Gluten Free Chips to Munch

If you follow my blog you might notice I haven’t posted many baked goods in the past month. As I mentioned the other week, I had my right knee replacement surgery the first week of March. Due to that I haven’t been able to do much cooking and even less baking.  Just not able to stand around or work hard at anything other than my recovery which is going pretty well these days. I use a cane but in my house I often just walk all on my own. I’ve had lots of company, mostly siblings who came to help me out and to visit our mom who I normally spend time with each week.  This worked out great and now I am on my own.  While they were here people bought a number of things new to me and so I have been doing some product reviews.  Here are two more, both triangular chips and both organic.  In the interest of honesty I should say that throughout my recovery I have been actively seeking not to eat these sort of treats; too fattening/salty/addictive.  I didn’t buy them but I sure couldn’t help myself to try more than a few of each chip.

pink himalayan chipsI love tortilla chips and was excited when my brother bought a bag of Pink Himalayan Salt Red Rice & Quinoa Tortilla Chips by Lundberg in Ca. Everyone likes them but me and my beef is the salt. I guess my salt cutting back regimen for the past year or so is having a serious effect as I found these chips to be way too salty for my tastes.  No one else felt that way; they were noshed on with joy by several of my visitors so get a bag and test them out! Non GMO, gluten free and whole grain…purchased at Giant Food Stores.

popcorners chips

The other snack item I want to share with you are Popcorners, Crispy & Crunchy Popped Corn Chips, by BFY Brands in Liberty NY.  Darn it, but I just love them! No preservatives, no trans fats, not fried, doubled pressed for extra crunch.  I got the variety with some cheddar for flavoring. Thin, crisp but not hard and lightly cheesy: I could eat the whole bag in a day but I have restrained myself so far. These also came from Giant and I love that they have 7 ounces, the other ones were 5.5 so I got another ounce and a half plus they were a bit cheaper so double score on these triangular treats.

More and more tasty gluten free snacks are popping up out there in regular grocery stores; but do read the packaging carefully if you have allergies or want to limit sodium or other sorts of intake. Best not to eat the whole bag at one munching! Enjoy.

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Dark Drizzled Kettle Corn

Aldi’s has something so yummy I am loath to share it with all of you for fear you will buy it all and I will be then crying the blues.  It is their Dark Drizzled Kettle Corn.  Lightly drizzled with dark chocolate, and not that sweet. Perfection in popcorn form. An addictive snack. It combines my deep love for dark chocolate with my frequent enjoyment of kettle corn. A one ounce serving has 140 calories. The label says GF.  It also says limited edition, so get a few bags and tell the staff to tell the boss to keep ordering it and maybe, just maybe Aldi’s will keep it around! kettle-corn-001

Southern Comfort: Cheesy Shrimp and Grits…My Version

Some people aren’t big fans of grits; this recipe could change that for ever as it is pretty easy and darn tasty.  Not diet food; we are talking cheese and cream here. Still, I promise; you and yours will love grits after you whip up this luscious entrée!

I used frozen large shrimp; don’t use very small ones, lacking real shrimp flavor.  My pantry didn’t have fancy country ham; just used some ham steak from the grocery store; was fine. My version has fresh tomatoes on it; love the addition.  This is mostly naturally gluten free; just changed the white all purpose flour for the roux to rice flour.  Use most any blend of gf flour you prefer. No bean flour though; that stuff is nasty for most things.

I ate some of it cold the next day; took it along for a lunch out.  No microwave….still tasty cold.  Enjoy!

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Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

Shrimp:
1/2 pound (26-30 count) Wild Shrimp
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Grits:
1 cup water
1 gf chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
3 oz heavy cream  (a glass measuring cup has ounce marks on it)

1 2/3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar; shred on large grater side
Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommend: Texas Pete)
¼ cup sugar-cured country ham diced

1 ripe tomato diced
Directions

First, peel and devein the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, paprika, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the shrimp to coat well and set the shrimp aside while you get all the ingredients ready for the grits and sauce. You want the shrimp to stand at least 4-5 minutes before you fry them so the flavors soak in somewhat.

Now saute the shrimp in a large saute pan: melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add in the spice-coated shrimp, and cook only until they’re just done and tender. Don’t overcook. Remove the shrimp from the saute pan and set them aside in a bowl.
The roux is next. With all those wonderful drippings from the shrimp in the saute pan, add 1-2 tablespoons of rice flour and stir with a wooden spatula to make a roux. Start with one and add more if you think there is enough butter and drippings to mix with it. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until roux reaches a medium-tan color, then slowly add the chicken stock and heavy whipping cream. Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Set aside.
Next, while the roux cooks, make your grits. In a medium saucepan, bring water, chicken bouillon cubes and 2 tablespoons butter to a boil. Slowly add the grits, whisking often with wire whisk for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cream, and cheese. Keep whisking for another 2 or 3 minutes until the grits become creamy. Don’t skimp on the butter and the cream, it gotta have that good stuff so you have that great taste!
And last, toppings. Cook 1 center slice of cured country ham in a saute pan, and cut into cubes. I used a ham steak from the store and cut it in small cubes and sauteed it briefly before mixing it with the shrimp. Dice the tomato up.

To serve place 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of steaming cheese grits onto a place, top with half the shrimp and half the ham cubes. Drizzle that yummy roux sauce over top of the shrimp, and sprinkle on half that chunked up tomato. Enjoy this little bit of that world famous Southern cooking even up here in Pennsylvania!
I made a few changes to this recipe – originally by Joe Barnett: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/shrimp-and-grits-recipe