Tag Archives: quick and easy

Gluten Free Nutella Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Earlier this year I decided to start making two loaves of homemade, gluten free bread at the beginning of each month so I could enjoy sandwiches and french toast as often as I liked. One to keep in the fridge for the first two weeks, and the second to freeze until the first loaf had run its course.

I thought I was brilliant.

Two loaves of bread! I’ll eat that in no time! I should make FOUR loaves of bread, because two will never be enough, said my overzealous brain. (Don’t worry, I had a long talk with myself and kept to two loaves.)

Then 60+ hour work weeks entered the picture. And trips to the gym. And errands. And endless meetings. Suddenly, I found myself inundated with loaves of bread I didn’t even have time to eat. (Yes, that’s right. Didn’t even have time to eat.)

I started panicking about what to do with this bread that was occupying my fridge and freezer. It just stared at me, wanting to be used, demanding to be eaten. But you can only consume so many PB&J sandwiches before you start being unable to button your jeans in the morning.

So I took to the internet to search for new ideas and came upon recipes for bread pudding. A while back, I remembered America’s Test Kitchen doing a slow cooker bread pudding recipe that fascinated me. The chefs had dried the bread in the oven to reduce the moisture, which I thought was brilliant. Armed with some other ingredients, I took to my own “test kitchen” to see what kind of magic I could make with these loaves of bread (sans slow cooker).

The result- a gooey yet remarkably light and satisfying bread pudding! And it’s super quick and easy too!

Gluten Free Nutella Cinnamon Bread Pudding

By Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC


7 slices of gluten free bread, cubed and oven dried (see directions below)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nutella spread

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the bread into cubes and lay flat on a nonstick baking tray. Place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the bread starts to dry.Do not let it brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. In a bowl, mix the eggs, skim milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Slowly fold in the nutella spread until fully immersed in the egg mixture.

3. When the bread cubes have cooled, place them in one layer in an 8×8 inch pan. Pour the butter evenly over the bread, followed by the egg mixture. If you like, you can sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.

4. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the bread springs back when tested with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream and fruit.


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Perfect Piña Coladas and Summertime

The piña colada, as my friends and family know, is my favorite summertime drink.  I love the combination of juicy pineapple and sweet coconut. It’s impossible to sip a piña colada and not think about sitting on a white sandy beach watching clear blue waves crash onto the shore in the Bahamas. It’s the perfect, most idyllic summer beverage.

My first experience with an alcoholic (rum filled) piña colada, however, was a horrible disaster. I had recently turned 21 and was having dinner with a friend at a local Mexican restaurant. I thought that the best way to test my newly minted ‘Over 21’ ID would be to order one of their oversized piña coladas. (You know the kind I’m talking about–the ones in the tall, hourglass shaped plastic glasses with an umbrella and giant straws peering out.)

The drink arrived, and I immediately grabbed my straw and went for a sip.

Bleeechhh. Holy rum! What an overpowering taste! Where was my juicy pineapple, my sweet coconut? I was drinking a drink, not a piña colada.

Since that day, I’ve been wary of ordering piña coladas in restaurants and have worked to figure out how to make a piña colada that contains just enough rum to have fun, without forgetting the tropical foundation of the piña colada itself. Based off of a recipe by the Queen of Delicious herself, the great Paula Deen, I have made a few tweaks to create my perfect piña colada. Enjoy!

Perfect Piña Colada

Adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen

Serves: 6

Ice cubes
1/4 cup coconut rum
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup pineapple chunks, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more if desired)

Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add coconut cream, coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Puree. Add rum and salt. Puree until smooth and pour into individual serving glasses. Top with pineapple chunks or coconut flakes. Enjoy!

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A Gluten-Free, Sugar Free Yellow Cake for the Healthy Mom

I know what you’re thinking. Gluten-free AND sugar free? For Mother’s day? Blech, no way! That can’t possibly taste good.

I’ll admit, when I began the task of making a gluten free and diabetic-friendly cake for my mom (who is trying to reduce her sugar intake), I was skeptical. I spent a month researching sugar replacements and asking my mom what she wanted in a cake that was slightly out of my realm of expertise. To the rest of the world, most people would throw in the towel, make some fruit salad and call it a day. But not me. I was determined to make this cake work. And as luck (and lots of testing!) would have it–it did!

