Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crock Pot Garlic and Lemon Chicken

This is so easy to throw into the crock pot mid-morning and have dinner ready by late afternoon.

5lb chicken
1 large or two small lemons
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
3 large cloves garlic, slivered

Coat the crock pot with cooking spray. Rinse the chicken and discard the gizzards. Place chicken in the crock. Slice the lemon(s) in half. Squeeze the lemons over the chicken and then place the rinds inside the chicken cavity. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and slivered garlic. Cover and cook on low about 8 hours or on high for about 6 hours, until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees. Let the chicken rest in the crock pot for 10 minutes before serving.

*This makes quite a few meals. Save the chicken juices and skim off the fat to use as a soup base. Chop the darker meat and some of the white meat to use in chicken soup. Dice some of the breast meat to use as chicken salad or to top green salads, GFCF pizza or GF pasta.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mock Peanut Butter Cookies

Here I've adapted an old, favorite recipe for peanut butter cookies below. I used cashew butter and Sorghum Flour Blend and the cookies behaved just like the old recipe, and they taste good too.

1/2 cup palm shortening
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Sorghum Flour Blend
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat palm shortening and cashew butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until well blended. Add the egg and the vanilla, beat well. Sift the dry ingredients together and add, beating until well blended. Shape dough into 1" balls (roll in sugar, if desired). Place 2" apart on a greased cookie sheet. Crisscross cookies with the tines of a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool one minute on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pesto-Crusted Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes. The leftover chicken makes a great topping for salad, and any extra pesto sauce can be thinned with olive oil and a little lemon juice to dress the salad. The girls like their leftovers as chicken salad, the pesto gives it a nice flavor.

1 cup GFCF Spinach or Swiss Chard Pesto
1/2 cup walnut meal or GFCF breadcrumbs
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges to serve

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat an 8x8" baking dish with olive oil. Arrange chicken in the baking dish.

Whisk together pesto, ground walnuts or breadcrumbs, and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Thin with olive oil if needed. Coat chicken with pesto mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Bake chicken until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to serving dish. Whisk 2 tbsp. lemon juice into the juices in the baking dish. (You can strain the juices here and discard the solids if desired.) Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mock Buttercream Frosting

This is a basic "buttercream" frosting. You can add a little more vanilla extract to make it a little extra special tasting.

1/3 cup palm shortening
or Earth Balance margarine
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. rice milk plus more for thinning
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat palm shortening at high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat. Add a tablespoon or so of rice milk and the vanilla extract and beat utnil well blended. Beat in the remaining sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all the sugar has been used, thinning with rice milk as necessary until a nice thick frosting consistency is reached.

*For chocolate buttercream frosting, sift 1/3 cup cocoa powder into the powdered sugar before beating it into the shortening.

About Arrowroot, Cornstarch, Potato Starch, Tapioca and Sweet Rice flours

So far, this is what I have learned (via trial and error) about the different starch flours used in gluten free flour blends. When a flour mix calls for cornstarch flour, you can safely substitute arrowroot flour (which is my preference). Often there is a mix of arrowroot/cornstarch and tapioca flours in a flour blend, but if there is just one, you can substitute tapioca for arrowroot/cornstarch and vice versa. I cannot find sweet rice flour (another thickener) anywhere locally, but where some recipes have called for them, I have used tapioca flour and it's been just fine. I've also substituted cornstarch for an equal mix of tapioca and potato starch flours. What I've learned NOT to do is substitute potato flour for potato starch!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Thanks to Julie for giving me this recipe years ago. It's one of my favorites. It's easy, made in the microwave, smells divine, and you can use either apples or pears. This sauce is chunky and is good by itself or served with just about anything.

6 cups tart baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 - 1/2 cup white or brown sugar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Place apples in a 1 quart casserole. Pour water over apples (use less if you like a thick sauce). Combine sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over apples and stir to combine ingredients. Cover and microwave on high 7-10 minutes or until apples are tender. Mash apples to desired consistency and serve warm or cool.

Monday, February 18, 2008

GFCF Chicken Nuggets

These are good...and much cheaper than store-bought gluten free chicken nuggets!

1/2 cup Chicken Nugget Coating Mix #1 or #2
1 egg mixed with 2 tbsp. rice or coconut milk
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
canola oil for frying*

Put chicken nugget coating mix in a quart sized resealable plastic bag. Heat a few tablespoons of canola oil in a frying pan (I like using cast iron).

Cut chicken into nugget sized pieces (or leave long and thin for tenders). Dip into egg/milk mix and place into bag with coating mixture. Seal bag and toss ingredients to coat well.

Method #1 - Fry chicken in hot oil a few minutes until lightly golden brown on one side, flip and repeat. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Method #2 - Flash fry chicken for only several seconds on each side in the hot oil. Remove to a baking sheet. (Chicken can be frozen at this point and baked at a later date.) Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.

(Chicken flash-fried and waiting to be stored in the freezer for later.)

*You can skip the frying/flash frying part and just bake in the oven, but it tastes worlds better if you at least flash fry the nuggets. The coating will be a bit dry if just baked - it needs the added little bit of fat from the oil to taste really good.

GFCF Chicken Nugget Coating Mix (Corn Free)

It took me awhile to get this right...I really like the chili powder in this recipe.

1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup crushed rice cereal (can be omitted)
1/2 cup potato flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)

Sift all ingredients until well blended. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use quickly or store in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

GFCF Chicken Nugget Coating Mix

I really like the chili powder in this blend, although the potato flour adds a little something too.

1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup cornflake meal*
1/2 cup corn flour (not corn meal)
1/4 cup potato flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)

Sift all ingredients until well blended. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Use it up fast or store it in the refrigerator to keep longer.

