Gluten Free Ricotta & Tomato Pasta Recipe

2 May

Post image for Gluten Free Ricotta & Tomato Pasta RecipePeople often ask me “What is your favorite gluten free recipe?” I am always stumped. I know that I should have an answer ready but with over 250 gluten free recipes published in two books and over 400 more on this site; I really am hard pressed to pick a fav!

I suppose it depends on what kind of day I have had, what I am in the mood for and how hard I want to work for dinner.

I have always been a fan of Italian food – I swear, I should have been born Italian!  I love traditional Bolognese sauce that simmers all day and lasagna that takes a couple hours to prepare and bake and honestly, I don’t mind the work it takes to prepare a lovely Italian dish. There are times however that I just haven’t got the time or energy to spend hours in the kitchen. At times like that, when I am desirous of something with an Italian accent, this recipe becomes my favorite!

It is a lighter, sort of deconstructed version of lasagna, all the flavors without all the work and in a fraction of the time. In fact this recipe is so quick and easy it can practically be made in the time it takes to boil up the pasta. And to make it even quicker I use gluten free Pastariso Organic Rice Pasta because it cooks up in about a third of the time compared to a lot of the other gluten free pastas.  While the pasta cooks, I prep my ricotta and veggies to finish off the sauce, and in no time, dinner is on the table.

I love the way this looks as well as how it tastes, it is simple but elegant – my favorite kind of dish! It is satisfying without being too heavy and for right now anyway, I am going to say this is my favorite recipe! Well, at least one of them!

BTW – this recipe is from my new book Simply…Gluten-Free Quick Meals (with over 100 gluten free recipes) and the pasta PLUS the salad and dessert is ready in about half an hour!

Do you have a favorite recipe?  If so, please share!

Gluten Free Tomato Ricotta Pasta

Gluten Free Ricotta & Tomato Pasta Recipe


14 ounces gluten free Pastariso Organic Rice Pasta – fettuccine style
¾ cup ricotta cheese (preferably fresh)
¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher or sea salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups baby spinach leaves


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the hot pot.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese mixture and sauce. In a small mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese with ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, the dried oregano and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook for 4 minutes then add the reserved pasta water and spinach. Cook for another minute or two or until the spinach has wilted. Add the tomato/spinach mixture to pasta and toss. Serve the pasta in large, shallow bowls with a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the center. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a grating on parmesan.


A gluten free diet that serves 4.

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Gluten Free Horseradish Mushroom Baked Potatoes Recipe

23 Apr

Post image for Gluten Free Horseradish Mushroom Baked Potatoes RecipeI love a good baked potato (and by baked I mean one that is baked in an oven, not nuked in a microwave) – a potato that has a crispy, well-seasoned skin worthy of eating and is light and fluffy on the inside.


Since it takes time to cook the perfect baked potato I always throw a few extra in the oven to repurpose later in the week. And what better way to repurpose than to stuff it full of yummy ingredients and then bake again? But before I get into the gluten free recipe for these Vegan Horseradish Mushroom Twice Baked Potatoes, let’s just discuss what is, in my humble opinion, the way to get the perfect baked potato.

It’s not complicated. It doesn’t even require a whole lot of hands-on work. In fact it is so simple I am almost remiss to bring it up, but as I have eaten a lot of less than perfect baked potatoes in my life, bring it up I shall.

First let’s talk about the potato. I do love all those almost buttery potatoes like Yukon Golds. I love red potatoes, blue potatoes and even purple ones; I just don’t love them for baking. What I love for baked potatoes is your standard, garden variety russets. Russets have a thick, brown skin, high starch and low moisture content which yields a light, full center. I like to buy big ones that feel a little heavy for their size.

Now despite what your mama or best friend told you about baking potatoes, do not wrap them in foil! The foil traps too much of the moisture and makes them mushy, not fluffy. In order to release the extra moisture in the potato while it bakes, you need to pierce it with the prongs of a fork in several places (like 8 – 10) and I don’t mean a gentle little poke – push the prongs of that fork way into the potato, let it know you mean business.

