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!

 

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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!

Chicken and Dumplings – Yes, Allergy Free.

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Seriously. Yes, you can eat dumplings too.

You probably thought that just because the doctor said no more dairy, wheat and eggs that you would never enjoy chicken and dumplings again.

I am happy to say you thought wrong.

Shall we begin?

You will need for the broth and soup portion of the recipe:

  • One whole roasting chicken
  • 2 boxes chicken broth, such as Pacific brand

First, take the whole roasting chicken and put ‘er in the slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken with a variety of spices.

I used:

  • Basil, Mrs. Dash, garlic, one bay leaf, poultry seasoning, dill weed, cumin, and turmeric.
  • Pour three cups water over the chicken so that most of the spices mingle with the liquid.

Turn on low for 6 hours or for 3 hours on high and walk away.

When you return, this is what will greet you:

When chicken is thoroughly cooked, if you are ready to make your dumplings, turn off the slow cooker and keep the lid on it. Otherwise, keep it on warm until you are about a 1/2 hour away from prepping the dumplings, at which point you can turn it off with the lid still on.

To make your dumpling dough, you will need:

  • 3 C gluten free flour
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk (I used Silk original unsweetened almond)
  • Water
  • Additional GF flour

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Next cut in the Earth Balance. Add non dairy milk and mix with a mixer. At this point, you will need to add water a bit at a time until your dough resembles the texture of biscuit dough – not too sticky and not too dry. Just *slightly* sticky.

And now it will be ready to roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Be sure to use cornstarch or additional gluten free flour on your rolling surface. Sprinkle more GF flour on your rolling pin and the top of the dough as you go. Just be sure not to work the dough too much.

Next, using a pizza cutter, slice your dough into 1/2″ to 1″ strips lengthwise:

Then across the width, keeping the squares to 1/2″ to 1″ measurements.

Transfer the cut dumplings to a plate. Flour in between the layers. The flour will not only prevent the dumplings from sticking to each other, it will also help thicken the broth.

Next, strain the broth from your chicken into a five quart stock pot. I like to put a colander over the stock pot to catch the chicken and any loose herbs such as bay leaves as I pour the broth into the pot.

Set chicken aside.

Some people like to skim the fat off the chicken broth at this point. I most assuredly do not.

But if that is your thing, go ahead and do that step now.

Next, pour the two boxes of Pacific chicken broth into the stock pot.

Bring broth to a boil.

When broth is at a rolling boil, turn heat down to medium to keep it simmering.

Add the dumplings a few at a time. You don’t want them to stick together. When you get almost to the bottom of the plate, dump the rest in along with any additional flour from the plate.

When the dumplings are all safely nestled in the pot, cover it with a lid and turn down to low. Be sure your broth is still simmering. Keep the pot tightly covered for six minutes.

Meanwhile, strip that chicken of its meat. All of it. Get every little delectable bit off its bones.

Now uncover the pot and let the dumplings simmer for another six minutes.

When the six minutes are up, dump in the chicken and give it all a good stir. Let it all simmer for about another minute.

Turn off the heat and let everything mingle together for about five minutes before serving. Season individual servings with salt and pepper to taste.

The dumplings won’t be exactly as Momma used to make them, but they’ll be pert near close to the real deal.

Once again, here’s the run down if you want to copy and paste the recipe without the pics:

  • One stewing chicken, seasoned and covered in 3 cups water, cooked in a slow cooker.
  • 2 boxes Pacific broth

For the dumplings:

  • 3 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance spread
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk
  • Water
  • Additional GF flour

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Next cut in the Earth Balance. Add non dairy milk and mix with a mixer. At this point, you will need to add water a bit at a time until your dough resembles the texture of biscuit dough – not too sticky and not too dry. Just *slightly* sticky.

And now it will be ready to roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Be sure to use cornstarch or additional gluten free flour on your rolling surface. Sprinkle more GF flour on your rolling pin and the top of the dough as you go. Just be sure not to work the dough too much.

Next, using a pizza cutter, slice your dough into 1/2″ to 1″ strips. First lengthwise, then across the width.

Transfer the cut dumplings to a plate. Flour in between the layers. The flour will not only prevent the dumplings from sticking to each other, it will also help thicken the broth.

Next, strain the broth from your chicken into a five quart stock pot. I like to put a colander over the stock pot to catch the chicken and any loose herbs such as bay leaves as I pour the broth into the pot.

Set chicken aside.

Pour the two boxes of chicken broth into the stock pot.

Bring broth to a boil.

When broth is at a rolling boil, turn heat down to medium to keep it simmering.

Add the dumplings a few at a time. You don’t want them to stick together. When you get almost to the bottom of the plate, dump the rest in along with any additional flour from the plate.

When the dumplings are all safely nestled in the pot, cover it with a lid and turn down to low. Be sure your broth is still simmering. Keep the pot tightly covered for six minutes.

