Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

I’ve really been in the mood for chicken and rice soup, so when I found this really great Easy Chicken and Rice Soup recipe over at Two Peas and Their Pod, I just had to try it.  Now, I’m more of a quick and easy cook rather than all the little techniques, so I did make a few changes to the recipe.

The changes I made shouldn’t be too problematic – in fact I think they worked beautifully.  The first difference is with the chicken.  I wanted something that was a little more last minute, and since I always forget to take chicken out from the freezer, I substituted canned chicken for the shredded chicken.  Now honestly, I didn’t seeing a big difference between the two and the canned allowed me to make this quicker.   I also have this thing about measuring spices when it comes to soups.  I do a lot of “add of little of this, a little more” with a lot of the seasoning since you can generally tell when something is off once it starts getting warm.  You know you’re doing something right when the house smells good.  *grin*

Aside from the substitutions, I also added a few things.  Jesse and I have been playing around with a dehydrator lately, so we had a bunch of dried vegetables in the house and I wanted to use some of them.  So instead of the fresh onion the original recipe calls for, I switched out some dried purple onions (I can’t think of their name right now) and also added in some dried green pepper.  Since I wasn’t sure how they would cook, I did diced them up into a nice seasoning powder, but I have to say I love the addition.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, sliced or diced (your preference)
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and sliced or diced (your preference)
dried thyme
dried green pepper
dried purple onion, diced
1 bay leaf
8 buillon cubes
5 cups water
2 quarts chicken stock or broth (we use low sodium)
1 cup long grain white rice
3 (12.5oz) cans of chicken (with rib meat in water)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Place a soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken broth and water- bring the liquid to a boil. Add in the rice and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low until the rice is tender-about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

*Note-for the shredded chicken I used 2 large chicken breasts. I boiled a pot of water on the stove and added in the chicken-which I cut into large pieces. Boil the chicken until it is cooked all the way through and there is no pink left. This will take about 7 minutes or so. Drain the water and shred the chicken once it is cooled. I use 2 forks to shred the chicken. *

February 7, 2012 · jackie · One Comment
Tags:  · Posted in: Soup

White Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Have you heard of pinterest? It’s an interesting site thats kind of like a bookmarking service, but you’re not the only one who can see the posts. I’ve wasted many an afternoon browsing through the various pins of others and I’ve found quick a few great ideas. One of which being the inspiration for the White Chicken Enchilada Casserole that we had for dinner last night.

With Simon’s allergies, I’m always on the lookout for new recipes, especially ones that are similar to ones we already like. Ian and Jesse love the Creamy Chicken Enchilada recipe I have and when I came across Joyful Momma’s White Chicken Enchiladas, I knew I found something the boys were sure to like. Initially, I was going to make it just like the recipe said, but in order to make it gluten-free (or at least wheat-free), I had to make a few substitutions that required a few adjustments.

The first adjustment I made was really quite simple. Instead of the normal flour tortillas, I used those fabulous soft corn flour tortillas which I’m really starting to enjoy. However, this change was where I came into my first problem. The corn tortillas do not fold as nicely as flour tortillas, even when heated. So instead of making a traditional enchilada, I shredded the tortillas with the intent to mix them in with everything.

The second change was to the chicken and veggies. I didn’t want shredded chicken. For one, it’s easier to dice if you’re using chicken breasts from the fridge rather than canned shredded chicken; but more importantly, it’s faster to cut than shred. Plus, with changing the recipe from simple enchiladas to a casserole, this helped give it a little more texture. As for the veggies, I didn’t have any green chilies on hand, but I did have some delicious green and orange bell peppers and an onion. For the trial recipe, I only used about a 1/2 cup of all three combined, and while it was good, it could totally have used more. For one, I had diced the veggies really well, so the flavors blended beautifully, but it really didn’t give the casserole a nice chunky look. Nor was it as colorful as it could have been with the bell peppers. So I’m amping up the amount of veggies (plus who wouldn’t want more veggies) for this posting.

Chicken broth is a standard in this house, however, since we discovered Psy’s wheat allergy was discovered, I’ve started really looking at my broths and did you know they all have wheat in it? Wheat is used as a thickening agent, so it’s used in a lot of soups and sauces. So I’ve had to go back to basics when making chicken broth – meaning bullion cubes and boiling water. So the initial recipe calls for 2 cups chicken broth, which can be used instead of the bullion cubes and water.

