If you’re lucky enough to have a have a garden with an abundance of fresh vegetables, you must try making some Ciambotta (pronounced chim-botta)! Even if you don’t have a garden, grocery stores are full of a variety of fresh, local produce during the summer. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to use your harvest or take advantage of the fresh produce available now. Ciambotta can also be spelled giambotta, depending on the region of Italy. This version is a southern Italy farm dish. The great thing about this dish is you can use whatever veggies you like. The key is big, equal size cubes or chunks... and it’s naturally Gluten-Free. I served it with crusty whole wheat French bread drizzled with EVOO and Za’atar seasoning. It was delicious. Enjoy. 😋❤️
1 large yellow onion, cubed
8-10 cloves large garlic, peeled and diced
1/4 cup EVOO
4-5 golden Yukon potatoes, cubed
6 large Roma tomatoes, skin & seeds removed, cubed
2 medium eggplants, ends removed and cubed
2 medium zucchini, ends removed and cubed
1 large green bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
1 large red bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
2 handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
1 jalapeño (I used jalapeño) or long Italian hot pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper, to taste
20 fresh basil leaves, torn right before adding
1 sprig Greek oregano, (optional)
Boil the Roma tomatoes for a few minutes until the skin starts to crack. Remove from boiling water and cool. Once cool enough to handle you can easily peel off the skin., Cut them in half, remove the seeds and cube.
In a minimum 6 qt deep Dutch oven, On medium-high, heat EVOO until it starts to shimmer.
Add the onions and garlic and turn several times until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño pepper, zucchini, potatoes, give it a good turn.
Add the eggplants last. Turn well and cook about 10 minutes.
Add salt and black pepper to taste and tear the basil leaves, sprig of Greek oregano (if using) and add to pot. Stir together.
Lower flame to medium-low and cover. Cook about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now is a good time to prepare any pasta or crusty bread.
For the bread: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice the Italian or French bread into 1/2-inch slices and place on foiled baking sheet. Drizzle each piece with EVOO then sprinkle with Za’atar seasoning, garlic powder, & a little sea salt.
Bake about 4 minutes until golden brown. (Bake when Ciambotta is just about done)
Serve in pasta dishes with crusty bread on the side or over pasta & garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Notes: Serve with crusty gluten-free bread to keep completely gluten-free or use Italian or French bread to soak up the juices! Can be served with pasta too.
I'm always looking for ways to use the herbs I'm growing in my garden. I have quite a bit of Thai basil which I've made delicious chicken salad and Thai basil Chicken with but I wanted to experiment with other dishes. I made a summertime bean salad and added quite a few Thai basil leaves to see how it tasted...we loved it. You're still getting protein through the beans and this dish delivers big time on flavor. Enjoy by itself in lettuce leaves or as a side dish with no cooking as an added bonus during the hot summer! Naturally Gluten-Free. Enjoy. 😋❤️
1 can (15 oz) Chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 large red onion
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup EVOO
2 Tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
4 large cloves garlic, minced
ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4- 1/3 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, parsley, Thai basil, garlic & pepper. Slowly whisk in the EVOO & set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the rinsed & drained beans, celery, and red onion.
Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and gently toss to coat evenly.
Garnish with a few Thai basil leaves.
Notes: Leftovers can be added to rice & cooked green beans for a delicious side to basil pesto chicken.
My Thai basil growing in hay bales
Summertime Bean Salad – Twiins Style mixed with brown rice & cooked cut green beans
When marinating chicken with Greek-inspired flavors the Mediterranean is brought to your dinner table and with it all the sunshine and joy for life that is associated with a beautiful outdoor dinner in the Greek Islands! This dish is so simple but packs huge flavor! Whether you want a quick family meal or a casual dinner with friends you will love it...Enjoy!😋❤️
2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces
2 tsp EVOO
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1½ tsp fresh Greek oregano, chopped (dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped ( dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3-4 Tablespoons 2% milk ( any milk works well)
1½ Tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 large tomato, sliced
Fresh oregano, chopped for garnish
Mixed salad greens with olives, cucumbers, red onion, thin sliced
Optional: Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)
In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp EVOO, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to a 1/4” thickness. Cut each piece in half to yield approximately 6-8 pieces of chicken breast.
