Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Green Bean Chicken

I decided to present for your dining pleasure one of our absolute favorite family recipes... Green Bean Chicken. A simple, hearty dish that will feed a family of four to six with ease! May it bring warmth to your stomach (and your heart) on this chilly December evening. As my health and energy continue to increase, I hope to be sharing more of our family favorites with you throughout the holiday season.

Green Bean Chicken

What You’ll Need...

Thinly sliced chicken breasts (approx 1 lb chicken)*
Long grain brown rice – 1.5 cups (although white rice is delicious too)
Chicken bouillon, 3 cups
3 shallots, thinly sliced
Garlic, 6-8 cloves
Several large handfuls fresh green beans (preferably organic)
Crimini mushrooms, 20 quartered or chopped into thick slices
Olive oil

Optional: replace 1 cup of bouillon for the rice with tomato sauce

*We also enjoy making this recipe with one lb of chicken thighs, although it is of course fattier and so less healthy

How It Works...

Heat a large glug of olive oil in a four quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add thinly sliced shallots and sauté until they begin to caramelize. Next add chicken pieces (I cut up each thinly sliced breast into three equal portions) and sear both sides with the shallots, until the flesh is white on the outside but still pink in the middle. Add brown rice, bouillon and all whole (peeled) garlic cloves and bring to a boil. (If you are using tomato sauce with bouillon, add it now.) Once the liquid is boiling, add green beans (ends removed, remaining beans broken into 1 – 2 inch pieces) and all the quartered mushrooms. Dust with fresh ground pepper and salt to taste. Stir well with a wooden spoon a few times to completely integrate chicken, rice and vegetables as they boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 – 55 minutes or until rice is fluffy and soft and vegetables and meat are moist and cooked through. Chicken should be so soft it falls apart at the touch of a fork when finished.

Serves 4 – 6.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spaghetti (Squash) with Meat Sauce

This recipe represents one more small step on my never-ending quest to feed my children and husband more healthfully. As I've mentioned before, as the resident chef here I walk a fine line between "healthy" and "too healthy". When any meal falls into what my children might qualify the "too healthy" category (meaning that they don't think it tastes delicious enough to merit the high vegetable intake) they will mainly push the food around on their plate a little before asking what else we have in the refrigerator.

Luckily, a mommy really can't go wrong with spaghetti. Whenever my kids ask me what we are having for dinner and I reply, "Pasta with red sauce", their little faces illuminate as though I have just told them that Santa Claus himself is coming to share the meal. There may well be many children out there that don't enjoy spaghetti, but in my house, it is an absolute favorite.

Thanks to this incredible good will in our home toward spaghetti I felt like I could experiment a little and push the envelope... so lately I've been working on this homemade ragout using spaghetti squash in lieu of pasta.

I hadn't really cooked much with spaghetti squash before. In general, I think I've always been a little intimidated by most winter squashes. Luckily my local grocery store places a little sticker on each squash with specific directions for how to cook it using either the conventional oven or a microwave. The first time I tried my hand at making a spaghetti squash, I definitely didn't cook it for long enough and so the threads of squash were more difficult to fork out of the rind and perhaps a bit too al dente.

My main advice with this recipe would be to make sure that you cook your spaghetti squash until the threads are soft and supple, and then be sure to saute them a little longer once you have combined them with your meat and vegetable sauce. I always know when I've cooked the spaghetti squash perfectly because my children don't ask me why their "pasta" is crunchy. (I think this is one occasion when it is definitely preferable to overcook rather than undercook the spaghetti!) When served fresh, warm and perhaps dusted with a bit of Parmesan cheese, this meal makes an ideal option for a truly heart-healthy yet traditional family meal.

Spaghetti (Squash) with Meat Sauce

What You'll Need:

1 spaghetti squash
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 handfuls mushrooms, minced
3-4 small zucchini squash, minced
1/4 cup red Zinfandel
15 oz diced tomatoes
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
Italian seasoning
garlic powder

How It Works:

With a cleaver or strong long-bladed knife, cut spaghetti squash in half width-wise. Place one-half of squash with cut end down in about 1/2 inch of water, in a glass dish. Cover with well with plastic wrap (so that plastic is well affixed to sides of the glass dish, creating a sort of air pocket all around the base of the squash). Microwave on high for about 12-14 minutes or until you can easily remove squash "spaghetti" strands from the rind with the tines of a fork. Repeat all steps with 2nd half of spaghetti squash. Pour squash spaghetti into a large bowl, cover it and set aside.


Pour grapeseed oil into the base of a large, deep saucepan and heat at a medium-high temperature. When oil is warm but not smoking, add ground beef and break up any chunks with a large wooden spoon. Stir beef while cooking, seasoning with salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning to taste. (I use about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp garlic powder... but you should make it to suit your personal enjoyment and/or any health restrictions you may have.)

When meat has browned, remove it from the pan and place to the side in a separate bowl. Return your deep saucepan (with the same oil) to the stovetop burner and add minced onions. Saute for about two minutes, stirring constantly and then add garlic. Saute for another minute. When garlic smells fragrant (but has not burned), add the minced mushrooms and zucchini. (You may decide to add another glug of grapeseed oil at this point.) Combine everything well with your wooden spoon and then saute the vegetable mixture covered for 3-5 minutes. (Covering will release the moisture in the mushrooms and zucchini without drying them out.) Remove the cover, check your mixture. Stir, reduce temperature a bit and allow to continue sauteing over medium-low heat if the veggies seem too moist or raw.

When your vegetables have finished their dance in the saute pan, re-add the browned ground beef and combine well using the wooden spoon. Next add your diced tomatoes and stir them gently. Cook for the entire sauce for 2 minutes, and then add the zinfandel. Reduce heat to low, stir well, and allow to simmer uncovered. Simmer for a minimum of 10-15 minutes on low. Feel free to simmer longer, the flavor only gets more delicious with increased simmering.

