Roasted Corn Salsa

Here is an easy and quick summertime recipe for you, roasted corn salsa. This salsa can go with a variety of meals, especially anything cook-out related. If you go the fresh corn route, recommended, you might have to stop at the store. If you go the canned corn route, you probably already have everything you need in your pantry and refrigerator.

When I did this the first time (pictured), I did not roast the corn long enough, but it still turned out wonderful. Since then, I get a little more browning on the corn, but always forget to take a picture. Can’t win them all, right!

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Roasted Corn Salsa (This can easily be doubled or more)

Ingredients:

8 ounces roasted corn (fresh shucked is best, but not a must)

1/2 tomato, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

Dash of cayenne

1 tbsp jalapeno, diced (more to taste)

1/4 cup cilantro, diced

1/2 tbsp lime juice

salt to taste

Directions:

If using a cast iron skillet, set skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the corn and roast for 4-6 minutes. Don’t move the corn for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to start to brown. If using non-stick, add just a little bit of EVOO to the pan when turning it on.

Once the corn is browned to your liking, remove from the heat, and add to a bowl with the remainder of the ingredients. Stir well to incorporate. Chill, then serve.

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Orange Chicken (w/ GF option)

I have gone through no less than a handful of Orange Chicken recipes, all with decent results. Even posted one on here that I thought was definitely worth making from the Pioneer Woman, who has never steered me wrong. But alas, she has to move to the side on this one, and I have now deleted that version and am replacing it with this one. It is hands down the best one I have made, and much better than what I can get from a take-out Chinese restaurant.

From the base recipe (linked below), I only made two minor changes. One, as the La Choy Orange Ginger sauce already has red pepper flakes in it, I omitted the extra addition of them to the sauce, but that is purely a personal preference as my family tends to lean towards the less spicy dishes. I have made it with the extra red pepper flakes, and it is still excellent. Second, instead of the gluten free white rice flour, I use GF all-purpose flour (Trader Joe’s brand works awesome!). I have also made this with regular all-purpose flour and it is just as good. I serve this over simple Jasmine rice.

Enjoy!

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Orange Chicken

Ingredients

One pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces

½ cup cornstarch

½ cup all-purpose flour (or GF all-purpose flour)

2 eggs

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Orange Sauce-

1½ Cups of La Choy Orange Ginger sauce

1½ teaspoons of garlic powder

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1½ teaspoons San-J Teriyaki Sauce

Optional- sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Instructions

Crack eggs in shallow dish or bowl and break yolks/lightly scramble. Mix together cornstarch and rice flour on a separate shallow dish.

Dip chicken pieces into egg let any excess drip off then dredge into the flour mixture and coat pieces of chicken. Heat oil for deep frying in wok or deep fryer to 375°F.

While oil is heating stir together orange sauce and garlic power in saucepan. Heat thoroughly then add sesame oil and stir together. Turn sauce to low.

Once oil is heated fry in batches about 3-4 minutes until a golden crisp and chicken is 165° internally.

Add chicken to orange sauce and stir together, coating the chicken in the sauce. Add chopped green onions and sesame seeds for garnish. Serve immediately.

The original recipe can be found at Rolling Out Dough here.

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Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

Have you ever been stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking, seldom branching out from what you know and like best? A few weeks before Easter I started planning our Easter dinner, and couldn’t get the old staples out of my head. Those staples are great for a number of reasons, but I wanted at least one new dish to be new.

Along comes a friend who recommends Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice. First, I did a double take sure that I heard wrong. But lo and behold, I had not. Not having the confidence of a seasoned cook yet, there was no way I was serving that for Easter without trying it first. With two weeks to spare, I had plenty of time. Halfway there, I convinced my wife we needed to try it, no matter how out in left field it sounded. We did, and I baked a couple of simple chicken breasts to go along with it. For me, I turned it into a sort of rice bowl with the chicken cut-up on top, see below.

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It was REALLY, REALLY good. And as odd as the combination sounded, it really came together so nicely, balancing itself out perfectly. So, it was made again for Easter and all our guests really enjoyed it, albeit everyone had to ask what it was when they peered into the bowl. Ha! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. One of our eaters is on a gluten free diet, which this dish is perfect for.

