glutenfreebymarriage

February 11, 2013

Chicken & Rice and Everything Nice – Making Soup When the Cupboard is Bare

Filed under: chicken, cooking, gluten-free, lunch, soup/stew, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:15

chicken and rice soup with spinach and mushrooms

I love soup for lunch!

One of the benefits of cooking gluten free is that it gives me an excuse to break away from the same old sandwich for lunch and in the winter there is nothing better than opening your lunch bag and finding a cup of soup.

I’m still getting over a cold and Mr. GF just caught one, so the plan was to make chicken soup for this week’s lunches.  Sadly I’m pretty much out of fresh veg and the supermarket shelves were bare so I had to get creative.  Not to worry, it all came out fine in the end.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients:

makes 12 servings

  • 2 – 3 pounds  cooked chicken, diced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cup water
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 16 oz package frozen spinach
  • a handful of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups rice

Directions:

  1. Normally I would be a purist and boil a chicken and use homemade stock, but I’m still sick and kind of tired after all that shoveling so I cheated and roasted some chicken.   You could buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket, but you have to be very careful.  Many of the precooked store chickens have coatings which typically contain flour or bread crumbs.  Honestly, it’s no big deal to cook chicken while you’re watching tv, doing laundry or surfing the web.  Just brush on a little flavored vinegar or olive oil, add a few spices and pop it in the oven at 3750 for an hour.
  2. Assuming you already have your cooked chicken, the next step is to make the rice.  Mix 2 cups of rice, 4 cups of water and a dash of salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes until liquid is gone.  Set aside.
  3. Heat a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a large pot.  Add sliced carrots, onions and garlic, cook over medium heat until onions are tender.  Add chicken broth, water, chicken and spices and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer 30 minutes until carrots are tender.
  5. Add spinach, rice and mushrooms, continue cooking until heated through.
  6. Ladle into containers.  Cover when cooled.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort, let me ask you this.  How much does a bowl of soup cost at the take out place and how sure are you that it’s really gluten free?

A little time in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll save time and money all week long.  To put it another way, twelve lunches for less than $1 a serving and no gluten.  Not too shabby.

Note: We both have lingering colds so we thought we would boost the decongestant benefits of chicken soup by adding some spice.  I thought I had jalapeños at home, but was out so I ad libbed with chili powder.  We like spicy, but it’s not for everybody.  If you prefer a more sedate flavor I would probably just use 1 teaspoon of thyme in place of the chili powder, red pepper flakes and nutmeg.

One More Thought: After I ladled out the soup I kept thinking that a teaspoon of feta might make a nice garnish.  I didn’t buy any, and Mr. GF tries to avoid dairy whenever possible, but if I had it on hand I would probably give it a try.

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January 23, 2013

Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Filed under: chicken, dinner, gluten-free — Tags: , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:27

chicken and mushroom stew over white rice

The recipe below is shown as it was originally written. The items highlighted in yellow are the ingredients that I changed.

Chicken and Mushroom Stew (Prevention Guide Slow Cooker Recipes 2006, p.9)

ingredients:

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 10 3/4 oz can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup + half a soup can of water
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Additions:

  • 2 cups uncooked brown or white rice

Changes:

1 10 3/4 oz can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup + half a soup can of water: The only gf cream of mushroom soup that I can find locally is Progresso Creamy Mushroom soup.  The Progresso is a much larger can, 18 oz, and is not condensed so I just used the soup and skipped the additional 1/2 can of water.

Note: Progresso’s Creamy Mushroom soup is not a great substitute when you need a thick condensed cream of mushroom soup but does work in this recipe because the directions call for half a can of water to dilute.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves:  I probably would have spent the extra money on boneless, skinless chicken breasts if they were going to be served as chicken breasts, but I’m too cheap poor to spend $3.99 a pound for something that is going to be chopped up.  I used about 1 3/4 pounds of boneless thighs and didn’t bother to cut them into bite size pieces.  (They fell apart into smaller pieces during the cooking process.)

