Monday, February 28, 2011

Midwestern Chicken Pot Pie

We all crave Midwestern, homestyle cooking now and then, even if you call the Rocky Mountains your home. This recipe hits the spot when you're longing for gluten-free comfort food.

Make a double batch of the filling and freeze it for a quick weeknight dinner later. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and top with pastry just before cooking.

This one's for you, Mom.


Chicken Potpie
loosely based upon Carol Fenster's "Gluten-Free Quick and Easy" recipe

2 T. butter, dairy-free buttery spread (I like Earth Balance), or olive oil
1/2 c. celery
1 c. carrots
1/2 c. onions
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. celery salt
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1 c. peas
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
1/4 c. white wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease 4 ovenproof 4" ramekins or a 2-quart ovenproof baking dish.

Sauté onion, carrots, celery in butter in a large skillet until almost tender. Add 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, seasoning and peas and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir the sweet rice flour into the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth to form a smooth paste. Add to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken and wine. Spoon into serving dish(es).

Divide half the pastry recipe (below) into 4 balls. Roll each ball between sheets of plastic wrap to a circle just slightly smaller than the diameter of the ramekins and place a circle of piecrust over filling in each ramekin. Or roll one pastry crust to fit the baking dish. Optional: brush the crust with beaten egg to brown nicely, and sprinkle with salt.

Bake 15-20 minutes for individual ramekins, or 20-25 minutes for the large baking dish, until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned.


Tender Vinegar Pastry
From Bette Hagman’s “Gluten-Free Gourmet” cookbook.

1½ c. rice flour
½ c. potato starch flour
¼ c. tapioca flour
     (or use 2-1/4 cup of your favorite GF flour blend -- Bob's Red Mill works well)
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 t. xanthan gum
¾ c. shortening (Spectrum Non Hydrogenated Shortening is good)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. vinegar
2 T. cold water

Sift flours, salt, sugar and xanthan gum into a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening. Blend together egg, vinegar and cold water. Stir them into the flour mix. This will seem quite moist, but a rice crust needs to be more moist than a wheat flour one. (I simply combine all dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse to "sift", add shortening and pulse to "cut in," then pulse to mix in egg/liquid). Knead the mixture into a ball.

Separate into two balls and roll, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap. Remove one sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie tin. Remove final plastic wrap sheet.

To bake a pie crust to be used later, bake in preheated 450° oven for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 crusts.

This pastry recipe is delicious for pumpkin pie or apple pie (brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar for fruit pies). Double the recipe to freeze extra pastry dough flattened into quart-sized Ziplock freezer bags.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Simple Marinades

I am a lucky woman – my husband loves to grill, and he's good at what he does. Darn good.

Creating simple, delicious meals is essential to keeping your sanity while eating gluten free. We've found that basic dinners of grilled meat, steamed veggies, and a starch win over complex meals almost every time.

Many pre-marinated meats contain gluten, so it's best, and quite easy, to create your own marinades from a few ingredients in your pantry.

One of these three recipes adorn nearly everything my husband tosses on our grill. Enjoy!


Atchison #1 Marinade

2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
     (Lea & Perrins® Original Worcestershire Sauce is GF)
2 T. Tamari Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos (GF soy sauce)
2 T. olive oil
     (or less, depending on the meat’s fat content)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

chile flakes, herbs, ginger, your favorite seasoning blends

Mix all ingredients together and marinate steaks for an hour or two. Double the recipe if grilling more than two to four steaks.

This is equally good on chicken and pork.

Bon Appetit!


Asian Marinade

2 T. Tamari Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos (GF soy sauce)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. sesame oil
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. lime juice
2 t. grated ginger (fresh or available in glass jars in the produce section)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and pour over skin-on salmon and marinate about 30 minutes. 
Delicious on beef, pork or chicken.


1 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

1 pound tilapia, striped bass, or sturgeon fillets

Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer.

Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Kid Tips

A big challenge for GF kids is helping them to eat healthfully while away from home. Here are a couple of tricks to make it an easier transition.

I make sure that my child's school has gluten-free birthday cupcakes in the teacher's lounge freezer (6 fit nicely in a quart freezer bag). They're easily on-hand for last minute celebrations. My son loves to strut into the teachers lounge to get himself a treat when needed.

