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Veggie Breakfast Bake

I find breakfast the most difficult meal to eat out. As a result I rarely do it. Too bad because there was a time when I really enjoyed eating breakfast out.

Luckily I did find a place where I can get a great breakfast—a diner at the Jersey shore that has 100s of omelets on their menu. They make farmer’s omelets—where all the ingredients, including potatoes, are cooked together and served mounded on a big plate. When I ordered their Harvest Omelet (hold the eggs, hold the cheese) the waitress asked me to repeat my order. I explained I couldn’t have gluten, eggs or cheese. So, she went back to the kitchen to discuss it with the cook and came back smiling. The cook would have no problem preparing my breakfast sans eggs, dairy, and gluten. And, boy was it good — my plate was heaping with potatoes and veggies. Now the cook knows me by my order. It’s a beautiful thing.

So, here’s the Veggie Breakfast Bake I make on weekends when I can’t get to my favorite breakfast place. It’s easily varied dependent on what you have on hand, what’s in season, and what you like. Add cauliflower, turnips, and parsnips—whatever you fancy. And, experiment with the spices. I happen to be pleased with this blend of spices but some days I try other mixtures and it comes out equally as good.

And, yes, it’s a good lunch or side dish for your favorite grilled dinner.

Veggie Breakfast Bake

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
2 large red potatoes
2 large carrots
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 small head of broccoli
½ teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon crushed dry rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Spice Hunter Chili Powder Blend*
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400℉. I have a convection oven so I use Convection Roast.

Pour the olive oil into a heavy cast iron skillet (one that’s oven proof) set on medium heat. Add the garlic (smashed). Slice the onion and cut each slice into quarters. Add. Stir frequently.

Wash the remaining vegetables. I don’t peel any of them.

Slice the potatoes into ¼ inch rounds and then cut each slice in half or quarters depending on their size. Add to the pan. Add the bay leaf.

It’s good to stir the vegetables prior to each new addition or even more frequently to keep things cooking evenly. And, along the way add more oil if you think it’s needed.

Slice the carrots (1/8 inch) on the diagonal and add.

Remove the tops and seeds from the peppers. Slice into ½ inch strips and then cut each strip into thirds. Add to the pan.

Cut up the broccoli so you have bite-sized florets. And…add to the pan. Mix it all up. Add the spices and mix thoroughly. Cook a few more minutes.

Finally, pop the pan into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until the veggies reach the desired doneness.)

Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 helpings.

*The label on the Spice Hunter Chili Powder blend states the ingredients are: chile pepper, onion, garlic, cocoa powder, oregano, red pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. If you can’t find it make up your own blend using these or similar ingredients. Here’s the allergen information for Spice Hunter spices.



Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple Dipping Sauce

It’s grilling season. Wahoo! At 6pm, out on my deck to take in the great outdoors, I sniff the wonderful scent of my neighbors’ dinners cooking. Steak, chicken, fish, veggies. Mmm.

I love my grill. Both of them—the gas grill and the little Weber charcoal one. I delight in cooking entire meals on them, night after night. How cool would it be to have an outdoor kitchen like the ones often featured in home and garden magazines? I would spend all my time there. (Until everything is snow covered.) Heaven.

Have you ever noticed how much more relaxing it is to grill your dinner than to cook it in the kitchen? You prep all the food, take it outside, put in on the grill and take a seat. Read a magazine and sip a cool drink while the meal is just cooking away. Sure, you have to check on the food, and maybe flip it, but it just seems so much easier. And, the clean up is almost non-existent.

Here’s the ultimate in outdoor cooking. My husband, sister and I took a wilderness survival course a few years back. (It was fun and informative and we saw a bear. “Cue the bear.” What are the odds? But, I digress.) Anyway, they taught us how to make a meal by cooking it in the earth! You dig a hole and fill it with hot rocks. Then layer vegetation, your food, and more vegetation. Cover the whole thing with soil. Doesn’t that sound awesome? I want to try it some day. (I married an Eagle Scout so I think I can get him to help me make that dream come true.) Again, I’m straying from the objective; let’s move on to the grilled shrimp.

This recipe is simple and fairly quick. It would make a nice appetizer or light dinner for you and your honey. Hope you enjoy.

Interested in other delightful shrimp recipes? Just visit The W.H.O.L.E. Gang Friday Foodie Fix.


Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple Dipping Sauce

The Shrimp
1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined (about 24-30 shrimp)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
6 or 7 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder
¼ teaspoon Spice Hunter Chili Powder Blend

The Dipping Sauce
6 fresh pineapple rings (1/4 to 3/8 inches thick)
2 large onion slices (1/4 inch thick)
3 or 4 springs cilantro, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon Frank’s Hot Sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice

For the shrimp: Rinse the shrimp, pat dry, and set aside. Mix the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper together in a small bowl. Remove 1 tablespoon and set aside. Stir the remaining chili spices into the marinade mixture. Place the shrimp in a small bowl and pour the spiced marinade over the shrimp tossing well to coat. Let the shrimp marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Coat the pineapple and onion slices with the remaining marinade. Place them on a preheated grill set at medium heat. They may take about 8-10 minutes to brown nicely. Turn them halfway through cooking and remove when they are slightly wilted and have begun to brown.

Place the shrimp (skewered or in a grill type wok) on the grill about 4 minutes after you have started grilling the pineapple and fruit. Turn the shrimp once cooking them about 4 or 5 minutes total. The meat should be pink and no longer transparent.

The pineapple, onions and shrimp should be done all about the same time. Remove them to a plate.

For the dipping sauce: coarsely chop 4 of the grilled pineapple rings and the 2 onion slices. Place them in the bowl of a small food processor. Add the cilantro, hot sauce, salt, pepper and lime juice and pulse until it has a thick, chunky appearance. (Alternatively, you may just chop all of the ingredients to resemble a salsa and spoon it over the shrimp rather than using it as a dipping sauce.) Place the dipping sauce/salsa in a bowl and serve along side the shrimp as an appetizer or main course accompanied by rice pilaf and a tossed garden salad. Garnish with remaining grilled pineapple slices.

This recipe should serve about 4 people for dinner or 6-8 for appetizers.

Note: Fresh mango or peach would be a great addition to the dipping sauce/salsa. I didn’t have any on hand but would definitely try it next time. Also, the hot sauce is optional. This dish is a little spicy and if you prefer a milder version omit the chili spices and the sauce. It would still be a nice dish.