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 ‘pasta’ Category

postheadericon Pantry Pasta

This is a delicious, and fast (under 30 minutes) dinner. It’s a great meal for one of those nights when you should really go grocery shopping, but you’re tired and need to put it off one more night. ahem

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. It can easily be a vegan meal if you remove the chicken – it will still taste delicious!


  • 1-2 TBS cooking oil (olive, canola, etc)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes, with juice (or equivalent fresh)
  • 2 smaller cans chicken breast, or 1 larger can, drained (omit for vegan/vegetarian meal)
  • 1 14 oz can cannelini beans (aka white kidney beans), drained
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • several pinches kosher salt
  • 1 lb gluten-free pasta (we like Tinkyada)


Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil with a few pinches kosher salt.

In a large skillet (10-12 inch), bring up to medium heat. Add oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add onions and garlic. Add seasonings, too (warming the seasonings will help release their flavor). Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.

Add pasta to the water when it boils, and cook according to package directions. We liked this with spaghetti that had been broken into smaller pieces before cooking.

Add tomatoes, chicken (if using), and beans to the onion mixture. Stir well, and let the liquids come to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and let cook until the pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta, then toss the sauce with the pasta in the pasta pot (or in a serving dish if you have one handy). Serve. This is delicious with a salad that might include some marinated artichoke hearts you found in the back of the pantry… :)

postheadericon Pepper Steak Pasta or Steak Bomb Spaghetti

(Title varies depending on where you grew up. I’m sure there’s another name possible from another region, too)

This dinner was inspired by my teenage love for (what we called) pepper steak subs – beef cooked with peppers, onions, mushrooms, with some tomato in there too. My husband grew up in Texas calling them a Steak Bomb. I didn’t really want to make sub rolls, and we had pasta, so I figured it was worth a try. It was definitely a success – there wasn’t enough left to photograph it at the end! As a bonus, this meal was ready within 30 minutes of starting. Yippee for Faux Fast Food! ;)

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. (It could be safe for Phase 1 if you served it in a lettuce wrap instead of over pasta)


  • 1 medium onion, diced or cut into strips (your choice – my kids won’t eat it in strips)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 TBS cooking oil
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs beef – this worked great with stew meat, but would also work fine with another cut of beef sliced into strips or cubes.
  • 1 10 oz package of sliced mushrooms (we prefer baby bellas)
  • 1 medium/large bell pepper, sliced into strips or diced depending on your preference
  • 1 28oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • (or substitute 2-3 tsp Italian Seasoning for the above)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 splash of the wine open in your fridge (optional)
  • 1 lb pasta (we like Tinkyada brown rice best)

Start a large pot of salted water over high heat for the pasta. When the water boils, add pasta and cook according to package instructions (Tinkyada pasta has a long cooking time – usually 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring the oil to medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Let cook for a minute, then bring the heat to medium-high and add the beef.

Once the beef has started to brown, add the bell pepper, mushrooms, spices, and salt. Stir regularly until the veggies start to get tender.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine (optional). Add the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a simmer until the pasta is ready, stirring enough that nothing sticks to the bottom.

When the pasta is drained, toss the pasta and sauce together, and serve. Yum!

postheadericon Chicken Tetrazinni

This is a great use for leftover chicken, onions, mushrooms, and pasta. Or if you really love it you can make it with all new ingredients too.

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.

Tray of tetrazinni


  • 1 batch White Sauce
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (or 1 small/medium)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • up to 10 oz mushrooms, sliced (I like crimini)
  • 2 tsp+ italian seasoning, or similar mix of spices
  • pinch kosher salt
  • up to 1 lb pasta (spaghetti is traditional, but any pasta will work)
  • 2+ lbs chicken, cooked and diced (leftover rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken is great, so is BBQ chicken legs or whatever you have on hand)
  • optional: snippets of bacon, parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 and prepare a baking dish with a non-stick foil or a little oil to keep the casserole from sticking.

Chicken Tetrazinni

Make the White Sauce. If the pasta isn’t already cooked, cook the pasta al dente (for Tinkyada pasta, cook it a couple minutes less than package directions – it will cook more in the oven)

Saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in a skillet with a little olive oil. Season with salt & spices while cooking.

