Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Scones

Yields 10 decent-sized scones.

I am a cheater. I use a mix... Pamela's Products Baking and Pancake Mix (see Products and Shopping page). Think: Bisquick, only gluten-free and without the partially hydrogenated oils. This recipe is on the back of the bag, but you could sub in an equal amount of flours, a tsp baking soda and another tsp baking powder to make it work without the mix :)


2-1/4 c. Pamela's Mix
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c. milk
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
~1/2 c. chocolate chips (or you can use currants, frozen blueberries, dried apricots, etc. something hard because the dough is stiff and a soft addition will get smushed)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Cut in the butter. I have found the easiest way to get this accomplished is by pinching the small pieces of flour into the dry mixture. The objective is to get all the butter squished and coated by the dry stuff...when it's done getting 'cut in', the blend will be sort of loosely crumbly-looking.

Add the milk and egg, combining it all together with a fork. This keeps it 'fluffy' and prevents the scones from becoming like little lead wads when done.

Loosely mix in the chocolate chips (or fruit), also with the fork.

Dough will be thick and sticky.

Drop large, tall blobs of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then eat!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Slacker Suburban Housewife's Single-Serving Tuna Casserole

Yields enough for one person if she's hungry...two if they're just sort of hungry or are small children.

You don't have to be a slacker housewife to make this dish. Just being lazy or tired or pressed for time...or just hungry for tuna casserole when no one else is would be criteria enough.

Is anyone ever hungry for tuna casserole?

Why, yes! In fact, I was sitting in my third parent/teacher conference of the morning on this cold, rainy day when I suddenly became obsessed with the idea of making tuna casserole and eating it. This is not something I ever make. Nor is it something my own mom ever made. It is not something my kids have ever eaten. Or heard about...until last week. My older daughter read about it in a book and asked me about it. That must be what planted the seed. *my 'a-ha' moment*

After an arduous trip to Target during which a lady totally slammed her cart into my body ("I could swear you weren't there!" was her excuse) and it really, really hurt. Also during which we had severe disagreements about the stupid wrapping bag/paper/ribbon for a child's birthday present and intermittent whining about the lack of Lego purchases...I needed comfort food. And for some irrational reason, tuna casserole sounded very comforting.

There is no way in Hades my kids would eat tuna casserole, so I knew I was on my own. I made them their lunch and then made mine. I know tuna casserole is easy, and everyone who's reading this and likes tuna casserole already knows how to make it, but whatever... here is my slacker way to make enough for one person.

What you'll need:

  • small saucepan
  • can opener
  • oven- or microwave-safe bowl
  • fork
  • knife
  • water
  • large handful of pasta (I chose Bionaturae Gluten-Free Elbow Macaroni because this type of GF pasta is the best, in my opinion)
  • 5-oz. can of tuna, opened and drained
  • glop of mayonnaise (for greasiness)
  • squirt of sweet pickle relish (for zest)
  • salt and pepper
  • cheese, sliced (I used havarti and gruyère and cheddar)

  1. Put enough water into saucepan to cook the pasta (I fill the pan as full as I can because I always forget that I am cooking something and this way all the water doesn't boil away and the pasta and pan do not burn). 
  2. Put pan of water on the burner and turn that burner on (this is a critical step). Set to "high."
  3. Bring water to a boil and then place in the large handful of pasta.
  4. Set timer for the prescribed amount of cooking time...usually found on the packaging. Start the timer and put in a prominent location where you are likely to hear it when it goes off.
  5. Try to remember to stir occasionally so pasta doesn't clump.
  6. Turn burner off when timer goes off or when you remember that the pasta is still cooking.
Pasta boiling.

Pasta that was forgotten, 
illustrating the awesomeness of filling the pan with a lot of water.

Everyone clear on how to cook pasta? Okay...good. 

Tuna part
  1. Open can with can opener. This part was going to be a Granny's Gadget on my other blog, but while we were making the video the phone rang, and someone left a really loud and distracting message so we had to can it. (get it?) And no, those are not mouse droppings on the kitchen counter. They are seeds from my older son's seeded sourdough artisan baguette that he needed for his sandwich. Dude is such a princess sometimes.
  2. Drain the tuna and dump into oven-safe bowl  It should look like this.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Glop on the mayo and squirt on the relish 
  5. Mash and mix it all up with a fork.
  6. Add in the pasta and stir it all up until well mixed.
  7. Slice the cheese. Layer on top of pasta and tuna mixture 
  8. Bake uncovered in conventional oven at 425ºF for 15 minutes or zap in the microwave for 2 minutes 30 seconds on 70% power (or until cheese is melted). Oven method produces nice crusty browning of cheese ...


And you know that if I can make this without hurting anyone or burning the house down, you can, too :)

Important note: after seeing how yummy this looked, and largely because of the fact that it did not produce that frighteningly cat food-like odor but instead the delicious smell of toasting cheese, my kids were hovering over me begging for bites. Well, not really. But they didn't run gagging and screaming from the room... so I'm calling it a 'win.'

Chocolate Pudding from Scratch

Yields 6 decent-sized portions.

Homemade chocolate pudding is waaaaaayyyyyyy better than pudding from a box.