As you probably know, most of the nutrients of the potato are in the skin, so why not make the skin worthy of being eaten? I rub my potatoes in olive oil and generously (and I do mean generously) coat them with coarse salt. This results in crispy, delicious skin that is almost as good as the innards!

There are just some things in life I feel passionate about and proper baked potatoes is one of the. Here’s how to make the Perfect Baked Potato:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees.

Start with LARGE russet potatoes; scrub them under cold, running water. Dry the skins well. Take a fork and pierce them 8 – 10 times, sticking the fork in as far as you can get it. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl on a plate and pour on some olive or vegetable oil. Turn the potatoes round and round to totally coat them (yes, your hands will get oily). Then sprinkle with a generous amount of kosher or sea salt.

Place the potatoes directly on the rack of the oven (do not place on a baking sheet and under no circumstances do you wrap your potatoes in foil!). If you are worried about the oil dripping in your oven, place a baking sheet on a rack under the potatoes but DO NOT place the potatoes on the baking sheet (didn’t I just say that? Yep! See… that’s how serious I am about it).  Bake for 1 hour for 4 potatoes, if more than 4 add 15 minutes. Test your potatoes for doneness – the skins should feel crispy but the flesh underneath should feel soft, it will yield when you gently squeeze the potato.

And once you have mastered the perfect baked potato, how about baking them twice?  When making baked potatoes just throw in a few extra and then later on in the week, you can whip up into these Horseradish Mushroom Twice Baked Potatoes – they are an interesting twist on a classic recipe and dairy free and vegan to boot.  I used one of the new flavored Vegenaise products from Follow Your Heart, Vegenaise Horseradish Sauce plus a little vegan sour cream for both flavor and richness. It makes a great side dish or a delish vegan main course – just add a salad and you are good to go!

Gluten Free Vegan Horseradish Mushroom Twoce Baked Potatoes

Gluten Free Vegan Horseradish Twice Baked Potatoes


3 large russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for rubbing the potatoes
Kosher salt
½ small red onion, cut in half then sliced thinly
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
Black pepper
½ cup Vegenaise Horseradish Sauce
¼ cup vegan sour cream
1/3 cup chopped chives


Position the rack of your oven in the middle and preheat it to 350 degrees.

Scrub the potatoes under cold, running water. Dry the skins well. Take a fork and pierce them 8 – 10 times, sticking the fork in as far as you can get it. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl on a plate and pour on some olive or vegetable oil. Turn the potatoes round and round to totally coat them then sprinkle with a generous amount of kosher salt. Place the potatoes directly on the rack of the oven (you can place a baking sheet on the rack below the potatoes to keep the oil from dripping) and bake for 1 hour or until the skins feel crispy and the flesh yields to a gentle squeeze. Remove potatoes from the oven and let them cool enough to handle. Leave the oven on.

While the potatoes are baking heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, the liquid from the mushrooms has been released and evaporated and the vegetables are starting to brown.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl leaving a ¼ inch layer of the flesh in the potato skins. Mash the potatoes with a little salt and pepper and place the potato skins on a baking sheet.

To the mashed potatoes add the mushroom onion mixture, the Horseradish sauce, vegan sour cream and about ¼ cup of the chives. Mix well. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and the tops are starting to brown.

Sprinkle the remaining chives on top of the potatoes and serve.

gluten free recipes that makes 6 servings.


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Gluten Free Southwestern Black Bean Stew with Sweet Potato Mash Recipe

20 Apr


Post image for Gluten Free Southwestern Black Bean Stew with Sweet Potato Mash RecipeI am not an indecisive person, if given a choice between a rock and a hard place I use my head and my heart, make a decision and then commit to my choice 100 percent. When there is a difference of opinion between my hubby and me, we settle it in an intelligent, sensible, mature manner – Rock, Paper, Scissors!


