In case you missed it this is the video of me cooking sweet and sour chicken in my kitchen here at home. If you see this on Sunday 1/21/2018 there is still time to get a free copy of The Gluten Free Good Life from the Kindle Store.
You won’t want to miss today’s #gfGoodLife video tip on gluten free baking. https://www.facebook.com/espirational/
Last year a culinary instructor named Todd Mohr gave a free webinar on how to cook like a chef. It was not what I expected. Instead of talking about all the “secrets” and difficult recipes we think professional chefs know he talked about how home cooks make things too difficult. The focus of his webinar was learning basic techniques, cooking methods and spices then using your own fresh ingredients to create original dishes.
My Rocky Beginnings
When Bob and I first started living gluten free I was scared to death. There were already a number of foods we didn’t eat for health reasons and I was sure there would be nothing left to eat… So I started with stir fry and kept working on figuring out all those difficult gluten free recipes and exotic ingredients. I eventually began to convert my own recipes and realized it really wasn’t that difficult, but I kept collecting recipes trying to find new, different and perfect recipes that met our needs.
Already Heading in the Right Direction
When I heard what Chef Todd had to say I realized I was already heading in that direction. I was already putting together my own ingredients to create new soups and salads. I rotisserie whole chickens and use the meat for various dishes and boil the bones to make stock. Then I realized I had my “magic mixture” which was usually black beans, onion, corn, salsa or canned tomatoes and chili spices and sometimes chicken. This ends up on baked potatoes, gluten free pasta, spaghetti squash, salad greens and most recently with rice rolled into a gluten free wrap for burritos. Sometimes I add rice for the closest thing to a casserole I do now. I like to make a big batch to have on hand.
The Gluten Free Wraps and a Discovery
The gluten free wraps were part of a prize package from Toufayan Bakeries which I won through a drawing at the Gluten Away Online Expo. The first couple of days after the package arrived we enjoyed some wonderful deli style sandwich wraps. I even made a special trip into town for good deli meat, goat cheese and condiments.
Then I started looking for different ideas and went to the Toufayan website where I found the recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Freezer Burritos. When I realized I already had the basics down all I needed to do was think a little outside the box and wrap the stuff up in a tortilla or other flat bread, I felt a little embarrassed. But this was an excellent illustration of Chef Todd’s point just a few days after listening to him.
When I made these I cut eat one in half and wrapped them in plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag. I ended up with two bags of these. Quite a bit of work, but good to have on hand for a snack or meal emergency.
Do you Make Things too Difficult?
Home cooks do make things way too difficult. We try to impress people with our skills or some sort of secret recipe or knowledge that only we have. Add food restrictions such as wheat or dairy to the mix and things can really get crazy. It is easy to panic and wonder what on earth you are going to eat.
- Focus on techniques. Review or learn basic cooking methods such as baking, roasting, steaming, sauteing, braising, grilling, stir frying, etc. These I have mentioned can all be done gluten free and dairy free.
- Then bring in your own fresh ingredients and seasonings and mix and match to your hearts content. You might also want to play around with sauces and toppings.
The benefit of cooking this way is that you get to choose your own ingredients. I think this is the easiest way to cook for special diets.
All you have to do is get started. It is a different way of thinking about food and cooking than many of us are used to. Take that first step and get started. Don’t be afraid to play a little and get creative. Things will get easier as you go along and you will eventually find yourself thinking, I really made this? This is so good!
What is your secret to cooking good, healthy food?
This time of year I know when most people think of pumpkins they think of Jack o Lanterns. Me? I think of soup, pasta sauce, cake, cookies, pie. I do love my pumpkin in both sweet and savory dishes.
If you have never tired fresh pumpkin consider buying a pie pumpkin (they are smaller) and give it a try.
Never cleaned and cooked a pumpkin? Check out Time to Kill the Fatted Pumpkin for step by step instructions.
Have you ever used pumpkin in a savory dish? Here are a few of my favorites:
Pumpkin is a wonderful healthy ingredient that can give a nutrition and flavor to many different types of dishes. Of course pumpkin pie is good, but maybe this year you could branch out a bit?
This post is part of the Sugar and Spice Link Party.
Looking for more of my recipes? Need a holiday gift? Check out my e-books.
With Independence Day coming up on Tuesday many of us in the U.S. are thinking about food, planning what we are going to serve. Summer always makes me think of picnics and when I think of picnics I think of fried chicken. Not just any fried chicken, my mom’s fried chicken. She made the best. I have many of her recipes including fried chicken. This is one of those recipes I thought was out-of-bounds for me when I started living gluten-free for health reasons. When I realized how simple the answer was I was embarrassed that I couldn’t see it sooner.
