The Busy Mom’s Easy {Gluten-Free} Monster Cookie Bars

Delicious cookie bars filled with peanut butter, oats and chocolate. There is something for everyone!

The Busy Mom's Easy {Gluten-Free} Monster Cookie Bars

Can’t forget about the cookies!

This holiday season has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. It is my daughters first “real” Christmas. Technically it was last Christmas since she was born on the 23rd, but we were in the hospital, so it doesn’t really count. There is so much excitement surrounding her first Christmas. Taking pictures and buying presents, I almost forgot about making out favorite holiday cookie. Monster cookies are awesome and I needed a cookie for our cookie exchange. They have something in them for everyone- peanut butter, m&ms, oatmeal, chocolate chips. I knew they would be perfect.

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A Gluten-Free Christmas, Fun and Festive Banana Bread

Baked in a ceramic mini loaf pan, these gluten-free banana breads are perfect for everyone on your gift list!

Fun and Festive Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Nothing says Christmas like fresh baked banana bread!

Before going gluten-free, every Christmas I would bake tons of mini banana breads and pass them out as little gifts. Everyone goes bananas for banana bread! This simple recipe was inspired by a recipe of a good friend (I don’t know where she got it, but it’s really good!). Miss Jane is quite the expert when it comes to banana bread.

I couldn’t let becoming gluten-free ruin my Christmas tradition. I had to make the recipe gluten-free. Turns out it was not that hard and no one can tell that it is gluten-free. I get requests for this recipe all the time. You are going to love it!

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Aguadito de Pavo, Peruvian Turkey and Veggie Soup

The perfect use for leftover turkey and vegetables. This “throw it all in the pot” soup is full of flavor, with just a bit of spice.

Peruvian Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Peruvian Roots.

Growing up my husband’s family owned a bakery in Peru. Located in Lima, they sold more than just bread and pastries, they also sold meals, like Arroz con Pollo, and around the holidays, turkeys. Turkey is traditionally the main protein at a Christmas feast in Peru. My husband raves about his mom’s roasted turkey, but what he speaks about more is the soup that they would have the day after Christmas, using up all the turkey leftovers. Aguadito de Pavo brings about fond memories in our house. This Thanksgiving we had a lot of leftover turkey, and we knew that this was the perfect soup to make with it and we didn’t have to make any adjustments to make it gluten-free, which is always a plus!

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Schar’s New Artisan Bread with Easy Chicken Salad

Schar Artisan Bread

I was super excited when I received a package from Schar!

They had sent two loaves of their new artisan sandwich bread, a white bread and a multi-grain. It was so nice of them to send us a product to review! At our house we are a lovers of all things Schar. Many of the recipes we used to make before going gluten-free, such as Papas a la Huancaina or Aji de Gallina (recipe coming soon), we have found that we can use their products as replacements for their gluten counterparts and they work perfectly. In the past I had purchased their sandwich bread and it was good, but I had yet to try this new recipe.

Schar's new artisan sandwich bread makes being gluten-free easy! Click To Tweet

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Huancaina Sauce, A Peruvian Classic, Now Gluten-Free

Papas a la Huancaina

I remember the moment very clearly. Standing in the kitchen with my husband, contemplating what this new gluten-free lifestyle would mean, when he looked at me and said,

This means you can’t have Huancaina Sauce anymore.

I broke into tears. Not pretty, one tear running down your cheek kind off tears. Ugly, heaving, my life is ending tears. Of course, I knew my life was not ending, but learning that I cannot eat the foods I love made it feel as though.

After meeting my husband I developed a love for Peruvian food.

I love it all, but one of my favorites is Papas a la Huancaina, Potatoes in Huancaina Sauce. It is a spicy, creamy, cheesy deliciousness. Rather than wallow in my tears, we set out to develop a gluten-free version that would allow me to continue to enjoy this Peruvian classic. What we came up with is just as good as the real thing, so good in fact, that rather than making two versions of sauce for family gatherings, our family now only makes the gluten-free version. No one can even tell the difference!

The recipe is fairly simple.

The major difference is the type of crackers that are used to thicken the sauce. Below the each ingredient there are some notes, just in case you are not familiar. All of these ingredients are readily available in the South Florida area, but if you are creating this masterpiece and cannot find an ingredient, they are available on Amazon as well. Just click on the link!

Here we go:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 block (3 and 1/2- 4 ounces) Queso Blanco

We like Vendito brand, but any one will work, just be sure it is not “para freir” or “for frying”.

  • 1/3 cup ground Saltine Style Crackers

We use Schar brand, they have amazing, consistent results. One sleeve is the amount you will need. In South Florida you can find them at Whole Foods or Milam’s Market. When all else fails, Amazon is your friend! We make this so often we order them by the case. If you are not gluten-free you can use regular saltine crackers. I would recommend the ones without the salt on top.

  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Onion
  • 1-3 Teaspoons Aji Amarillo Paste

Aji Amarillo Paste can vary greatly in concentration. Start with a small amount, you can always add more to increase the spice level. Currently I am using a jar of Inca Food’s Aji Amarillo Paste and 3 teaspoons was just the right amount for a little bit of heat without it being overwhelming. If I was making this just for my husband I would probably add more. I have used other brands that use a smaller amount for the same amount of heat and our family sometimes makes it as well.

  • 1 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Add the salt last, some cheeses may vary in the amount of saltiness. I always add it, but if you are using a different brand of cheese, you may not need it.

  • 1 Cup Milk

I would not recommend using skim milk in this recipe. Your sauce will be runny. Whole milk would be best, but at least use 2%.

 

Directions

  1. Grind the crackers.
  2. Break apart cheese.
  3. Place all ingredients into a blender (I use a Nutribullet)
  4. Saute the Onion, Garlic and Aji Amarillo in a small pan, just until the onion is a bit soft.
  5. Blend until smooth. This may take a few minutes, you will be tempted to add more milk, but give it a few minutes. The cheese needs time to fully incorporate into the milk.
  6. Taste and adjust your seasonings, add more salt or more Aji Amarillo Paste if needed.

Serve over cold boiled potatoes with sliced hard boiled eggs and olives (or on whatever you wish, I also love it over rice).

Enjoy!

Papas a la Huancaina, Gluten-Free
Papas a la Huancaina, Gluten-Free
Amanda Kanashiro
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    For the Huancaina Sauce
  • 1/2 package Queso Blanco (3.5-4 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup ground Scharr cracker crumbs or other saltine type gluten free cracker
  • 1 Tbs chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-3 tsp aji amarillo paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
    For Serving
  • 4 baking potatoes, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • black olives

  1. Grind the crackers.
  2. Break apart cheese.
  3. Place all ingredients into a blender (I use a Nutribullet).
  4. Saute the Onion, Garlic and Aji Amarillo in a small pan, just until the onion is a bit soft.
  5. Blend until smooth. This may take a few minutes, you will be tempted to add more milk, but give it a few minutes. The cheese needs time to fully incorporate into the milk.
  6. Taste and adjust your seasonings, add more salt or more aji amarillo paste if needed.
  7. Serve over sliced, cold boiled potatoes with sliced hard boiled eggs and olives (or on whatever you wish, I also love it over rice).

Consider adding the salt last. Different cheeses have varying saltiness, so taste before adding. Aji Amarillo paste can vary in intensity. More can be added to achieve desired level of spiciness.

; Yield: 4 Servings
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This post is linked to Gluten Free Fridays! Be sure to check it out for more great gluten-free recipes from bloggers around the globe!

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