Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tuna Wedges--Gluten-Free Style

Over the past few weeks, I've been slowly converting the family's favorite recipes so that I can eat them.  Tonight's dinner:  Tuna Wedges.  I don't remember where the original recipe came from, but we've been eating this dinner since I was a kid!  It's simple, quick and easy since it cooks in the microwave.

Here's the original recipe:
*2 eggs
*1-1/2 cups cooked rice
*6 green onions, finely chopped
*2 cans (7 oz each) solid packed tuna
*1/2 cup (1/4 lb) butter or margarine
*1/4 tsp thyme
*1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
          In large mixing bowl beat eggs with fork.  Add rice, onions, and undrained tuna. Mix well.

          In small glass bowl place butter.  Microwave at High 1 minute until melted.  Add to tuna along with thyme and crumbs.  Mix well.

          Spread mixture evenly in lightly greased 9" pie plate (glass, of coarse).  Cover with wax paper.  Microwave at High 9 to 11 minutes, rotating dish 1/2 turn after 5 minutes.  Serve in wedges with sliced tomatoes on top.

Now--I made the following changes.  Apparently, even though I've been eating this dish approximately 30 years, I just realized that the tuna was supposed to be undrained.  Huh.  Works trained as well.  Could explain why it's sometimes too dry though.  But I didn't find that gluten-free version dry, so maybe it will work for others just fine?  Anyway, I  used all the same ingredients except for the bread crumbs.  I found Gluten-Free bread crumbs (which is really a kind of coarse corn meal) and since I had sprouted rice & quinoa left over from last night's dinner, I used that instead of plain rice.  I also didn't have any green onions in the frig, but added onion & garlic powder, along with our Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Table Seasoning instead of the thyme.  Mainly because I don't keep thyme on hand since I rarely use it.

Verdict:  Pretty good.  It's a good fish dish when you're in a hurry and if you plan your menu in advance, you can just make enough rice at another meal so you have leftovers.  This will become another family favorite again :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

End of April already?

This year has been flying by!  I can't believe it is almost summer already.  We've been busy with our homeschool co-op, doing school work and in general, living.

The one thing that has changed for me is that I have gone gluten-free in my diet.  It's been about 6 weeks (with only 1 oops! moment), and it has made a difference!  My rheumatoid arthritis has not flared up, except for my oops moment, and that only reinforces that eliminating gluten is a good thing for me.  The other up-side of no gluten is that I've lost 15 pounds and since the RA has not shown it's ugly head, I'm feeling so much better and moving more.  There is a downside too--now the family expects me to clean again!  And after 6 years of feeling poorly and hurting almost constantly, there is a lot of cleaning to do!  I'm still taking it one day at a time.  Only now, each day at a time doesn't require a two- to three-hour nap to get through!

I know that going gluten-free doesn't help everyone, though.  I have two friends that went gluten-free at the same time I did, and it didn't help them.  I wish that it had, though.  And if you, or someone you know and love, is hurting each and every day, whether it be with RA or some other auto-immune disease, don't dismiss the whole gluten-free thing.  I wish I'd tried it sooner.  Then maybe I wouldn't feel like I had wasted so much time.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bah Humbug!

I've been feeling a little under the weather for a couple of days. I'm pretty sure that I've got a major cold coming, and I'm trying to fight it off. At least one to two days a week, I feel as though I'm running a fever, and all I want to do is sleep.

And on top of that, it's the holiday season. Everyone is rushing and dashing around getting decorations up, and buying presents. But not me. It's not that I don't dislike the gift-giving, being good to people, etc idea. But I cannot stand the commercialization of the season. And not being a Christian, I don't really feel that I need to celebrate the birth of a baby that wasn't mine, and who, in fact, wasn't even born in December anyway. But I've never felt strongly pulled toward the whole Yule thing either. Maybe because people use it interchangeably with Christmas.

But I have noticed that, while many around me are rushing everywhere, they are getting stressed out. "What to get for presents? What to fix for dinner? Where will the tree go? A real tree or fake one?" And I actually have no stress whatsoever! It's a really nice feeling too. So, if you're one of those that runs around like a chicken with its head cut off--take a moment and think about WHY you are doing this? Is it for the satisfaction of you or are you trying to please someone else? Are you overspending you budget just to get the expensive things for your friends and family? If you are, then STOP--if they are truly your friends, then they will love whatever you get them! And family has to love you no matter how awful those mittens that you made. Take the time to take a deep breath and think about why you are so hectic right now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Night

Tonight's dinner was very yummy. I spent the afternoon running The Boy to swimming class and then Youth Group at a local church, and the Nephew to a friend's house to learn what he'll be doing this weekend (house sitting a couple of dogs and a gaggle of cats) that I thought using the Slow Cooker was in order. So this morning (or early afternoon for those who keep an earlier schedule than we do around here), I cut up the cabbage I had left over from Monday's dinner and through them into the ceramic insert to the crock pot. Yes, threw. It helps separate the pieces. j/k :)

I then cut up an apple. One that is able to be cooked and keep most of its firmness works best, such as a fuji, gala or granny smith (my personal favorite since it's tart), but any kind will work. If there's room, put more than one apple. But I only had room for one.

