glutenfreebymarriage

May 28, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Where the Heck Have I Been?

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 08:30

baked beans

In case you can’t tell, I’m not a prolific blogger…

It’s 8:30 AM and the baked beans have been in the slow cooker for an hour and a half.  I don’t have the time to be a super blogger, but I do  manage to make homemade,  non-processed, low sodium, gluten-free with minimal dairy meals on a daily basis.  If I had more free time I’d be all over the blog-post-a-day thing, but I don’t.

Things are busy with work, I’m trying to tame the urban wilderness that I call a garden and thanks to a generous gift of new flooring, we have decided to move up the kitchen demo plan.  (It was on the calendar for fall, but I can’t live with the stacks of wood that have morphed into stacks of wood and tile taking up half the space in my dining/kitchen areas.)

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of my day-to-day world, suffice it to say that some days I have more on my plate than others and that right now that plate is overflowing.

Looking ahead, summer is creeping up on us and with all the fresh veg it’s a great time to share easy to make, budget friendly gluten free recipes.  In the mean time here is this week’s menu.  As you can see, I didn’t even finish it.

Menu 5/26/13 – 6/1/13

Sunday: Cookout

Monday: Leftover Sloppy Joe (from Saturday)

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Slow Cooked Baked Beans and Oven Fries

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Pork Chops

Friday: TBD

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Chocolate Chip Muffins for coffee/tea

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January 29, 2013

Chunky Split Pea Soup (It ain’t pretty but it sure is good!)

Filed under: dairy free, dinner, gluten-free, soup/stew — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:26

chunky split pea soup

Close your eyes and the gently bubbling soup with its wafting smokey aroma will lure you down the hall towards the stove top but whatever you do, DO NOT OPEN THE LID!!!

Don’t worry, lifting the lid will not affect the soup, but the muddy looking green mush will likely turn your stomach, or at the very least make you wrinkle your nose and say “Ewwww.”

There is no getting around it.  Split Pea Soup falls into the same category as oatmeal and a few other mushy, unattractive foods.  It smells great, tastes great, is extremely good for you, but boy is it ugly.

If you can get past its appearance, this recipe has a wonderful thickness that belies its lack of meat and a hint of smokiness that is just the right touch to warm your winter blues.   Setting aside the unseemly color,  it’s an easy recipe that packs a lot of flavor and is well worth trying.  And yes, the picture is accurate.  The color of the soup is exactly how it looked when we ate it last night.

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

Split Pea Soup (What’s For Dinner? 365 Lean & Natural Dinners, p. 28)

ingredients:

Makes 6 servings

  • 1lb dried green or yellow split peas
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soft margarine
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 small potato, unpeeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced cook chicken (optional)
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Changes:

2 tablespoons soft margarine: I didn’t see the point of the margarine so I skipped it.

1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped: The leaves on the celery I had left in the fridge were looking a little limp so I just went with the stalk.

1 cup diced cooked chicken: It was optional and I didn’t have time to thaw frozen chicken and cook it so I opted out.

grated Parmesan cheese: Dairy, need I say more?

spices:  I also added 1/2 teaspoon of dried mustard and cinnamon to the pot.

Other Changes:

I used boxed chicken broth and didn’t want to leave 1/2 a box open in the fridge so I increased the broth from six to eight cups and to make up for the extra liquid I also doubled the celery, carrots and potatoes.

Directions:

  1. Wash and sort the peas.  Put in a 6-quart soup pot with the remaining ingredients except the chicken.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally.    All the vegetables should be very soft and begin to fall apart.  The thicker part of the soup will tend to sink to the bottom of the pan and should be stirred in before serving.
  3. Stir in the chicken or turkey about 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with the cheese.

That was pretty much it.  Another of those not so pretty, but oh so tasty meals.  I’m not a big pea fan, but this was an easy meal on a cold and snowy day and made a nice change from my usual lentils or black beans  You could take an immersion blender and puree the whole thing, but the idea of a muddy green puddle in my soup bowl wasn’t too appetizing so I left it chunky.  (It’s much easier to overlook the color when you can make out the potatoes and carrots.)

Also, the stirring really needed some more emphasis in the original recipe.  I got side tracked with work and found that the peas sank to the bottom and stuck to the pot.  I managed to incorporate them back into the soup with some aggressive scraping/stirring, but it was a gunky, clumpy mess.

Note: This is something that could be put in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours.  It could also be made vegetarian by swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  If you can get past the appearance it’s an inexpensive hearty meal with a surprising amount of flavor and I strongly recommend that you give it a try.

January 28, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Back in the Kitchen

Filed under: menu planning — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 15:47

This is what the kitchen looked like last week…

table taking up all the space in the kitchen

This week we get back to business.  The floors are done and the table is finally out of the kitchen.  The china cabinet will have to wait until next week, but everything else is back where it belongs and I can open the oven, dishwasher and refrigerator without slamming into the table.  Time to cook.

Menu 1/28/13 –  2/2/13

Sunday: leftover Beefy One Pot Dinner, Kraft Food & Family, Fall 2007, p.22

Monday: Split Pea Soup, What’s for Dinner? 365 Lean & Natural dinners, p. 28

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday:  Creamy Chicken & Rice

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Meatball Parmesan Sandwiches with Oven Fries

Saturday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea

Apple Raisin Crunch, What’s for Dinner? 365 Lean & Natural dinners, p. 25


I’m kind of waffling about this week’s menu.  I really wanted to try making a GF/Dairy Free condensed cream soup substitute, but between the clean up from the floor adventure and a work deadline I just don’t have the time to develop a new recipe.  I picked up a few choice ingredients when we went shopping yesterday, so maybe over the weekend, but not today.  In the mean time I am going to try un-glutening (okay, it’s not a word, but it should be) an interesting looking recipe I found for Apple Raisin Crunch.  There isn’t a picture in the cookbook, but based on the ingredients it looks like an apple crumb cake.  I may even replace the butter with applesauce to remove the dairy and reduce calories.  Win/Win and Yum!!!

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.

January 20, 2013

This Week’s Menu – Love Your Slow Cooker

Filed under: menu planning, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — glutenfreebymarriage @ 13:04

crockpotIt’s a busy week at GFBM so I am bringing out the slow cooker.

We’re in the middle of refinishing the floor in the dining/hallway area and the very limited space in our tiny kitchen is occupied with the dining table.  Needless to say, three days without being able to access the counter or oven for prep and cooking means my faithful slow cooker will be called into action.

Menu 1/20/13 – 1/26/13

Sunday: AFC Championship Game, Dinner out

Monday: leftover ham from Saturday

Tuesday: Chicken and Mushroom Stew, Prevention Guide Slow Cooker Recipes, p.9

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Beefy One Pot Dinner, Kraft Food & Family, Fall 2007, p.22

Friday: leftovers

Misc.: GF Blueberry Muffins for coffee/tea

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