Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wing Sauces

Updating blog with a picture. 

It is Super Bowl time and at the Withrow house that means wings….at LOTS of them!  Below are two of the best wing sauces I a have found.  My guys like the TGI Friday Sauce and my home brewed Sweet Baby Ray’s Smokey Chipotle BBQ Sauce (yes they have since came out with their own but I have yet to taste it.).  Grab your fire extinguisher and get to cookin’!

By the way I bake my wings instead of deep frying and buy the skinless ones when I can find them.  They still taste great and no one misses the extra grease and calories.  Also I have a really good low-fat blue cheese dip that I will post as well.

TGI Fridays Buffalo Wing Sauce
All around great buffalo wing sauce

·        1   cup ketchup
·        ½  cup + 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
·        ¼  cup Worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perines which is, to the best of my knowledge gluten-free)
·        2   tablespoons garlic powder
·        1   tablespoon salt (if desired)
·        3  tablespoons canola oil

·         Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  
·         Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If you want extra for dipping remove it now.
·         Line a shallow baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, add chicken, place in pre-heated oven and bake for 20- 25 minutes or until done.
·         Remove from oven, turn oven to broil, remove wings from pan, remove all liquid from pan and replace wings.
·         Toss wings with 1/3 of sauce broil 2-3 minutes, remove add more sauce, broil another 2-3 minutes, repeat with remainder of sauce.
·         If you reserved some sauce for dipping either microwave it, or place it in a small sauce pan and heat until warm.
Source: I found this recipe years ago in a magazine…the original was used until it was practically no longer readable and I did not copy the source when I copied the recipe.

Sweet Baby Ray’s Smokey Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Sweet, smooth, and smokey….followed by a nice hot kick !

·         2      cups Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (or BBQ Sauce of your choice)
·         1 ½  cups dark brown sugar, packed
·         1      tablespoon chipotle chili powder  *** this makes a very spicy sauce so you can use more or less to suit your personal heat needs.

·         Place all ingredients in a medium heavy bottom non-stick sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved stirring frequently.  Remove a little for extra dipping sauce if desired.
·         Line a shallow baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, add chicken, place in pre-heated oven and bake for 20- 25 minutes or until done.
·         Remove from oven, turn oven to broil, remove wings from pan, remove all liquid from pan and replace wings.
·         Toss wings with 1/3 of sauce broil 2-3 minutes, remove add more sauce, broil another 2-3 minutes, repeat with remainder of sauce.
·         Serve with extra dipping sauce if desired.
Source:  I wanted sweet AND spicy wings so this is what I started mixing and my boys rave about this sauce. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Buttermilk Baked Chicken Goes Gluten Free

Buttermilk Baked Chicken Goes Gluten Free

This recipe is one of my family’s absolute favorites!  What’s not to love???  This is comfort food at its best…Crispy baked chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, and awesome rich homemade gravy. 

·         1       (3-4 lb) cut up chicken
·                cups  plus 4 ounces buttermilk, divided (1 cup and 12 oz)
·         2-3    tablespoons of hot sauce, like Franks
·         Cooking Spray
·         ¼      cup butter or margarine
·         1 ½   cups of Gluten Free Kentucky Kernel Flour**
·         1      2.65 ounce packet of Gluten Free Full Flavor Cream of Soup mix*** 


**If you cannot find Gluten-Free Kentucky Kernel Flour you can substitute 1 ½ cups of gluten-free rice blend flour, 1 tablespoon of chicken seasoning, and ½ - 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper.

***If you cannot find Gluten-Free Full Flavor Cream Soup Mix you can to this website and make your own.

·         Place chicken in a gallon zip top plastic bag.  Combine 1 cup of buttermilk and hot sauce; pour over chicken, remove as much air from bag as possible and close bag tightly.  Place bag in refrigerator and marinate at least 2 hours or up to overnight, turning bag occasionally making sure chicken is coated by buttermilk mixture.
·         Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly coat a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray, place butter in baking dish, place dish in oven until butter is melted.
·         Meanwhile place Gluten-Free Kentucky Kernel Flour in a clean gallon size zip top bag.  Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting excess liquid drip off.  Place chicken 1 – 2 pieces at a time in zip top bag with flour and shake to coat.  Place chicken skin side down in prepared baking dish.  Discard left over buttermilk mixture.
·         Bake chicken for 25 minutes, Turn chicken and bake 10 minutes more.
·         Stir together remaining cup and 4 ounces (12oz) of buttermilk and cream of soup mixture; remove chicken from oven, and add cream of soup mixture.  Bake 10 minutes more or until gravy is hot and bubbling.  Shield chicken with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning if necessary.  Remove chicken from baking dish, and being very careful, stir gravy well scraping up all the little bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan.  Drizzle gravy over chicken and mashed potatoes.

