February 28, 2013

GF Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #1

Filed under: gluten-free, recipe makeover, Uncategorized — Tags: , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 02:42

condesned cream of chicken soup

1st Attempt at an easy gluten-free condensed soup substitute

The first thing people think about when I say that my husband can’t eat gluten is bread.

I get it.  The brain goes from wheat to flour to bread.  It’s the most obvious observation, but the truth is that in today’s gluten-free world, bread is the least of my problems.

No, my biggest gf  headache isn’t bread, pasta, cookies or any baked good.  My number one gut-wrenching challenge with gf cooking is the lack of gluten-free condensed soups.

I admit it.  I used to be a Casserole Queen.

Back in the day I relied heavily on casseroles and one pot meals for weeknight dinners.  Bake some chicken mix it with vegetables or stuffing.  Add soup  and voilà.  When you are pressed for time there is nothing better than a casserole.  Unfortunately, the tastiest casseroles all seem to require a can or two of condensed soup.  Cream of chicken, mushroom or celery, the one commonality in those weeknight dishes was that salty, gelatinous goop in the bright red Campbell’s can.

You know the one I mean.  The canned paste euphemistically labeled soup, chock full of wheat and a day’s supply of sodium in every serving.   The stuff of kitchen legends, a perfect blend of moisture and binding agent that magically melds pretty much any meat and vegetable in a way that even the most finicky eater will pass their plate for seconds.   The magic that is condensed soup.

Now that I’ve mastered the fine art of gluten-free gravy, it’s time to take on the condensed soups.

GF Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute #1


makes about 2 cups

  • 8 ounces low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces lactose free 1% milk*
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
  • salt to taste

*lactose free 1% milk: Mr. GF is also lactose intolerant so I used lactose free milk for this.  You could also use regular milk or pretty much any other milk substitute.  (Soy, almond, etc…)


  1. Add chicken broth and milk to a small saucepan, stir over medium heat until liquid comes to a boil.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir in potato flakes and salt.

Yes, that really is all there is to it.  Not quite as easy as opening a can and pouring, but almost.

Notes:  This was my first attempt at a gluten-free condensed cream of chicken soup substitute and I am pretty pleased.  I used it in place of  condensed cream of chicken soup in my regular chicken and biscuit recipe and the texture was spot on.  I should have used a lot more salt, but  otherwise it worked fine.

I have a couple other ideas I’d like to try, but this is definitely an easy to make substitute that closely resembles the original canned version in taste and texture and is well worth the effort if you need a gf alternative for your favorite casserole.


February 8, 2013

Basic Gluten Free Cookie Flour Blend

Filed under: baking, cookies, recipe makeover — Tags: — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:39

cup of flour

So, you want to make cookies

They say that the first step to overcoming a problem is to admit that you have one.  I’m not so sure about that, I think it really depends on the problem.

Take cookies for example.  With the exception of pfeffernüsse, I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like.  Some would say that I have a cookie problem.  It’s not like an actual addiction, I can control my consumption and I don’t have withdrawals if I don’t eat any, but it’s not easy.  I still have to make a conscious effort to step away from the cookie jar and I throw a lot of virtual speed bumps in the path of cookie madness.  The big one being that cookies should be homemade.  It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it is one that does help cut down on the free range munching, or at least it did until I got used to banging out a few dozen cookies at the drop of a hat.  But I digress.

The real cookie problem began when Mr. GF had to give up gluten.

You have to understand that I’ve literally spent years developing my repertoire of cookie recipes.  The perfect chocolate chip cookie, check.  Sugar cookies, check.  Peanut butter cookies that are both crispy and chewy, check.  Maybe it is an addiction, but I wasn’t going to give up cookies without a fight.

After a lot of trial and error I have finally managed a good basic gluten free flour blend for cookies.  Keep in mind that baking is as much science as art and that the type of cookie you are baking will require tweaks in the ratios, but this flour mixture is a good starting point when you want to convert your favorite family cookie recipe to an intestine friendly gluten-free version.

Gluten Free Cookie Flour Blend

makes 2 cups flour

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Note: One of the side benefits to cooking gluten-free is that the flours can be custom blended to make whatever density or texture you want.

