Tapioca Flour Crespelles (Italian Crepes)

Crespelle

An Italian version of a crepe used for sweet and savory dishes.

In this recipe, I chose to use Tapioca Flour as I would All-Purpose.

I have made these a few times with much success.

You can make them any size you prefer, I prefer them rather like the smallest tortillas you might buy in the store.

You also fill them as you would a manicotti. I like mine with ricotta, Italian shredded cheese, and some spinach.

Here is the quick recipe: Makes 8-10 Crepes (dependent on size and thickness)

1 1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour

2 Eggs

Salt as needed

3/4 Cup Milk

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

And olive oil for coating your frying pan

A Bowl, Fork, Egg Pan

Mix your wet ingredients and add them gradually to the tapioca flour, it will clump up. I use a fork and continue until there are no small lumps. Ensure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as the Tapioca tends to settle. Then you refrigerate the mixture for about 1 hour. Stirring again before getting ready to cook.

Take a small egg pan like the one pictured here:

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Rub a bit of olive oil with a paper towel inside the pan. Heat to medium heat.

Using the refrigerated mixture (remember to stir it up), Pour a small coating into the bottom of the pan. The more you pour in the thicker the Crespelle will end up being. The key is a balance of batter that is not too thin but is thick enough to hold the filling and roll up. Cook on each side about 2 minutes using a fork to turn. Some people prefer it a bit brown, I prefer it more of the right before it begins to brown.

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Stack them on top of each other they won’t stick together. Fill with your favourite filling whether it be ricotta or a meat mixture.

8 oz ricotta cheese

1/3 Cup Shredded Italian Cheese

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Handful of Spinach Wilted in Boiling Water

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Bake at 375, Filling the Crespelles and rolling them up. Place your choice of pasta sauce in the bottom of baking dish. Add filled crespelle, top with a little more sauce and Shredded Cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

You can also prep and roll Crespelles, put them in Ziploc bags to be frozen. They make really great make-ahead meals.

Enjoy the opportunity to eat something yummy without the added gluten.

 

With using Tapioca Flour there is a lot more stretch in the bite. Imagine melted cheese stringing away, thats what the taste/texture feels like.

 

 

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Meal Planning

I am preparing to go home. After 3 1/2 months of spending time with my family and my in-laws. I am in a military family. My husband is Active Army. We are stationed in Germany. With the government shut down, it has put a strangle-hold on most military, DOD families and those furloughed with their finances. No one was really prepared. They gave us a warning about 2 weeks prior of the impending doom. Who is ever really prepared. Especially for us a young family who are trying to put money away for college for our 3 year old and some for an eventual vacation. It’s hard. Budgets are being slashed, one area in particular is whether we will be able to put food on the table for ourselves and families. I can tell you by taking small steps such as weekly/bi-weekly meal planning it can reduce expenses in your shopping cart.

Groceries are expensive. Milk, Meat, Vegetables are high. The Economy is on a slide, down hill.  We have to adjust our spending habits at the grocery store. Not buying that box of Little Debbie‘s is going to make a difference. Sticking to a meal plan at least for Dinner will help immensely. I found the above template on Organizedhome.com  which their motto is: Clean House, Cut Clutter, Get Organized at Home!

The Kitchen and the shopping budget need organization just like cupboards and your book shelves need some semblance of organization.   Clean your budget, cut out the things you don’t need (but want).

This template helps by first of all be helping you decide what you are going to eat before the day of, having all the ingredients, by attaching recipes, comparing the recipes with what you have in your cupboard, making a shopping list, looking at the sales, Being thrifty and USING COUPONS. OH MY GOD I used the word COUPON. It isn’t a distasteful thing. Most people have a bad taste in their mouth from watching Extreme Couponers. Repeat after me: You are only using coupons to assist with your shopping budget.  You are not going to buy 49 bottles of ketchup so that you can get so many dollars off.  The world of online couponing has also made it easier than ever, no more clipping if you so choose.  Realize what your needs are. Wants can only hinder your budget.  The occasional box of a Little Debbie’s wont hurt you, but don’t nickel and dime yourself.

Over the next few weeks I will be showing you how I,  personally utilize the above meal planner (WITH COUPONS) and how to get more bang for your buck. Including making the above meals and splitting some of it to freeze for later. websites such as organized home are great, they give fantastic tips on how to be prepared or prepare for slumps, by giving you tips on making many meals ahead and storing them, http://organizedhome.com/freezer-cooking/guide-once-month-cooking

Guides like these can assist you greatly. The internet is a vast space of knowledge, use it to your advantage.   Thanks reading my spiel.  I only hope you take a little from this.

I will be adding further tips throughout the next few weeks via my Facebook page:

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Apron Strings: Cooking Tips and Advice

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to message me via blog press, Facebook, or tumblr.

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Whipped Mashed Potatoes and gravy

I Love mashed potatoes. I do not like fake potatoes. I firmly believe in using real potatoes to make mashed potatoes. I don’t knock those that choose to use instant mashed potatoes to accompany their meal. I find you get more for your money, better flavor and overall satisfaction with making mashed potatoes by scratch.

All you need for a basic mashed potato recipe:

Potatoes

Milk

Butter

Seasoning

Potatoes!

Potatoes!

Peel them or not. chop them into cubes

Peel them or not. chop them into cubes

Put in a pot fill the water over the potatoes.

Put in a pot fill the water over the potatoes.

Prep is easy as you see. No excuse why you can’t do this.

Bring to a boil allow to boil until potatoes are very tender. Pretty much looks almost like mush. (Less work if you let them get to the point where they fall apart)

Put in a mixer, or use hand mixer. If the potatoes arent completely mush then use a mashed to mash before mixing. Add Butter and Milk and spices.

Put in a mixer, or use hand mixer. If the potatoes arent completely mush then use a mashed to mash before mixing. Add Butter and Milk and spices.

Mix until its whipped.

Mix until its whipped.

See simple. Adjust seasoning as needed.

The gravy I didn’t take pictures, take a small pot, add butter, a little of the oil you fried the chicken in, flour and chicken broth.

In the small pot add butter, oil, on medium heat add flour, mix it in with the oil, will be a paste. turn to low temp add broth and whisk it. Will become thickened. Add water if you want it thin. Heat will thicken it quickly.

972969_10200742522541716_1102756931_n Lastly I did a Cobbler, one of the easiest recipes:

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (melted)
8-12 oz of berry of your choice (fresh, frozen, canned)

Combine dry ingredients, add milk, stir in melted butter, pour into baking dish (round pyrex, glass), bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.

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This is my plate. I do not like gravy. I only make it because my husband wants it.

Here is how my family’s dinner and dessert turned out: (Drooling is allowed)

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