Gluten- Free Ham & Potato Soup

Hi y’all! Happy New Year! I trust you all rang in the New Year with hopes renewed, a fresh set of goals and prayers for your families! I’m praying each of my readers is blessed this year!

With a new year under our belt, there will be a fresh start on my blog as well. We recently discovered Thing 2 and I have a gluten allergy. That means my posts will be gluten-free when I post about recipes. If you aren’t on a GF diet, no worries, just substitute regular items when I state GF items. I will be posting my make shift GF enchiladas without using corn tortillas before week’s end. Some of my recipes are going to be failures, and some a success. This is uncharted waters for me, but rest assured I will continue to research and bring you the best of what I can offer for GF recipes! My love gave me a brand new GF cookbook for Christmas. My Vitacost order, with the GF stuff I need to start baking again, should arrive today. I am thrilled to dive into the cookbook and truly begin discovering new ways to eat what we love GF!

Now that all of the housekeeping items are out of the way, let’s talk food. Most of the south celebrates New Years with ham, collards, black- eyed peas, and cornbread. I always have left over ham after New Years so I almost always have a ham and potato soup for supper the next day. Let’s get going and I’ll tell you the changes I made to make it GF this year!

Gluten Free ham & potato soup
1 small onion diced finely
2 celery stalks chopped
5 potatoes peeled and quartered
1 32 oz container of GF turkey stock (I found mine at Aldi)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp Kosher salt and pepper
Diced ham

I threw mine in the crockpot on low for 8 hours this morning. I will be adding some heavy cream and cheese at the end right before I serve. Enjoy!
Happy New Year!



Greek Potatoes! Growing up deprived of Greek Goodness!

When I was growing up, there was only one Greek restaurant in our town. It was called Niko’s. I LOVED Niko’s food. I think we all did. The only other time you could get good Greek food was at the Greek Festival held once a year. Getting take out from Niko’s was like going to Chuck E Cheese in my eyes. My mouth would drool over the smell of their chicken and potatoes. I also remember their baklava, but my favorite was the chicken and potato plate. They eventually closed. I was too young to remember why, but I do remember being devastated. Where and how would we get Greek food?! I, and the rest of the town ended up having to wait for that yearly Greek Festival to get our fix. When that sign went up showing the dates, I am sure their phones were ringing off the hooks with food reservations! I would eat there every night until it ended.

After I learned to cook, I searched for a recipe similar to those potatoes. This is the closest that I have come to replicating what I remember as being the best potatoes I have ever had. When I make these, I make them in bulk. No matter how many I make, they don’t last more than a day. When my sister and I lived in the same town, I knew if I wanted her to come over or babysit for me, I could entice her with Greek potatoes. She would happily swing by and help me polish off a pan, taking whatever leftovers there were home with her as payment for gracing me with her time and helpfulness. Let me give you some advice, if you like Greek food, more specifically, Greek potatoes, do yourself a favor and stick to the measurements in my recipe. Don’t halve it because you think it will be too much for your family.

The more you make this, the more you will make it your own. You will learn exactly how much garlic or lemon juice you like. One more tip about this recipe. I often throw in a few chicken breasts in the same pan and let them cook in the second round of baking with the potatoes until the chicken is done. It’s a deliciously easy one pan meal.

So, are you ready for this?

Greek Potatoes

Adapted from Greek.Food.Com

What you will need:

  • About 11 small red potatoes washed, cut up and with the skins on
  • 1 small spoon full of  Minced or freshly pressed garlic
  • 1 small spoon full of Basil blend (this tube of fresh basil is found in the salad section of your grocer)
  • 1/2 cup of Olive oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • Between 1- 1/12 tbsp Oregano
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large baking dish, add your sliced potatoes and garlic. This is how much I add to our batch.

 Next add your Basil blend. I just squirt a good spoon full in there. They sell an olive oil that already has the basil blended in, but when I don’t have it on had, I use this instead.

Add your olive oil, lemon juice and water.