My ‘test’ cupcakes

To begin my testing, I started with one of my favorite gluten free yellow cake recipes as my base. I first replaced the granulated sugar with raw agave (1 cup granulated sugar= 3/4 cup agave) and used coconut milk instead of regular milk to add some silkiness, and a bit of sweet. Then, to reduce the amount of white carbs (which are very unhealthy), I split the white rice flour with brown rice flour. The recipe took less than ten minutes to prepare!

You may think that in doing this I took out everything that makes a cake fluffy and sweet, moist and delicious. But even I, the queen of all sweet teeth, was surprised to find that this cake not only retained it’s fluffiness, but tasted better than a normal gluten free cake, with a lovely sweet flavor that lingered at the end of every bite. I didn’t miss the sugar! And it smelled good, too! How can you beat that?

Stay tuned for Sunday’s post, when I reveal the final product with all the icing :)

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Yellow Cake

Adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth Barbone

Dry ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup raw agave
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 8-inch round cake pans or one 9 x 13-inch pan, or line 20 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and agave until creamy, about a minute. Add the eggs and beat for 15 seconds.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Finally, stir in the milk and vanilla. Batter should be fluffy and light.

Pour batter evenly into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes (round cake pans/cupcakes) or 30 minutes (9×13-inch pan). Insert a cake tester into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Place on wire racks to cool and decorate as you please!

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Easy Fried Sweet Plantains: “Maduros”

As you all know, I am a huge fan of all things Latin. Language, culture, dance and of course, food. Recently, I was lucky enough to be taught how to make fried sweet plantains, one of my favorite Latin dishes, by a family friend who happens to be Colombian.

Plantains are produced worldwide, generally in tropical climates, but also in parts of Africa and the Northern US. They are similar to bananas in shape and color, though the fruit of the plantain is much firmer and not as sweet. Unlike the banana, which you can eat raw, plantains are generally cooked before eaten.  Two types of plantains work in this instance: the green plantain, which is an unripe, starchy and therefore savory plantain used to make chips and tostones and the overripe, yellowish-black plantains, which is what I used to make the fried sweet plantains. (I am partial to the yellow plantains, as I have a massive sweet tooth.)

Fried sweet plantains, known in Spanish as maduros, are made using only two ingredients: oil and yellow plantains. They take all of ten minutes to make, taste like candy, and are best when served warm. I will eat them as a side dish with rice, beans and/or meat, but since they are fried until golden brown, they can also be eaten as a dessert. I’ve heard tons of different ideas on what can be done with the fried sweet plantain: served with hot fudge on ice cream, stuffed in french toast, sprinked with sugar and coconut (as if they needed to be sweeter!), but for now I will leave you with the basic recipe…and then you can decide how creative you want to be! Enjoy!

Fried Sweet Plantains

Serves 2 people

1 yellowish-black overripe plantain (ask around in your grocery store if you need help)

Vegetable Oil, for frying

Prepare a large plate by covering with paper towels. This will help to reduce the oil left on the cooked plantain.

Placing the plantain on a cutting board, use a knife to cut off the top. Very carefully skin the plantain with your knife, noting that this will take a bit more time than it would if you were peeling a banana.

Slice the plantains lengthwise, about 3/4″ thick each. Set aside.

In a medium sized frypan, with high sides to prevent splattering, heat about 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetable oil. When the pan is hot enough, CAREFULLY place each plantain slice into the pan, taking care not to touch thehot oil. Use a fork to submerge the plantain fully in the oil.

Brown each side of the plantain (about 4 minutes total) or until the plantains are soft. Remove the plantains from the pan, taking care to  let any excess oil stay in the pan and not spill over, and place on the prepared plate. Gently pat the plantains dry and serve warm.

(Hooray, this is post #100!)

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Take Two: CHOCOLATE Peppermint Irish Cream Sandwich Cookies

Last year for St Patty’s day, I posted this recipe for Peppermint Irish Cream Sandwich Cookies. They were such a big hit, that I thought I’d do a slight variation on them, making them look like a real Peppermint Patty.

