Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

postheadericon Gluten-Free Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mac & Cheese servingThis recipe is based on Alton Brown’s Baked Mac and Cheese from his TV show Good Eats. That recipe is the most downloaded recipe on Food Network, believe it or not! I’ve made it gluten-free and tweaked a few things here and there. I love this dish, and my kids and I devour it. Yum! I want to make his stovetop mac & cheese, but keep forgetting to do so.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • Whisking1 16oz bag Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows (you could use penne, shells, or fusilli if needed, but elbows are classic)
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard (yes, I use yellow mustard from the plastic container. You can use a similar amount of dry mustard if you have that on hand)
  • 3 cups milk (in addition to dairy milk, plain soy milk works find here, as does half & half, if that’s all you have around)
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz (2 1/2 cups) sharp cheddar
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) sharp cheddar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Topping:Crumby

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs or Ian’s gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • or eliminate the above and use 1 cup plain potato chips, smashed into tiny pieces

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. It should be al dente, not squishy. I tend to cook it one or two minutes less than the directions say on the package. (Note – if using a brand other than Tinkyada, make sure you cook less than the package directions – very few gluten-free pasta brands stay al dente)

While the elbows are cooking, melt the butter in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Whisk in the white rice flour, and keep whisking for 3 or 4 minutes. Make sure that it isn’t lumpy! Just keep it moving.

CheesyAfter the 3-4 minutes, add mustard and onion and whisk again. While whisking, pour in the milk. Keep it moving, and add in the bay leaf and paprika. Let this simmer (don’t let it boil!) for about 10 minutes, then take out the bay leaf. (If for some reason you can’t find your bay leaves or paprika, don’t fret. This will still taste great without them. Just skip adding them, but still simmer for 10 minutes) After the 10 minutes, remove the bay leaf.

Use a ladle to scoop out about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture. Crack an egg into that milk, and whisk together. Then add the egg/milk mixture back into the milk mixture, whisking it together. (This is called tempering) 

Whisk in the 10oz of sharp cheddar. Whisk or stir until melty and yummy.

Toss the drained pasta with the cheesy mixture, then pour that into a casserole dish. 8×11″ works well, as does a deep 9″ or 10″ circle or square. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

CompleteIn a skillet, melt the butter, and toss the breadcrumbs in to coat them and brown for a minute or two. Or, just smash a cup of plain potato chips.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs or potato chips on top of the cheesy macaroni casserole.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Eat – yum! This heats up beautifully for leftovers, too!

 

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postheadericon Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

My friend JadenKale was chatting with me recently while eating some leftover chicken alfredo with broccoli. I don’t think I ever ate that, but my mouth was watering at the idea. I played around with my White Sauce recipe, and whipped it up. This got rave reviews, and seconds for most of the family.

As I’ve mentioned before, coconut milk loses its coconutty taste when salt is added rather than adding sugar – sugar intensifies the coconut taste. The texture of coconut milk is more creamy than other milk substitutes, so it has a creamier taste than other milk substitutes. However, you can use other milk substitutes.

Welcome to the world of Faux Fast Food! This dish can be on your table in under 45 minutes. This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) 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 2 safe recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning or 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 lb chicken
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 TBS starch (corn, tapioca, arrowroot)
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 splash white wine (optional)
  • 1 lb gf pasta (we prefer Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta)

Method:

Start a large pot of salted water on high, cook pasta according to package directions.

Dice onion, mince garlic, and chop chicken into 1″ cubes. Break broccoli into florets, and put into a microwave safe bowl. Cover bowl, and microwave broccoli florets for two minutes.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and begin to sauté.

When the onion and garlic begin to soften, add chicken to the pan. Add spices, and stir, browning chicken on all sides.

When chicken is almost finished cooking, add the broccoli, and continue stirring.

When the chicken is browned and the broccoli is tender, sprinkle the cornstarch over the chicken and broccoli, and stir. Add the (optional) splash of wine, then add the coconut milk, and stir.