Again, I am really bad about measuring which is why I take pictures 🙂 This is how much Oregano I use.

Give it a good stir making sure to coat all of your potatoes with that goodness. Add sea salt and pepper. It should be looking like this.

Now carefully place those into the oven. You won’t want to have an accident and dump my precious to the floor. You will be sorry  you missed out. Keep this in the oven for 40 minutes. When you timer goes off, remove them from the oven and take a look. They will look similar to this.

Give them a good stir to re-coat the dry potatoes and rotate them in the pan. If you notice that the liquid is drying up, add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. It’s also time to add a little more sea salt, pepper and Oregano. Pop them back into the oven for 40 more minutes. When the timer is done, you may freak out if you see a bunch of them look a little brown. Trust me, the browner, the better. The originator of this recipe said you could not  over cook these. She is right. They are good crispy!

Sit down with your stretchy pants and feast like it’s Thanksgiving. Anytime I make these with chicken, I never ever touch anything else on my plate until the first serving of these are gone. I simply can’t help myself. They are SO delicious!


This is the last post of the week. Next week look for a post on how I recovered our chairs, a review of the  Pinterest Veggie wash, and a recipe for homemade Minestrone soup!

Seasoned Baked Potato Slices

Don’t freak out when I tell you she used a 5 pound bag of  red potatoes. You will too when making this recipe. Trust me, you are going to want to make a huge batch of potatoes. Why? Because after I post her desert recipe, I am going to post her breakfast frittata recipe. She used her leftovers to make it and y’all, it was good. I had more than my WW serving allowed, um times 3 that amount. Galit has a knack for using leftovers and stretching them into two or three different meals. She’s very creative in that way. Me, not so much. Its something I have to consciously work at. Is it just me or are y’all getting hungry reading these posts! Maybe it’s because I remember the smells and flavors, but I am salivating as I write these posts.

Potatoes are a staple in our home. We eat them at LEAST two times a week. I love ’em baked, fried, boiled, grilled, sliced, whole, diced, creamed, mashed … ok, I’ll stop Forest Gumping the potatoes now.

In the last post, I mentioned the V-slicer that she used. I am telling you, I blinked and she was done slicing that whole bag of potatoes. I was so consumed by the brie that I totally forgot to snap a picture when these babies came out of the oven. This is a picture of what was left over the next morning. Yes, we polished them off between dinner and breakfast. I won’t say finger licking good, but I will say fork licking good.

Pre heat oven to 350
Scrub your potatoes clean
Slice them up (you want to try to make the slices pretty even so that they will cook evenly in the oven)
Slice up some onion (use as much or as little as desired.) You can throw some onion powder in there if you don’t like onion.
Season with salt, pepper, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, dried parsley, dried Oregano, paprika. Mix together to coat all the potatoes with your seasoning and oil.

Place them in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove and serve. Use any leftovers for the frittata recipe coming up or her kielbasa recipe.

This is the last post for today. Tomorrow, I am going to give you her cream cheese pound cake. I am moving starting Thursday, so Thursday’s breakfast frittata and coffee recipe may be it for a bit as I do not have anything planned. If anyone would like to shoot me a recipe I will be happy to make it my blog post for that day.

Chicken- Fried Steak and Perfect Potatoes au Gratin

It was a Pioneer Woman night at our house. Cubed steak is one of the cheaper meats. I love this recipe and it fits nicely with our budget these days.

I will give you the pictures and recipe to PW’s (Pioneer Woman’s) chicken- fried steak, but FIRST let’s talk about her Perfect Potatoes au Gratin!

Holy guacamole people! She did it again. I threw this new recipe (new for us) in our rotation this week because we love potatoes any way we can eat them. As I was making this recipe I was surprised at how fragrant it was. The ingredients are real simple, yet the smell was filling up my kitchen before I put it in the oven. Once it started baking my mouth started drooling.

Here is her recipe the the Perfect Potatoes au Gratin.

What I did differently:

I used 4 red potatoes. I like red better. Second, I sliced mine into really thin slices. I always worry that my potatoes won’t cook all the way through if I don’t.

