Gluten Free Dairy Free Tuna Noodles

GF and DF Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 1 half medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 quarter bell pepper, diced (I use red)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2-2  cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 1 or 2 7 oz cans tuna, drained
  • 3 cups (dry) gluten-free elbows
  • crushed potato chips or vegan Parmesan to top (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions. Saute onion, celery and pepper in olive oil or vegan butter in a medium sauce pan. Add seasoning and milk. Heat through. When little bubbles form around edge of pan, stir in potato flour. When most of the lumps have disappeared (don’t worry, it will be fine, just keep stirring) add in the cheese shreds. On low heat, stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in tuna. This is the time to add more milk, if it looks too dry/thick. Mix tuna sauce into cooked and drained noodles. (OR now you can add more milk, if it looks too dry.) Pour noodles and sauce into 2 qt casserole dish. Top with crushed potato chips or vegan parm. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

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There it is. Up at the top so you don’t have to scroll through all my story-telling to get to the recipe. I hate when you have to search to find the recipe. (I know I am guilty of doing this.) I don’t care about your husband or your cat. I  really don’t want to hear about your fabulous trip to NYC. And I don’t want to see your gorgeous photos because I am jealous! (I have no talent in photography) I just want the recipe! So, now I can story-tell to my little heart’s content and it won’t be in anyone’s way.

I have a recipe for DF tuna and noodles, but now we are trying to be gluten free for my sweet daughter. This girl is a trooper. She has had so many health problems and I am just amazed at how she handles them. The only times I have been in the ER have been with her. I think that because her birth was so difficult, I am more nervous for her. I feel like she needs more protection. I also feel like I have let her down. I should have been more in tune to her body. I know I can’t make sure she doesn’t get sick, but oh, I want to do just that! Anyway, in my attempt to be a more overbearing mother I have decided to eliminate gluten from her diet. Now we are going to be dairy AND gluten free. I am praying that it makes a difference in her health. I am going to be super vigilant for 6 months to see if it makes any difference. Then I might relent and let her have Chick-fil-A nuggets because I hate to deny her of her favorite things. This is where my darling husband would say “Are you the mom?” Yes, I am the mom, but I also know how hard it is to not eat your favorite food. I so wanted my children to be able to eat whatever they wanted, but being healthy is more important. And that is the moral of today’s story.

Does this have FRUIT in it?

After the In-N-Out diet my sweet husband stated that he wanted to go on the green smoothie diet with me. Which means that I have to make him a smoothie when I make myself a smoothie. He won’t drink the same smoothies I drink because…they have fruit in them! I think he might be confusing smoothies with milkshakes. This morning he was a bit concerned because I didn’t add cocoa and peanut butter to his smoothie, so it was green! He looked at me and asked “Does this have fruit in it?” No my love, I make your smoothies out of ice cream and candy bars, but don’t worry you will still lose weight because you are a man. Before his smoothie this morning he ate a Payday bar and after his smoothie he had an apple strudel. And he will still lose weight. I’m feeling a little catty this morning. I will drink my Spirulina Smoothie, (I used lime juice instead of lemon and added a mango, super yummy!) have a large glass of water, take deep breaths and smile. Ah, that feels better. Good thing my bad moods don’t last long and as long as I share them on my blog no one else has to be in a bad mood either! Thank you one random person who reads this! You just helped save my marriage. So, here is the only green smoothie my husband will drink. It might work for kids too!

The Anti-Green Smoothie

1 cup dairy-free milk
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup raisins or dates
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups spinach
1 or 2 bananas
3 tablespoons cocoa, or to taste (or cover up the green)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup ice

Blend in the order given. Make sure to blend the spinach before you add the next ingredients or it won’t fit in the blender.  Sometimes I add 2 tablespoons of coconut butter and leave out the cocoa or it would be good to sub the peanut butter with coconut butter and still add the cocoa.
Don’t tell my husband this has a milk beverage or a banana in it because then he won’t drink them anymore.

 

Favorite Chocolate Cake

The internet is so great. I searched for “sour milk chocolate cake” and found the exact recipe I used last summer! Whahoo! Now I just have to remember the changes I made, also I am making a link for the next time I lose the recipe. Original Sour Milk Chocolate Cake, from The English Kitchen. This one is not vegan or dairy-free, but it is a start. The fabulous thing is that this recipe can be vegan and chocolate free (for those times I give up chocolate) and still be yummy.

