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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Chicken Chilaquiles

Chicken Chilaquiles! Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, as I have not the faintest idea! For someone who never had even a bite of Mexican food growing up, I sure have not come to love it! Love it in as it is on the menu at least 2-3 times a week, in some form or fashion. The latest attempt was not only the first time making this dish, it was a first time eating this dish. I had come to notice it more and more on Tex-Mex restaurant menu’s, and while I never ordered it, it definitely intrigued me. And I honestly, the only reason I didn’t order it was it looked so simple, I couldn’t justify spending money to have someone else make it for me.

At the end of the day, it was as easy as it looked, and just as tasty. If you have someone on a gluten free diet in your house, this dish is perfect for you. Many restaurants serve this as a brunch item, but I really cant picture this, especially paired with eggs. We enjoy this at dinner. My wife tops her plate of chilaquiles with sour cream and cut-up avocado.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Chilaquiles

Ingredients

1 28oz can whole tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chilies in adobo, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, chopped

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1/2 bag of tortilla chips

1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded (option: switch half of cheddar with Monterey Jack)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large food processor or blender, add in tomatoes, jalapenos, chilies, broth, and salt. Pulse until it is smooth. Set-aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces and stir in evenly.

Using a 9×13” casserole dish, layer tortilla chips in the bottom until they are even, and fill up approximately half of the dish. Pour sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce. Bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 5-8 minutes.

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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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Zucchini Pizza Bites

A quick little healthy meal or snack for you when you are craving pizza. My wife requested these a couple of weeks ago, and she was very happy with how they turned out. Full disclosure on my part, yup, I will take regular pizza over these any day. But if you are looking for that healthier and or gluten free alternative, give these a shot.

The best thing about these is you really don’t even need a recipe. After you crisp them up a little, top with whatever floats your boat that day. We had mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and jarred pizza sauce on hand, so that is what I used. I used one zucchini on this batch as it was only my wife eating them that night. This picture was half of what it made.

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Ingredients:

1-2 zucchini, sliced in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices

Salt and pepper

pizza sauce

mozzarella cheese, shredded

pepperoni, diced

Directions:

Preheat your oven on the broiler setting. Sprinkle both sides of the zucchini slices lightly with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes, flip, and repeat on the underside. Remove from the over, and layer, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni pieces on each slice of zucchini. Place back under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is starting to melt.

Adapted from DamnDelicious

Gouda Cheddar Tater Tots

This is one of the more exciting (to me) posts I have done on antics in cooking to date, so I hope you all enjoy. If you have followed me for a little while, you will have noticed I use many tried and true recipes from established chefs, and very rarely create something myself. For the past three weeks I have been honing this one down, and believe I have finally hit a home run.

Truth be told however, the idea did come from a restaurant I frequent. My business travels take me to Washington D.C. often, and when I go I usually stay in Old Town Alexandria, VA. I came by a restaurant in Old Town named T.J. Stones a couple of years ago, and make it a point to stop there whenever I am in town. They have the best ever Gouda Tater Tots on the menu. I have tried and tried to coax the Executive Chef to sneak me the recipe, which not to my surprise, he was never willing to do. I settled for just looking forward to them during my trips.

Roughly 3 weeks ago I started planning my Super Bowl spread, and these tots came to my mind first. I set out on a mission to recreate them. I have made approximately 5 batches since, adding and deleting ingredients each time, with the last being on Sunday (thankfully) with what I believe were the perfect, yet still easy to make rendition. Enjoy!

(Note: The restaurant mentioned serves their tots with a horseradish buttermilk dipping sauce, which is also excellent. Since I wouldn’t even know where to start on that, I just serve mine with ranch. Works out pretty well.)

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Gouda Cheddar Tater Tots

Ingredients

3 Russet potatoes

1 cup finely shredded Gouda cheese (regular or smoked)

1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno (optional)

Vegetable oil

Corn starch (for dredging)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the outsides begin to soften, while not cooking all the way through. Remove from oven. Once cooled enough to handle, peel potatoes and shred in a bowl using the smallest holes on a box shredder. Using paper towels, slightly pat down on the shredded potatoes to remove some of the released moisture, but not all. To the potatoes, add the cheeses, salt and pepper, sour cream, and jalapenos (if using) and mix thoroughly.