You see, there really is no secret to making gluten-free fried chicken. Unless there are other problem ingredients, you can still use you favorite recipe, with one small change. You use gluten-free flour. Now you will get different results with different flours, so you will want to experiment a bit. The first time I tried this I made two batches of chicken nuggets, one with brown rice flour and one with sorghum flour. You can also use a blend if you wish. You do not need xanthan gum for this. I have since fried actual pieces of chicken and it works great as well.
If you don’t have a favorite fried chicken recipe you are welcome to try mine. My mom’s recipes were just lists of ingredients, often without measurements so I usually just guess at how much I need of each ingredient. Feel free to adjust my measurements below for how much chicken you have. This recipe may also be used with basically anything you want to bread and fry.
Mom’s Fried Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into tenders or nuggets (You may also use bone-in chicken pieces or a cut up whole chicken).
1 t. Mrs. Dash
1 t. paprika (this helps with browning)
1/4 c. milk
1 eggs beaten or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
Vegetable oil for frying
- Combine milk and egg in a small bowl or flat baking dish.
- Combine flour and spices in another bowl or baking dish. Mix well.
- Dip chicken pieces in milk/egg mixture, then in flour. Repeat.
- Pour oil about 1″ deep in a skillet. Heat oil till a small drop of water dropped in pan sizzles.
- Carefully add chicken pieces to hot oil. You do not want to splatter hot oil or your skill or for it to run over the edges of the skillet.
- Cook on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.
- Reduce heat and cover skillet with lid.
- Continue to cook, turning a couple of times till the thickest pieces are done.
- Take cover off and cook for about 5 minutes more to crisp things up.
- For fried chicken, I think brown rice flour makes a very nice thick, crispy crust. Bob thinks sorghum flour has more flavor. Experiment with your favorite gluten-free flours until you find the one you like best.
- You may adjust the seasoning in your flour to meet your family’s taste. If you prefer spice, add cumin or chili powder, for Italian flavor add rosemary, oregano and basil. You may also add garlic powder if you wish. Experiment to find what you like best.
- If you run out of flour or egg wash, just mix a bit more up. You don’t want to have a lot of leftover flour or egg wash. Do not reuse you flour of milk/egg about it has had raw chicken in it — just throw it out.
- Fried foods are not something we eat regularly now. I might make fried chicken once a year for Bob’s birthday. But my mom’s fried chicken still holds a special place in my memory and I wanted to use this as an example of how easy it can sometimes be to make those old favorites gluten free.
Approach those old favorite recipes with an open mind and there’s no telling where they might take you.
This recipe has been shared at the Sugar, Spice and Family Life Link Party.
Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie? I know I do, but I also enjoy savory pumpkin dishes, like my Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon. This recipe and more are available in Have Yourself a Healthy LIttle Holiday.
Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon
6 strips turkey bacon diced check the label for gf turkey bacon — I use Jennie-O
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups pumpkin puree
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Brown turkey bacon.
2. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels. Reserve for later.
3. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to skillet. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until lightly browned.
4. Add water and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until just a little liquid is left on the quinoa.
6. Add pumpkin, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon.
7. Reserving 1 Tablespoon of bacon for garnish add rest of bacon to quinoa. Stir.
8. Return pan to stove, cover and allow remaining liquid to be absorbed.
9. Pour pilaf into serving dish and garnish with remaining bacon.
Like this recipe? Find more of my holiday recipes in Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday available at Espirational Books.
This recipe was shared with:
Who doesn’t love cookies? Cookies turn even an ordinary day into a celebration. This is my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe jazzed up a bit. Just in time for holiday cookie exchanges, this recipe is gluten free, egg free and reduced fat. Don’t be fooled by the ingredients in this recipe. These taste so good, if you don’t tell them, people without food restrictions will never guess anything is missing.
Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Cookies
2 Tablespoons flax seed meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons hot water (this will replace the eggs)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of butter)
3/4 cup agave nectar (instead of white and brown sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (don’t worry buckwheat isn’t even a distant relative of wheat)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cranberry almond trail mix
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut.
- Combine flax seed meal and hot water. Stir and let sit until thick (consistency of egg whites).
- Combine flax seed mixture, applesauce, agave and vanilla in large bowl. Mix well.
- Add flours and baking soda. Stir to blend in flours.
- Add chocolate chips, trail mix and coconut. Stir till well mixed.
- Spoon by tablespoons onto baking sheet. Press out a little with back of spoon dipped in water if you want a flatter cookie (these won’t spread out like cookies with butter and sugar.)
- Bake in 350 degree over until bottoms of cookies are browned.
- Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.
Foe more recipes, including this one check out: