Category Archives: Pasta

Daring Cooks: Handmade Gluten-Free Fettucine with Basil-Walnut Pesto

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with.

Of course, those recipes were merely inspiration for my dish. I went off to find my own gluten-free pasta recipe. I’ve made gluten-free pasta only once before (an egg-yolk ravioli that was tasty, but my pasta was too thick and heavy), so this was still a relatively new experience for me. I wanted to make sure I made it thin and light this time around. I wanted it to be delicious. Lucky for me, Shauna over at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made pasta just a few days before I did. Her pasta was beautiful, and I loved the way she opted to incorporate psyllium husk to increase the flexibility/stretchiness of the dough. I’ve been using psyllium husk a lot more lately in my baking, and am enjoying the results. I was sold.

I wanted the flavor and texture of the pasta to shine through, so I wanted a sauce that wouldn’t overwhelm or cause the dish to be too heavy. After all, we’ve had temperatures at 100 degrees or more for nearly two weeks now, so a lighter dish was definitely a plus. My garden is overflowing with basil, so I opted for a fresh, bright, dairy-free pesto. Basil is one of those herbs that just screams summer to me. It was the perfect compliment to my pasta.

The pasta was somewhat finicky to make – rolling it thin wasn’t much of an issue, however, I had a bit of trouble with it breaking while rolling. After a bit of practice and patience, though, I fell into a rhythm. It started to work. I now understand why so many people love making pasta. It’s as soothing as making bread – a slow, repetitive, and strangely comforting process. I started to fall in love myself.

Once the pasta was all rolled and cut, the rest of the process was easy. Glazing the walnuts in the maple syrup, and then a quick blitz in the food processor, and the pesto was finished. The pasta took only 2 minutes to cook. A quick toss, and we were more than ready to eat.

So eat we did.

 

Gluten-Free Fettucine, adapted from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

3 oz white bean flour

3 oz millet flour

3 oz potato starch

1 t psyllium husk powder

1 t kosher salt

1 large egg

4 egg yolks from large eggs

1 to 2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 T water

Combine the flours, psyllium powder, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of the food processor to combine the flours. Mix the egg, egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the water. Pour the liquid into the flours. Run the food processor on pulse 8 to 10 times, then look at the dough. If the dough has formed crumbs that stay together when pressed, you’re done. If they are a little too dry, add the remaining olive oil, then pulse, look, then add more water, if necessary. If the dough looks a bit too wet, add another tablespoon of flour.

Turn out onto a dry, clean surface. Gather into a ball with your hands and press together. Once a ball is formed, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Cut ball of dough into 4 pieces. Lightly flour your working surface with any of the flours you used for the pasta. Roll out one of the pieces of dough in a rectangle until very thin, as thin as you can get it without breaking. Cut with a pizza cutter into strips, carefully placing each strip onto a plate. Cover the cut pasta with a damp cloth as you go.

To cook the pasta, bring a large, well-salted pot of water to a boil. Carefully lower your pasta into the water and cook for 2 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through but still retains some bite. Drain and toss with a bit of olive oil, then your sauce/pesto.

Serves 4.

Vegan Basil-Walnut Pesto

1 1/2 c walnuts

1 T maple syrup

1 T olive oil

1 1/2 c fresh basil leaves, packed

1 1/2 c fresh parsley leaves, packed

2 1/2 T nutritional yeast flakes

juice of 1 large orange

7 cloves garlic, peeled

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

1 t brown rice vinegar

In a small skillet at medium heat, add the walnuts, maple syrup, and olive oil. Cook, stiring slowly for 2-3 minutes or until syrup clings to the walnuts and starts to caramelize. Remove and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add basil, parsley, nutritional yeast, orange juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and brown rice vinegar and pulse, scraping the bowl as you go, until everything is finely chopped, but not a uniform paste. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta, Vegetarian

Swedish Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

This recipe helps to dispel that myth that certain comfort foods are gone forever when one gives up gluten and dairy. Remember swedish meatballs? That creamy, silky sauce, coating delicious meatballs and a way-too-large plate of wide noodles? I do, although before I made this recipe, I hadn’t tasted swedish meatballs in several years – well before I went gluten-free. Even at their worst, (a.k.a. the “before I knew how to cook” swedish meatballs – processed powder in an envelope that you mixed together with the meat and some milk to make sauce) swedish meatballs still hold some nostalgia for me. My husband also loves the dish. So when I saw that Kelly over at The Spunky Coconut used cashews and lemon in place of sour cream in a dish (chicken paprika), immediately light bulbs went off. I knew I could make swedish meatballs. And so I made it happen the following night.

