Cheeseburger Chili

by Susan on November 14, 2017

cheeseburger chili

It’s officially chili weather here in the northeast; I’m always looking for new takes on the dish, and was super excited to adapt Rachael Ray’s recipe that captures the flavors of a cheeseburger in a bowl. Ditching the carbs and gluten is my favorite way to enjoy a cheeseburger!

This one wasn’t hard to make and was a huge hit. I personally found the recipe yielded a bit too much cheese sauce, but that might just be my personality and taste buds. This would taste equally good with ground turkey, and you could definitely use dairy-free options for the cheese and milk in the sauce. I’m used to have tomatoes actually *in* my chili, so included some on top. Next time I might add a can of diced tomatoes in lieu of some of the broth.

This is very filling and comfort food at its best. I had some organic tater tots on hand so thought they’d be fun to use to top things off. You could use any kind of homemade or frozen french fry, some potato chips (as Rachael Ray suggests in the original recipe) or just skip the starch altogether.

My version of the dish is gluten-free and optionally dairy-free.

Cheeseburger ChiliĀ 
adapted from Rachael Ray

chili:
2 tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef and/or turkey
3 tbs. chili powder
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cups organic chicken broth
1/2 cup organic ketchup, such as Heinz
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup yellow or Dijon mustard
dash of hot sauce
One 14-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

cheese sauce:
3 tbs. butter or Earth Balance spread
2 tbs. gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (can use Daiya dairy-free cheese)
1/4 cup organic dill or sweet pickle relish
1/2 small white or yellow onion, finely chopped (1/4 to 1/3 cup)

topping ideas: tater tots or french fries, diced tomatoes, chopped lettuce, diced avocado, crumbled bacon, chopped pickles

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the meat dry and add to the hot oil. Brown and crumble the meat until it is evenly caramelized. Add the chili powder and some salt and pepper. Stir.

Add the garlic and onions; cook to soften, 7 to 8 minutes. Then add the beef stock, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard and hot sauce, to taste. Stir in the beans and reduce the heat to keep the chili at a simmer. Cook to thicken, partially covered, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce: melt the butter or Earth Balance in a sauce pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, cook 1 minute, then add the milk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and thicken to coat back of spoon. Stir in the cheese in a figure-eight motion. Once the cheese has melted, stir in the relish and raw onions, taste the sauce for seasoning.

Serve the chili in shallow bowls, drizzling with cheese sauce and finishing off with toppings of choice

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Gluten-Free Butter Pecan Cookies

by Susan on November 9, 2017

gluten-free butter pecan cookies

While I love to get creative with natural sweeteners and grain-free options, I know it’s good to have a couple of straight-forward classics in the repertoire. Recipes with few ingredients and big flavor payoff are the best ones to share with friends and use to help kids get more comfortable in the kitchen.

These cookies are a perfect example. I adapted the recipe from this month’s Rachael Ray Everyday Magazine. I loved that they were only 6 ingredients, and could easily be tweaked a bit without messing with the base formula. I made a test batch over the weekend that my husband and visiting parents enjoyed, then worked with my daughter on Election Day to bake up a second. She used regular flour just to experiment, and you couldn’t even taste a difference!

First off, I’m not going to bill these as health food. Even made with clean ingredients they are still most certainly a treat. You can, however, make them gluten-free and/or dairy-free and still enjoy the indulgence!

Coconut oil works just as well as butter, although it will change the flavor of the finished cookie. If you’re looking to replace the butter, I would instead recommend Earth Balance baking sticks. Also, particularly if you’re using a dairy-free substitute I wouldn’t skip chilling the dough before baking. These cookies are very prone to spreading, and chilled dough helps to mitigate the spread.

To make these cookies gluten-free, I’d suggest using a straight replacement such as Bob’s 1-to-1 gluten-free flour. I have the most dependable results with this blend, and it worked beautifully here. The texture and flavor were both spot-on!

Gluten-Free Butter Pecan Cookies
adapted from Rachael Ray Everyday

1 cup Bob’s 1-to-1 gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (use Earth Balance for dairy-free)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbs. vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped raw pecans

Combine flour, soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream sugar and butter using a stand mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture until well-combined. Fold in pecans.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

When ready to bake the cookies, line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375.

Place tablespoons of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches apart. These cookies will spread, so don’t try to make them too big or crowd the baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheets before removing to a wire cookie rack to cool completely.

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