‘The Cake Mix Doctor’ visiting Columbia Wednesday

November 27, 2012 

Meet Anne Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Books-A-Million, 164 Forum Dr. (803) 788-4349, in the Village at Sandhill. Byrn will be talking about her latest book “Unbelievably Gluten-Free,” will sign copies of her book and will have samples of some of her recipes. Check out recipes for Best Skillet Lasagna and Gluten-Free Saucepan Brownies.


The Best Skillet Lasagna

Serves: 8

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 45 to 50 minutes

Rest: 15 minutes

I have been intrigued by skillet lasagnas ever since I saw a recipe for one in a Williams-Sonoma catalog. Such a great way to make the dish, I thought, although I never seemed to give it a try. So when testing recipes for this book, and thinking pasta and lasagna, I thought back to the skillet method and concocted my own delicious version. It is based around a very simple red sauce with turkey, onions, carrots, and garlic, which you layer in a large oven-proof skillet along with uncooked brown rice lasagna noodles, ricotta, and cheese. In about an hour you have the most yummy lasagna imaginable.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 pound ground turkey

4 cups (32 ounces) good gluten-free marinara (pasta) sauce

2 tablespoons red wine (optional)

1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

9 brown rice lasagna noodles (see Note)

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Place the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet that is 12 inches in diameter, at least 3 inches deep, and has a lid that fits securely. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and carrot and cook, stirring, until the onion softens and begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Crumble the turkey into the skillet and cook, stirring, until the turkey is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and red wine, if using. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together, 5 minutes.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

Leave about a third of the sauce in the skillet, transfer the remaining two thirds to a bowl, and set it aside. Place the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan cheese in a medium-size bowl and stir to combine. Break 3 of the lasagna noodles into 3-inch pieces and distribute them over the sauce in the skillet. Spoon a third of the ricotta mixture on top of the lasagna noodles and spread it out thinly to nearly cover them. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese evenly over the ricotta mixture. Repeat the layers of sauce, noodles, and cheese 2 times, ending with the mozzarella.

Place the lid on the skillet and carefully place the skillet in the oven. Bake the lasagna until the noodles have cooked through, the sauce bubbles, and the cheese has melted, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and let the lasagna rest, covered, for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: I used the DeBoles gluten-free rice lasagna noodles, made from rice flour and rice bran extract. I did not preboil the noodles, but I did break them into 3-inch pieces to distribute them more evenly around the pan.

Extra: I love lasagna made with ground turkey because it is lighter than beef. Use this recipe as a basic plan and add sliced mushrooms to the sauce or a layer of lightly steamed fresh spinach in the middle. Or change up the cheeses, adding a little feta to the mozzarella—so many possibilities.

Dairy-Free: It is not possible to make this lasagna dairy-free.


Gluten-Free Saucepan Brownies

Makes: 16 small or 8 large brownies

Prep: 10 minutes

Bake: 25 to 30 minutes

Naturally gluten-free, these brownies are so fudgy, chewy, and chocolaty, you’ll never miss the flour. That’s because the cocoa and cornstarch in the recipe give just the right amount of structure to the brownies. The flavor comes from the butter, cocoa, vanilla, and chocolate chips. And the ease comes from making them in one pan on top of the stove, then pouring into a square pan and baking.

Vegetable oil spray, for misting the baking pan

1/4 cup cornstarch, plus cornstarch for dusting the baking pan

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (see Note)

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust it with cornstarch. Set the baking pan aside.

Place the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Add the cocoa powder and stir until thickened and smooth, about 15 to 20 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Break the eggs into the pan and stir to combine well. Add the 1/4 cup of cornstarch and the salt and stir until the batter is smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake the brownies until the edges are firm, the top is shiny, and the center is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. If you like your brownies gooey, bake them for 25 minutes and if you like them more chewy, bake them for 30 minutes.

Remove the baking pan from the oven and let the brownies cool for 1 hour before slicing them into 1-inch squares, if desired. (Some people eat them straight from the pan!) Store the brownies, covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Note: For the best flavor, use the best cocoa powder you have. I bake with Hershey’s day-to-day, but when I want more flavor I use Ghirardelli cocoa.

Extra: Instead of vanilla, use half almond extract and half vanilla extract. Or use a teaspoon of espresso powder instead of the vanilla.

To make brownie sundaes, bake the brownies ahead of time, let them cool, then cut them into large squares and cover the pan to keep the brownies fresh. To serve, place a brownie in the bottom of a shallow microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for 8 to 10 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and top the brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of your favorite chocolate sauce.

Dairy-Free: Use margarine instead of butter and 1/2 cup of carob chips in place of the semisweet chocolate chips.

Recipes from “Unbelievably Gluten-Free,” by Anne Byrn, available from Workman Publishing

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