As the time nears when you are ready to serve, add about 3/4 of your squash "spaghetti" strands into your meat sauce and combine everything on the stove over low heat for a few minutes to re-warm the squash strands and fuse all of the flavors together. (You may also prefer to serve the squash pasta as a "bed" with the sauce spooned gently onto its top.) If you enjoy cheese, try grating a bit of Parmesan cheese over the top of each plate before serving.

Serves 6. Just as delicious on the second day, makes great leftovers!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Betty Crocker's Cream Cheese Cookies

I grew up in the 1970s and '80s as the youngest of five children. Thanks to the spread in our ages, many of my siblings were already out of the house by the time I was a kid riding bikes, trading stickers and singing in the local elementary school pageant.

I loved listening to stories about my siblings and their adventures in the world, and longed to be as old as they were. I missed having them around. Being a youngest child with such a large age spread was a lot like being an only child - the house where I grew up was pretty quiet - and I looked forward more than anything to the holiday season when everyone would congregate back together in our parents' house to enjoy games, music, movies, laughter and lots (and lots, and lots) of food. And then there was the dessert... have I mentioned the dessert?

So many gorgeous, fabulous, decadent desserts graced our holiday table throughout the years. Of course we experimented with new recipes but certain sweet treats showed up annually by popular demand. These included sugar cookies, almond crescents (which would be fun to try making gluten free!) and our very favorite of all, Betty Crocker's cream cheese cookies.

My mom made most desserts from scratch and usually without a lot of sugar. In retrospect, that may have been part of the tantalizing allure of these fabled cream cheese cookies. Since they were made with yellow cake mix, the sugar had been pre-added by the cake company and mom couldn't tone it down or cut the proportions in half. The sweet result? A definite addiction to cream cheese cookies by all members of our family - most especially my dad :-)

Holiday meals and family gatherings have been a little more challenging to navigate since I first went gluten free two years ago. Food, usually such a uniting factor for my family, has been a sensitive topic. I get asked what people should cook, whether I will be able to eat the food they are bringing, and if not - why not.

I try in general just to enjoy whatever part of the meal that I can without putting anyone to extra trouble. This is rarely a problem as there are usually many tasty sides and vegetables that I can enjoy, and quite often the main course for holiday meals turns out to be fish. In a lasagna year, I bring along gluten free pasta or some kind of meat that has not been marinated.

The only real sense of loss that I have experienced in the last few years during the holidays has centered around the dessert table - so gorgeously piled with cakes, pies and cookies. None of which I can eat.

Which is why I absolutely FREAKED OUT when I read a few days ago that Betty Crocker is now making a gluten free yellow cake mix that can be purchased in major food chain stores all over the country. I was so excited that I did a happy dance AND called my mother to tell her that once again, I will be able to enjoy her famous cream cheese cookies at Christmas.

Of course I couldn't wait that long, since the holidays are still months away. I searched around my town until I found a grocery store that carried the magical goodies (Betty Crocker is also vending Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie mix, Brownie mix and Chocolate Cake mix). As soon as my husband returned home from work I handed him our three children and set forth to claim my Betty Crocker destiny.

So here it is... the famous Betty Crocker recipe for cream cheese cookies that my family has used for the last thirty years or so. I won't lie, the gluten free version doesn't taste exactly the same as they did when made with regular white flour - but they are still light, fluffy, moist and delicious. Your gluten free family will love them! Happy Holidays to you all three months early :-) and thank you Betty Crocker! for bringing gluten free goodness to the shelves of 'regular' grocery stores everywhere.

Betty Crocker's Cream Cheese Cookies

What You'll Need...

1/4 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese (or 1/3 less fat Neufchatel cream cheese)
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 pkg Betty Crocker yellow cake mix

1/2 C shredded coconut or nuts

How It Works...

Cream butter and cheese. Blend in egg yolk and vanilla. Add cake mix (1/2 at a time). Mix well. If you're using a mixer, add the last part of the cake mix by hand. (If you decide to opt for the coconut and/or nuts, now is the time to add those too.) Chill dough 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Either use a cookie press/ ungreased sheet/ 6-9 minutes or drop by scant tea onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until delicately brown.

Makes about 24 two-inch cookies.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fabulous French Toast

Lately, my children have inspired me to be a pretty crafty chef. Today's recipe will show you how to sneak eggs into the gluten free breakfast of a cranky two year old. That said, your adult family members and guests will love it too!

Kids seem to go through phases with eating. My elder child loved tomatoes as a baby and suddenly one day decided that he would no longer eat them. Same thing with carrots... once his favorite food, now looked upon with disdain. And I've already told you about the problems we're having with bell peppers.

Our two year old started eating scrambled eggs about six months ago and couldn't get enough of them. Whenever my husband or I would ask what we should make for breakfast, the answer was always "Eggs!" Over the last two weeks though, he has begun to play a game with us when it comes to eggs. We ask what he wants for breakfast, he replies "Eggs!" but when we cook eggs for him he refuses to eat them. Worse, he will actually scoop up a cooked egg off of his plate in his grubby little hand, carry it over to my plate, plop it down (covered in crayon shavings, mind you) and say, "This is for you, mommy!" Did I mention his hysterical giggling? We are certain that he has no allergic reaction whatsoever to eggs, so it seems to be far more of a I'M-TWO-AND-I'M-IN-CHARGE type of thing. He likes to refuse to eat his breakfast to see who will blink first.

Healthy kids need more than bread and sugar for breakfast... so I decided to look beyond cereal, fruit, juices and bagels to find an alternative. The solution was so simple, I'm amazed I hadn't thought to make it years ago with my first child.

French Toast!

Yes, the same fabulous fluffy toast that your mother or grandmother might have made you when you were small... but healthier and even more delicious.
This meal is a win-win: your children will get protein, choline and B12 from the hidden egg while you (wink, smile) avoid the frustration of an early morning tantrum. As my son said just this morning, "Eggs are yucky mommy! French toast is yummy!"

Preparation is simple and fast - you will be able to start from scratch and have it on the table in less than 10 minutes. What more could a tired mommy with demanding (but picky) little eaters ask for? Oh yeah, that someone would make me a piece! :-)

Fabulous French Toast

What You'll Need...

