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Gluten-Free 101 (Recipe and Giveaway)

gluten free 101 Roasted Salmon

How good does this one-pot roasted salmon, rice, and vegetable dish look? Amazing, wouldn’t you agree? This is my kind of meal — easy, healthy, and delicious.

No one knows gluten-free cooking and baking better than Carol Fenster. This post is about her newly revised and updated cookbook, Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free CookingIt’s also your opportunity to win your own copy.

But first, I must disclose that Carol is a good friend of mine. We have lunch together often and we’re never at a loss for words. In fact, three hour lunches are common for us. Aside from being the visionary in the world of gluten-free cooking, she’s an incredibly nice person — one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. For someone who’s known world-wide for her expertise, she’s over-the-top humble and remarkably generous with her knowledge. All she wants to do is help people navigate the gluten-free lifestyle in a healthy and delicious way. Carol’s been doing this long before it was trendy. In fact, she’s been creating gluten-free recipes, writing cookbooks (10 to date), sharing information, and increasing awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity for over 25 years. She’s the ultimate expert.

Having said that, there’s a touch of newsworthy irony to Carol’s story. She grew up on a wheat farm in Nebraska and went on to marry a wheat farmer. Imagine how life-altering it was for her to be diagnosed with an intolerance to gluten? Her family’s livelihood was defined by wheat. It was the main topic of conversation during family gatherings. Her journey from wheat farmer’s daughter to the queen of gluten-free cooking hasn’t been easy. But Carol has a delightful sense of humor, a supportive family, and an unwavering spirit, so that part of the story is just a tasty footnote to her success.

Now, back to the features of Gluten-Free 101. This book is designed for people new to the gluten-free lifestyle, but there’s enough interesting information for even the most experienced cook. The book describes how to read labels, offers alternatives to gluten, gives substitutions, and details how to successfully stock a gluten-free pantry. The book also highlights 175 gluten-free recipes, including everything from basic quick bread to ham quiche to lemon bars. It’s all there, whether you’re new at this or a seasoned gluten-free expert. The gorgeous color photos (see salmon photo above) also make it a fun book to drool over.

Who wants to win their own copy? Trust me, it’s worth a try. Here’s all you have to do to be entered. Choose to do one of the following (or all) and then leave me a message here on my blog as to what you did or why you’d like to have this cookbook. I’ll choose a winner at random. The contest closes at midnight on Sunday, February 16th.

Make sure you leave me a message in the comment section so I know who is entered and how to get in touch with you if you win (your email address will remain private). Good luck!


Here’s a delicious sample recipe courtesy of Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking, by Carol Fenster (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 14, 2014, printed with permission)

One-Pot Roasted Salmon with Mediterranean Vegetables and Rice

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Roasting time: 40 minutes


  • 2 cups gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth, heated to boiling
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 (6-1/2 ounce) jar marinated artichokes, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced
  • 4 small salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine or lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning or lemon-herb seasoning


  1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the boiling broth and the rice in a deep, 2-quart baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the spinach, artichokes, and garlic together and place on top of the rice. Arrange the tomatoes and black olives around the edges of the dish. Arrange the salmon fillets on top of the spinach, drizzle with the olive oil and wine, and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and lemon pepper seasoning. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
  3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue roasting until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 470 calories; 35g protein; 15g total fat; 4g fiber; 46g carbohydrates; 59mg cholesterol; 894mg sodium

Enjoy! Don’t forget to leave me a comment so you’re entered to win a copy of Gluten-Free 101.

UPDATE: And the winner is — Nicole (#8 comment). 

Gluten-Free Immune Booster Holiday Soup


Here it comes — the onrushing freight train of holiday cheer. Parties, shopping, family gatherings, cake, cookies, candies, eggnog, overeating. Stress!

One thing leads to another and as the holidays approach, we eat more sweets, drink more wine, sleep less, skip yoga class, and often end up sick.

There’s a reason we overeat at times like this. It just so happens we’re soothed by high-calorie, high-fat, sweet foods. It alters our brain chemistry. We actually find comfort in comfort food when we’re stressed out.