This particular gluten free recipe however left me uncharacteristically indecisive – I just can’t decide whether it is best eaten as a stew spooned over mashed sweet potatoes or poured into a casserole dish, topped with the sweet potato mash, baked and served as a vegan, Southwestern version of Sheppard’s Pie.

In the end it was trying to come up with a name for the recipe that swayed me slightly. Technically a Sheppard’s Pie is made with lamb. When the same type recipe is made with beef, it is called a Cottage Pie. So what would I call a pie made with black beans, vegetables and Southwestern seasonings? Ranchero Pie? Garden Pie? Nothing stuck me as having the right ring to it.

The good news is you can serve it either way or even both – which is what we did. The first time we ate it in the stew version and then I turned the leftovers into individual pies that were easily reheated in the oven or microwave – perfect for our busy weekend.

Sometimes the secret to quick cooking is actually taking it slow. I started this recipe with a bag of Hurst Family Harvest Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup Mix, let the beans soak in the fridge for a day, simmered the beans unattended for a couple hours and then about 30 minutes before dinner I put some sweet potatoes on to boil and turned the soup into a savory, complex vegetarian stew by sautéing onions, corn, peppers and mushrooms and bringing it all together with a bit of gluten free taco sauce.

While this dish seems to have brought out an indecisive quality to my personality, there is one thing I am totally certain about – I love this recipe! In fact, I have been eating it all weekend and have yet to tire of it.

If you wish to turn this recipe into a Sheppard’s Pie type meal just pour the stew into a baking dish, top with the mashed sweet potatoes and heat in a 400 degree oven until the mixture is bubbly and the top started to brown (about 15 minutes). You can even prepare the pie ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate then heat for about half an hour or so in the oven before serving.

Gluten Free Black Bean Stew with Sweet Potato Mash

Gluten Free Southwestern Black Bean Stew with Sweet Potato Mash


1 bag Hurst Family Harvest Chipotle Lime Black Bean Soup Mix
5 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large) – chopped
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter or dairy free butter substitute
1 – 3 tablespoons milk or dairy free milk (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen, let thaw)
¼ cup gluten free taco sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch, tapioca starch or arrowroot powder


Place beans in a large bowl and cover by at least 2 inches of water. Let soak from 8 – 24 hours in the refrigerator. Reserve the seasoning packet.

Drain and rinse the beans, put in a soup pot with 6 cups water and the seasoning packet. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat and let the beans simmer for 2 hours or until tender and almost all of the liquid has cooked off.

30 – 40 minutes before the beans are done place the chopped sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the water from the potatoes, return them to the hot pot and mash with a potato masher. Add the butter and salt and pepper to taste. If the potatoes are not creamy enough, add a tablespoon or two of milk or dairy free milk and mash to desired consistency.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onions and cook until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the bell and poblano peppers and the sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and are starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the corn, cook for another minute then add the beans and any of the bean liquid to the vegetables. Add the taco sauce. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Whisk the cornstarch (or tapioca starch or arrowroot powder) with 3 tablespoons of water, stir into the vegetable mixture and boil for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, spoon some of the mashed sweet potatoes into a large, shallow bowl and top with some of the bean stew.

A gluten free recipe that will serve 6 – 8 hungry people.

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Introducing a Gluten Free Diet for choosy kids

20 Apr

It’s hard to get kids to eat properly and if your kids are on a gluten free diet then your trouble doubles. However, every problem has a solution; all it takes is the right approach. We all know that kids like foods that can be dipped in something else and almost every child loves pizza.

Keeping these two basics in mind, I developed this recipe that can serve as a perfect appetizer or a main dish and can also be packed for lunch (if kids have access to microwave to re-heat them a little).

I have used my family’s favorite pizza combo of pepperoni and cheese in this recipe but you can always change it to the flavor you like. If you want it dairy free, use dairy free shredded cheese or you can make it without any cheese at all. You can change the combinations and flavors as per your or kids liking – for example, you can substitute pepperoni with sun dried tomatoes.