4 slices of gluten free bread*
1/4 vanilla rice milk
1 egg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 - 2 tbsp butter

*I recommend the frozen variety that you can find in many health food stores or ordered direct from companies such as Kinnikinnick. For this recipe I typically use the Whole Foods Brand Gluten Free Sandwich Bread which is sweet and thick.

How It Works...

In a medium sized bowl combine rice milk, egg and cinnamon and whisk it lightly with a fork. Are you using frozen bread? If so, toast it now so that when you are ready to soak the bread slices, they will be warm and firm. (If not using frozen bread, skip that step.)

When your bread is ready, soak it for 30 seconds per side in the egg mixture until it has absorbed the liquid but not become overly sodden.

Remove each slice after it has soaked on each side and place aside on a plate or tray until you are ready to fry it.

Melt about half of your butter in a medium sized saucepan over low-medium temperature. When the butter is warm but not smoking, add the first slice (more than one is fine if the pan is wide enough) and fry it for approximately 2 minutes on each side. Should excess egg accumulate on the sides of your toast, it is easy to gently "trim" off with your spatula before serving.

Delicious! May be served with jam, sprinkled sugar, maple syrup, apple sauce or your own favorite breakfast topping. I personally love this recipe so much I usually eat my slices just as they are, without any extras.

Serves 4. Yum!

P.S. You can make this recipe dairy/casein free by substituting canola oil or vegetable oil for the butter.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Simple Pasta with Red Sauce
(...and sneaky bell peppers!)

With three children under the age of five to take care of, I don't have a lot of time these days to experiment with new recipes. Not to mention, money is a little tighter with so many mouths to feed. When it's time to make dinner, I need to know that my kids are going to both like and eat their food. Yet I also want to make sure that they are getting the nutrition they need. Which means that as much as they would love to subsist on nuggets, fries, macaroni and ice cream, it just isn't possible. They need vegetables.

One of my favorite vegetables to cook with is the bell pepper (both red and green). My husband and I use them all of the time, and they remain a staple item on our weekly grocery list. We try to buy organic (thanks to the high level of pesticide residue on regular peppers) but when we can't I just give the regular ones a good scrubbing with a fruit and vegetable rinse. Bell peppers are an amazing superfood. Not only are they a great source of vitamins B6 and C, plus folic acid and beta carotene, but they are chock full of antioxidants.

However, try telling this to a four year old child. Or actually, don't bother. If yours is anything like mine, you might as well avoid this tantrum: "BUT I DON'T LIKE PEPPERS! I HATE PEPPERS! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME EAT PEPPERS!" I'm not going to lie, my children have gone so far as to throw their peppers right off of the plate and out the door.

So why not avoid the argument altogether? Here is our family recipe for a simple pasta with red sauce where the bell peppers are so tiny, your kids (or picky partners) won't even notice them!

Simple Pasta with Red Sauce
(...and sneaky Bell Peppers)

What You'll Need...

2 large ripe tomatoes
1 medium green bell pepper, finely minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 bay leaves
Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning*
15 oz tomato sauce
grapeseed oil
1/2 pkg gluten free penne

*If you can't get the Penzeys, their Tuscan Sunset is a mix of: sweet basil, Turkish oregano, Aleppo pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper and anise seed

How It Works...

Boil the gluten free penne in a large pot of salted water, following directions on the package. While this is happening...

Mince up your bell pepper, onion, garlic and shallot. If you have a Cuisinart mini-chopper this can cut your prep time considerably, but if not just use a sharp knife and mince away! Combine them in a bowl close at hand.

In a large, deep saucepan pour a good sized glug of grapeseed oil and heat at medium temperature. When the oil is hot but not smoking, use your clean bare hands to squish two large ripe tomatoes over the pan and then add their juice and flesh to the warm oil. Next add the minced vegetable mixture and saute over low heat until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the chili and garlic powders, a liberal sprinkling of Penzeys and the bay leaves. Stir and saute for about 1 additional minute. Finally, pour in the tomato sauce, and reduce heat.

Simmer the sauce on low for about 8-10 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes. It will thicken slightly. When your penne has finished boiling, drain it and then add it into the sauce pan full of red sauce. Stir gently with a large wooden spoon until all pasta is well coated with the thickened red sauce. Salt and pepper to taste (if necessary... I don't add extra salt or pepper to ours.) Serve to your family or guests while still warm.

P.S. I made this pasta with red sauce again last week and not only did my kids not notice the green bell peppers, they asked for seconds and thirds :-) HeeHee!

Serves 4-6 and makes a fabulous comfort food.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quiche Lorraine
with Spinach and Mushrooms

Birthdays were always extraordinary in my family growing up. My mother made them into really wondrous occasions (especially when we were small) involving special presents, clothes, foods, friends and activities. She celebrated the mere fact that we were alive with absolute joy, which is darn sweet considering that she was the one who should really have been getting the presents from each of us! After all, she was the one who put in the hard work to give us life.

Somewhere along the way I internalized these birthday rituals as part of my personal code of living. Birthdays are special, because they remind us how lucky we are to have a certain person in our life.

Last week my husband celebrated his 35th birthday. He's a no muss, no fuss type of guy so it's rare that he actually wants anything specific for his birthday. H is genuinely happier to go hiking or for a ride on his bicycle than he would be to receive a fancy new watch or gadget. For this reason, I try to find ways to appreciate him on his birthday that I know will truly mean something to him.

Luckily, my man's heart is definitely in his stomach!

For his birthday this year, I decided to bake him a quiche. I don't know who said that real men don't eat quiche... because my father loved it and so does H. He especially loves Quiche Lorraine for its bacon. Usually I try to minimize bacon consumption in our house as I am hoping my husband will live a long life with clear arteries and a healthy heart. Still, every now and again the occasion calls for bacon or sausage... and this was one of those times.