I soaked cashews before I left for work, and came home to start the sauce. I did add a non-traditional ingredient in the sauce – mushrooms – because I thought it would enhance the flavor. I had a leftover grilled portobello in the fridge, so why not? Since I pureed the mushrooms in the sauce, no one was any the wiser. It’s an optional addition, but personally, I loved the boost of flavor.

Once I had the sauce pureed and tweaked so that it tasted right, I worked on the meatballs. In the spirit of simplicity, I opted to bake them rather than cook them on the stovetop in batches. (The recipe already requires several steps – no need to complicate it further!) This allowed me time to make the pasta and warm the sauce, and then everything was ready to go. What I wasn’t prepared for was how good the result would be.

The sauce was excellent. Creamy, satisfying, and full of flavor. I had to double-check with my husband for authenticity. (Since it’s been so long since I’ve eaten certain gluten and/or dairy-filled dishes, my brain tends to somewhat forget what the original tasted like.) He said the sauce was lighter than the usual sour cream version, but that this wasn’t a bad thing. (I promise you, it’s still plenty creamy.) We both fell in love with it a little bit more with each bite.

This was one of those dishes where you wouldn’t find someone saying “This is pretty good for gluten/dairy-free” or “It’s different. Good, but different.” (I know we’ve all heard those statements once or twice before!) All our tastebuds knew was this was good eating.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Swedish Meatballs

For the cashew “sour cream”:

½ c cashews

Juice from 1 lemon

1 portobello mushroom, cooked and roughly chopped

2 t nutritional yeast flakes

For the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground lamb

1/3 c almond flour

1 egg

1 T flaxseed meal

1 t allspice

1/8 t cardamom

1 T onion powder

1 t salt

1 t ground black pepper

For the rest:

2 T ghee (or grapeseed oil – ghee is casein-free, but if you strictly avoid dairy, another oil will be a fine substitute)

2 T arrowroot powder

2 c beef stock

1 c vegetable stock

1 T onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 t ground nutmeg

¼ c chopped fresh parsley

Soak cashews in enough water to cover overnight or around 8 hours. Drain and place in a blender. Add lemon juice and start blender to puree cashews. Gradually add about ¼ cup additional water and continue to blend until consistency is about that of thick sour cream. (Stop to scrape down sides of blender as necessary.) Add mushroom and nutritional yeast flakes and blend again until smooth. Set aside.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine ground beef, lamb, almond flour, egg, flaxseed, allspice, cardamom, onion powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until well-combined. If desired, check seasoning by making a tiny meatball and cooking on a skillet – taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Use a tablespoon to scoop out meat and form into meatballs with your hands. Place on baking sheet. You should get around 50 meatballs.

Bake meatballs for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add arrowroot powder and whisk until combined. Add beef stock and vegetable stock and continue to whisk until boiling. Scrape the cashew cream from the blender into your skillet and whisk in. Turn heat to medium-low and heat until warmed through. Add onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. When meatballs are finished, add to sauce and stir to coat. If sauce is too thick, add additional stock and stir in as needed.

Once everything is thoroughly heated, sprinkle nutmeg over. Serve on top of gluten-free noodles and garnish with parsley.

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Filed under Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Pasta

Kids in the Kitchen: Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Matt is our pasta lover. If he could have spaghetti every day of the week, he’d be a happy camper. (This is evidenced by his previous spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti and meatballs, and lasagna dishes in the kitchen.) So when Matt was browsing through a recipe application on our iPad, it didn’t surprise me to see that he’d chosen another pasta dish. This one was fairly straightforward. However, it did surprise me that my picky eater wanted sundried tomatoes and olives. I even asked him to double-check and make sure he understood what was in the pasta. He said it sounded good, so we went ahead with it.