My favorite gf yellow cake is heavenly and has a much lighter texture than any cake I’ve ever eaten.  The same goes for cookies.  This particular blend will result in very light, airy cookies that simultaneously crumble and melt in your mouth.  If you need a heavier or chewier texture just play around with the proportions.

Try 1 cup of brown rice flour and eliminate the potato starch.  Increasing the sorghum will give you a dryer texture which is great if you are trying to simulate something with a whole wheat flavor.

Experiment until you find the right blend for your recipe.  You may have some misses along the way, but you will get a feel for what each of the alternative flours brings to the table.  Before you know it your cooling racks will be lined with fabulous gluten-free cookies!

January 18, 2013

New Year’s Brunch – dairy & gluten free

Filed under: baking, breakfast/brunch, dairy free, fruit, gluten-free, recipe makeover — Tags: , , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:01

gluten/dairy free coffee cake with fresh fruit and piña colada dip

Fresh fruit, tropical piña colada dip and coffee cake, can you think of a better way to greet the new year?   Did I mention that it is gluten and dairy free?

The coffee cake is based on a fruit-filled coffee cake recipe that I found in an old Kraft Foods magazine and the dip from a very old Pillsbury brunch cookbook.

As usual,  the recipes shown below are as they were originally written and the items highlighted in yellow are the ingredients that I changed.

Fruit-Filled Coffee Cake  (Food & Family, Spring 2009, p.41)


Makes 24 servings

  • 1 pkg (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 21-oz can cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon milk


1 pkg white cake mix: I couldn’t find a gf box mix so I substituted my usual recipe for gf yellow (1 1/2 cups white rice flour, 3/4 cup tapioca flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon xanthan, and 1 1/4 cup sugar)

1 cup sour cream: To minimize the dairy, I substituted 1 cup tofu sour cream

1 21-oz can cherry pie filling: I used apple pie filling

1/2 cup almonds: I didn’t have any almonds on hand so I skipped them

1 1/2 tablespoon milk: Again, to minimize the day’s dairy intake I substituted almond milk


  1. Preheat oven to 3500
  2. Beat cake mix, cinnamon, sour cream, eggs and water until well blended and spread into a greased and floured 9″ X 13″ pan.  I usually use white rice flour to coat the pan.  I found the batter to be very firm with a consistency more like dough than batter and had to use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  3. Spoon the fruit filling on top of the cake batter.
  4. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Note: I’m not sure if it was because of the many substitutions, but this took much longer than 35 minutes to bake.  In the end, it baked for 60 minutes.  (I’m pretty sure that it’s not a problem with my oven as meats cook perfectly within the expected time.)
  5. Sprinkle with nuts and cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix powdered sugar and milk to make glaze; drizzle over cake.

Cool completely before serving.

This was a nice recipe that I would make again.  It’s a lot for two people to eat in a week, but if I was doing a pot luck or other activity where there were going to be a lot of people, it is definitely worth the effort.

Piña Colada Dip (Pillsbury All New Brunch Cookbook #112, June 1990, p.13)


Makes 2 1/2 cups (serving size is 1 tablespoon)

  • 8-oz can crushed pineapple in its own juice, un-drained
  • 3 1/2-oz package instant coconut pudding and pie filling
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


3/4 cup milk: As usual, I substituted almond milk for regular.  Note: Almond milk cannot normally be substituted for regular milk in pudding as it will not set.  The only reason this worked for the dip was because the sour cream and crushed pineapples provide enough thickening to get the pudding to dip consistency.

1/2 cup sour cream: To minimize the day’s dairy intake I substituted tofu sour cream.


  1. Using a food processor, blender or immersion blender, combine all ingredients and process about 30 seconds until almost smooth.
  2. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight to set.

Both recipes are really easy to make, especially if you have a box of gf cake mix on hand.  The piña colada dip is a particular favorite of ours and I was really pleased that it didn’t lose any flavor or texture by making it dairy free.  If you need a quick dip or a coffee cake that will feed a lot of people these are definitely recipes worth trying.

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