Quiche is such a wonderful dish. Using the simplest of ingredients, you create a sophisticated masterpiece brimming with flavor. I invented this gluten free recipe for Quiche Lorraine working from three main ingredients my husband loves under all circumstances: eggs, mushrooms and bacon. From there, the ingredients seemed to suggest themselves one by one... caramelized onions, spinach, cream, crumbled cheese. They just made sense together.

My husband ate no less than three large slices of his birthday quiche for his birthday dinner. His main comment was that he wished I'd doubled the recipe and made two of them, since we managed to polish off the entire pan in one sitting. This heartfelt praise made me glow... and I feel so confident about this recipe that I expect that you will be glowing with pride too when you serve it with love to your family, friends or co-workers.

With a relatively fast preparation and cooking time, such a yummy meal doesn't have to wait for special occasions. It could be your comfort food after a long day at work, the dish you bring to exhausted parents caring for a new baby, or even your contribution to a potluck supper. You don't need a reason for quiche. Or shall I say, there's always a reason for quiche.

Quiche Lorraine with Spinach and Mushrooms

What You'll Need:

Italian Style Gluten Free Breadcrumbs (3-4 oz per glass pie dish)
5 eggs
6 strips bacon
1/2 cup crumbled sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 small onions
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1/2 bag baby spinach leaves
Sea salt (to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Penzeys Bavarian seasoning (to taste, optional)

How It Works:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

While it is heating, grease a standard 9.5 inch pie dish (I use glass) with a thick layer of butter. Next, dust the entire dish liberally with your gluten free breadcrumbs, until there is a thin coating of breadcrumbs covering all of the butter.

It takes a little while to fry bacon, so I would recommend cooking your bacon on the stove in a separate pan while you begin the process of chopping the mushrooms and onions.

Using a very sharp knife, finely chop your onions and mushrooms. Depending on how much you enjoy the texture of mushrooms, you may also use a Cuisinart mini-prep machine to mince them for this recipe.

In a large saute pan, add a large glug of extra virgin olive oil over medium temperature. When it is hot but not smoking, add your onions and mushrooms. Stir frequently until onions begin to turn translucent. While the mixture sautes, season it with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and Pensey's Bavarian Seasoning to taste. (If you can't find Penzeys, consider whipping up your own mixture of crushed brown mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and sage). Once the onions are a bit caramelized (and your mushrooms may have given off a good deal of liquid) remove the pan from burner and cover it.

You will need a large bowl in which to make the custard. Add the eggs, milk and heavy cream and blend it well with an electric hand mixer or fork. Set aside.

Now you are ready to assemble the quiche for baking. Take your greased pie plate full of breadcrumbs and layer the bottom with healthy handfuls of baby spinach leaves (about half of a standard pre-washed bag). Next, sprinkle your crumbled sharp cheddar cheese on top of the spinach. Pour the custard on top of the spinach/cheese mixture. Finally, crumble all the cooked bacon on top of the custard and allow it to sink slightly into the mixture.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes until its top has browned and your tester (whether toothpick or knife) has come out clean when dipped into the center of the quiche.

Serves 4 to 6 (two slices each vs. one larger slice each).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tasty, Gluten-Free and Fast!
Anti-Inflammation Breakfast Hash

When I was first diagnosed with gluten intolerance almost two years ago, it came as a real shock to me that I could possibly be having trouble digesting wheat - which was my absolute favorite food staple. I knew that some of my favorite foods (cheese danishes!) were not the healthiest, but I attributed that to their saturated fat or sugar content and never suspected the grain or gluten.

At that time, my doctor/nutritionist talked with me about the silent, chronic inflammation taking place in my body in the form of autoimmune thyroiditis. He explained how important it was for me to avoid the foods that caused inflammation in my gut, so that I could heal and reduce my TPO antibodies which were at that time off the charts.

Everything he said proved to be true - I followed his dietary and supplement suggestions and experienced a complete and perfect healing. Since then, I've been fascinated by what I've read about internal inflammation, and the foods that can help protect a person from silent long term inflammation that triggers serious diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

The basic premise of the anti-inflammation diet is fairly simple. To protect your health, it is recommended that you:*

  • Eat a variety of whole grains plus fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts daily.

  • Indulge in the leaner meats, preferably chicken and fish.

  • If you must have red meat (like me!) consider buffalo or the leanest possible cuts of beef.

  • Stay away from saturated fats, processed foods, most dairy and sugar.

  • Make sure to get a good helping of Omega-3s every day, and don't forget that diet is only part of the picture.

  • Exercise and work on reducing your stress level

I have to admit, I was a little concerned at first about the emphasis on eating a "variety of whole grains". Since my diagnosis with gluten intolerance I have typically turned to rice in its many forms to meet my refined carbohydrate needs. Apparently I've been ingesting my fair share of empty calories. Still, other than quinoa, I haven't spent a lot of time experimenting with other gluten free grains.

So... it's time for us to learn more about buckwheat, steel cut oats processed in a dedicated gf mill, and sorghum. I also need to focus on cooking for my family with brown rice rather than the nutrient-poor white kind.

I'm pleased to report to my gluten free readers that the anti-inflammation diet seems to go along very easily with a typical gluten free repertoire.
So far, following the guidelines hasn't required much change - just a heightened focus on where my food supply is coming from (do they use pesticides?) and the need to cook with less butter and cream.

This morning, inspired by my readings about the anti-inflammatory qualities of egg whites and turmeric, I decided to throw together a quick and delicious anti-inflammation breakfast hash. I'll probably keep experimenting with this one... use a little minced fresh garlic perhaps. Still, if you're looking for a quick and tasty meal that will give you lots of energy while reducing any hidden inflammation I think you will like today's result.

