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September 10, 2014

Tex-Mex taco sauce {gluten-free}

Tex-Mex taco sauce fills a tortilla.

When I went off to college and had to cook for myself, I made lots and lots of spaghetti with red sauce. One of the few things I knew how to cook, it would feed a crowd, and leftovers went right into the freezer. Maybe there was something meditative about stirring the sauce pot, or maybe I was avoiding doing my homework, or maybe both. All these (many) years later, I prepare spaghetti sauce basically the same way, and this Tex-Mex taco sauce is a peppy riff on that sauce I used to make in my college dorm. You can spice this up or down, by playing with the canned green chiles and chili pepper proportions, but don't leave out all of the hot pepper ingredients. After all, it wouldn't be Tex-Mex without a little something to make you kick up your heels. Cook the full amount of the recipe, and freeze it in smaller portions for tacos, quesadillas, burritos or Sloppy Joes.

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April 29, 2014

Recipe for shrimp and black bean salad with chipotle-lime dressing {gluten-free}

Shrimp and black bean salad, kicked up with chipotle lime dressing! #salad #shrimp #glutenfree

Never underestimate the power of color to inspire what we cook. I'd been working nonstop on my new e-book (Dress Up Your Salad, available now!), and testing lots of salad dressings and salad combinations. One day a few weeks ago, while my kitchen overflowed with jars, and herbs, and prepped ingredients, I took a break and treated myself to a little spree at my favorite local discount store, where I found this bowl. You know the rest: bowl meets black beans meets gorgeous red bell pepper meets kicked-up chipotle lime salad dressing. The shrimp were a bonus, and absolutely perfect, but you could swap in some shredded rotisserie chicken if that's what you have on hand. Go ahead and add some chopped avocado, cold cooked rice, or sliced onion, too. This is a light main-course salad to celebrate the arrival of Spring, and it will carry you straight through summer picnic season.

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April 27, 2014

Mexican adobo chicken rice bowl recipe {gluten-free}

Mexican adobo chicken rice bowl, an easy worknight dinner.  #glutenfree

ADOBO. Talk about an identity crisis. There's adobo, the smoky, spicy tomato-vinegar sauce for chipotle peppers, and there's adobo, the Filipino national dish of pork or chicken stewed in vinegar-laced liquid. And there's Mexican or Puerto Rican adobo, more of a dry rub than a wet marinade. I used Mexican adobo spices as a base for this recipe with a small amount of vinegar, marinated chunks of chicken breast, added enough broth to make a sauce, and cooked it on the stovetop. Then, I served the chicken and sauce on a bowl of brown rice, with a good dose of scallions cut from my garden. You can make all of the components of this dish ahead of time. Add some broccoli or asparagus, if you have it. This is a very satisfying (and gluten-free) meal-in-a-bowl.

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February 16, 2014

Recipe for Costa Rican gallo pinto (black beans and rice) {vegan, gluten-free}

Gallo pinto (Costa Rican black beans and rice), with scrambled eggs for breakfast.

On every vacation my husband Ted and I have ever taken, one element of the local cuisine defined the entire trip. In Malaysia, I greeted every morning with mee goreng (fried noodles) for breakfast, in restaurants or from street carts; in Brazil, pao de queijo, cheese balls made of manioc, appeared everywhere with breakfast or afternoon coffee. Recently, on vacation in Costa Rica, gallo pinto was the constant. Throughout the country, there are beans (red or black), and there is rice (always white). And then there is gallo pinto, black beans and rice combined with some of the bean cooking water, garlic and bell peppers. You'll never see it with red bell peppers, but I like the color; green peppers are the norm. Cook the rice and beans separately, ahead of time (even a few days ahead), and reserve some of the bean cooking water in a small jar in the refrigerator. Then, toss the dish together in minutes, just before you're ready to serve. It's common to eat gallo pinto for breakfast, with eggs and plantains, or later in the day, with grilled fish or chicken.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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