Sunday, October 6, 2013

The BEST Gluten Free Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

It's apple time!  There's nothing quite as wonderful to usher in the autumn season than a homemade apple pie made from freshly picked apples.  This recipe is simply the best!  The fact that it's gluten free and drastically reduced in sugar are just healthy bonuses.  Honestly, you'd never know it was low sugar or GF; there's nothing lacking in taste here.  My gluten-eating, non-diabetic family members loved it!  Because of the crunchy, crumble topping, this pie is best eaten on the day it's made (although it will taste wonderful the day after, even though the topping will have softened).  Be sure to read the note about choosing apples for pie--it's important, you don't want to end up with a mushy, applesauce pie!  For ease, I used a ready-to-fill, frozen gluten free pie crust (Whole Foods has them), but you certainly could make your own using your favorite recipe.

The BEST Gluten Free Apple Pie with Crumble Topping
Makes 12 servings

one 9" gluten free, frozen pie crust, thawed (or make your own)

5-6 medium cooking apples* (see note below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup Stevia or Splenda granular
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
1 teaspoon melted butter, butter substitute (Earth Balance) or ghee (clarified butter)

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup Stevia or Splenda granular
1/2 cup all purpose gluten free baking flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1-1/2 tablespoons gluten free old-fashioned oats
3 tablespoons very cold butter or butter substitute, cubed

1.  Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.  Thaw pie crust.  Poke crust with fork on bottom and sides.  Place crust on a foil-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

2.  To prepare the filling, peel, core and thinly slice apples and place in a large bowl.  Add remaining filling ingredients and stir to coat apples evenly.  Spoon apples into the pie crust until quite full and heaped in the center (apples will reduce in volume as they cook).

3.  In another bowl, stir together the sugars, GF flour, oats, salt, and spices.  Add the cold, cubed butter and, with a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients until butter is well distributed and mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Spoon crumb topping evenly over apples.

4.  Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Topping should be nicely browned and the apples bubbly.  Cool for at least one hour before slicing.

*Note about choosing apples: The type of apples is important.  Create a mixture of several types, such as Cortland, Macoun, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Yellow Delicious or Macintosh.  Be aware that Macintosh apples are tart and impart a wonderful flavor, but when baked can turn soft or mushy (but in a good way, when combined with firmer apples).  I recommend using Macintosh sparingly in the mix and never use Macintosh by themselves.

Nutritional Information per serving: 185 calories, 30.5 g carbohydrate (2.3 g dietary fiber, 14.1 g sugar), 8.4 g total fat (4.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 47 mg cholesterol, 236 mg sodium, 25.4 mg calcium, 106 mg potassium, 2 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Roasted Squash with Rice, Spinach and Cranberry Stuffing

This is a fabulous autumn recipe!  This time of year, winter squash is abundant and a wide variety is available in farmer's markets or at the grocery.  To prepare as a side dish, I choose a small squash, such as Delicata.  If I want this to be the main course, I choose the slightly larger Acorn Squash.  The squash is easy to prepare: Simply cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, season with salt and pepper and roast with cut side down in a 375-degree oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash (until fork tender).  The stuffing can be made ahead of time and keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.  Also, any leftover vegetable-rich, rice stuffing is excellent on its own as a side dish or a quick lunch.  Your taste buds will be tantalized by the tangy flavors in the stuffing combined with the slightly sweet flesh of the squash.  This is a culinary experience of autumn's bounty at its very best!

Roasted Squash with Rice, Spinach and Cranberry Stuffing
Makes 2 servings

1 Delicata or Acorn Squash
2 teaspoons coconut oil or olive oil
3-4 cups fresh spinach, chopped (or 1/2 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 carrot, julienne cut or finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sweetened, dried cranberries (or chopped apple can be substituted)
1/2 cup leftover brown rice
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons Stevia in the Raw or Splenda
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (I used Ian's)
1 teaspoon melted butter or ghee (clarified butter)

1.  Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.  Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds, season with salt and pepper and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.  Roast for 30-45 minutes until fork tender.  Remove from oven and turn cut-side up.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet with lid, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and carrot to skillet and saute until onion is translucent and carrot is beginning to soften, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the chopped spinach.  If using fresh, place lid on skillet and allow to steam for a few minutes or until wilted.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the cranberries and rice and stir to blend.  Add the apple cider vinegar and Stevia.  Stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove skillet from heat and rest until squash is ready to stuff (or cool to room temperature and refrigerate to use later).

3.  To make the crumble topping, combine the gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and melted butter or olive oil in a small bowl.  Stir with a fork until crumbs are moistened; set aside.

4.  Generously fill the scooped-out cavity of each roasted squash with about 1/2 cup rice mixture.  Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top and broil until topping is browned.  Serve warm.

Nutritional Information per serving: 208 calories, 44.3 g carbohydrate (7.5 g dietary fiber, 10.1 g sugars), 3.4 g total fat (1.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 667 mg sodium, 107.3 mg calcium, 726 mg potassium, 4.4 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013