At school, my kiddo has "emergency lunches" in the school cafeteria shelf if the GF school lunch on the menu that day is changed, or if a lunchbox is forgotten. I made ours out of several shelf-stable items -- peanut butter to-go containers, snack-sized corn chips, applesauce containers, pickle containers, and cut fruit containers.

Gluten-free pizza can be sent to pizza parties. Amy's had several good GF and GF/DF frozen pizzas, or you could send a few slices your own. Udi's is a fabulous GF frozen crust, and Bob's Red Mill makes a wonderful Pizza Crust Mix.

Send Gluten-Free "Kits" with your kiddo to have in the classroom and at play dates. This could include a couple GF granola bars, GF cookies, GF crackers, GF pretzels, etc in a plastic container. It's good to include a note describing gluten intolerance to the teacher or parent. I have posted our note below.

Now, get out there and play!

You may modify this note to suit your child's needs.
(Kiddo's name)'s Gluten-Free Snack Guide
(Kiddo's name) has an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease, also known as gluten intolerance. This means he can't eat regular bread, cake, crackers, granola bars, cookies, pasta or pizza.
His body thinks that gluten is a poison. Gluten is in wheat (wheat, spelt, kamut), rye, oats, barley and malt. When he digests gluten, his antibodies in his small intestines come to fight the "poison", and end up hurting his small intestines. Digestion and nourishment can't happen after repeated ingestion of gluten.
(Kiddo's name) CAN EAT lots of things. Some snacks include yogurt, cheese, milk, nuts, fruit, veggies, pickles, pudding, Jello, corn tortillas, Fritos, Cheetos, potato chips, juice, soda, and the gluten-free snacks included. He can eat all candy except Nestle Crunch, Kit Kat, Twix, Twizzlers Licorice, and Whoppers.
Good lunch and dinner items are eggs, hot dogs (check package to see if they are gluten free), meat, cheese, potatoes, corn, rice, peanut butter & jelly, corn tortillas. Breaded items, pasta and many soups are not allowed.
If (Kiddo's name) does eat gluten, it is NOT AN EMERGENCY and (Kiddo's name) will not immediately get sick. He usually tells us if he thinks he ate gluten. We consider this kind of error a step in the process of learning about his new diet (he was diagnosed in _________), and we do not shame or criticize him for it. We simply talk about the risks of doing so.
THANK YOU for your concern and for keeping (kiddo's name) healthy! Please call me if you have any questions.
(Mom and Dad's name and phones)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

Okay. . .let's be honest.
Even if you are enjoying the health benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle and feel great, I'll bet you can't walk down the grocery store aisle and not gaze longingly at the brightly-colored boxes of sodium-laden instant comfort food. I know you want them. So do I!!

My kids are a fan of a Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe I created by using a basic white sauce recipe from Karina's Gluten-Free Goddess blog. Try this on an evening you're wanting a taste of processed food nostalgia while remaining dairy and gluten free.

Homemade Hamburger Helper
1 pound ground beef
1/4 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt, or your favorite seasoning (Lawry's is GF!)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped chives or parsley
1/2 bag (8 oz.) of Tinkyada Pasta in your favorite shape (we like spirals)

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1-1/4 cups almond or hemp milk

Boil pasta in large stockpot until almost tender.

Brown beef in a large skillet with onion. Drain well. Season with salt and Lawry's.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the rice flour (I like to use a whisk to do this). Cook and stir the flour for about 10 seconds, then slowly add in the almond milk, whisking to blend the flour paste and almond milk. Bring the mixture to a bubble (it will thicken as it heats) then remove from heat.

Combine beef, pasta and sauce in skillet and warm together a moment.

Serve with a yummy side salad or steamed broccoli.

(For a grain-free version, mix 1/2 c. cashew cheese with 1/2 c. water and use in place of the white sauce above)

Visit your local health food store and see the plethora of gluten free products available (don't be afraid to ask -- you'll be pleasantly surprised). These small companies are the ones who created the initial gluten-free product lines and public awareness of gluten-free living. Give thanks by taking home a package of gluten-free goodness today.

Believe it or not, large corporations like Betty Crocker are listening and answering the call for gluten-free fare with Gluten-free Hamburger Helpers, Gluten-free Bisquick, and Cake, Cookie and Brownie Mixes, among other products. I'm a fan of some of their dessert mixes. I still can't endorse eating products laden with MSG and dozens of ingredients that I can't pronounce, but I'm thankful for the increase of awareness that these corporations are creating.

Peruse your grocery aisle today. . .you may be surprised at what you can take home.