Monthly Archives: January, 2014

Once Around the Kitchen Soup

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All this snow and cold weather has me craving soups.  On top of it, my little 3 year old has croup and a fever which always inspires me to make a good healthy soup.

Since soup was not originally on my menu plan for the week, I tossed together a bunch of random things to make it, hence using the phrase  “Once Around the Kitchen” in the name.  I ended up tossing in a bunch of veggies that I had in the fridge.  I was feeling doubtful about how this soup would turn out because it seemed like such a random collection of good from around the kitchen but my husband agreed that it was one of the better soups I have made lately.  So, as we ate, I grabbed a notebook and jotted down all I remember adding in.  Hopefully, I got it all.  And if not, no big deal – this is the kind of soup that you can just grab whatever veggies you have on hand, chop them up and toss them in making your own “Once Around the Kitchen Soup”.

 

Once Around the Kitchen Soup

Cooked meat of one chicken, shredded*
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
6 c. chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 parsnips, sliced
4-5 small red potatoes, cubed
1 c. sliced zucchini (I had mini ones on hand, perfect size for soup)
1/2 c. green beans, cut into 1 in. pieces
1/4 c. chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
salt/pepper to taste

*Cook the chicken however you prefer. I cooked a whole chicken as a starter for a new batch of chicken broth. Instructions for how I do that follow the recipe.

Instructions:

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, onion, and celery. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except parsley) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I simmered mine for about 3 hours because I started it during nap time. About 15 minutes before you serve it, add parsley and taste to see if it needs more pepper/salt. Serve hot. Pretty easy! My kind of meal!

Chicken Bone Broth Instructions

In a large stock pot, place whole chicken, one onion (roughly chopped), 2 carrots (roughly chopped), 1 stalk celery (roughly chopped), 1-2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs), and water to cover all. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer.

During the first 30-45 minutes, watch the pot to skim off any scum that floats to the top. Keep heat at a medium to medium low so that it just barely simmers.

After 1 1/2 hours, check the chicken to see if it is cooked through. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the water and turn off the heat. Pull the meat off the chicken putting the meat into a bowl and putting the bones and skin back into the cooking water. Set meat aside for whatever you want to use it for.

After the chicken is cleaned and carcass is back in the water, pour the entire contents of the pot into a crock pot. Set to high and allow to cook for 8-24 hours. I usually alternate between high and low on my crock pot because it seems like the high simmers too high and the low isn’t hot enough to get a good simmer going. Over night I usually leave it at low though.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to finish your broth, add 1 bunch parsley roughly chopped. This step isn’t necessary but I have read that the parsley helps to draw out additional minerals so can be very good for you.

When you are done simmering, strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Be sure to press down a little on those veggies to squish out any liquids remaining. Allow broth to cool. A good broth will become gelatinous when cooled. Mine doesn’t always. I haven’t figured out why yet… To store it, I put mine in 2 cup increments in quart sized freezer bags. I then lay them flat in the freezer to freeze. It makes for easy use later on. If you don’t want to freeze it, it can be in the fridge for about a week.

Best broth you can have! I love it and even try to drink it plain once or twice a week for all it’s good health benefits. Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chicken Pot Pie

It has been almost a month now of having added in dairy-free and corn-free to my diet status.  I still have those moments of mourning for food I used to eat… like when my family has pizza, or when we go to a restaurant and there are only like 1 or 2 items on the menu I can order.  It really makes me sad because I loved eating out and being able to try adventurous foods that way. But, I am hoping that with time I can either:

A) add some dairy back into my diet occasionally thus giving me a few more options when we eat out, or
B) become more confident in my ability to order food at restaurants that won’t make me sick.

In general though, this who restricted diet thing seems to be getting easier.  I have more ideas now of what we can eat at home and of some simple substitutes or omissions to make in meals to make them gluten-free, dairy-free, and corn-free.

As far as any significant change in my health since doing this, I haven’t really noticed any.  I am wondering though how I might feel once I try some dairy again and if then I will realize what “symptoms” of my intolerance that have gone away.  I have about a month and a half to go until I try.

For dinner tonight, we had a delicious chicken pot pie. It is the second time I have made this recipe and I am really pleased with how it turned out!  It is the perfect meal on a day like today when temperatures never get above -6 degrees.  I found the recipe on a paleo food blog and adapted it a bit for our tastes.  Hope you like it like we did!

