Overnight Crockpot Baked Beans

While I will admit to a fondness for baked beans, I’ve always shied away from the canned version because I am not a fan of sweet foods. Sure, I’ll indulge if I encounter the canned version, but I won’t buy them unless I have a serious craving.

Yeah, I crave baked beans.

If the craving is minor and time is plentiful — or I know I need a killer dish to bring to a barbecue — I go straight for my crockpot and let the beans cook overnight. The slow cooker does all the work of cooking the beans through while developing a rich sauce that is just sweet enough with some tangy and spicy flavors to balance that sweetness. Best of all: no soaking required! I just toss everything into the crockpot, and let it work while I catch up on TV and much-needed sleep.

Salmon with Miso Glaze

Salmon is a great weeknight meal — filling but not too heavy. Adding a miso glaze is perfect whether you’re cooking the salmon in the oven or on the grill. Glaze the salmon a few times during the cooking process to deepen the sweet and salty flavor.

Best of all, this is a fast meal. You can have dinner on the table in under thirty minutes.

Make sure you buy gluten-free miso. Some brands include barley or wheat. If you’re looking for other ideas for using up the miso you bought, here are some suggestions.

Gluten-Free Pulled Pork

I think of pulled pork as the beginning of a very good week of leftovers (see this article for ideas on what to do after you’ve made delicious pulled pork). It’s also a truly bargain dish — pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) goes on sale frequently, in quantities that make leftovers a no brainer.

If I were Southern, I suspect I’d be appalled at my version, but since I’m Californian with a full-time job, I will confess the ease of throwing pork into the crockpot and letting it simmer away all day is my idea of a good time. Walking into the house after a long day and smelling dinner? Priceless.

Since I’m committing heresy left and right with the recipe, I’ll confess to another secret: I don’t brown my pork before putting it into the crockpot. Phew! So happy to get that off my chest. I simply toss it, well seasoned (salt generously and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight), into the crockpot. The rest of the seasoning is in the braising liquid.

(Yes, pulled pork is naturally gluten-free, but some people add soy sauce to their braising liquid. I like the idea of adding that additional level of umami, but will remind you to use to GF soy sauce or tamari!)

See notes below for ideas on making pulled pork in your pressure cooker!

Spicy Peanut Sauce

I love spicy peanut sauce. It’s my go-to for spring rolls (and I make a lot of spring rolls), chicken satay, regular chicken, and even rice noodles. Mix the sauce with hot noodles, add some shredded chicken, and some torn basil…voila! lunch. Or dinner.

The recipe below is just a suggestion — you can mix up the ingredients as you need. Don’t have lime juice? Substitute the mellower rice vinegar. Want to dial back on the heat? Omit the red pepper flakes. I’ve seen recipes that use coconut milk to temper the heat. It’s all up to you.

Spicy Thai Beef and Basil with Rice Cakes

This is one of my favorite dishes when I go out for Thai food. Of course, the challenge is finding a place that doesn’t use soy sauce (or uses gluten-free soy sauce). And sometimes rice noodles have a bit of wheat flour integrated or dusted on the noodles. Meaning, sigh, that I haven’t actually found a place that makes this dish gluten-free.

Have I let that stop me? Of course not. This is a fast dish to put together (and can be made with chicken or shrimp if you prefer). You can prep all the ingredients while the noodles are “cooking”. The rest is a quick saute in your wok or skillet.

While this dish is traditionally prepared using fresh rice noodles, I’m having a hard time finding them without wheat flour. So I’ve substituted Korean rice cakes (also known as dduk). Rice cakes are actually thick rice noodles; they have a chewy texture and work well with all kinds of flavors. You can purchase them as a long cylinder or already sliced. I’ve also seen them in a gnocchi-like configuration. They keep well in the freezer, so I buy several packages when I’m out shopping. Find them in the freezer or refrigerator sections of Asian grocery stores.

The best thing about this dish? It can be spicy or mild, depending on your mood. Also, it makes fantastic leftovers.

Chicken Thighs with Teriyaki Sauce

While many people reflexively opt for a chicken breast when presented with chicken-ish options, I prefer the dark meat. It’s richer and more flavorful. Also, the thigh of a chicken doesn’t dry out during cooking the same way the breast does.

This is my way of saying you can substitute whatever type of chicken you have handy: breasts, legs, thighs, wings, or even tenders. It’s merely a matter of adjusting the cooking time to reflect the part you are using.

Finally, I like to pan roast my chicken, but this will work fine as an oven dish. Just cook the meat at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until done.

If you have extra teriyaki sauce (or decide to make extra because it’s so tasty), you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.

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