A New Adventure

Dear Readers,

When I first started this blog, I was a poor post-college student living on a pitiful non-profit salary. Penny Pinching Epicure was about how to make delicious food on a really tight budget. Over the last few years though, this blog has morphed to focus much more on food allergies than budget recipes.

Given this shift, as it celebrates its fourth birthday this fall, PPE is going to retire and I am going to start a new blogging adventure.

Chosen Bites Header v24

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on creating a new brand that focuses more on food-allergy friendly and kosher recipes (don’t worry, the blog will still have tips and tricks for sticking to a budget when cooking with food allergies). I hope to officially launch the new blog in the Fall, but in the meantime I am going to take a bit of a hiatus from blogging here. You can get a sneak peak of the new design here: www.chosenbites.com.

Thank you so much for being such loyal and fun readers over the last four years. Stay tuned!

**Yes, don’t worry, all of the recipes currently on the blog will be migrated to the new one!


Rella’s Gluten-Free Pizza

gluten-free pizza

I really, really miss pizza. Over the last few years, I have made some good and a lot of really awful pizza crusts trying to replicate the crispy chew of pizza dough (straight into the trash with those!). I still haven’t been able to replicate quite the right “chew” for pizza crust (yet!), but this recipe is pretty darn close, plus it comes together pretty quickly (less than 30 minutes) which is key on weeknights. This recipe is also vegan if you swap out the honey for sugar, so if you observe a vegan diet or are allergic to eggs, this pizza crust recipe is for you! Continue reading “Rella’s Gluten-Free Pizza”

Gluten-Free Rolls

Made with finely ground golden flax seed and baked free form.
Gluten-Free Rolls: Made with finely ground golden flax seed and baked free form

One of the hardest things to replicate with gluten-free products is the stretchy, chewy texture of bread. I have experimented with many different methods of recreating the feel without the gluten protein (some of which went straight into the trash), but after all of the trial-and-error I think I have finally figured it out! Ground flax seed. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Rolls”

Ultimate Airy Cheesecake

macaroon crust cheesecake
I don’t use the title of “ultimate cheesecake” lightly. I’ve been making cheesecake for years and I think I have finally perfected the ultimate airy, fluffy cheesecake (if you prefer a really dense cheesecake, try this recipe).

About a year ago, I made a Smitten Kitchen recipe that calls for beating the eggs and sugar until they are very light and fluffy to add volume to a buckwheat cake that might otherwise be a little dense. Over Pesach (Passover), I had the idea to try this with cheesecake. The results were phenomenal–folding the fluffy eggs-sugar mixture into the cream cheese and sour cream yielded the creamiest, airiest, and most delicious cheesecake I’ve every had. And I’ve eaten a lot of cheesecakes. Continue reading “Ultimate Airy Cheesecake”

Mushroom Balsamic Chicken

mushroom balsamic chicken

This is quite possible the easiest chicken recipe, but it’s so delicious and devoured every time. Make sure to use lots of mushrooms because they are the best part! I like baby bella mushrooms, but you could also use shitake, cremini, white, or a mix. The recipe can be doubled or tripled so it’s a great dish for a large crowd. You can also use this recipe with a whole chicken or chicken pieces in the crockpot.

Balsamic Mushroom Chicken


1 whole chicken cut into 1/8ths
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
16 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread half of the mushrooms on the bottom of the pan and place chicken over top. In a small bowl, stir together salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle evenly over chicken.
  3. Spread remaining mushrooms evenly over top of chicken then drizzle all over with balsamic vinegar.
  4. Bake at 350 for 60-75 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, the juices run clear when you cut into it, or until it is done to your liking.

S’mores Brownies

smores brownies

Sometimes you just need a fun dessert. Also sometimes you need to use up a bag of mini marshmallows you bought for Passover and never ended up making into anything. These s’more brownies were a huge hit; they could also be a fun birthday party treat, and you could make these in muffin tins for individual brownie treats, just adjust the baking time to 12 minutes or so.

You can use any brownie recipe and just spread mini marshmallows on top of it, or you can use the brownie recipe below (a favorite of mine). Continue reading “S’mores Brownies”

Eggplant Lasagna (Passover Friendly)

eggplant lasagna

I love lasagna, but gluten-free pasta has not been agreeing with me lately, so I’m been experimenting with variations on lasagna, sans noodles. I’ve done polenta lasagna and a vegetable assortment lasagna (eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash), both with mixed success–delicious, but not quick lasagna.

I definitely think this is my best noodle-free version yet, and right in time for Passover! I basically substitute the noodles for lengthwise slices of eggplant that I have partially pre-baked, and layer sauce and cheese like usual. I throw in sauted onions, green peppers, and baby bella mushrooms for a little extra volume and voila! Eggplant lasagna.

 Eggplant Lasagna (Gluten Free)

Eggplant Lasagna


2 medium eggplant
1 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 eggs
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (omit for Passover-friendly recipe)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease 2 baking sheets. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips (about 8 per eggplant). Lay on greased baking sheet (try not to overlap), sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until eggplant is pliable enough to bend without breaking.
  2. In the meantime, heat olive oil over medium flame in a skillet or large saucepan. Saute onions for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add green peppers and mushrooms with 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are soft and mushrooms have released their juices.
  3. Beat eggs in a bowl and stir in ricotta cheese, garlic powder, remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, and pepper. When the eggplant is ready, stir onion mixture into ricotta mixture.
  4. Grease a 8×10 or 10 inch square baking dish and spread 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom. Lay 1/3 of eggplant slices on the bottom to cover, overlapping slightly, then spread half of ricotta mixture over eggplant. Repeat for another layer of eggplant and ricotta, then finish with eggplant. Spread remaining 1 cup of marinara over eggplant, and sprinkle mozzarella to cover. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top (optional).
  5. Turn oven down to 350 and bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned.

Serves: 6

Gluten-Free Hamentashen

Gluten-Free Hamentashen

I love Jewish food-related traditions, especially hamentashen! For those who don’t know, hamentashen are triangular filled cookies that are traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which celebrate the Jews triumphing in the face of adversaries who want to kill them; the story is cataloged in the Book of Esther.

Hope on over to My Jewish Learning to find out more about the holiday of Purim, and to see my new recipe for gluten-free hamentashen!