Happy Christmas Eve! Is that a thing? I think it’s a thing. If your house is anything like mine, an easy Christmas Eve dinner is on the docket. Tomorrow will be spent creating an elaborate meal for your loved ones, but tonight you’ve made it through the holiday rigamarole up to this point and need a break to enjoy the anticipation in the air. For many folks, tonight is filled with family gatherings and church services, so something simple and delicious is just the ticket. If you don’t have something planned or you’re looking at your to-do list for today and that meal you had planned (if you remembered!) is just too much to take on, here are some delicious and easy recipes for dinner.
Black Bean Tortilla Soup Save time by using tortilla chips in place of the tortilla strips.
Black Bean Porridge Patties with Black Bean Pico de Gallo: Winner of our 2011 Spar for the Spurtle contest. This recipe is easily doubled and is wonderful with the addition of fried eggs and cheese on top of each patty if you want to add protein to the meal. Make it even easier by placing patties on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes a side.
Chicken Tamale Pie: Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken; top with shredded lettuce and sour cream.
Lemony Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous with Broccoli and Salmon from Dietician Janel. Kick up the fancy factor by using pan-seared salmon instead of canned. You can use regular pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous) if you can’t find whole wheat at your store, just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Kamut® Grain and Shiitake Risotto with Thyme: A quick and painless risotto. Use wheat berries or spelt berries if Kamut® berries are hard to come by.
White Bean Chicken Chili: Save time and use canned white beans (any variety). Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth.
I love a good ginger cookie no matter the time of year, but there’s something about a hot cup of coffee, a cold winter day and a crisp (or chewy) ginger cookie that puts me in the mood for Christmas. Here are two of our favorite recipes for ginger cookies. If you’re looking for a lovely hostess gift, make a stack of these cookies, wrap with cellophane or plastic wrap and tie with ribbon (see the great photo from Tiffany McCall below). These are delightful on their own or jazz them up further and pair with some fancy coffee or hot cocoa mix.
Makes 36 cookies.
Crispy Ginger Cookies (GF)
Ginger Spice Cookies (GF)
Contributed by: Tiffany McCall from Read.Eat.Blog
Notes: Try not to open the oven while these cookies are baking as they do fall once removed from heat.
Growing-up, the winter holidays were a time for copious amounts of baking. These treats were shared with our friends and neighbors (with none too few going right into our little bellies). My mother taught my sister and me to make several traditional Finnish Christmas pastries along with her favorite shortbread recipe. She’d cut the shortbread into bars (“fingers” to the Scots, who are the originators of and famous for their shortbreads), package the creamy white center cuts for gifts and let the family indulge in the browned and caramelized edges – my personal favorite.
There are numerous variations on shortbread but none stray too far from the classic mix of butter, sugar, flour and salt. Creaming the large amount of butter and sugar then adding the flours makes for a tender and full flavored cookie. Since butter plays a stand-out role in these recipes, treat yourself to using one of high quality.
I’ve been sworn to secrecy of my family recipes but I’m more than happy to provide these new recipes using some of our whole-grain flours. I’ve also included a good stand-by traditional version, this one adapted courtesy of The Culinary Institute of America.
Gluten Free? No problem, try our Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix or this wonderful recipe from Elizabeth Barbone at Serious Eats.
Adapted from The Culinary Institute of America
Yield approximately 20 servings
Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies
Yield approximately 20 servings
Brown Sugar Spelt Shortbread Cookies
Yield approximately 20 servings
Rye Molasses Shortbread Cookies
Yield approximately 20 servings
Fifteen years ago this month, my husband and I were married. As the last in-law to join his family, I wanted to make a good impression at our first Christmas together with his side of the family. So I decided to bring a decadent dessert that I had never tried before. Bold move on my part, owing to the fact that I was not exactly seasoned in the kitchen. I chose to make an apple cheesecake torte and, to my surprise, it was an instant hit. So over the years, my apple cheesecake torte has come to be expected at our family holiday dinners. And I’m happy to oblige.
However, two years ago things changed. My son’s diagnosis of Celiac Disease put the brakes on the traditional shortbread crust that this recipe calls for. I remember the first few weeks of cooking and baking gluten free there was so much to learn and at times it felt overwhelming. The diagnosis came one week before Thanksgiving. That dinner was a blur as we were still learning what was safe to eat. But by the time Christmas dinner preparations began I was a bit more confident and ready to try to rework some of my past successes. Imagine my delight when, on the shelves of my regular ol’ grocery store, I spied Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Mix! It was exactly what I needed to easily bring back my torte.
Notice I said easily. That was so important for me back then. I didn’t have to spend time experimenting with different flour mixes, operating in a world that still had so many unfamiliar terms. It was already done for me, wrapped up in a Bob’s Red Mill package and all I had to do was simply bake. I think it was then that Bob’s Red Mill gained my loyalty. As far as my torte was concerned that Christmas, no one detected anything different. My reputation remained intact within the family and my gluten free life was off to a great start.
Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides with cooking spray. Follow directions on Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix packaging. You will be instructed to divide the dough. Press one half of the dough into the springform pan and half way up the sides. For filling, in mixing bowl beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and egg. Pour over crust. In a small mixing bowl, combine sliced apples with sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour apple mixture over top of cheese mixture. Using a spoon, push the crust down on the sides, even with the apples. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400˚F, bake 20 – 25 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate.
Heykidfoodie.com is a collaboration between Kid Foodie, a 10 year old food lover with Celiac Disease, and his mom. They started the blog to provide opportunities for Kid Foodie to enjoy fresh, delicious food and to inspire other kids and parents to expand their culinary horizons. Through videos, recipes and foodie field trips, they hope to show that kids can be excited about healthy foods even in spite of dietary restrictions.