The most amazing thing about this recipe is that it is really easy to make. I added some dried Italian seasoning, shredded mozzarella cheese and chopped peperoni to a box of gluten free bread stick mix. Then, I brushed them with olive oil and topped with shredded parmesan to add some cheesy gloss to it.

The dipping sauce is prepared in just under 2 minutes and works is a great sauce to be used with your regular pizza as well. I used dried garlic and herbs instead of fresh ones for convenience and to add that special flavor that you wouldn’t get otherwise unless you simmer your sauce all day long.

I know pizza isn’t a perfect dinner every night but “pizza night” is a great family fun once in a while. Also, it gets your kids running to the dinner table without you calling them twice!

Gluten Free Pizza Breadsticks



A 7.5 ounce box of gluten free garlic onion breadstick mix

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or dairy free cheese)

2 large eggs

3 ounces pepperoni, diced into ¼ inch pieces

1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil for the bread stick dough plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup water

¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese (omit for dairy free)


A 6 ounce can of tomato paste

2 teaspoons dry Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 ounces water

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

A pinch of sugar or just a dash of agave, honey or any sweetener of your choice



Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicon baking mat.

Combine the breadstick mix, 2 tablespoons olive oil, shredded cheese, eggs, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, diced pepperoni and water in a mixing bowl. Stir the mix with a fork to combine well – don’t try to make it smooth as it will not get smooth until you knead it. Now, place your mix onto a clean work surface and knead until the dough comes together and is smooth. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into small breadstick logs about 4 ½ inches long. Place the breadsticks on the prepared baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle the ¼ cup of parmesan on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with the sauce for dipping.


Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk well to combine and heat until warm. Let your sauce sit while the breadsticks are baking. Serve the sauce warm with hot breadsticks.

This gluten free recipe is a perfect way to get kids asking for more.

Gluten Free White Bean Chili Salad Recipe

14 Apr

Spring break and Easter week means that my home here in Florida is packed to the rafters with people. So many people that we have had to break out the air mattresses and turn offices into bedrooms. With our lovely weather and beautiful beaches these people are coming and going so much I feel like I need to install a revolving door and hire a doorman. And of course lots of people means I need to stock my fridge with lots of gluten free food. Lots and lots of gluten free food – not to mention some dairy free food, vegetarian food, vegan food, nut free food…you get the idea.

As much as I would love to have my whole clan gathered around a communal dining table for every meal this week, it just aint gonna happen. There are places to go, people to see, waves and fish to catch. I know I can wrangle them all up for Easter dinner but beyond that, they are much more interested in grab and go, already prepared food. Since the males in my family can look into a fully packed refrigerator and tell me there is nothing to eat if it isn’t already prepared, I have baked dozens of gluten free muffins, stocked the fridge with roasted chickens, pre-cut fruits and veggies, individual yogurts (both regular and dairy free) and simple one dish meals that can be snagged on the way in or out as the case may be.

This particular salad actually started out to become a big pot of white bean chili. The balmy weather and the lack of patience for reheating by some family members made me switch gears at the end and make instead a salad; all the spicy Southwestern flavors of chili without having to waste precious vacation seconds reheating.

I started with a bag of Hurst Family Harvest White Bean Chili mix (which I love for their high quality beans and all natural, gluten free seasoning packets) added in some red peppers, green onions, olives, cilantro and pickled jalapenos and tossed it all up with a honey lime vinaigrette. Easy peasy to prepare and, as with most composed salads, the flavors just got better and better as it sat in the fridge. A little bit of advanced preparation has paid off with a delicious, flavor and nutrient packed, easy to eat salad that fits all of our combined food intolerances (except for maybe the hubby’s “intolerance” to red bell peppers as evidenced by a little pile of discarded pepper pieces pushed to the side of his plate).
This is a great vegetarian (for vegan use agave instead of honey in the dressing) main dish salad and for those so inclined, a bit of cooked chicken tossed in is a nice addition. I like mine on a bed of lettuce with some chips on the side.

