Monday, October 31, 2011

slow-roasted chicken

This year my parents decided to get a few chickens -- if "few" means nearly 150. 

Speckled Sussex

Good for both eggs and meat, ours are all hens with one rooster.  They're very sweet and love clover, squash, and watermelon.  The rooster is chivalrous; he attacks anything that lands in their pen, makes sure it's safe, then stands back and lets the ladies have at it, whether it's a worm or a piece of fruit.

For more on these chickies, check out my mom's blog.

Rainbow Rangers

These birds are full of testosterone and jump across the pen to peck at each other.  They're a free-ranging, foraging chicken that makes a nice meat bird. These are now all in the freezer.
For my birthday, my parents gave me two of their Rainbow Rangers, a cast iron chicken fryer from the chicken swap (a.k.a. Lucasville Trade Days), and a dedicated cutting board for chicken. 

For my birthday, I decided to thaw out the larger of the two birds.  I'll fry the other.

Unfortunately it was so large, it took from Sunday until Tuesday to thaw out.  Tuesday was my birthday, and we went on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Hollywood Casino for my first time. So on Wednesday after a meeting with the exec team for YPACS, I got down to business. 

I pulled out my James Beard cookbook, The Fireside Cook Book. 

I preheated the over to 350 and basted the bird with melty butter.

I tossed in some red potatoes (from my parents' farm), baby carrots, and sliced up celery.  I added a dash each of salt and pepper, then sprinkled on some thyme and sage. 

It's about 20 minutes per pound, according to James Beard.  He suggests basting it with the buttery pan juices every ten minutes, but since the Rainbow Rangers are a somewhat fatty breed, I decided to forgo it.

After roughly 90 minutes, the chicken was fully cooked.  It reached an internal temperature of 167 degrees (most cooks say 160 to 170).  James' way is to see that the liquid from the thigh no longer runs pink.

 Pollo delicioso!

Jenny (Scott's mom) helped me boiled down the carcass and make little baggies of ready-to-go chicken soup.  The broth is YUM!!  

Happy Halloween & happy eating :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

busy week, but posts on the way!

It's been a fun & busy birthday week, but here's a sampling of things to come soon...

Stay tuned :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

bj's restaurant & brewhouse

A few days ago, Scott & I had a fun date night at BJ's Brewhouse.  We'd seen their gluten free menu at an event earlier this year with the Cincinnati Celiac Support Group but hadn't given ourselves the chance to check it out.  The regular menu is HUGE; the gluten free options are plentiful, as well. Straight from the menu: "BJ’s is an active participant in the GFRAP (Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program) sponsored by GIG."  GIG is the Gluten Intolerance Group and an excellent resource for folks.

I got ridiculously excited when I saw a new-to-me item on the drink menu: gluten free berry burst cider.  The server suggested it for those who like wine, as it's rather sweet.  Since I want to like wine, I took the challenge. 

The pink hue (although not obvious in this dark photo) surprised me a little.  I was thinking it would be more like the ciders from Strongbow or Woodchuck, but it was gooooood.  It's light and spritzy.  To me, the flavor is a mix of strawberry and raspberry with a hint of blueberry. 

The drink is so tasty, Scott decided to buy me a $14 growler before we left.  What a bargain!  1 glass by itself is about $5, and the growler easily holds 5 or 6 servings.  Plus, when we refill, we'll get a discounted price for already having the jug.

As I looked over the rest of the menu, I was indecisive.  I'd heard wonderful things about their thin-crust gluten free pizza, but I couldn't fight my skepticism.  Pre-diagnosis, pizza was hands-down my favorite food.  I would eat it 3 times a week or more.  However, over the last two years since going gluten free, I just haven't craved it like I used to.  I'm becoming more accustomed to the flavor of gluten free crust, but it's still not enough to reclaim the spot it had on Friday nights on the weekly menu.  For local options, Uno Chicago Grill and Donato's have yummy thin crust and no dough pizzas, respectively, and Udi's and Kinnikinnick have nice frozen crusts.  If you're EVER near Waverly, make sure to try the gluten free option at Lloyd's Pizzeria.  I've been dreaming of it - quite literally - since trying it last month after it was recommended by my dear friends Maran & J.P.  Scott has also declared it his favorite.  (I'll definitely enjoy some this weekend when I'm home to celebrate my birthday.)

Since I wasn't sure how much I would truly enjoy the pizza at BJ's, I decided to order two meals: a thin-crust pepperoni & tomato pizza and a grilled chicken giant stuffed potato.  I was pleased to read that all pizza toppings - with the exception of the meatballs - are gluten free.  Although gluten free crust options are becoming more available, it's rare for most pizza locations to be willing to state that the toppings are gluten free as well. 

