Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am truly grateful for my children and husband, my extended family, my friends, my church, my home--all of the many blessings God has bestowed on me.  There are so many things to be grateful for, that I refuse to allow Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Dairy Intolerance, or food allergies to interfere with our ability to enjoy our holidays!  (For those of you who are interested in my thoughts concerning CD and its affects on my life and to read a post that I just did yesterday concerning Thanksgiving and CD, click here.)

So how much time did you all spend in the kitchen Thanksgiving Day?   I'm just curious because I spent all day long in the kitchen, making up new recipes.  I had a lot of fun doing it, and since our Thanksgiving holiday lasts from Thursday through Sunday (Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom's), I really didn't mind spending all that time cooking, and I came up with some delicious recipes and some ideas for making certain things ahead of time next year which will make my next Thanksgiving Day much easier.

I was speaking to my sister on the phone Thursday, and, of course we were talking about what food we were making.  She asked me to post some of the recipes on here for her (and you) to try.  Even though I only made these things once, I figured I would go ahead and share.  Just be aware that these recipes may change just a little after Christmas since I will be making them again and tweaking things just a touch.  This is just bare bones here right now--no pictures or huge explanations.  I wasn't planning on posting these just yet, so I didn't take pic's. and don't have time to write out all the directions in detail.  I'm just putting these up real fast before I leave for the day, so my sister (and you) can look at them.  I will come back later and edit this post to include pictures and directions, so make sure to check again later if you want more direction.  I'm basically sharing our Thanksgiving Day Menu with you.  Some of the items listed are not accompanied by recipes since I am assuming you already have your own way of making these basics.  Enjoy!

11/29/10 Edit--I took these dishes to my mom's dinner yesterday and got some feedback.  I also took them to my in-laws' house and got feedback there, as well.  Basically, the Crockpot Candied Sweet Potatoes and the GF Cornbread and Rice Blend Stuffing got rave reviews.  Nobody really tried the Green Bean Casserole because they were all so full from all the other food, and there was already a dairy and gluten-filled green bean casserole there for them to eat.  The Cranberry and Orange Chutney was liked.  I got a little bit of mixed feedback.  My mother felt it wasn't sweet enough, so more sugar is needed.  My grandmother thought it was perfect the way it was, but she has Diabetes and normally eats things with a lot less sugar than most people.  So, I think that you will have to taste it and see if you need to add more sugar.

One more thing, my Green Bean Casserole was not made with mushrooms or mushroom flavoring because Nathan and Chuck hate mushrooms.  However, Nathan could not get past the IDEA of it being a green bean casserole that LOOKED like regular green bean casserole, had a similar TEXTURE as a regular green bean casserole, and a similar TASTE?  Really?  Even without any mushrooms?  LOL.  I guess next time I attempt this, I will just count him out because those are the very traits I am trying to mimic with this casserole, and that's what he doesn't like!  :-)  Chuck liked it, though.  Otherwise I would have to consider making it with canned mushroom pieces and some mushroom stock instead of turkey stock, because I kind of miss the cream of mushroom flavor, though I still liked my version.  

Lastly, please keep in mind that these recipes make A LOT.  For instance, the stuffing recipe makes enough stuffing for 3 meals for us.  Of course, it all depends on how big the servings are, how many other sides you have, etc., but I would plan on having leftovers.  I haven't tried freezing this, yet, but I am definitely going to try it and see how it tastes after being frozen for awhile.  If you want less, just cut the recipe in half.  Personally, we love having leftovers.

Crockpot Candied Sweet Potatoes--Nate's favorite meal item of all, and he's a VERY picky eater!
4 lbs. sweet potatoes
4-6 apples
1/2-3/4 c. maple syrup
few handfuls craisins
few handfuls chopped walnuts
1/2 c. Earth Balance
cinnamon to taste

Turkey and Gravy
Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole
16 oz. mimic creme
2 c. turkey broth
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
2 t. Herbamare (more or less to taste)
1 t. Worcestershire sauce (make sure it's GF--in the U.S.A. regular Lea & Perrins is GF, but double check label)
1 t. lemon juice
1/4-1/2 t. black pepper (to taste)
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
6-7 Tbs. sweet rice flour
1/2-3/4 c. blanched almond flour, GF bread crumbs,
    OR a batch of homemade GF French Fried Onions
    (I used almond flour because I didn't have time for the onions, however I will be making them for the next batch!)

