Chipotle Candied Bacon

This simple recipe is perfect as a topper for salads, veggies or as a decadent indulgence. Be sure to line your baking pan; the drippings stick and burn. Substitute regular dried chile or add additional spices such as 1/2 tsp. dried Cumin and 1/2 tsp. dried Oregano for a more piquant taste.

9 Slices Thick Bacon
1/2 Cup lightly packed Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp. Dried Chipotle Powder

Toss chipotle chile powder and brown sugar in a bowl. Using a lined work surface (parchment paper or foil work great), lay out bacon with each strip touching so that there is no space between slices. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over bacon. Press sugar into the slices so more will stick.

Gently peel each slice away from the work surface, letting loose sugar fall back onto the lined area. Lay each slice, sugared-side down, onto a foil-lined cookie sheet topped with a cooling rack. Slices should be touching edges.

Shake leftover sugar from work surface back into bowl. Evenly sprinkle the second half of the sugar mixture over the top of the bacon. Gently press into slices.

Bake in a preheated 350ºF over for 20-30 minutes, until sugar is bubbling and fat on bacon is baked. Watch carefully starting at 15 minutes; the bacon will go from under-cooked to burned very quickly. Remove from oven and let completely cool. Remove and store with parchment lining between layers.

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How To Turn 40 Apples Into Jelly, Pies, and Applesauce

When our neighbors told us they were heading to Taos for the weekend to pick apples at a family orchard, they asked if we might want a few apples. After a bit of chatting, we came upon a plan: they’d bring home a lot of apples, and I’d turn them all into jelly, applesauce and apple pies. A side bonus? Our house smells divine.

One batch of apples – three delights.

What can you make with around 40 medium apples? Depending on size, you can end up with about 18 jars of jelly, three quarts of applesauce, and three apple pies. Here’s how:

Making Piles of Apples: Pie and Jelly

Note: (If you use a gluten-free pie crust, all the recipes here are gluten-free.) Wash all apples, removing bad spots including severe bruises. For each apple, do the following in assembly-line fashion: over one large bowl, peel and core each apple, leaving a thick portion of apple attached to the peel. Over a second bowl, take the meat of each apple and slice into small slices.  The peeling and core will be boiled for the jelly and applesauce; the slices will become pies.

Apple Jelly

Apple Jelly

In a very large stock pot, add peeling and cores and 10 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. (While it is boiling, you can begin work on pies.) Once the stock pot is at a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and slightly loosen lid. Continue to cook about 20 minutes until apples are soft. Once soft, turn off heat and let sit for five minutes.

Almost Applesauce

Scoop cooked apples and peels into a colander balanced over a large bowl, letting the juice collect in the bowl. DO NOT press the peels; just let it drip. When most of the juice is gone, drop cooked apples into an empty bowl. Repeat until all cooked apples have been strained. Set aside cooked apples for applesauce.

Simmering Jelly

Measure collected apple juice and pour 8 cups into an empty stock pot. (If you have enough, you can double this.) Add 6 cups sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil and add 1 package of Sure Jell. Stir until it is dissolved and then add to apple juice. Bring apple juice to a boil, stirring occasionally. (To test whether the jelly will thicken, remove a small amount on a spoon and slowly pour it back into the boiling juice. If it slightly holds to the spoon, it is ready.

Pour into clean glass jars, cover with new Kerr lids and rings, and invert for 5-10 minutes. Turn upright and let sit for 24 hours. Test lids to verify they have sealed. Jelly will store for several weeks in the fridge and for up to a year on a cool, dark shelf.

Apple Pie

Depending on the quality and size of your apples, you should be able to make between one and three deep-dish pies. If you want to freeze the filling for a later date, here is a cool trick – line your pie pan with plastic wrap, pour in filling, fold in plastic wrap to completely cover apple filling. Freeze until shaped; remove pan and slide plastic covered apple filling into a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, the apples will already perfectly fit your pan.

Add 1 cup of sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon to sliced apples; toss well. Pour into prepared pie crust; top with second layer of pie crust. Bake in 350F oven for 35-45 minutes, until crust is browned and apples are soft and bubbling. Remove and let sit for fifteen minutes before serving.