Stack a few slices a time while quartering, it will save you some time! 

If you have a little helper like I did, let them throw the slices in the bowl. 

Give them a whisk and let them stir the cream sauce.

I decided to season each of the layers with loads of salt and pepper. The directions did not say to do this. I am so glad I did. It was perfect!

One more thing, I tossed the potatoes around in the cream before adding each layer. I wanted to ensure all of the layers were coated with the cream.
Inhale the smell of this scrumptious creation before you put it in the oven. And wait. For an hour. Then shove it in your mouth as soon as you can!
As we are eating, the man asks whose recipe it was. I said, “Who’s do you think it was.” He shakes his head and says, “She cooks so good, we must be kin.” Then he said it was the best potatoes au gratin he had had.

I love it. I kept eating it because of the taste… I made myself sick eating it. I am over that now and am about to warm up some more. 

Chicken- Fried Steak!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook (pages 143-145)

3 pounds cube steak
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, plus 2 cups for the gravy
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1/3 cup for the gravy
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you can handle it)
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying

Start by mixing your spices in with the flour.

I don’t measure as you can see, I just throw it in there.

Season your meat with salt and pepper to taste and then dip it into the egg milk mixture. Flip to the other side to coat. Dredge your meat in the flour on both sides. Make sure it is well coated with flour. Dip the meat back in the egg mixture and then back in the flour once more.  Doing so creates a thick crust. 

Go ahead and heat your oil. You can tell it’s hot enough because it will sizzle when you drop a few sprinkles of flour in it. Cook your meat until it is brown on both sides (about 21/2 minutes).

Get on the gravy train!

Drain your oil in another dish and without cleaning your skillet add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan and heat it up. Mix the flour with the grease. It will create a golden brown paste. If the paste is too oily then add more flour until it is paste like. 

When the paste is a golden brown, it is done. Add 2 cups of milk while stirring and mixing the milk with the paste.

Once combined, let the gravy come to a simmer. The longer it simmers, the thicker the gravy will be. If it’s too thick, add more milk. Season with salt and pepper.

*if you made mashed potatoes the gravy is divine with them!!*

Hush Puppys and tomatoes

Still sticking to my budget friendly menu. Two more days until I have to go grocery shopping. I could use more budget friendly recipes to add to my menu plan so please send me what you have!

I was supposed to have pork chops and rice tonight, but I didn’t feel like having rice tonight. We had arroz con pollo last night and it was made with rice. So, I pulled out mac and cheese, broccoli, and hush puppys (I keep wanting to spell it like this- hush puppies. I am wondering which way is right for these since it is a food lol). I have been dying to try these hush puppys. For some reason I never get around to making them. Well I did tonight.

I found these over by the cornbread and picked them up a good while ago. Preparing them wasn’t hard… waiting for them to finish frying so I could try them was.

I don’t have a deep fryer anymore. I got rid of mine because it was so old and I haven’t replaced it yet.  I had to make these the old fashioned way. I threw five or six in there at a time. I probably could have put more, but I am over cautious when using grease now. I started a grease fire while making french fries in college and that my friends will change you for life- and the way you cook with grease. Cooking the hush puppys without a deep fryer was a HUGE step for me tonight. Mostly because there was so much oil in the pot to deep fry them. I have no problems frying chicken or pork chops in a pan but this much oil in a pot scared me. I had my canister of flour and the lid for my pot literally sitting right beside the pot. 
For years, I wouldn’t cook because I was too scared I was going to start another fire. Finally, someone bought me a deep fryer and taught me how to make bacon and eggs in it. They started me off very slow, cooking with regular foods in a deep fryer. I felt a little safer using it than the stove… eventually I started to cook again on the stove. Years later, I  started to fry again (but only with someone standing beside me.) That lasted for a few more years and sometime after Thing 2 was born I was finally able to start frying by myself with no one around. 