For the 3 tbsp flour, again I had to adjust the recipe to be wheat-free, so I didn’t use regular all-purpose flour. If you don’t have an issue with wheat, then the flour mixture can be whatever you want. However, for those with the wheat allergy, I used a combination of rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour, called 3 Flour Mix, that I found in the The Gluten-Free Gourmet cookbook by Bette Hagman.

Overall, this was a fabulous recipe and I don’t have a picture because the boys ate it all before I could take one.  This was really simple to make and I had all the ingredients on hand, so it’s one I can make on the fly.  If I thought I could get away with it, I would totally make this again, but I think I’ll wait until next week.

Ingredients:
10 corn flour tortillas, diced
3-4 cups cooked, diced chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. gluten-free flour mix
2 cups boiling water
2 bullion cubes
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup of diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup of diced orange bell pepper
1/2 cup of diced onions

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×10 pan
  2. Mix chicken, tortillas and 1 cup cheese. Pour into greased pan.
  3. Microwave water and bullion cubes for 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring halfway through.
  4. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add bullion mixture and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
  5. Stir in sour cream, onions and bell peppers. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream.
  6. Pour over the chicken mixture and stir.  Top with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake 25 minutes.  Once done, sprinkle cheese over casserole and return to the oven.  Turn off the oven and leave in until all the cheese is melted.  If you want to brown the cheese, turn the oven to high broil for 3 minutes.

January 20, 2012 · jackie · 5 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Chicken

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni CheeseI still hadn’t found a good gluten-free macaroni and cheese for the boys and I really haven’t had much luck with a cheese sauce (especially my mother in law’s recipe).  So when she was up for the day, and Ian asked for macaroni and cheese for dinner, we went to work.

I wanted to make the macaroni and cheese to be more of a meal rather than the standard blue box variety, so I added the broccoli and chicken for that reason.  Which means, both of these can be included or left out entirely.  Also, if you want to change out the broccoli for a different type of veggie – go for it; just make sure you dice it up or it’s a small veggie. Dice up the broccoli.  Steam it and then dice it, that way it’s not fighting with the pasta as a big piece of food to stick in your mouth. *grin*  The same goes for the chicken.

For the cheese sauce, my mother-in-law’s original recipe is 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour (or 1 tbsp corn starch) and 1 cup of milk.  With Simon’s wheat allergy, we obviously had to make it gluten-free, but we also wanted to make it cheesy.  For the size of the pan, 9×13, we automatically doubled the recipe thinking we’d need it to cover everything.  Once you have the basis for the recipe, you can add as much or as little cheese as you want.  The one thing to keep in mind is to make sure that at least 1/2 of what you use is a white cheese; the white cheeses help make the sauce creamier and less grainy.  We started off the recipe using 2 cups of the 4-cheese Mexican blend, but once the sauce was made, Ian wasn’t impressed and said it needed more cheese. About 8 slices of American Cheese and another 2 cups of Sharp Cheddar later, he finally declared the sauce adequate.  At least that is what I said and told him it was fine.

I think that’s the only weird thing I’ve done, everything else should be pretty straight forward.  We did have this for dinner tonight and it turned out fabulous!  Simon ate it up and kept coming back for more and everyone else seemed to like it as well.  Well…Ian wasn’t too crazy about the “green stuff”, aka the broccoli, but really…which child is? *grin*  There was one thing that I did end up changing from my original directions.  Initially, I didn’t stir the pasta, chicken and broccoli together, simply leaving it layered in the dish, before I poured on the cheese sauce.  This turned out to be not a great idea.  We were thinking, with the pieces layered together, that regardless of how you served the macaroni and cheese, you would end up with some of everything.  In actuality, the broccoli and chicken ended up being more sporadic.  So it didn’t work like we thought it would.  So stir everything together before adding the cheese sauce, or don’t that’s up to you.  However, I do like how the sauce turned out by not mixing it in with the rest.

As for the bread crumbs, I could leave them off the next time I make this.  I wasn’t too thrilled with them, but Jesse said he liked them. I think a lot of it depends on the bread crumbs.  If I recall correctly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the GGFB that last time I cooked with them, but they were what I had on hand and I don’t know of another gluten-free bread crumb.  So next time I will probably leave them off or only sprinkle them on half the dish.

