Spicy Chicken Tenders

There are a lot of commercial food items that I don’t get to eat anymore, specifically most fast food being a major no no.  I miss crispy chicken like I used to enjoy at Wendy’s.  When I saw this recipe referenced on facebook I immediately went to the site, read the recipe and decided I had to try it.  I had some chicken breast tenders and all the ingredients except the gf Bisquick.  I looked on Glutenfreeonashoestring and lucky me; she has a recipe for making your own gf Bisquick; it is attached to a recipe for mini breakfast pancake bite muffins. I had the flours needed; white rice, potato starch and tapioca flour plus the add ins of baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Easy peasy to put a double batch together; I will keep it in my freezer in a Ziplock freezer bag; sure have been wanting some of that Bisquick!

I lowered the hot sauce to half, ditto for the cayenne powder as I was pretty sure I didn’t want it so spicy; do as you wish. It was simple to do; mix the spices with the Bisquick, mix the hot sauce with the water, dip the chicken in the spices, then the hot water and back in the spiced flour and fry. The second time I made this I used a non stick stainless steel pan and 1/4 inch canola oil.  It was almost like deep frying but not quite.

I didn’t eat it as a sandwich the first time; had two juicy tenders with a baked potato and some summer squash.  It was very tasty and not too spicy for me.  I had it in a gf bun for a meal, complete with lettuce, tomato and mayo, and it was wonderful. You can also cut the chicken up into chunks, pound them briefly and you have lovely fingers that are somewhat smaller, great for kids. Fried chicken tenders are not something I would eat every week but it sure was yummy! I think this recipe is well worth trying even if you just buy some gf Bisquick.

Gluten-Free Spicy Chicken Sandwich (like Wendy’s)

 

2-3 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce  (the second time I made this I used another red hot sauce so it doesn’t have to be Franks to turn out great)

1/2 c Water

1/2 c Gluten-Free Bisquick

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1-2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (use 1/2 tsp. if you want it close to mild)

1/8 Tsp. Fine Ground Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Paprika

1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 lb. Chicken Breast tenders – pound them a bit if they are very fat; you want it ½ inch or thinner.

Mix together the Gluten-Free Bisquick, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Pepper, Paprika and Garlic Powder in a low bowl.  I used a wide soup bowl.

In a separate cereal bowl mix together Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and water. In a  high-sided sauté pan heat 1 cup of canola oil – it should come up about 1/2 inch the side of the pan depending on the size of your pan. I started it on medium heat and put in a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature; I got it pretty hot; 350 degrees before putting in the chicken.  Or use my frying pan method I described above; less oil for that and no thermometer needed. Take one chicken breast tender at a time and dredge it in the GF Bisquick mixture, then roll it in the hot sauce/water mixture and then put it back in the Bisquick mixture and roll it to coat.  This can get messy; try to keep one hand dry and one for the water/hot sauce part. I slid one into the hot oil and then a second one. Cook chicken for about 5 minutes, until they are golden brown and no longer pink in the center (I used a meat thermometer just to make sure).

Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels to blot any excess oil. If you have the oil hot enough they shouldn’t be greasy. If you want a sandwich, serve on a gf bun and top with mayonnaise, tomato and an additional piece of lettuce.

Go ahead, indulge in this delicious chicken and I promise you it will be a hit with your family!

Adapted from creativecookinggf.wordpress.com, February 2011.

Reblogged from a post in August 2015. Minor changes.

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A Fresh Start for Better Health

Eight weeks ago today I had my right knee replaced, that demon osteoarthritis did some really major damage inside there.  Now I am feeling somewhat recovered but those first few weeks were pretty hairy.  I lost my appetite on top of all that pain and it was difficult to eat enough to keep my blood sugar decent, I have pre-diabetes as well as my celiac disease. Normally I control that with exercise, healthy snacks and less sweets but when your knee keeps you from all exercise for four months…things can get a little screwed up.  So, I found my self craving fresh produce when I was home from the hospital. Heck, I ate a veggie plate there and a fruit and cottage cheese plate so it began even before I got home. Oranges, tangerines, cuties, grapefruit, berries, snap peas, even broccoli tasted amazing and I couldn’t enjoy a meal without at least a couple fruits and veggies.  That and my reduced appetite gave me a ten pound weight loss which I was more than happy with.  More interesting yet is that I still don’t seem to crave the processed sweets half as much as before.  Oh, they be creeping back somewhat  but I am trying not to buy much of that sort of thing beyond crackers to pair with cheese, plain nuts and some organic baked cheese puffs white-cheddar-puffsI am treating myself to.  Thinking about my close proximity to diabetes plus my recovery time cravings – produced serious soul searching and I have made the decision to try to keep with this program of less processed snack foods and less sugar.