Anti-Inflammation Breakfast Hash

What You'll Need:

2 egg whites, combined with a fork (preferably from Omega-3 eggs)
3 oz of tinned trout in olive oil (salmon would be even better!)
1 large handful of rinsed baby spinach (preferably organic)
Turmeric (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)

How It Works:

Heat a non-stick saute pan over medium heat for about a minute so that heat is distributed. Add the tinned trout in olive oil and use a wooden spoon to break up the larger chunks. Before the olive oil begins to bubble, add the two egg whites to the trout mixture and stir it all together into a hash. Remove spoon and allow to cook for a minute. Egg will begin to change color. Next, sprinkle in turmeric and black pepper to taste. (I personally use a big dash of turmeric and a small dash of pepper.) Stir well into the rapidly cooking egg/trout mixture. Finally, add the baby spinach leaves and integrate them well into your hash. Cook for approx 30 seconds to 1 minute until the spinach begins to wilt. Turn off heat under pan and allow it to sit undisturbed for about a minute to allow the flavors to set. Especially wonderful if eaten immediately...

To add a special anti-inflammatory "ooomph" consider serving with:

  • a side of fresh fruit

  • sliced fresh tomatoes

  • a mug of green tea

Serves 1-2.

*Guidelines from The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Anti-Inflammation Diet by Christopher P. Cannon, M.d. and Elizabeth Vierck

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies...
Comfort Food For Happy Kids
(and their anxious parents)

They say that fear is a great motivator... and if so, then today's parents must be the most motivated group of individuals who ever lived. Because frankly, there is so much out there to be afraid of if you love your kids. (And I'm just talking about food!)

I woke up this morning to an email from my GP explaining his thoughts about the currently proposed United States national health care legislation. He had a lot to say, in his own very articulate way. One of the key points that caught my attention early on in his message revolved around the risk of getting cancer in your lifetime. According to my GP, an average person in the year 1940 had about a 1 in 65 risk of getting some kind of cancer during the course of their lifetime. Apparently today that risk stands at 1 in 1.5 people (can this really be true!?!) and current projections indicate that within the next decade, every single person on the planet will develop some kind of cancer during their lifetime if they don't die from some form of accident or infection.

Now I haven't reviewed the fine print to his statistics. I assume that he must be including all forms of cancer in this number - so I'm guessing he is lumping benign skin cancers or other easily treatable forms of cancer in with the more serious stuff. Still... chills ran up my spine as I read his words. Two of my three small children were busy playing Legos by my feet and I couldn't help looking at them and wondering with a little despair, "Are both of you really going to get cancer some day no matter what I do?"

What a terrible notion. If you are like me, you would probably do anything and everything that you could think of to protect the people you love -- your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends -- from such a fate.

My doctor believes, as I do, that you are what you eat. Health begins and ends in the gut, and so as a mother I take feeding my children very seriously. I answered my doctor's call to arms today by worrying once again about the meals I am feeding my children.

Lately my second child, aged two, has been undergoing tests for a suspected food allergy. His diapers have been just awful for months. Our pediatrician and I went immediately for the celiac tests, given my own history. The bloodwork came back negative for an inflamation or immune response to wheat, so they are now running stool tests. We have begun the process of beginning an elimination diet for him... and will be eliminating all of the major allergens from his diet one by one for two weeks at a time. Two weeks of no dairy. Two weeks of no soy. You get the picture. Mommy (that's me) keeps a detailed journal of what he eats and how it affects his bowel movements. For me it means a lot more of what most celiacs are already great at - reading labels, looking for hidden ingredients, finding creative alternatives and watching to see how what you eat affects how you feel. Except in this case, I worry so much more about the results because the person feeling badly is a tiny, fragile child that I gave life to only two years ago.

The pressure that comes along with trying to keep little children eating a specialized, limited diet is intense - especially if you are working with a limited budget, which we are. The obstacles to success are also great. First of all, how do you convince the child to abstain from favorite foods that are bad for him or her? What small child doesn't want to live 24/7 on pizza, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese? How does a well-meaning parent explain to their child why they are the only kid who can't eat the cake at birthday parties? How can a parent be sure that teachers along the way won't "forget" and give their child 'forbidden' gluten, dairy, soy, etc. in the form of a little treat here and there? How can you be sure that well meaning people like grandparents, family friends and babysitters won't slip your kid something with an allergen?

Even if your kid doesn't have dietary restrictions or food allergies, it's still tough to keep them thriving on a healthy and balanced diet. Buying organic is tough on a shoestring. These days I usually resort to getting non-organic vegetables and fruits and then washing them really well with the special soaps that are supposed to get rid of pesticide residue. I feel guilty every time I feed the non-organic stuff to my family, but I would feel just as guilty and stressed if I broke the family budget during these tough economic times just to buy "fancy" groceries.

Then you have all of the conflicting advice given to parents from various experts. Celebrities and doctors on the television tells me that milk does a body good, but the blood type books of Dr. Peter D'Adamo tell me that milk is toxic for blood type As. Who do I believe?

Speaking of which... as I've mentioned in past blogs, my children have different blood types which necessitates that I follow different dietary guidelines for each of them. Doggone it, even though I keep a thorough list of what they can and can't eat in my purse, I keep messing up. Today I picked up three packages of unsulfured sweet mangoes for my little guy to eat since he can't have dairy for the next two weeks (which rules out most of his favorite desserts) and then found when checking his blood type list in the car that Type As should avoid mangoes. Doh! I've been feeding them to him for days now.

My last example relates to food processing... today I bought white rice flour to bake these cookies and I felt really great about baking gluten free... until I read that I should be avoiding processed grains altogether. Ack!

It's almost enough to drive a well meaning parent to drink... In my case, I found comfort in creating these delicious Molasses Crackle Cookies for my family from Elizabeth Barbone's lovely Easy Gluten-Free Baking.

Despite the fact that I used processed grains and granulated sugar, at least I can take pride in the fact that they are (a) gluten free, (b) dairy free, (c) delicious and (d) homemade with love for my children. I know it isn't everything, but at least it's a start, right?

I am so excited to sit with them on our back porch tomorrow, eating cookies while telling them stories from my own childhood... which seems so carefree in retrospect.

"When I was a little girl, my mother used to make me Bisquick pancakes with apples and cinnamon on weekend mornings. I loved to eat huge stacks of them while watching cartoons for hours. This was of course before anyone knew that wheat, sugar and dairy are slowly killing us and that apples are actually not approved for people with my blood type. No-one had yet informed my parents that television would rot my brain, lower my IQ and reduce my chances of going to college. Yep, those were the good old days..."