Stir over medium heat until the coconut milk starts to bubble and thicken. Take off the heat and mix with the cooked pasta, and serve to rave reviews.

postheadericon Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

This is a recipe that my oldest daughter and I created when we were trying to reach a comprimise between what I wanted to cook and what she wanted to eat! This worked well, it’s a one-pot meal that will be finished within 45 minutes, and can either be eaten alone or with a vegetable or salad on the side. If at all possible, include the kalamata olives, they add flavor and a bit of zing to the meal.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) 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 2 safe recipe.

Ingredients:

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta & Garlic Pan-fried Squash
  • splash olive or canola oil to coat bottom of pan

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1.5 lb chicken, cubed (boneless skinless breasts or thighs work well)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (or just add a bit more of each of the above)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • couple grinds black pepper
  • 1 splash wine
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14oz can white beans
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (watch ingredients for corn and other allergens)
  • 12oz to 1 lb gluten-free noodles (we like the Tinkyada rice noodles)

Method:
Warm oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or a large pot. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until they become tender.

Add cubes of chicken, and stir. Add seasonings, and stir, cooking until chicken is browned.

Delicious dinner

Deglaze the pan by adding a splash of wine and stirring the chicken mixture. Add tomatoes, beans, and olives, plus 1 (14oz) can of water, and turn heat to high.

Bring to a boil, and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook as long as the pasta needs to be cooked, then test the pasta for done-ness.

Serve as is, with a salad, or with another vegetable, such as Garlic Pan-fried Squash. Enjoy!

postheadericon Ides of March Italian Chicken and Artichokes

Happy Ides of March, everyone! In honor of Julius Caesar, let us eat well, and with an Italian-inspired meal! I remember making chicken with artichoke hearts in several different dishes in college, before I became a vegetarian. However, in the past 15 years a lot has changed and I don’t have all of my recipes from that time in my life!

This recipe was inspired by the memory of those meals eaten with friends in one of the townhouses on the Skidmore College campus. It was delicious then, and it is delicious in its current incarnation as well! Still easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive as well.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Ides of March Italian Chicken and Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole grain pasta (we prefer the Tinkyada Brown Rice penne pasta)

  • splash cooking oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1+ pounds boneless-skinless chicken, cubed (we prefer thighs)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • splash red or white wine (optional)
  • 1 28oz can diced or petite-diced tomatoes
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 14oz can chick peas, drained

Method:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Double check cooking times – every pasta appears to have a different cooking time requirement!

The chicken part should take about 10 minutes if everything is chopped in advance, so you can start the chicken when the pasta has 10 minutes left to cook.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until they begin to soften.

Add chicken and spices to the onion/garlic mixture. Adding the spices at this stage will warm them in the oil and intensify the flavors. Brown the chicken.

When the chicken has browned, add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan (optional).

Ides of March Pasta take 2

Add the can of diced tomatoes, red peppers, chick peas, and quartered artichoke hearts. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain, then toss with the chicken & artichoke mixture. Serve, and watch it disappear!

Just make sure you put away the knife after you’re done using it…

postheadericon Great Garlic Calamari Pasta

My whole family loves fried calamari, but I don’t like the work required to make it. Occasionally we’ll go to a restaurant that sells gluten-free fried calamari as a treat for my oldest daughter (fried calamari and sushi are her two favorite foods), but we were looking for an easier cooking method for in-between restaurant trips.

Sweet on dinner

Our local grocery store sells frozen calamari tubes which are pre-cleaned and easy to just slice into rings. I found that if the calamari is mostly thawed rather than fully thawed, it’s easier to slice. This is a light “sauce” for pasta, and could be paired with a salad, artichokes, or any roasted vegetable. We had roasted brussels sprouts on the side, one of our favorites.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, and corn free recipe.

Cooking the calamari

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta (we used Tinkyada Brown Rice penne, but linguine would be great)
  • 1 lb calamari, pre-cleaned tubes & tentacles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS margarine or 2 additional TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 3-4 grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 2 tsp chopped fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if you don’t have fresh basil)
  • 1 splash white wine (optional)

Method:
Thaw the calamari: submerge the frozen package in cold water, then place under a slooowly dripping faucet for 20-30 minutes.

