Coconut Fried Chicken Nuggets

gluten free ~ dairy free ~ grain free

Kids. They are the most wonderful beings and at the same time can make you want to run for the hills and hide. The last scenario being most appropriate (at least in my house) during the dreaded “dinner hour.” It can be unbelievably tricky to make a dinner that both hits the kids criteria; i.e. dairy, carbs or ideally both followed by a plate of cookies AND that doesn’t make the adults eating feel like they just time warped back to their childhood.

I won’t lie, I LOVE chicken tenders but am not always a fan of the excessive amount of breading that is used on the frozen variety and I always prefer to make things from scratch if I can. This recipe is from the amazing Jamie Oliver and was first introduced by him as an alternative to the “pink slime” chicken nuggets that were being served at McDonald’s. These are super simple to whip up and are the perfect topper for a big green (ADULT) salad and will make any carb crazy, chicken tender loving child very happy. Enjoy!!! nom nom

 

3-4 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

2 free range eggs

1 cup of almond meal/flour. Or use coconut flour if there are allergies

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion dried

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8 TBS coconut oil

  1.  Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside
  2. Mix in a large bag all of the ingredients except for the chicken and egg and set aside.
  3. Now beat the egg and mix it with the chicken.
  4. Add the chicken and egg mixture to the plastic bag and shake until the chicken is completely covered.  Make sure to hold on to the top so it doesn’t open up.
  5.  Heat a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add 2 tbsp coconut oil and add chicken in.
  6. Continuously stir until the chicken starts to brown.  As it cooks, the coconut oil will be soaked up by the chicken so add another 2 tbsp when the pan starts to get dry.  **Add more oil if needed, but be careful you don’t add so much oil the nuggets get soggy, and vice versa; not too little where they can’t fry up nicely.
  7. Allow to cool and serve with your kids (or your) favorite dipping sauce or as a protein with a big salad. 

 

 

Chicken Meatball and Escarole Soup

gluten-free / dairy free option

It is officially soup time!!!!! Ok…its been soup time for almost two months, but what can I say???? It’s been a bit crazy (ok, bat shit crazy) at my house and we just arrived to the party.

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love the feel of the crisp, clean air as I walk my daughter to school in the morning and I love going to pick apples and pumpkins at Barthel Fruit Farm with my family. But by far, my most favorite thing about fall is the food!!! I know, I know….. no surprise there as I am obviously a bit of a food junkie. Though. I feel like I would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t feel the same way. I mean, just think about it!!! Apples crisps, pumpkin pie squares, pumpkin bread, and soups coming at you from all sides. It is frickin’ glorious my friends!!!! But truthfully, there is nothing better than a hearty warm soup served with a nice crusty loaf of garlic bread.  It warms your soul after a long day and is the perfect way to come together as a family. And pretty much anything I can make in one pot is a winner in my book.

This chicken meatball soup is an absolute staple in my house. The kids love anything that comes in the form of a meatball and is served with buttery toast. And I love that is healthy and creates a “no whining” environment at the table. Kid tip…I make sure to chop up the escarole a little smaller so that the meatball conveniently “covers” the escarole on the spoon! I serve this with a loaf of gluten-free garlic bread and dinner my friends is served. Enjoy!! nom nom

6 TBS plain gluten-free breadcrumbs

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan-reggiano cheese or Vegan parmesan cheese

4 TBS chopped  fresh parsley or 2 TBS dried parsley

1 lb ground chicken

2 large eggs

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion; finely diced

3 small carrots; finely diced

2 celery stalks; fnely diced

1.5 qt of chicken broth

2 1/2 tsp salt; divided

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 sprig of rosemary

5 cups escarole, thinly sliced

  1. Put breadcrumbs in bowl, moisten with 1 TBS water. Mix in cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken and eggs and mix until just combined. Scoop out 1 TBS of meatball  mixture and roll into golf ball sized meatballs. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in 5 qt pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots  and 1 tsp salt; cook until tender 4-5 minutes. Add broth and rosemary. Bring to a boil.
  3. Gently add meatballs, reduce heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer, cook for 10 minutes
  4. Add escarole and continue to simmer until meatballs are cooked and escarole is wilted, about 5 additional minutes.
  5. Discard the rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional grated cheese if desired.

Slow Cooker Beef Lettuce Wraps

Another AMAZING slow cooker summer dish is here!! Lettuce wraps are very versatile and can be a great alternative to your traditional bread laden sandwiches or heavier taco wraps in summer. The cucumbers and carrots are in season right now and lend a great vibrant crunch to the beef. And the beef…well, its super tender with a subtle sweetness to balance out the umami flavor. Translation, it is good enough to eat all by itself!

