Pizza Popover Casserole

OK,  if that sounds gross to you (which it doesn’t to me, but whatev) hear me out. You know how you used to buy a pizza crust or a pie crust at the market whenever you wanted? Before you couldn’t do gluten? You know what a pain it is now you have to make those from scratch,  so you just don’t. You don’t make anything requiring crusts anymore, because it’s just too much effort.

This is an answer to that problem! The popover topping is mixed in a bowl and poured on top. Easy peasy.  And so tasty. I also make this with a chicken pot pie filling, but that is a recipe for another day.

I adapted this recipe from one of those little recipe booklets they sell at the checkout in the grocery store. I have no idea which one, as I ripped the page out to save it. I bought the booklet first, of course.

Popover Pizza Casserole

Pizza Popover Casserole (from Feeding My Kid)

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

4 oz. mushrooms (button or cremini), sliced

15 oz. pizza sauce (or homemade spaghetti sauce. Here is the recipe I use.)

2 oz. pepperoni, diced

Pinch fennel, crushed

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried basil

For the topping:

2 eggs

1 cup non-dairy milk of your choice (unsweetened or plain)

1 Tbsp. oil (I use grapeseed or melted coconut)

1 cup gluten free flour mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Remove with a slotted spoon to another bowl. In drippings, cook onion and pepper until tender crisp. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Add back in ground beef, pepperoni, spices and pizza sauce. Heat through.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together eggs,  milk and oil. Beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Gradually add flour and beat with an electric mixer for an additional minute.

Pour beef mixture into a greased 9 by 13 pan. Pour egg topping over the beef evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until topping is puffed and golden brown.

Asian Ground Beef Stir Fry (gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut and tree nut free)

I may have mentioned before how much my children and husband love hamburger. And how much I really don’t.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) hamburger gets heavy rotation at our house because it is cheap, quick and gets eaten. I am always looking for new ways to fix it.

I found this recipe from the website Nom Nom Paleo on Pinterest. I decided to “kid-ify” it, because let’s be honest, my kids would not eat broccoli slaw. Or scallions. And they can’t have fish sauce  anyway.

Turns out I actually like it too! And you know you have a winner on your hands when your four-year old asks you to help him to get it on the fork and “be sure to get that cabbage stuff on it too.”

asian ground beef

Asian Ground Beef Stir Fry (from Feeding My Kid)

Adapted from this recipe on  Nom Nom Paleo.com

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil

1 lb of ground beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 lb of thinly sliced mushrooms

½ cup of shredded carrots

1-2 cups of shredded cabbage (I use the angel hair pre-shredded to save time)

2 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or WAY less if you use powered)

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a big skillet. Add the beef and cook until browned throughout.  Remove from pan. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat.  Add the onion and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are nicely browned. Be sure to use a big pan, because as Julia says, “Don’t crowd the mushrooms” *- it really is the key to getting them beautifully caramelized. Add the cabbage and cook until it wilts a bit.  Mix together the soy sauce, garlic and ginger and add to pan. If it is looking a bit dry to you, add water a tablespoon at a time.

If I am feeling motivated, I serve this with rice. Most of the time I serve it as is, and the kids gobble it up. We don’t put it in lettuce cups as in the original recipe, but that seems like a fine idea for when I can get my kids to eat lettuce.

*Semi-obscure Julia Child reference.

Dragon (and Knight) Picture Books

Lately we have been on a dragon kick. These are our favorites. Most star dragons but, as you know, dragons and knights go together. So some feature dragons in a more “supporting” role.

1. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin. Did you know that dragons love tacos? Watch out for the spicy salsa, though.

2. The Egg,by M.P. Robertson. A beautifully illustrated book about a boy, George, who finds a dragon egg, and raises it.

3. Raising Dragons, by Jerdine Nolan. Another great book about a little girl who raises a dragon.

4. Me and My Dragon, by David Beidrzycki. A boy wants a dragon as a pet. I love this little red dragon.

5. There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent. A delightful children’s story with an important moral as the subtext.

6. Mr Benn – Red Knight, by David McKee. Mr Benn, taking a detour through a fitting room in a costume shop,  connects to strange world where he helps a dragon regain his reputation.

7. The Knight and the Dragon, by  Tomie dePaola. A story about how we aren’t always suited for the roles that are expected of us.

8. Dragon Snatcher, by M.P. Robertson. The follow up to The Egg. A wizard is stealing dragon eggs, and George’s dragon needs his help to stop the wizard.

Grilled Pork Ribs (gluten, dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut free)

These. Are. The. Bomb.

That’s really all I have to say.

Grilled Pork Spareribs (from Feeding My Kid)

3 pounds pork ribs (spare, country, etc.  – I buy whatever is on sale)

1 – 6 oz. can of frozen lemonade, thawed

1 cup gluten free barbecue sauce (We use Stubbs brand)

Add pork ribs to a large soup pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer  for 1 hour. Yes, you really need to do this. It precooks the meat, makes it nice and tender, and you spend less time standing in front of the grill later.

Meanwhile, mix the thawed lemonade and BBQ sauce in a large glass pan. When ribs are done, add ribs to marinade, turning over to coat. Let marinate for at least four hours, up to eight hours.