Add chicken breasts to the marinade, cover & refrigerate 30 minutes. (this step can be prepared ahead of time until ready for cooking.)
In a small bowl, combine the Feta cheese, garlic powder, 2% milk & chopped red onion. Using a fork, mash well to make a spread. Add additional milk if too thick until you reach desired consistency. (this step can be prepared ahead of time & refrigerated until ready to serve)
In a grill pan or large skillet drizzle 1 tsp of EVOO, then using a paper towel, coat pan.
Heat pan to medium-high. Once hot, place half the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until browned approximately 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan & set aside. Cook remaining chicken breasts and set aside.
Place mixed salad greens on a dinner plate then top with cooked chicken breast(s). Garnish the chicken with Feta cheese spread. Arrange tomato slices on the dish and garnish with fresh Greek oregano.
Preparation of Feta cheese spread
Marinated Chicken breasts in grill pan
Grilled chicken breasts set aside
Plated Grilled Greek Chicken breasts
Also can replace “burger night” meal or next days lunch in a sandwich
Notes: Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers. To enhance this Greek meal, drizzle salad greens with EVOO, red wine vinegar, add a little feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, and some Greek olives for a side salad. The creamy feta cheese spread is delicious on any vegetable or baked potato.
This isn’t just another meatloaf recipe! I have made many meatloaf variations throughout the years, but none have ever come close to this super easy, flavorful, moist, and absolutely delicious meatloaf that my daughter Tracy makes. I’ve been staying with my daughter while she is recovering from surgery and wanted to cook meals for her and, as she refers to him, her roommate John🤣. The only change I had to make was adapting it to be gluten-free for Jack so he could enjoy it too. I have to say it was the biggest hit. The glaze was just the right amount of sweet and tangy that made this meatloaf extra special. Enjoy !!😋 😋
In a large bowl, add the ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, milk, beaten eggs, 4 tablespoons ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, garlic powder, dried onion flakes, celery seed, paprika, bouillon granules, and pepper. Using disposable gloves on your hands mix these ingredients together until well combined. Do not under-mix.
Add the meat mixture to a 9×13 inch roasting pan. Pat and form the meat into a loaf shape approximately 3-4 inches high.
In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup ketchup, the brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir well to combine. Pour the glaze on top of the meatloaf and place it on the center rack in the preheated oven.
Bake uncovered for 55 -65 minutes.
Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before serving.
1. Homemade Gluten-free onion soup mix. Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. This will yield the equivalent of 2 envelopes of gluten-free dry onion soup mix.
2. If gluten isn’t an issue you may use any Lipton Onion Soup mix in place of the homemade version and regular plain breadcrumbs.
2. For a tasty meal, serve with creamy mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh spinach with garlic and EVOO
I was looking in my freezer to see what I could make for dinner without having to go the market. I found 2 small NY strip steaks that I defrosted for Gary to grill on the barbeque. I had most of the other ingredients for this delicious and healthy dinner. The best part...it's served all in one bowl. You can make this with what you have on hand, including chicken, beef, or lamb for the protein. The yogurt dressing is wonderful and blends all the flavors together. I could eat this dish every night of the week...it's that good. Give it a try.
For the Bowls:
1 lb. NY strip steak (may substitute with flank steak, sirloin steak, chicken breast or lamb)
2 tsp EVOO
salt, pepper, garlic powder (to season steak)
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped to your size liking (about 12 cups)
1 large cucumber, quartered & cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 medium red onion, finely sliced or chopped
1-pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup hummus (I used Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus
& added 1 clove finely minced garlic)
1/2 cup crumbled fetta cheese
lemon wedges (optional)
For the Yogurt Dressing:
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Cabot Greek whole milk yogurt)
1 Tablespoon EVOO
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp fresh mint, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried mint)
For the Dressing:
In a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk together. Place in the fridge until ready to use. This dressing can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
For the Bowls:
Preheat the grill to high heat (approximately 450ºF).