Friday, June 26, 2009

This Deliciousness Was Created
Gluten Free...

Hi there! Well, after 34 very challenging weeks we welcomed our gluten free baby into the world. While the pregnancy itself was quite difficult thanks to a placenta previa and other unexpected perinatal concerns, I firmly believe that my gluten free diet played a major role in her exquisite health when born 6 weeks early via c-section. There is no question in my mind that she would have gone full term if left to her own devices... but when the doctors saw that her umbilical cord was wrapped four times around her neck (yes, 4x!) they recommended immediate c-section to prevent decelerations or a cord compression.

So there you have it... 6 months on a modified pregnancy rest followed by eight days in the hospital and two weeks visiting a baby in the NICU, these are my main reasons for having been a HUGE SLACKER in the gluten free blogging department.

I am still ardent about a gluten free lifestyle however and intend to begin cooking and blogging again as soon as I've figured out how to juggle running a household and taking care of three tiny children simultaneously.

Here were some of the greatest benefits of my gluten free pregnancy:

  • I had more energy and patience than in the prior 2 pregnancies.

  • Gained only weight necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy and placenta, despite eating all the time...

  • My baby was born completely healthy at 34 weeks and able to breathe on her own outside of the womb. Her only risk factor is prematurity, and other than that she is considered to be a medical miracle by her perinatologists.

  • I'm having a "textbook recovery" so far from the c-section.

  • I was able to share lots of information with my doctors and nurses at the hospital about the health benefits I've experienced living gluten free. Many of the people I chatted with seemed really interested!

Looking forward to sharing more gluten free cuisine soon... well, as soon as we've slept more than 2 hours at a time!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eating Well in a Mixed Blood Type Family

Years before I met my husband, I first discovered the writings and blood type diet of Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo. I had been following a strict vegan diet for slightly more than one year, and was surprised by how consistently unhealthy I had become. I seemed to pick up every single cold, flu and bacterial infection out there... and since I worked as an elementary school teacher, there were A LOT of little germs out there to catch! I was also having a lot more trouble healing than ever before, and had begun to experience endometriosis-like symptoms. To put it simply, I grew exhausted with feeling sick and going to the doctor all the time. During my search for answers and for a key to better health, I picked up "Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type" one day at the bookstore and could not put it down.

As it turned out, my Type O blood type made me a terrible candidate for the vegan lifestyle. I had been avoiding all of the foods that were most beneficial to me - such as meat, chicken, fish and eggs... and eating heavy amounts of pasta, dairy and beans to make up for the calcium and protein I knew I was missing in my diet. Within weeks of re-introducing meat, chicken and fish back into my diet I began to feel 100% better and people were commenting on my glowing skin and healthy appearance.

It wasn't until nearly a decade later that I was formally diagnosed with gluten intolerance - but in retrospect, I should have known about that since 1999 when I first began to loosely follow the blood type O diet. If I had followed its guidelines more strictly, I could probably have avoided putting on so much weight with my first two pregnancies, developing my autoimmune thyroid disorder, and having endless troubles with allergies.

Readers of this blog know that since I have embarked on a completely gluten-free diet and lifestyle (coupled with the Type 0 diet) my health problems and issues with weight have totally resolved. Now seven months into my third pregnancy, I remain nearly thirty pounds lighter than I was at the same stage with my second child (when I delivered at sixty pounds over my 'normal' weight). My thyroid remains totally normal, blood pressure is low, and I've had a lot more energy in this pregnancy - despite many other stresses we've faced in the last few months. The baby is growing really well and measures perfectly, despite the fact that I've put on such little weight.

Sounds great, right?

There's just one wee little catch... while one of my children is a Type O like me, my husband and other child are both blood Type A. Does that really make a difference, you may ask? Well, only in terms of grocery shopping and cooking every single meal, every single day.

Red meat? Fabulous for Type O eaters... toxic for Type As.
Wheat and Grain? Like nectar of the gods for Type As... toxic for Type Os.
Corn and Soy? Terrific if you're an A... toxic for Os (especially the soy).

"That's not so bad," one might say... "Surely you must have some common ground!" And in truth, there is a lot of common ground. Fish, vegetables, fruits and rice... we have most of these in common. Still, every meal takes a little extra thought and planning. For example, for lunch today I served one child chicken and peas while the other one ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread, also with peas. One ate bananas and the other had strawberries. One had mango juice while the other drank strawberry-kiwi nectar. The main problems come up when the two year old screams "I want bananas!" or the four year old whines, "Why can't I have peanut butter too?" They are a little young to understand that mommy is trying to keep them healthy, and that what is right is not always equal or fair.

Sometimes it gets a little wearing to have to cook two different types of pasta for every pasta dinner... or have to explain for the 100th time why I would prefer not to sample my husband's famous (delicious) brussels sprouts in cream sauce. Worse, my husband H doesn't really believe in either a gluten free or blood type diet... so merely planning the weekly grocery list together can be a power struggle of epic proportions. "Kids should drink milk!" he states, and I reply, "Neither of our kids should be drinking milk according to their blood types!" To which he laughingly responds, "Show me the facts! Show me the studies!" (What I wouldn't give to be Mrs. Peter J. D'Adamo at moments like those... so that I would have all relevant facts and studies at my fingertips!)

Still it hasn't escaped my observation that my little Type O who eats grain also has quite a big tummy and a lot of hyperactivity for a four year old...
and my little Type A who eats dairy and drinks milk constantly has ear infections and a runny nose. So, today I'm back to fighting the good fight - aiming to keep the peace while also keeping our mixed blood type family healthy. I've posted D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet recommendations and restrictions on our refrigerator, put copies in my purse to refer to when shopping or at restaurants, and am now happily planning gluten-free recipes for next week (like Tarragon Chicken and Sauteed Fish on a bed of Quinoa) that will work for everyone in the house.