Both were delicious.  The 10 inch pizza has an herby crust, which wasn't Scott's favorite since he got a bitter taste of anise.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  BJ's is now my second favorite gluten free pizza place.

Scott had gotten a deep dish pizza.  It must have been tasty - he'd eaten half before it crossed my mind to take a photo of it. 
The 8 inch potato was truly giant, filled with grilled chicken breast & steamed broccoli then topped with melty jack & cheddar cheeses.  Please note: for gluten free, you must order without Alfredo sauce.

This potato was so big that a passerby stared at it and remarked, "That's a HUGE potato!"  I'd just said the same thing.

The items were so delectable, I ate half the pizza and 1/4 of the potato.  Another plus: the leftover pizza and potato each reheated well for lunch the next two days.
The server easily talked me into trying the new Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pizookie - a 4 inch wide deep-dish chocolate chip cookie topped with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served with two spoons for us to share.  Hot and fresh out of the oven. the soft cookie was cake-like and delicious with the melting ice cream. 

When eating gluten free baked goods, I half expect a graininess.  I'm happy to report, neither the pizza nor the Pizookie had this unappetizing quality.  They were smooth and heavenly.

I am officially a fan of BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse and cannot wait to take friends & family there.

BJ's Restaurant and Brew House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

lazy yum-yums

Yesterday was day two of a terrible migraine - the kind that makes you sick at your stomach.  I had to eat something, so I spent a chunk of time looking at foodie blogs to bring on an appetite.

I eventually decided on good old meat and potatoes - my lazy way.

For the potatoes, I used Betty Crocker Potato Buds.  Betty Crocker is another company that's good about giving information about their products being gluten free.  Parent company General Mills created Gluten Freely, which offers a wealth of information, some coupons, and a store.

This particular box of instant mashed potatoes had a nice, prominent Gluten Free label.  It would have passed the Scotty test...if I'd left any for him. 

The meat is Hormel Slow Simmered Beef Roast Au Jus - also gluten free.  It's indicated as such with a significantly smaller image near the nutrition facts, rather than on the front of the box.  Luckily, the tag in Kroger gave it away.  We keep these on hand.  4 minutes in the microwave, and it's as if the roast spent all day simmering in the crock pot.  The au jus is the closest I've come to gravy in months, and it was delectable on the potatoes. 

There's also a Slow Simmered Pork Roast Au Jus that is gluten free, but it hasn't struck me as irresistible like the beef roast.

Here's a list of other Hormel gluten free products.


Monday, October 17, 2011

new meals on the go

Jungle Jim's has fantastic gluten free section - the largest in the Midwest - which makes me do a happy dance in the aisles.  New in those aisles: GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals.  Some varieties are gluten free (and marked as such in a white font in the upper lefthand corner). 

I picked up the Turkey Stick + Crunch picnic-in-a-box, intending to keep it in my desk at work.  It was so tempting, the package didn't last the night.  (I was also trying a new frozen pizza last night that I wasn't feeling.)  This one contains:
  • Old Wisconsin Turkey Snack Stick
  • PopChips Barbecue Potato Chips
  • Mariani Ultimate Apricots
  • Sweet Perry Orchards Baja Blends Fruit & Nut Mix
  • Terra Nostra Organic Robust Dark Chocolate Square
It was yummy, and I was thrilled to learn that Old Wisconsin Turkey Snack Sticks are gluten free - my first Slim Jim type snack in 2 years!!  It was obvious that I'd have to pick up more when I was in the Fairfield area. 

The next time, this flavor was sold out, but I picked up two of the Steak Nuggets + Cheese meals - one for myself, one for my boyfriend's mom's gluten-free coworker.  We all have to stick together.  This meal has:
  • Jack Link's Premium Cuts Original Beef Steak Nuggets
  • Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers
  • Copper Cowbell Parmesan Peppercorn Gourmet Cheese Spread
  • Sweet Perry Orchards Ginger Zip Fruit & Nut Mix
  • Brown & Haley Almond Roca Buttercrunch Toffee
I haven't tried this one yet, but it's because I was a good girl.  I stashed it in my desk at work for those I-need-a-snack moments, also known as what I intended to do with the first GoPicnic meal.  Due to my ginger allergy, I gave away the fruit and nut mix. I also picked up a big package of Old Wisconsin Turkey Snack Sticks, which require refrigeration once opened.

If you need one ASAP and can't get to Jungle Jim's, it looks like they're available from GoPicnic and Amazon.  Enjoy!