We folks with celiac feel we deserve a treat or two and I am no different from anyone else.  But, now I try to treat those cravings with fruit, nuts or maybe a square of dark chocolate.  Aldi’s has great dark chocolates aldi's chocolateand some nuts that are free of cross contamination. As before, I eat a muffin for a snack most days but it is homemade and baked using coconut palm sugar which has a lower hypoglycemic index which bodes well for my sugar levels. Oh, I’m no saint and I can’t resist an occasional treat of some kind but I am trying to not bake the cakes and cookies I used to delight in.  Pies, tarts, galettes and tartlets are still on my recipe plans so there will be tasty items here on my blog in the future but other than angel food cake or a family birthday party, cake be a rare treat from here on out. I can’t promise no cookies, woman does not live by pie alone…gotta have cookies!

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I will see how the next two months go and let you know if I can keep my plan working.  If you are trying to lower your sugar intake you might want to try some of what I am eating…a good place to start are muffins made with coconut palm sugar.  They are yummy, easy and healthy.  Join me on this new journey and enjoy great homemade foods with less sugar! cranberry-blueberry-muffins

Shrimp Risotto, IP Style: Winner!

We all want easy recipes that taste great, don’t use too many pots/pans and are budget friendly.  I needed something quick that would use my instant pot electric pressure cooker (IP) as I am recovering from a total knee replacement and Joe is cooking right now. He found making a roast chicken far too time consuming and frankly difficult.  I had to talk him through every tiny step.  That was rather exhausting for me!

We had some big fat shrimp in the freezer and all the usual ingredients for risotto.  I had read lots of comments on how good IP risotto was but had resisted until now being a lover of the traditional endless stirring method, LOL.  It still took as long as hand stirred risotto to make but was much easier for him to understand and to complete the tasks plus it was an IP training class for him. Now I think using the IP will be what he wants to do for meals; the quick cleanup sold him.

shrimp risotto

IP Shrimp Risotto, serves 4

1 lb large to extra large shrimp; thawed and shelled

4 tbsp. butter divided

1 small yellow or red onion finely chopped

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

2 tbsp. vermouth or dry white wine

4 ½ cups low sodium great quality chicken broth

1 tsp. sea salt

¼-1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 minced garlic cloves

Finely grated rind of one small lemon

¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme or

2 tsp dried herbs (same ones)

1/3 cup freshly grated good quality parmesan cheese

Directions: Heat IP and add 2 tbsp. butter, melt and add onion, cook 4 minutes, add rice and cook 1 minute, add vermouth and cook 30 seconds, add 3 cups room temp chicken broth, salt and pepper and put lid on. Seal it and set for 9 minutes on manual pressure, do a quick release, add the minced garlic and then the shrimp the rest of the broth. Stir well and cook 5 minutes on Sauté.  Stir frequently. Turn it off and then add the zested lemon and the herbs, stir.  Add the cheese, stir and serve.

Notes: I think you might be able to cut ¼ cup broth; mine seemed just a tad too loose/wet. It was not quite as creamy as hand stirred but the process was a lot easier for a beginner cook like Joe and he loved the quick clean up.  We had a side serving of peas cooked on stove top with some butter added as it cooked for about 3 minutes.  The result was a gourmet meal that a novice could pull off; perfect for our situation.

Italian Wedding Soup

 

It is bitterly cold out there, perfect weather for arctic foxes or penguins.  In here I feel soup is called for to warm from the inside out. This is American comfort food at it’s best; simple to make, flavorful and always comes out right. My dear friend Cathy made this a lot for her kids.  They used to call this “grass soup” when they were little because it is chock full of fresh spinach that melts into this healthy yet still meaty classic soup.  I make mine with ground chicken for the tiny meatballs.  You could use ground turkey, veal or beef.

