Creamy Chicken Mushroom Spaghetti

2 T. olive oil

4 T. non-dairy butter

1/2 onion, diced finely

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/3 c. white wine

2 tsp fresh thyme

dash salt

dash pepper

1/4 plus 1/8 c. brown rice flour

1/8 c. cornstarch or other thickener, optional

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. non-dairy milk, unsweetened

2 c. cooked, shredded or diced chicken

1 c. cheese (Use Parmesan if you can.  I added in Daiya cheddar cheese to each bowl of leftovers.  In this case, you need some sort of cheese. My husband used a pizza cheese blend in his bowl and liked it.)

1 pound noodles (I used HEB gluten free spiral noodles)

 

Directions:

Begin boiling water for the noodles.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add a dash of salt.  Stir in mushrooms, wine, and thyme and another dash of salt and pepper and cook uncovered for about 8 minutes.  Remove mixture to a bowl or plate.

Now it’s time for the roux.  Melt the “butter” in the skillet over medium low heat.  Add in the brown rice flour and continue whisking while cooking for two minutes.  Add the chicken broth while continuing to mix.  Pour in the milk and continue to whisk while cooking on medium low heat for 5 minutes.  It should begin to thicken.  If you want it to be thicker, add 1/8 c. cornstarch.

Add the mushroom mixture back in along with the chicken and whatever cheese you are using (or you can have each person add their cheese later if some can have dairy and some can’t.)  Cook for another 4 minutes.

When noodles are cooked, drain them and add them to the mixture.  Serve with additional cheese, salt, and pepper available for people to season at will.

 

Original recipe:

https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/creamy-chicken-mushroom-spaghetti-31387

Turkey Cranberry Salad (or Chicken)

I know, I know. This post would have been better around Thanksgiving time, but I wasn’t ready to post it then.  I was too busy having fun with family :-).  Instead, you are getting a random February post about Thanksgiving leftovers.  People make turkey other times of the year, right?  You could also use chicken instead of turkey if you don’t want to go to the trouble of cooking a big bird when it’s not a holiday. Or perhaps you still have leftovers in the freezer… If so, this is great way to make them moist and delicious instead of merely passable.  As the weather is warming up, think about taking this salad with you on a camping trip, a long hike, or just a fun family picnic.  You can even use canned chicken if you need to!

 

Ingredients:

3-4 c. cooked turkey or chicken, diced or shredded

4 T. diced red onion

3 T. diced celery

1/2 c. craisins

1/3 c. sliced almonds

1/2 c. mayo (I used Vegennaise)

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

 

Directions:

Combine mayo, paprika and salt.  Stir in remaining ingredients until combined.  Add more mayo if you want it to be more moist.  Eat with crackers, in a lettuce wrap, on a sandwich, etc.

Curried Coconut Chicken

I’m trying to remember the first time I had curry.  I think it might have been post college.  I can’t believe I waited that long to try it as now I typically have it a few times a month.  This is a simple one that doesn’t require you purchasing any special pastes.  It is also good for using up leftover vegetables you have sitting around.  In my case, I had green beans that needed to be used.  I hope you find this recipe as helpful as I have!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 T. olive oil

2 T. curry powder

1-2 c. diced chicken

1 small onion, sliced

3 tomatoes, diced

2-3 handfuls green beans, cut in thirds or 2-3 handfuls frozen veggies

1 can coconut milk

8 oz. tomato sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 T. sugar

1 tsp salt

 

Directions:

Heat oil and curry powder in pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add chicken and cook for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through and then remove to a bowl and set aside.  Cook onions in the same pan for 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes.  Add chicken back in.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until warm and vegetables are to desired tenderness.  Serve over rice.

Original recipe:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/68532/curried-coconut-chicken/

Green Curry and Vegetables

Curry is an interesting thing.  I used to think that curry was curry but now I realize that there are lots of varieties and mixtures.  Some are spicier, some are more bland.  Some have the consistency of tomato paste and others are the consistency of a restaurant salsa. Yellow curry powder is completely different from green or red curry paste.  So, when I saw a new type of curry paste on sale at the store, I decided to give it a try.  This one is called World Foods Thai Green Curry Paste.  It is more saucelike than pastelike in its consistency and it is fairly mild.  We found that the dish needed a few splashes of fish sauce to give it the right taste.  If you like Thai food but can’t handle spice, this may be the “paste” for you.  As always, you can mix and match the vegetables used.  I was cleaning out my vegetable drawer :-).  I recommend chopping most if not all of your vegetables before you start as it will speed up the cooking process.