If you have a house full of people, consider stocking your fridge with a few dishes like this and make things a lot easier on yourself. Come to think of it, while I like the IDEA of three sit down meals a day all week, it is kind of exhausting just to contemplate, so I am kind of happy everyone is running in their own directions. And since my work is done, I think I will grab a book and enjoy the quiet while it lasts.

White Bean Chili Salad Recipe


1 bag Hurst Family Harvest Southwestern White Bean Chili
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1 – 4 ounce can sliced black olives
¼ cup pickled jalapeno pepper rings
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1/8 cup fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
3/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher or fine sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cover the beans by at least 2 inches of water and soak in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours (I soak mine for 24 hours to get softer beans) and reserve the flavor packet. Drain the beans, rinse and place in a large pot with 6 cups of water and the reserved flavor packet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour covered. Uncover the pot and continue to cook for another hour or until the beans are tender and most of the water has cooked off. Drain any remaining liquid and let the bean s cool. Put the beans in a large mixing bowl, add the red bell peppers, green onions, olives, jalapeno and cilantro leaves.

Combine the lime juice, olive oil and honey with a large pinch of salt and pepper in a small covered jar and shake well to combine. Add to the bean mixture, toss to coat and taste – adjust seasoning with a little more salt and pepper if needed.

Refrigerate salad until serving. Serve on a bed of greens with corn chips on the side if desired.

A gluten free recipe that serves 6 – 8 people.
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Gluten Free Miracle Souffles Recipe

5 Apr

Post image for Gluten Free Miracle Souffles RecipeAhh the soufflé – it has all the stability of a hormonal teenage girl in love. The potential for highs as high as the farthest reaches of the galaxy and lows so low I shudder to contemplate the depths. Perfection and bliss can plummet into heartbreak and disaster in the blink of an eye (or the slam of a door).

This is why I decided to see if I could come up with a gluten free recipe for soufflé that was a lot more stable, less fraught with potential disaster, much more “user friendly”.

Typically a soufflé is made by combining a sauce that starts with a mixture of flour and butter, enriched with cream or milk and egg yolks then folding this into stiffly beaten egg whites. It is time consuming and the results are fragile. So many things can cause the soufflé not to rise and then even if does rise, a loud noise, a gush of air or even your breathe can cause it to fall. And of course getting something to the table this fragile is just plain stressful.

I recall reading a long time ago about a soufflé that was made in the blender and was stabilized with cream cheese instead of flour. Of course I don’t remember where I read that or how the whole process was supposed to work but never-the-less, I decided to do what I do best, get in the kitchen and play around.

I tried just blending the whole eggs in the blender first, not separating the whites from the yolks and I have to say this resulted in a very decent soufflé-like product. It was stable, kept well and could be prepared ahead of time. My only problem with it was it didn’t get as puffy as I would have liked; they rose but the tops were flat like a table top, not puffed. So I them decided to separate the egg whites from the yolks, do the blender thing with the yolks and whip the whites separately – much better! Light, airy soufflés that rose beautifully did not collapse and most importantly, stable!

If you have wanted to entertain with soufflés but were afraid of the hormonal, emotional roller coaster – this is the recipe for you. The egg yolks base can be prepared up to a couple hours ahead. While it is probably best to whip the egg whites and combine them with the yolk mixture just before putting the soufflés into the oven, I let mine sit for about 10 minutes first, just to see what would happen and they were perfectly great! And I didn’t have to rush these to the table. I know how to photograph items that are fragile; I have learned a few tricks along the way. But I wanted you to see what these soufflés looked like after sitting around for 10 minutes or so and as you can see in the photos, these guys held up quite well indeed.