My hubby thought these were the bomb, and even though my kiddos were not keen on the lettuce wraps, they did devour the beef with some brown rice and the veggies on the side! So that is a win win in my book. This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Light magazine. I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe to ensure it was gluten free. And while they had you soak the cucumbers and carrots for 15 minutes, we thought they were much better when they marinated longer. Enjoy!!! nom nom

gluten-free / dairy free 

Prep time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: 8 hours on low

 

Ingredients:

1 large onion, cut into slices

8 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 tsp canola oil, plus more for slow cooker liner

1 (2-3 lb) boneless chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat

1/2 cup unsalted beef stock

1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce

11 TBS rice vinegar, divided

2 TBS sesame oil, divided

2 TBS coconut palm sugar (brown sugar works as well)

2 TBS unsalted tomato paste

1 TBS white miso (soybean paste)

3/4 tsp crushed red pepper

16 Bibb lettuce leaves

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

 

Quick Pickles

3/4 cup thinly sliced english cucumbers

3/4 cup julienne-cut-carrots

1 cup of water

1 TBS granulated sugar (I use turbinado)

3/4 tsp kosher salt

**The quick pickles are best if they marinate overnight. If you don’t have the time, let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.

  • Place cucumber and carrots in a shallow container with a lid. Combine remaining 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup of water, and granulated sugar in small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour vinegar mixture over carrots and cucumber. If you are marinating overnight or all day, let mixture cool and then place in refrigerator. Remove from fridge about 15 minutes before serving; drain well.

 

  1. Coat bottom and the sides of slow cooker with canola oil. Place onion slices in the bottom of slow cooker; top with garlic.
  2. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chuck roast to pan; cook 2-3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place beef on top of onions and pour any drippings from pan over the top.
  3. Combine stock, soy sauce, 3 TBS vinegar, 1 TBS sesame oil, and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper) in a medium bowl, and whisk together. Pour mixture over beef and onions. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  4. Transfer beef and onions from slow cooker to a large platter; shred with 2 forks. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid and discard  the remaining liquid and garlic. Sprinkle evenly with salt and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid, toss to coat.
  5. Divide beef and pickles among lettuce leaves, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Buttermilk Pancakes

gluten-free – dairy free option – refined sugar free

Pancakes. Most definitely in my top 5 of all time favorite foods. They are (or should be) little golden mounds of fluffy, slightly sweet heaven. Which you can then drown in maple syrup, slather with jam or just throw on an ungodly amount of butter and eat until euphoria sets in.  I told you I like pancakes….. and without fail at every breakfast outing I would go on, no matter what else I might order, you were guaranteed to see a single pancake next to me. That is until I had to give up gluten (which can make eating pancakes out almost impossible). So, I had to put on my big girl panties and learn how to go without my beloved pancake. Sometimes I am lucky and the restaurant will have a GF option and I will literally have to fight myself not to get up from my chair, kiss the server and do a little pancake jig.

Pancakes are also a big deal in my house. They are pretty much a weekly occurrence since breakfast for dinner is one of the kids most requested meals. I won’t lie, it has been an uphill battle to find a gluten-free pancake recipe that my crew approved of.  I pinned and googled a ridiculous amount of recipes and we began our search. Unfortunately, we had many disappointing dinners where the pancakes were either to dense, to mushy, or simply not the pancakes of days gone by. So after a few failures, the lightbulb finally went off (sometimes it takes a bit ya’ know??) and I pulled out our pancake recipe from the days before allergies and sensitivities and we started to tinker around with it. We had a few false starts but pretty quickly we had the recipe you see now, and they were ok.

HA! Just kidding…but wouldn’t that be some shit???!!! If after reading this whole thing about my weird obsession with pancakes I just said they were “ok”?? They were better than ok, they were actually fantastic!!! Light, fluffy, slightly sweet and the perfect dessert for any breakfast. Enjoy!! nom nom

 

3 TBS butter or vegan butter; melted and cooled to room temp

2 cups of gluten-free flour; I use Cup4Cup brand

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or other unrefined sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups buttermilk or non-dairy buttermilk* (see note below)

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

mini chocolate chips (optional) I used Enjoy Life brand mini vegan chocolate chips

**If you want to make a dairy free buttermilk here is how you do it. This will make enough buttermilk for the pancakes. In a liquid measuring cup put in 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar. Add enough dairy free milk to the apple cider vinegar to equal 2 cups total liquid. Let stand for 5 minutes and whisk before using as the mixture will separate a little.

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients together.
  3. Pour wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients.Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before batter is evenly moistened.
  4. Add the cooled melted butter and mix until evenly moistened.
  5. Let the batter rest while the pan heats up.
  6. Lighlty oil the pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake into the pan.

*Not everyone in my fam wants chocolate chips in their pancakes (my hubby is a purist). So, I add the chocolate chips to some of the pancakes right after I put the batter in the pan!

 

 

 

Zucchini Patties

gluten free / dairy free option / vegan option

There are two words I would use to describe zucchini. The first is Prolific.. The other would be Huge. I assume you see where this is going and that it goes without saying…. I have a ton of zucchini in my house. Between my mom’s garden and a few friends I find myself staring at the zuchinni wondering how many different recipes I can create or find with zuchinni as the main ingredient. And since zuchinni bread is the poster child of Zucchiniville, and I like to walk off the beaten path whenever possible…. I decided to start off with a savory dish like the patties you see above.