While the calamari is thawing, bring the salted water for cooking the pasta to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

When the calamari is mostly thawed, cut the tubes into rings (cutting the flattened tubes into strips, which creates rings when the tube is opened). Don’t slice the tentacles, they’re great as-is. Set the calamari to the side.

In a large skillet, mix olive oil and margarine, and heat to medium, melting the margarine.

Add onion and garlic to the oil, and begin to sauté. Add spices, and keep the garlic & onion moving so it doesn’t brown or burn, cooking for about 3-5 minutes.

Great dinner plate

Add a splash of white wine if desired, it will carry the flavors, but the alcohol is burned off.

Add the calamari rings and tentacles to the garlicky goodness, and cook for about 6 minutes. The calamari will be cooked, but not rubbery. Take calamari off heat before it gets rubbery!!!

Drain the pasta and toss with the calamari, then serve with a salad, roasted brussels sprouts, or another vegetable. Delicious, easy, and ready in under 45 minutes!

postheadericon Speedier Dairy Free Stroganoff

We love Beef Stroganoff here. It’s got a deliciously creamy sauce, meat, sautéed mushrooms, and noodles. Add a salad or a steamed veggie on the side, and you’ve got dinner in less than 30 minutes, and for well under $10. Our other Dairy Free Beef Stroganoff recipe required 3 pots, and was a bit of a hassle. This revamped recipe only requires 2 pots, and is less work. Same delicious taste, but with less work. What’s not to love?

Remember: Coconut milk does not have a coconutty taste when used in a savory dish. For some reason, salt appears to eliminate the coconutty taste, and you end up with just a deliciously creamy dinner that tastes like you’re able to eat dairy again!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) 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 2 safe recipe.

Simmering dairy free stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • splash cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/3 lb ground beef (approximately)
  • 6-10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced (use whatever size container you can buy easily)
  • 3 TBS starch – arrowroot is best, but you can use tapioca or corn starch if that’s what’s available
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning, or a little more salt and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 lb brown rice pasta (we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti)

Method:

Set a large pot of salted water over high heat so it will come to a boil for the pasta.

Place a large skillet with a splash of cooking oil (we use canola or olive) over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and begin to sauté.

When onion and garlic begin to soften, add the mushrooms. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over them, and stir frequently.

When the mushrooms have started to darken and shrink, add the ground beef. Sprinkle the Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning, or a little more salt and cayenne pepper over the skillet and continue stirring.

Spaghetti tossed with dairy-free stroganoff

Add pasta to the water when it boils, and cook according to the package directions.

When the beef is browned, sprinkle the mixture in the skillet with the starch. Stir, then add the coconut milk and lemon juice. Mix together well. The sauce will thicken as it cooks. Taste test and add more salt or Tony Chacheres or cayenne pepper as needed.

Drain the noodles, then toss with the sauce – easy, quick, and delicious! The tang of the lemon, the slight kick of the Tony Chacheres and the creaminess of the sauce all meld in your mouth for much yumminess!

postheadericon Basic Marinara sauce with variations

I feel like I’ve been making marinara almost my whole life (my grandmother’s family is from Sicily). I’ve changed it a bit as I’ve grown older and changed myself. At this stage in my life I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible, while still retaining good flavor. I play somewhat fast and loose with seasonings, so be sure to taste test along the way! This amount makes enough to feed a family of 5 with some left over. It’s easy to half or double as needed.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, vegan, vegetarian, and South Beach safe recipe.

Polenta with marinara and sausages

Ingredients:

  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes, or 1 crushed, one petite diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2+ tsp basil
  • 2+ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 shake red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches Kosher or Sea salt
  • a few grinds pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • splash white wine

Method:
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic, watching that the garlic doesn’t brown or burn. Sprinkle the spices over the onion and garlic, stirring them together. (Dried herbs will intensify their flavor if warmed like this)

Add a splash of wine, and after the wine has sizzled, add the 2 cans of tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and a bay leaf. (The wine is, of course, optional. However, flavors can be carried by fat (oil), water, acid (tomatoes), and alcohol. My best sauces are always the ones with a splash of wine.)

