Chicken Salad

This is one of my go-to’s for camping, picnics, etc.  It is so simple and versatile.  It’s hard to find a sandwich bread on a store shelf that is gluten, dairy, and egg free and that won’t crumble apart around your sandwich and baking bread takes awhile, so this is my normal solution.  If you are really in a hurry, you can use canned chicken.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked and shredded chicken.

~1/4 c. regular or vegan mayonnaise (Vegannaise and EarthBalance have vegan mayos and I think there are more brands out now)

1/4 c. craisins

salt and pepper to taste

dash of onion powder

1-2 tsp celery seed

Optional:  add-ins such as chopped celery, onion, green onion, etc.

 

Directions:

Shred chicken.  Add mayonnaise until it is the moistness you like in your chicken salad. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as onion powder and celery seed if desired. Add in mix-ins such as craisins, celery, etc.  May be eaten with crackers, inside half an avocado, on a sandwich, or just by itself.

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Teriyaki Chicken

You know those days where you’re down to little bits of leftovers that aren’t really a meal?  This was one of those days.  I had about a cup of cooked rice as well as a tiny bit of baked chicken leftover and I was not looking forward to lunch.  However, I remembered that I had a coupon for San-J sauce and I needed to go to the store anyway.  My meal was rescued and here is the result!  As mine was just one serving size, I am guessing as to the amount of ingredients you need.  The good news is that this is a very forgiving recipe and you can adjust it to your preferences.  I did mine in the microwave since it was just one serving, but you could do it on the stovetop also.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 cups cooked brown or white rice

1 pound baked chicken, cut into pieces

1 small bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables

1 bottle or less of San-J gluten free teriyaki sauce

 

Speedy Directions:

Cook rice according to directions on the bag or in a rice cooker.  You can cook your chicken now or use chicken you have pre-cooked and frozen.  Microwave frozen vegetables and warm up chicken.  Add all ingredients together in a bowl and serve.

Stovetop Directions:

Cook rice according to directions on the bag or in a rice cooker.  Cook chicken in a pan.  Add stir-fry veggies and stir until cooked.  Add cooked rice and sauce and stir until warm.

Notes:

For my single serving, these are the ingredient proportions I used:

1 c. cooked rice, handful of cooked chicken, 1 c. microwaved stir-fry veggies, 3-5 T. San-J teriyaki sauce.  I microwaved all the ingredients separately except for the sauce.  Then I combined all the ingredients and added the sauce and microwaved it just enough to warm up the sauce.

Cranberry Almond Salad

I recently went camping with some friends.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of time preparing meals, so I tossed together this salad.  My husband and I ate the same salad at home and had the opportunity to warm up the meat, so you could do the meat hot or cold.

 

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of spinach

2 leaves of leaf lettuce, chopped

2 T. craisins

1 T. sunflower seeds

1 T. slivered almonds

1 handful of broccoli, chopped

3-4 chunks of baked chicken

Dressing of your choice

 

Directions:

Wash spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.  Place in bowl and add craisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds.  Add chicken (either hot or cold).  Add dressing of your choice and eat!

 

Notes:

I oftentimes make the chicken ahead and freeze it. Then I can pull out small amounts as needed.  If you are taking this salad on a campout, I suggest storing the dressing separate from everything else.  I also put the craisins, almonds and sunflower seeds in a separate container so they wouldn’t get soggy.  Happy camping!

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Dressing shown is Ken Martin’s Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing.  It looks creamy but it has no gluten, dairy, or eggs.  I don’t know what magic is in it to make it look creamy.  Sometimes it’s best not to ask :-).

Pineapple Fried Rice

My husband loves pineapple fried rice.  He orders it almost every time it’s on the menu.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found a gluten free one in a restaurant yet, hence this recipe.  If you want it to be vegetarian, just skip the chicken.  You could add scrambled eggs in too if you can eat eggs.

 

Ingredients:

1 T. coconut oil

1-1.5 pounds chicken, cubed

1 1/2 c. pineapple chunks

1 red pepper, diced in 1/2-inch pieces

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. cashews

4 c. cooked rice

1/2 c. raisins

1 lime

1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce

2 T gluten free soy sauce

 

 

Directions:

Warm 1 T. coconut oil in a large wok.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through.  Set chicken aside in a bowl.  Leave 1 T. of the liquid in the pan.  Add pineapple, red peppers, and brown sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the green onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Add pineapple mixture into the bowl with the chicken.

Toast cashews in the pan for 30 seconds and then add in the cooked rice and cook for 2 minutes.  Add raisins and return the chicken and pineapple mixture to the pan and continue cooking until it is all warm again.  Add in the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and lime and stir.

I used to make this with three pounds of chicken and it was way too meat-centric.  I have now cut the meat down to 1-1.5 pounds which will help the other flavors shine.