Take chicken off bones (save the bones for stock another day), dice, and put in a large bowl. Add pasta, white sauce, and sauted vegetables. Add bacon, if using. Mix well.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top becomes crispy and it is bubbly. If someone at your table can tolerate dairy, they can sprinkle the top of their portion with parmesan.

postheadericon Dairy Free Beef Stroganoff

My husband has fond memories of this dinner, growing up in a house where people could eat dairy. I don’t remember ever having it, but the idea of creamy food on top of noodles sounded good. And it was a different way of using the perpetually-on-sale ground beef. If you serve it on spaghetti squash instead of regular noodles, it is safe for South Beach phase 1, too!

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.

So here it is – Gluten and Dairy-free Beef Stroganoff! Tasty, too.

Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 batch White Sauce – BUT, use 1/4 cup lemon juice in place of broth or wine
  • 1 lb GF noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • splash olive oil
  • 1 TBS margarine or another TBS olive oil
  • 7-10 oz mushrooms, sliced (I like crimini/baby bella)
  • 1 medium/large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs ground beef (our stores seem to always have 1.3 lbs for some odd reason
  • a couple pinches of kosher salt
  • 2 TBS GF flour or starch

Make white sauce and begin cooking the noodles according to package directions.

Over medium heat, melt the margarine in the oil in a largish skillet and cook the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt while it is cooking. Scoop the cooked veggies into a bowl, and use the same skillet to brown the meat, also adding a pinch of salt.

When the meat has browned, drain off the fat and then add the veggies back into the skillet. Pour in the White sauce, and then heat through and allow to thicken a bit.

After the noodles are done cooking drain and put in a large serving dish. “Butter” them with olive oil/flax oil/margarine, and then pour the creamy meat mixture on top.

We love this with some steamed veggies!

postheadericon Go Go Red Sauce Sausage Spaghetti

Rachel (not Ray)'s 30 minute meal

My menu for the week included a sausage lasagna – a new adaptation of my Creamy Lasagna. My plan was to make it with sausage slices & peppers & spinach, then cover it with my white sauce (for faux cheese). However, I ran out of both time and energy, and instead came up with this meal, which was delicious and had everyone eating happily and heartily! We all worked together to create a name for the dinner, and “Go Go Red Sauce Sausage Spaghetti” was the winner. Other ideas for recipe names from the family were: Rachel (not Ray)’s 30 minute meal; Quick Yummy Dinner from Mommy; Half a Bag marinara; Pasta with peppers, sauce with sausage; and Good Dinner. I like any meal that leaves the girls saying, “This is the best dinner ever, Mama! I’d eat this every day!”

This meal can take as little as 30 minutes. If you have extra time to simmer the sauce, I’m sure it will taste even better, but it tastes great as a thrown-together sauce, too. I made this to make sure we had leftovers through the weekend. It served a (hungry) family of 5 with plenty of leftovers. It could easily be halved, if you didn’t need that much food. But why not make extra, then freeze it for days when you don’t have leftovers?

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 1, 2, & 3 safe recipe.

Simmering Sauce


  • 1 lb pasta (a thick noodle will handle this heavy sauce better – Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne is perfect. We love the Tinkyada pastas). If you are following the South Beach Diet, use spaghetti squash for phase 1, and any whole grain (including brown rice) pasta for phase 2 or 3.

  • 1 TBS cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2.5 lbs (ish – 2 packages) Sweet Italian Turkey Sausages
  • 1/2 bag frozen sliced bell peppers (or 1 bell pepper, sliced)
  • 1/2 bag frozen chopped spinach (or 1 small bag baby spinach)
  • 1 splash wine (optional)
  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

Start the water for boiling the pasta. When it reaches a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions – Tinkyada pastas usually require 15 minutes of cooking time. If using spaghetti squash, bake at 350 for 45 minutes (which means more than a 30 minute meal).

While the water comes to a boil, find a large, deep skillet or other large pot. Heat the oil to medium-high, and begin to sauté the onion & garlic. Add spices while sautéing. If you add spices during the sauté phase, they will release more flavor. Yum.

Slice the uncooked sausages, and add to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage pieces are browned and cooked through. Add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan (optional).

Add the canned tomatoes and the other vegetables. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until pasta is ready.

Drain pasta, then either mix together and serve or (if you have fussy children around who want plain noodles too) serve sauce on top of noodles on individual plates.

A salad or simply a plate of crudités pairs well with this meal. Enjoy!