I have to say that the burnt sugar icing is totally a happy accident. The frosting was supposed to be brown sugar icing, but well…you know how sugar and butter melt and merge together, but sugar and coconut oil, well, don’t? I might have had my sugar on the burner too long, but then I remembered a recipe for ice cream that started with caramelized sugar and creamer from Speedbump Kitchen.  I hate to throw out food, it’s like admitting defeat, so when it looked like I might have ruined the frosting I grabbed some So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer and started stirring. I took a little taste and was pleasantly surprised. My oldest daughter told me it was the best frosting I have ever made. Great. Good thing I wrote it down!

Sour Milk Chocolate (Carob) Cake
With Burnt Sugar Frosting

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa or carob powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 banana or 1 large egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup sour non-dairy milk
1 TBS vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  I used spray coconut oil to grease a 7×11 pyrex pan. A 9″ round cake pan would also work.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together the sour milk and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Stir until moistened and then add the coconut oil while stirring (lumps of hardened coconut oil are not ideal). Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed or use a whisk and beat it by hand to offset the calories.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until it tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the  oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  NO need to remove from the pan.

Note – Even if plant-based milk is past date it isn’t really “sour” so I add 1 TBS of vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make up 1 cup of liquid.

Burnt Sugar Frosting

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk creamer
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt

Melt coconut oil and brown sugar in medium pot. Bring to a bubble and keep stirring. Remove from heat and add creamer and STAND BACK because it will sputter! And the sugar will harden. Whisk the mixture until sugar lumps dissolve. Keep stirring, it will work. And stir some more, until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add more powdered sugar if needed to be a spreadable consistency.

This cake doesn’t really need frosting and the two times I have put frosting on this cake it turned weird the next day. The frosting looked like it had melted in spots, even though I know I waited for the cake to cool before I frosted it. I don’t know. I still tasted great, just didn’t look right. So, only serve it to company right after you frost it or just eat it all yourself. Enjoy!

Haystacks – Chili Salad

HaystacksA while ago I made a big pot of chili. Now, I could eat bowls of chili for days, but sometimes a little change is nice. My mom used to make haystacks because it was a quick and easy meal. The best chili is simmered for hours, but the chili on top of the haystacks can be made in half an hour. Just throw your chili ingredients into the pot and bring to a simmer. Or better yet, use leftover chili. Use your favorite traditional recipe or try this vegan chili recipe.
There isn’t really a recipe for haystacks, more like instructions.
Ingredients:
Chili
tortilla chips
lettuce, chopped or shredded
cheese (Daiya cheddar shreds, at our house)
sour cream (Tofutti for us)
avocado
salsa
olives
Instructions:
Cover a plate with tortilla chips (I like to crumble mine), cover with cheese. Spoon hot chili over the chips, cover with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado, olives, any other toppings you like. It is up to you how closely your haystack resembles a salad or nachos.

This is an easy idea to adapt to any special diet. Use vegan chili, and dairy-free cheese and sour cream for a filling vegan dinner. Use dairy products and meaty chili for the omnivores or any combination that works for you.

Vegan Chili

I am on the Green Thickie 7 day diet. It isn’t too much of a stretch for me. I went from one thickie to two, cut out meat and alcohol and sweets. I don’t have alcohol or sweets regularly so that isn’t a big deal, (I might be lying) but I’ve had a little trouble with the no meat. The first night I made brown rice and stir-fry. I just left out the chicken, it was pretty good, but I was hungry an hour later. The next night I made chili. Now the recipe from the Thickie lady said it was chili, but she is in the U.K. and chili means something different there. So, I made red, American-style chili. Only I had no idea how to make vegan chili. I mean how do you make chili without meat? Some people don’t even put beans in their chili! Where does the flavor come from? How do you get the right texture? Most recipes I found on the internet used some kind of “veggie crumble” meat-like product. I don’t know about that. I had some left over stir-fry veggies so I popped those in the Vitamix and mixed it in. Luckily it turned out pretty good. My kids didn’t complain, one of then even asked for seconds! (I served theirs over macaroni)  I don’t know if I was just so hungry or if it really tasted that good! Anyway, I think I’ll make it again just for a healthy alternative. I served mine over left over brown rice, topped it with Tofutti sour cream, salsa and avocado. I thought it was delicious! And, I’m hungry again. More water.

