it's nice and sweet, and has a thick consistency and smoky, rich flavor that works really well for this dish.  Bonus that all Sweet Baby Ray's sauces are gluten free!  It does have modified food starch in it, but per the manufacturer that starch is derived from corn, so it's safe.  

There's no recipe needed for this - all you have to do is put your chicken in a baking dish and squeeze sauce on top to cover it.  

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Bake it at 425 until it's cooked through, which usually takes about 35-40 minutes for me.  Let it rest for a couple minutes, then grab a couple forks and shred.  The sauce from the chicken will soak into the shredded meat and flavor it all the way through.

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Pile it up on a gluten-free Udi's hamburger bun, top it with a little more BBQ sauce if desired, and serve it up!

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We had the sandwiches for dinner, and I used the leftover BBQ chicken as the protein in my lunchtime salads all week.  It was especially delicious with the sweet corn and red bell peppers I added!

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Now you can see why I make it all the time!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gluten-Free Cajun Spice Crispy Pork Cutlets

Fried food is not common for me anymore – I’m sure the same can be said for anyone who is gluten free.  Thanks to the issues with shared fryers in restaurants, I rarely even get to enjoy non-breaded fried foods like French fries.  So every now and again, I have to put it on my at-home menu to get a little fried food fix.  Thanks to Tall Papa Cajun Spice breadcrumbs, it’s quick and easy to get a really flavorful crispy cutlet!

When I bake breaded chicken or pork cutlets, I usually skip the whole breading station thing and just coat them in breadcrumbs.  But when I pan fry, I go all out with a 3-step station - dredge in brown rice flour, dip in beaten egg, then roll in breadcrumbs.  It's a bit messy, sure, but well worth the extra effort.  Using already seasoned breadcrumbs like those from Tall Papa speeds it up and also adds a lot of visual appeal, since they include both spices and dried herbs in the mix.

Gluten-Free Cajun Spice Crispy Pork Cutlets

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Serves 2



Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Set up your breading station - I use two small plates for the brown rice flour and breadcrumbs, and a cereal bowl for the egg.

Season the pork with salt & pepper on both sides, then run the cutlets through your breading station - first dredge them in brown rice flour, then dip them in the egg, then coat them in the breadcrumbs.  As you finish each one, add it to the hot oil.  Brown cutlets on both sides until pork is cooked through - approximately 4 minutes per side.  

Serve immediately with the lemon wedges on the side, if desired.  I like to serve mine up with a crisp green salad dressed with oil and vinegar, I think the crunch and acid are the perfect complement to the fried pork.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gluten-Free Friday: San-J Sweet N Tangy Sauce

06212013 - 1When it comes to gluten-free Asian, San-J is the best brand for sauces.  They not only offer soy sauce, but also a variety of sauces great for stir fries, marinades and dipping.  Out of all the sauces that they offer, the Sweet N Tangy is my favorite.

It's very similar to sweet n' sour sauce, but not that garish red color you see at Chinese food places in the mall, it's a much more normal shade.  Also, it's not nearly as sugary sweet.  It works great as a straight stir fry sauce, and I've also had excellent results basting pineapple kebabs with it before grilling.  

A few nights ago, I decided to jazz it up with a few extra ingredients to make a chicken dish with delicious results!

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Sweet N Tangy Baked Orange Chicken

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  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup San-J Sweet N Tangy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put chicken breasts in a baking dish and whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Baste chicken with the sauce.

Bake chicken for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees.  Baste periodically during baking with more sauce.

Add remaining sauce to a small saucepan and boil until reduced and slightly thickened.  After chicken has rested, slice the chicken and drizzle sauce over the slices.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal PlanOnly new recipe I am trying this week is a new sweet potato side dish.  Keep hoping the new recipe motivation will strike again, but I've been doing my meal plans last minute in the car on the way to the store the past few weeks so inspiration has been sadly lacking!


  • Sweet Sour Chicken Stirfry
  • White Rice



  • Sesame Orange Shrimp (keep trying to make this one because I have a bunch of oranges and it keeps getting put off in favor of something else!)
  • Green Beans
  • White Rice





Friday, June 14, 2013

Gluten-Free Friday: Pamela's Oatmeal Cookie Mix

A few months back, my favorite baking mix brand, Pamela's, released some new offerings - including a couple new cookie mixes.  The one that immediately caught my eye was the Oatmeal Cookie Mix, having been a huge fan of chewy oatmeal cookies all my life.  I've tried a couple of packaged gluten-free oatmeal cookie brands, but all of them were crunchy and just not the same.

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The mix has been sitting in my pantry quite some time, as I tend to have willpower issues when there are cookies in the house, but this past weekend I caved and decided it was time for a treat.  The mix is just a plain oatmeal cookie mix, so you can add whatever mix-ins you want - instead of going with the more traditional raisin, I decided to switch it up and go for butterscotch chips (Hershey's brand is gluten free).

They were super simple to put together - I am lucky enough to have a stand mixer courtesy of my mom, so whipping up the butter is an easy task.  Then you just add the cookie mix and an egg, give it another minute of mixing, and you're done!  I added in the butterscotch chips after the batter was fully mixed and gave it a quick whirl to combine them in.  After 15 minutes in the oven, I had perfectly chewy oatmeal cookies.

