A Gaggle of Girls
I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters. We've outgrown dairy, soy, egg, and corn allergies, but still deal with a berry allergy in my youngest.
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Archive for the ‘casseroles’ Category

postheadericon Baked Stuffed Shells

This is a delicious, family-friendly gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian & vegan recipe. It could be OK for South Beach phase 1 by serving the filling as a side-dish. If you use whole-grain pasta, this should be OK as is for South Beach phase 2.

We serve this with a side of italian sausages, as there’s no meat in it. You could probably put ground turkey in with the vegetables, but I like it being Vegan, as then I can serve it to vegetarian friends. We all love this recipe, and it fills my creamy, Italian goodness spot.

A tray of Baked Stuffed Shells


  • 1 batch White sauce (if you’re doing South Beach, you might want to use 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 broth (or just Lite coconut milk, which is simply watered down coconut milk)

  • 2-3+ cups marinara sauce (how much you use depends on how soupy you want it)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (10 oz) (or 1 lb of regular spinach that has been cleaned, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces)
  • 1 package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (7-10 oz)
  • 1 package GF pasta shells for stuffing (we like Tinkyada)
  • olive oil
Baked Stuffed Shells filling


Heat olive oil in skillet over low heat and let garlic simmer for a few minutes – watch to make sure it doesn’t brown.

Turn heat up to medium and add eggplant and mushrooms. Cover and cook until eggplant is very tender (almost mushy), stirring occasionally. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Make the white sauce while the eggplant & mushrooms are cooking.

Add spinach to the skillet, stir and take off heat once spinach has just wilted. Add 1/2 of the white sauce to this mixture, and stir to combine.

Ready for the oven

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Take the uncooked pasta shells and stuff them with the veggie mixture. Sometimes this is easy when the shells are open, but sometimes it requires creatively poking filling through openings. You can boil the shells for a couple minutes to make this easier if you want, but then they are wiggly.

Fill each shell until overflowing until you run out of shells, placing them in a rows of 3 across. I piled some broken shells in the corner of baking dish and heaped the remainder of the filling on top. Cover with a scant layer of marinara sauce, then drizzle the second half of the white sauce on top – it will look remarkably like melted cheese!

Cover tightly and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, pour white sauce on top, and bake additional 10-15 minutes until everything is browned and bubbly (I sometimes turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes to brown the top).

Italian dinner

This ends up tasting like it has cheese in it. YUM. No one ever even notices that there’s eggplant in it or that it is gluten & dairy-free. Serve with a side of some sort of protein (we like turkey italian sausages), and you are ready to eat.

Being gluten & dairy free (and whatever else free) doesn’t have to be traumatic – look how good it can be!

postheadericon Chicken Rattatouille

First of all, just to clarify, Ratatouille is a vegetable dish of Italian origins usually involving eggplant, tomato, and other vegetables. There is no rat involved. That was the first thing my children asked, so I wanted to declare it up front. :)

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the wonderful The Silver Spoon cookbook. I’ve changed pretty significantly to fit with our family’s eating preferences and requirements. It isn’t a completely authentic Ratatouille, but as long as you have some zucchini, tomato, and eggplant in it, play with the other ingredients – whatever you can get your hands on!

This recipe turned out to be a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 1 safe recipe.

Chicken Ratatouille


  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (optional)
  • 2-3 zucchini or summer squash, cut into cubes
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into slices (optional)
  • 2 portabello mushrooms, cut into cubes (optional)
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, quartered, and seeded OR 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 lbs chicken, cut off the bone and into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • olive or canola oil to coat bottom of pan
  • Splash of wine (optional)
  • pinches of kosher salt and grinds of pepper to taste

Prepare all the vegetables and chicken. Place the peeled and cubed eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 30minutes while you do everything else.

Find a large skillet (I think mine’s 12-14 inches), and cover the bottom of the pan with your cooking oil of choice. Bring pan and oil to medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, shallot, and celery. Once that’s sizzling, add the chicken, and stir for a few minutes until it is browned.

Add the vegetables, except the tomatoes (be sure to rinse the salt off the eggplant first!) to the chicken & onion mixture. Stir to combine and sauté for a few minutes.

Chicken Ratatouille over penne

Add the tomatoes and some of their juice. Splash in the wine, and add the salt, pepper, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables have softened and meat is cooked through.

Serve with brown rice noodles (South Beach Phase 2) or spaghetti squash (South Beach Phase 1).

postheadericon Taco Meatloaf

This one is gobbled down by everyone! It can also be shaped into a person, using added salsa and olives as decorations for halloween…

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and corn free recipe. This recipe is safe for South Beach phase 1. The refried/mashed beans hold the meatloaf together without needing any egg.

