Monday, January 31, 2011

Gluten-Free! Local!


I was at my local Hannaford's recently and stumbled upon this in the meat section:

Bellinski's Chicken Meatloaf AND Chicken Chili - both just happen to be gluten free and both are from a local (Upstate NY) company. (If you're confused and thought I lived in Mass, or Virginia or Illinois, well, I did but now I'm all settled in New York.)

I say "just happen to be" gluten-free because it seems like most "gluten free" foods are banished to the natural foods or special diets sections. These guys - these meals that take four minutes to cook - were not. They were hanging out with the ham and chicken breast, like they should be. Only these had the fine print that I like to see:

On to the review: both were really flavorful and so simple to make, er, heat up.

Both come in a nifty plastic container that is meant for the microwave (leave the plastic-wrap-like cover on when you cook it). And they only take minutes.

The chili was great: it had a lot of flavor and was no frills: ground chicken, black beans, tomato, onion and lots of spices. I added some salsa on top of mine to up the veggie factor. Though, there was enough chili in the container for probably two dinner portions.

The meatloaf had good flavor as well. It had a tomato sauce on the top that was tasty. My only complaint was that the height of the meatloaf was, well, really short. Probably only 1/2 an inch. It's not that big of a deal, but the size of it made it seem less meatloaf-like.

Bottom-line: they're quite good and super convenient.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I'm not sure how the tradition began, but growing up my family would always eat trifle for dessert on New Year's Eve. This year - the first year in our own very house - my husband and I were celebrating with a few new friends and I wanted to keep the tradition going.

I called up my Mom, tweaked a few things from her recipe and here is mine: a dense, decadent New Year's treat. It's a layer of chocolate cake, infused with espresso, topped with butterscotch pudding, topped with chocolate ganache and finished with a whipped topping with a hefty sprinkle of Toblerone.

It may have a lot of components to it, but it sure is simple to put together.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Butterscotch Trifle

For the cake: 1 package gluten free chocolate cake mix (I used King Arthur's) and 1/3 cup strong coffee or espresso

Follow the directions on the package of the cake mix. Let cool and cut cake into squares so that it will fit in a round, clear bowl (you will have some leftover cake). Poke the cake with holes and pour the coffee over the cake (Kahlua can be used here too).

For the pudding: 1 package instant butterscotch pudding (I used Jello)

Follow the directions for the pudding and pour evenly over the cake/coffee mixture.

For the ganache: 1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips & 1 cup light cream

Place the cream in a saucepan and warm until the milk is steaming. Pour the chocolate chips into a glass dish and pour the very warm cream over the chocolate. Mix until ganache-like (it should look like hot fudge). Pour that mixture over the pudding.

For the whipped topping: cool whip or freshly whipped cream

Spoon the whipped topping evenly over the ganache, making sure not to mix the topping into the ganache.

Finished with: chopped up Toblerone or toffee: sprinkle over the top - it's ready to serve.