Applesauce

Straining Applesauce

Since we boiled our apple cores with the peels, the applesauce will be a lovely red. Using colander balanced over a large bowl, scoop small amounts of cooked apple peeling and cores into the colander. Using a colander press, vigorously press peeling against the sides to squeeze all the cooked apple into the bowl below. Discard squeezed peels. Either serve immediate (adding sugar to taste) or cook until heated. Pour into clean jars, covering with new lids and rings. Can in a water bath according to directions or store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Red Applesauce

Chorizo-Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Red Pepper Tapenade, Capers and Spiced Feta Cheese

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Bored with chicken enchiladas, tacos, and stir-fry? Here is a spicy, flavorful stuffed chicken to wow your palate. This dish is perfect paired with potatoes, rice or pasta.

Ingredients

4-6 large boneless chicken breasts
3-4 links chorizo sausage
1 small carton basil and tomato feta cheese
4 Tbsp. red pepper tapenade (oil reserved)
1 small jar large capers, drained
non-stick cooking spray
white thread

Preparation

Chorizo-stuffed Chicken With Red Pepper Tapenade, Capers and Spiced Feta Cheese

Use the flat, not jagged, end of a meat tenderizer to flatten chicken, beating the underneath side, not the tops.

Remove chorizo sausages from wrapping, break apart into a prepared, hot heavy skillet, stirring frequently. Chorizo cooks quickly, so don’t leave unattended. Cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned, scraping the bottom of the skillet frequently. Pour contents into a sieve balanced over a metal bowl. Retain drained oil.

In a small bowl, combine drained capers and finely crumbled feta cheese. Spoon tapenade into another sieve balanced over the chorizo oil, draining the tapenade oil into the same bowl with the reserved chorizo oil. Add drained tapenade to capers and cheese mixture.

On a cutting board or large flat surface, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, beat chicken breasts until flat.

Allow chorizo to cool slightly before adding the sausage to the cheese mixture, or it will melt the cheese.

Once chicken is flattened, the chorizo should be cool enough to add to the cheese mixture. Spoon 2-3 Tbsp. cheese mixture into the center of each flattened piece of chicken.

Use white thread to hold the chicken breast in place during the browning process. Pretty is not the goal – just wrap it well enough to prevent the cheese mixture from leaking out into the skillet or during baking.

Wrap chicken completely around cheese mixture and roll several times with white string to hold chicken in place. DO NOT tie ends of string, just roll it around the chicken in several directions, pushing cheese mixture to center and covering as much as possible with chicken breast. It doesn’t need to be perfect or all that pretty – the goal is simply to not lose all of the cheese out into the baking pan during baking.

Re-heat heavy skillet, spooning in 2-3 tbsp. of reserved oil blend. Add rolled chicken to hot oil and brown on all sides, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes. Chicken will still be raw on ends, edges and in the middle. Add additional oil as needed during the browning process. Remove browned chicken and place in a 9 X 13 baking dish prepared with non-stick cooking spray.

Once chicken is cool enough to touch, find the end of the string, and carefully unravel until the string is removed from each piece of chicken. Set chicken in baking dish with seams facing downward.

Place seams down in the baking pan and sprinkle any leftover cheese mixture over the top. Cover with foil before baking.

Top with leftover cheese filling. Cover with foil.

(Either proceed directly to baking instructions or refrigerate for up to 24 hours; may also freeze at this point, wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in freezer bags for later use.)

Baking Instructions

Bake chicken in prepared 9 X 13 baking dish for 45 minutes at 325℉ or until done (carefully slice the center of one of the inner pieces of chicken to determine doneness before removing from oven). Remove from oven and let sit covered with foil for 10 minutes (this allows the juice in the dish to be absorbed by the chicken and will make your meat juicy). Slice in thin layers or serve whole.

(Leftovers are wonderful served cold atop salads, in pasta dishes, or as a base for soups, tacos or enchiladas.)

Moist Gluten-free Banana Applesauce Muffins A Perfect Start To The Day

Applesauce not only replaces part of the usual fat needed in muffins, it also adds vital moisture to the gluten-free flour.

What better way to start off the week than a muffin chock full of potassium, vitamin C and a whole lot of yummy! These gluten-free banana muffins are light, moist and quite delicious.

