***Gluten Free Pie Crust – makes 2 crusts

Combine 2 1/4 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons xanthan gum, 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoons baking soda.  Add 3/4 cups vegetable shortening, blending it in with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture becomes loose, fine, crumbs.  Add 1/2 cup milk and 1 teaspoons vinegar and stir until dough can be formed into a ball without handling the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.  Place a piece of wax or parchment paper on top of a flexible, large, cutting board.  Place half the dough on the paper, place another sheet on top and roll into a circle slightly larger than the pie pan.  Remove the top sheet , set pie pan gently on top of dough, and flip crust AND cutting board (a second set of hands is very helpful with the flip).  Form crust to the plate, add filling and repeat rolling process for top crust.  Seal edges and bake according to pie recipe.  (For a single baked crust, half the recipe, bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.)

***Balsamic Caramelized Onions (for burgers or chicken) – 3 servings

Sauté 1 large red onion, sliced thinly, in a pan, over medium heat, with a drizzle of olive oil until soft and somewhat sticky, stirring occasionally.  Stir in 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar, cooking 1 – 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

***Aioli Sauce (for burgers or dipping french fries)

Combine mayonnaise (or equal parts mayo and plain yogurt – regular or Greek) with malt vinegar, garlic powder, and black pepper, until you like the taste.  Keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks.  3 tablespoons of mayo per serving.

***Rice Pudding – 8 large servings

  • Cook 1 and 1/4 cups rice in a large pot (or 1 and 1/2 cups of mixed grains, like rice, barley, millet, quinoa, farro).
  • Add 4 eggs beaten, 2 cans evaporated milk, 3 and 1/2 cups regular milk, 1/2 to 1 cup sugar (I prefer a half cup and then sprinkle the top of my serving with a little).
  • Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Turn off the heat and add 1 teaspoon nutmeg.
  • Let it cool about 15 minutes before adding 1 to 2 tablespoon of vanilla.
  • Cool completely and refrigerate.

***Squash, Root Vegetable, & Apple Soup – 6 servings

  • Sauté 2 celery stocks chopped and 1 small onion chopped in olive oil 5 minutes.
  • Add peeled and thinly sliced 1 squash, 2 apples*, 3 large carrots, 1 lg sweet potato.
  • Add 2 cups vegetable stock and 1/2 cup water.
  • Add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Cook until squash is done, cool slightly, and blend** until creamy.
  • Add some nutmeg, 3/4 cup plain yogurt, and blend until creamy.
  • Taste, adding more spices or yogurt if needed.  Blend until creamy.
  • Water can be added if too thick.
  1. * Can use unsweetened applesauce instead of the apples.  Add with the yogurt.
  2. ** An immersion blender works the best, but a blender or mixer works as well.

***Farro, Fruit, and Walnut Salad – 4 lunch size servings

  • 1 and 1/2 cups farro (or other grains like rice, quinoa)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery or carrots or both
  • 2 cups halved, pitted dark sweet cherries or halved seedless grapes
  • 1/2 cup toasted broken walnut pieces

Cook farro in 5 cups of water for 15 minutes – al dente. Drain and cool. Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly brown. Add the celery and/or carrots, cherries/grapes, and walnuts. Toss and then mix in the homemade dressing or a Lite Cesar is delicious too:

  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Pepper

I like this salad served on top of baby spinach or lettuce. I make a recipe and a half of dressing so I can add just a bit more to each serving. When I have it for lunch over several days, I keep the grapes separate and add right before eating. Farro is a grain with 7g of protein per serving. I buy Bob’s Red Mill Organic Farro. This salad is also delicious using mixed grains like barley, rice, and quinoa.

***Black Bean Burgers – makes 3 burgers

1 (15 oz) cans black beans rinsed & drained on paper towels for 15 minutes.  Whisk in a bowl 1 egg, 1 Tablespoon flour, 2 teasp. onion powder, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 teasp. cumin, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, 1 teasp. coriander, 1/8 teasp. salt, pepper.  Process 1 oz (1/4 cup) tortilla chips in a food processor until finely ground – 30 seconds.  Add beans and pulse until beans are roughly broken down – 5 pulses – don’t turn them into mush. Combine egg and bean mixtures in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Divide mixture into patties, firmly pack each portion, and then flatten to form three 3 and 1/2 inch diameter patties. Lightly oil a frying pan, fry patties until well brown and crisp – about 5 min. Flip and cook other side 3 – 5 minutes. Can freeze mixture up to 2 weeks, thaw before cooking.