In other news, NPR has a nice story today on Morning Edition on gluten free diets.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

feel good foods: sausage gravy & chicken noodle soup

Gluten Free Sausage Gravy

With fall's breezy, chilly weather in the air, and my parents taking an anniversary roadtrip to the Great Smokey Mountains, I got a hankering for sausage gravy on Saturday.  Really, what I wanted is home-processed gluten free venison sausage for my gravy, but alas, I'm out.  Since it's not exactly something you can buy at the local corner grocer, I opted for Applegate Chicken & Apple Breakfast Sausage. It's tasty, gluten free, available at Kroger, and I had it on hand.

I'm adapting this recipe from Lynn's Recipe Adventures:
  • 1 lb package sausage (be sure to use gf sausage)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (more if your sausage is really lean)
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch
  • 3 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place sausage in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown.
  2. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan. Stir in the butter until melted.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add potato starch. Stir for about 1 minute.
  4. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook until thickened.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in cooked sausage.
  6. Reduce heat, and simmer for a few more minutes or until it is the desired consistency. If gravy becomes too thick, stir in a little more milk.
Mine, however, may be what not to do. I was in a hurry because I was hungry and really didn't want to make a run to the store. I had a half package of sausage links (rather than a full pound), which had to be broken up once thawed.  Since it's a very lean sausage - and I come from a family of Buttertons - I used roughly 2 tablespoons of butter.

Instead of potato starch, I used 3 cups of King Arthur Gluten Free Flour - my favorite all-purpose flour.  (Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour is also very good.  Both are available at Kroger.)  King Arthur would have worked fine, I'm sure, if I'd read the word gradually...and realized that I had just less than 3 cups of milk in the fridge. Oops.
However, I stirred & allowed the ingredients to cook down.  I poured the gravy over torn up slices of Udi's Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread, and it was delicious.

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
Today I had an intense migraine that made me very sick to my stomach.  Scott was a doll and surprised me with fantastic homemade chicken noodle soup.  Here's his recipe:

  • Kroger clear chicken broth
  • Schär Anellini pasta (1/4 box)
  • small handful of frozen peas
  • small pinch of shredded carrots
  • 1 chicken tender
While the broth simmered, he cooked the chicken in a separate pan.  He added the peas, carrots, and noodles, allowing the noodles to soak up the broth.

Anellini is Italian for "small rings".  It's a circular pasta that looks like what is in Spaghetti O's.  I've missed the little rings, and this is our first trial with the Schär brand of pasta.  Marketed as Europe's #1 gluten-free food brand, many Schär products are available at Jungle Jim's.

Once the chicken was fully cooked, he added it to the soup & served dinner in bed.  It was delectable and helped immensely.
Happy eating! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

friday night in

Shown here: cheesy Texas toast made with Udi's Gluten Free, homegrown corn cut off the cob, homegrown watermelon, steak by Scott, tater tots, and Kool Aid :)  A very good night in.  Usually Scott marinates the steak in a gluten free Worcestershire sauce (because like soy sauce, Worcestershire isn't gluten free usually). Then he grills it outside with his grilling buddy, Louise (a 20 year old tiger calico who is mean to those who she doesn't consider family), while I prepare the sides.  

Scott prefers Black Cherry (which is increasingly difficult to find), and I like Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade.  Kool Aid is gluten free and made by Kraft, which is wonderful about stating the names 'wheat, barley, rye and/or oats' when they're added either as an ingredient or as part of one.  For further information, check out their website.

That brings me to deep fried Kool Aid.  I saw it at various Cincinnati-area festivals this summer, but of course the intriguing blobs were covered in a glutenous flour batter.  Booooooooo!!  However, tonight I ran across the recipe on Gluten Is My Bitch.  I have got to try it.  I'll be sure to report back when I do.  Until then, all the best to you & yours!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

chicken & pretzels

Sometimes I just feel a little too lazy to make my batter.  I like having Bell & Evans chicken on hand.  This package was purchased at Jungle Jim's but is also available at area Kroger stores.  It's uncooked, so don't try heating it up in the microwave.

375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, and it's done.

Last night, I fixed the whole package so I could take the leftovers to work.  I fixed myself a Chick-Fil-A style sandwich on an Udi's hot dog bun (which is tasty but a little thick for my preferences) and bread & butter pickles.

In the meantime, Scott prepared chicken marinated in gluten free Italian dressing.  He's great at it, and the chicken is so simple & good.


Then today after work I tried the other pretzels I bought at Jungle Jim's: Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels.  They were yummy...but not as amazing at the Dutch Country Soft Pretzels.  Right now Jungle Jim's only has the Bavarian variety, but the other flavors listed on the website look intriguing.