Of course, we used gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada). It’s a good product – while it’s technically processed, the ingredients are essentially brown rice, rice bran, and water. Simple. I did like that this was really easy to throw together. Definitely a good weeknight dish. However, we weren’t 100% happy with the flavor. It was missing something – a sauce, perhaps? Matt did admit that he wished there was tomato sauce on it. Matt admitted that he thought somehow that the ingredients would make a sauce based on what he read. This means the teacher learned a lesson in the kitchen that day – to explain the dish better in the future, so there’s no confusion! Regardless, it was a dish that could be improved upon, should we try again.

(On a side note, I did realize just how much my body isn’t fond of a flood of carbohydrates like this. I’ve been eating mostly grain-free and paleo for a while, and a pasta dish caused me to feel lethargic and sleepy for a good 2 hours! Good thing for me, pasta is not on the regular rotation at our house anymore. For those of you that handle gluten-free pasta well, then have at it. For me, it’s a treat!)

Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

 8 oz gluten-free pasta

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 t paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T grapeseed oil

8 oz sundried tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small can sliced olives, drained

1/2 c pine nuts

Basil, for garnish

Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Toss chicken cubes with paprika and salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil to medium-high heat. Add chicken and spread out into a single layer. Allow to brown for a minute, and then stir occasionally to brown on all sides. After chicken is nearly cooked through, add sundried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for another minute and add olives and pine nuts. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and toss pasta and chicken mixture together. Serve garnished with basil.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Kids in the Kitchen: Chicken Parmesan (Fresh Tomato-Carrot Sauce)

By the time it was Matt’s turn in the kitchen, he already had an idea of what to make. (He had the benefit of watching this new routine – visiting the farmers’ market for inspiration – with his siblings.) You see, a few weeks ago, I prepared chicken parmesan for dinner when Matt was over, following a recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam (also the famous Elana of Elana’s Pantry). I followed the recipe pretty closely, only substituting my own sauce for the sauce in the recipe. Matt must have liked it (we all did), since he requested to make it tonight, using fresh tomatoes from the market.

Of course, not only were the tomatoes from the market, so were the onions, garlic, and carrots. In fact, the sauce we made was nearly all local – the thyme, basil and parsley came from my garden. But the best part? Because each of those components were super-fresh and at their peak, the flavors were bright and bold. It’s amazing how nature just knows what tastes best – and if we take advantage, it’s almost like the hard part of cooking is done for us.

Of course, making a tomato sauce from scratch was a bit of work, although a good deal of the time spent simmering allowed for Matt and I to wander off to do other things for a while. It was definitely worth it – several of us might have been tempted to lick our plates clean. While my dish was more of a chicken “un-parmesan” (I sprinkled Daiya mozzarella-style shreds on my dish, which was mighty tasty and dairy-free), it was still definitely a dish worth repeating again!

Recipe for Chicken Parmesan can be found at The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

Fresh Tomato-Carrot Sauce

4-5 large ripe tomatoes

2 T olive oil

1 medium sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 c carrots, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 t thyme leaves, picked

1 T basil leaves

1 T flat-leaf parsley

1 t dried oregano

1 6 0z can tomato paste

4 anchovies

2 c chicken stock (I used homemade)

Salt to taste

Cut an “X” into the skin on the bottom of each tomato. Heat a medium saucepan full of water to boiling. Using a slotted spoon, lower each tomato into the water and allow to “boil” for 1 minute. Remove and allow to cool enough to touch. Peel the tomatoes and remove seeds. Tear into chunks and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Drain and wipe clean the medium saucepan. Add olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add onion and carrot and saute until carrot starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, tomato paste, anchovies and chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

Puree sauce either by using a stick/handheld blender, or by pureeing in batches in a blender. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve with chicken parmesan alongside gluten-free pasta or rice.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta

Gluten-Free Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese

If you ask people what their favorite comfort food is, chances are, macaroni and cheese will be one of the most popular. And why not? Macaroni and cheese is creamy, cheesy, and at its best, baked with a bit of crunch on the top. It soothes our souls and makes for happy bellies. The popularity of macaroni and cheese is proven by the countless variations offered at restaurants all across the country. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board recognizes this, and so when they approached me to contribute to their new blog, 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni and Cheese, how could I say no?