GF Cornbread and Rice Blend Stuffing--turned out excellent--Elijah said, "Mom, it tastes like it's got gluten!"
1 batch GF cornbread (12 muffins or 1-9x9)
7 slices Udi's GF sandwich bread (or use your own homemade GF bread)
2 c. Lundberg Farms gourmet brown rice mix
4 c. turkey broth
1 t. herbamare
1 lb. ground sausage
7 stalks celery
3 large carrots
1 large onion
2 Tbs. dried parsley
2 t. herbamare
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. sage
1/2 t. thyme
5 c. turkey broth

Cranberry Orange Chutney
4 c. cranberries
2 oranges
3/4 c. organic sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. orange juice
3 Tbs. arrowroot

Organic Cranberry Sauce (from a can for Nate since he can't have oranges)

GF/DF Pumpkin Cheezecake--needs more work, turned out like pumpkin pie, not cheezecake
2 c. almond flour
1 c. walnuts
1 c. soft pitted dates
1/2 t. salt
3 c. cashews, soaked
1-2 c. water
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. honey
4 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 + 1/8 t. cloves

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder--Dairy Free and Gluten Free

Today I made another batch of Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder, just because it was so good that basically the whole pot of soup got eaten the other night when we had it!  I'm not sure how it happened since I dished out a bowl for each person and then went to the family room for a few moments of relative quiet. I didn't think it would be so liked that the kids would eat the rest of the pot when left on their own for a few moments.  ("Mom!  I ate 4 or 5 bowls all myself!!")  I guess that's a good thing, though, considering how my boys have been so picky with the dairy free attempts I have made in the past.  If they loved it enough to inhale it, they deserve to have as much as they want this one time after being dairy free and feeling deprived for so long.  Another good test is that my husband and brother-in-law couldn't tell the soup was dairy free, and they loved it, too.  I served the soup with cornbread muffins made using Bob's Red Mill GF Cornbread Mix.

I decided to put my soup to another test tonight before posting the recipe.  I took some to our friends' house for them to try.  Everyone loved it and couldn't tell it was dairy free until I told them.  Everyone who tried it said I should share the recipe, so I decided it was time to share:

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder
4 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. dry white wine*
5 russet potatoes, cubed
3 lbs. frozen or fresh california blend veggies, cut in bite-sized pieces
     (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower)
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 c. chopped, cooked chicken
4 c. almond milk + 1 c. for making slurry
1 pkg. original unsweetened MimicCreme
6 Tbs. GF nutritional yeast (nooch)
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. dried parsley
2 t. salt
2 t. herbamare
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. ground celery seed
1/4 t. ground mustard
1/4 c. sweet rice flour

Pour the chicken stock and wine in a large pot.  Add the potato cubes and simmer.  As the potatoes are simmering, cut your other vegetables into bite-sized pieces, and chop your onion and garlic.  Add the veggies, onion, and garlic to the soup pot when the potatoes are almost tender.  If your vegetables are fresh (raw), then you will want to add the carrots at the same time as you add the potatoes, or perhaps even a minute or two before the potatoes, depending on how big your pieces are cut.  You will want to add fresh cauliflower and broccoli after the fresh carrots and potatoes have cooked for a little while, but before they are fully tender.  I used 1 lb. frozen carrots and 2 lbs. frozen California Blend veggies for convenience sake.  Add the 4 c. almond milk and the package of Mimiccreme.  Bring your soup to a simmer, cooking on medium heat and stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick.  Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and all the herbs and spices.  Add the chopped chicken.  Allow your soup to simmer until the potatoes and vegetables are tender.