These zucchini patties are crazy good!! And minus the shredding which can be a bit annoying, they are a breeze to make. Both my kids devour them and will even eat them multiple times in a week!!! I mean…that NEVER happens in my house…. not unless its chicken tenders or dessert. And they are super versatile. My hubby and I make BLT  or BELT stacks with them…..ridiculously good. We take one patty and give it a swipe of Veganaisse, top that with mixed greens, bacon, tomatoes and an occasional fried egg and you would give up sex for a month to get another one. I promise. They are also superb topped with a slow cooked pulled pork and creamy slaw or make them mini and use them as a base for your own version of salmon latkes.

I ALWAYS double the recipe so I can make one batch with regular cheese and one with vegan cheese….I live in a divided household when it comes to cheese. For true vegans….I have never made these completely vegan and removed the egg, But I assume a flax-seed egg or other egg alternative would work just fine.

Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini**

1 small onion shredded (grated)**

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, I use Daiya shredded cheese

1 egg or flaxseed egg

1/2 cup gluten-free bisquick (or regular bisquick if you are GF friendly)

salt and pepper to taste

**The quickest and easiest way to shred the zucchini and onion is with a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Make sure you scoop out the seeds from the zuchinni before shredding. Once they are shredded, squeeze all the excess water from both the zucchini and the onion.

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until completely mixed together
  2. Heat enough oil to coat your skillet (I use grapeseed or canola) to medium heat.
  3. Drop mixture by the spoonful to make approximately 6 patties
  4. Let them cook on each side until brown, appx 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain off the excess oil

 

Would love to hear of any awesome zucchini patty concoctions you come up with!

Biscuits

Take it from a girl from Kansas, where biscuits are pretty much a daily occurrence, these gluten-free biscuits are the bomb!!!!!! Warm out of the oven with a little butter and honey (or jam) and you will be in heaven.  They are flaky and moist with a beautiful golden brown top thanks to the melted butter you brush the tops with both before and after baking. These biscuits have also become a weekly staple in our house so that we can make breakfast sandwiches. They are a breeze to whip up taking only 20 minutes from start to finish. If you want to warm them up from room temp, just pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds or in the toaster on the lightest setting. Enjoy!!! nom nom
2 1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour; I use the Cup4Cup brand
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons cold salted butter  or vegan butter
2 tablespoons melted butter; divided
1 cup buttermilk or non-dairy buttermilk substitute
flour for rolling out dough; I use rice flour as the GF flour is more expensive
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet
Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter. Work in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk by hand.
Dust clean surface with rice flour. Roll out dough into a disk that is about 3/4-1 in thick. Cut out dough with a 2-in round cookie/biscuit cutter and place rounds on prepared baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the unbaked biscuits with about half the melterd butter, reserving the rest to use once they are removed from the oven. And sprinkle with salt.
Bake biscuits about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve warm.

Coconut Basil Curry Chicken

gluten free / dairy free / vegetarian option / grain free option

 

In my house, Mondays are slow cooker days. They are one of the busier days for our family and it’s also one of my non-blogging days which means I’m not preparing delicious meals all day. Side note…they are not always delicious, but rest assured ONLY the delicious ones make it here!!! I also find that Mondays seem to be the day when all hell breaks loose. So I FINALLY figured out that when we are transitioning back into our routines after the weekend and trying to find our groove again that it is SOOOOO nice not having to scramble to put dinner on the table. I mean…I don’t know about you, but I would much rather sit down with my cocktail of choice (that is a MUST in this scenario), play with my kids and enjoy the fact that some machine just did 98% of my job AND that dinner will actually be served on time.

I found this recipe via The Food Charlatan. She is a new favorite of mine and I find that I can convert almost all of her recipes to be gluten-free with ease!!! I made a few minor changes to the recipe but all in all it is pretty much the same. I swapped out the bone in skin on chicken thighs for boneless and skinless. Mainly because it was less fat but as a happy by product it also eliminated a bit of work towards the end of the recipe. I also messed a little with the spice ratio but again nothing major. I just needed to make it a bit more kid friendly in regards to spice level.  I believe this recipe originated from Better Homes and Garden.

Slow Cooker Meal

Basil Coconut Curry Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4-5 hours on high, 6-8 on low

Ingredients

2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs; if you are vegan/vegetarian sub Crispy Tofu
salt and pepper to season chicken
1 TBS oil
2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk; I use one light and one full fat coconut milk
2 TBS dried basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 TBS sweet curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 large red onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped; if you want less spicy for kids start with 1
1 TBS gluten free cornstarch
1 TBS cold water
1- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced; depending on your level of love for ginger
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Salt and pepper each side of the thigh. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add 3-4 chicken thighs. Make sure not to over crowd them in the pan. Leave a little space inbetween each thigh. Cook for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned. Then flip the chicken over to brown the other side for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. Repeat the process with remaining chicken.
  3. In the crock pot combine coconut milk, basil, salt, pepper, sweet curry, and chili powder. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the chopped red onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Add the browned chicken and stir to combine.
  5. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. Once it is done you can shred the chicken thighs in the slow cooker with two forks. Go ahead and add the ginger.
  6.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Add this to the crock pot and stir.
  7. Return the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the cilantro.
  8. Serve with rice or Cauliflower Rice.