Overall, I think this recipe was a great success.  I probably won’t make as much next time, but with 4 adults and 1.5 kids, we only ended up eating half the pan.  On a normal night, we wouldn’t need this much, but I’m thinking cutting this recipe in half wouldn’t be that hard. However, the bottom line is I would definitely make this again.

Side Note: The before-sauce picture definitely looks a lot yummier than the finished product.  I’m not sure if it was simply my lightening or what, but it is good I promise you.  Although I have been thinking, I wonder what it would do if I mixed the the cheese with the pasta (and maybe the chicken) before adding the broccoli (and maybe the chicken).  If anyone tries it, let me know please.

Baked Macaroni CheeseIngredients:
3 chicken breasts
Olive oil
Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic
Salt
Pepper
1 cup Broccoli, diced
16oz of Schar Penne
1/4 cup Glutino Gluten Free Breadcrumbs

Cheese Sauce:
2 cups milk
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp butter
2 cups of Colby cheese
2 cups of Sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente. Steam the broccoli. Once the broccoli is steamed, transfer it to a cutting board and dice.
  3. After de-fatting the chicken, using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken once or twice. Brush olive oil over chicken and then sprinkle with the garlic garlic; flip chicken and repeat. Place the chicken in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Flip the chicken at least once in the skillet and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and chop/dice the chicken.
  4. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread out the cooked pasta. On top of the pasta, spread out the chicken and broccoli. Stir everything together.
  5. Cheese Sauce: In a microwaveable bowl, combine the milk, cornstarch and butter and microwave 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add cheese and stir.  Microwave for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce is not cheesy enough, add more taste. Once the sauce is cheesy to taste, pour over the pasta mixture.  DO NOT STIR.
  6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the cheese sauce.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.

November 5, 2011 · jackie · 4 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Pasta

Pizza Scrolls

Another recipe from Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair.

Ingredients:
4-1/2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup rice flour plus extra for dusting
1 cup potato flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
pinch salt
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 egg, beaten

Filling
4 tbsp canned tomatoes, crushed
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3oz wafer-thin ham, shredded
handful fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes, until frothy. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and the salt.
  2. ix the oil and egg into the yeast mixture and pour this into the flour mixture, using a fork to bring the mixture together. Tip it out onto a surface dusted lightly with rice flour and knead for 5 minutes, adding a little flour if the mixture becomes sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes, or until well risen.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. On the floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangle approximately 12×10 inches, spread with the crushed tomatoes, then sprinkle over the other toppings. Roll the pizza up from one long edge, then slice into eight pieces.
  4. Place the rolled-up scrolls, side by side, on a lightly oiled heavy baking sheet. They should be pushed up against each other so the sides are touching. Place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden.

Nutritional Information: 331 calories, 12g protein, 45g carb, 11g fat, 8g saturated fat, 1g fiber

July 8, 2011 · jackie · 8 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Main Dishes

Fruity Mango Bars

What are millet flakes?  Does anyone know?  I came across this recipe in the Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair and it sounds really good, except I have no idea what millet flakes are.  So here’s the recipe and once I find out, and thus try this, I’ll make sure to update.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
10 tbsp butter
2 tbsp light corn syrup
5 cups millet flakes
2 tbsp mixed seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower
1/2 cup dried mango or apricots, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until melted, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Spoon the mixture into an 11×7 nonstick baking pan, press down lightly, and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Mark to divide into 12 bars, then cool before removing from the pan.

Nutritional Information: 219 calories, 3g protein, 23g carbs, 13g fat, 7g saturated fat, 2g fiber.

July 6, 2011 · jackie · 2 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Dessert

Sweet Carrot Cake

This recipe from Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair was originally called Passion Cake Squares, however I just didn’t think that name fit.  For one, the cake came out way more like a carrot cake than anything fruity.  I don’t know why, but whenever I heard “passion cake” I think more of pineapple and the tropics than carrots.  So while there is pineapple in the cake, it’s more as a sweetener than for flavor in my opinion.  So for myself, I’m adjusting the name to Sweet Carrot Cake.  I think it reflects it a little more.