Meatloaf Man


  • 2-3lbs ground meat (lean beef or turkey)

  • 1 14oz can pintos, mashed, or refried beans
  • 1 10oz can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilis (or another brand), drained
  • 1 onion, diced (optional)
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced or pressed (optional)
  • pinch or two of Kosher salt
  • about 1 tsp each of chili powder and cumin

Preheat oven to 350

Saute onion and garlic in a small saucepan (if you are using them).

In a large bowl, mix together the mashed beans and the Rotel. Add the onion/garlic mixture. Add the salt & spices, mix well. Add meat and combine.

Place in a lightly oiled glass baking pan or some other vessel. Bake for about an hour, or until it is no longer pink in the center. As you can see from the above picture, you can mold it into shapes. We made one for Halloween, too. Use your imagination!

Serve with salsa, avacado/guacamole, and olives. Folks who can do corn/carbs can eat it with tortilla chips, too.

This is great with a large salad!

postheadericon Lemon Risotto

This is an adaptation of a great recipe in Cooking for Mr. Latte, an amusing book that has fabulous recipes. Many of which can be easily adapted to be dairy and gluten free.

This is dairy, egg, gluten, corn, and soy free. It could also be vegetarian very easily, too.
Lemon risotto

  • 2 TBS olive oil

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth, hot (ideally homemade stock. Could also be vegetable broth if you have vegetarian guests
  • zest of 1 lemon (I use a microplane grater)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, plus 1/4 cup lemon juice, left to sit for a few minutes
  • good pinch kosher salt

Find a medium-sized saucepan, and put in the olive oil. Bring the olive oil up to medium heat.

Add the arborio rice, and stir, letting the oil coat the rice. Add about 1/2 cup broth at a time, stirring very frequently. Add it little by little so the rice is loose, but not swimming in broth.

After the first few additions of broth, add half the zest. When you have used 4c of broth, check the rice for done-ness. You want it firm, but not crunchy. Keep cooking and adding broth until the rice is done.

Add the lemon juice/coconut milk mixture, and combine. turn off the heat. It will sit very well for a while as the rest of your food finishes.

We love this paired with Oven Fried Chicken and a salad. It cleanses the palate very well when paired with a greasy food.

postheadericon Steak and Kidney Bean Pie

First, make 1 batch of the Pie Crust. Let chill for 1 hour. Or defrost 2 pre-made patties of pie crust dough.

Steak and Kidney (bean) pie cutaway


  • 1 lb steak, diced

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 TBS sweet rice flour (or amaranth flour, or arrowroot starch, or another flour or starch)
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, microwaved for 5 minutes, then diced
  • 1 14oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, garlic, and beef. Stir occasionally and cook until vegetables are tender and beef is browned.

Rolling out the dough

While the beef is cooking, roll out 1 patty of pie crust dough for the bottom crust. Remember to roll out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Grease your pie pan. Peel off one layer of plastic wrap, lay the sheet of dough across the pie pan, and then peel off the other layer of plastic wrap.

Roll out the second patty of pie crust dough, but leave it between the layers of plastic wrap.

Sprinkle flour/starch over the beef & veggie mixture. Stir until well combined. Add peas, kidney beans, and potatoes. Stir until well mixed. Pour into the pie crust.

Steak & Kidney (bean) pie

Peel off one layer of plastic wrap from the 2nd sheet of dough. Lay dough over the top of the filled pie. Shmoosh edges together, and cut away any excess. Poke a few vent holes in the top of the pie.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. We served this with an apple pie for dessert. Yum!

postheadericon Chicken Fagiole

I think I’ve made almost everything I can make mixing chicken, tomatoes, and beans, but I was feeling fed up with existing recipes, so I made up this one. This goes in the oven rather than staying in the skillet. We all loved it, and the chicken stayed very juicy.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, South Beach phase 1 safe recipe.


* 1 medium onion, diced
* 4-6 cloves garlic, minced/pressed (I loooove garlic)
* 1 bell pepper, chopped (yellow was on sale here, and looked pretty)
* 1 TBS olive oil
* 1 tsp dried basil
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp dried parsley
* 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
* splash white wine (can omit or use broth or water)
* splash balsamic vinegar
* 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken (breasts or thighs – use breasts if cooking for South Beach Diet), cut into cubes
* 1 29oz can (or 2 14.5 oz cans) kidney beans
* 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
* 6+ kalamata olives, quartered
* 1 TBS capers

Preheat oven to 400. Make sure you have a casserole dish and a skillet clean.

Prep the veggies. Heat a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil, then add the veggies. Stir, then add the seasonings (cooking them will release the flavor). When they have softened, add the splash of white wine to deglaze the pan. Dump the veggies into the casserole pan.

Return the skillet to heat, and add the chicken. Stir it around for a bit so it gets slightly browned/cooked on the outside.

While the chicken is cooking, add everything else to the casserole pan. Mix together. Add the chicken. Mix again, then cover with foil.