Stress causes anxiety. Anxiety causes the release of stress hormones, which trigger an elevation in heart rate and blood pressure. It’s a physiological feedback loop whether it’s caused by high-volume traffic, crowded shopping malls, money issues, or family squabbles. That defense system is designed to keep us alive if we’re running from danger, but it’s not healthy to rev it up on a continual basis. Studies show the brain kicks into flight-or-fight mode regardless of the stressor. Once we’re stressed, since there’s usually no snarling wild animal to outrun, we often settle in with a tin of holiday cookies or a piece of pie to soothe our fraying nerves. It actually works — for a few minutes. High calorie, sweet foods send a message to the brain that all is well. We’ve outsmarted the predator and we’re celebrating with a well-deserved treat. No need to run, no need to escape, no need to search for food. It’s all good. Have a piece of cake.

When we repeat this behavior over and over, our brain stays on alert, our blood pressure and heart rate remain elevated, our immune system weakens, and we’re much more susceptible to cold and flu cooties. Physical defenses are expensive. Our immune system needs the nutrient energy for real threats, not fighting off crowds at the mall.

Alas, our best intentions don’t always cut it this time of year. It’s hard to avoid an uptick in stress during the holidays, but we can at least set the stage for a boost in immune function by adding healing foods into the mix. Call it a health savings account. Try this immune booster soup in between shopping trips, cookie exchanges, and office parties. The best defense is a good offense — nutritionally speaking.

Immune-Booster Soup (Gluten-Free)
What you need

  • 1 small to medium potato, peeled and chopped *
  • ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 8 cups chicken broth, divided (if not homemade, I use Imagine Gluten-Free Organic Chicken Broth)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, about ½ cup chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 8-ounce can organic tomato sauce (not tomato paste)
  • 1 cup cooked and diced chicken
  • 8-ounce can organic beans, rinsed (or dried and cooked beans) *
  • 2 cups spinach
  • herbs, sea salt, black pepper *

What you do

  1. Place chopped potato in a medium saucepan. Cover with about 2 or 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a light boil. Use enough chicken broth to simmer potatoes until fully cooked. After about 10 minutes of simmering, add the chopped shiitake mushrooms to the potato/chicken broth mix. Continue simmering for another 5 to 10 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked and mushrooms are cooked, but not mushy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat oil over low-medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Add 2 cups chicken broth, celery, carrots, sweet potato, tomato sauce, and cooked chicken. Turn heat to low.
  3. Place cooled chicken broth-potato-mushroom mixture into a VitaMix or other blender. Make sure the mixture has cooled enough to blend. Add 1 to 2 cups of room temperature chicken broth and blend until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixture should be a gravy-like consistency, but not too thick. Add more broth during blending as needed. Pour the mixture into the soup pot, along with any remaining chicken broth, and stir gently. At this point, all the chicken broth (approximately 8 cups), the cooked chicken, and the vegetables, with the exception of the beans and spinach, are in the pot simmering on low.
  4. Cook on low for 2 hours or more. This can simmer on low all afternoon. Add rinsed beans (I like pinto or cannellini beans, but any kind is fine), herbs, seasonings, and spinach about 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Enjoy and stay healthy!

Cook’s notes (worth reading):

  • I normally use a small-medium, organic RED potato for this base, because it has less starch than a Russet or Yukon Gold. I use potatoes as a thickener in lots of my recipes, rather than using a processed gluten-free flour or starch, but I choose my potato variety according to how much thickening I want in the recipe.
  • I often use dried, cooked beans, but when I’m pressed for time, I use a can of beans from Eden Organics. Canned beans retain their fiber and Eden Organics uses BPA-free cans. Canned beans are a healthy option in soups and stews.
  • Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning is my favorite “go-to” seasoning. I use about 2 tablespoons in this recipe.
  • Rather than adding the spinach to the soup, place ½ cup of raw spinach (or kale, chard, beet greens) in a bowl or soup mug. Ladle the hot soup directly over the spinach and gently stir. This warms the spinach, but also keeps it fresh and slightly wilted.

This article and recipe can also be found on this month’s NANP (National Association of Nutrition Professionals) E-Zine. If you’re interested in nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and upcoming conferences, check out the NANP website here and sign up for our newsletter here. Don’t worry, we hate SPAM, so your email address is safe with us. You can also Like our Facebook Page for more spectacular nutrition news.

Peace, love, and immune booster veggies!

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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