·         I usually use two packets of cream of soup mix and 2 cups + 4 ounces (3 cups) of buttermilk.  My hubby LOVES this gravy and he doesn’t usually care for gravy. 
If you like mushroom gravy like I do you can add mushroom fresh or cooked to the gravy mix when you return it to the oven.
         If you would like to cut some fat and calories you can omit the butter, coat the baking pan with extra cooking spray and then coat the chicken with cooking spray as well.  
·         If your family does not like gravy on their chicken you can bake it for 15-20 minutes after turning, remove it from the pan to a plate and keep warm.  Then add the soup mixture to the baking pan and return it to the oven and bake until hot and bubbly.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Asiago Pesto Chicken Panini
(makes 2 sandwiches)


1 boneless skinless chicken breast (seasoned with salt& pepper)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons  pesto  [Basil Pesto Recipe]

4  Asiago cheese, divided

4 slices hearty bread (I used Udi’s Gluten-Free whole grain bread)

Cooking spray
Season chicken breast with salt & pepper

 In a small frying pan sauté chicken in olive oil until just done, and golden in color on both sides. 

 Remove pan from heat and remove chicken. 

Slice chicken and return to pan with pesto and toss until warm and chicken is coated being sure to scrape all the browned bits out of the bottom of the skillet. 
Place a clean skillet over medium high heat.   Spray one side of a slice of bread with cooking spray. {I generally lean toward all natural but my oil mister bought the farm and I have yet to get another}  Personally I prefer to mist my bread in lieu of using butter because it browns more evenly and is less greasy. 

Place bread in skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the cheese,

 ½ of the chicken mixture, and top with another slice of bread with the outside misted with cooking spray.  

Press down on sandwich with a spatula.  When it is a nice golden brown flip the sandwich and repeat.  If you have a Panini press just assemble the sandwich and pop in the press.

 See that tomato garnish on the plate?  I am going to pop that in my Panini and as I like a little acid to cut through the oil in the pesto.  YUM!

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

I found this recipe on Pinterest and fell in L.O.V.E with it.  It is from Natasha’s Kitchen and here is the link    I am going to check out her site and try some more of her recipes and so should you!



·         1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

·         1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

·         1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin is best)

·         1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts

·         1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

·         1/8 cup lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon

·         1/4 tsp salt

·         1/8 tsp pepper


1.    Wash and dry the basil leaves.

2.    Place basil into a food processor, add cheese, nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

3.    Process until smooth.


HINTS:  from Crystal.  I make a quadruple batch at a time, all summer long when I have copious amounts of gorgeous basil in my humble little container garden.  What we don’t use right away I freeze in silicone ice cube trays that hold one tablespoon per cube.  I double wrap it super tight in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer.  Make sure it is completely wrapped you do not want everything in your freezer tasting of pesto ;).  When it is frozen I pop it in labeled zip top heavy duty bags.  Now I can pop out exactly what I need when I need it and no waste!  NOTE:  I have read that you should not add the cheese before freezing but to date I have not had any issues at all. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup


2   cups water
3/4 cup brown sugar (preferably organic)
1   cup pumpkin puree (preferably organic)
2   teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3   teaspoons pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)


In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine water and brown sugar stirring until sugar melts.  Add the remaining ingredients stirring to combine and making sure to remove the spices clinging to the side of the pan.  Continue stirring until mixture is thoroughly combined and close to the boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.  

Once mixture is cook strain it through a sieve into a bowl with a tight fitting lid.  Keep refrigerated up to two weeks.   

NOTE: Because these are real ingredients and not a chemical crap bomb you may have a little grittiness at the bottom of you cup. Personally I think it is well worth it not be consuming a cup full of chemicals.

Add as little or as much as you would like to your coffee. Please refrain from drinking it straight from the bottle ;)  I think it would also be great in hot chocolate...mmmmm.


You can cut the recipe in half if you think you may not use it all but I say make the full recipe and share with a friend! 


“Magic” Meat Sauce

I like to cook meals that do double duty…from this one sauce (which is awesome as is), I am going to post 4 additional recipes.  It is one of my favorite time and money saving recipes.  When I make the basic sauce I make multiple batches at once, it freezes beautifully, taste even better the second day, and makes it super easy to get dinner on the table multiple other nights all from one afternoon of cooking.


The original Meat Sauce recipe, Inside-Out Pizza Rolls, Beer Enchiladas with Jalapeno Slaw, & Three Cheese Manicotti are all from Rachel Rays magazine, the Bolognaise Sauce is my personal adaptation.