Here are my hush puppys. Cooked, ready for consumption. I burned my mouth trying to scarf one down because I had to know if they were like the ones we eat at our favorite BBQ buffet in Florence, SC. They weren’t. They weren’t soggy and mushy like I like them. They weren’t bad… they just weren’t like I wanted them to be. The kids loved them. So, for the kid’s sake, I will grab another bag next time I am out grocery shopping.

I threatened immediate bedtime for everyone (including the man) if they didn’t eat their trees tonight. I have a whole family (including the man) who HATES veggies. Seriously, I have to hide them in our food so everyone will eat them. I don’t understand how this can be- other than it’s genetic and he passed it down to our kids.

I learned how to hide our veggies in our food using Jessica Seinfield’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Which, by the way, has a ton of great recipes for kids! Love that cookbook. We have a few favorites that are on our rotation from that cookbook.

We were supposed to have Kielbasa, potatoes, and sauerkraut the other night. The dish itself is a recipe I got from a great friend, Galit Hill. It’s on our rotation at least every other month. We love this one. Lately, every single time I am supposed to make it so I can post the recipe, something comes up and I don’t get the pictures or we don’t eat it. This time, the night we were supposed to eat it I really wanted to go to Fredricksberg and eat some real German food. I was really bummed out about it because I was craving the real stuff. So my great hubby said he would take care of our dinner and do the best he could to make it “German” for me. He did great.

He grilled my sausage and fried my potatoes. The potatoes were awesome! The tomatoes are there because I had just written to another friend on FB about these tomatoes and I had to have them. These babies are so good. I could just sit around and eat them all day like chips.

Grilled tomatoes:

Slice the long vine looking tomatoes in half (the man just cuts the tops and digs down a little bit inside the tomato).
Add garlic, olive oil, Sea Salt, basil and parmesan. Grill until cheese is melted.

These are delicious! I love tomatoes in the summertime- it’s like sweet tea- a must in this life. I love tomato sandwiches (tomato, mayo and bread with loads of salt and pepper). We usually eat these with grilled chicken and cut the tomato up and eat it with every bite of chicken- HEAVEN ON EARTH! We have a little bistro here, that is our place for special occasions- they make these to go on their pizza- we special order them separate just as a side (we are probably the only ones who do this lol) and I eat them with their lamb. DIVINE! Just do me a favor and try them. I want you to tell me what you think when you are done.

That’s all for tonight. Please send me what you have for budget friendly recipes. I need the help 🙂

Lamb Chops and Mashed Potatoes

Sorry I am running behind on this post.  This week has been crazy busy. I decided to try one of those 5 hour energy drinks this morning and I have gotten more accomplished today than I have all week 🙂 I only drank half and don’t worry, I am not breast feeding. Back to the reason for the post.

So, you think making lamb chops is out of your league, eh? I have to say, I have only made them one other time and I hated them. I made them with the classic mint sauce and it just wasn’t what I wanted.  When I was menu planning for Father’s Day I knew I wanted something different. He would have been happy with Ribs or Steak but I was aiming for the wow factor since I couldn’t take him out to dinner with a newborn. I went to Costco and picked up a pack of lamb chops. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but I knew I would figure it out. About two hours before dinner I started looking up recipes for lamb. After scanning dozens I threw my own easy marinade together.

Here is what I used:

1. Mediterranean dipping oil. I did have this just sitting in my cabinet.  We had bought it to dip bread in with another meal and I didn’t particularly like it on the bread. So, I used it on my lamb- the WHOLE bottle.
2.Three soup spoonfuls of minced garlic
3. About a tablespoon of rosemary

That’s it! Let them sit for as long as you like in the marinade. Since I started getting supper ready late I only had about an hour to let them sit.

Then throw them on the grill. Here is some information about how to grill lamb.

They were so tender and delicious and didn’t take all day! Good easy stuff people 🙂

Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes

The recipe for her mashed potatoes are under her  short ribs (which I will be making tomorrow night).  Again, I felt stupid for not coming up with this on my own! Seriously, add cream cheese and Lawry’s- it’s too easy and HEAVENLY in your mouth!