Banana Applesauce Muffins

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 large over-ripe banana, lightly mashed
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup gluten-free flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Cinnamon Sugar for topping

Melt butter in microwave in a medium microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add sugar, applesauce, banana and egg. Gently mix together with fork until blended (but leaving chunks of banana). In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold dry ingredients into batter, stirring only until flour is absorbed. NOTE: These muffins need no adaptation for high altitude baking, but your specific measurement of flour can vary depending on humidity, oven type and other factors. It is far more effective to go by look and feel of the batter; this batter should be moist and gooey but not runny. If you think you need a bit more flour, add by the tablespoon since gluten-free flour absorbs moisture much more quickly than wheat flour.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out with crumbs and not batter. Makes 12

Serve warm or wrap separately and freeze for individual servings.

Variations:

  • Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or currants and 2 Tbsp. dried orange peel
  • To bake the batter as a bread loaf, decrease oven temp to 325F and bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out with crumbs

Nutritional Info Per Muffin:

Calories: 64
Total Fat: 2.2 g
Carbs: 9.9 g (fiber 1.0 g)
Protein: 1.5 g
Potassium: 61.5 mg
Sodium: 87.7 mg

Yogurt Pancakes for One

If you’re like me, the recipes on the back of gluten-free baking mixes make far too much for one meal. And, seriously, who likes leftover pancakes – especially gluten-free ones?

Here’s a quick idea for breakfast that only serves up two pancakes. The yogurt creates a wonderful sourdough flavor and replaces the need for an egg.

1/3 cup low fat vanilla yogurt (check ingredients for natural flavor)
1/4 cup GF Bisquick or other baking mix
1 tsp oil
Water

In a small mixing bowl, using a rubber spatula, fold yogurt, GF baking mix and oil. Add enough cold water to make a thick dough, about 2-3 Tbsp.

Spoon half of the mixture into a prepared, hot non-stick skillet, spread dough out with spatula and cover with a lid. Cook on med-low heat until dough looks mostly dry on top, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn and cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Repeat. Serve hot with peanut butter and pure maple syrup.

Overdose Cookies (GF Style)

Overdose Cookies

If you’re gluten-free, it’s probably been a very long time since you’ve gotten sick from eating too many cookies before you’ve gotten sick from the lawn mower aftertaste. After months of experimenting, I think I’ve finally created a gluten-free cookie so delish it’ll be easy to overdose on cookies, because there is no after-taste, baby. A little bit snickerdoodle, part sugar cookie and with a base created from the traditional Toll House cookie, you’ll love the soft, delicate texture. (You can double the recipe quite easily, too.)

Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large mixing bowl, blend with rubber spatula until creamy:

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup GF vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp GF vanilla (recommended: the intense Mexican Vanilla)

Fold in:

1 1/2 GF Flour Mix (equal portions Pamelas Mix, Brown Rice Flour, and White Rice FLour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Drop by large spoonfuls onto a prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen.

 

Blue Corn Fish Enchiladas

Truth be told, if you’re looking for a gorgeous presentation, you shouldn’t pick this recipe, because it tends to blend together a bit when serving. But what it lacks in visual presentation, it makes up for in taste and speed (45 minutes from dragging the ingredients out of the fridge to sitting down to dinner). And it’s always a good thing when gluten-free and amazing taste can be used in the same sentence.

Blue Corn Fish Enchiladas

6 Blue Corn Tortillas, soft – straight out of the bag or very lightly roasted over gas flame or on a comal
1 lb. Orange Roughy (or other delicate white fish) , raw
1 jar El Pinto Red Chile Sauce or homemade gluten-free red chile sauce
3 cups shredded Mexican Cheese
1 tbsp dried, ground roasted cumin
1 tbsp dried, ground oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt

Prepare a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer bottom with 2 1/2 raw corn tortillas, one torn in half to fill in empty spaces. Top with 1/2 of the raw fish, laid directly on top of the tortillas, spaced out as evenly as possible. Cover with half of the jar of red chile (around 1 1/2 cups if homemade). Top with half of the cheese. Sprinkle half of the spices on top of the cheese. Repeat all steps for a second layer.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350℉ oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is bubbling and browned on edges. Remove, let sit for five minutes. Serve with Black Bean Salsa.

Black Bean Salsa

This light side dish is big on protein and can easily become a main dish.

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup orange heirloom or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup yellow corn, drained
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 tbsp. fresh roughly chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients; let marinate for at least one hour and up to two days. Serve cold.