***Energy Cookies – 36 – 40 cookies

  • ¼ cup butter, 1 cup peanut butter, ¼ cup white sugar, ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup flour (half can be whole wheat), ½ teasp.baking soda, 1 teasp. cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cups old fashion rolled oats, 2/3 cups chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup raisins, 2/3 cup chopped peanuts or any other kind of nut

Cream butters and sugars until sugar is absorbed (no longer grainy). Beat in egg and vanilla.  Add to the bowl the rest of the ingredients and combine using a spoon or dough hook.  Place oven racks on the lowest setting and then halfway up so that both sheets can fit at the same time. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Compact the dough into slightly smaller than golf ball size balls.  They can be placed fairly close together because they will maintain their shape.  18 – 20 cookies can fit on each ungreased cookie sheet.  Put both sheets into the oven and bake 5 minutes.  Switch the cooking sheets (lower to upper rack, upper to lower rack) and bake 5 to 6 more minutes. Let set on cookie sheet 5 minutes before moving the cookies to cooling racks to finish cooling.  Store in air tight container.

***Biscuits – 8 – 12 biscuits, shortcakes, or rolls

Combine: 2 cups unbleached flour (can use up to 1/3 whole wheat), 1/2 teasp. salt, 2 teasp. baking powder, 1/2 teasp. baking soda, 2 tbls. sugar.  Cut in 1/3 cup shortening.  Stir in 2/3 cups milk or sour milk until a soft dough forms.  Dust the countertop with flour and knead a few times.  Pat down to 1 inch and cut biscuits.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until lightly brown.  Substitutions – add about 1/3 cup mashed potatoes, sour cream, or plain yogurt for some of the milk (how much milk depends on what was added so add just enough milk to get a nice dough consistency)  Can also fold in chucks of cream cheese or grated sharp cheddar or pepper jack.  Shortcakes – increase sugar to 1/4 cup, increase milk to 1 cup, then drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Cinnamon rolls – roll dough 1/2 inch thick into a rectangle 12 inches long.  Spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.  Roll the long side up, seam edge, and slice 1 inch thick.  Place in greased round 9 inch cake pan. Drizzle with frosting after cooling for 10 minutes.

***Pie Crust – makes 2 crusts, 9” or 10”.  Don’t be afraid of the lengthy description – the steps are pretty simple yet it took a lot of words to describe them.

Mix together 2 cups flour and 1 teasp. salt.  Use a pastry blender or fork to cut in 3/4 cup vegetable shortening just until the mixture is crumbly.  Add cold water, a little at a time, blending it in with a fork after each addition, until the mixture comes together using just the fork.  The entire mixture should be slightly moist; it can be a little too moist, but never dry – there should be no dry flour in the bowl.  Turn the dough onto a lightly whole-wheat floured surface and divide in two using the fork.  Gently and quickly, with your hands, form each half into a cohesive ball – 10 seconds tops.  Cover one half with the bowl and pat the other half to about an inch thick and then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough.  Keep the shape round by re-forming the edges. The dough should be flipped over 2 or 3 times while it’s still small enough to flip, making sure the surface stays lightly floured.  The top of the dough can we sprinkled lightly with flour, if needed.  How much flour is used for rolling depends on how moist the dough is.  The size of the crust should be about an inch bigger than the pie plate – hold the pie plate over the crust to measure.  Lay the rolling pin on the edge of the crust and use you figures to pick up the edge and lay it over the rolling pin.  Pick up the rolling pin and roll it along with the dough from the floured surface and lay it in the pie pan.  The dough should not hang over the edge of the pan.  Roll out the other half, add the filling and then the top crust.  Fold the top crust under the bottom one sandwiching the bottom crust between the top.  Use a fork or your fingers to secure the two crusts.  Slice a few steam vents in the top, brush lightly with water or milk, sprinkle with sugar and bake. (To cut the recipe in half, use 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of shortening.  To bake a single pie crust, put some weight on it like a pie chain or 6 spoons laid in different directions.  Bake at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes.)

***Chicken and Biscuits (serves 6)

Put 1 whole chicken, quartered, into a large pot and put in enough hot water to just cover.  Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.  Remove the chicken, skim off the fat on top, and add at least 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning and some salt – keep adding more of each until you like the taste.  Can add pepper, but there’s quite a bit in the poultry seasoning so be careful.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat off and return to the pot and bring to a boil.  Combine 1 cup flour with enough cold water to make a pretty thick paste and slowly add to boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened – about a heavy cream consistency.  Serve over biscuits.

***Sausage, Biscuits & Gravy (serves 4)

Break apart 1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage (pork & spices, no preservatives is the best) into a cast iron pan and cook through.  Turn off the heat and drain off any fat.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup flour and stir to coat.  Turn the heat back on and slowly add milk to the pan, stirring constantly until there’s a fairly thick gravy.  More flour equals more milk gravy – a great way to stretch the sausage.  Serve over biscuits.