If you haven’t guessed already, I had the chance to try this one recently and I have to say it came out better than I thought it would.  I’m not totally crazy about the topping (a little too cream cheesy for me), but it works.  Jesse wasn’t crazy about the raisin surprise, so I did change that to being optional.  They didn’t really bother me, but then I knew they were there.  Ian says he likes it, but then again, he really hasn’t asked for more, so I’m not sure if he’s just saying that or if he did but just forgot about it.

Overall, not a bad recipe and one I’ll probably end up making again (with a few minor adjustments, which I’ve already made below).

Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice flour
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup corn oil
2 eggs, beaten
few drops vanilla extract
4-5 medium carrots (about 12oz), grated
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)

Topping:
1 cup cream cheese
2 tbsp clear honey
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8in square bake pan. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and cinnamon together into a large bowl. Add the oil, eggs and vanilla extract and beat well.
  2. Fold in the carrots, coconut, pineapple and golden raisins and spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Place in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese and honey, and smooth over the cake, then sprinkle the nuts, if using on top. Cut into 16 squares.

Nutritional Information: 307 calories, 2g protein, 27g carb, 21g fat, 7g saturated fat, 1g fiber

July 5, 2011 · jackie · 3 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Cakes & Pies

Apricot Toffee Rice Krispies

I love rice krispies treats and when I came across the Messy Marshmallow Krispies in Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair, I just had to add them.  They add a nice healthy component to a regular favorite that I can’t see it not being a hit. Especially since I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to substitute the apricots (or even the toffee) for other dried fruits.

Ingredients:
5oz gluten-free milk chocolate
1-1/3 gluten-free toffee bars (about 2oz)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
handful mini marshmallows
2-3/4 cups gluten-free crisped rice cereal

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place the chocolate, toffee and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, stir well, then mix in the remaining ingredients. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared baking sheets and let stand until it sets

 

Nutritional Information: 122 calories, 2g protein, 20g carb, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g fiber

July 4, 2011 · jackie · 2 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Dessert

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

The boys love their brownies, so I have a feeling I’ll be trying a couple of different recipes until I find one that works.  The first one is from Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair, and aside from the different flours, there’s not a whole lot that shouldn’t make this work.

Ingredients:
3oz gluten-free dark sweet chocolate
7 tbsp butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
few drops of vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tbsp plus 1.5 tsp brown rice flour
1 cup mixed nuts, toasted and roughly chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line an 11×7 inch baking pan. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and combine well.
  2. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until slightly springy in the center. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then mark to divide into 15 squares.

Nutritional Information: 230 calories, 3g protein, 19g carb, 16g fat, 5g saturated fat, 1g fiber

July 3, 2011 · jackie · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Brownies

Coconut Cupcakes

Now that Simon has the wheat-allergy, you’re going to be seeing more gluten-free and wheat-free recipes showing up.  The more I read up on this allergy, the more restrictive I realize his diet is going to be.  Therefore, I’m turning the entire house into a wheat-free zone and that means all of us are going on this diet.  This also means I really need to find adequate substitutes for some of our favorites otherwise Ian and Jesse may start a mutiny. *grin*  So Coconut Cupcakes, from Great Gluten-Free Baking by Louise Blair,  will be the first of many recipes to be gluten or wheat free.  Right now, I’m simply gathering recipes, so I’ll add comments once I actually try it, but these sound good and quite easy to make.

Ingredients:
12 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
few drops vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup corn flour
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 cup shredded coconut, soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water

topping:
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp shredded coconut, toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners. Place all the cake ingredients in a food processor and whiz until smooth, or beat together in a large bowl.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden and risen. Remove the cakes from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  3. Place the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy, then stir in the toasted coconut. Spread a little frosting on each cake.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving equals 323 calories, 19g fat (13g saturated fat), 37g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein.

July 2, 2011 · jackie · 6 Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Cakes & Pies

Grandma’s Meatloaf

My grandmother’s recipe, this is a fairly quick and easy meatloaf to make and I typically always have the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients:
1 lb Hamburger
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup onions
3 eggs
salt to taste
pepper to taste
about 2 cups instant oats or cracker crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together leaving cracker crumbs for last. Add enough cracker crumbs to thickness desired.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes or until meatloaf comes away from pan.

March 24, 2011 · jackie · No Comments
Posted in: Meat