“Magic” Meat Sauce
Makes: 7 cups  Prep: 15 min.  Cook : 2 ½ hours

·         ¼   cup extra-virgin olive oil
·         ¼   cup chopped pancetta
·         1    onion, finely chopped
·         1    carrot, finely chopped
·         2    celery stalks, finely chopped
·         1    clove garlic, finely chopped
·         2    pounds lean ground beef
·         ½   cup dry red wine
·         One (28oz) can tomato puree
·         Salt and pepper

·         In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the pancetta and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Increase heat to medium-high, add the beef and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the wine and cook until the piqued is cooked off, about 5 minutes.
·         Stir in the tomato puree and 1 cup water; and bring to a simmer.  Partially cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for the last 30 minutes, until thickened, about 2 hours.  Season with salt and pepper.

·         Bolognaise Sauce
·         Inside-Out Pizza Rolls
·         Three Cheese Manicotti

·         Use a chopper or food processor to finely chop the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic.  They need to be very fine so the incorporate into the sauce.
·         Cook multiple batches (i.e. double, triple, or quadruple the recipe), cool and either store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
·         Be careful during the last 30 minutes of cooking, the thicker the sauce gets the often you will need to stir it.

How to manage a grand Thanksgiving Dinner without getting stressed out!

How to manage a grand Thanksgiving Dinner without getting stressed out!

Ladies and Gentlemen it is ALL in the prep!
I started my prep work this past weekend but don't despair there is still plenty of time. 
First things first you need to know about how many people you are going to be feeding.  My rule: there is always  room for one more at Mama Withrow's table.  I manage this by buying a huge turkey and if the list increases I just add more sides.  See simple!
Set the menu.  It is OK to think outside the box.  If your family does not like turkey then make a dinner you all will enjoy.  Once you have your menu, pull all recipes and put them in one folder in one place.  Go over each dish and make sure you have all the ingredients you will need and if not get them on your list!  Here is our menu:  Turkey, stuffing, gluten-free stuffing (recipe to follow), mashed potatoes, gravy, gluten-free gravy, sweet potato casserole (recipe to follow), green beans, corn, cranberry relish (which I will I purchase from Bob Evans because I love their relish), rolls, gluten-free rolls, and pumpkin pie in a gluten-free crust.  My family LOVES this menu and it is super easy for me as I can pre-shop.  I did my shopping last week, as the menu does not require any last minute fresh ingredients.  As much as I adore holidays, I equally dislike last minute shopping.  People are stressed, the stores are crowded, and sadly when people should be thankful and happy, they are mean and less than courteous.  So I shop early, prep, prep, prep, and ENJOY my holidays :D !!!!!!
Next I make homemade turkey broth (recipe to follow).  If this is not your thing then add it or a good quality chicken broth to your shopping list. While my broth was simmering away, I made croutons for my gluten-free stuffing (recipe also to follow).  Not gluten-free or you like the stuff in the box, then on to the next step for you.  I will fully admit that my guys like the stuffing you make on the "stove top" that I fancy up.  Remember to keep it as simple as possible.  Why in world should we spend hours in the kitchen making things from scratch if everyone is going to miss their "favorite"?  Back to those gluten-free croutons for my stuffing.  I go ahead, measure them out, add the dry seasoning to them, and store them in an air-tight container. 
Tomorrow or the next day I will have a "chop-athon".  I will get my handy-dandy folder out and slice and dice up all my veggies for my stuffings and green beans, measure them out, put them in heavy duty freezer style bags, label them, and pop them in the freezer.  I will also chop my pecans for my sweet potato casserole and do the same with them.  I usually make my casserole the day before but this year I think I am going to make it ahead of time and freeze it, making a separate packet for the topping, take it out the night before to defrost and just bake it the day of or the day before. 
The day before or even several days before (my recommendation) if you don't use your dining room table daily, get out the good dishes and silverware, wash them and go ahead and set the table.  If it will be more than a day, just turn the dishes upside down, and place the napkins over the silverware.  Decide which serving dishes you will use, place them one the table, with appropriate serving utensils, and label them with a sticky note.  So when you ask someone to bring the bowl for the green beans, it is a no brainer.
The day before I make my stuffings, gravies (remember that homemade turkey stock???), green beans and perhaps that casserole.  No more waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven to make the gravy, and the stuffing will taste just like it was cooked in the bird, without the hassle.  No more over cooked turkey to make sure the stuffing is cooked through.  One year, long ago, my turkey tested done but when putting the remaining turkey away after dinner the stuffing was bloody.....HORROR!!!! Thankfully no one was sickened but I have made my broth and cooked my stuffing separate ever since! I will also make my casserole, green beans, and put my corn in the bowl with the butter and seasoning, a quick zap in the microwave and it will be ready to rock.  About an hour and a half before the turkey should be done I will remove my stuffings, casserole, green beans, corn, and gravies from the fridge and place them on the counter.  Do NOT let them set at room temperature more than an hour and a half!  When the turkey is done pop them all in the oven.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THEM IN OVEN SAFE CONTAINERS.  Put the cranberry relish and butter on the table. When I take the pre-cooked food out of the fridge I peel my potatoes and place in the pot they will be cooked in, covered in cold water, if the kitchen is really warm I will add some ice.  When you put your stuff in the oven, put your potatoes on to boil over MEDIUM heat.  When your potatoes start to boil put your rolls in the oven. By the time the stuffing and casserole is warmed through, your potatoes should be ready to mash, and in the mean time your corn and gravy has either been heated on the stove or in the microwave.  You can either move your turkey to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm or do like we do, and go ahead and have the hubby slice it, and put it on a platter (drizzled with a little pan of the juices out of the pan) while you are finishing the potatoes.  BAM everything done at once, with minimal stress!!!! 
Now you are probably thinking, "You said stress free?????  What about my crazy relatives????"  Well they do not come much crazier than my family.  So here is my advice.  When I would call to invite my family, I set the rules.  "I would love for you to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, please remember it is a time to be THANKFUL.  Yes that person you don't like will be here, I did not exclude you, nor will I exclude them.  However, there will be NO snippy-ness, no snide remarks, no dirty looks, and no crap!  A drink with or after dinner if fine.  There will be children, absolutely no drunkenness or drugs allowed.  Be nice or you will be told to leave (yes I said told and not asked...asked means you have a choice).  If you are far more kindhearted than myself, and could never tell someone to leave, or dinner will not be at your house, you still have a couple of options.  When you accept the invitation, tell the host how much you love them, and how excited you are to be included, but make it perfectly clear as much as you love them, you will have to leave immediately if things get testy or out of hand.  Now put the web to use and make sure you will have someplace near by to go and eat your dinner in peace, or start a new tradition and go out with those you really love for buffet, in the first place!
Much love, peace, and happiness,