Sometimes I think back to when I was a kid and my mom tried to keep us healthy by feeding us wheat bread instead of white bread and vegetables instead of meat. It was a little less complicated back in those days for moms to feed their kids "healthy" food. Oh well - at least now I understand why some of my mom's healthiest specialty dishes (like eggplant with tomato sauce) left my stomach in knots... and I know enough about food allergies to help my children avoid the 'healthy' foods that will make them feel lousy. Is this generational progress? I'll keep you posted.

*Photos courtesy of FreePhoto1.Com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Savory Cannellini Bean Soup

Readers of this blog will know by now that I haven’t posted any recipes in over two months. My pregnancy with our third child has been surprisingly complicated, taking up a huge amount of time and energy... and although I’ve found comfort in cooking for my family, I haven’t had much opportunity to blog about our meals. Rather than inventing my own recipes I've been reprising family favorites and turning gratefully to delicious dinner recipes developed by my favorite gluten free bloggers including Karina Allrich and Shauna James Ahern.

Thanks to a happy accident however, today I found myself creating an original "everything but the kitchen sink" recipe for this very tasty vegetarian soup that proved to be a great hit with my husband and children. Inspired by a single 15 oz can of cannellini beans, this savory concoction draws its rich flavor from its spicing which includes fire roasted green chiles, tarragon, rosemary, sage and chicken broth.

I hope this meal will warm the tummies and hearts of your family and friends – and that you will share the same joy in sitting around the table chatting over your steaming bowl of soup that we did tonight.

Savory Cannellini Bean Soup

What You’ll Need:

3 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
3 celery ribs (including leaves) sliced very thinly
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup short grain brown rice
4 oz fire roasted green chiles
15 oz cannellini beans
8 oz crimini mushrooms, washed and quartered
½ cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 sprig fresh tarragon, minced
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp sage
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper (additional) to taste

Optional: 1 large handful of steamed asparagus, chopped into ½ inch pieces

How It Works:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 3 quart pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced carrots and celery, dust them with salt and pepper according to your taste, and sauté covered (stirring frequently) for 8-10 minutes until the celery has softened. Add minced garlic and stir continuously for 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant but not yet golden. Add chiles and mix them well into your veggie medley. Pour in the uncooked short grain brown rice, and stir it into the mix until all grains of rice are well coated with the oil and chile juices. Allow the rice to warm, approximately 1-2 minutes. Keep stirring.

Next, pour in all chicken broth, water and wine. Add Bay leaf, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper and bring entire contents of pot to a boil. Skim froth off of top of the liquid. Reduce heat and simmer mostly covered for 20 minutes. When timer rings, add quartered mushrooms, cannellini beans, tarragon, sage and rosemary (plus optional steamed asparagus if you’ve chosen to add it). Combine these new ingredients well into your broth and set the timer for 30 additional minutes. Allow your soup to simmer covered, making sure that it does not boil. Stir occasionally. The soup will be ready to eat after 50 minutes total cooking time, but feel free to allow it to simmer over low heat as long as you like.

Serve generous portions of this hearty soup next to a fresh side salad. Especially great with hot buttered Kinnikinnick gluten-free dinner rolls!

Serves 6.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meatloaf with Roasted Vegetables

I may be one of the last people in the United States to discover what a wonderful, delicious and even healthy treat meatloaf can be. My past experiences with meatloaf have admittedly been limited.

With parents that turned vegetarian early in my adolescence, the closest I ever came to sampling meatloaf at home was when my mother would make "nutloaf" ~ a questionable mix of ground nuts and mushrooms (along with many other ingredients) shaped into loaf form and baked until it tasted completely dry. I love my mother - who is universally acknowledged as a great cook - but could never summon any positive feeling for that nutloaf in either my heart or stomach. Since that time I’ve pretty much avoided creating, eating or ordering any foods which include the word "loaf".

Over the past few months though, I’ve been experimenting with a gluten free recipe adaptation* that combines a traditional meatloaf recipe with sensational roasted vegetables. The result is not only healthier than a stereotypical meatloaf, it is also beautiful to look at and quite tasty to eat.

I would love to know what suggestions my vegetarian readers have for adapting this recipe even further to become a totally meatless roasted vegetable loaf. I have a feeling it could be great that way too... without ground nuts.

Meatloaf with Roasted Vegetables

What You’ll Need:

Roasted Vegetable Medley...

1 small red onion
1 small yellow onion
2 large red bell peppers
2 – 3 large zucchini, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper


1 ½ cups gluten free ketchup
1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (I use Gillian’s)
1.75 lbs ground beef (15 – 22%)
¼ cup Merlot
1 ½ cups of roasted vegetable medley
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, crumbled
2 eggs
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp dried rosemary
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 ½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

How It Works:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. While it is heating up, you can work on your prep work: mincing up the zucchini, red peppers, onions and garlic. Once they are all cut up, throw everything into a single mixing bowl. Douse the vegetables with about two glugs of olive oil and if you aren’t squeamish about touching food it works best if you use your own hands to thoroughly combine all of the vegetables and oil. When this is done, spread the medley across a baking sheet (with sides/rim) and sprinkle them well with salt, pepper and a light dusting of marjoram. Bake in oven uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes or until the onions have softened and browned just slightly.

Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, combine your gluten free breadcrumbs, fresh mozzarella, crushed red pepper and ground beef with your tablespoons of basil, marjoram and rosemary. Add 1 ½ cups of your roasted vegetable medley, along with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix it all really well – again, using your hands works best.

In a separate bowl, throw together the eggs, ½ cup of ketchup and merlot. Whisk it together rapidly and when it is fully integrated pour it into your beef mixture. At this point you may wish to use a sturdy spoon (or two) to fully combine the sauce into the beef and breadcrumbs.

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 pan (your basic bread loaf pan) and then add enough of your meatloaf mixture to fill the pan halfway. Smooth the top – about halfway up the pan – with a butter knife or spoon and then coat it with another ½ cup of ketchup. This will add a lovely and moist interior stripe… extra flavor in every slice! Now spoon the rest of your meatloaf mix into the pan and shape the top into loaf form. Spread the remaining ½ cup of ketchup over the top of the loaf.