Heat grill to medium. Grill pork for 30 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with marinade.

Place remaining marinade in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Use marinade as a dipping sauce for your ribs.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (gluten,dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut free)

Sometimes it surprises me, the food that my kids gravitate towards. I pretty much expect that they will always eat spaghetti or waffles, but I wasn’t expecting this one to be a “down it as fast as you can and ask for more” recipe. But it was.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (from Feeding My Kid)

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)

28 oz. chicken broth (we use Pacific brand)

1 – 15 oz. can cannellini or black beans

1 – 15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 -4 oz. can diced mild green chiles  (Optional. I add these at the end as a garnish, because my kids think they are too spicy. No really. I can’t believe it either.)

1 tsp. powdered garlic

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

salt, to taste

5 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the tortilla strips on a baking sheet, making an effort to not overlap them. Bake until toasted and dry, checking every five minutes to avoid burning. Remove from oven and cool.

In a large stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add chicken and poach until chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes). Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Add beans, tomatoes and spices to pot, turn down heat to simmer. Using two forks, shred the chicken and add to pot.  Simmer for ten minutes to meld the flavors. Garnish with tortilla strips and serve.

Sewing for Boys Sew Along – Luka Hoodie

The Luka Hoodie was the August pattern for the Sewing for Boys Sew Along. I finished it a while ago (though not by the end of August), but I  hadn’t gotten around to taking pictures. Today we had an outing in the cold that offered the opportunity. Sewing For Boys - Luka Hoodie

I made this one out of a Michael Miller skateboard print that I had in my stash, a coordinating grey Kona cotton, and a lining of aqua flannel.

Sewing for Boys  - Luka Hoodie

For me, the pattern came together fairly easily. I did a careful read of the pattern before cutting and realized that the picture in the book does not jive with the cutting instructions, and I really did want my pocket to be in the skateboard fabric, so I had to account for that.

About half way through the project,  I bailed on on making the lining with no seams showing. I just wanted to get it done, and after looking at the diagrams, I couldn’t absorb the origami of how to make it work with no seam showing. Oh well. It’s on the inside anyhow.

Sewing For Boys - Luka Hoodie

Overall this is a really cute pattern. There are just a couple of things that bothered me about the finished product. One is the “v” on the chest where the bottom pocket joins the two top front pieces (just below the buttons.) It is hand stitched closed, and maybe it is just my hand stitching, but it shows horribly – where the machine stitching stops and the hand stitching starts.  It bothers me so much I might actually rip it out and find a way to machine stitch it closed. The other thing is that the elastic in the hood looks a bit wonky to me. I think I would like the hood better with a drawstring or no gathering at all. This may be because the only other hoodies I can compare to are either knit or ripstop nylon, none of which have elastic.  Other than those two details I liked this pattern.

Caramel Apple Dip (gluten, dairy, egg and nut free)

One of the things that I wanted to do with the boys for Halloween was this DIY caramel apple bites I found via Pinterest:

Photo: Ellie’s Bites Decorated Cookies

How cute is that? Unfortunately, I have to mail-order allergen safe sprinkles and didn’t get around to it in time. Candy corn is out because of either egg or nut in every brand I’ve found, and  marshmallows that are safe for us don’t come in a mini size.  Also, food on a stick:  I’m just not sure my one and four year old are ready for it. So, I decided to dial it back quite a bit and just do apples with caramel sauce for a snack.

Order of Business No. 1: Find a safe caramel sauce recipe.  I found a vegan recipe that called for two cups of sugar, AND corn syrup. Yikes.

Order of Business No. 2: Find a safe caramel sauce recipe that doesn’t make me feel like a bad mother. I found this paleo recipe from Paleo Parents. I feel much better about honey and maple syrup. It’s still sugar, but at least it’s not super processed, and it is a cup versus 2 1/2 cups. But it bothered me that this recipe had no butter in it. I mean, every caramel sauce recipe I have read (and I read a lot, looking for a safe one) had either butter or heavy cream. So I decided to tweak the paleo recipe and throw  in some Earth Balance margarine (if you use pastured butter instead, it would still be paleo – I just can’t do that with my kids’ dairy intolerance.)

Are you worried that paleo caramel just won’t taste like “real” caramel? Don’t be. The four-year old asked if he could drink the caramel. The one-year old didn’t ask – he just did it anyway. Yeah, it’s good.

*If you are making this and can’t tolerate dairy (butter) or the soy in Earth Balance sticks, you could use the soy free Earth Balance formula that comes in a tub. Or, possibly a bit of coconut milk. I think that will be what I try the next time I make this.*

Gluten, dairy, nut free caramel dip from Feeding My Kid

Safe Caramel Apple Dip (gluten, dairy, egg and nut free)

Adapted from PaleoParents, original recipe here.

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup honey

1 1/2 Tbsp. Earth Balance margarine

1/2 tsp. baking soda

You have to keep an eye on this one. It involves medium low heat, and lots of patience and whisking. It’s worth it.

In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup and honey, heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble, stirring frequently. After it is bubbling, turn heat down to medium low, and whisk constantly, cooking for about 10 minutes, until the maple syrup and honey come together. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and baking soda. The combination will turn it from a clear liquid to an opaque color, but more stirring will make it clearer.