Buffalo Chicken Dip Inspired Pasta

Cooking, recipe

Buffalo Chicken Dip Pasta

Have you had buffalo chicken dip? That wonderful concoction of creamy, spicy, and chicken-y amazingness? I’ve made a meal out of it (mind you I only used veggies like carrots & celery, no crackers) only to feel sick later (no duh).

I decided that it needed to be a pasta and to be lightened up while still retaining that creamy goodness. Using rice flour to thicken the chicken broth gives a smooth mouthfeel to the sauce base without adding fat so we can still add cheese! Use leftover roast chicken or one from the rotisserie if you can find a gluten free one for a meal that comes together fast! Don’t we all need recipes that come together with a side in under 30 minutes? I know I do.

I like to serve this pasta with coleslaw to provide balance to the spicy flavors (and to get some veggies ins!).

 

For the pasta

In a large saucepan cook 4 servings of gf pasta as package directs (I used the penne from Costco). Drain.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, whisk together 2 cups of chicken broth, & 2 T of rice flour (or tapioca starch, or arrowroot powder). Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened (about 1-2 minutes). Stir in 3 T of Franks hot sauce, 2 T of cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken, and 1 tsp of ranch seasoning. Simmer and stir until heated through. Stir in 1 cup of cheddar jack cheese blend. Toss with pasta, adding more hot sauce as needed.

For the coleslaw

Mix 1 tsp of poppy seeds, 4 T of plain yogurt, 2 T of honey, 2 T of French’s dijon mustard, and salt to taste. Toss with shredded green cabbage, and add-ins such as: shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots, sliced celery, or chopped green onions.

 

We made a roast chicken earlier in the week. The first meal from it was roast chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, & veggies (dinner & lunch), the second was this meal (dinner & lunch), and the last one was buffalo chicken pizza (dinner, lunch, & leftovers). The point is that one chicken can make a lot of easy meals! Oh and that next week I’ll have the recipe for the pizza up!

 

xoxo Jessica

Tapioca with Coconut and Mango

Asian, Cooking, recipe

Tapioca w/ Coconut & Mango

It may not feel like Summer in the North West but I have been making Summer food anyway! Iced teas, hamburgers, lots of veggies, fresh pickles, and refreshing desserts have been returned to their rightful place on my menu. This is one of my favorites and if you get everything at the Asian store you can probably do it for under $5!

Tapioca w/ Coconut & Mango

Bring 1/2 cup of pearl tapioca (I used large pearl) and 6 cups or more of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Continue to boil until tapioca is clear except for a small opaque center. Try one for texture and continue boiling if necessary. The large pearl took me about 40 minutes to get to desired doneness. The tiny ones only take a few minutes. When tapioca is ready transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, peel, pit, and chop 1 ripe mango. Combine in a medium bowl 1/2 cup of macapuno (click here for a picture of the jar and a yummy looking recipe), 1/2 cup of full fat canned coconut milk, and the mango. Refrigerate.

Add rinsed and drained tapioca to the coconut mango mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve. Serve in fun glasses. I got the Irish Coffee glass above at the dollar store!

A bit about Macapuno

Macapuno goes by  few different names: gelatinous mutant coconut, coconut sport, coconut strings. How I understand it coconut trees will sometime produce a coconut without water inside and so the resulting flesh is soft and jelly-like. Once that tree makes a “mutant” coconut thats the only type they will continue to make. It has a great texture and is a fun treat. Find it at Asian and Filipino stores.

Savory Asian Style Pancakes

Asian, Cooking, recipe

Savory Asian Pancakes

My grandma used to make a variation of these pancakes for the grandkids. Usually they were served with a ketchup/mayo mixture and we ate them faster than she could cook them! I decided that I needed a gluten free version with my own twist. These pancakes are delicious, versatile, fast, cheap, and chock-full of veggies!

You can add in or substitute veggies for what you have but be sure to have an assortment of colors, flavors, and textures.

Other mix-in ideas: Shredded cabbage and carrots, cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, or fresh mushrooms.