 

Ingredients:

2 T. olive oil

1 1/2 lb. cubed chicken- omit or replace with tofu for vegetarian

6 T. green curry paste (World Foods Thai Green Curry Paste)

2 cans coconut milk

1 onion, chopped

1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/2 c. chopped celery

2 zucchinis, chopped

2 yellow squashes, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

1-2 T. fish sauce or to taste- omit if vegetarian

Rice or Thai noodles

 

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add cubed chicken and curry paste and cook until chicken is cooked.  Remove chicken to a bowl.  Add coconut milk and onion, carrots, and celery and cook on medium high for 5-10 minutes.  Add zucchini and yellow squash and cook for another 10-15 minutes until vegetables are to your preferred softness.  Add green onions and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Add fish sauce at the end and serve over rice or Thai noodles (some stores have gluten free ones- our HEB does).

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Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

This is a “fancy” dish.  It looks fancy, and it doesn’t fill you up unless you have multiples, so obviously it’s fancy :-).  It is perfect for someone trying to lighten up on meals after the holidays or for anyone looking for a light, summery dish to brighten your winter blues.

 

Ingredients:

4 c. cubed cooked chicken  (I used this baked chicken.)

1 c. mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise to make it egg free)

1 tsp paprika

1 1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 c. red grapes, halved

1 c. chopped celery

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 c. red onions, minced

1 c. chopped cashews

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

6-12 avocados (or you can just eat the chicken salad with crackers)

Romaine lettuce leaves

Optional: 6 tomatoes for stuffing

 

Directions:

Cook chicken and chill.  Combine mayonnaise and paprika.  Add cranberries all ingredients except chicken and stir well.  Add chicken and stir again.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Chill for at least one hour.  Cut avocado(s) in half and remove pit.  Set out a romaine lettuce leaf.  Set avocado on lettuce leaf.  Spoon chicken salad over avocado and serve.

 

Tomato option: Another possibility is to scoop out the insides of some tomatoes and spoon the chicken salad into it.  I didn’t actually like this option much- it was more work and it didn’t look or taste as good as avocados.

 

Original recipe:

http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-salad-stuffed-tomatoes-or-avocados-449115

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Feeling like you ate too much over the holidays?  Here is a light and healthy recipe for you to try.  This also would work well for a summer luncheon.  This is our favorite chicken salad so far!

 

Ingredients:

4 c. cubed cooked chicken  (I used this baked chicken.)

1 c. mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise to make it egg free)

1 tsp paprika

1 1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 c. red grapes, halved

1 c. chopped celery

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 c. red onions, minced

1 c. chopped cashews

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Romaine lettuce leaves, UNchopped

 

Directions:

Cook chicken and chill.  Combine mayonnaise and paprika.  Add cranberries all ingredients except chicken and stir well.  Add chicken and stir again.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Chill for at least one hour.  Serve on washed romaine lettuce leaves.  Gently fold leaves to form a “wrap”.

 

Original recipe:

http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-salad-stuffed-tomatoes-or-avocados-449115

 

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Basil Parsley Pesto

I bought parsley for something but I only needed part of it.  I went on a search for a recipe that could use it up as well as some of the excess basil in my garden, and this is what I found.

 

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh basil

1/4 c. fresh parsley

1/3 c. pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted (sunflower seeds or pinenuts work too)

1/4 c. nutritional yeast

5 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2/3 c. olive oil (I used extra virgin since this recipe doesn’t get cooked)

 

Directions:

Lightly toast pumpkin seeds.  Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until everything is pureed.  Serve over penne pasta (this is HEB brand gluten free) with baked chicken and diced tomatoes. You can omit the chicken if you want it to be vegetarian :-).  This could also be used in most other recipes that call for pesto.  Be creative and let me know if you find an interesting use for it!

 

Inspired by:

http://chowhound.com/recipes/basil-parsley-pesto-29521

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/yummy-vegan-pesto-classico

Tomato Basil Chicken in Butter Sauce

So much basil.  I have been trying to find new recipes in order to use up the basil in my garden.  I am best at growing basil and cherry tomatoes.  We have one cherry tomato plant that has continued to produce throughout the summer and through the fall.  It looks like it won’t last much longer, but we’re enjoying it while we have it.  The basil, on the other hand, has been doing fabulously.  My sweet basil has begun to die off, but I bought this new one called Ajaka and it seems to be quite hardy.  I made this recipe with some of the last of my sweet basil.

 

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless skinless chicken

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c. olive oil

5-6 roma tomatoes, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

two handfuls of fresh basil, cut in strips

1/4 c. butter (I used SmartBalance but I think it would have been ok to replace it with more olive oil and some salt)

 

Serve over spaghetti squash or pasta

 

Directions:

Heat the oil in a pan on medium high and rub the chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken in the oil until cooked (maybe 10 minutes?) and set aside the chicken, leaving the oil in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil to cool slightly so your tomatoes won’t splatter everywhere.  Add the tomatoes and cover with a splatter shield if necessary. Please be careful!  Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes cook down some.  Add the garlic and butter and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and add the basil a minute or two before serving.  I served mine over spaghetti squash.

 

Original recipe:

Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce

 

Simple Crockpot Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe is ridiculously easy.  I made it a few weekends ago for some young kids and they gobbled it up, so it is kid-friendly too.  If they don’t like the spices on it, they can easily pull off the skin and just eat the chicken underneath.  This has become one of my go-to meals when I don’t have a lot of time or when I can’t think of anything new to do.  I hope it makes your life easier too :-).

 

Ingredients:

2 tsp salt

1 T. paprika

2 tsp chili powder (Make sure it’s gluten free- I’ve heard that it’s sometimes not.  McCormick is gluten free for sure.)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp thyme

1/2 garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

4 lbs chicken drumsticks, skin on

 

Directions:

Loosely crumple aluminum foil and place it on the bottom of your Crockpot (see picture below).  This holds the drumsticks out of the liquid so they get a nice texture as they cook.  Combine all other ingredients and mix well.  Roll drumsticks in the spice mixture and place on top of the crumpled foil in the Crockpot (or any other slow cooker).  If you have any leftover spices at the end, sprinkle it over the chicken in the Crockpot.  Put lid on crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Mine is done in 6, but it shouldn’t hurt it to cook it for 8, even 10 hours.  I used to leave this in the crockpot while I was teaching at school. Do not remove lid while it is cooking as you will release steam and slow down the cooking process.  Discard the juice in the bottom unless you want it for something.  Serve over rice and with a side of vegetables.  This is also a good meal if you are taking food to someone- it’s easy to make and easy to transport.

 

 

Original recipe: http://www.creativelydomestic.com/2009/10/slow-cooker-sticky-chicken-drumsticks.html

Chicken and Broccoli Salad

My brother and I went on a hike for my birthday and I brought this along for our picnic.  It’s simple, quick, and healthy.  You can toss other things into your salad if you want.  This is way more flexible than baking!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. cooked chicken, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces (can be replaced with more broccoli to make it vegetarian or to turn it into a side dish)

3/4 c. chopped broccoli

1/4 c. raisins

1/8 c. sunflower seeds (You can add more- I just ran out :-).

2 dashes celery salt

2 dashes sea salt

2 dashes black pepper

1/2 c. mayonnaise or to desired moistness (I used Vegenaise so it wouldn’t have eggs.)*

 

Directions:

Cook and cool chicken completely.  I recommend refrigerating it for a few hours before adding the mayo.  Combine all ingredients and stir.  This tastes even better if it has sat in the fridge for several hours to let the flavors combine.  Happy picnicking!

 

*Tip: If you can’t eat gluten and you live in a place where people share the jar of mayonnaise, make sure no one’s dipped into it with a used knife so you don’t get cross-contaminated.  Most likely they have…  To avoid such problems, you could keep a separate jar for yourself and label it so that people know not to dip into it.  Also, regular mayonnaise has eggs, so if you’re avoiding eggs, get one of the vegan brands of mayo.