And it really isn't all that hard to make. It does take some watching and stirring and paying attention... ugh... we know how that tends to go for me :P  (click here and here and here if you don't know why they call me Burning Mom)

I am going to teach you how to make it so that you, too, can enjoy a more wholesome pudding!  Note:  this is not the low-fat, low-cal, sugar-free healthfood version... no sireebob...


1/2-cup  granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 oz. chocolate, chopped to facilitate melting ... you can use unsweetened, bittersweet or semisweet... I use bittersweet and I use 3 oz. shhhhhh....
3 whole eggs
2-1/2 cups half-and-half (but that comes in a pint size which is 2 cups, so I use one half cup of whipping cream... more of which figures in later)
2 tablespoons butter... softened or cut into small pieces for easier melting
1 teaspoon vanilla

First, put the sugar, salt and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan
get the chocolate starting to melt in a double-boiler on LOW heat.
(I use a teeny pan inside a metal bowl inside a small pan with 1" or so of water in it... 
if the chocolate gets too hot, something weird and grainy happens... really)

mmmmmmmmm... melting chocolate...

While the chocolate is melting, mix the eggs and cream/milk until creamy yellow...

I like to make it frothy and so does Baby X :)

In the meantime, keep stirring the melting chocolate so that it is creamy and fully melted...

I need a stirring gadget for this, but for now the spoon handle does the trick ;-)

Pour the eggs and cream mixture into the saucepan containing the sugar, cornstarch and salt.
Set on medium heat.
Whisk thoroughly and even use a scraper to get the dry ingredients out of pan's corners
(yes, I know it's a round pan... but it does have corners!)

Here's where the hardish part comes in...

you need to almost continuously stir/whisk this mixture while it's heating until it starts thickening, 
which takes about 10 minutes.
It really does take about 10 minutes every time for me.
At the same time, make sure the chocolate is smoothly melted, and once it is you need to 'cool' it... 
I usually just set it on the counter and occasionally put it in the fridge for a few minutes.

When you first begin to notice the thickening, add the butter and vanilla... and keep stirring!

Once the butter is melted 
(it should be soft enough or in small enough pieces that this happens pretty fast)
you whisk in the 'cooled' melted chocolate!
Keep whisking and scraping so that it is minimally lumpy and totally combined.

Once it is totally combined, pour into cups for individual servings or a larger bowl for an enormous single serving from which you can scoop individual servings later.
Put in the fridge until semi-solid :)

Now time to whip the cream!

I put in powdered sugar and vanilla in no particular amounts... just sort of to taste or on a whim.
And I tend to overwhip the cream... almost but not quite butter...
but that is how I like it.

Glop that whipped cream on top...

Dig in!

My husband told me that this last batch was fancy restaurant-quality!  Woo hoo...

not bad for Burning Mom ;-)

The Perfect Cheesecake

Yields one 9" cheesecake

combine 1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I used gluten-free graham "style" cookies...KinniKritters brand), 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 1/3 cup melted butter.  Spread in the bottom of a 9" springform pan, pressing some up the sides to form a rim about 1/2" to 3/4' high.

Cheese batter
2 – 8 oz. packages of full-fat cream cheese (room temperature)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Stir cheese until soft and creamy.  Add eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Beat until thoroughly creamed and smooth.  Pour into the crust...  

Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes.  

Butter burned in the bottom of the oven because I forgot to put the dang thing on a cookie sheet... the pan has a leak, clearly.

Remove from oven (it will still look pretty jiggly) and top with...

the following mixture:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
4 tbs granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pour this mixture over the baked cheese batter and return to the oven, increasing the heat to 450ºF and bake an additional 7 minutes (it will still look pretty jiggly again).

Cool in the fridge for a couple of hours (I left mine in overnight) and enjoy!

This was the kind of cheesecake you think about when you conjure up The Perfect Cheesecake.  And I made it myself.  That means that ANYone can do it! 

My Favorite Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes approx. 5 dozen 2-1/2 inch diameter cookies

  • 3 c. gluten-free flour (I use a combo of Gluten Free Pantry All-Purpose Flour and King Arthur Flour's gluten free multi-purpose flour...the flour you choose definitely makes a difference!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 c. golden brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 360ºF.

Stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars in another large mixing bowl until thoroughly blended. Some people soften the butter...I don't. I cut the sticks into lengthwise quarters and then slice it all into small chunks. Creaming the sugars with cold butter yields a texture of cookie I prefer. I also cream the sugars one at a time. You can use an electric mixer (easier if butter is softened), but I use a wooden spoon.

Add in slightly beaten eggs (you can just beat them in the same bowl) and then the vanilla. Beat until well blended.

Combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture (most recipes say to do this gradually. I just dump it all in at once and then "cut" it all together with the side of my wooden spoon...sort of like making pie crust) until it is well mixed. If it seems too dry and crumbly, you might add a splash (between a tsp and tbs) of milk or cream to the doesn't take much.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets (I recently discovered parchment and swear by it).

Baking time: In my oven, baking for 11 minutes and then allowing to cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes yields a perfect chewy cookie. Baking for 13 minutes and cooled for 2 creates a delicately crisp cookie. My husband is a cookie-making master and taught me that keeping an eye on the cookies is VERY important! These gluten-free cookies seem a little more fragile than regular cookies and really benefit from those "2 minutes on the sheets" cooling period. Then transfer with a spatula to racks to finish cooling.