But when you’re following a gluten-free diet, macaroni and cheese is not something so easily acquired. Since going on a gluten-free diet, I have not had the joy and comfort that comes from this humble dish. At times, memories of Luby’s creamy macaroni haunted me. (If you lived in Texas for any length of time, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Luby’s may not be the finest of dining establishments, but they have some of the creamiest macaroni and cheese. I’ve loved it since I was a kid.) Well, the pining stops here.

Meet gluten-free macaroni and cheese, made simple by my best pasta friend, Tinkyada. Of course, you can use any gluten-free pasta that you choose – I just love Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta because it doesn’t turn mushy. And since it’s made from brown rice, I’m getting a bit of fiber into the dish. (Not to say that this is health food – it’s still macaroni and cheese, after all!) And no, Tinkyada isn’t paying me to tell you about all of this – I just love their products.

This Parmesan macaroni and cheese is relatively straightforward. Of course, if you choose, you can add ingredients to your liking – bacon, chopped tomatoes, or other cheeses would all be welcomed here. We have a tendency to be purists in our home when it comes to macaroni and cheese, so we opted to keep it simple. And let me tell you – simple was delicious!

Gluten-Free Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese

4 cups dry gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada brown-rice fusilli)

1/4 c (1/2 stick, or 4 T) butter

3 T tapioca starch/flour

2 1/2 c milk

3 t dry mustard

1 t paprika

1 egg, beaten

12 oz mild white cheddar, grated

2 oz Parmesan, finely grated

1 t salt

1 t ground black pepper

Cook the pasta as directed on package, removing from water 2-3 minutes early, so that the pasta is very firm. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large baking dish. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat, and pour in the tapioca starch.Whisk constantly, for 2-3 minutes, or until light brown. (Do not let it burn.) Pour in the milk, and add the mustard and paprika.  Whisk until smooth, and cook, whisking constantly, until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Pour about 1/4 cup of the thickened sauce into the egg and whisk constantly to avoid the cooking the egg. Pour egg mixture into sauce, and whisk in all but about 1/2 cup of the cheddar and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, tasting to adjust as needed.

Pour in the pasta and stir to combine. Place into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until sufficiently browned.

Serves 6-8.

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Filed under Gluten-Free, Pasta, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Jap Chae

A healthy, vegetarian/vegan, mouth-watering meal that’s easy to make? Not only easy to make, but speedy – so speedy, in fact, that it takes less time to make (from start to sitting down, slurping noodles) than it takes to heat up the oven and bake a frozen pizza? Do I have your attention yet? Because yes, it’s possible. Meet my favorite throw-together dish – Jap Chae.

What is Jap Chae? Well, I didn’t know for the longest time. Jaden over at Steamy Kitchen introduced me to Jap Chae. (say it with me: chop-chay.) Also spelled Jab Chae or Chap Chae, this is a Korean dish comprised traditionally of sweet potato (cellophane) noodles, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, and onions. I don’t have an extensive knowledge of Korean food, honestly. I do know, however, that my limited exposure has taught me to love Korean food! What makes this dish unique, in my opinion, are the noodles. If you happen to have an Asian grocery nearby, I encourage you to visit. Check out the noodles. Yes, it might be overwhelming – there are a LOT of noodles. For this particular dish, seek out some slightly gray-brown noodles called “glass noodles” or “cellophane noodles.” (They’re gluten-free, of course.) If you read the ingredients on the package, it’ll likely just read: sweet potato starch, water (and maybe salt). That’s it. Sounds simple enough, right? These noodles don’t taste anything like sweet potatoes – but their texture is addictive. They’re super-springy, light, and I love they way they absorb the sweet soy-sesame sauce in the jap chae. They never get soggy, either, making this dish perfect for leftovers!