1 cup baby carrots: Really?  Yes, baby carrots are cute on an appetizer tray, but I can’t rationalize the extra cost just so it looks cute in a stew.  I used the carrots I had on hand and chopped them into three inch pieces.  I would much rather spend the extra money on organic carrots.  There is a noticeable enough taste difference between organic and non-organic carrots that it’s worth the extra money.  (It also makes me wonder what other veg taste like when they are not covered in pesticides, etc…)

spices:  I also added 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary and sage to the pot.

Directions:

  1. Combine soup and water in slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Place in slow cooker.
  3. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery and garlic powder.  Stir gently to mix.
  4. Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours.
  5. Cook rice according to package directions and set aside.
  6. Serve chicken stew over cooked rice.

This isn’t the prettiest looking meal I’ve ever put on the table, but most things that come out of a slow cooker aren’t.   It was easy, convenient and tasted pretty good.  The only change I would make would be to add a little more salt next time.

Thoughts on Creamy Condensed Soups

One of the problems with trying to cook gluten free is that many of the fast & easy casseroles rely on condensed soup for structure (glue) and moisture and there are no gluten free condensed soups.

There are quite a few excellent recipes online for making a homemade condensed soup base that you can whip out to make your own gluten free condensed soup, but they are mostly dairy based and as Mr. GF is also Mr. Lactose Intolerant it’s not really a great improvement.  I could substitute soy powder for the powdered milk called for in most of the recipes, but Mr. GF’s grandmother died of breast cancer and I am leery of putting too much soy in his diet.

Since condensed soups seem to be more about consistency than taste (a salty gelatinous flour and water paste) I’m thinking that mashed potatoes or cauliflower with a smidgeon of broth might do the trick.  It could always be thickened with potato or corn starch.    Even better, I’m wondering if I could make a mix from mashed potato flakes, powdered bouillon and potato starch.   What do you think?

I’m thinking that it sounds really easy and that I should probably give it a try.

July 17, 2012

Black Bean Taco Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Filed under: chicken, Cooking Light, dairy free, dinner, gluten-free — Tags: , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:16

Black Bean Taco Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Back in the day, long before we knew about gluten or lactose intolerance, we used to rely on Cooking Light Magazine for a lot of our menu inspiration.   It was easy, had lots of great pictures and usually had a nice balance of recipes.

In an effort to get out of our menu rut and show that it’s not that difficult to tweak a published recipe to work for gluten/lactose intolerance I’ve decided to start posting some of the old Cooking Light recipes, starting with Black Bean Taco Salad with Lime Vinaigrette.

Heads Up: The recipe below is as it appeared on page 112 of the July 2000 edition of Cooking Light Magazine.  The items highlighted in yellow are the ingredients that I changed.

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

Makes 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped ready-to-eat roasted skinned, boned chicken breasts (about 2)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fat free baked tortilla chips (about 4 ounces)
Changes:

Vinaigrette:

fresh cilantro: substituted about 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro

Salad:

1 1/2 cups chopped ready-to-eat roasted chicken:  baked my own chicken, substituted legs

1 cup finely diced red onion: substituted 1 small can black olives

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese: Mr. GF is lactose intolerant, but I don’t like soy cheddar (tastes like Velveeta to me and I hate Velveeta) so instead of adding cheese directly to the salad, we sprinkled about a tablespoon of grated soy substitute on his dish and regular grated cheddar on mine.

baked tortilla chips: gf baked corn chips

soy substitute sour cream: sour cream wasn’t in the original recipe, but we had an open container of soy sour cream so we added a dollop (teaspoon) to the top of the salad.

Directions:

  1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth.  (I used my stick/immersion blender)
  2. Combine all salad ingredients except tortilla/corn chips in large bowl.  Add vinaigrette and toss until salad is well coated.  As noted above, I added the cheese to the individual servings rather than tossing it with the salad.
  3. To serve, place individual servings on chilled salad plates, top with grated cheese and dollop of sour cream.  Tuck tortilla/corn chips around edges of plate.

Overall, nice salad on a hot day, particularly if you use store bought roasted chicken.   With the exception of the lime, we usually have all these ingredients on hand so even though it’s too much for two people to eat, I would recommend it as an easy recipe if you have drop in dinner guests.

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