Heat oil in a large pot to 350 degrees. Form potato mixture into 2 inch balls. If you are making ahead, you can refrigerate them at this time. If not, once the balls are formed, roll them in cornstarch to a get a thin even coating. Fry the tots in small batches of 8-10 until golden brown, being careful not to overcrowd your oil. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Serve warm.

Classic Beef Chili

With this cold weather blanketing the country, and the Superbowl less than a week away, I thought it was a great time to post about the best chili I have ever eaten. I found this recipe about 2 months ago and have made it quite a few times since, altering a thing here or there, but mostly keeping it intact.

Of course, like many of my favorites it came from ATK. When the weather really took a turn for the worse this year the first thing my wife asked me to cook was chili. She had a hankering for it, and the canned stuff was no longer acceptable (nor should it ever have been!!). So I scoured the Net, and found quite a few recipes that looked like they would be winners, but at the end of the day, I came back to the trusted folks in VT.

The ingredients as shown makes a large pot of chili, so if I am making it for us and guests, I do it as written. If it is just for our family, I half it and still have some leftovers for lunch the next day. It reheats very well, and almost tastes better the second day. And of course since we live in TX, mine gets turned into a Frito Pie. Simply, a Frito chip base, followed by chili, followed by shredded cheddar cheese. She eats hers over rice, then topped with cheese. Can’t go wrong with either, or with just a big old bowl of chili by itself. If you have someone in your house with a gluten allergy, this beef chili is perfect for you!

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Almost done simmering.

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My Frito Pie version.

Classic Beef Chili

Ingredients

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon dried cumin

2 teaspoons dried coriander

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds, 85% lean ground beef

2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed

1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (28-oz) can tomato puree

Water, as needed

Directions

Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in half of beef. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook until no longer pink. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to simmer gently until beef is tender and sauce is dark, rich, and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes longer. If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; add water as needed when reheating to adjust consistency.)

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Mom’s White Chocolate Pretzel Mix

It seems most people have a preference on eating a sweet, or salty snack. But most people I have found, no matter which way they lean, love them both together. This is one of those sweet and salty snacks (maybe treat is a better word) that both children and adults will love. And there are two healthy cereal’s in here so it can’t be too bad for you right?? This version came from my Mom, who would always have a big bag of this waiting for us when we would visit. And unless you are making this for an Army, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half.

The below pictures are from when it was cooling. I forget to take any after it was broken apart.

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White Chocolate Pretzel Mix

Ingredients

1 package (10 oz) mini pretzels

5 cups Cheerios cereal

5 cups Corn Chex cereal

2 cups salted peanuts

1 pound M&M’s

2 packages (12 oz each) vanilla chips

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients, set aside. In microwave safe bowl, heat chips and oil for two minutes (or until smooth), stirring every 30 seconds or so. Pour over cereal mixture and mix well. Spread onto three wax paper lined baking sheets until cool. Break apart.

Best Drop Biscuits

First I want to say, please pardon my absence over the last couple of months in the blogging world. It was a rough holiday season in many ways, but also a kind one in other ways. I do not plan on drowning you with the details, but wanted to say I am back and will be adding new recipes starting with these awesome Best Drop Biscuits.

In early December, I had to make an unexpected trip to New England and was staying with one of my sisters for a few days. Her and I always discuss food, as I am usually trying to pry her and her husbands great recipes out of them. But one night I was sitting in her living room flipping through her new cookbook, “The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook). As it looks more like an encyclopedia than a cookbook, I was using her book marked pages to see which recipes caught her eye, as I would have needed a week to go page by page. I came across Best Drop Biscuits, and I am telling you since, I could not be much happier! I have tried in the past different biscuit recipes and either I fail, or they are too cumbersome to make. These on the other hand, are the most delicious ones I have had, and are tremendously easy to make. I typically have all the ingredients on hand anyways, so I can make them on a whim at almost anytime, which I have quite a few times now.

Enjoy!

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Out, cooled off for a couple of minutes.

Best Drop Biscuits

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk, chilled

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing the biscuits

Directions

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Combine the buttermilk and 8 tablespoons of the melted butter in a medium bowl, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a greased 1/4‑cup measuring cup, scoop a level amount of batter and drop onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter, spacing the biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

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