Adapted from: http://cookieandkate.com/2015/thai-pineapple-fried-rice-recipe/

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I actually made this dish twice.  The main picture has cilantro in it, but I decided it was better without cilantro.  This is the second rendition and tasted much better.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken

I love Chick-Fil-A.  They have many gluten free options.  Unfortunately, none of their fried chicken is currently gluten free.  Therefore, we have to resort to more labor-intensive means to meet our craving for Chick-Fil-A fried chicken.

This is based on a copycat recipe I used while overseas.  I wrote it on a notecard and now have no idea what the source was.  I was wondering if I could adapt it to meet dietary restrictions.  The answer is yes!

Ingredients:

1 Ener-G egg

1 cup non-dairy milk

1.5 to 2 pounds chicken tenders (skinless, boneless)

1 c. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

2 1/2 tsp to 1 T. salt

2 1/2 tsp powdered sugar

1/2 tsp pepper

oil for frying

 

Directions:

Make Ener-G egg.  Combine with milk.  Soak raw chicken in egg/milk mixture for at least an hour.  Mix flour, salt, sugar, and pepper.  After chicken has soaked, coat it with the flour mixture and press the mixture on.  Let air dry a few minutes, and then quickly dip the chicken in the milk mixture (one piece at a time) and quickly remove and coat in flour a second time.  Do this until you run out of flour.  It’s ok if they don’t all get coated twice- it just adds extra flavor and crunch :-).

Heat oil in a frying pan (about 1/2 inch deep).  When it seems hot, drop in one drop of water and stand back.  If it pops, then the oil is hot enough.  Put chicken in the hot oil and allow to cook on one side for about 7-8 minutes or until the outer sides of the top side are starting to look white.  Carefully turn the pieces over and allow to cook for another 5-7 minutes.  When you think it is done, take out the thickest piece of meat and cut into it to make sure it is done (no pink, it looks like it would be easy to shred, etc.)  Remove each piece of chicken and allow oil to run off it into the pan.  Place on a plate, oily side up so it won’t get soggy on the plate.  After removing all of the cooked chicken, cook your second round of chicken until all the chicken is cooked.

 

To serve, I made Pamela’s Bread Mix bread and added pickles to my sandwich to make it authentic.  My husband added a tomato to his to make it more colorful.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any lettuce around, so we put asparagus on the plate to make it colorful.

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Chicken Fajitas

Last night we had company over and shared this meal with them.  Their little daughter kept requesting the chicken. There really is chicken in this fajita.  I was in a hurry while taking the photo and realized later it wasn’t really visible.

I remember my mom making this and everyone in the family enjoying it.  The marinade itself is easy and you can add as many sides as you want.  You can half everything in the recipe if you only want to use 1 1/2 pounds of chicken.

 

Marinade Ingredients:

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp cornstarch

juice of 2 limes or 6 T. bottled juice

4 T. vinegar

2 T. water

4 T. oil (I used canola)

3 pounds chicken

 

Optional toppings:

Red and Green Peppers and onions (recipe included), Black beans, Rice, Salsa, Lettuce/spinach, Cheese or a substitute cheese, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Guacamole

Tortillas or chips

 

Directions:

Cut chicken into thin strips.  Mix all ingredients in the marinade and pour over chicken.  Marinade for at least 15 minutes, but I marinated it for about 7 hours.

While chicken is marinating, prepare other toppings.

Slice one onions, one red pepper and one green pepper and saute them on the stovetop in 2-3 T. oil.  (I used 2 onions, 4 red peppers, and 2 green peppers because we had several people over for dinner and I wanted to have plenty.)

While those are cooking, cook chicken in a separate covered pan with marinade until chicken is cooked thoroughly (white all the way through- about 20-25 minutes).

 

Notes:  I put the rice in the rice cooker ahead of time and had the beans in the crockpot all day.  About an hour before serving, I added a dash of garlic powder, 1-2 tsp salt, and a handful of chopped cilantro to the beans and allowed it to continue cooking.

To make preparation faster in the evening, I chopped the spinach and vegetables and such in the morning so that all I had to do at the end was toss the onion/pepper mixture and the chicken mixture into their pans and cook them.

I toasted the corn tortillas in a pan for a few minutes to make them pliable.

 

Grilled Skewers

What to do with a lonely red pepper that you bought intending to use it in tacos but you forgot?  Buy lots of other colorful companions with it and make kabobs!  My siblings were coming over for dinner and I couldn’t think of what to make, but then I ran across this recipe.  It has been labeled a keeper by all three guys eating it.  You can mix and match the veggies as you please.  I intended to add tomatoes and mushrooms, but I ran out of room in my marinade bag, so I made a chicken salad with them instead!

 

Ingredients:

8-12 skewers, soaked in water for at least 2 hours

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes (omit for vegetarian option)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 zucchini, sliced in coins

1 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 orange bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

Marinade:

1/4 c. canola oil

1/3 c. honey

1/3 c. soy sauce (I used Kikkoman’s gluten free soy sauce)

2 minced cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Begin soaking your skewers in water.  Cut all vegetables and chicken.  Combine marinade in small bowl and stir well.  Pour into a gall0n-sized bag.  Add cut vegetables and chicken.  Seal bag and turn several times until all pieces are coated with marinade.  Store in refrigerator 2-8 hours (I put the bag in a bowl to prevent leaks), turning several times to marinate all pieces.

