By Susie Bramhall

Brian Emmett has certainly made a name for himself in the culinary industry. As the winner of CBS’s The American Baking Competition, not only was he named America’s Top Amateur Baker, but Emmett also now has a cookbook coming out in 2014. But for this ultimate foodie, his journey started many years ago.

Emmett, who has been baking, cooking, serving, and designing the most unique experiences for family and friends for over 20 years, has confessed that his complete obsession with food – baking in particular – started when he was a young child. As he watched, listened, and learned from his mother and grandmother, Emmett would always be on their heels in the kitchen to observe (and eat) their creations. As he got older, he began to put his knowledge to use in the kitchen and get in on the action. In fact, in grade school, Emmett had already entered and won a baking competition.

Continuing to hone his baking and cooking skills over the years, he really began kicking it into gear after starting his own family. And lucky for us, one area that he has begun to focus on more is how to take his already delicious recipes and tweak them with a gluten-free twist.

“I feel when you are baking and cooking, you need to concern yourself with the dietary restrictions of others, such as offering gluten-free options,” says Emmett. “I have been taking my basic recipes and making them gluten-free…it’s fun, they taste great, it helps me to think outside of the box, and I know I’m making something that is a healthful benefit to others, which makes me feel great!”

For more about Brian, go to www.

Brian Emmett’s Gluten-Free New Year’s Eve Dinner


Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Elegant, yet filling, these mushrooms are the perfect start to your New Year’s Eve dinner.



1 pound large white button mushrooms, stems removed

1 pound spicy or hot pork sausage, such as Bob Evans brand

1/4 cup of ketchup

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced


1. Brown and crumble pork sausage; drain. Return sausage to pan over medium heat and add ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic; mix well. Add cheese. Let it melt and make sure it is thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Fill each mushroom with about a teaspoon of the sausage filling. Place mushrooms in a glass Pyrex dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until nice and bubbly.


Quinoa Stuffed Pork Chops

You’ll look like a master chef as you prepare this fine restaurant-quality dish. Sure to impress your special someone!



1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 cup shitake mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons Marsala wine

4 center-cut pork chops

Salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the shallots, garlic, sage, pine nuts, and mushrooms until the onion and mushrooms have softened and turned, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the Marsala wine and cook another minute, until the liquid has evaporated.

4. Combine the onion mixture and quinoa until mixed; let cool and set aside.

5. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

6. On the side of each pork chop, make a slit with a sharp knife – to almost all the way through to the other end – to form a deep pocket. Season each chop with salt and pepper. Fill each chop with the quinoa mixture and secure with toothpick.

7. Heat a large oven-proof grill pan with a 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium to high heat. Add the chops and sear on both sides for about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pan to oven and continue to cook until thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes.

8. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the filling should read 145 degrees. Cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing.



Broccoli Bake

Easy and the perfect side…and who needs the canned dried onions when you can make your own easy, homemade fried onions to add to this delicious broccoli dish.



1 bag frozen broccoli florets or California blend

2 cans reduced-fat cream of chicken soup, such as Health Valley brand

2-3 tablespoons homemade gluten-free fried onions *see recipe

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups (or enough to cover top) gluten-free baking mix

Velveeta® cheese, thinly sliced

Fresh black pepper


1. In a 9×9-inch baking dish, place frozen broccoli and sprinkle with onions. Mix in soup.

2. In a medium bowl, with hands or pastry blender, mix butter with gluten-free baking mix until crumbly (make sure butter is well incorporated).

3. Cut Velveeta® into thin slices and lay over broccoli mixture. Then, top with gluten-free baking mixture and fresh black pepper.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Enjoy!


*Gluten-Free Fried Onions


Olive Oil

1 medium onion, cut into very thin slices

1/2 buttermilk

1/2 cup gluten-free baking mix

Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, baking mix, salt, and pepper.

2. In a non-stick pan, heat oil on medium-high, enough to cover bottom of pan.

3. Dip onions into baking mix mixture and fry in pan until crisp. Remove from pan onto paper towel-covered plate to soak up any excess oil.



Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Serve these cookies warm with a glass of champagne (apple juice for the kids!) to toast the New Year. Dip into some warm chocolate fondue for an extra special treat. Crackling fireplace optional!



1 3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs or 1/4 cup of egg substitute

1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups gluten-free baking mix

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Fondue *see recipe


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a greased baking or cookie sheet.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Gradually add eggs and vanilla while mixing.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together gluten-free flour mix, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the butter mixture until mixed well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Using a teaspoon, drop cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until light brown. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.


*Chocolate Fondue


1  1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2  1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

1  14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2  1/2 tablespoons water

1  1/2 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract


1. Over medium heat, melt chocolate chips, butter, condensed milk, and water in a heavy saucepan. Continue to stir until chocolate chips and butter are melted and ingredients are well combined, about 5-6 minutes.

2. Add in extract and stir to combine. Transfer to a festive bowl and dip with gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

*Can be made over the stove and transferred to a heated fondue bowl to keep chocolate smooth for dipping.




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