For the pancakes:

Heat a nonstick skillet to medium heat. Combine 6 eggs, 3/4 cup of canned coconut milk, 1 cup of gluten free flour of choice (I used brown rice, and Bob’s Red Mill), 1/2 tsp of xanthum or guar gum, 1/4 softened dried mushrooms, 1 bunch of minced  green onions, 1/2 cup of chopped water chestnuts, 4 cups of bean sprouts, and a pinch of salt. Scoop up 1/2 cup of the mixture, add to pan, and spread to an even thickness  Cook until mostly set and golden brown on bottom, flip and cook until set. Repeat for all pancakes, keep warm in oven until ready to serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

For the sauce:

Combine 1 cup cold water, 1 T of tapioca starch, 1/4 tsp of garlic chili paste, 1/2 tsp of minced ginger, 1 tsp of sesame seeds,  2 T each gf soy sauce, rice vinegar and raw sugar in a small saucepan. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened, about 1 minute. Refrigerate until needed.

Eating

Serve with a platter of fresh crunchy lettuce such as romaine. Wrap pancakes in lettuce, dip in sauce before taking a bite.

Accompaniment ideas:

Pickled daikon radish and carrots, Cheap Korean beef, Yellow jasmine rice, and cucumber slices.

Sauce ideas:

Nouc Cham, Yum yum, and Sweet chili.

The best loaded baked potato soup, healthy version!

Cooking, recipe

The best loaded baked potato soup

Creamy potato, rich and tangy sour cream, salty bacon, melted cheese, crisp green onions… are you drooling yet? A head of cauliflower that you can’t taste,  and less than 10 grams of fat per serving… are you intrigued?

The cauliflower blends nicely into the soup adding nutrients, nice creamy texture, and volume that would have been potatoes. Using bacon fat instead of butter allows you to use less fat without skimping on flavor. If you can use organic milk, and potatoes, and nitrate free bacon.

 

Ok stop licking your screen and start cooking!

Fry 4 slices of nitrate-free apple wood smoked bacon in a large stockpot on medium low. Remove bacon, chop, and refrigerate  leaving behind the fat. Saute 2 coarsely chopped onions until lightly golden. Add 6 cups of water, 2# of coarsely chopped organic unpeeled potatoes, 1 coarsely chopped head of cauliflower, and 2 cloves of garlic. Simmer until all vegetables are tender. Working in batches blend soup with 1 quart of organic whole milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with minced green onions, cheddar cheese (1 tablespoon per serving), reserved bacon, and Greek yogurt.

Enjoy!

Easy Pad Thai

Asian, Cooking, recipe

Pad Thai

Soak 12 ounces of rice sticks (I often get pho noodles) until softened but are still firm. Slice 1 onion, cut 2 carrots into matchsticks, thinly slice 1 bunch rainbow chard, and chop 2 cooked chicken breasts. Blend 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (seeds removed from paste) with 1/4 cup of fish sauce, 1/2 cup of vinegar (I used apple cider), and 1/2 cup of raw sugar. Heat a large pot or wok to medium high, once pot is hot add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add the carrots and onions, saute for 2 minutes. Meanwhile in a small fry-pan cook 4 lightly beaten eggs until set, remove from heat and chop. Add chicken, chard, and noodles to large pot, saute until noodles are almost cooked through. Add sauce, 1 cup of small mushrooms, 4 cups of beans sprouts, the cooked eggs, and water as needed. Saute until noodles are cooked through.

Swirl the noodles on the plate. Garnish as desired with 1 tablespoon of toasted sunflower seeds, 1/4 of a lime, sliced green onions, and cilantro.

$5 for 7 meals worth of spaghetti sauce!

Cooking, recipe

The weather is finally warming up a bit!

That means a couple of things to me: gardening, barbequing, more greens in meals, summer sewing and planning for Fall knitwear.

First off gardening

I’m starting lots of different lettuces, tomatoes(big,medium, small, pink, red, yellow, slicers and paste), basil for pesto and 2 more types, mini bell peppers, cilantro and probably more. My celery, kale, carrots, leeks, onions, chives and parsley survived the winter so that’s good.

Second

Barbequing! We got propane today so I’m planning on making grass-fed beef hamburgers with sweet potato and green bean fries.

Third

See above about gardening. I’m planning on having TONS of greens this summer!