Meanwhile, strip that chicken of its meat. All of it. Get every little delectable bit off its bones.

Now uncover the pot and let the dumplings simmer for another six minutes.

When the six minutes are up, dump in the chicken and give it all a good stir. Let it all simmer for about another minute.

Turn off the heat and let everything mingle together for about five minutes before serving. Season individual servings with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Happy Evenings of Warm, Comforting Foods!

Chicken and Dumplings recipe copywritten by Jaime Rohm, The Freak Food Gourmet 2012

Clam Chowder. No Dairy. No Kidding.

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This is what it looked like in my town the other day:

So I made clam chowder.

It was only logical.

And forget everything you’ve ever heard about clam chowder being made with heavy cream and butter.

Because that recipe is so ten years ago.

We all know that the trendy thing to have now is food allergies. So the following recipe will be ‘THE’ way to chowder your clams.

Here is what you’ll need:

One package of this, cut into little pieces, cooked and set aside (Um, yes. The entire package.):

 Silk Almond Original Unsweetened (the unsweetened part is very important):

You’ll also need:

  • Three 6.5 oz cans of clams, drained.

(I used Snow’s, which is free of major allergens. You can also find clams at your local Costco that are free of allergens as well.)

And then go ahead and peel, slice and cube:

  • 8 – 10 medium potatoes

Next, dice into tiny, little pieces:

  • 1-2 ribs of celery
  • 3 green onions

Set your peeled, cubed potatoes, celery and onions in a 4-5 quart stockpot. Add enough water to *just* cover the potatoes.

To the potatoes and water add:

  • 1 clove (or two!) of garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (trust me here)
  • 1 tsp crushed, dried basil
  • Any other seasonings you want to throw in. Seriously. That’s how I make mine.

Bring the pot to a boil.

Once your potatoes are fork tender to your desired doneness, turn the heat to medium low. Add your cooked bacon and drained clams to the pot.

Whisk up your 1/2 cup flour with just enough water (almost 1 cup) to make a thick but almost runny base for thickening.

Using a strainer that looks something like this:

… pour your water/flour mixture through the strainer into the simmering pot, stirring constantly. (If you don’t have a strainer that sits over the pot on its own, you may want to add another set of hands to the process. Trust me on this. You will.)

Keep the pot simmering while stirring constantly. As mixture thickens, slowly add Unsweetened Original Silk Almond until the liquid comes to within a few inches of the top of the pot.

  • If you are allergic to almonds, other unsweetened original milk alternatives work as well. I have used hazelnut milk, and it was fantastic.  Just be sure your milk substitute is unsweetened and without any flavorings (vanilla, etc.).

If your chowder is being stubborn about thickening, dilute another 1/4 cup of flour in water and add it slowly to the pot, as before.

And here is our final product (ONCE AGAIN, photographed with my cell phone as it was 7:30 at night. Let’s just say the day involved a certain number of teenagers with sports practice, groceries and a sick sixteen year old man child.):

And one more time, the rundown on the ingredients, just so you don’t miss a thing:

  • 1 package bacon, chopped, cooked up and drained
  • Silk Original Unsweetened Almond milk
  • 8-10 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 1-2 celery ribs, chopped up in tiny pieces
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Three 6.5 oz cans clams, drained
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 clove (or two!) of garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed, dried basil
  • Any other seasonings you have a hankering about throwing in. Really.

If desired, serve with a dollop of Earth Balance and salt & pepper to taste.

Happy Chilly Days!

♫♫ Imagine all the Souuuuups and the Tasty Stews…♫♫

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If I were a betting woman (I’m not…not even the one dollar scratch game lottery tickets. I am not making this up.) I would be willing to bet you want to make stew and soups with delicious beef broth.

But you don’t.

Because you cannot have yeast. Or gluten. Or any number of other ingredients traditionally found in beef broths.

Until now.

Because our friends over at Imagine Foods have created some mighty tasty broths which contain no yeast, gluten, dairy, egg, corn or other nasty critters that interfere with your allergy health.

They also make an array of creamy soups that are nice for making chicken and rice bakes. Some of the creamy variety unfortunately are made with soy milk, so be careful to read the ingredients.

I also absolutely LOVE their tomato soup:

This is the only commercially made tomato soup I have found that is not only free of gluten, but free of dairy, soy and yeast as well! It is a little acidic, so if you like your tomato soup creamier, simply add an unsweetened milk alternative of your choice as you stir it to heat on the stove.

Sure, I can make my own, but it is so nice to have a box of this in the pantry on those cold, blustery days.

And along with a loaf of this bread:

And a container of Earth Balance:

And a small serving of Daiya:

I’m set to enjoy a nice, steaming bowl of tomato soup along with my ‘buttery’, scrumptious grilled ‘cheese’ sandwich.

Food allergies?

Psssshhh. Not a problem.

 

Happy Imagining the Possibilities!