Place your loaf uncovered in the oven and bake it until the top is brown and all juices run clear when you stick a knife into it. In our oven (which runs hot) this takes about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven and allow your loaf to rest for a few minutes before serving ~ this tasty and filling loaf will slice much more evenly if its not too hot.

Top each slice with a heaping spoonful of your remaining roasted vegetable medley - which can be warmed up in a frying pan if it has cooled. What a gorgeous and healthy meal!

Serves 6 – 8 as a main course. Excellent with a side salad!
*Original recipe from The Flavors of Bon Appetit 2006, p. 42

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Delicious Beef Stroganoff

There is nothing like pregnancy to bring forth all of your deepest cravings for the comfort foods of your childhood. I have to admit that the past three months have tested my gluten free resolve – much more than at any point in the year since I first embarked on a gluten free lifestyle. There is nothing like morning sickness to make a former bread eater yearn with some desperation for a plain old Saltine, or just one piece of buttery wheat toast. If you’ve gone through this kind of a struggle in your transition to living gluten free, please know that my heart is with you. It does get better, and if you persevere I believe that you will discover many health benefits and other positive effects from the rigor of your new dietary practice.

The comfort foods of your childhood... what were they? For me, there were a few standouts. Cinnamon toast thickly layered with butter and sugar, peanut butter quesadillas (sounds yucky, I know ~ but they were sensational!) pasta with corn and parmesan cheese, and my mother’s classic standouts: homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, honey baked (breaded) chicken with peaches, pasta with pesto sauce, spaghetti with meatballs and my absolute favorite... beef stroganoff with mushrooms. I feel wistful just remembering it.

Before my diagnosis with gluten intolerance my husband H and I had discovered a rich and tangy recipe for beef stroganoff using just a tad of mustard. It knocked our socks off and we liked to serve it to both family and friends over a bed of fresh egg noodles. Much to my chagrin, I realized after going gluten free that both the sauce and noodles for this culinary treasure contain a fair share of gluten (in the form of flour). For many sad months we lived without beef stroganoff in our lives.

After discovering the supple properties of Tinkyada fettuccine though, I dusted off our beloved Gourmet Cookbook recipe and figured out how to adapt it into gluten free stroganoff using corn starch and extra mushrooms. The combination of shallots, mustard and black pepper gives it a fantastic kick – not spicy, just very flavorful. I recommend this recipe highly and suggest that vegetarians consider trying it out without the meat (perhaps substituting Shiitake mushrooms for the meat’s thicker texture).

Now that I am a mother my own children often request this dinner and I smile to myself, realizing that I have passed forward something special. Maybe someday they too will look back with fond memories upon this elegant and comforting meal: ‘Mom’s beef stroganoff’.

Delicious Beef Stroganoff
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook (Ruth Reichl, Editor)

What You’ll Need:

Half a stick of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 cup of beef broth (or vegetable stock for vegetarians)
1 lb beef tenderloin sliced thinly (we use top sirloin for a lower cost) into 1 – 2 inch strips*
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
8 oz Cremini mushrooms, washed and quartered
3 tablespoons of sour cream at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

*Vegetarians may substitute Shiitake mushrooms sliced thickly and adjust cooking time accordingly.

Served over:

A bed of gluten free Tinkyada fettuccine

How It Works:

As my readers know I am a big fan of getting all prep work out of the way before you actually start cooking. I would suggest slicing up your shallots, quartering your mushrooms and cutting your meat into strips first. Have each ingredient ready in its own container (beef should be patted dry and dusted with salt and pepper on both sides) so that the cooking process can go smoothly and quickly. Measure out your corn starch and beef broth, since you will need them both immediately once you start cooking.

Although you won’t need them until the end of your cooking process, now is a good time to take the sour cream and mustard out of the refrigerator so that they can adjust to "room temperature".

Next, put your pot of salted water to boil so that you can add the Tinkyada (or other gluten free) fettuccine which takes much longer to cook than "normal" pasta. When the water boils, add your pasta and cook it until it is truly soft – which generally takes me longer than the time indicated on their package. Rice pasta is truly not very tasty unless it is fully cooked...

Once you’ve done all this, you’re ready to go! Start out by melting a few tablespoons of butter in a small cast iron saucepan (or heavy sauce pan) over a low medium heat. When it is melted you will begin to whisk in your corn starch to make a roux. Continue to whisk for at least two minutes and then slowly pour in your beef broth, continuing to stir. Reduce your heat to low and simmer the mixture, whisking here and there for between 2 and 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it.

In a large (wide) frying pan, melt a tablespoon of butter and a glug of olive oil at a high medium temperature. Do not allow the butter to burn. Add your strips of beef in two batches and cook them until they are browned on each side but still a tiny bit pink in the center (between 1-2 minutes per side). Transfer the sautéed meat to a waiting plate or dish, leaving their juices in the pan.

Throw another tablespoon of butter into your warm pan full of drippings and allow it to melt. Now add the thinly sliced shallots and sauté them until they soften and turn a delicious tan color. Pour in your quartered mushrooms and cover the pan, making sure to stir occasionally. As they sauté your mushrooms will give off a bit of liquid. Cook them until their flesh has changed color and they are soft and moist. This may take up to 10 minutes. Check them every few minutes to make sure that they are not overcooking.

Spoon your strips of meat and any accumulated juices back into the pan full of shallots and mushrooms. Stir everything together and reduce heat to simmer meat and mushrooms together.

Bring your covered saucepan with the roux back to a burner and re-heat it over low heat. Now is the time to whisk in the three tablespoons of sour cream, mustard, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper (or to your own personal taste). When the sauce is well combined, pour it into the pan full of meat and mushrooms and mix together well so that everything is covered in sauce.

If you haven’t done so already, strain your fettuccine and make a nice bed of noodles on each plate. Spoon the stroganoff sauce over the plates of fettuccine (making sure that your guests all get a nice helping of the actual sauce in addition to meat and mushrooms) and serve while hot!

Serves 6 comfortably.