I did take some liberties with the recipe (if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know this is nothing new). I added snow peas and red bell pepper (they were in the fridge), and I subbed agave nectar for the sugar. And as always, I used gluten-free soy sauce instead of regular soy. Other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe. (Oh – I did add a squirt of Sriracha to my bowl. Not authentic, I know, but I can’t resist a little heat with my salty-sweet-umami dishes!) This little throw-together dish is heaven in my book. The shitake mushrooms provide a huge burst of umami flavor, and I cannot resist sesame – sesame can cause me to swoon! And as I mentioned before, the noodles, with their springy texture, are such a joy to eat. It doesn’t hurt to know that this is a healthy, veggie-packed meal, either!

By the way, I’m not kidding about the speediness thing. The other day, my husband wanted a frozen pizza (Totino’s, so it doesn’t even take that long in the oven!), and I decided to make this dish (John’s not much for mushrooms, spinach, or Asian cuisine). He turned the oven on to preheat at the same time I was gathering ingredients. My jap chae was finished, in a bowl, and I had just started to dig in when the timer went off, telling him that his pizza was ready. Speedy dish indeed!

Jap Chae, adapted from Steamy Kitchen

1/2 lb dried Korean sweet potato noodles or mung bean thread

2 1/2 t sesame oil, divided

1 T canola oil

3/4 c thinly sliced onions

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks (I use my handy-dandy julienne peeler for this task)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t grated fresh ginger

2 stalks green onions, cut into 1 inch lengths

1/2 c dried shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and rehydrated in warm water

1/2 c snow peas

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 lb spinach leaves, washed well and drained

2 T gluten-free soy sauce

1 T agave nectar

1 T sesame seeds

Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cool water. Drain again and toss with 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Cut noodles into shorter pieces (I took Jaden’s advice and used kitchen shears for this task), about 8 inches in length. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix soy sauce and agave nectar together. Add canola oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat. Swirl to coat pan. When oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots until softened, about 1 minute. Add garlic, green onions, and mushrooms, and cook for 30 seconds. Then add snow peas, bell pepper, spinach, soy sauce mixture, and the noodles. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted and snow peas are a bit tender. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.

Serves 3-4. Or 2-3, if feeding hungry people. Wonderful eaten hot or cold.

 

Don’t Forget!!! You still have time to enter for a chance to win some free Xagave agave nectar and a cookbook, Where Delicious Meets Nutritious! Visit my post here to learn more about it!

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Kids in the Kitchen: Spaghetti Carbonara (Gluten-Free, of course!)

Matt loves pasta. Spaghetti, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese? These three dishes alone could make this boy happy for a long, long time. Italy was his country of choice this time around, which, naturally, pleased Matt. We discussed various Italian dishes, both pasta and non-pasta, but the mention of bacon and spaghetti – two of his favorite things in the world – made spaghetti carbonara the choice for dinner tonight.

Truth be told, spaghetti carbonara is not among my favorite Italian dishes. It’s a bit on the rich and heavy side, in my opinion. As this was the case, I have not made spaghetti carbonara prior to this evening. Nevertheless, I sought out a recipe that was sure to please. Emeril saved the day! (Every Emeril Lagasse recipe I have followed has turned out beautifully!) I followed the original recipe pretty closely – it’s relatively straightforward and simple – and it was pretty darn tasty, if I do say so.

Not one piece of shell was dropped in the eggs!

Matt enjoyed it a great deal. Of course, eggs, bacon, cheese, and spaghetti – what’s not to like?

Gluten-Free Spaghetti Carbonara, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/2 lb bacon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

1 T chopped garlic

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb gluten-free spaghetti, cooked until al dente (I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy Brown Rice Spaghetti)

4 large eggs, beaten

Salt to taste

1 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 T chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large saute pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon with slotted spoon or spatula and allow to drain on paper towels. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, and season with pepper. Add back the bacon and pasta and saute for 1 minute. Season the eggs with salt. Remove the pan from heat and add eggs, stirring quickly, until eggs thicken but do not scramble. Add the cheese and taste; adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4 generously.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Pasta, Pork, Quick and Easy