Cook for 30 minutes, then check chicken for doneness. When chicken is cooked through, you’re all set. This can be served with roasted brussels sprouts (which can cook in the oven at the same time as the chicken!) and if you can make some rice, quinoa, or kasha on the stove while the chicken is cooking – it has a delicious sauce! This should also be easily adapted for the crock pot, I just haven’t done it.

postheadericon Crock Pot Pork Curry

adapted from an earlier non-crock pot adaptation of Beanmom’s recipe

Dump the following into a crockpot:

2 T olive oil
1 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 lbs pork cutlets, cubed
1/4-1/3 C Patak’s curry paste
1 head cauliflower, cut or crumbled into florets
1 C beef or chicken stock
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 cup frozen peas
2 handfuls lentils

cook on low for 6-8 hours

serve with more lentils and/or rice

postheadericon Mexican Chicken and Bean Bake

The other day I discovered Something in Season – a gluten-free blog that also focuses on low-sugar and healthy eating. While we share several approaches (coconut milk = good!), the author is cooking for a smaller family, without fibromyalgia & arthritis, and in an area of the country that has fresh produce at all times. I am extremely impressed with his work, and look forward to trying his recipes.

Ironically, the same day I discovered his blog, I created this – my first gluten-free, dairy-free, blah blah blah free meal without a single fresh ingredient. Truly a low point in my cooking life. I had forgotten to defrost anything and I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. It turned out quite yummy, and I debated about posting the recipe. However, not every night is a night you can make everything from scratch from ingredients you got at the farmer’s market that day (or picked from your garden). So if ever you need a quick, hearty, delicious meal from your cupboard (which won’t make you sick), here we go…

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and top 8 allergen free. This isn’t South Beach-friendly because of the corn (though you could easily leave it out), and is not corn-free because of the corn and because there is corn in almost everything canned.

Mexican chicken & bean bake


  • 4 14oz cans beans, or 2 28oz cans – we mixed black beans & pintos

  • 4 cans (about 6-7oz each) canned chicken, drained (Valley Fresh brand is just chicken & water)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can corn kernels
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dehydrated garlic
  • 1 tsp dehydrated minced onion

Preheat oven to 350.

Drain & rinse beans, drain chicken, drain corn. Do NOT drain tomatoes.

Dump everything into a 9×13 baking dish. Mix it together.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until everything is heated through. Serve with whatever frozen vegetable is available (we used lima beans) and some tortilla chips.

postheadericon Pelau

an adaptation of a recipe from a woman raised in Trinidad. Absolutely delicious and loved by everyone in our house. It’s pronounced to rhyme with pay-NOW


  • About 10 pieces of chicken (I used 10 thighs, and used kitchen shears to cut them in half – about 2 1/2-3 lbs)

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh ginger (I use one a little larger than a clove of garlic)
  • A few shakes Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped coarsely
  • Soy sauce (La Choy is GF, so is Braggs Amino Acids, and San-J wheat-free Tamari)
  • Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin’s is GF)
  • Your favorite cooking oil
  • 2 TBS Brown sugar
  • 2 cups rice (parboiled works well)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (a 14 oz can)
  • 1 can black eyed peas, drained & rinsed (pigeon peas are authentic if you can find them)
  • Salt to taste

For the marinade:
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Press 3 cloves of garlic and grate 1 garlic-clove-sized piece of ginger

into the chicken. Add onions, seasoning, and enough soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to fully coat chicken pieces. Mix well, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Pour about 2 TBS of oil in a large nonstick pan and place on high heat (the chicken won’t brown right in a nonstick pan). Add the brown sugar to the oil, spreading it evenly in the oil. Leave on high heat until the sugar starts to turn dark brown, almost black, and starts to bubble. This happens very quickly.

Dump the marinade & chicken into the pan. It splatters, so watch out, you don’t want to burn yourself or others. Let the sugar brown your chicken, stirring occasionally, to ensure that the pieces don’t stick or burn. After the chicken is browned, add a little more seasoning, then turn the heat to medium.

Let chicken cook for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally. Add rice to the pot, and stir until it’s coated with the liquid from the chicken mixture. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add two cups of broth, coconut milk, and drained peas to the mixture, and stir. Add a couple pinches kosher salt to taste. Cover the pot, and let simmer until the rice is cooked, and the liquid has been absorbed from the rice (about 20 minutes). Stir the occasionally, to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.

Once the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed, your pelau is ready. This recipe makes a LOT – more than enough for 5 people to have a hearty meal — and it’s fabulous for leftovers, too.

postheadericon Chicken and Broccoli in White Sauce

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 1 safe recipe (if you use chicken breasts and no rice).


  • Boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs (cut into cubes)

  • 1/2 can coconut milk (remember, don’t buy “lite” – it’s just half coconut milk and half water)
  • a few shakes basil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • pinch salt or dulse

Toss all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or so. serve with rice.

Add 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice and 2 cups chicken broth or water. Mix everything together in a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for about an hour, until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

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