Chicken Marsala: Quick, easy and allergy free.

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I remember a time when I used to spend a day planning my menu, writing out my grocery list, clipping coupons and still having time to make a full gourmet meal complete with dessert and coffee. All before seven o’clock at night.

But back in those days, my kiddos were all small fries and I could corral them around me with library books, paper and crayons to make their own ‘grocery lists’ and ‘menus’.

Now that those little babies had the nerve to turn into busy, working, sports-playing, always on the go teens and young adults, that seemingly endless time to plan and prepare has all but evaporated.

But that’s okay, because it is my new normal. For the next few years anyway.

And for now, we have easy, favorite dishes, such as Chicken Marsala.

So to help you out, I’ll share it with you.

First, filet four boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In a large ziploc bag, combine 1 cup gluten free flour, 1/2 tsp salt and a dash of garlic powder. Add two chicken pieces at a time and shake to coat. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and crush in some garlic. Add the coated chicken pieces one at a time, turning once to fully brown and cook the meat.

First, filet four boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In a large ziploc bag, combine 1/2 cup gluten free flour, 1/2 tsp salt and a dash of garlic powder. Add two chicken pieces at a time and shake to coat. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and crush in some garlic. Add the coated chicken pieces one at a time, turning once to fully brown and cook the meat.

Keep the cooked chicken warm in an oven while you prepare the next step.

Keep the cooked chicken warm in an oven while you prepare the next step.

 

Once the chicken is done, put in in a warm oven on a plate. Next, add 1 cup Marsala cooking wine to the skillet along with a 16 oz pkg of sliced mushrooms. Add one or two more cloves of crushed garlic. Let the shrooms simmer in the cooking wine for about five minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.

 Add 1 cup Marsala cooking wine to the skillet along with a 16 oz pkg of sliced mushrooms. Add one or two more cloves of crushed garlic. Let the shrooms simmer in the cooking wine for about eight minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add the cooked chicken back to the pan of liquid and mushrooms, turning once to coat with the juices. Let sit in the pan for about a minute on medium low heat to thicken the liquids.

Add the cooked chicken back to the pan of liquid and mushrooms, turning once to coat with the juices. Allow the chicken to sit in the pan for about a minute on medium low heat to thicken the liquids.

Serve with a side of seasoned rice. Delightful.

Serve with a side of seasoned rice. Delightful.

 

Allergy Free Chicken Marsala

First, filet four boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
In a large ziploc bag, combine 1/2 cup gluten free flour, 1/2 tsp salt and a dash of garlic powder.
Add two chicken pieces at a time and shake to coat.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and crush in some garlic.
Add the coated chicken pieces one at a time, turning once to fully brown and cook the meat. Add more oil as you go, if necessary.
Keep the cooked chicken warm in an oven while you prepare the next step
Next, add 1 cup Marsala cooking wine to the skillet along with a 16 oz pkg of sliced mushrooms.
Add one or two more cloves of crushed garlic.
Let the shrooms simmer in the cooking wine for about eight minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the cooked chicken back to the pan of liquid and mushrooms, turning once to coat with the juices. Let chicken sit in the pan for about a minute on medium low heat to thicken the liquids.
Serve with a side of seasoned rice.*

Seasoned Rice

  • 2 cups unconverted Jasmine rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth, such as Pacific
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed basil

In a medium sauce pot, combine all dry ingredients and then add the broth. Cover.

Cook over medium high heat until boiling.

Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed.

 

Happy Easy Yet Delicious Dinners!

A Post for the Kiddos

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When I got married eighty billion years ago in 1991, Taste of Home and casseroles were all the rage.

In particular, Tater Tot Casserole.

It consisted of tater tots (bet ya didn’t see that coming!), a can of cream of mushroom soup, broccoli or green beans, cheese and ground beef.

I used to make it once a week when the children were little because:

  1. A 9×13 pan in those days fed our family for a few days.
  2. It was cheap.
  3. They loved it.

Of course, that dish is full of things the allergic soul should not consume.

But now…NOW….thanks to the frenzy of gluten free everything these days, I was able to reconstruct Tater Tot Casserole into an allergy free dish.

And my seventeen year old men children like it better than the original!

One disclaimer, though: You’ll see in the pictures that it looks like I went down to the local sewage plant and plopped the remnants there into my casserole dish. It is not a pretty meal. Not even a little bit. But it is delicious, and, in my freaky little world, that is all that matters.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with spray. Spread a layer of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy gluten free tater tots to cover the bottom of the dish. Next, spread a layer of frozen green beans or chopped broccoli over the tots.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with spray. Spread a layer of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy gluten free tater tots to cover the bottom of the dish. Next, spread a layer of frozen green beans or chopped broccoli over the tots.

