Easy and Frugal Gluten-Free Cooking 1: Potato Latkes and Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Recipes

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The last time I went grocery shopping, I have to admit, it was something of an unpleasant shock. I’ve noticed the price of certain things (dairy, produce, etc.) sneaking up, but this time I was shopping somewhere different than normal and I was so depressed when I found out that it really wasn’t cheaper to shop there than anywhere else. Bummer. Despite the fact that pretty much everything is going up-up-up in price, there are still some ingredients out there that are almost reasonably priced, if you shop carefully. Here in the Bay Area, we have a great shop called the Milk Pail that sells inexpensive produce and imported cheese. We also have a ton of international grocery stores (Hispanic, Asian, etc.) where you can get great prices on produce. Not buying certain protein sources helps with maintaining a budget- and not going crazy with dairy helps too. I’ve also had another issue- mainly, the fact that I’ve been so darned busy with school I haven’t had time to make the kind of elaborate, time consuming recipes that I love. So, I decided to start a new regular feature here at the book of yum called “Easy and Frugal Gluten-Free Cooking” to showcase recipes that are ideal for those on a budget and pressed for time. Like me, you’ve no doubt noticed the skyrocketing price of rice. It’s so distressing when one of the staple grains of the gluten-free lifestyle is affected- and if it’s hard for me, I can only imagine how tough many families are finding it right now. Both of these recipes don’t use (much) rice at all, and one is even low-carb for those frugal AND busy gluten-free dieters out there! I hope you enjoy.

DH and I developed this recipe for spaghetti squash lasagna when we were dieting before our wedding, almost six years ago. (It’s tough when two cooks get together- you always want to feed each other to show how much you care!) I’m picky about my squash, to say the least. Nothing I hate worse than mushy, overcooked yellow summer squash or zucchini. Yuck. But luckily, spaghetti squash is difficult to ruin. Its stringy, almost crispy noodle-like threads are pleasing texturally and have a lovely, fresh flavor to boot. Combined with italian seasonings and cheese, it’s even better. According to Wikipedia, “Spaghetti squash contains many nutrients including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. It is also a food low in calories, averaging 75 calories in 8 cooked ounces.” Sounds good to me! By the way, I included a dairy free option that is NOT particularly frugal- sorry about that. I just thought it would be yummy. If pine nuts are not in the budget, you could use your favorite processed dairy-free cheese or crumbled tofu ricotta. (Note: you can get a decent price on a large-ish bag of Pine Nuts at Costco- Sam’s Club might carry them too, but I’m not entirely sure.) This recipe was developed from a Weight Watcher recipe so can be low in points. You can skip the oil and be skimpy with the cheese if you would like and it will still be a great simple meal!

And I’ve always had a soft spot for potato latkes. What’s not to like about a hearty potato based pancake? I think this is the best potato latke I ever had, and I haveThe Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cookingto thank for providing the inspiration. Latkes are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When I’m in a real rush, sometimes I mix up half a batch of Manischewitz Homestyle Potato Latke Mix and serve it with a little tin of applesauce and (optional) sour cream or yogurt. But, nothing can compete with freshly made latkes with real potatoes and onions. This dish contains eggs for protein, potato as the starchy vegetable base, and I added spinach for some extra vitamins. With the additions, it makes a great complete meal. And, happily, potatoes are still a reasonably priced ingredient that gives a lot of gluten-free bang for your buck.

I hope you enjoy these two recipes as much as I did- and they really are easy and satisfying. Note: hungry husbands may be disappointed if you make them grate cheese and they find out it wasn’t for pizza but for low-carb veggie casserole. Ahem. And if said DH’s are not dieting, they may want some starchy dish on the side or there are certain to be late night refrigerator raids! That being said, DH enjoyed both of these dishes and I will be making both again!