Heat grill to medium heat.  Put vegetables and chicken on the soaked skewers.  Grill for 12-15 minutes.  At the very end we turned the heat up a little higher to give it that charred taste.  Make sure chicken is cooked (we cut a piece to see if it looked cooked).  If not, return it to the grill and continue cooking until it is cooked.  No salmonella, please!

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IMG_5155Original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8626/yummy-honey-chicken-kabobs/

Greek Salad

After I made skewers, I had leftover chicken and vegetables.  I searched the internet and found inspiration for this recipe.  It was, once again, a hit with the guys.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 c. olive oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 T. minced onions

1 yellow pepper, diced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

7-8 mushrooms, diced

2-3 cups of cubed, cooked chicken (lightly salted and peppered) (omit chicken for vegetarian option)

1-2 handfuls of fresh basil (optional)

Optional add-ins that I didn’t use:

Feta cheese

Black olives

Cooked pasta

Green onions

 

Directions:

 

Cook chicken and allow to cool.  In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and minced onions.  Dice the vegetables and add to the olive oil mixture.  Add cooled chicken.  Stir in some torn basil leaves and garnish with a sprig of basil.  Store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before eating.

 

Recipe adapted from:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11689/greek-pasta-salad-i/

 

Pecan Crusted Chicken- Easily Made Gluten Free

“This needs to go on your blog.” This is what my husband said after he tasted this chicken.  It is surprisingly simple and looks beautiful on a plate.  One of my goals is to make things people want to eat, and I especially like it when I make something that tastes like it came from a restaurant.  This definitely qualifies!

 

Ingredients:

4 pounds of chicken breast

2 Ener-G eggs (or 2 egg whites)

4 tsp cornstarch

Juice of 1 lemon (save lemon zest)

Oil for frying

 

Crumb Mixture:

1 c. Rice Chex crumbs or bread crumbs (make sure the bread crumbs are gluten free if you need to be gluten free)

2 T. dried parsley

1 1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)

3/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp dried lemon peel (optional, but I used it this time)

zest from the lemon (~1/4 tsp- used in addition to the lemon peel)

3/4 c. finely chopped pecans

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp paprika

dash of onion powder

dash of garlic powder

 

Directions:

Cut chicken into pieces the size of the palm of your hand (I cut some of the breasts in half so they wouldn’t be as thick.)

Combine egg, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a shallow dish.

Crumb the Rice Chex in the food processor.  Chop the pecans finely (I used the food processor too). Combine them with all the other ingredients in a shallow dish and stir well.

Dip chicken in the cornstarch mixture first and then dip it into the pecan mixture and press the pecan mixture onto the chicken to make sure it is coated well.  Allow to air dry for 20-30 minutes, uncovered (I put it on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the fridge.)  Don’t skip this step or your crumb crust will fall off!

Fill a frying pan to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep with oil- I used canola.  Heat oil until it pops when you splash 1-2 drops of water in it.  Be careful and don’t splash yourself!  I use a splatter shield over my pan.  Once oil is hot, fill frying pan with air-dried, coated chicken.  Fry on one side until the edges turn white and the top is starting to change color (maybe 5-7 minutes?) Flip carefully and cook on the other side another 5-7 minutes until chicken is firm when you press on it with a spatula or until it is done when cut through a thick part.  Remove chicken to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting in and enjoying.

To store, I let the chicken cool on plates with the most recently cooked side up.  Store in air-tight containers and microwave to reheat.

 

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This is what the crumb mixture looks like.
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First, dip the chicken in the cornstarch mixture.
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Then dip it in the pecan crumb mixture and press it on so it sticks well.
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This is what it looks like after it has been turned once in the frying pan.
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One piece of pecan encrusted chicken coming right up!

Adapted from: http://www.food.com/recipe/pecan-crusted-chicken-145068

Chicken Pesto

I found this pesto recipe a few years ago and have made it over and over again with different variations.  When served without chicken, this is a vegetarian and vegan dish.

 

1/3 c. pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds (preferably raw and unseasoned)

2/3 olive oil (this is a great chance to use up extra virgin olive oil if you need to)

5 cloves garlic

1/3 c. nutritional yeast- found in bulk in many stores or in the nutrition department

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper to taste

optional add in: 1-2 handfuls of raw spinach

 

Directions:

If your pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds are raw, toast them over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown.  Don’t over cook them.

Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Notice if your seed/nuts are already salted and salt accordingly.

Serve over your favorite gluten free noodles and top with baked chicken.

 

I over-salted my pesto, so I added in some spinach leaves.  It actually gave it a nice color and fixed my salt problem.  It made it so much prettier that I may add some next time just for flair.

 

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