Fourth

I’m working on a prom dress for a friend and then I want to whip out a pair of shorts, capris, a skirt and a top for me. This should be interesting since I’ve never made pants or shorts besides PJ’s.

Fifth

This will be a surprise and it will be awesome! Want to be the first to hear what I’m up to? Join the newsletter.

 

Oh and by the way I got a giant, I really do mean huge(108 ounce) can of S&W crushed tomatoes in rich puree from Costco for about $3 + $1 worth of organic onions + less than $.50 of spices and sugar = the equivalent of over 7 jars of spaghetti sauce for less than $5!

All I did was dumped the can of tomatoes into my largest crockpot, added 2 diced onions and turned it on high for 3 hours. Then I added 4 tablespoons of minced garlic, 5 tablespoons of dried basil and how ever much was left of my dried oregano(what can I say, I’m sooo scientific about the process. If you need more directions come over here) Around 2 hours later I added about 2 tablespoons of sugar to cut the acidity.

I froze the sauce in 2 cup blocks, after they were frozen solid I popped them in ziplock bags for quick meals.

For the most part I’ll brown veggies or meat in olive oil, add the thawed sauce and heat to a simmer. Sometimes I’ve added cream cheese to the sauce as well.

{Make your own pizza}

baking, recipe

I love pizza. I love that you add whatever veggies you want and then cover it in cheese. Mmm, cheese 🙂 I love that it’s a cheap meal when you make it yourself even if you add a salad and ice cream for dessert. I love that my mom for many years made us pizza for parties and everyday dinners. Thanks mom again for instilling in me a desire for healthy and cost effective cooking, I love you!

The above unbaked pizza was made with all of the non-optional ingredients listed. I also used the seasoned olive oil that the olives came in for brushing the crust with.

{Basic Dough Recipe}

A tender, fairly light and flavorful dough that tastes delicious despite being mostly comprised of  whole grains. I use organic hard white whole wheat flour(unifine) from Azure Farms. You may have to sub more white flour if you use a coarser whole wheat flour.

This makes a ton of dough! At least enough for 6 medium pizzas. Also a good dough for cinnamon rolls and loaf bread.  You can freeze grapefruit sized portions wrapped in plastic wrap for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

2 Tablespoons of raw sugar
1/2 cup of warm water
2 Tablespoons of yeast

2/3 cup of olive oil
2/3 cup of honey
2 Tablespoons of sea salt
3 cups of hot, not boiling water
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups white flour
6-8 cups of hard whole wheat flour

  1. Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a bowl that holds at least 4 cups. Let yeast proof for 5-10 mins, if it gets too bubbly stir it down.
  2. Add the olive oil, honey, salt and hot water to your stand mixer. Using a dough hook mix for about 2 minutes, add the oatmeal, white flour and 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix until the flour is moistened.
  3. Add the proofed yeast and enough whole wheat flour until the dough is barely sticky. Mix on a low speed for 6-8 minutes until smooth.
  4. Lightly grease top of dough with olive oil, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Punch dough down and let rise again for 30 minutes.

{Delicious and healthy pizza}

Consider making 2 or more pizzas at a time and freezing the leftover slices. Choose your toppings wisely as you don’t want to overload your pizza. Spinach and kale cook down so much they are barely noticeable in taste but the nutrition is there. Substitute your favorite veggies or sprinkle some herbs on the crust.

Grapefruit-sized piece of basic dough

2/3 cup of pasta sauce(turkey is optional)

1/6 of an onion, thinly sliced

1 cup of organic fresh spinach or kale

1 1/2 – 2 cups of shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese

1/2 Roma tomato, diced

1/4 green bell pepper, diced

2 mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 olives, chopped

1/2 cup of cooked chicken, optional

Cornmeal or whole wheat flour, for the pan

Pizza stone or cookie tray

Olive oil for brushing, optional

Garlic powder or dried basil for sprinkling, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius)
  2. Place 2 Tablespoons of cornmeal on pizza stone. Spread dough until it’s roughly half what you want the finished thickness to be. Brush olive oil 1-2″ from edge.
  3. Spread sauce over dough, add onions, then kale, cheese and remaining toppings.
  4. Bake for 8-12 minutes until cheese is melted, pizza crust is lightly browned and is no longer doughy.

Each pizza serves 2.

Recipe: Easy Roast Chicken and Chicken Stock

recipe

Roasting a whole chicken shouldn’t be intimidating, but too many people psych themselves out before they even start. Cooking a whole chicken isn’t scary and is great for a dinner party. Once the chicken is in the oven you’ll have time to do last minute party prep. Whole chickens are very economical (sometimes a 1/4 cost of cut pieces and you can make a fantastic broth from the bones and clinging bits of meat), it looks impressive and has more flavor than boneless chicken. My recipe uses an oven bag so clean up is a breeze, there is no added fat and it still gets a nicely brown skin.

Ingredients and supplies:

  • 1 large plate covered with 3-5 paper towels
  • 1 3-4 pound whole chicken
  • 1 onion cut into 1/8ths
  • 2 carrots halved and cut into 2″ pieces
  • Handful of celery leaves
  • 1 tsp. of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 oven bag
  • 4 T. of white rice flour
  • 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • A baking dish that has at least 2″ sides.

Note: the USDA answers many FAQs about poultry handling. From their website: “The USDA recommends cooking whole poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured using a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.”

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash chicken inside and out. Remove any giblets, place on paper towel lined plate and pat dry.
  3. Stuff half of the onion and all of the celery leaves inside the cavity. Rub the salt and pepper all over the chicken.
  4. Place flour and onion powder in oven bag. Close bag and shake to coat. Set bag in baking dish.
  5. Place half of the onion and all the carrots in the oven bag. Set chicken on top of the carrots and onions.
  6. Close bag with included tie, cut 6 half inch slits on top of bag.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 70 minutes or until chicken is cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees.
  8. Let rest for 10 minutes. Remove from bag and serve.

For the chicken stock concentrate:

  • The leftover chicken carcass with bits of meat attached, skin, carrots and onion.
  • 4 whole peppercorns or use ground black pepper.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 T. of apple cider vinegar
  • Water to cover all
  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 12 hours.
  3. Using a colander strain meat, skin & bones from broth into a glass bowl.
  4. Refrigerate until fat is solid, remove fat.
  5. Freeze broth in desired portions.

To use: dilute with water to desired strength. Great to use as a base for homemade soups, cooking rice or anytime a recipe calls for broth.

Recipe: Spaghetti with homemade sauce

Cooking, recipe

I think that there is nothing quite like organic tomatoes but many of the organic pasta sauces at the store are expensive and the regular ones have preservatives and other things that I don’t want on my pasta. My solution is to make my own in the crock pot. This chunky, flavorful, mild sauce is crowd pleasing and is easy to double for freezing. If you want you can leave out the turkey and substitute mushrooms for a vegetarian version.

~*~

Homemade turkey marinara(GF & DF):

1 1/2 pound ground turkey

2 cans(6oz) of tomato paste

1 can(15 oz) of diced tomatoes

1 can(15 oz) of tomato sauce

1/4 cup of white wine

1 large sweet onion chopped

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon each marjoram, oregano and rosemary

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon sugar

Salt to taste

Optional: 1/2 cup of olive oil

1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown turkey in a skillet breaking up the turkey into small pieces.

2. Combine all of the ingredients except for the fresh basil, sugar, salt and olive oil in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

3. Stir in the basil and sugar, add salt if needed and olive oil if desired.

~*~

Coconut Lime Sherbet

Asian, recipe

Last night I made shrimp sauteed with lime peel, pad Thai and refreshing coconut lime sherbet for dinner.

We were both so hungry that I didn’t get a chance to snap a pic!

So here’s some shrimp, egg, carrot and chives futomaki zushi 🙂

~*~

And here is my recipe for our dessert:

This is so refreshing on it’s own or after some Thai inspired food as we did!

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of water

1 15oz can of coconut milk

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice(about 1 ½ limes)

Fresh lime zest to taste

  1. Whisk the water and sugar together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring so the sugar dissolves. Let cool and refrigerate until well chilled.
  2. Refrigerate the coconut milk and lime juice until well chilled.
  3. Whisk the sugar syrup, coconut milk and lime juice together. Add freshly grated lime zest to taste.
  4. Freeze sherbet according to your ice cream maker’s directions and enjoy!