The Hot Handle

A blog interspersed with occasional gluten free recipes.

Please note: If you have a family member who requires a gluten free diet, be sure to use a cast iron skillet that has never previously touched gluten....and if it has, scrub it all down completely and re-season, to be on the safe side.

Looking for information on Celiac Disease? There are many good sites, but here is one to get started with:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Off the Handle: A.T.O. Salad

Not long ago we had some old friends at our house for dinner.  Seeing nice avocados in the supermarket that day, I was driven to get some.  That night I served this recipe with salad greens mixed in, and everyone ate it up.

Last night I made this for my parents without the lettuce.  It was a simple addition to a simple gluten free pizza dinner.  Lo and behold, everyone enjoyed it - including my Dad, who had seconds!  (Who would guess?)

A.T.O. Salad (Avocado, Tomato & Onion)
(Serves 4-6)

Mix in a bowl:

2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise,
2 avocados (insides only, no pit), chopped, and
1/2 of a red onion, chopped.

In a small bowl, combine for your dressing:

2 Tbs olive oil,
1 Tbs lemon juice, and
1/2 tsp salt.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss gently. 
Add a little fresh or dried cilantro

It does fine waiting in the fridge for up to a day if necessary.

Optional additions: 

lettuce torn into small pieces
chunks of cheese

*   *   *   *   *

For dessert, I made another fruit upside-down skillet cake (see entry of June 4, 2011), except this one was with peaches and cherries instead of apples.  I skipped the nutmeg and cloves, using only cinnamon in the cake mixture. 

Another hit!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Off the Handle: Cake Mix Cookies

Hubby actually moved his hot rod today! 
He took it out of the garage and turned it around. 
A big step to road-readiness!
Congrats, Peter!  :)

Last weekend I made cookies from a Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix. 
The recipe is found here.

It is super easy.

I used vanilla cake mix instead of chocolate.  I added about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of slivered almonds.  As always, I used parchment paper to bake them on.  My technique made two dozen cookies instead of the four listed on the recipe....I guess I made them "big."  I baked them for 12 minutes. 

They were very tasty, but next time I will add more chocolate chips. 

They didn't brown, however, so I can see why the original recipe is with the devil's food cake mix.  Regardless, it was a quick and easy way to make a GF treat!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Layered Mexican Chicken Casserole

Yesterday was such a beautiful day.....I decided to take John on a little "surprise adventure" to our local town green.  We played Frisbee, wandered around the old cemetery there, and then sat looking up at the sky and taking photos.  We had a lot of fun.  Here are some pictures of our town green:

On Tuesday night Peter was on a business trip in San Antonio.  On a whim, John and I whipped up a Mexican-themed casserole.  We put on a CD of Mexican music and had a nice dinner together.  In a way, I felt closer to hubby who was probably consuming something similar, but in another way it just made me sad that he was not home.  He was home the following evening, however.....and we had plenty of leftovers!  We had previously decided tht if the leftovers were tasty, we would post it on the blog.  Obviously, we enjoyed them a lot!

Layered Mexican Chicken Casserole
(Serves 6-8.)

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a bowl, combine:

one 18-oz can of Progresso gluten free cream of mushroom soup,
one 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes,
one red or green bell pepper, chopped,  (I used red)
one small onion, chopped, and
1/2 Tbs chili powder

(Next time, however, I think I will increase the chili powder to a full Tbs.)

Take one 12-oz package of Food For Life rice tortillas (John can't have corn), and slice all six tortillas into strips.

Have two 9-oz packages of Purdue short cuts.
Have one 8-oz package of shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend

Spray a 9 X 13 glass pan with cooking spray.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the tortilla strips on the bottom of the pan.
Top with half of the chicken,
then half of the soup mixture,
followed by half of the cheese.
Repeat with the second 1/3 of the tortilla strips,
The rest of the chicken,
then the rest of the soup mixture, and
the rest of the cheese.
Top with the last bits of tortilla strips.

Bake 45 minutes, uncovered.
Let it sit 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven.

Leftovers microwave well!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Off the Handle: Dessert Pizza

While visiting Old Sturbridge Village on July 4th, we watched as the sheep were moved from one place to another.  They ran across the common for this.  Hubby quickly dubbed this, "The Running of the Sheep," as if it was Old Sturbridge Village's version of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

We thought that was pretty funny!

The night before we had nine people at the house for dinner, and two more joined us for dessert time.  I was inspired by this recipe from  (That's a link you can click on to see, by the way....)

I didn't have Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, although I think it is very good.  I used one 16-oz package of Pamela's Chocolate Brownie Mix instead, prepared roughly according to package directions.  (I always take steps to reduce the fat somewhat if possible, so I used 1/4 cup of oil and 4 oz. of pureed fruit instead of 1/2 cup of oil and the water it called for....)  I spread this onto a pizza pan, previously sprayed with cooking spray.  I smoothed it out nicely into a 12" circle with wet fingers. 

I baked this brownie crust at 350 for about 19 minutes.  I let it cool completely in the pizza pan.

I mixed one 8-oz package of Neufch√Ętel cheese (the "light" cream cheese) with the 1/3 cup of sugar and some vanilla.  I put this aside in the refrigerator.  I also pitted and sliced in half exactly 30 cherries, enough for five cherry halves per pizza slice.  I wanted red on top due to Independence Day weekend.  I think most any fruit would be good on this, however. 

Just before serving, I spread the cheese mixture on the brownie crust, cut it into 12 slices, and decorated each slice with the fruit.  It looked really nice and tasted great. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Off the Handle: More Pizzelle

Happy Independence Day!

We were at Old Sturbridge Village today, and they had two new calves at the Freeman Farm.  One was pretty frisky, and it apparently wanted to get the other to play.  Here is its picture:

For the two weekend gatherings that we hosted, I decided to make pizzelle again.  I looked over my boxes of gluten free cake mixes and decided to use a 15-oz package of Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix for a version of my cake mix pizzelle recipe of April 23, 2011.  Here's what I did:

I heated up my dedicated gluten free pizzelle baker.

I melted 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds.

I used a wire whisk to smooth out the melted butter.

I added 3 eggs,
about 1 tsp of vanilla, and
about 1/2 tsp of anise extract, and
the cake mix.

I didn't need to add any water as the dough was not as thick as I am accustomed to for pizzelle.

I baked each pair of pizzelle for 33 seconds (using a digital timer) with about 1 Tbs glops of dough, possibly less.  This recipe makes 32-36 pizzelle.

The pizzelle came out a little thinner than usual.  John liked them the best of all my pizzelle!

I dust them with powdered sugar before serving. 

Always yummy!  No gluten necessary for good pizzelle....