On top of that, I put half of the huge pork loin. Add about 4 cups of water (apple juice or leftover spiced cider is very yummy too!) Because the insert was so full, I put a piece of foil over the whole thing, crimping the edges down to seal everything in. Then I put the lid on top (sort of). It didn't want to fit, which is why I used the foil (and I did use my 7-qt. slow cooker, so don't know how to make it any smaller, except to take out some of the cabbage which would have been a shame).

Cook it on low for about 8-10 hours. I started it on high for about 2 hours, then dropped it down to low for the rest of the time. One thing about this is that it won't overcook if you have to leave it for a while longer. A lot of recipes for the slow cooker are for a shorter time, which I find almost impossible to fix since I'm gone for most of the afternoon and we eat late.

I would have taken a picture of it, but we ate it all too quickly. So I guess it was very good. Or they were just very hungry, but I'm still leaning toward very good :)

Another option for those meatless eaters out there is to make the cabbage & apples in the crockpot with the apple juice (or water) by itself. I've done this for church potlucks and it was a huge success. Tonight I used green cabbage, but I've used red before and have mixed the two for a colorful meal. It all depends on which one is one sale, since all I'll about saving some money right now :)

If you give this a try, let me know what ya'll think, and whether you made any changes to it. I'm always interested in hearing how other people fix up their meals too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

Last night was "Meatless Monday," so I made the recipe from the new book Eating Well: Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals. Here's a picture:and another one of it cooking up:

It was good. Everyone but The Boy liked it. He said it needed seasoning in the couscous mixture. Part of that is that I left out the salt that the directions said to add to the couscous water. But since we're low- to no- salt around here, I left it out. I also left out the mint that it called to add the couscous mixture, so maybe that would have changed it. But I don't really like mint too much, so I left it out.

The only thing I'm going to do differently next time is cook the cabbage rolls longer. The directions said to cook the cabbage rolls for 5-8 minutes and of course, since it was already late, I only cooked it 5 minutes. Definitely longer next time :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Menu Planning part 2

I have finally finished my menu for the next two weeks. Just in time to go shopping tomorrow :) If you need a reason to justify making a menu up ahead of time, I've got 2 reasons for you. 1: Just think if you wrote down everything that you needed to make what you've planned, you'll save time on unexpected trips to your local grocery store. And 2: If you know what you are planning on fixing, and you have a list of what you need, then you will not be as tempted to impulse shop and spend more than you planned on at the store. Saving money is ALWAYS a plus :)

So, with that in mind, I'll share what I have planned for the next two weeks. I do try to balance my meals out, so that I don't have pasta 3 days in a row, etc. And I have certain days I have to be careful of. Fridays are game night, so I either need to plan to feed the masses or set aside a little for a pizza run. Tuesdays are the craziest day of the week, so that's why the meal on that day is simple, yet yummy. Also, since our payday is on Friday, I start my weekly menus on Friday and run through Thursdays. Just a little quirk of mine.

Friday, October 21st: Beef Roast (in crockpot) with Mushroom Gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans
Saturday, Oct 22nd: Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti (The Nephew's night)
Sunday, Oct 23rd: Hot Wings, Coleslaw and Fries/Potato Cakes (The Man's night)
Meatless Monday, Oct 24th: Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls & Salad ('cause I couldn't think of another vegetable/side dish to serve)
Tuesday, Oct 25th: Sandwiches
Wednesday, Oct 26th: Pork Roast with Cabbage & Apples (Crockpot)
Thursday, Oct 27th: Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup (low salt) and Salad (The Boy's night)
Friday, Oct 28th: Pizza night
Saturday, Oct 29th: Kung Pao Tofu (Meatloving Nephew picked this one)
Sunday, Oct 30th: Cheeseburgers or Cheesesteaks (depending on if Aldi's still has the cheesesteaks) and Fries (The Man's job)
Meatless Monday, Oct 31st: Fettuccine with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Tuesday, Nov 1st: Breakfast
Wednesday, Nov 2nd: Lemon & Herb Crockpot Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus
Thursday: Louisiana style Shrimp with Rice (The Boy's pick)

As you can see, I LOVE my crockpots. I have two of them and when they're not cooking our dinner, I'm usually brewing my own broth, whether it's chicken, beef or vegetable. It's such a valuable resource. So if you don't have one, I'd recommend going and getting one. And if you have one and don't use it, then dust it off and start using it!