This would taste great with other vegetables sautéed in with the onion and garlic – mushrooms, for example. Improvise!

postheadericon Crab and Avacado Pasta Salad

This doesn’t quite qualify as a recipe, but it’s a delicious lunch, and very quick and easy!


  • 1 can or similar equivalent lump crabmeat

  • 1/2 package guacamole (I like the pressure sealed ones from Costco or Trader Joe’s) – or 1 fresh avacado, diced
  • cooked pasta

Put 1-2 servings worth of pasta in a largish bowl. Add guacamole and crab. mix with fork until well mixed. Eat.

Yummy lunch! mmmmm….

postheadericon Vegan Pasta Primavera

When I received a gift of farm-fresh produce as barter for jewelry, I knew I needed to make pasta primavera. I know that it is usually made in the spring, but many of the best veggies in New England are harvested in the late summer or early fall. Feel free to substitute whatever veggies you can get from your coop, farmer’s market, or CSA (or the grocery store if necessary!). This recipe can also be non-vegan but still delicious by adding some pre-cooked or canned chicken.

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 phase 2 safe recipe.


  • 1 batch White Sauce
  • 1 lb gluten-free pasta (we prefer Tinkyada)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small summer squash, cut into cubes or quarter-moons
  • 2 italian eggplant, cut into cubes or quarter-moons (if you can’t find this, use whatever else is good and fresh – zucchini would work well)
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 medium-large tomato, diced
  • 5 oz chopped mushrooms
  • (optional – other veggies such as bell peppers, baby spinach, etc)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • (optional, if not vegan) 2 cans chicken (Valley Fresh is allergen-free) or about 1 lb chopped cooked chicken
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme

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.

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 onion and garlic until it becomes tender. Add the mushrooms, and cook for a minute or two. Then add the other veggies (except the frozen peas).

While the veggies are cooking, season with a couple pinches of kosher salt and the spices. Cover, and let cook for 3-5 minutes, until veggies are tender. Add frozen peas (and the cooked/canned chicken, if using), and continue to let simmer until everything is cooked through. Drain off any excess liquid.

When the pasta, sauce, and veggies are all cooked, mix together in a serving dish or in the pasta pot. Serve to applause! This is good enough for the whole family to want seconds!

postheadericon Shrimp Scampi

This is an adaptation of a South Beach Recipe. Our whole family loved it (even if some members insisted on dipping the shrimp in cocktail sauce…). We served it as an entree with 3 sides, but it would also taste great on pasta.

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, corn free, South Beach phase 1 safe recipe. Plus, it’s fast!

Shrimp Scampi


  • 2 lbs medium/large shrimp – thawed and peeled

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS margarine safe for your diet (or another TBS olive oil)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • a few pinches of kosher salt
  • about 1/4 tsp Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning, or about 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes if you haven’t yet discovered the wonder of Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

The hardest part of this dish is thawing and peeling the shrimp. Seriously. If you forget to thaw them for 2 days in the fridge, then drip cool water over them in the sink as they sit in a bowl. stir occasionally. They should be thawed in about 10 minutes, but they will still be cold. (tip – if you have sensitivities to cold, ask someone else to peel them for you, peeling chilly shrimp will hurt)

Once you have the shrimp peeled, this is a very fast recipe – make sure the rest of your dinner is just about ready when you start.

Pat the shrimp dry, and toss them with a little kosher salt and some Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning.

Dinner is Love

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and melt the margarine in olive oil. Add the garlic, and cook until the mixture starts to bubble and the garlic is becoming tender. Add shrimp, and stir to coat with the garlic/oil mixture. Add a little more kosher salt, Tony Chachere’s, and lemon juice.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and watching carefully – they will become pink & cooked very quickly. DO NOT OVERCOOK! They will become tough. Remove from heat when the shrimp are all lovely and pink – we put them into a covered casserole dish so they would stay warm on the trip to the table.