You can make this soup with canned broth; but, be sure the package is marked gluten free if you have celiac disease like I do, my favorite choice is Kitchen Basic, and they have a low salt chicken broth broth which is perfect for cooking.  Homemade is going to make it more flavorful if you have some around but sometimes we just don’t have time to make fresh broth.  The recipe is modified slightly from one by Ina Garten, foodnetwork.com. Cathy, being Italian, just tosses it together so I had t0 find a source for a decent recipe and I am happy with my choice.

Don’t freak out if you only have one carrot or don’t want as much of any ingredient; make it your way.  Some versions have fresh dill chopped up and added at the end 2-3 tbsp. of it.

stir fry, pan dowdey and crocus 007

Angie’s Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs

1 lb ground chicken

1 large egg

About ½-2/3 cup gf bread crumbs

¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

½ tsp. sea salt

Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium to large yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, unpeeled, sliced into quarter rounds

2 celery stalks diced including the leaves

1 or 2 garlic cloves

½ cup white wine

1 1/2 quarts of chicken broth

½ cup tiny gf pasta; I found some tiny ring shaped pasta

1 package fresh baby spinach, 12 oz. size

½ to 1 tsp. sea salt and some fresh black pepper

Directions: Dump the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl, (beat the egg somewhat before dumping the rest in) stir up with your hands and form into 1 1/4 inch meatballs, 1 and ½ inches maximum.  Place them 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, bigger ones will need a few more minutes. If you feel perfectionistic, turn them half way though the baking, not really that necessary though.

While they bake, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; I used a two quart one.  Add the diced onion, celery and carrots.  Cook them about 6-8 minutes until soft, add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the broth and white wine to the soup, stirring frequently; bring to a boil and add the meatballs, reheat, add the pasta, cook until nearly done, add the spinach, cook 1-2 minutes; taste and adjust the salt. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Pour in a bowl.  I topped mine with some more fresh grated parmesan cheese. Perfect meal when you want to sooth a still slightly iffy tummy.

Fun Winter Salads

Winter is not known as the season for great salad but it could be! It has been so warm here in PA I am longing for supper fruits so these salads can fill that bill when you are meal planning.

I am giving you two salads for this post plus variations for each. Try your own blends but it is best not to throw everything in the fridge in it.  Try to be selective and highlight one or two ingredients.  Simple ones I like have only three – five ingredients and I use my homemade vinaigrette dressing.   They are pretty healthy and probably fairly low in calories yet high in nutritional value.  These are basic recipes which you can tweak depending on the ingredients in your fridge.

Here are two February versions of my winter salad.  This is a repost from my blog a year or two ago but honestly, I eat these salads all winter long and think you should too. Recently I bought a bag of blood oranges at Aldi’s and used them in lieu of a navel orange; totally different look but pretty much the same flavor; fun!  Another change is I use cubed papaya in lieu of the orange.  Love that one too.

Super Winter Salad (serves 1)

 

½ an avocado

1 celery stalk

3-4 leaves of green loose leaf lettuce

2-3 tbsp. fresh pomegranate seeds

 

Or try this yummy winter salad which shows off citrus flavor and color:

s

Citrus Fennel Salad (serves 1)

1 inner stalk of celery cut in 1/3 inch rounds

1 navel orange

¼ cup fennel bulb, cut in ¼-1/3 inch slices

Peel the orange, either by hand or using a paring knife.  Cut across into rounds about ¼-1/3 inch across.  Cut again across into halves.

Fennel has a sweet crunch to it, faintly tasting of licorice, kinda sort of and it marries really well with citrus.  I also like to use blood orange or cara cara navel oranges in this recipe.  Even grapefruit slices are great.  Cara cara oranges have an interesting orange-pinkish cast to the fruit and a lovely sweet flavor.  The local Giant grocery store has them on display right now.  You can also mix two citrus in your salad; a navel and a blood orange.  Fantastic!

Finishing directions for both salads:

Place the salad ingredients in your salad dish; I have some very low sided ceramic bowls I got a long time ago that I love for salad. Then sprinkle the salad with vinaigrette which you just shook up one last time! Please don’t add too much salad dressing or you will have soggy salad.

Margie’s Vinaigrette

I named this after my older sister who passed away several years ago.  She made fantastic vinaigrette.  Mine is not quite like hers but close enough to masquerade as it.  She would approve….