“Napoleon, give me some of your tots!”

“No! Go get your own!”

Next, layer one pound of seasoned ground beef over the other ingredients. I had leftover taco meat - bonus!

Next, layer one pound of seasoned cooked ground beef over the other ingredients. I had leftover taco meat – bonus!

Next, layer about 1/2 cup (or more if you like) Daiya cheese. Make sure to sprinkle it evenly.

Next, layer about 3/4 cup (or more if you like) Daiya cheese. Make sure to sprinkle it evenly.

Here's where it gets really unattractive. But yummy all at the same time. Pour half a carton (32 oz) of Imagine Creamy Portobello soup into a bowl. Add two Tablespoons corn or tapioca starch and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over casserole, then pour the remaining soup over that.

Here’s where it gets really unattractive. But yummy all at the same time. Pour half a carton (32 oz) of Imagine Creamy Portobello soup into a bowl. Add two Tablespoons corn or tapioca starch and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over casserole, then pour the remaining soup over that.  Spray foil with cooking spray so it won’t stick to the Daiya and cover casserole tightly. Bake for 35 minutes at 375, removing the foil at the 30 minute mark.

I must clarify once again that if you are allergic to soy, the online ingredients of the soup may disappoint you as it says the soup contains soy milk. However, the boxes I have purchased do not contain any soy at all, so go figure.

Then pull it out of the oven to the remarks of your children saying, "We're eating THAT?" (One of my kids actually called it 'The Poo Poo Platter', made famous in the movie 'Bug's Life'.)

Then pull it out of the oven to the remarks of your children saying, “We’re eating THAT?” (One of my kids actually called it ‘The Poo Poo Platter’, made famous in the movie ‘Bug’s Life’.)

Trust me here. It looks like a science project, but it is really, really tasty.

And once your family gets over the shock of its appearance, they’ll ask you if you can make it again.

And again.

It’s that yummy!

Tater Tot Casserole: Allergy Free Style

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with spray.
  • Spread a layer of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy gluten free tater tots to cover the bottom of the dish. Next, spread a layer of frozen green beans or chopped broccoli over the tots.
  • Next, layer one pound of seasoned cooked ground beef over the other ingredients. 
  • Now layer about 3/4 cup (or more if you like) Daiya cheese. Make sure to sprinkle it evenly.
  • Pour half a carton (32 oz) of Imagine Creamy Portobello soup into a bowl. Add two Tablespoons corn or tapioca starch and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over casserole, then pour the remaining soup from the carton over that. You will be using the entire carton.
  • Spray foil with cooking spray so it won’t stick to the Daiya and cover casserole tightly.
  • Bake for 35 minutes at 375, removing the foil at the 30 minute mark.
  • Remove at 35 minutes, or when casserole is bubbly and hot.

 

Happy Eating the Classics Without the Worries!

Feeling a Little Whiny?

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If you have a gluten allergy but love to cook, you may have cast aside any aspirations of using a cooking wine in your sauces and other creations.

I do not drink wine, or any alcohol, so I prefer to purchase cooking wine. Now, when I say cooking wine, I am not referring to the kind people drink.

You see, cooking wine is not meant for drinking; it is made for cooking. It contains added salt and is formulated expressly for cooking. Also, if it’s added to a dish correctly, at least ninety seven percent of the alcohol will burn off in the cooking process, leaving a flavorful addition to your meals.

But for the gluten allergic/Celiac, cooking wine has long been out of the question.

Until now.

Because the good folks over at Mizkan/Holland House have created an entire line of cooking wines and vinegars which are gluten free!

Holland-House-Wine

I have found the Holland House brand in just about every grocery store in town. And my favorite for spaghetti and pizza sauce is the Marsala. It gives your Italian dishes that authentic taste.

