My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

 Chile Lime Chicken Burgers! Sassy, moist and absolutely a delight on the tongue. I generally don't make anything with ground chicken or turkey because I don't care much for it. I'm generally a beef girl....most of the time! However, I found these delicious little Chile Lime Chicken Burgers at our local Trader Joe's and although I really liked them, they weren't very thick or juicy. I took a photo of the ingredients and decided one day I was going to try making a homemade version. I finally did it and WOW! Everyone just loved them. They were easy and actually a nice change from burgers. (My husband NEVER eats ground chicken and he ate these and said they were delicious and hopes I make them again soon!)

I also like to have these at my BBQs along with burgers because we have quite a few friends and family members that don't eat beef. This is a nice alternative. I generally eat mine without a bun but I have also splurged and ate them on Udi's Gluten Free hamburger buns. Of course if you don't have a gluten allergy you can just eat them on a regular bun. None of the ingredients contain gluten so anyone can eat them. I like cooking basic meals that EVERYONE can eat! The uncooked chicken patties freeze great too. Just freeze any of them that you don't cook up right away and you will have them for a meal at a later date. These would also be great for a tailgate party!

Chile Lime Chicken Burger Recipe:

  • 2 pounds of ground chicken or turkey
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped (I used both the green & white parts!)
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic (I just used the garlic in a jar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Chipotle Chile powder (more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 limes
  • pinch of sea salt (or just use regular table salt)

Zest the peel of both limes. Combine the ground chicken or turkey with the lime zest, chopped green onions, finely chopped red bell pepper, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, Chipotle Chile powder, pinch of salt and squeeze the lime juice from both limes on top of all of it. Mix well. At this point, I refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours so the flavors blend. I have tried it both ways and the flavors are more intense if you let it sit for several hours or overnight before cooking. However, if you are in a hurry you can just go ahead and cook them but the flavors of the lime and chile won't be as intense. Make into patties and either grill them or cook in a skillet (I used my cast iron skillet for this batch in photo). I did spray a little cooking spray into the skillet just so they wouldn't stick because I bought very lean ground chicken. I personally don't think they need any cheese or condiments because the flavors are great just as they are but you can embellish them however you prefer.

 I hope you enjoy these very simple, very casual main dish item. We really like these and plan on making a batch next time we go camping. We try to do simple & casual meals when we go camping and if we are spending a weekend, I like to change it up a little with the main dish. This would be perfect.

Gluten Free Casually

Monday, August 12, 2013

Protein Breakfast Bars (Gluten Free)

Protein Breakfast Bars. These are a delicious way to get a sweet treat with a little protein! They taste like a chewy granola bar but they contain protein powder so it is a great breakfast bar or snack bar. Use this basic recipe and tweak it to add/delete ingredients for different flavors. I saw a recipe for breakfast bars on TV and wrote down the ingredients. I tweaked and changed it up, added some protein powder and loved the results. I thought I would share it with my fellow gluten free friends. If you have a nut allergy or don't like coconut or raisins then just tweak the ingredients to your liking by adding whatever type of dried fruits or cereals that you do like to get the same measurements. For instance if you don't like coconut then just substitute 1 cup of trail mix or gluten free crisped rice style cereal. You can also add some chia seeds, flax seeds or any other type of seeds. The recipe is flexible. I have also included a recipe below for homemade sweetened condensed milk for those of you that prefer controlling what type of milk and sweetener are used. (I found a great recipe for coconut milk & honey sweetened condensed milk on the website: "Detoxinista").

I love to make these and take them with me on trips so I have something I can eat that is gluten free but still contains protein. So many of the hotel chains have a free breakfast...but not usually anything I can eat. Rather than ruin the free breakfast for everyone else I'm traveling with...I just bring some of these breakfast bars and fruit and I am good to go! I have GF protein bars...will travel! :) I was on a business trip once where I didn't have a car and it was winter time (cold, windy and nasty outside!). None of the restaurants close by offered any gluten free choices. I got stuck walking to the pharmacy across the street and getting a candy bar and nuts for most of my meals. That gets old REALLY QUICK!

Not only are these bars great for breakfast but they are great to take to the beach, car trips, plane trips or just a mid afternoon or evening snack when you want something sweet.

Although they are easy to prepare, they do require an hour for baking so keep that in mind when you decide to make these. I usually make them on the weekends for the upcoming week or the night before a trip. They don't require refrigeration but if you aren't going to eat them (or share them) within 5-7 days then I would just put them in a Zip-loc style baggy and pop them in the freezer.