My little birthday cake

My husband’s birthday is one day before mine. That was great one year. We were living in the same town as my aunt. She made a cake and we had a family party, it was wonderful. Other times my husband has been “out of town” (deployed) for my birthday or left on my birthday. One year I was at my parent’s house and it was wonderful (besides the absence of my husband). All my family was there and I requested Thanksgiving dinner. May is the perfect time for turkey! Some years we go out and have a cake on his birthday and have leftovers for mine. This year has been pretty fabulous. We went for a road trip last weekend. We saw Bruneau Dunes, soaked in Miracle Hot Springs, gazed in wonder at Shoshone Falls and marveled at Balanced Rock. Super-fun trip. For my sweetie’s day I grilled shrimp and chorizo kebabs and made a triple layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I assume the cake is pretty good, he ate 1/4 of it in one sitting. However, I am staying away from chocolate and I used real butter in the frosting so I can’t really say. On to the point!

I decided to make myself a little carob birthday cake.  When I make things dairy free I am usually satisfied with the results. However, I am having a difficult time substituting carob for chocolate. It is not that the recipes are too hard to find or that I can’t just substitute carob powder for cocoa powder in most recipes. It is the taste. Carob is pleasant, it gives a gorgeous color to brownies and cakes, but it is not chocolate. Before giving up chocolate I ate some every day. I was perhaps a chocoholic. I wasn’t aware of the way it affected my body because it was never out of my system. I really don’t know if can do this. Can I live without chocolate? Back to the point!

I bought Carob Cookbook by Tricia Hamilton and the first thing I made was the Mocha Fudge Cake, but it wasn’t mocha because I am also trying to avoid coffee. I think it would be better with coffee, in fact it would have been amazing with cocoa powder and coffee, but then I couldn’t have eaten it, so I made it with carob and water. I am seriously considering buying coffee substitute, but holy moly, that stuff is expensive! Anyway, I made a half recipe to fit into two 6″ pans and made it dairy free. When I bought the cookbook I didn’t really think about the recipes being dairy-free friendly. They are not, if you were wondering. For the frosting I used an old recipe called “Ciddy Ellifson Frosting”, it’s also called Cooked Icing and Red Velvet Frosting. We never had Red Velvet cake when I was a kid, but I loved this frosting on chocolate cake.

 

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

When I was single a lot of meals took hours to prepare (because I didn’t have anything else to do) and often consisted of variations on pasta. Occasionally I had a meat of some sort and odd vegetables left in the crisper. Other times garlic and olive oil was about all I had. I still love pasta and I hope my family does as well. My girls prefer good old spaghetti with meat sauce, but sometimes I like to have Carbonara, Piccata or Alfredo. Yes, dairy-free. Carbonara is pretty easy because you use an egg yolk and pasta water to make the sauce. Parmesan is added at the end, but it tastes fine without it. Sometimes I grate some Brazil nuts on top. but not always. (I use the Rachael Ray recipe Spaghetti alla Carbonara: Bacon and Egg “Coal Miner’s” Pasta.)Piccata may not taste as good without butter, but I just use more olive oil to make the roux. (I use the easy Piccata Toss recipe from Rachael Ray.) Now, Alfredo is a whole other ballgame. How do you make a dairy-free sauce that is supposed to be made from cream, butter and cheese? Hurrah for the internet! Hurrah for the Vegans! I found a great Alfredo recipe called “Hurry Up Alfredo”. It uses cashews to make a creamy sauce. My husband loves it. He asked me not to tell him what it was made of because he didn’t want to risk being freaked out by the ingredients. He was totally fine with cashews. Sometimes I make this with whatever pasta I have on hand, but sometimes I get all fancy and use fettuccine, add grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. This is one of those meals I don’t have to worry about anyone complaining or whining about the food. Luckily both of my kids love broccoli. I never thought about hurting my mom’s feelings when I whined about dinner, but now I know it must have upset her. One more thing you can’t learn until you have kids of your own.