Tag Archives: Asparagus

Summer Thanksgiving Dinner

When you think of Thanksgiving, most people don’t think of summer.  Well this week, I made a summery version of a Thanksgiving dinner…and it was all gluten free.  This weekend, we went shopping at Costco and bought a turkey breast, asparagus, and corn on the cob.  I was really impressed that the asparagus from Costco was from New Jersey and said local on the outside of the bag.  I love buying fruits and vegetables there.  They are some of the freshest produce I have ever bought.  Here’s  a look at some of what we got. 

The turkey comes almost cooked all the way.  You have to put it in a pan covered in the oven for one hour.  Due to the fact that we like more well done meat, we took the cover off the turkey and cooked it for another 10 minutes.  You will not have to season the turkey.  Here’s the turkey after it was done cooking.  You will probably see a lot of asparagus because it is one of the easiest vegetables to cook in my opinion.  You don’t need a knife and they don’t take too long to cook in the oven.  For these asparagus I sprayed a pan and added the asparagus with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, pepper, and garlic powder.  After cooking for about 15 minutes or so at 350, I added the other half of the lemon along with more pepper, garlic, and a little salt.  Then for the corn, I simply cooked it in boiling water for about 15 minutes on top of the stove.  This was some of the sweetest corn I have ever eaten.  Along with this meal, we served cranberry sauce.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make cranberry sauce this time, but if you want to make it from scratch, here’s a recipeThe great thing about this turkey dinner is that it wasn’t heavy like the typical Thanksgiving meal.

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Artichoke For Dinner…How do you eat it?

This is the perfect season for eating artichokes.  When I did my grocery shopping last weekend, Fresh Direct had given 4 stars to the artichokes because their rating system shows they were at their best. Artichokes are a great food, not high in calories and really easy to make.  Many people do a lot to prepare artichokes before cooking them, but I cook them very simply and do not use a lot of prep work.  The best part of the artichoke in my opinion is the heart.  If you do not know how to eat an artichoke, I will show you here.  First, before beginning to cook the artichokes, cut the bottom of the stem off.  Fill a pot with water and place artichokes in the pot, and put the heat on medium high to high depending on your stove. In order to give the artichokes a little more flavor, I sprinkled garlic powder, onion flakes, and pepper into the water on top of the artichokes.  The artichokes cooked on high for about an hour.  The artichokes are done when you pull a leaf from the center and it easily comes off.  Here are the artichokes in the pot after they were cooked.  You can see they have turned a darker color green. 

Here is the whole artichoke.  You can see onion flakes on the leaves.  For dipping, I simply melted a teaspoon of smart balance in the microwave for about 10 seconds and dipped the leaves into the melted butter.  Smart Balance has a great taste and says gluten free right on the container.  Once you eat all of the leaves, you will get to the heart which looks like this.  The purple thorny part that is coming out of the top is not edible, and will hurt if you try to eat it.  Simply take a fork or knife and clean out the center of the heart until the inside is completely hollowed out like this.  This part is completely edible and really delicious.  Along with the artichoke, I served baby carrots and asparagus.  For the carrots, I simply sprayed a tin with cooking spray and put in a bag of baby carrots along with a cleaned bunch of organic baby carrots.  I sprinkled these with salt and pepper and a little bit of agave.  Then roasted them for about 45 minutes at 350 in the oven.  These were delicious.  For the asparagus I simply sprayed a pan with cooking spray and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and garlic.  These cooked for about 15 minutes at the same time as the carrots.   Besides being gluten free, this meal is great for people who are vegetarian.  Also, for those meat eaters, the artichoke as a main course makes this vegetarian meal really a meaty choice.  Please try this in your kitchen and let me know what you think.

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Company For Dinner

As I told you on Friday night, we were having friends over for dinner last night.  Yesterday definitely became a very busy day trying to get everything ready for dinner.  I really had no idea what to make for our friends.  My husband and my friend’s husband aren’t really too into fish, so that was out.  I don’t really like cooking red meat that much, so that was out too.  I knew it had to be chicken of some sort, but my usual chicken recipes just were not doing it for me.  Also, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do for the side items.  My sister actually helped me look for some recipes because I felt clueless.  I’m not really sure why I felt that way since I cook almost everyday, but I wanted dinner to be good, and I wanted our friends to enjoy it.  I actually cooked everything except for the rice from a real recipe.  I almost never do that. 

I didn’t take pictures of the apps, but we started with various Trader Joe’s eats.  Olives, Artichoke Tapenade, Eggplant Capponata, lite gouda cheese, stilton cheese with apricots, carrots, crackers, and hummus were all very good.  Again TJ’s didn’t disappoint me at all.

Then we sat down for salad.DSC01598  This salad was delicious.  It included apples, toasted walnuts, dried cherries, orange pepper, and a combination of romaine and young lettuces.  The recipe is from epicurious, and you can find it here.  The only thing about this recipe is that i definitely used more lettuce than what the recipe called for and I added orange pepper because I like pepper, and there is way too much dressing.  I only used about half.  You may want to cut down the dressing measurements if you don’t want to have leftover dressing, or you can just save it for another salad, which I definitely will be doing.

For the main course, we had chicken in a really great marinade.  DSC01601The recipe came from the I Am Gluten Free blog.  The recipe used orange juice, honey, pomegranate juice, and lots of spices as a marinade.  It had a great flavor and I would definitely make it again.  Next time though I would probably marinate the chicken for a little while before cooking it.  You can find the recipe here.

The side dishes included Lundberg’s Wild Rice cooked in chicken stock instead of water and Asparagus with Parmesan Butter.DSC01603DSC01600  The asparagus was delicious.  I’m excited for leftovers tonight.  This recipe is also from eipicurious and it can be found here.  I think next time I may add more basil.  The basil really adds a lot.  I think fresh basil might be finding its way into my food more coming up.

The most exciting part of my meal was this.DSC01593DSC01592DSC01591  Now, I have never made bread in my life let alone gluten free bread.  I really have been craving warm crusty bread, so I decided yesterday to look for gluten free bread recipes to see if there were any that seemed easy to make.  This one was one of the first to come up and I thought it was quite easy.  The only thing was that the recipe called for two loaves, but the dough was so sticky that I decided to just make one giant loaf.  This was the closest thing to normal bread that I’ve had in the last 6 months.  All of my gluten eating guests enjoyed the bread as well.  The recipe is from Gluten Free Girl and can be found here.

The final star of the meal were these desserts that our guests Rich and Briana went out of their way to bring to dinner from Mama’s.DSC01604  This is the same restaurant where Mike took me for my birthday last weekend, and had no idea that we had been there since it is so far from where we live.  I happily tried half a cannoli and a small bite of each of the chocolate desserts.  It was so yummy.  I really enjoyed the cannoli.

This was such a good night!  I really enjoy entertaining and hope to do it again soon.

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