This is the Easter version. I was running around like a madman trying to bring everything together, that I am surprised I even got a picture of it at all. Sorry it’s not pretty!

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Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 ½ – 2 Jalapeno pepper, veins and seeds removed, and diced

½ small red onion, diced

3/4 teaspoon fennel or anise

2 TBSP EVOO

1 glove, garlic

1 cup Jasmine Rice

2 cups hot water (more if needed)

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Core granny smith apple, leaving skin on, and slice them;  Saute apples, pepper, onion all in evoo and add anise or fennel seed. Add jasmine rice and continue to saute on med low heat till rice is lightly toasted. Add hot water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat to low, tightly cover with seran wrap and lid and continue to cook on low for another 30-45 minutes. You may to add some water over rice at the end, depending on how tender and sticky you want the rice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Two things are amazing with this recipe. First, you will never have believed that you could make pork tenderloin cutlets as tender as these turn out. Second, you will swear there is no way they are gluten free. We have made these numerous times now, and they always turn out fantastic. I am not trying to figure out what other dishes I can make using this cooking technique. Next up, I believe I am going to do chicken cutlets. If you have a small family like mine, one pork tenderloin will provide for two iterations of this recipe. When I get it home from the store, I cut the tenderloin in two, then freeze half to make on another occasion.

If you do not have a Trader Joe’s close by and your grocery store doesn’t carry GF all-purpose flour, there are recipes online for how to make your own. I believe they are usually a mixture to include Rice Flour, tapioca flour, etc. On the GF breadcrumbs, I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed until fine in a food processor. I have used this alternative on these cutlets, chicken parmesan, and many other breaded dishes and I cannot tell the difference between this, and panko or other breadcrumbs.

Enjoy!

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Normally I serve these cutlets with mashed potatoes. Woops, must have forgotten the vegetable by accident! 🙂

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven.

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven, with water in the bottom.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

Baking complete, ready to eat!

Baking complete, ready to eat!

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GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Ingredients

2-3lb pork tenderloin

1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 cup GF Breadcrumbs (I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed in a food processor)

3 large eggs plus 3 tsp water

1/3 cup avocado or canola oil, divided into Tbl increments

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle. Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 2″ rounds. Places each piece between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound until they are thin cutlets (less than 1/4” thick).

Set up your station with 3 separate pie pans. In the first pie pan place the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and gently mix. In the middle pie pan add the eggs and water whisking to combine. In the last pie pan place the bread crumbs.

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add 2 Tbl of oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, dredge a cutlet in flour coating all sides. Next dip it in the egg flipping to get all sides wet. Gently lift up letting the excess egg drip off. Place the cutlet in the breadcrumbs and coat all sides. At this point you can coat a few and cook all at once being sure you do not crowd the pan.

Gently place the cutlets in the hot oil cooking each side about 3-4 minutes or until each side is golden brown. Continue coating and cooking in batches until they are all pan-seared. You will need to add more oil as you cook.

Either in a large roasting pan (that has a lid) with a rack in the bottom or a large dutch oven that has a lid (if you can fit a rack in it great, if not it’s OK) take about 2-4’ of aluminum foil and crumble it up like a snake. You want to rest this on top of the rack or the bottom of the dutch oven. The goal here is to have the food be elevated at least 1” above the bottom of the pan.

Place about 1/2-1 cup of water at the bottom of the pan. The foil or rack can sit it but the water cannot go over top of the foil or touch the cutlets. Take the pan-seared cutlets and place them on top of the foil. It’s okay to stack them if you made a lot. You just don’t want them to touch the water.

Cover the roaster or pan very tightly with foil and the lid. You want to steam these now. This is the trick to get them ridiculously tender. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently remove.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

This dish, requested by my wife recently was a first for me. I have never been a bell pepper fan, unless they are sauteed almost beyond oblivion. That being said, I have not tried bell peppers made otherwise for probably the last 20 years. As once I “know” I don’t like something and it is stuck in my head, it is pretty hard to convince me otherwise.

So last week when my wife requested it, I had no clue. Instead of perusing the internet, I turned first to one of my sisters. Thankfully enough, she had a tried and true recipe. Truth be told however, this “recipe” was her scribbling down notes while her husbands grandmother made these for them years ago. This is same way she got her meatballs recipe, which I have shared with you (Your New Favorite Meatballs), and are pretty darn good.