So, I like to use one of those Good Seasoning’s jars but add my own ingredients, use a pint jar if you like; the main thing is a tight fitting lid.  Fill it to the vinegar line with red wine vinegar, not the cheap store brand (skimpy 1/4 cup).  Then some filtered water to the water line (about 1/3 inch more or two tbsp.). Next I add ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp dried oregano, a sprinkle of dried thyme, 1 tsp mayonnaise, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, ½ tsp sugar and [optional] one garlic clove (peeled and mashed down a bit to release flavor),. Then add extra virgin olive oil, stop a bit before the oil line and finish it with lighter olive oil (1/2 cup plus one tbsp of combined olive oils).  Shake it up really well. Then shake it some more, you need to get the mayo to blend in as completely as possible. It tastes best at room temperature and plan ahead – let it rest for at least an hour before you use it the first time.  Keep it in the refrigerator if there is any left over, lasts like a month in there. The mustard adds snap and the bit of mayo helps the dressing stay emulsified (fully blended) longer than it would without the mayo.  If your salad is delicate and you don’t want as much olive oil flavor use only mild olive oil and skip the EVOL.  If you chill the dressing you will need to let it warm up before using it; ten seconds in the microwave can help with that process.

Note: You could up the nutritional value with a few almonds or walnuts if you like nuts in your salad.

More thoughts: I make any number of salad combos.  Two of my favorite ingredient combinations are: shredded carrot, sliced radishes, chickpeas, romaine and half rounds of European cucumber or a mixture of torn kale leaves, shredded raw Brussels sprouts, scallion rounds and julienned raw summer squash.  Both mixtures are great with this vinaigrette.  Just don’t put more than say five things in any one salad or it will have a mixed up taste.

Last thoughts: I avoid tomatoes in winter although some of the grape tomatoes are pretty tasty; use them if you feel the need for tomatoes.

So, go get your healthy green on and enjoy a fruity salad, even in the winter.

Reposted from February 2015 with minor changes.

Eight Bean Storm Soup

Snowstorm today, time for a hearty stew.  This is my multi-bean soup with Italian sausage.  I started with a 1.3 lb bag of 4 bean mix and added two kinds of lentil and a bit of a few others.  The thing is, if you have celiac most 15 bean mixtures for soups contain barley which has gluten, a major no no. I found a four bean mix out at Echo Hill country store  in Berks County and added some French lentils; maybe ¼ a cup and some red lentils; another ¼ cup plus a ¼ cup of dried garbanzo beans and a sprinkling of dried limas.  You can use what ever blend you like but I like a good mix for a rich thick stew.   Update: Later on today, at the grocery store I found a bag of 15 beans for soup and no barley!! Giant Store here in town. Great score for more bean soup.

Mine has Italian sausage but you can leave that out if you want a vegetarian version. I personally love sausage in a bean stew. Gives you lots of meaty flavor and a healthy dose of protein. I am guessing you could use other things like smoky ham chunks or maybe a ham hock? I haven’t found any gf ham hocks yet; they all seem to have a touch of gluten so I am kinda discouraged over that.

I enjoyed a hot bowl of this potage with a slice of toasted multigrain gf bread.  It made a full meal without anything else being necessary.   A fresh crunchy salad would go well if you want to round your dining experience out with some greens!

Ten Bean Soup with Sausage

Soak 1- 1/12 pounds of dried beans in water to cover.  I set the lentils aside and added them after the soaking as they don’t need the same treatment the other beans need.  Either bring to a boil and let stand an hour or just let stand in the cold water overnight.  I did the quick version!  Drain them well and rinse before returning the swollen legumes to the rinsed pot.  Cover with fresh filtered water and add a bay leaf.  Cook 1 hour, pour in more water as needed and stir so it doesn’t stick or burn.  Then, add the lentils and cook another hour until the beans are nearly tender.  It is hard to say when beans get done, depends on a number of factors, taste often to check for tenderness. And stir that pot! As they approach that almost done spot start the rest of the dish.

Chop into dice:

3 sizable carrots

1 large onion

Mince: 2 big garlic cloves

Add the veggies, stir and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add water if needed.  I like the soup thick but it can’t be solid so add water.

