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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Almond Cabbage Chicken Pie

When I am creating a new recipe, I always use the Aunt Lorena method. Aunt Lorena was a wonderful cook and she used to encourage me to experiment.

Then, my daughter and I watched Rachel Ray together at lunchtime during her high school years of home schooling. We both became quite bold in our cooking and started tweaking and creating recipes. When I am cooking this way, I start out with a conservative amount of seasonings and increase as needed. Be brave, you will get the hang of it.

Almond Cabbage Chicken Pie

No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding

Preheat oven to 350°F

Bake 3 large chicken breast halves until they have an internal temperature of 170°F. I use Costco’s Kirkland brand frozen chicken breasts and follow package directions for baking. If they are frozen, they take about 50 minutes to bake. When they are done, remove from oven and cut into small pieces. I use a pair of scissors and while holding the hot chicken with a fork I just snip off pieces in the size I want. Building this pie takes a couple of hours or so, but it is totally worth the effort—plan accordingly.

For Crust

Dry

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour

1/4 teaspoon gluten free Xanthan gum

½ teaspoon baking soda

4 teaspoons Argo baking powder

½ tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer

Wet
6 tablespoons safflower oil (or whatever kind you like)

2/3 cup plain Pacific

Foods Almond Milk

2 teaspoons vinegar

Completely oil the bottom and sides of a 9x9x2 inch baking dish, set aside.

Combine all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. In a second bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork until well blended. The resulting dough is a little sticky, a little crumbly, but easy to handle.

Take a little of the dough at a time and begin pressing it to line the pan, about a ¼ inch thick. I used a fork to do the bottom and then my fingers to press in the sides, it is really easy to work with. Continue this process until you have completely covered the bottom and nearly to the top of the sides. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and then proceed.

For Filling

Prepared chicken (above)

Vegetable oil (olive, safflower, whatever you like)

1/3 cup brown rice flour (or so)

2 cups (or more) Pacific Foods Chicken Broth

3 medium carrots, cubed

4 stalks of celery, sliced

2 cups chopped cabbage

4 large green onions, sliced (when we ate the pie, we all agreed that it would be tasty to use more onions, maybe a cup of them chopped. You could use a regular onion for this instead of green onions.)

Salt (is what brings out the flavor in this dish, so keep adding a little bit at a time until you are content)

Garlic powder (probably around ¼ teaspoon, maybe more)

Ginger (optional)

Garnish

Whole raw almonds (mandatory)

To make your gravy—drizzle about 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a large skillet. Add rice flour and blend it into the oil with a fork. You will quickly get a mucky mess.

Add the chicken broth a little at a time and slowly blend into the flour until you have added all of the broth and have a smooth mixture. If you do not rush this process, you will not have lumps. Season the gravy to taste.

Add the chicken and prepared vegetables to the gravy and mix them all together. You should taste the gravy to see if you need any more seasonings. Go ahead, it is perfectly safe, your chicken is already completely cooked.

Pie Assemblage

With the biggest utensil you can find, spoon the chicken mixture evenly into the prepared crust and garnish with as many almonds as you can manage.

Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes and serve hot. We had Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce with ours, which was just the right thing. Enjoy!!!


P.S. It is my intention to tweak this recipe and use it a lot for a variety of different flavors.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Honey-Mustard Smokies...in a Quilt - no dairy - no eggs - no gluten - no soy - no kidding

This is not an easy change, but it is also not impossible. I am determined to adapt to this new way of eating (well, I am adapting, since I haven't eaten any eggs or dairy for a week now). My biggest concern is to get all of the nutrients I need (my next concern is that I can actually stand to eat what I cook).




Earlier in the week I needed a fast meal. I looked in my fridge and cupboard, started my what-could-I-do-with-this-food-to-make-it-tasty-and-filling gears turning, and this is what I came up with:

Honey-Mustard Smokies...in a Quilt

1-14 oz. package Hillshire Farms Beef Lit'l Smokies
1/4 cup Safflower oil (or other oil of your choosing)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mustard
1 pkg. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
Pacific Foods Vanilla Flavored Almond Milk
Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer

The quantities on the honey-mustard sauce are a guess right now, because I used the Aunt Lorena method, as is my usual practice when I am coming up with a new dish, so you can make some adjustments according to your own taste. Just taste it and see if you are content.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix up the cornbread according to the package directions, using Egg Replacer instead of the eggs and almond milk instead of dairy milk. The Egg Replacer package says to mix together 1 1/2 t of egg replacer to 2 T of warm water per egg. Bob's calls for 2 eggs. Grease a 9"x9" casserole (I used a soy free spray) and spread the dough over the bottom.

Spread the Smokies evenly across the top of the cornbread and press them down into the dough. You could get fancy and make a zig-zag pattern or something exciting like this, but I was looking for something fast and I wasn't feeling that great anyway.

Pour and spread the honey-mustard sauce over the top to cover. Bake according to the cornbread package directions. It says 20 or 25 minutes (can't remember for sure), but I was thinking it could have baked a few minutes longer.

The sauce soaks into the bread a little ways and makes it really, really yummy. My family really liked it, but since my tummy is still in the post-dairy/egg healing period, it didn't set as well as I would have liked, but I am thinking that as I heal, it will be okay. I have always done okay with the Lit'l Smokies.

Stay tuned...I have been chewing on an idea for chicken, but it may be next week until it hatches.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hold the milk. Hold the eggs.

Life just became a bit more complicated. I have suspected that I should not be eating milk or eggs for some time, but I just didn't want to face it or admit it. I have finally come to the point that I can make gluten free versions of food that are really good, really satisfying, and now I have to start all over again. I will survive. I will figure it out. Things could be worse. Tonight I am feeling a little pouty though. A lot of my recipes just became obsolete.

However, I am quite certain that I am going to feel a lot better.