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Welcome to my humble blog!

Hey Y'all, 

Welcome to my humble blog!  If you are trying to live a gluten-free lifestyle this is the blog for you.  I will be posting lots of recipes that I have personally tried and found to be not just OK, but really good!  What is the point of eating food if it does not taste great?

I will also (as soon as I learn how) add links to my Gluten-Free Pinterest boards, other blogs, and sites that can help you along your way.

In the mean time you can check out my other blog Crystal's Cookin' at  You can catch my regular recipes plus some that are naturally gluten free. 

And just in case you need some more recipes for your Thanksgiving Feast, I have just the link to cover you until I can get more recipes up on the blog.

But never fear I have many more recipes, tip, hints, and tricks on the way :D


Homemade Gluten-Free Stuffing

Homemade Gluten-Free Stuffing

Stuffing is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, so remaking it to be GF and tasty was a must!  The best part is, if you’re not GF you can use any bread of your choice.   
1 loaf of Udi’s Gluten-Free White or Whole Grain Bread (or GF bread of your choice)
   (NOTE:  This will make approx. 7 cups of cubes once baked you will only need 6 cups for this   
1 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon poultry season
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
¼ cup butter
1/4 cup of white wine (or substitute turkey or chicken broth separated before egg is added)
1 Egg
2 - 3 cups good quality turkey or chicken broth
1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Stack bread and cut into 1/2" cubes with serrated knife.
 Spread on a jelly roll pan, mist with butter flavor cooking spray, lightly toss and repeat until lightly coated.
Bake at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until toasted, all moisture is removed, and cubes are crunchy. This will take about an hour depending on humidity.  Remove toasted cubes from oven and cool completely.
 If you are making the stuffing right now, measure out 6 cups of cubes and place them in a large bowl. If not place 6 cups of cubes in an airtight container and add complete step three. Save the rest for another purpose (see HINTS ) or munch on them as they are awesome!

3. Sprinkle with savory, poultry seasoning, ground sage, salt (if desired), and pepper. Mix well and set aside or store in airtight container for later use.

4. When ready to continue. Sauté onion, celery, and carrot in butter flavor spray until tender adding a little water if necessary to prevent browning. Add white wine and cook until alcohol is evaporated. Whisk egg into 2 cups of broth. Remove pan from heat and add broth with egg. Add bread cubes and stir gently until combined. Add additional broth if need, but be careful to not get the cubes too wet as this will make them mealy in texture.  This is the purpose of adding the egg to the broth.  I have found the egg helps to keep the break from breaking down.  If you need more moisture (you will lose some in the baking process) add it after step 5 so you do not break down the bread.

5. Transfer to an 8" square baking pan and bake uncovered at 350 degrees until brown on top about 45 minutes or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

HINT: Make you can make two or three batches of bread cubes at one time, baking each batch on a separate baking sheet so they brown well, and store them either by themselves (I love just grabbing a handful to munch or you can use the as croutons or crush up for breading meats.) If you’re going to use them for stuffing go ahead and separate them out into 6 cups per recipe and add the spices in step 3.