As that cooks start the sausage.  Sauté one lb Italian sausage: brown in a Teflon pan with a touch of olive oil until top and bottom are browned and sausage is mostly done. Let cool a bit and slice into rounds or chunks, set aside.

Add to the soup:

½ a 14 ounce can of spicy diced tomatoes

½ tsp. dried oregano

Sprinkle dried basil

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp smoked paprika

1 beef bullion cube

½ bunch of kale leaves cut into big shreds; I cut off the bigger stems as they can be tough.

1-2 tsp sea salt

Some fresh ground black pepper

Cook ten minutes, add more water if it gets too thick. Stir occasionally.  Taste and add more spice if you think the soup needs more. Add the sliced sausage and cook five minutes more.  Taste and add more salt/pepper as you see necessary.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before ladling out.  Now that is comfort food that is good for you too! Enjoy.

Alternate cooking method that I used this week (2-17).  Cook soaked beans in a separate pot until nearly tender. Meanwhile, saute veggies for about 5 minutes in a big pot in about 2 tbsp. EVOL, add 6 sausage links; cook 8 to ten minutes; add canned tomatoes, then broth and all seasonings.  Cook 5 minutes, add the beans that are about done and cook 10 minutes, remove the sausage and let cook five minutes, slice into rounds and add back in, cook 5-15 more minutes until beans taste done.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Originally posted two years ago in January 2015. Minor revisions; recipe remains the same.

Zingy Chicken Coconut Stew

Cold winter, sniffles, chilly fingers: all great reasons to make soup, especially chicken soup.  But I found myself wanting something more, a big bowl of soup with a ton of flavor and some zip in it. So I threw together a quick soup using some broth I made the other day in my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker; to make the broth I put in the roasted chicken carcass and a bit of celery and carrot plus lots of water on for 30 minutes on high pressure and after straining I had a nice container full of rich chicken broth.  I added lots and lots of veggies as well as some great aromatics: slivered fresh ginger and a big clove of garlic. To pull the flavors together I poured in half a can of light coconut milk and added a handful of broken up raw rice noodles (any brand of wide rice noodles will work). Added some cubed roasted chicken and in no time at all I was slurping down this excellently flavored chicken coconut stew. It was like I was eating at a beach soup shack in the islands feeling the warm sea breeze through my hair…  Light zingy flavor and tender chicken with lots of fresh vegetables.  Man, was it yummy and healthy!  Totally guilt free and naturally gluten free if you are careful in choosing your broth.

chicken-coconut-soup

Not the greatest picture but you can see it is chock full of rice noodles and veggies.

Angie’s Chicken Coconut Stew

2 medium sized carrots cut on diagonal into thin coins

2 celery stalks, cut on thin diagonal slices

1 onion cut down the top to bottoms, peeled and cut into long strips

1 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 large garlic clove minced

½ cup chopped green cabbage

2 baby bok choy cut into one inch lengths, bases cut in quarters or eighths

1 quart chicken broth; preferably homemade

4 rounds of thinly sliced fresh ginger cut into narrow strips

½ a can of light coconut milk

1 cup pea pods

½ cup crushed rice noodles

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used leftover roasted chicken breast)

Directions: Sauté carrots, celery and onion in large soup pot in the hot oil on medium heat: about 4-5 minutes, do not brown, add garlic; cook 1 minute, add bok choy and then the broth.  Heat to nearly boiling and add the ginger and cabbage, cook 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, rice noodles, red pepper flakes and pea pods.  Turn heat down to very low and cook 7 to 9 minutes until noodles are cooked through.

Notes: The amounts of veggies are as fluid as you want to be; leave out something you dislike or don’t have or use more/less of any veggie. I used frozen snow peas as I couldn’t find fresh in the store.  My coconut milk was organic, thin and wasn’t too strongly coconuty. Perfect for this stew. lt-coconut-milkI used baby bok choy but a couple stalks of regular will work just as well; might need to cook slightly longer than the baby choy. If you use store broth: Kitchen Basics has really good gf chicken broth; one 32 ounce box container should do it.  I used home roasted chicken breast but you could use a rotisserie bird, although I suggest you check for gluten free before choosing that route as some stores make their birds with ingredients that make it not gluten free so not safe for those with celiac disease.

Enjoy!