So this recipe is slightly adapted, from a slightly adapted recipe from an Italian Grandmother. Can’t beat it!

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Started out with a colorful assortment.

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Just out of the oven.

Ready to eat!!

Ready to eat!!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients
6 peppers, plus 1 pepper diced
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ lb ground beef
2 cups cooked white rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Flour (Gluten Free APF if desired)
1 cup marinara sauce

Instructions

Sauté onion, diced pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes in oil. Once softened, add ground beef and cook until browned through. Remove from heat and mix the meat mixture with the rice. Add eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the 6 peppers, and remove the insides. Sprinkle the insides with flour, then fill with the meat/rice/cheese mixture.
Flour the tops, and fry in oil for 5 minutes or so (see note).  Add to a pan, pouring sauce over the tops of the peppers. Add a cup of water or so to the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour or until tender.
*Note: After flouring the tops, flip upside down to brown in the oil. The mixture inside is fairly wet at this point, so the mixture should not fall out if is packed in pretty well.

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Italian Sausage Bake

Like many others, I am always in search for easy and delicious one pot meals. Unfortunately I have found they are few and far between. This is a great one for a weekend, or if you have an opportunity during the week to assemble and bake a couple of hours before dinner. Sausage and potatoes gives you your main course and side dish with some great flavoring from the peppers and onions. We generally will make a side salad to go with this as well. If you have someone in your house on a gluten free diet, this dish is perfect for you!

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Fixing to cover and head into the oven.

A couple of notes for you. Do not cut up the potatoes too small or they won’t hold up well after two hours. I try to stay between 1.5 – 2 inch pieces. Also, the first couple of times I made this I added the tomatoes at the beginning, as the source recipe called for. They definitely don’t hold up for that long. They still had flavor, but they were too mushy for my taste. So I add them at the 90 minute mark when I remove the foil. They hold up much better that way. We also use sweet Italian Sausage instead of spicy as that is just our preference. And if we ever have leftovers with this one, which is rare, I turn it into a sausage and potato hash with eggs for lunch the next day. Yum!!!

Enjoy!

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Ready to eat!!

Italian Sausage Bake

Ingredients

1 pint grape tomatoes, red and/or yellow variety

1 pound honey gold potatoes, cut in to 2″ pieces

2 large bell peppers, chopped length-wise 1-inch

1 large red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

6 links Italian sausage, sweet or spicy

5 sprigs dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large baking dish, toss potatoes, bell peppers, and red onion with one tablespoon olive oil and chopped garlic. Mix well until incorporated and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the sausage links on top of the vegetables. Place sprigs of thyme throughout the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove foil from baking dish, add the tomatoes, mix vegetables around, and bake for an additional 30 minutes (flipping sausages halfway) until the sausage is golden brown.

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Recipe slightly adapted from Katie’s Cucina.

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

About three months ago, a Trader Joe’s opened up in our town, which was also the first TJ’s I had ever stepped foot in. What an awesome store!! If you have never been to one, I am sorry. If you have, you know what I mean. We could never do all our grocery shopping there due to the limited selection, but I can always find those specialty items there that I can’t find anywhere else. Plus, they actually make my five year old WANT to go to the store, as he likes to play detective and they (at least ours does) always hide two stuffed goats in the store for the kiddos to find for a lollipop.

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If you have a TJ’s in a 50 mile radius of you and you have never been, go check it out. Make sure to bring a cold bag with you as I trust you will not leave empty handed!

Lately I have been making more gluten free recipes (long story, don’t ask) and some are great, and some not so great. The not so great ones are generally any that involve bread or baking. I had tried no less than 10 gluten free muffin recipes (which all were horrible) until I found this one. And go figure, it is on the back of the Trader Joe Gluten Free Flour bag. I will not lie and say these are better than a gluten rich muffin (still my favorite), but if you have to eat gluten free, these are a dang good second best. On the milk or dairy alternative, I use milk. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup agave sweetener
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup milk or dairy alternative
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup applesauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, agave, oil, milk and vanilla and stir into flour mixture to combine. Stir in Applesauce. Scoop batter into muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Yields 18 muffins.

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