Mary's Busy Kitchen

Mary's Busy Kitchen

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chili In The Slow Cooker -naturally gluten free

This recipe is a must! Make it with ground turkey, chicken, or beef.
My mom loved this chili so much she called and asked for the recipe the next day.

Even though this is a slow cooker another option you can bring the chili to a boil, then simmer covered, for about 20  minutes instead on the stove top.

Weight watcher points are 8.6 if recipe is divided between 5 servings. These are good sized servings and could be made smaller and be perfectly filling with a salad and fruit added to the meal.

Chili In The Slow Cooker                             Makes 5 servings
1 pound ground turkey, chicken, or lean beef. I used ground turkey.
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions, (finely chopped)
1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper.
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 can tomatoes, pureed
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed.
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp brown sugar, I used Splenda brown sugar blend.

Brown ground meat of choice with garlic and onion. Drain and add to slow cooker.
Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

I gave the chili a stir once or twice while it was cooking, but it isn't necessary.  Stir before serving.

We had ours with Homestyle Corn Bread  the first  night, and as chili dogs with the leftovers. No nitrate chicken or beef hot dogs are served in my kitchen.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos

Who doesn't love a healthy dish that is full of flavor and quick to get on the table!

I you have a cast iron skillet that you haven't used lately, this is a perfect recipe for that too.
Maybe you prefer to grill...that works too. Grill should be heated to medium high. 

Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos                      Makes 4  6 oz servings
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground chili pepper
1 1/2 lbs Mahi Mahi, or another fish of your choice. 
Olive oil, or any oil of your choice. Try avocado oil sometime, it's fun to try new flavors. I try to keep the oil to about 1 1/2 Tbsp divided between the pieces very lightly brushed.

In a small bowl combine ingredients for seasoning.  Lightly coat both sides of fish with oil.
Heat oil in a skillet. Cook each side 4-5 minutes, fish should not be translucent when done, and will flake.

Serve with guacamole and pica de Gallo or your favorite salsa. I think a mango salsa would be a nice option too.

Weight watcher points are 5 points per 6 oz serving. If you choose to not brush fish with oil you can subtract 1 point per serving.

A big thanks to my daughter for this delicious recipe!


Monday, January 11, 2016

Appetizer Meat Balls - versatile and gluten free

These are truly a crowd pleaser, and the left-overs make wonderful sandwiches.

This recipe makes a huge batch, which I like because I love having the ready-made meat balls in the freezer. I don't freeze the meat balls in the sauce, that way they can be used for soup, spaghetti, or whatever I might be making at that time.

Each meat ball is just one weight watcher point each without sauce...not bad.
Meat balls in the sauce count as 2 meat balls for 2.5 pts.

Of course you can cut the recipe in half and/or make larger meat balls. Larger meat balls are nice when served with spaghetti for example, or just for dipping in ketchup or mustard.

*Use 2 lbs of ground beef if you decide to make half of the recipe.

Appetizer Meat Balls                                     Makes 80 Meat Balls
3 3/4 lbs lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (gluten free if needed)
1 1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs, any type. I used duck eggs
1/4 cup milk, or a non-dairy product. I used   soy milk
2 14.5 oz cans cream of tomato soup, not condensed. I used Amy's Organic Cream of Tomato Soup
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a large baking sheet with a non-stick spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, oats, garlic salt, pepper, onions, eggs, and milk or non-dairy substitute. Mix well. I put gloves on and use my hands.
Shape mixture into 80 balls about the size of a walnut or a ping-pong ball.
Bake for 15-20 minutes for small meat balls, 30 minutes for large sized meat balls.

In a crockpot or large kettle add the tomato soup, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. If using a kettle let meat balls simmer in sauce for about 20 minutes.
If using a crockpot, leave on low as long as needed until ready to serve. If I'm home I will start the crockpot on high, then switch to low after the sauce has heated up.Then I leave the crockpot on low until ready to serve. This works great if you plan on serving within a couple hours.

The process is so easy...

 Roll meat mixture into small sized balls. Bake 20-30 minutes depending on size.

 Add to special sauce.

And serve...

We had these with our Christmas dinner right along side the ham, rolls, salads, and vegetables. It adds a little variety to the meal. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has. It has been in my files for over 20 years, and will remain a favorite!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mighty Muffins - gluten free with a plant-based option

Blueberry Mighty Muffins

You might have heard of these muffins, they are on the package of Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. I wonder why he didn't call them Mighty Tasty Muffins? On the package they are called Mighty Muffins. Well, whatever the name, they are a muffin I recommend. I decided to leave out the cranberries, and went with raisins and walnuts in one batch and blueberries in another.

Nut & Raisin Mighty Muffins

These muffins are gluten free and a great vegan muffin if a substitute for milk is used. I used coconut milk. This recipe has no eggs. The first time I made these muffins I was disappointed. They have a pale color which made me immediately check my ingredient list to see what I forgot. And the texture was different than I was use to.  Luckily I didn't feed them to the goats and I left a couple out and froze the rest.  The next day I decided to try one for a snack at work and took one to a friend. Surprise! They enhanced overnight. My friend wanted the recipe and commented that it stayed with her longer than most snacks. I also really liked the dense texture and nutty flavor, and I make them often...blueberry is our favorite.

Weight watcher points are, 5 for the blueberry and 6 for the nut & raisin.

These are perfect for refueling on a hike or long bike ride.

And if you haven't tried a warm bowl of  Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, I strongly suggest you do. It is delicious and satisfies a hungry tummy.