In fact, I’ll share my spaghetti sauce recipe with you, just as a little bonus:

Spaghetti Sauce – No gluten, dairy, soy or other crud

  • In a 4 quart stock pot, brown 1 pound ground beef or turkey (for those avoiding meat, see the note at the end of my recipe)

Halfway through the browning process, add:

  • 1-2 cups raw mushrooms
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • Continue sauteing until meat is cooked thoroughly and mushrooms are tender. Drain.
  • To the mixture, add one 20 oz can EACH plain crushed and pureed tomatoes
  • Next, add one small 6 oz can plain tomato paste

To that, add:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 TB dried basil (lemon basil is so delicious here)
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB sugar (I use coconut sugar and it works beautifully)
  • 1/4 cup Holland House Marsala cooking wine
  • Stir ingredients well
  • At this point, I strongly suggest transferring the ingredients to a crock pot to cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring 3 or 4 times during the process.
  • If a slow cooker is not an option, leave the ingredients in the stock pot and cover. Turn on medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Turn to low and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 45 minutes, but not more than one hour. Stir often.
  • Before serving, remove the bay leaves

Note: If you are vegan or vegetarian, the ground beef can be substituted with any variety of chopped veggies: zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots – the possibilities are endless!

Happy Cooking!

Chili for Your Chills

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I love using my crockpot during the cold, shivery months of the year.

I also love it during my kids’ basketball season. Turn it on and walk away. Come back ninety billion hours later, and we’re ready to sit down and eat!

I especially love homemade chili. It’s comforting, warm and feeds an army.

So let’s begin:

Your first step is to soak 4 cups dry beans for at least eight hours. Drain the beans and rinse when soaking time is completed.

Your first step is to soak 4 cups dry beans for at least ten hours. Drain the beans and rinse when soaking time is completed.

Next, place the soaked, drained beans in a 5 quart crock pot and add 1 box of Imagine brand creamy tomato soup.

Next, place the soaked, drained beans in a 5 quart crock pot and add 1 box of Imagine brand creamy tomato soup.

Add 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference).

Add 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference).

Chop up one green pepper and one medium onion (your choice) or 4 green onions. Add that to the pot.

Chop up one green pepper and one medium onion (your choice) or 4 green onions. Add that to the pot.

Next, brown 2 pounds of ground meat (I used 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb ground beef). Drain and add to the mixture.

Next, brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground meat (I used 1 lb ground turkey and 1/2 lb ground beef). Be sure to salt the meat. Drain and add to the mixture.

And get yourself one of those handy dandy ground beef tools shown in the photo above. I bought mine from Pampered Chef. I. Love. It!!!!

Next, while the dog is giving you his "I haven't eaten for a month!" face, add 1 TB chili powder. Also, add 1-2 tsp of each:  cumin, turmeric, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and onion powder. If you like a little more kick, add some Tabasco to that pot.

Next, while the dog is giving you his “I haven’t eaten for a month!” face, add 1 TB chili powder. Also, add 1-2 tsp of each: cumin, turmeric, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and onion powder. If you like a little more kick, add some Tabasco to that pot.

Now, while your dog is attempting his 'cute face', give all that deliciousness a stir or two.

Now, while your dog is attempting his ‘cute face’, add enough water to cover the ingredients (about 4 cups) and give all that deliciousness a stir or two.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

You can cook it on high for about 3-5 hours, but it won’t be QUITE as yummy.

Serve with shredded Daiya cheese, if desired.

Crockpot Chili: No gluten, dairy, egg, soy or other nasty critters

  • Soak 4 cups dry beans for at least ten hours. Drain and rinse. Transfer beans to a 5 quart crock pot.
  • Brown 1 1/2 lbs ground meat (I used 1 lb ground turkey and 1/2 lb ground beef). Salt the meat while it is browning and then drain. Add to the beans.
  • Add 1 box Imagine Creamy Tomato Soup to the beans mixture
  • Add 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
  • Chop up one green pepper and one medium onion (red, yellow, sweet: it’s your choice) or 4 green onions. Add that to the pot.
  • Add 1 TB chili powder. Also, add 1-2 tsp of each: cumin, turmeric, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and onion powder. If you like a little more kick, add some Tabasco to that pot.
  • Add enough water to cover the ingredients (about 4 cups) and give all that deliciousness a stir or two.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. 

    You can cook it on high for about 3-5 hours, but it won’t be QUITE as yummy.

  • Serve with shredded Daiya cheese, if desired.
  • If you MUST have tomatoes in your chili (my family would rather not), add a small can of diced tomatoes as well.

 

Happy Chilly Days!

 

Pasta Fagioli! Yes, you can eat that too!

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soup

Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Pasta Fagioli (pronounced ‘fa-shool’. or ‘fah-jool’. Take your pick).

You’ve probably heard that you’ll never, ever, ever eat it again because it’s full of gluten, dairy and all things off limits.

Psh.

I am here to turn that frown upside down.

But without pictures. I’m so sorry.  Basketball season for three of my teens has begun and I hab a code *sniff*. No time for pictures. But I’m still gonna share my recipe. With links! Fair? Fair.