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a cake or something small to nibble on. I look forward to desserts during this time of year. Something to eat with my morning coffee or a small treat to keep me going while I decorate the house. These Mini Bundt Banana Almond Poppy Seed Cakes are the perfect solution.
Mini Bundt Banana Almond Poppy Seed Cakes
Preheat oven to 350°F
In a large bowl add flour, powdered sugar, almond meal, baking powder, and poppy seeds.
In a small bowl add bananas (smashed), vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk and almond extract. Mix well.
Then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until well combined.
Spray a mini bundt pan with a non-stick baking spray. Then pour a heaping 1/3 cup of batter into each 2 1/2 -inch bundt mold. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes in pan then invert onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.
Now for the glaze…. whisk powered sugar and coconut milk together until creamy smooth. Drizzle over top of cakes then garnish with chopped almonds.
By: Nicole Presley of Presley’s Pantry
As a kid I have very fond memories of my grandma’s house being full of Christmas cookies. I think she would start baking around Thanksgiving to ensure she had tons of cookies to feed all of us. My favorite cookies that she made were volcanoes and I have never found another recipe like them. They are almost like mini pecan pies but with walnuts and cherries in the middle for the “lava.” When my family first went dairy free and then gluten free, these cookies were put on the back burner. When Bob’s Red Mill asked me to work on holiday cookies for their blog I knew I wanted to work on my cherished cookies. The result is great and I am thrilled to be able to share my favorite cookie with my kids!
What you need:
Cut the butter substitute and dairy free cream cheese into the flour until it is evenly combined. (Think pie dough not cookie dough, for the texture.) Form into a ball, cover and chill for at least one hour. While the dough is chilling place the dried cherries in either hot cherry juice or hot water to soak. To make the filling combine the finely chopped walnuts, egg, brown sugar and vanilla together in a bowl. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll into 24 balls. Place each ball into a mini muffin tin and press into a bowl shape to the top of the muffin tin. You do not want the “crust” to be thin or they will break when you take them out of the pan. Place a small amount of the filling into each mini muffin tin. You want just enough filling to reach the top of the mini muffin tin because if the filling over flows the tin it will be hard to get the cookie out. Place one soaked cherry in the middle of each cookie for the “lava” and place into the oven. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Let cool in muffin tin before removing using a butter knife to run around the edge. Store in an air tight container or freeze for longer storage.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Rebecca is the single mother to two wonderful boys and author of Going Free: Helping you move to a gluten and dairy free life! She and her two boys live a gluten, dairy and food coloring free life. Rebecca is always looking for easier ways to do things. When she first learned that we had to eliminate these foods, she did some research and cleaned out the cabinets and we hasn’t looked back. Sure there are days that she misses the convince of eating foods full of gluten but knows that in the long run they are all healthier for it. Find more articles and recipes from her at Going Free.
This decadent, gluten free dessert comes from Betsy of Betsy Life. Betsylife is a sunny place that focuses on cooking, healthy living, and creating the life you crave. Betsy is all about making time for the things you love in life, expanding horizons, and enjoying the small things.
Gluten Free Gingerbread Layer Cake
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 2, 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream molasses, sugar, and butter until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the ginger.
In a separate bowl, sift together gluten free flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. ½ a cup at a time beat the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well combined. Meanwhile, whisk the baking soda into the boiling water. Mix water mixture into the rest of the batter (be careful of splattering!)
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add orange zest and extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip heavy cream into stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into frosting.
These delightful little donuts come from Anna of Blondie’s Cakes and Things. We love them because they’re cute and delicious, of course, but also because they use coconut flour- a high fiber, gluten free flour. Don’t be scared of all of the eggs, coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and eggs allow the baked good to come out fluffy and delicate. Of herself and her blog, Anna writes, “I started my blog, Blondie’s Cakes, a few years ago just so I’d have a place to catalog all my kitchen exploits. By then it’s been years since I started hovering over the shoulders of my friend’s aunts and grandmas, taking notes and watching them taste taste taste, sneaking in my spoon or sticking my finger in the sauce when I could. All along I’ve been hoarding up the recipes for some distant day in the future when I could pull them out and share them with someone, and through my blog that “someone” has turned into my readers. Along the way I’ve started writing and taking pictures and I like that my blog is pushing me to keep trying new things. I hope I never stop learning.” Enjoy!
Mini Gluten Free Choco-Coco Donuts
makes ~3 dozen mini donuts
recipe adapted from Comfy Belly @ comfybelly.com
Special equipment: Baking pan with mini donut shapes, though you can also bake these into cupcakes if you like.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine all ingredients (except for powdered sugar and juice) in a bowl and whisk either by hand or a mixer until completely blended. Scoop into a plastic zippy bag.
3. If your donut pan is non-stick you are good to go, otherwise lightly grease it with a bit of vegetable oil.
4. Snip the corner off of your plastic bag and pipe the batter into your donut mold, about 1/2 full if you want true donut shapes and 3/4 full if you don’t care so much and just want thicker donuts (I chose the latter route).
5. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you have a regular donut size pan or if you’re making cupcakes, your baking time will double, so keep that in mind.
6. While the cupcakes are cooling, mix together the powdered sugar and your liquid of choice to make the icing. Once the cupcakes are cool, dunk them in and decorate as you like.
Note: These keep really well in a tightly sealed container in the fridge and get even more tender/moist by the 2nd day….if they last that long.