Turn the heat up to High, and stir occasionally, waiting for the sauce to come to a boil. When it boils, turn it down to low or medium-low, allowing it to simmer.

Let the sauce simmer for at least an hour to let the flavors develop.

Make some polenta or pasta (we like Tinkyada Spaghetti), and serve with a nice salad for a delicious dinner!

If you have leftover sauce, it freezes very well! I will sometimes make a double batch just to have some in the freezer for a quick and easy meal later.

Variations:

  • Pizza Sauce: Add about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes with the other spices. Let boil a few minutes longer to reduce (concentrate) the sauce. If you cook off some of the extra liquid, it won’t make the pizza crust. Another option is to use 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained, in addition to the 1 can crushed tomatoes – then there is less liquid in the sauce.
  • Vegetable Sauce (or, not-quite-rattatouille): peel and dice 1 small eggplant, slice a handful of mushrooms, and dice a summer squash and a zucchini. Add the vegetables after the onion and garlic have started to soften. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have started to soften. Return to the above directions, starting with adding the wine.
  • Meat Sauce: After the onions start to soften, add 1.5 lbs ground meat. Cook until meat is browned, then follow other steps.
  • Sauce with Sausages: Before you begin cooking, cut 1.5 lbs uncooked Italian sausages into circles. (Choose sweet or hot sausage as desired) Add sausages after onions begin to soften. Stir and cook until browned, then follow the other steps.

postheadericon Shrimp alfredo – gluten and dairy free

When I was mostly vegetarian with the exception of some occasional shrimp/lobster/crawdads when we ate out, I loved to order shrimp alfredo or crawdad alfredo. Mmmmm…. Well, eating out is trickier now, so I figured out a way to make something that tasted a lot like what I loved in the restaurants. If you don’t want a bit of kick, leave out the Tony Chachere’s, but my favorite alfredos were always from the Cajun restaurants!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, and corn free recipe

Ingredients:

Method
Peel and de-tail the shrimp. If you buy de-veined large shrimp, it’s a reasonably quick process, just tedious. Remember the trick for frozen shrimp – to thaw them quickly, put them in a bowl with cool water running over them – should be cold, but ready to peel in about 30 minutes.

Prepare the pot for boiling water for the pasta (make sure to salt the water!), and put it on a back burner on high. When it boils, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Tinkyada pasta takes a while to cook (15 minutes), so keep your pastas cooking time in mind when you’re preparing the rest of the meal.

While the water is getting ready to boil, make the White Sauce.

Next, pour some oil in a large skillet, and bring it to medium heat. Sauté the garlic until it’s tender. When the pasta only has a few minutes left, add the shrimp, and sprinkle with the Tony Chachere’s. I use tongs to move the shrimp around the skillet quickly and easily. As soon as all of the shrimp are pink, add peas and take it off the heat. Add white sauce to the shrimp, and mix together.

Drain the pasta, and pour it into a pretty serving dish (or back into the pot), and then gently mix in the sauce, shrimp, and peas. Serve with a nice salad, and enjoy!

postheadericon Creamy vegan lasagna

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 takes care of my need for something creamy and Italian without eating dairy.

Creamy Lasagne

Ingredients

  • 1 batch White sauce
  • 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 lasagna noodles (we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagne)
  • olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F

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.

Lasagne and Sausage

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.

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Lay 3 uncooked lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan. Spoon half the spinach/eggplant/mushroom mixture over the noodles. Ladle some marinara on top of the vegetables. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Repeat with another layer, and top with 3 more lasagna noodles.

You will have now used 9 lasagna noodles. Put the rest away for something else – sometimes we break them up for use in soup.

Pour white sauce on top of the final layer of noodles.

Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, 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).

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’re ready to eat!

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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!

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