Protein Breakfast Bars:

  • 1 (12-14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk (you can use regular, light or fat free. See recipe below if you prefer to make your own dairy free version from scratch!)
  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten free oats (I use Quaker brand since I have not had any issues with them. I have had issues with generic brands. However, use one labeled gluten free if you are unsure).
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used a whey base that was vanilla flavor for today's recipe. You can substitute your favorite flavor and type of protein powder. You can add more or less depending on how much protein you want to achieve). 
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (or a mixture of both)
  • 1 cup of seeds (sesame, pumpkin, chia, flax or a combination) or dried fruit
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used finely ground almonds because that is what I had in my freezer)

Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees. I lightly greased a 7x11 (or you can use a 9x13 for slightly thinner bars). I put the sweetened condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl and popped it into the microwave on high for about 2 minutes or until hot but boiling. (You can cook it on the stove instead). Remove from heat and stir in the protein powder until smooth. I find it is easier to mix the protein powder into warm sweetened condensed milk. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread and press the mixture into the prepared baking pan. (I usually take a piece of waxed paper and gently press down instead of fighting with the mixture sticking to my spatula or fingers!  Bake approximately 55-60 minutes or until tops start to become slightly golden. Cool for about 5 minutes. I take a PLASTIC spatula or knife and score the bars so they are easier to cut when they cool. Cool completely before trying to remove from pan. (Cutting a warm breakfast bar with a plastic knife or spatula is easier because it doesn't stick as easily and forms a more clean cut line rather than having "ragged" edges). Cool completely before storing in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers. Eat within 7 days or freeze.

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk Recipe:
Cook time: 
Makes: 12 oz
Naturally dairy-free, this homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk can be used in nearly any recipe calling for traditional sweetened condensed milk, adding a hint of rich, coconut flavor to the final result.
  • 1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup honey, or equivalent sweetener of choice
  1. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat until boiling, about 5 minutes. Watch this pot closely! Once the coconut milk starts to boil, it can bubble over quickly. Whisk regularly to prevent burning.
  2. Reduce the heat, bringing the coconut milk to a simmer, then add the sweetener, whisking until it’s completely dissolved.
  3. Allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely before using in recipes. This sweetened condensed coconut milk should last for at least a week when stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
I prefer using honey as my natural sweetener, but agave nectar, pure maple syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, or stevia should work just fine. Feel free to adjust sweetness to taste! 

Be creative! Experiment! I will warn you that these are addictive!

Gluten Free Casually

Monday, August 5, 2013

Marshmallow Salad (5 cup Salad)

Marshmallow Salad (also known as 5 cup Salad). This is a very old, very simple fruit salad to make. It is one of my family's favorites. I can't imagine having Thanksgiving or Christmas without it! You can throw it together in just a few minutes and no prep-work which is VERY CONVENIENT for busy people! Plus... since it doesn't contain any gluten to begin need to make any adjustments! (Big smiley face!) My cousin Petra (she lives in Germany) absolutely loves this salad and when we go to visit, I always take the ingredients across the ocean so that I can make it for her! My cousins in Germany all call it "Marshmallow Salad" so that is what we call it at our house!

The key to this salad is to let is sit for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving so the flavors blend and it becomes sweet. Although it goes together quickly, it doesn't taste very yummy right away. The sour cream has a....well sour taste.....until the marshmallows soften and the sweetness from the coconut blends together and makes the creamy sauce sweet. Don't rush it. Just prepare it in the morning or the night before you want to serve it and just let the little marshmallows do their work sweetening the salad. The marshmallows get soft and kind of spongy which I really like! Don't let the idea of sour cream throw you off this recipe. can't taste the sour cream after the flavors blend. My husband absolutely gags at the idea of sour cream and he would not eat this salad if he realized it contained sour cream. So, do me a favor and let's just not tell him it has sour cream! I think he "assumes" that the "sauce" is Cool Whip and I don't want to burst his little bubble by telling him it is actually sour cream.

Although I absolutely enjoy cooking and baking, I have come to the conclusion that simple is sometimes better when you have a house full of company especially during the holidays. I used to drive myself crazy cooking like a mad woman at the holidays and then it was all a blur. I didn't get to sit down and have coffee on Christmas morning and relax because I planned these huge meals and everything had to be PERFECT. Well, I missed out on some super fun moments of the kids playing with their toys and some of the excitement because I was busy cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. I like to do things a little more basic and less stress now so I can enjoy the little things in life during the holidays. So this is one of my "go to" side dishes when I am busy. Delicious. Simple. Casual & Gluten FREE!

Marshmallow Salad (5 Cup Salad) Recipe: (I usually double recipe)
1 cup Pineapple (I like the tidbits because it is smaller bites for the little kids)
1 cup Mandarin oranges
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sour cream (you can use light or fat free or regular. I have tried them all!)
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Combine the pineapple, coconut, sour cream and marshmallows until well combined. Gently stir in the mandarin oranges since they are more fragile and will fall apart easily. If you have a little extra pineapple or oranges then just toss them into the mix if you don't have another use for them. Just compensate by adding some additional marshmallows to absorb some of the extra juice from the fruit. The fruit salad should have a nice little sauce but it shouldn't be "soupy". If you are finding the texture to be "soupy" then just add some additional coconut and/or marshmallows. The salad is very forgiving.

As you can see, it is a super yummy looking side dish. You can serve it as a "salad" or "dessert". Either way, people enjoy it. Me?  like to eat it for breakfast if there are any leftovers. :)

Gluten Free Casually