Mighty Muffins                         Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups milk (soy, rice, almond, coconut)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup white rice flour (I use brown or white)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
2/3 cup Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 cup cranberries (I used 1 cup blueberries or 1/2 raisins)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (I used 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350                    Prepare muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Mix together sugar, oil, vanilla, applesauce and milk.In a separate bowl, combine flours, cereal, baking powder and xanthan gum. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir together. When batter is almost blended, add cranberries ( blueberries or raisins) and walnuts. Stir ingredients until just blended, careful not to over mix. Fill muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes.

Let sit a couple minutes and remove from tins. Let cool on wire racks.
And remember....they are even better the next day!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Perfectly Roasted Squash & Brussels Sprouts

Simple, delicious, and healthy.  

And not to mention a colorful side dish.

Roasting vegetables is also a great way to introduce your kids to these super healthy vegetables.
My daughter made these for us over Thanksgiving break and we all loved them!

Perfectly Roasted Squash & Brussels Sprouts
1 butternut squash - peeled and cubed.
1 bag fresh brussels sprouts - washed and outer leaves removed, ends trimmed.
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
salt & pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare a large baking sheet with a non-stick spray.
In a large mixing bowl toss cubed squash and trimmed brussels sprouts in oil. Shake on some salt and pepper and toss to flavor well. Pour vegetables onto a large baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until vegetables begin browning. Toss or turn vegetables half way through cooking time.

This is such a gorgeous side dish!

The first time we had these roasted vegetables was as a side dish to this GF Sweet & Sour Chicken...and it was a fantastic combination!

 So check the fridge for some vegetables you've been avoiding and give them a chance roasted!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

50 Years of "Mom's Russian Tea Cookie Recipe" - with two gluten free options.

I don't remember a Christmas, that we didn't have these cookies to share and enjoy amongst family members and friends. 

In fact, we could hardly make them fast enough! 

The hint of vanilla and the sweetness from the powdered sugar nearly melt in your mouth, yet you still have the perfect amount of crunch from the nuts. 

I feel like everyone may already have this recipe, but if you don' really must try them! 

And if you are like will need to make a batch of gluten free as well.  See below.

Mom's Russian Tea  Cookie Recipe                         Makes 27 cookies
1 cup butter, softened  (non-dairy substitute like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks is optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans. I use walnuts.
powdered sugar for rolling

Mix sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Sift, measure, then add flour and salt. Mix. 
Stir in chopped nuts.  Cover and chill for an hour or up to a day or two ahead. 

Preheat oven to 400. Make small balls from the dough and place on an ungreased baking sheet. 
Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Bottom of cookies will be slightly golden. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. No need to burn your fingers! Roll slightly warm cookies in powdered sugar. I roll them again when completely cooled. After rolling cookies in powdered sugar, I set them on paper towels to continue cooling. It's a little less messy to clean up.

Store in airtight containers or freeze and use as desired.

I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does!


There are two recipes for the gluten free option. I use the first recipe. Gluten free recipes are a bit more fragile, but still delicious.

Gluten Free Russian Tea Cookies       Makes about 40-45 cookies
1 cup butter, or non-dairy substitute like Earth Balance Butter Sticks. Softened.
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
7/8 cup brown or white rice flour, do not shake down or flour will pack.
7/8 cup garbanzo bean flour, do not shake down or pack.
2 tsp Xanthan gum
1 cup chopped nuts, I use walnuts
powered sugar for rolling

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add flours and Xanthan gum, mix well. Stir in nuts.
Chill dough for an hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325. Form dough into small 1" balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes.  Let sit a couple minutes then roll in powdered sugar.  Roll again when completely cooled.

Store in an air-tight container or freeze until ready to use.

This next version is from Connie Sarros, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Dessert Cookbook.

*This option doesn't need chilled.

Gluten Free Pecan Tea Cookies                     Makes about 45 cookies
This recipe uses a premade gluten free flour mixture:
2 1/2 cups brown or white rice flour
1 cup potato starch flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup bean flour - I suggest garbanzo or chick-pea flour.
2 Tbsp Xanthan gum

This mixture makes 5 cups and can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week. For longer storage, freeze.

1 cup butter, softened. Or a non-dairy substitute like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free flour mixture. Stir before measuring and do not shake down or flour will pack.
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Mix in flour mixture. Stir in nuts.
Form small 1" balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let sit a few minutes then roll in powdered sugar. Roll again when completely cooled.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Better Breakfast Cookie - gluten free

Many many batches of Breakfast Cookies with Quinoa & Zucchini have been enjoyed over the last year in my kitchen. 

But when I added some leftover zucchini and carrots, and then tossed in some roasted pumpkin seeds...I now had my husband eating them too.

Better Breakfast Cookie -gluten free                                  Makes 20 Cookies
3 mashed bananas
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, I used Rice or Soy milk
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
2 cups old fashioned oats - I used gluten free
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
1/2 cup raisins (leave out for yeast free diets)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

In a large mixing bowl add mashed bananas, applesauce, vanilla, and non-dairy milk. Mix well.
Add grated zucchini and carrots. Mix well. Add oats, quinoa flakes, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
Fold in raisins and pumpkin seeds.

Scoop up dough with a medium size cookie scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets.
Slightly flatten and bake for about 15 -18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Eat and enjoy a warm, fresh cookie.                                                            

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers for longer storage.

I take them frozen in my lunch for an afternoon snack. They provide me with a healthy "pick-me-up"  snack when my blood sugar dips mid-after noon or morning.  My husband likes them with a mid-afternoon or evening cup of coffee. 

 If you count weight watcher points each cookie has 2 points.