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I was floored by how good these were - they definitely don't taste gluten free!  Although considering that the recipe calls for a whole stick of butter, not too surprising that they are super tasty.  The butterscotch morsels were a great choice, and really complemented the oatmeal flavor.

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This mix is one I would save for special occasions, as they're a bit indulgent at 150 calories per cookie, but oh so worth it!  Thank you again, Pamela, for making such fantastic products.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pesto Mac & Cheese

Last week, Hubs walked in with a forest of basil - we haven't started a real garden down here in Florida yet, but we did buy a basil plant and a few pepper and tomato plants to put in containers on the patio.  In an effort to keep the basil from turning into the giant tree we had in North Carolina, we figure regular trims should do the trick.

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When I see a big pile of basil, my first thought is always pesto.  It's easy, fresh, and versatile - what's not to love?  I piled the basil leaves into the food processor and added a handful of pine nuts, some parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.  Then I ran the processor while drizzling in olive oil.

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Tip - pine nuts are oily, so they spoil very easily.  When I buy a bag, I immediately pop it in the freezer, and it lasts for years.  I keep all nuts in the freezer for this reason, since we don't go through them all that quickly and they can be pretty expensive.

So now that I had made all this pesto, of course I had to work it into our meal, so I fancied up our boxed Annie's Gluten-Free Rice Pasta Shells & White Cheddar with a couple generous spoonfuls of pesto.

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I have no idea why this has never occurred to me!  I've stirred pesto into plain pasta plenty of times, but never into cheesy pasta.  It made an already delicious product into something even more delicious, fresh and special.  This will definitely be on the menu again after our next basil trimming.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal PlanEasy week again this week, including a mid-week treat of dinner out with the girls!  


  • Leftovers



  • Dinner Out



  • Turkey Meat Sauce
  • Tinkyada Pasta
  • Garlic Toast


  • Grilled Flank Steak & Vidalia Onions
  • Green Beans
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pan-Seared Barramundi with Pineapple Strawberry Basil Salsa

I've never been much of a fish person.  When I was a kid, I wouldn't touch seafood with a ten-foot pole.  Then I gradually got into it, starting with crab and shrimp, and then meatier fishes like yellowfin tuna and salmon.  I continued to avoid white fishes though - probably going to sound weird, but I found them to be too wet in terms of texture (my pickiness has always stemmed from texture, not flavor).  However, when we spotted a bag of barramundi on a recent shopping trip, I did a quick Google and decided it was time to branch out.

Another thing I'm pretty clueless about is cooking fish - I've baked plenty of salmon fillets, but that's about the extent of my expertise, and it's not exactly hard.  The fillets were super thin, so we didn't want to attempt to throw it on the grill either.  So I gamely decided to try my hand at pan searing.

Turns out it was super easy!  I used a nonstick skillet with just a touch of olive oil, and cut the fish fillet into two portions for easier flipping.  It was done in about five minutes, and the result was amazing - the fish was meatier than I expected it to be, and it held up really well.  With the quick fruit salsa I threw together as a topping, it made for a delicious, colorful and healthy meal.

Pan-Seared Barramundi with Pineapple Strawberry Basil Salsa

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Serves 2


  • 2 portions barramundi
  • Seafood seasoning of choice (I used a zesty lemon blend)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 basil leaves


Dice the strawberries and pineapple and stir together in a bowl.  Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and add to the mix.  Zest the lemon on top, then squeeze on fresh juice to taste.  Drizzle with the honey and stir to combine.  Set aside

Dry the fish fillets and season on both sides.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the fish to the skillet and cook until it reaches 140, about 2-3 mins per side for a 1-inch thick fillet.

Top the fish with the strawberry pineapple basil salsa and serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich

We picked out two flavors of bread at The Bald Strawberry, sundried tomato and Italian garlic and herb.  The next morning, Hubs broke out the sundried tomato flavor to make us a couple of delicious breakfast sandwiches.

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These sandwiches were super simple - he made a quick cheesy egg-white omelet, nuked some bacon, and layered both between slices of the bread.  

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Breakfast sandwiches are a treat I haven't gotten to have in awhile - one of the best parts about this new bread is that the slices are normal-sized, rather than the usual smaller size we get with the commercial brands we buy.  They made nice and hefty sandwiches!

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I've also enjoyed the bread with my breakfast all week, and yesterday evening I toasted up a couple slices of the sundried tomato and seasoned up some good olive oil with roasted garlic & herb seasoning for dipping.  Bread and olive oil was always one of my favorite things about visiting Italian restaurants, so it was nice to enjoy that special treat at home!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Meal PlanLots of the old familiar again this week - some recipes, but all tried-and-true favorites instead of new stuff since I didn't have much of a chance to plan before our weekend grocery store run so I just bought what was on sale and worked around that and what we have on hand.







  • Grilled Top Round Steak & Vidalia Onions
  • Green Beans
  • Baked Potatoes


  • Steak Fajitas with leftover steak
  • Yellow Rice
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