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 ‘quick lunch’ Category

postheadericon Lunchbox Pizza Crusts

This is an adaptation of my earlier pizza crust recipe. I’ve shrunk the recipe and adapted it a bit for lunchbox pizza crusts. This makes 8-9 lunch-sized pizzas

This is, by far, my favorite pizza crust recipe. It’s crispy, hard to mess up, delicious, and doesn’t scream “gluten-free”. My kids have all had friends over for pizza nights, and there aren’t many leftovers. I’ve always been a proponent of individual pizzas. Perhaps that’s because my family of four prefers 4 types of pizzas, but I still think it’s a good idea.

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 vegetarian/vegan recipe.
mini pizza crusts


  • 1 TBS yeast
  • 2/3 cups gluten-free flour (amaranth, millet, bean, or brown rice)
  • 1/2 cup starch (corn, tapioca, potato, or arrowroot)
  • 2 TBS chia seed or flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (I like Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water, milk/milk substitute, or mix of the two
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with Silpat, parchment paper, or Reynold’s Release foil.

Pour the dry ingredients (through salt) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for a few moments so they are well combined.

Add the olive oil and vinegar to the water/milk combo. Pour the liquid into the flour mixture. Beat on medium speed for a couple minutes, until it forms a big ball. Pour 1-2 TBS of olive oil into a small bowl.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out blobs of dough – it will be sticky. Plop the dough onto the lined baking sheet(s), dip your fingers in the olive oil, and use your fingers to stretch the dough out. Press and stretch until the dough is thin and shaped as desired. I can usually fit 4-5 on one cookie sheet.Halloween pizza

Bake WITHOUT TOPPINGS for 10-15 minutes. They should be golden brown around the edges. If you are not using all of them immediately, then allow to cool on a baking rack and freeze, with wax paper or cling wrap between each crust.

When you’re ready to bake the pizzas, add desired toppings (marinara or White Sauce, veggies, meat toppings, cheese or cheese substitutes) – you’re only limited by your imagination! (We usually have 1 with bacon, 1 black olive, 1 pepperoni, and one white pizza with spinach.)

Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until bubbly and hot. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then slice and pop into a lunch box. Ours fit really well in our Easy Lunchboxes. You can check out some of our lunchbox fun over at Bentos for A Gaggle of Girls.

postheadericon Pasta Carbonara

This is based on an Italian peasant dish. It’s made with a little of this and a little of that – leftovers that have been turned into a delicious meal. The original has plenty of milk and cheese, but our version is dairy-free. We needed to keep the eggs, though – so this won’t work for folks with egg allergies.

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, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and corn free recipe.


  • 1 lb pasta (we like the Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta)
  • 3 eggs
  • several pieces of bacon or ham, cut into small pieces (double check ham/bacon for allergens!)
  • olive oil, flax oil, or margarine

Prepare pasta according to package directions

Lightly whisk the 3 eggs together.  Add a bit of milk substitute if desired.

Drain pasta, immediately dump into a serving dish, and drizzle with olive oil, flax oil, or margarine.  Stir until combined.

Drizzle the egg mixture over the pasta, and toss – the hot pasta will cook the egg.

Add the bacon or ham, and mix until well combined.

Serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light dinner.  Yummy, easy, quick, and inexpensive – what’s not to like?

postheadericon Scrambled Sausage Brunch

This has been a staple weekend lunch/light dinner for us since we started eating meat


a little olive oil
about 1 1/3 lb sweet italian turkey sausage (the kind that isn’t already cooked)
1 medium onion, chopped
2+ cloves garlic, minced/pressed
half a bell pepper, if available, chopped
1 pkg sliced mushrooms (we like baby bellas especially)
1 14oz can beans
baby spinach
pinch salt
oregano, basil, etc as desired


In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and start the onion, garlic, mushrooms & bell pepper. start sauteing them.

Squeeze the sausages out of their casings and start mushing them up and cooking them with the veggies. Add salt and spices.

When the sausage is no longer pink, add the beans to heat, and right before serving add the spinach and cook until wilted.

