Chicken and Dumplings

gluten-free ~ dairy free option 

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours total

Recipe adapted from: More Than Simply Living blog

I know in some parts of the U.S. it is already summer, and to you, all I can say is I envy you. But please know, that mentally I am following that up with a few savory expletives. Because here in Wisconsin we are still firmly planted in spring. One day I have the windows open and a t-shirt on and the next I have cranked up the heat and dug out my favorite grandpa sweater. So, for those of us still grappling with indecisive weather….this recipe is for you!

This dish is super simple and is an instant comfort on these cold and wet spring days! The prep time for the soup base is less than 20 minutes. And the prep for the dumplings takes 10 minutes. But keep in mind, the dumplings have to cook for an additional hour and a half AFTER the chicken is done, so you need to allow yourself enough time. For this reason, I think this is a great recipe to make on Sunday and then you can use the leftovers to make a pot pie for Monday! This recipe makes ALOT of soup, and my family typically eats all the dumplings the first time around.

To make the leftovers new again I make a quick Gluten Free Pie Crust. I place the soup in a large baking dish, lay the crust over it. Make two or three slits in the crust, brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is a golden brown and insides are bubbly! And even if you have a few dumplings left, just leave them in!! It’s an extra yummy surprise!

**If you want to thicken up the soup, make a quick slurry and add it to the soup before laying the pie crust.

 

3lb whole chicken

1.5 cups of chopped carrots

1 cup of chopped celery

1 onion diced

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

salt and pepper; generous sprinkle of both

7 cups of chicken broth

Dumplings

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of natural cane sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

3 TBS. shortening, butter or butter substitute

1/2 cup almond milk; may need a bit more if batter is stiff

Cover the bottom of a large crock pot with the vegetables.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the chicken broth over the chicken.  Cook on low for 5 hours. After 5 hours, turn the crockpot up to HIGH. Cook another 30 minutes, if the chicken is done (165 temp), remove and continue cooking soup another 30 minutes. Leave chicken in if it still needs time. Once done, place the chicken in a large bowl to cool.

For the dumplings, stir together the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the shortening/butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the almond milk and stir until it forms a thick dough.

Drop dough by the tablespoon into the soup.  Cook on high for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the dumplings are not doughy. Once the dumplings are in, do not stir the soup. Stirring will cause the dumplings to fall apart.   If dumplings are not fully immersed, use a spoon to gently press down into soup.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred with two forks.  When the dumplings have about a half hour left of cooking time, add the chicken back into the soup and gently stir.

 

Spaghetti Pie

gluten-free ~ dairy free ~ vegan option

I am currently basking in the sun in Florida, contemplating all the amazing seafood I could eat at one of the great, local restaurants. I can imagine the cocktail I will have while I wait for my dinner, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the ocean view. And just as my food comes out from the kitchen….I am ripped from my foodie fairytale and am promptly thrown back into reality. I am welcomed by the decibel crushing screeching of my two kids; age five and two. They are passionately screaming at each other over a plastic dragonfly while simultaneously trying to eat each other puffs and chase a deranged crab that has been bizarrely stalking us all morning. My daughter looks like the energizer bunny on steroids and my son is eerily reminiscent of Stewie from Family Guy. And at that exact moment, as my kids begin to meltdown from a full day at the beach, I also realize that I am NEVER going to have that meal.

So, instead of ordering the food I am now making the food. And I know three things. One, I’m sun stupid so I really don’t want to put in a lot of effort. Two, it needs to be “family friendly” aka satisfy the grandparents. And three, it needs to be simple enough to make in my limited kitchen at the condo.

Enter, Spaghetti pie stage left.

I found this recipe via the Cooking Light September issue. I made a few minor changes to make this gluten and dairy free, and added in the minced garlic for a little extra flavor. The original recipe also called for chicken sausage but I was unable to find any at my local grocer that didn’t have cheese in them. This would also be a great meal to make vegan. Simply switch out the sausage for crumbled seitan. Serve this with a simple salad and garlic bread and I promise you will have a happy family and maybe even find the time to have that cocktail (or two) you dreamed about. Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

8 ounces of gluten-free spaghetti, I prefer the  Tinkyada brand pasta

2 large eggs, lightly beaten; or  vegan egg substitute

1 tsp olive oil

6 ounces of mild sausage, chicken sausage or seitan, casings removed if applicable. *30 day substitution below*

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of tomatoes, chopped

1 cup of onion, chopped

1 (9oz) bag of spinach

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 oz shredded cheese or cheese substitute, I used shredded Daiya Cheddar

Cooking spray or oil

*to make this Arbonne 30 day compatible substitute with ground turkey and season with 1/2-1 tsp of salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Directions

  1. Place an 8-9 inch cake pan or pie dish in oven. Preheat oven to 500F (leave pan in oven as it preheats).
  2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to boil over high heat. Add pasta; cook 6-7 minutes or until almost done; drain.
  3. Place eggs in a large bowl. Add hot pasta; toss to coat.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato, onion, and spinach; cook 7 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add sausage mixture to pasta mixture. Stir in pepper, salt and 2 ounces of cheese.
  5. Carefully remove pan from oven; coat pan with cooking spray or oil. Add pasta mixture to pan; sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce of cheese. Bake at 500F for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven, cut into wedges.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

Wow! It has been a minute since I posted last!! Life has taken some unexpected, crazy, and sometimes gut wrenching turns over the past few months. And I am guessing I am not the only one who feel like this out there. 2016 was a rough year for ALOT of people, but I also feel that 2016 brought many of us out of a complacent slumber, opened our eyes to what is going on, and revved up the activist fire within us. Those of you that know me personally, have seen my meteoric race to becoming a full-time activist as Co-founder of HELP, the Human Equality Love Project and as the Milwaukee chapter event lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. And that is in addition to my roles of mom, wife, friend, chauffeur, food blogger, and entrepreneur. Throw in a pelvic reconstructive surgery two days after Christmas and you got yourself one nutty mama with a crazy high BP.