Now, I wont tell a lie…the cookies in these pictures are NOT gluten free, because I was making them for work, but if you want to make them gluten free I recommend visiting Elizabeth Barbone’s blog or her book, Easy Gluten Free Baking. Her chocolate cookies are amazing!! (If you want the actual recipe I used, visit Brown Eyed Baker, also a delicious, though sadly not gluten free, site)

After making and matching the cookies for size, I filled them with my Creme de Menthe flavored frosting (see blog post for recipe) and dipped them in melting chocolate, which you can purchase at any baking goods or crafts store. The cookies were then placed on wax paper and refrigerated overnight.

I hope my work buddies like them!

One Year Ago– Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread

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Gluten Free Sweet Strawberry Bread

I may or may not have purchased two boxes of strawberries the other day at the grocery store. ‘Why?’, you ask. To be honest, I’m not too sure. Could it have been the woman standing next to me, praising the bright, red color of strawberries that looked ‘shockingly good for a New York winter’? Perhaps. Might it have been the creepy grocer staring me down the aisle, willing me to place something in my basket? Quizás. Or maybe it was the low, inviting price of two boxes for $5.

Yes, that sounds more like it.

But then I arrived home…with two boxes of strawberries…and the reality hit me. What was I going to do with all those berries? I started flipping through my recipe books for gluten free baked goods with strawberries and found nothing. Nada. Zilch. How could that be? All I had to go off of were directions for making a banana bread. So I did what I do when I have no recipe: I made up my own. And because I really love sweet breads, I added extra berries to the batter. Yum.

Within minutes of entering the oven, the house was filled with the smells of strawberries and sugar. Amazing. And it tasted delicious too! I ate this cake tonight for dessert, but I would eat it for breakfast as french toast as well! Enjoy!

Sweet Strawberry Bread

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup turbinado sugar
2 ¼ cups chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup or 1 stick softened butter
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Mix sugars and strawberries in a bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and set aside. In a third bowl, cream butter and then add eggs. Add dry mix slowly and blend until smooth. Blend in milk. Lastly, fold in the strawberry mixture carefully.

Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for five minutes and serve warm, with butter.


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Pan con Tomate for New Year’s

Need a really simple, really quick appetizer to make for a New Year’s Eve party? Look no further! I ate this dish in Spain all the time and love it because it’s extremely rich and flavorful and requires very few ingredients. My host parents used to eat these for snack and it was a regular fixture at our dinner table as well. Now that I’m home, I make it whenever I have the time to make a homemade bread which fortunately was this week!

Enjoy–and happy new year!!!

Pan Con Tomate

By Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC


Gluten Free Baguette or French Bread (I use Gluten Free Pantry mix)
Ripe tomatoes, pureed with skin
Fresh garlic cloves, peeled
Olive Oil

Begin by slicing the bread into small rectangles or ovals, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch think. Toast on both sides until light brown. Be careful not to burn the bread!

Spread about 1/8 teaspoon of olive oil on each piece of bread and sprinkle lightly with salt. Rub some fresh garlic on the olive oil side of the bread–not too much, but enough for the toast to pick up some light garlic flavor. Place a dollop of the tomato puree on each piece of bread and serve warm. Buen provecho!

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Gluten Free 7 Layer Bars

I made these 7 layer bars over the weekend to bring to my friend’s house for Christmas. They are an ooey-gooey mess of sugary delight–layers of butter, chocolate and coconut blend together to make an irresistable combination. (I personally had a hard time resisting the urge to take another…and another…and another)

Though they are sinfully bad for you (I don’t even want to know the calorie count!), they are a huge crowd pleaser and quick and easy to make. They sure won’t help your resolution to ‘eat healthfully’ but hey, the new year hasn’t arrived yet! So go on, make a batch…betcha can’t eat just one :)

7 Layer Bars

Original recipe by Bernadette

Serving Size:       16


1/4 pound sweet butter
1 cup gluten free graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut, shredded
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips
15 oz. condensed milk, sweetened
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I use a mixture of pecans and walnuts)
sea salt

Spread melted butter in 9×13 pan. In this order, spread layers of: graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, condensed milk and chopped nuts. For an ‘8th layer’, sprinkle some sea salt on top to give them some extra flair.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350. Let cool and cut into squares.

One Year Ago: Gingerbread Houses

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Last-minute Gluten Free Gingersnap Pie Crust!