Serve all mixed together. yum!

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 Hammy Home Fries

This is a great quick breakfast/brunch protein food for people who don’t like eggs. Served with a lovely fruit salad (or even just some apple slices in cinnamon sugar), it’s a full weekend brunch.

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.


  • 3/4 to 1 lb boneless ham steak, diced

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • splash olive or canola oil
  • pinch kosher salt
  • Shakes of Tony Chacher’s Cajun Seasoning to taste (start with a little – you can always add more)


Wash the potatoes. Use a knife or fork to make a few air holes. Microwave them all together for 5-8 minutes until somewhat tender (should feel a little harder than a “done” baked potato).

Heat a largish skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Add garlic and onion (and pepper if using). Stir and cook until they begin to get tender. Add the diced ham, and keep cooking, stirring frequently so nothing burns.

When the potatoes are cooked, cut into 1/2 to 1″ chunks. Add to pan, and keep stirring. Season with salt & Tony Chachere’s (I keep the main dish mild, then let people who like their food spicier add more at the table). When the ham & potatoes starts to brown and crisp, bring to the table and serve.

This serves about 4-6 people, but could easily be halved or doubled.

postheadericon Italian Quick and Easy Soup

My 8 year old wanted to make our lunch today. She looked at recipes in a few children’s cookbooks, but since we need to go grocery shopping, she didn’t have enough ingredients for the official recipes. Here is what we came up with together. A wonderful, warming soup for cold days – and easy enough for kids to do most of the work!

This recipe is wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, peanut, fish, and shellfish free. It is also vegan, vegetarian, and gfcf. It could easily be corn-free with label checking.

Another bowl of soup


  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed

  • 2 TBS cooking oil
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped (if you have them)
  • 3 potatoes, chopped (we choose not to peel them)
  • 1 splash wine (optional – we just had a little wine left so we poured it in)
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tomato cans of water
  • 1 tsp each of oregano, basil, and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf (they’re lucky!)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 28 oz can beans, or 2 14oz cans beans; drained


Quick and Easy Italian Soup

Heat oil in a medium/large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, and carrots (if using). Stir until they become tender. Add wine or water, and stir to get the good bits off the bottom.

Add all the other ingredients. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir well, then turn down to medium-low. Let simmer, uncovered, for at least 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Serve and enjoy! This soup was a hit and everyone had seconds!

If you have different vegetables around, you could easily substitute what is currently in your pantry.

postheadericon Avacado Chick Pea Salad

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, vegan & vegetarian, and also South Beach phase 1 safe recipe.

This is barely a recipe, because it is soooo easy and yet so yummy. I first had it at my friend’s house, and she dislikes lettuce so she has created salads without lettuce, which boggled my mind a bit, until I couldn’t stop eating it. So my version has mesclun in it, but it does taste great without it.


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chick peas (approximately)

  • 2 avocados
  • a few handfuls of mesclun (mixed baby salad greens) – optional
  • salad dressing – we use a balsamic vinagrette or a poppy seed dressing (we love the one from Brianna’s) be careful with the dressing amounts for South Beach!


Find a nice bowl to use as a salad bowl. If you are using the mesclun, fill the bottom of the bowl with a few handfuls of washed & dried mesclun.

Dump the chick peas on top of the mesclun.

Slice the avocados in half long-ways. Twist to remove one half from the seed. Slice into the avocado still in its peel diagonally ( \ ) and then slice the opposite way diagonally ( / ) so you have cubes. Gently squeese the cubes on top of the chick peas. Remove the pit from the other side of the avocado and repeat. Do the same thing with the second avocado.

Serve salad with dressing on the side, as some people may prefer it without the dressing. You can also easily double or triple this or figure out the best ratio for your family between chick peas and avocados.

I have also served this with crab meat on top for a non-vegan choice. mmmm….

postheadericon Crabbie Patties

I think we’ve perfected this! The original recipe for Crab Cakes and Salmon Cakes were egg-free and more delicate. This Crabbie Pattie is sturdier, and has eggs. It would still be suitable for a low-carb diet, though.