 Enjoy these products :)  More simple & tasty recipes to come soon.  

Happy 29th anniversary, Mom & Dad!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

monday funday

On Mondays, I frequently have a little cooxtravaganza. During the week, I'm constantly on the go. But when I get hungry, I release the Kraken. Unfortunately, Scott is usually on the receiving end.

To save sanity and our relationship, I try to keep ready-to-eat meals and snacks on hand. In my cooking efforts, I attempt to combine my dietary needs with my country upbringing while keeping in mind Scott's preferences (AKA pickiness). On the bright side, he doesn't suffer from selective eating disorder, and he's willing to try most items I prepare. (If you or someone you love suffers from this or any other eating disorder, Weighing the Facts and the Duke Center for Eating Disorders may be good resources for you.)

This being Columbus Day (and a day off work), I cooked a little more than usual Mondays. Today: Mim's Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies, Rice Krispie Treats, Gluten Free Cafe Pasta Primavera, Conte's Pasta Spinach & Cheese Ravioli, Dutch Country Soft Pretzels, and Easy Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan.

Mim's Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies 

These were found at Jungle Jim's International Market in the frozen gluten free food aisle.  Scott surprised me with them.

350 degrees for 12-15 minutes

This is how the cookies looked straight out of the freezer package. -->

Even uncooked, the dough is yummy.

The cookies actually turned out as pretty as the package! :)

Rice Krispie Treats

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free are now found at most grocery stores, usually in the grocery area, as opposed to the natural foods or gluten free aisle.

I vary from the recommended recipe on the box.  I use a 1-to-1 ratio of marshmallows and Rice Krispies. Be sure to check your marshmallows to ensure they are gluten free!

My version:
3 tablespoons butter/margarine
6 cups marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat. 
Add Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free cereal and stir until well coated.
Press mixture evenly into a pan coated with cooking spray. 

Gluten Free Cafe Pasta Primavera
This was found in Jungle Jim's International Market in the frozen gluten free aisle, but I've previously seen the brand in area Kroger stores.  

Pierce plastic film and microwave for 3 minutes.  Remove film and stir.  Microwave for an additional 3 minutes and let sit for 1 minute.

Surprisingly, it has onion powder but no onion.  Yay!  And the rice noodles weren't gummy or otherwise unsatisfying.  It looks like I've found a new option for lunch at work!
 Conte's Pasta Spinach & Cheese Ravioli

Purchased at Jungle Jim's. 

The package says to boil frozen ravioli in 2 quarts of water for 6-8 minutes.  Mine were still cold in the center, so I'd suggest a little longer.  They weren't bad, but they're not Scotty-approved.  (In fact, I didn't ask if he wanted to try one.)

This is the first ravioli I've had in two years.   It's not meat ravioli, but it still gets a happy sigh.
Dutch Country Soft Pretzels

Available at Jungle Jim's...when they're not sold out.  They're tasty & quite popular.  I usually have to double-check that it is, indeed, a gluten free package.

Bake at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes.

It was so good, it couldn't wait for a picture.

Easy Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan
1 pound chicken breast tenders
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan chese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

The recipe on Big Oven (an iPad app) calls for 2 chicken breasts that have been halved.  Instead I use chicken breast tenders.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a small dish, mix melted better and oil.
In a bowl, mix Parmesan and spices.
Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil, and I recommend using some butter/oil/cooking spray to keep the chicken from sticking.
Dip chicken in the oil/butter mixture and toss in the bowl to cover with cheese.
Place the chicken in the pan.
Pour the leftover oil then cheese over the chicken.
Bake for 30 minutes.  With 5 minutes left, I sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese.

My favorite pasta - Quinoa Ancient Harvest, available at Kroger in a variety of styles.

The chicken is shown here atop Quinoa Ancient Harvest spaghetti with Kroger Original Spaghetti Sauce and more grated Parmesan cheese.

SCORE!  This is the best I've done.  Addictive! :)

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

the day has come.

There are a few things I told myself I'd do before my quickly-approaching birthday.  With just over two weeks to go, it's time to start this blog.

I'll do a separate entry on my diagnosis.  In short, I've been strictly gluten-free for medical reasons since October 2009.  (My first half-attempt at the diet was in July 2009.) 

There are many questions I am frequently asked:

  • Where can you eat?  
  • What can you eat?  
  • I'm having a party and want you to be able to eat something -- what should I do? 

I will do my best to address these questions and provide yummy recipes & information along the journey.  Enjoy!  Just remember:
An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.  - G.K. Chesterton