Tag Archives: recipe

Eating With Friends: Layered Salad

As all celiacs can understand, I get nervous letting other people cook for me. I have a few close friends and family members that have been there with me since day 1 and know what precautions to take and what questions to ask to ensure a safe meal, but this past weekend we were invited over to a friends that we haven’t seen in a long time with his partner that we’d never met.

I didn’t want to be “that guy” and cause too much of a fuss (but as we know from my recent experience, not causing a fuss can lead to bad times). My husband was the one making the plans so I just asked him to casually mention, “Kelly has celiac disease so she’ll bring something she can eat too.” I try to mention this ahead of time to let them know of my dietary needs, but also to let them know they don’t need to worry about it – I’ll bring something safe so we can have a good time and not worry about the food side of it.

Turns out our friend’s partner is gluten intolerant so they’re used to cooking gluten-free. B even mentioned he makes a killer gluten-free beer battered fish…

Of course, this sends off all sorts of alarms for me. Gluten-intolerant can mean a lot of different things to different people. I thought it was a BBQ and I was kind of hoping to just bring something along and eat it safely without anyone noticing, but when people go out of their way to cook something special for me, I feel bad passing it up. (I know, I know, it’s my guts, but it’s still hard for me to be “that guy”.)

Luckily, it all worked out great! Not only was B’s partner gluten intolerant but her sister also has celiac disease, so they were more than aware of the difference. They are also good friends with the owner of the local gluten-free bakery who is also celiac, and they got the fish batter and some treats for dessert from there. The fish was amazing and best of all, I didn’t get sick and I didn’t have to be “that guy”. I did mention something to our friends about it being out of my comfort zone to eat at someone else’s house and they were more than willing to answer my questions and put me at ease. The next day our friend even texted my husband to ask how I was feeling. How sweet!

I did end up bringing something along for dinner. Something that would be a full meal for me if I didn’t feel safe, but that would also be of interest to everyone else. For me, that means my Mom’s good ol’ Layered Salad. I have no idea where this recipe came from but it has always been a hit throughout my life at potlucks and summer BBQs. And it was a hit again this time – our friends asked to keep the leftovers. Of course I didn’t mind. I made 2.

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As always, don’t feel forced to stick to the recipe. I don’t use exact measurements anymore but can just eyeball it based on the size of dish I end up using. But for the sake of sharing, here’s a recipe.

Layered Salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced finely
1/2 – 1 cup Miracle Whip (It has to be Miracle Whip. It just does. Apparently you can mix mayo with sugar, but that’s just not right, it has to be Miracle Whip.)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4-6 slices bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
2-4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
dash of paprika to finish it all off

Choose a large tupperware or serving dish of your choice. It could be a rectangle baking dish, a trifle bowl – bonus points if you can see all the layers – or like I did, I used a large tupperware so that it was easy to transport and leave behind the leftovers without worrying about getting the dish back.

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Layer a thicker/larger portion of lettuce on the bottom, then layer the peppers, onions, and frozen peas. No need to defrost the peas, this salad is better after it sits so the peas will be defrosted by the time you eat it.

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Spoon dollops of Miracle Whip over the salad and gently spread it out until it covers the entire salad with a thin layer. This is kind of like icing a cake where you need to use enough Miracle Whip that it spreads across without picking up the ingredients from below. If your salad is longer/flatter you may need more dressing then if it is short/deep.

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Once the Miracle Whip is spread across, sprinkle the cheese and bacon over top. Lay out the sliced eggs, again the number of eggs will be determined by the size of your dish, and sprinkle with paprika. Let the salad sit for a few hours in the fridge before serving. With this salad lots of leftovers isn’t a bad thing because it stays good in the fridge for a few days.

The first scoop is always the hardest to get out – use a sturdy spoon and dig down deep and get all the veggies. Because as my brother pointed out: “Without the lettuce, it’s just dip”. 😉

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Zucchini Noodles With Beef and Veggie Bolognese

I made this last night and enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it right away. It was easy to make and is a great way to use up all the veggies in the fridge. It’s hard to write out a recipe because this could really be anything. Any ground meat. Any chopped veggies. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and simmer. Simple. Delicious.

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But, for the sake of blogging, I’ll write a recipe. 😉

Zucchini Noodles with Beef & Veggie Bolognese

1-2 zucchini, cut into noodles with a julienne peeler or spiralizer
1lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
4-6 mushrooms, diced
2 carrots, diced
handful of broccoli heads, chopped
more zucchini, diced (I peeled the outside of the zucchini and then when it got seedier I stopped, I then chopped up the center bit and added it to the sauce)
Or any other vegetables (spinach, peppers, cauliflower….)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Using a julienne peeler make noodles from the zucchini, peeling down to the IMG_1650seedy inside, then rotating around the zucchini until you end up with a “core” of seeds from the centre. Dice the inside bits and set aside.

When all the other veggies are diced, set a large frying pan on medium-high heat and brown the ground beef. Drain the extra fat. Add the carrots and onions (or any other harder veggies that take longer to cook). After a few minutes, add the mushrooms and broccoli, followed by the zucchini. (Harder veggies to softer veggies so that everything is done cooking at the same time.) Add garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_1652When all the veggies are cooked down and softened, add the crushed tomatoes. Add water to the sauce until it’s smooth and saucy. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup of water. Simmer.

When the sauce is simmering, pre-heat a large frying pan and add 1-2 tsp canola oil. Stir-fry the zucchini noodles until they soften up and become more noodle-like.

Serve the beef and veggie bolognese on the zucchini noodles. Add parmesan cheese if that makes you happy.

And that makes me happy.

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Recipe: Turkey Broth

One of the main reasons I wanted to roast a turkey this Easter weekend was to make broth. There is nothing better to ease a stomach ache then homemade broth. With turkeys on sale and a four-day weekend to fill I knew broth was in my future.

Even before we sat down for Easter dinner, I had already prepped the turkey carcass by taking every bit of meat possible off of it and breaking it apart to fit into 2 ziploc bags.

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These stayed in the fridge until the next day when they were thrown into a large stock pot with 3 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 2 onions, 2 cloves garlic and salt, parsley, oregano and pepper. You can use whatever seasonings you have on hand like bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme (if that’s your thing), or whatever seasonings you used to cook your turkey. Cover everything in water and simmer ALL DAY LONG! It will be torture. Your house will smell amazing and there is nothing you can do about it but wait. The longer you wait the more delicious and nutritious it will be. After a few hours taste and adjust seasonings as you like.

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Once everything is simmered and perfect… or it’s getting late and it’s time to take it off the stove… remove from the heat and let cool a bit. Take another large pot and place a strainer inside. Start scooping out the large chunks of turkey bones and vegetables. Let cool. Pick out the larger chunks of turkey and save for soup. I saved the carrots too, cause they’re delicious. Cooked soggy celery is not my favorite though so it got thrown out with the bones and gunk.

broth straining

Strain the broth and add to large storage containers to cool. Once the broth cools, place in the fridge. By the next day the fat will have separated and solidified on the top making it easier to remove as much as possible, leaving the delicious, healthy broth underneath.

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I like to serve the broth into some single serve containers, and some larger soup sized containers for when I have the urge to make us soup. Place these in the freezer for a stomach-ache day, or a cold day that calls for soup.