  • 4 6 oz cans crab (the cheap kind works fine) You could also use 2 cans salmon
  • 2/3 cup bean or pea flour (or another type of flour or starch you have on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • cooking oil

Drain the cans of crab in a strainer. Squish it to get as much liquid out as possible.

While the crab is draining, preheat oven to about 400 degrees (or whatever temperature another food is cooking at), and heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a largish nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Dump the drained crab into a medium bowl. Add the salt, seasoning, and egg. Stir. Add flour, and mix well.

Finger Food Dinner

Use a spoon to form Crabbie Patties. place in oil – 4-6 per batch. Fry for 2 minutes, then flip. Fry for 2 more minutes, then place on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. Repeat until all the patties are cooked. Bake for about 10 more minutes.

OR Bake on a non-stick cookie sheet/Silpat for 30 minutes (with no pre-frying), flipping after 15 minutes. Be very careful when flipping, as the Crabbie Patties are still a bit fragile.

These are great served with a whole finger food meal, or as a lunch with a salad and french fries, or as an appetizer. Some may like them plain, some with tartar sauce, and some with cocktail sauce.

postheadericon Faux Frittadas

I grew up with a fairly large Italian extended family. We ate lasagna with every holiday meal, my grandmother and I would make ravioli together from scratch, and we would have big family meals with all the aunts and uncles. One of the dishes that was served at the big family meals is inherently gluten-free, a frittada. A frittada is almost like a crustless quiche, or a large omelet that you bake.

Frittadas usually have a lot of cheese, as well as a lot more egg than I typically use. But then, I don’t like eggs! In my recipe the eggs are just there to hold everything together so you can serve it in slices. This is easily made with all veggies for a vegetarian (but not vegan!) option at a brunch. My girls love this for brunch on weekends – and since you can vary the ingredients so much, it’s rarely the same thing twice! It also makes a wonderful light & fast dinner – it cooks so fast you don’t really heat up the kitchen.

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, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, South Beach phase 1 and 2 safe recipe, and one that can easily be made vegetarian.


  • olive oil
  • 2-3 eggs (sadly, this can’t really be substituted)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb meat (if using) – sliced sausage, ham, leftover chicken or turkey, Spam …
  • 2+ of something chunky – chopped potato, tomato, mushrooms …
  • 1-2 diced veggie(s) – zucchini, summer squash, frozen or baby spinach, bell peppers …
  • 1-2 pinches kosher salt
  • a couple grinds black pepper
  • a few shakes of a seasoning blend – Italian, Cajun …

There is an oven method and a top-of-stove method. If you want to use the oven, it should preheat to 350. If it’s hot, and you don’t want to turn on the oven, then don’t. If using the oven, you need a large-ish skillet that can transfer between the stovetop and oven (like a good cast iron pan or an all-metal metal skillet). If you are using the stovetop only, make sure you have a large skillet that has a well-fitting cover.

For all methods:
Pre-cook the potatoes (if using) – stab them a few times with a fork, then microwave for 5-10 minutes, until barely tender.

Warm some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until they start to become tender. Add the meat (if uncooked) and any non-frozen veggies (including tomatoes/mushrooms/other chunkies other than potatoes). Let cook for several minutes, then add the potatoes (if using), any cooked meat, and any frozen veggies. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, making sure to mix thoroughly.

Once everything is cooked & heated through and well-integrated, whisk the eggs in a bowl, then pour over the pan so that there is a little egg in the nooks and crannies. Gently tilt the pan so that the egg is well distributed.

For oven:
Place pan in oven, let cook for about 15-20 minutes, until egg is set (like a quiche). You can set the table and make a salad while this happens.

For stovetop:

Turn heat down to low, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes (checking occasionally before that), until egg is set firm.

Set out on the table – slice and serve with a spatula. Yum! This goes equally well with a lunch/dinner salad as it does with a breakfast/brunch fruit salad!

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