While your soup simmers, make a slurry by thoroughly whisking the sweet rice flour with additional almond milk (or a little water if you don't have more almond milk).  I used about 3/4 c. almond milk to the 1/4 c. flour, though you could use a little more or less.  When the veggies are about tender, stir the slurry into the soup.  Continue stirring the soup until it has thickened and the rice flour has "cooked" into the soup--you don't want a rice flour taste or texture in your soup.  Remove from heat and enjoy!

*I used a dry honey wine from Montezuma Winery, though it appears that may not be available at this time.  Next time I make this, I will try a dry American Sauvignon Blanc as suggested here.  If you don't want to use wine, you might try a white wine vinegar, though I don't know how much you would use, and I believe the results would taste different than if you used actual wine. 

1/26/12--Update:  I just made this soup using the American Sauvignon Blanc, and it was just as delicious as with the honey wine.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dairy Free Recipes to Come and Bob's Red Mill Cornbread Mix Review

Today was a great day.  I took Cassie and Nathan to History class this morning to hand in their term papers (we were too late to actually attend the class).  Then we went to Davis College.  All the kids enjoy going on Fridays to the school.  They did their school work in the campus library while we waited to meet Chuck for lunch in the cafeteria.  We really can't eat any of the food the cafeteria serves with the exception of the salad bar.  The prices are great--$2 per person for all you can eat salad bar.  It's a good thing we like salad!  :-)  We all love getting to see Chuck for lunch during the school day, and it breaks up his day, which he really enjoys, too.  Some of the students come to our table and say hi.

Then the kids and I went to the Oakdale Mall.  I had to go to the Girl Scout store to pick up a Brownie Try-It Book for Moriah.  We decided to look around the different stores because the kids all had money burnin' holes in their pockets!  We found some great deals, though.  Elijah found a nice hoodie at Aeropostale that was marked down from over $50 to $12!  The boys also found some jeans at JC Penney's that were marked down to $5!

After we got home, Elijah and I made some awesome Creamy Chicken Chowder, a recipe I will share very soon.  Last night I made an updated and even better version of my Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, another one I will share/update soon, as well.  Of course these recipes are gluten-free, as well, and they taste oh-so-yummy, and even cheezy! 

To go with our Creamy Chicken Chowder tonight, Elijah made up a batch of Bob's Red Mill Cornbread.  Instead of making it in a 9" pan, he made 12 muffins.  We haven't had cornbread in ages!  My absolute favorite cornbread used to be the Jiffy mixes.  Now, of course, that is off limits.  I have made several from-scratch cornbread recipes from various cookbooks, but I have to say that we really enjoyed the BRM Cornbread Mix better than any of the recipes I have tried.  It was so very easy, and the muffins were delicious.  Everyone wanted seconds, but I told them we're gonna take the rest with us tomorrow to a special Family Day at Davis College tomorrow.  The school is providing lunch and dinner for all the families, and I want to take some yummy GF food to add to the salad bar.  I will definitely pick up a few more packages of the cornbread mix for busy days when I want to make a little something extra to go with dinner that is delicious, fast, and easy. 

Lastly, I wanted to say that it is so great that awareness about gluten intolerance is spreading so well.  Our local Wal Mart Superstore has recently added a small Gluten Free section to the grocery side.  It is at the end of the baking aisle.  That's where we got the cornbread mix.  It was $2.88, which is the best price I have seen.  Also, the Christmas Tree Store in Johnson City has some gluten free goodies at decent prices.  (I say decent because I am talking about comparing gluten free foods with gluten free foods.  We all know that gluten free foods are more expensive than gluten-laden foods.)  I have noticed that Big Lots also frequently carries various gluten free cereals at very good prices.  Although I have been really into making things from scratch due to the huge amount of starch in the mixes, as well as the sky-high prices, gluten-free foods are becoming a little more available and are so much easier for me to make when we go through periods of extreme busy-ness with sports, school, etc.  It also makes it easier for friends and family to make gluten free foods that we can eat when we go to visit them for dinner.  I believe that as long as we keep moderation in mind when we make and eat these starchy foods, we can still be healthy.

I will try to share my new recipes soon...just as soon as I can take a couple of good pictures!  Have a blessed weekend.  :-)