Let’s get started.

Pasta Fajioli – No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Yeast

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) small white beans, drained
  • 1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes (The orgininal recipe that I tweaked for allergies calls for stewed tomatoes, of which we are not fans. If you like stewed tomatoes, by all means, go ahead.)
  • 1 Tbs EACH crushed basil, oregano, rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste, if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, sliced thinly and diced
  • 3 Cups broth (beef or chicken) OR water
  • 2 Cups uncooked small pasta (spirals, macaroni or broken spaghetti works well) **
  • 1 lb cooked and seasoned ground beef, drained
  • Optional: shredded Daiya cheese for topping

In a 4 or 5 quart saucepot, combine all ingredients except pasta and Daiya. Bring ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta and simmer, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, for an additional ten minutes or until pasta is al dente.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with Daiya, if desired.  Makes six servings.

**Should you choose to use brown rice pasta in this recipe, it would be a splendid idea for you to pre-cook your pasta then add it to the soup when it is ready to be served. If you choose to add it directly to the soup, remember, rice pasta makes the cooking water quite starchy and all that starch will be in your soup. Kinda icky. That is why I recommend the quinoa pasta for this dish.

Happy Cold Weather Comfort Foods!

Suppertime. Simple. Scrumptious.

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In a hurry?

Tired of Thanksgiving leftovers?

Not a problem.

Hamburger Mushroom Gravy Over Mashed Potatoes or Rice

  • Brown 2-3 lbs (I used 3 lbs for my family of seven) Lean Ground Beef (or ground turkey)
  • If desired, add some green onions while the beef browns
  • Please salt your ground beef
  • Once the beef is browned, drain
  • Next, add one container of Imagine Portobello Mushroom Soup
  • Bring to a simmer
  • Add a little more salt to taste, a dash of garlic powder, and whatever else you think might give it some pizzazz.
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup cornstarch or tapioca starch with water (should measure about 2/3 cup and not have any undissolved starch present.)
  • Pour cornstarch mixture through a handheld strainer to catch any lumps.
  • That’s right, pour it right into the simmering hamburger and soup.
  • Keep things simmering and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.
  • Once the mixture is thickened, serve by the ladle full over hot, cooked rice or mashed potatoes.
  • Serve with a salad or other vegetable and you have a quick, easy, comforting dinner.

Happy Simple Suppers!

Flu Season. Yuck.

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I have been kidnapped by the flu. Really.

It all began three weeks ago, when I took my 90 pound dog, who should be 80 pounds (we’re working on it), to the vet. You see, he had torn his ACL (well, the dog version of his ACL) and he was not cooperating for the vet. So I had to hold him down. And promptly threw out my back.

THEN, just as my back was getting better, I came down with a stomach virus. Nice. Bad back plus stomach virus equals not very comfortable at all.

I had a few days of feeling pretty good after that and then about a week ago, I got slammed again! This time, the dreaded influenza.

It was seriously just like Grover’s Bad Awful Day. Only it was Jaime’s Bad Awful Three Weeks.

So that’s where I’ve been: Sick and huddled under my covers with Good Earth tea and library books.

But it did yield a nice surprise in the process! Allow me to explain. Because I’m explaining whether you allow me to or not.

My dear, sweet oldest daughter went to the store for me and came home with a package of this:

 

This Amy’s Rice Macaroni and ‘Cheeze’  was shamelessly displaying itself in the freezer section at our local health food store! So what could my daughter do but buy a few boxes?

And not only is it gluten free, it’s dairy and soy free, prepared with Daiya cheese! It does have a small amount of nutritional yeast, so do not partake if you cannot have yeast.

I usually prepare my own mac and cheese using Daiya, but isn’t it nice to sometimes have something quick on hand? Especially when you’ve been sick?

And, thankfully, this mac and cheese passed the critical taste tests of both my daughter and myself.

In fact, it kind of reminded me of the old fashioned (listen to me…’old fashioned’, sheesh!) mac and cheese that came in those foil tray T.V. dinners back in the seventies and early eighties. You know, the kind you actually baked in your oven and it usually came with that awesome apple dessert? And then you ate it along with a cup of nice, cold Kool-Aid? Remember?

Yeah…and I wonder why I have so many food allergies now. Hmmmm. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact I loved Tab and Doritios. And TV dinner macaroni and cheese.

But now, thanks to Amy’s, I don’t have to feel guilty about eating their version of a true American delicacy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pretty intense housework to catch up on. And a kazillion doses of vitamin C to take, just in case.

 

Happy T.V. Tray Night!

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