Are you rushing around to get everything done in time for Thanksgiving? Heading off to a party and want to make something quick and homemade, instead of buying pre-made food from the grocery store?

Well, look no further! Today I present to you a quick and easy gluten free gingersnap pie crust that can be made in about 30 minutes and used as the base for any number of delicious pies. (I prefer it with pumpkin!)

Last-minute Gluten Free Gingersnap Pie Crust

By Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC


2 cups gluten-free gingersnap cookie crumbs (If you’re in the NYC area, use Duane Reade ‘Delish’ Gluten Free Gingersnap cookies)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tbsp sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
8 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9″ pie pan. Process gingersnap cookies until they become crumbs. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and press into the pie pan. Bake for about 13 minutes until the pie crust is set. Cool completely before filling.


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Tami’s Island Burgers with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

In my elementary school days, I had a wonderful babysitter named Tami. I loved Tami. She was from the Caribbean and she was a magician in the kitchen. Not once did she ever touch a recipe. Like my mom, she could just look take a look at her ingredients and, as if by some supernatural force, a dish would appear. (I’m still trying to master this technique; I think I missed a few lessons down the road.)

Tami didn’t talk a lot, but she was very sweet. Whenever she made us dinner I would sit on top of the dishwasher and just watch her. She hummed while she cooked and never told me her secrets. Her dishes were often spins on typical American casseroles and stews, yet still I never knew what she put in them. Lots of vegetables, lots of meat, and lots of adobo seasoning. Simply put, they were delicious.

I started thinking about Tami recently and have been having a craving for her island burgers. Since she never shared the recipe, I had to think long and hard about how I could re-create them…but I think I’ve come up with a fine substitute. It’s easy and quick to make, with very few ingredients. Just my kind of cooking!

For this attempt, I used ground turkey because it was what we had in the house. Normally I’d recommend using beef because it helps the seasonings inside the burger shine a bit more. To continue with my Island/American fusion, I paired the burgers with a Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato because a) the flavor combination worked well together and b) who doesn’t love potatoes with their burger?

Buen provecho!

Tami’s Island Burgers

by Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC

Serves 4, makes about 6 normal-size burgers


1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 1/3 lbs ground meat (turkey, chicken or beef will do)
1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (add more if using poultry as your meat)Ground pepper
Olive Oil

1. Heat a medium-size skillet with olive oil and add the red peppers, stirring frequently until soft, about 4-5 minutes.

2. Add the shallots and cook together about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit.

3. In a large bowl, combine the meat, adobo seasoning and a pinch of ground pepper. Be careful not to overmix. Gently fold in the vegetables and let sit, covered, for a few minutes. This allows the flavor from the sauteed vegetables and the adobo to seep into the meat. If you want to let it sit longer than a few minutes it should be kept in the fridge as it is raw meat.

4. Shape the burgers and return them to the skillet with the olive oil. I like to cook the burgers in the same pan as the peppers and onions because it enriches the overall taste of the burger. Serve on a (gluten-free) bun with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipe below), or add a mango/pineapple salsa. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

by Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC


1 head of garlic
Olive Oil
Aluminum foil

6 medium potatoes (I prefer Yukon Gold, but Idaho works as well), peeled and chopped into small cubes
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the head of garlic in a small piece of aluminum foil. Peel off some of the outer layers of the skin of the garlic and, using a knife, cut off about1/4 inch of the top of the cloves. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some salt over the garlic. Replace with the top of the garlic and wrap tightly in the foil.

3. Place in a oven-proof dish and roast in the oven until the cloves are soft and slightly brown, about 40 minutes.

4. While the garlic is roasting, begin boiling the potatoes in a medium to large pot on the stove. This should take about 15 minutes.

5. When the potatoes are cooked through, drain them in a colander and then put back in their original pot. Mash well and combine with milk and butter. (Note: I prefer mashed potatoes with some potato chunks left in them, so I mash my potatoes by hand until almost creamy. I don’t use a mixer because it changes the consistency of the potatoes and makes them too gooey.)

6. Finally, fold in a few of the roasted garlic cloves. I use two or three with my family because they aren’t as huge garlic fans, but if you want your potatoes to have an extra garlic zing, feel free to add more.

Tami, I hope I’ve done you proud. And if you’re reading this, may I please finally having your chicken stew recipe? :)

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