Needless to say, my doctor recommended a “vacation” from anything “stressful” until after my surgery. Once I got over the sheer hilarity of that statement, I did realize one thing about my “vacation” and upcoming surgery. I was being given a rare gift, that most stay at home moms rarely (if ever) get. A hall pass to do ALL the things I NEVER have the time to do. Like what you ask? Well, there is the redecorating of my office, the family photo albums of 2013,2014,2015, and 2016 (I’m a little behind, ok?!). The re-organization of my kitchen pantry, the kids baby books (am I the only one whose books are still wrapped??) A stack of books I have been meaning to read since 2014, and binge watch all 6 seasons of Game of Thrones. And last, but certainly not least is to bake, cook and blog my way to happy town. So enough about me, let’s talk food!

This recipe is a MUST for those of us with kiddos! It is the age-old problem of every parent. The kids want carbs and dairy and you would like at least a fleck of vegetable to go with their beloved carbs and dairy. Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake to the rescue! My oldest loves to help sprinkle the cheese and place the salami. She prefers salami as it tends to be less spicy than pepperoni. I also love this recipe because it doesn’t “hide” the vegetable it just presents it in a manner that is appealing to kiddos. Because believe me, this does not look like pizza!! The kids will know immediately that you are full of…beans. But, it won’t matter in the end because it tastes like PIZZA!!!! Enjoy! nom nom

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 large or 2 medium spaghetti squash, appx 4 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, I used Rao’s homemade marinara sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 oz thinly sliced salami (or pepperoni, which my daughter thinks is too spicy!)
  • 1/2 vegan parmesan cheese, I use Go Veggie Parmesan style Cheese or make my own.** You can also just use a bit more mozzarella and leave out the parmesan.
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, I use Daiya brand

**Here is a quick and simple way to make vegan parmesan

Instructions

Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut ends off the squashes, place cut side down and slice in half.
  3. Clean out and discard the insides of the squash
  4.  Drizzle each half with olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until spaghetti squash is soft and slightly browned
  6. Remove from oven, let cool until you can handle the halves. Shred with a fork and remove “spaghetti” from the skin

Pizza Bake

  1. Once the squash is cooked, drop the oven temperature down to 350 F.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, brown the Italian sausage until cooked through.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sausage, marinara sauce, eggs, sea salt, oregano, and garlic powder.
  4. Add the spaghetti squash to the marinara mixture. Stir to combine and put into a 9×13 baking dish. Smooth mixture into an even layer.
  5. Top with half of the salami/pepperoni, a layer of parmesan cheese, and then a layer of Mozzarella cheese.
  6. Top with the remaining salami and bake for 30-35 minutes until it sets and is bubbling.

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. 

 

 

Creamy Potato Soup

gluten free / dairy free / vegan option

MAKE THIS IMMEDIATELY. That is honestly all I have to say about this recipe. One of the hardest things for me to give up in this crazy food journey of mine was dairy. Because let’s all be honest….recipes that are meant to be laden with dairy usually never turn out as well once you remove it. And being a farm girl from Kansas and growing up in Wisconsin, I am predisposed to LOVE cheese. You can keep your cold glass of milk but I will damn well eat the whole block of cheddar cheese. But over the last few months, as it became more apparent that dairy was also a trigger for me I have started to experiment more and more with dairy alternatives. And I am beginning to have some successes!

Let’s talk creamy potato soup for a sec, and yes, I lied about not having anything to say. First, this soup is made almost entirely in the slow cooker, there are two small stove steps; cooking the bacon and making the roux (simple I promise). Second, and most important, this soup tastes like it is made with whole milk and aged sharp cheddar cheese. I have used both soy creamer and coconut creamer to make this soup, and they both worked well. This soup is so hearty and rich that I made a only needed a simple salad and some Biscuits to complete the meal! Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

10 slices cooked bacon or bacon substitute, diced and divided**

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 tablespoons bacon grease, butter or butter alternative

1/3 cup all-purpose GF flour

12-ounces of soy creamer (coconut creamer works as well)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, I used Daiya vegan shredded cheddar

1/2 cup dairy free plain yogurt or sour cream, I used Tofutti sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or more to taste

1 teaspoon  black pepper

optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream

**Quick and easy way to cook bacon: Preheat oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with two sheets of aluminum foil. Place bacon on sheet and bake in the oven, turning once mid way through for approximately 20 minutes, or until crispy. No fuss, no mess!!!!

Directions

  1. Dice 8 slices of bacon, and add chicken stock, potatoes and onion to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the potatoes are completely tender and cooked through.
  2. Once the soup is about ready to serve, melt the bacon grease/butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour until it is completely combined, cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Gradually whisk in the soy creamer and continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth.  Let the mixture continue cooking until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally until it thickens.
  3. Immediately pour the milk mixture into the slow cooker with the potatoes, and stir until combined.  Add in the cheddar cheese, yogurt/sour cream), salt and pepper, and stir until combined.  I like the soup to be thicker, so I use a potato masher (or a large spoon) to mash about half of the potatoes (keep the soup in the slow cooker while you do this).  If you would like the soup to be thinner, add in an extra cup of warmed stock.  Stir to combine, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Serve warm, with desired toppings.  As always, if you can do gluten and dairy feel free to put them right back in this recipe! But, I think you will be super surprised at just how yummy the dairy free version is!!

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.