Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gluten Free Italian Style

Second week of gluten free and we're going after an italian theme. I'm still getting my sea legs under me on working with gluten free pastas and carefully sifting my pre-made ingredients for any sign of wheat. I'll have to say that each of the three types of GF pastas have performed quite differently, so far corn and brown rice flour pasta has seemed to perform much better than their quinoa counterpart. Quinoa once chilled seems to lose it's moisture very quickly and become very hard and difficult to re-heat (I had to do a reboil on one batch). The brown rice seems to disintegrate pretty quickly so watching the time was critical there. Corn has proven to be my favorite of the three so far. I haven't gotten back any reviews from my eaters so far, but I'm eager to see how the lasagna went. Maybe I'll devote a post here about the various pastas we've been using, and if anyone has an suggestions please comment and let me know. Anyhow on with the show.

We start the meal with a Chicken Artichoke Mushroom Lasagna. Very yummy, I think the roasted garlic sauce I used really put it over the top. The sauce is cream based rather than the more traditional tomato base. Of note was the pasta that I used was "oven ready" meaning no boil, I went with the hour cooking and added a bit of chicken stock as liquid to help with the pasta. I think if I were to re-use these noodles, I'd need to make a more traditional lasagna, there weren't enough ingredients in this one and the edges came out under cooked.

Next we have a Minestrone Salad. Basically it's all the contents of a minestrone soup but dressed with an herby balsamic viniagrette. This salad is loaded with neat textures, crunchy, soft, and some points in between. This really is a healthy salad that helps as the filler element that doesn't incur too much on the calorie side.

I round out our sides with a Tomato Canallini bean dip. Not too much to write home about here. I think I should have doubled the amounts and I didn't end up with a whole lot. Basically we start by infusing some oil with garlic and proceed to layer in the tomatos and beans and finishing it in the food proc. I tossed in some hazelnut crackers for good measure.

I'm kinda bummed here, I didn't get a picture of dessert. Did you know, rice krispies contain flour? Yeah, I know who'd a thought. Well I found a wonderful alternative in the rice chex which proudly displays their gluten free status on their box. Well so now we have rice chexies treats. I can't tell you how yummy this stuff is. I think there's still some left so I'll try to post a pic of it. I did the mental math on a per serving that this turned out, I don't *think* it's as bad for you as it tastes. I believe what's pictured in the box is something less than 90 calories (don't quote me on that), not bad considering most cakes and stuff that could fit in the little square are really loaded.

Although this box was fairly quick to put together, since I had to do it on a Monday (my bento-ers had MLK day off, I didn't) it made for a pretty long day for me. All in all very glad to have done it, the act of cooking usually takes my mind off other troubles, so I call it a labor of love. Thanks for reading

Box contents
  • Chicken Artichoke Mushroom Lasagna
  • Minestrone Salad
  • Tomato and Canallini bean dip
  • Rice Chexies treats

4 comments:

Lunch Buckets said...

Had no idea rice crispies contained flour - how odd! We make crispie treats with whatever kinda cereal we have around. Kids love it with Captn Crunch :)

Ironjack said...

mmm the good ol Captain. Yeah you'd be surprised with what all has wheat in it.

Ella said...

hey Jack - can you share your recipe for the garlic cream sauce?

Ironjack said...

Sure thing:
Here's the original Recipe
Garlic sauce
3 cloves garlic unpeeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp sherry
1 cu whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cu finely grated Parmesan cheese
Dash of nutmeg

Place the garlic in a small piece of foil; drizzle the olive oil over the cloves. Seal in packet and back 30 mins or until the garlic is soft. Remove the garlic from the oven.

When the garlic is cool, squeeze into a small bowl (discarding skins and mash it with a fork.

Place the mashed garlic in a small saucepan. Add sherry, whipping cream, salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce slowly, stirring constantly, until the mixture has been reduced and thickened

Remove the sauce from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg

I modified this a bit. First I roasted a whole bulb of garlic I mean who doesn't like roasted garlic and used half a bulb. next, I went with whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream to save on some of the badness. I didn't reduce it till it was completely thick because I was doubling the cooking time (because the pasta asked for it and I didn't trust the pasta).

Hope that works for ya.