Enjoy this recipe? You might also like my other low-carb vegetable recipes:
Zucchini based pizza crust
or
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe sans crumbs
Zucchini Parmesan Recipe sans crumbs

Gluten Free Potato Latkes Recipe with spinach variation
Ingredients
3 lg baking potatoes, peeled (1.5 lbs)
2 onions, grated
2 tbsp corn meal
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
large handful spinach (optional)

olive oil

applesauce (i like the little individual serving cups)
lowfat sour cream or lowfat yogurt

Directions
Grate potatoes in your food processor and place in a strainer or in a clean kitchen towel. Press all the liquid out that you can. Put the grated potato in a large bowl. Put your onions through the food processor grater attachment and then put them in a strainer and let the liquid drain out. Try not to cry. Add the grated onion to the bowl with the grated potatoes and add the corn meal, rice flour, and all ingredients up to the black pepper. Don’t add the spinach yet.

Heat your nonstick pan on a burner on medium-medium high. Add a little olive oil to your nonstick pan and let it heat up. Then drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan in pancake shapes. Or, if you like to cuddle your food, you can grab a small handful of the mixture and shape it on the surface of the pan. Fry on medium to medium high heat for 4 minutes or until golden brown. Add extra oil if it seems to dry. Turn and fry the other side until golden brown. You can store it on a baking rack with holes or put it in the oven on a baking sheet to keep warm until you finish making them all. *For spinach variation you can add the spinach to a dry portion of the pan until it wilts and add it to the remaining batter, combining before you fry it up. I made half plain and half with spinach for extra flavor and nutrition.

Serve

Spaghetti Squash un-lasagna recipe
Ingredients
1 large spaghetti squash
olive oil
pasta seasonings (like Trader Joes)

High quality organic tomato marinara sauce
1 or 2 garlic cloves, pressed
fresh spinach (optional)

lowfat mozarella cheese, grated
OR
for dairy free variation
Pine Nut Not-Ricotta
1 cup raw pignoli nuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions
Combine a little olive oil, pasta seasoning in a small dish and mix thoroughly. You can add a little pressed garlic if you like.

Slice your spaghetti squash in half horizontally and scoop out the inner seeds. Baste with your seasoned olive oil and bake on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan at 375 F for 45 minutes to an hour- until flesh gives slightly at touch. Turn over halfway through if you like. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and then scrape out your squash strands with a fork.

Take a cookie sheet or jelly roll dish and grease with nonstick cooking spray or a little olive oil. Mix with pressed garlic or any extra seasonings if you like. Spread your squash out in one flat surface- almost like pizza! Add a layer of the tomato marinara sauce, fresh spinach, and top with dairy or non-dairy cheese. Bake for 25-45 minutes or until top is golden brown (in case of cheese). Serve and enjoy!


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6 Responses to “Easy and Frugal Gluten-Free Cooking 1: Potato Latkes and Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Recipes”

  1. That Lasagna looks mouth wateringly scrummy! Do you have the Un-Cheese cookbook? There is a Ricotta-like recipe in there using tofu. That’s what I use when making vegan lasagna. Everyone gives it two thumbs up! And it’s cheaper than pine nuts.

    ~Mars

  2. Your lasagna looks great. And I LOVE your new layout – especially that new header. So pretty!

    Karen

  3. [...] This week was all about updating the look and organization of the Book of Yum, so I didn’t post much. My first post with our new design was on Easy and Frugal Potato Latkes AND Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. [...]

  4. [...] hand. I’m enjoying other bloggers (such as Gluten Free Mommy, Gluten Free Cooking School and Book of Yum) posting on how they manage their food bills since this is something I’ve had little success [...]

  5. Oooo, I love ANYTHING that has to do with lasagna. Yummy! Thanks for posting the recipe.

    Karen
    http://glutenfreefoodreviews.com

  6. You inspired me yet again! The un-lasagna was a great hit as well as your spicy peanut sauce.
    http://oddsthatneverend.blogspot.com/2008/06/ode-to-spicy-peanut-sauce.html

    Thanks so much for all your inspiring meals, photos, write-ups, and reviews.

    ~Mars

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