Gluten Free Lunch with Friends

Last Wednesday, I spent the most delightful day with two of my favorite friends from High School. Stephanie and Jennifer drove up from our hometown for an afternoon in my kitchen. It’s part of a new series here on my blog, “In the Kitchen with Friends.”

Jennifer and her family eat a gluten-free diet. So that’s the theme we decided for our lunch. Stephanie surprised me with a recipe for Backyard Quinoa (Queen) Salad. Jennifer made her famous Chicken Cordon Bleu. I baked a Zucchini-Almond Cake from the latest issue of Everyday Food Magazine. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this gluten-free lunch. It was full of flavor, simple and I didn’t feel like I was missing a thing. Best of all, I got to share it with two very special people. It was wonderful to catch up and share a delectable meal.

Stephanie’s Backyard Quinoa (Queen) Salad

Stephanie calls this her Backyard Quinoa Salad because the tomatoes and herbs are from her garden. I’m so jealous that she’s already harvesting these small jewels of tomatoes.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Expressions vinaigrette

In a small saucepan add quinoa to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Set aside. In a bowl, combine quinoa, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, feta and vinaigrette.

Jennifer’s Chicken Cordon Bleu

This is a delightfully crispy chicken dish stuffed with melted cheese and salty ham. This easily ranks as one of the best chicken entrees that I’ve ever eaten. That it’s gluten-free, is an added bonus.

  • 4 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied.
  • 2 cups gluten-free Bisquick
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 slices deli ham, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together the Bisquick, paprika, salt and pepper. In another bowl add the eggs. Set bowls aside.

Open the butterflied chicken breasts and layer, on one side of each breast, 2 slices ham and 1 1/2 slices Swiss cheese. Fold the chicken closed.

Dip each breast in the egg. Allow extra egg to drip off the chicken. Next, coat each egg covered breast in the Bisquick mixture. Set coated chicken aside.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Carefully add each breast to the pan. Fry for 10 minutes, flipping chicken half-way through. Transfer chicken to a sheet pan and bake in oven for another 20 minutes. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes.

Zucchini-Almond CakeEveryday Food, July/August 2012

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus 5 tablespoons, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini), squeezed of excess liquid
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Line with parchment and butter paper. Whisk together almond flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt.

Set a large heatproof bowl over (not in) a pot with 1 inch barely simmering water. Add eggs and whisk until foamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in brown sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is fluffy and sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from pot and, using a mixer, whisk on high until mixture is thick and pale, 7 to 10 minutes.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in melted butter, flour mixture, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and zucchini. Pour into pan and bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Invert onto plate or cake stand.

With mixer, beat together room-temperature butter, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cream cheese until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Spread on top of cooled cake.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Victoria says:

    It all looks great! I have been exploring the gluten free options. It is not an easy undertaking! What a great friend you are to make a meal based on your friends’ dietary choices! I have noticed that there is more product available for this type of an eating plan…but baking options can be pricey! One of these days…I am going to be brave and take the plunge! I recently purchased some Quinoa and didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Thanks for sharing these recipes! Very nice!

    1. Thanks Victoria. While the cake called for almond flour, $14.99/pound, Jennifer said that many of the major cake mix brands now have gluten-free options. Good luck, and get to making that quinoa. It’s so great!

  2. livingforjackie says:

    It’s so nice to see how many people are going gluten free….I’m one of them because of medical reasons….I have done a ton of research and I love the taste and many options of Quinoa! I never was much of a baker and have to stay away from most because I”m a diabetic……..but the cake looks delish! Thanks for the recipes…..

  3. there is a cookie called “chocolate puddle cookies” gluten free and so amazingly delicious. you can find the recipe at you have to watch the cooking time but its worth it. if you don’t cook them long enough – top with ice cream. better than any brownie sunday you’ve ever had.

    1. Those look super-fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Katie says:

    Great post! Recipes look wonderful too. You hang with a good lookin’ crew! 🙂

  5. Jennifer Kee says:

    What a wonderful afternoon of fellowship and food. Thank you for inviting us to cook with you and for taking an interest in gluten-free eating. Twelve years ago when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I felt I was all alone. Now I am healthy and eating happily. Let’s do this again!

  6. Karen G says:

    What a nice afternoon. Everything sounds delicious. Maybe some time when Megan is home we could teach her some dishes. I was a home economics major in college but somehow missed teaching Megan and Paula to cook.

  7. angelica | table twenty eight says:

    I luckily don’t suffer from Coeliac disease but gluten & I are not good friends. Sometimes my sheer love of food gets the better of me & I have to deal with the consequences later (!) but mostly I substitute different gluten-free options into my recipes. I’m lucky that the gluten-free range available near me is really big but it’s always great to see new recipes or suggestions.

  8. Becks says:

    Thanks for the like on my post! I laughed when I came to your page and saw that you had a quinoa salad recipe too! Great mind thinks alike, and great bellies eat alike, I suppose…

  9. Looks delicious! Will try that cake for sure.

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