Pat the steak with paper towels until dry. Brush steaks with EVOO then sprinkle with salt, pepper & a little garlic powder.
When the grill is hot enough, place the steak on the grill for 3 minutes then flip and grill an additional 3 minutes for medium-rare or until an instant-read thermometer reads 140ºF. Grill longer for thicker steak. Our steaks were about 1-inch thick before grilling.
Remove steak from the grill and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Slice thin against the grain.
While the steak is resting, divide the chopped lettuce between 4 bowls. Top with sliced steak, red onions, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
Spoon yogurt dressing on top and garnish with optional lemon wedges.
Notes: In place of slicing the red onion thin, you can cut them into 1-inch pieces & place on skewers with the tomatoes. Grill for about 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally until tomatoes start to blister & onions are softened.
Meatless Mediterranean Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Tomatoes & Pignoli, Gluten-Free
Difficulty: Very Easy
After our holiday baking was over, we had pignoli left over so we came up with this delicious, healthy recipe to kickstart 2020. Our first recipe for the new year is a meatless Mediterranean dish. In spite of our husbands' carnivore appetites, this meatless dish satisfied them both...we were in heaven! This recipe delivers an exciting depth of flavor with a wonderful blending of ingredients. We think you and your family will love it.
3 pounds zucchini and yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise & sliced 1/2 inch thick
Kosher salt & pepper
1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 Tablespoons EVOO
1 pound gluten-free pasta (we used Le Veneziane gluten-Free Farfalle)
12 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Grated Pecorino Romano
After cutting the zucchini and summer squash, sprinkle with approximately 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels & wipe away residual salt. Set aside.
While squash is draining, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, lower flame to simmer until ready to cook pasta.
In a 12-inch non=stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO over high heat. Once it starts to smoke, add half the squash and cook until slightly charred, turning occasionally, approximately 5-6 minutes. Reduce heat if the skillet starts to overheat. Transfer to a large plate then repeat step 3 with the remaining half of squash and another tablespoon of EVOO. Transfer 2nd batch to plate and set aside.
Bring water to full boil and add salt then the pasta. Cook according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of cooked pasta water.
In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of EVOO. Add pignoli and toast lightly, then add red onion, garlic, and pepper flakes. Cook approximately 1 minute until fragrant.
Drain pasta (reserve 1 cup of pasta water) then return pasta to the pot. Add the squash, tomatoes, pignoli mixture, vinegar, basil, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of EVOO. Mix well to combine.
Add enough reserved pasta water to keep moist consistency but not soupy. You may not need the whole cup. Lightly drizzle with EVOO and top with grated cheese.
Char the sliced squash
toast pignoli then add red onion, garlic and pepper flakes
Mix everything into the cooked pasta
Place on serving platter
Top with grated cheese & Enjoy
Note: If gluten is not an issue, use your favorite brand of pasta. If your family must have meat, feel free to add whatever they like.
Whenever we go out together for dinner we always order fried calamari if it's on the menu. Unfortunately for Jack, restaurants never make it gluten-free. This leaves him feeling left out and having to settle for soup or salad. We decided to test a gluten-free batch that he would enjoy at home. Turns out they were so good you can't tell the difference. So if any of your loved ones need to eat gluten-free, give this recipe a try. Who needs restaurants when you can serve up a tender batch in no time at all!
1 lb calamari – fresh or frozen & thawed.
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Flour
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt, more or less to taste
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
dipping sauce of your choice (Red Chili Pepper Spread, marinara sauce, chipotle mayo, etc.)
Rinse under cold water and dry the calamari well using paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Slice into 1/2-inch rings.
In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free flour and seasonings. Combine well.
Toss rings into the flour mixture to coat well.
Fry small batches at a time in hot vegetable oil for 1½ – 2 minutes; don’t exceed 2 minutes or they will be overcooked & rubbery. They should be a pale golden color.
When cooked, remove quickly to paper towels to drain excess oil then repeat for the next batch.
Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce or eat them just as they are.