And speaking of hormones and the crazy things they can do to not only teenage girls (and boys!) but all of us, do you really want to eat eggs that come from chickens that are injected full of hormones? I think not! Look for organic, cage free eggs that are free of hormones and antibiotics. I use Nature’s Yolk eggs, after all the egg is really the star of this show and who wants a hormonal diva as the star?

If the method of adding the whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture seems backwards to you, it is. I didn’t want to pour my egg yolk mixture into another bowl and have another thing to wash up; I am assuming you will appreciate this concept as much as I do.

I made these in individual 1 cup ramekins but you can also bake this in a large 8 cup soufflé dish – increase cooking time to 40 – 45 minutes. Also I used a combination of garlic and herb soft cheese, goat cheese and cream cheese because it just seemed like a great springtime combo to me but I think the possibilities are endless!

So here you go – a gluten free recipe for a stress-free “miracle” soufflé that won’t send you on an emotional roller coaster and is also great for a people on a low carb diet as well as a gluten free diet.

Gluten Free Miracle Herb & Cheese Souffles

Gluten Free “Miracle” Cheese and Herb Soufflés


1 tablespoon softened butter or gluten-free non-stick cooking spray
6 large organic cage free eggs (Nature’s Yolk)
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
6.5 ounces garlic and herb soft cheese (such as Boursin or Alouette)
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1 inch pieces
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease 8 – 1 cup oven safe ramekins or 1 – 8 cup soufflé dish with either butter or non-stick cooking spray.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks placing the whites in a mixing bowl and the yolks in a blender.

To the egg yolks add the cream, salt and pepper. Turn the blender on high and mix until combined. With the blender running, add in the crumbled goat cheese, a little at a time. Then spoon in the garlic and herb cheese and finally add in the pieces of cream cheese, letting the mixture blend for a second between each addition. Once all the cheeses have been added and the ingredients are fully incorporated, blend for 5 more seconds.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and mix in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer on low until the cream of tartar is fully incorporated into the whites. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to high and mix until stiff peaks form. Pour about ¼ of the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and fold in until fully mixed. Add the remaining egg whites and fold in, it is fine if there are a few larger pieces of egg whites in the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish(es) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes for individual soufflés, 40 – 45 minutes for a large soufflé. The soufflés should be risen and golden brown.

A gluten free recipe that serves 8.

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Gluten Free Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Recipe

26 Mar

I love a good burger (sans bun of course!). I have fond memories of going to the pool at the Officer’s Club at Naha Air and Naval Base in Okinawa and ordering huge, juicy burgers loaded with ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, pickles and onions, eating them by the pool with the juices dripping down my arms, the sounds of happy kids splashing away and the occasion shriek from some one being pushed off the high dive by the rowdy boys in the background while the sun beat down on us and a gentle breeze stirred the air. Of course charging them to my Dad’s account at the O Club was pretty cool too.

My vegetarian sister, Karen, ironically sent us a big box filled with meat products for Christmas so I have been enjoying lots of burger lunches lately.

While there is nothing wrong with ketchup and mustard (except possibly all the sugar in the ketchup) sometimes I like something a little more sophisticated on my burger. This is an easy little topping just packed with flavor. I add a touch of Chilpotle Puree for some heat. That recipe follows. The Chilpotle Puree is hot so judge accordingly when adding.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


1 large roasted red pepper (from a jar, packed in water) – pat dry
¼ teaspoon Chilpotle Puree – or more or less depending on your heat tolerance
Pinch salt & pepper
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon agave syrup


Put everything into a small food processor or blender and whirl for a few seconds until blended and fairly smooth. Taste for seasoning. Great on burgers, chicken or fish.

Chipotle Puree

(Taken form the cook book “Seriously Simple” by Dianne Rossen Worthington. I keep this in my fridge at all times and use is for topping everything from hummus to mango sorbet.)

1 – 7 ounce can Chilpotle in adobo sauce

Pour the chilies and their sauce into a food processor and process until smooth. Place in airtight container, cover and refrigerate.
This gluten free recipe makes a great condiment!

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