*To make cornflake meal, process gluten free cornflakes in a food processor until a coarse meal texture is achieved.

Bean Flour Blend

I use this blend almost exclusively for sandwich bread.

3 cups chickpea or garfava flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch

Sift all ingredients together until well-blended. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Perfect GFCF Sandwich Bread

I love baking bread with Bean Flour Blend. The bread texture turns out light and slightly spongy.Contrary to what you might be inclined to think, the bread does not taste very "beany", although the taste is very intriguing - in a good way. I like slices of bean bread slightly warmed in the toaster, although it does not have to be toasted to taste good. Although I really like chickpea flour in my bread, every other flour blend I've tried in this recipe turns out great.

2 1/2 cups GF flour blend
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. salt
2 or 3 tbsp. flax seed meal, if desired
1 3/4 tsp. quick rise yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp. if using a bean flour blend)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup warm water (plus a tbsp. or so more if using flax seed meal)

Sift together the flour mix, sugar, xanthan gum and salt, set aside.

Whisk together the water, eggs, canola oil and rice vinegar.

*For the bread machine, add the wet ingredients to the bottom of the pan. Add dry ingredients, covering the wet ingredients completely. Make a small well in the center and add the yeast. Set the bread machine to the gluten free setting and press start. I always help the bread mix with a spatula, and after it's done mixing I smooth out the top because the dough tends to dome in the center. After the bread has finished baking, remove immediately from the pan to a wire rack.

**To bake in the oven, mix the yeast in with the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients slowly while mixing and beat until blended. Scrape batter into a greased non-stick loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, let rise 45 minutes or until it rises to the top of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover with tin foil if needed and bake another 15-20 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Turn bread out of loaf pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

***Gluten free breads are like batter breads, they don't need to be kneaded.

This recipe works great in my Breadman Pro. For those using the Cuisinart Convection bread machine, making these adjustments will be helpful:

3 cups GF flour blend of your choice
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
2 or 3 tbsp. flax seed meal OR 1/3 - 1/2 cup walnut meal
2 tsp. quick rise yeast
2 large eggs
1 tsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 1/4 cups warm water (plus a tbsp. or so more if using flax seed meal)

All Purpose Rice Flour Blend

This is your basic all purpose flour blend. I don't use it too much, but it is nice for a savory No Roll Pie Crust.

2 cups rice flour (I prefer using brown rice flour)

2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour

Sift together all ingredients until well blended. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

About Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is used to replace the gluten in gluten free recipes. It acst as a binding agent so whatever you bake does not crumble into pieces. Too much makes a baked product slimy. If a recipe does not specify how much xanthan gum to add to a flour mix or if you are winging it and making up your own recipe, you can follow this guide - for each cup of gluten free flour mix you use in a recipe, add:

1 to 1 1/2 tsp. for cakes and quick breads
2 tsp. for breads or pizza crusts
none or 1/2 to 1 tsp. for cookies

Guar gum can be used in place of xanthan gum. Use the same amount of guar gum as you would use xanthan gum.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sorghum Chickpea Blend

This flour blend is really good to use in cookie and pie crust recipes.

3 cups sorghum flour
2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch

Sift all ingredients together until well blended. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

GFCF Sugar Cookie Cutouts

These cookies are really good, in fact people have told me that they are better than the "real thing". The dough is very easy to work with and not crumbly! .

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup palm shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. lemon, orange, or almond extract, or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk first 6 ingredients together.

Beat sugar and palm shortening together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until combined. Add lemon extract and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until large clumps form and dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Place half the dough onto a heavily floured surface (I used potato flour). Knead once or twice, then place wax paper over the dough. Roll to 1/4" thickness and cut into desired shapes. Places shapes onto cookie sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Decorate with colored sugar (or frost after cookies have been baked and cooled).

Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are very lightly golden and bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Spinach Pesto

This is so good, you won't even miss the parmesan cheese. Try it on pasta or add it to chicken salad for extra zing, or throw some into sandwich bread as a sneaky food.

6 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 large cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dried basil

Process all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Start with 1/2 cup olive oil and add more as needed until desired consistency is reached. Adjust salt to taste. Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

White Bean Dip with Sage

This is my favorite dip, but Anna has been known to scarf it up like there's no tomorrow! We like this best with veggies or chips.

2 cans white beans (cannellini or great northern), drained
OR 3 cups white beans you have cooked yourself
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried, rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Adjust lemon juice and salt to taste. If using beans you have cooked yourself, adjust olive oil to reach desired consistency.

Turkish Red Pepper Spread

This is so good it's hard not to inhale it all in one sitting. We like it served with crackers, bread or chips. It would make an excellent spread for a sandwich, too. The original recipe can be found here.

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
one 7oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs
1 large clove chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
salt to taste

Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Adjust thickness with olive oil as desired.

Anna's Hummus

This has been one of our favorite recipes for years. It was one of the only foods Anna would eat when her diet was extremely self-limited, and it's still something she loves to eat today. It's a great protein source and good by itself (Anna prefers to eat hers with a spoon), with vegetables, crackers, chips or bread, in sandwiches, or even on pizza instead of red sauce.

1 can undrained chickpeas - drain and reserve liquid
1 can drained chickpeas
*OR 3 cups dried chickpeas you have cooked yourself*
2 cloves minced chopped garlic
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried parsley

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Start with smaller amounts of lemon juice and olive oil; adjust lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Add the reserved chickpea liquid as needed to reach desired consistency. If using chickpeas you have cooked yourself, add a little water as desired to thin the mixture a bit.