Sliced calamari rings & tentacles
Toss in seasoned gluten-free flour
Rings after flour coating
Frying the tentacles first
Frying the rings
Served warm with Red Chili Pepper Spread or your favorite dipping sauce
It has taken 3 years of experimenting with countless cannoli shell recipes to get the cannoli shells to have the perfect texture, like the New York & Boston bakeries...not too crisp or too hard. We were persistent in trying to make a shell worthy of our cannoli cream. We were disappointed to learn that most of the Italian restaurants along with a lot of bakeries who serve/sell cannoli buy premade shells. It was a daunting journey and we were about to give up and buy the premade but we gave it one more try. Once we got the regular shell recipe to our liking we had to come up with a gluten-free recipe for Jack. We are thrilled to share our gluten-free recipe with you. They are delicious and so worth the effort!
Sift the gluten-free flour, sugar, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl.
Make a well in the center and add the cold butter. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks, wine & vanilla paste. Add to the flour, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough begins to cling together. It should be lumpy.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and satiny and tiny blisters appear on the surface. The blisters mean that the wine is beginning its fermentation in the dough, which will produce a crisp, light shell. Under kneading will result in large, irregular air pockets in the dough that will puff up and explode when they hit the oil.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
In a deep heavy-bottomed 3-4 qt saucepan, add enough oil to come to a depth of 3 inches; heat to 375ºF on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. You will need to adjust the heat from time to time to maintain 375º.
After an hour, remove dough from the refrigerator. Then divide the dough into 4 quarters.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 1/16 inch thick and cut it into 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter.
Use a small pastry brush to lightly wipe some vegetable oil around each cannoli tube to prevent dough from sticking to the tube.
Wrap each cutout of dough around the aluminum cannoli tube and seal the edges with a little water. The edges should overlap. Press down to seal well.
Once the oil reaches 372º-375º, use a chopstick to slide through the cannoli tube and gently place it in the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan, just be careful as they cook quickly. If the shells are browning too quickly lower temperature to 370º. Temperatures may vary depending on a gas stove or electric so keep an eye on the candy thermometer as it changes quickly. Use the chopstick to roll the tubes around until golden brown. They will dry a darker color once cooled. Using the chopsticks again, insert into tube and quickly remove to paper towel draped cooking rack to drain excess oil. Don’t worry if the tubes slide off the dough while frying. Just carefully remove the tube with your chopstick.
Use oven mitts or triple folded paper towels to grab the hot tube and gently shake to slide the shell off. Completely cool and store in an airtight container or plastic baggies with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess oil. They will keep several weeks.
To Fill: Do not fill cannoli until ready to serve or your shells will be soggy. Use a large pastry bag with or without a fancy tip. Fill the bag with cannoli cream and squeeze into the shells, filling half of each shell at a time; working from the center out to the ends.
Decorate the ends with chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, candied orange peel or candied cherries. Shell ends can also be dipped in chocolate before filling.
Notes: Cannolo (plural: cannoli) The word cannoli means ‘pipes’ – pipes of crispy pastry filled with ricotta cream (the most common), pastry cream, chocolate cream, or pistachio cream.
Recipe adapted from Victoria Granof, Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.
Jasmine rice, with its fragrant characteristic aroma, is a wonderful side dish on its own; however, when we added just a few simple ingredients it exploded with flavor and has become a family favorite. Although Jasmine rice is typically used in Thai cuisine it is equally popular in Middle Eastern cuisine and has become our go-to rice for many side dishes. Although it has a unique fragrance it won't interfere with any cuisine and is delicious.
2 cups Jasmine Rice
3 cups water or chicken broth
1 Tablespoon butter
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup EVOO, for sautéeing
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and diced
1 Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Add rice, salt, water or broth, and butter in a deep saucepan.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
When it comes to a boil, stir and reduce heat to low. Cover the pan tightly and cook without stirring 18-20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Keep covered and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
In a large deep skillet or wok heat EVOO until hot.
Sauté onions and bell peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add fresh or frozen peas and continue to cook 3 minutes.
Add the cooked rice to the skillet and stir to combine well on low-medium heat.
Remove from heat and serve.
Notes: The fresher the rice is, the more aroma it will have.