By the way, my photos were terrible of this so I will have to add one later.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chicken Pot Pie

Recipe adapted from http://mrspaleo.blogspot.com/2012/05/chicken-pot-pie-sequel.html

The Filling:

3 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. green beans
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced

The Crust:

1 c. tapioca flour
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
3 Tbsp. coconut oil or organic coconut spread (butter alternative)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. boiling water

In a large pot, fry bacon until crisp. Add in carrots, onion, garlic, and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock, coconut milk, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, beans, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in arrowroot powder 1 Tbsp. at a time. Continue simmering until thickened.

Remove from heat, stir chicken in and pour into a 2-qt. casserole dish. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine dry crust ingredients. Cut the coconut oil in to the dry ingredients. When fully cut in, the oil and flours should mix together in pea sized chunks. Add in hot water and mix together into a ball.

Place dough ball on a sheet of parchment paper. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to approximate size of baking dish.

Using the bottom sheet of parchment paper, lift crust onto top of filling. Peel parchment paper away.

If cooking immediately, place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes uncovered If you are like me and make it during nap time and bake later, place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Keep covered until it starts to get hot in the middle and then remove cover to allow crust to brown up.

Serve immediately.

Husband Rating 8 out of 10

Food for Thought: This is easy to adapt in that you can really add any different vegetables you have. I like to add red potatoes, or maybe peas. Just keep it somewhat similar in proportion to make sure there is enough sauce.

Simple Stir Fry

So, prior to the New Year, I did some food intolerance testing. In addition to gluten/wheat (which I already suspected after such dramatic health changes when going gluten free) I learned I am also intolerant of dairy and corn.

I have always suspected dairy but until now have been unwilling to make the switch to dairy-free. A corn intolerance was a new one for me… Never thought about it or knew it was really something people have intolerance of. Plus, corn is in many of the gluten-free alternatives to pasta, chips, and tortillas that I enjoy. Bummer, right!

But, the doctor who did the tests recommended I do weeks of a strict gluten-free, corn-free, and dairy-free diet and there is no time like the new year to start it.

I am 5 days in of being strict about my diet and I miss several things… Corn tortillas and cheese for veggie quesadillas at lunch, chips, and the fact that a slice of cheese or a piece of string cheese was my go-to quick snack. I am also completely intimidated to go out to a restaurant right now. Like with making the change to gluten-free, it just took a whole for me to adjust and know my options. This too will happen with corn and dairy, I hope.

My plan is to give it the 9 weeks and then try easing a few things into my diet again to see how I react. Butter and a nice hard cheddar might be the first ones I try to get back in my diet!!

But until then, I am going to do my best to remain dairy-free, corn-free, and gluten-free.

So, we already do a lot of meals that fit this criteria and this one fits too. I love a good healthy stir fry and the sauce for this was super easy. I also love the versatility of a stir fry… Any veggies you have on hand generally work and any meat you want to try.

In lieu of traditional rice, I did cauliflower rice. It is so easy and tasty and leaves you not feeling weighed down by a heavy carb. I describe how to make it below the recipe if you are new to cauliflower rice. Definitely try it!

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Simple Stir Fry

*All measurements for the veggies are approximate as I just started tossing them in until it looked like a big enough meal for our family.

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 c. broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used yellow)
3 large carrots, sliced
Handful sugar snap peas, halved
1/4 c. Cashews
* 1 head cauliflower (only if doing cauliflower rice)
Salt/pepper/garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Sesame oil, divided

Sauce ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbsp. Arrowroot powder
1 heaping Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. Gluten-free soy sauce
1 c. Chicken broth

Instructions:

In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and season lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook chicken until no longer pink in the middle. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add remaining sesame oil and ginger. Sauté 30 seconds or so and then add veggies. Cover and cook until tender-crisp stirring occasionally.

Add chicken and sauce in and heat until sauce simmers and thickens. Toss with cashews and serve over rice.

Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower
1 Tbsp. grape seed or coconut oil

Cut cauliflower into florets and toss into a food processor. Process until cauliflower takes on rice like consistency.

Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until “rice” is tender. Eat immediately.

* I felt like a whole head of cauliflower was a bit too much rice for our family. So, I froze half of it uncooked to use later for either rice or in a cauliflower pizza crust.