Serve with pasta or with several other side dishes. Delicious!

postheadericon Phat Thai (or Pad Thai)

This is a wonderfully quick dish. You need a large skillet or wok and a large serving platter or bowl and a cover for your serving dish. You also need to make sure you’ve done all your chopping in advance, as once you start cooking, things move very quickly. Phat Thai is almost a meal in itself – we usually serve it with a small salad and some edamame or roasted broccoli.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! There are many variations within the recipe, so it is easily adapted for different dietary restrictions It can be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Phat Thai aka Pad Thai


  • 1 lb Dried rice stick noodles

    2 TBS Vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of one or several sources of protein
    • shrimp, peeled & de-tailed

    • firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    • chicken, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten (can omit if needed, but add extra chicken/tofu/shrimp)
  • 1 TBS Fish sauce or (oddly enough) balsamic vinegar
    2 TBS Soy sauce (La Choy is GF, as is San-J Tamari and Braggs Aminos)

  • 1 TBS Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts, dry roasted, crush some so there are some small pieces (can omit if needed)
  • 2 cups fresh or 1 can Bean sprouts
  • 8 Scallions, whites and pale green, sliced in rings
  • 1 or 2 Limes, quartered lengthwise (optional)


Soak rice noodles in enough warm water to cover for 15 to 20 minutes. (or prepare according to package directions)

Prep all the remaining ingredients and place them next to the stove, along with a serving platter and a cover to tent the serving platter and keep everything warm.

When the noodles are very limp and white, drain. Set by the stove as well. You want to have everything ready to toss in the pan.

Heat a wok or large skillet at medium-high heat and add 1-2 TBS oil and swirl to coat the surface. When oil is very hot drop in garlic and toss until golden, about 30 seconds.

Add shrimp and toss until they turn pink, no more that 1 minute of cooking for the shrimp. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat as necessary for chicken and tofu, cooking until browned.
Add the egg to the pan and tilt the pan to spread it into a thin sheet. As soon as it begins to set, scramble it to break it into small lumps. Remove and set aside next to the shrimp.

Pad Thai and roasted broccoli

Heat 1 TBS of oil in wok or skillet and heat 30 seconds and add soften noodles. Thin noodles to cover the surface of the pan, then clump them together and gently turn over. repeat this process a couple times. Add fish sauce/balsamic vinegar & soy sauce and turn noodles to season evenly. Add sugar and peanuts and continue to turn the noodles. Remove noodles to the covered serving platter before they burn.

Reserve some of the scallions for garnish. Toss bean sprouts and the rest of the scallions in the wok for a minute, then add them to the serving platter.

Turn heat down to Medium, then toss the contents of the serving platter into the skillet/wok. Stir together for 1-2 minutes so everything is mixed together and heated. Depending on your family’s eating habits, you can add the shrimp, tofu, and/or chicken to this mixture, or set them on the table in individual bowls.

Transfer every to the serving platter and squeeze the juice of 2 lime wedges (if using) over the top. Garnish with remaining scallions and serve at once. Place soy sauce, lime wedges, and peanuts at the table for individual garnishes.

This serves 6 hungry people, with not much for leftovers!

postheadericon Pasta in a Tomato-vodka-cream mushroom sauce

OMG this divine. It is so much more than the sum of its parts. YUM. We made this after a friend made this dairy & gluten-filled recipe and had her entire family raving about it. This is a keeper, and will be made again very, very soon.

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, corn free, vegetarian & a vegan recipe with appropriate ingredient checking.

Pasta with vodka-cream-tomato-mushroom sauce


  • 1/2 or 3/4 oz dried porcini or shitake mushrooms (whichever size is available at your grocery store)

  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • splash olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4oz sliced pancetta, chopped (omit if vegetarian/vegan/can’t find)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 10 oz fresh crimini mushrooms (or white button), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 1 large (28oz-ish) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBS dried basil
  • 1 TBS dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk or soy creamer
  • 1 lb gluten-free pasta (a twirly type like fusilli or a fetuccine type works well)

Soak dried mushrooms in hot water until softened, about 30 minutes.

While the mushrooms are soaking, heat oil in a medium-large pot over medium-high heat, then sauté onion and pancetta, stirring until golden (about 5 min). Add garlic and fresh mushrooms and sauté, for about another 5 minutes.

Drain liquid from the soaked mushrooms into the pot, dice & add the soaked mushrooms, and add the vodka and boil, uncovered, until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes again.

Stir in the canned tomatoes (including the liquid), bay leaf, and other spices and bring to a boil. Stir in coconut milk/soy creamer, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf, and use an immersion blender to make part of the sauce a uniform texture.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain.

Toss pasta with just enough sauce to coat, then serve with the rest of the sauce, a salad, and if not vegetarian some sausages to add more protein.

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