Tasty gluten free, dairy free dinner menu

As I was preparing the menu for tonight's dinner guests, I remembered that they maintain a gluten free and dairy free diet. Out went my reliable Cooks Illustrated Kung Pao Shrimp option. Instead, I scrolled through our gluten free options and came up with the following menu, which I might add was a hit:

Stuffed acorn squash with black rice, roasted carrots, and dried cherries. While this may appear to be time consuming to make, it actually isn't too bad. Once you prepare everything it all cooks within the same 30-45 minute span. My guests absolutely loved this and it looks great. If this seems too overwhelming then you could just cook the squash with the recipe's suggested seasonings of salt, pepper, coriander, and nutmeg. I think kids would love the taste of this, the only obstacle we ran into is that they weren't too sure about the black rice. I'm curious to know how or if the flavor changes if you cook this recipe with brown rice.

Mustard-agave chicken breasts. Okay, I have to admit, between the squash and the brownies, I ran out of time to cook the chicken. Not because the other recipes took super long to prepare, but because I notoriously am always behind schedule when I have guests over (luckily, it's usually worth the wait!). So, this is what I wanted to prepare, but I ended up just putting some olive oil, salt and pepper and a light cajun spice on the chicken breasts and throwing them on the grill. The chicken still tasted great with the squash.

Super fudge brownies. I confess, I have not always been a fan of gluten-free baked goods, and because I'm not gluten free, I have stuck with the real thing. But these are really good. The most time consuming thing for me in making these (aside from cleaning up the tapioca flour that sprayed across my kitchen when I opened the bag) was making Alison's GF Baking Mix. But I now have the extra Mix stored in a container so I can easily make these again some time soon. I couldn't find teff flour at the store I went to (and again was pressed for time) so I simply used 1 cup of the Baking Mix, as opposed to a half cup and a half cup of teff flour. For the chocolate, I used Sunspire's dairy and gluten free semi-sweet chocolate chips, and they worked great.

In addition, I made a salad with romaine lettuce, tomato, red and orange peppers, carrot, crushed raw cashews, and pomegranates topped with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Oh, and all of this was rounded out with a bottle of Malbec red wine from Argentina. Bon appetit!

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