Saturday, March 11, 2017

Chili-free Chicken Gravy Enchiladas Recipe

My family loves green chili chicken enchiladas, however, I am sensitive to peppers so I had to come up with an alternative sauce, or I wasn't able to eat them very often.  Then I got the idea to use chicken gravy to bake my enchiladas in.  I made a gravy with my homemade chicken broth for the enchilada sauce and it worked out beautifully!  The enchiladas are flavorful and moist and delicious.  Also, you can make these enchiladas ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until before you bake them, which is a huge plus.

Chili-free Chicken Gravy Enchiladas Recipe

6 fajita size flour tortillas
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
Shredded "Mexican Blend" cheese
1 cup chicken broth (I use my Homemade Broth Recipe)
2 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray an 11x7 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Divide the cooked chicken into 6 portions.  Roll up the chicken and a handful of shredded cheese (however much you want) inside each tortilla and line them up in a row in the pan.

To make the enchilada sauce, whisk together 1 cup chicken broth with 2 slightly heaping tbsp of flour in a small sauce pan over High heat and whisk continuously until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Pour the sauce over each enchilada, covering all of the tortilla surfaces evenly.  Top the enchiladas with a layer of shredded cheese and cover the baking pan with aluminum foil.

Bake the enchiladas for 30 minutes.  Serve them with toppings such as shredded or chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream.  Serves 2-3 people as a main course.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Roasted Walnuts Recipe (Vegan)

We like roasted, salted nuts for snacking on, like almonds and macadamias, however, I was unable to find roasted walnuts in any local store.  So I decided to make my own, using the technique I use for my Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe.  These walnuts are incredibly tasty - the perfect balance of savory and sweet - and they are great for snacking on.

Roasted Walnuts Recipe

2 cups of shelled walnuts (one 8 oz bag)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Add all of the ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and stir with a spoon until all of the walnuts are coated evenly.  Pour the nuts onto an ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet.  Put the nuts in the oven for 1 hour total roasting time, turning them every 15 minutes.  Use a spatula to turn them and lay them back out in a single layer before putting them back in the oven.  At the 1 hour mark, the nuts will be done.  Let them cool, store them in an airtight container in the pantry, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Homemade Croutons Recipe

I would love to find a package of croutons to buy in my local store that doesn't contain oils we can't eat, or corn products, or garlic, etc.  But unfortunately, I am out of luck with that, so I decided to make my own.  I buy a loaf of Swiss Peasant Bread every couple of weeks from Red Apple Market and keep it in the freezer, so I use this bread to make these crunchy, flavorful, delicious croutons. The trick to this recipe is the oven temperature and baking time, and the recipe just uses what you have on hand without any measurements, so feel free to experiment with different bread, spices, and oils you might like.  These croutons are great on Caesar Salads, as well as just to snack on.  This is how I make them:

Homemade Croutons Recipe

Olive oil
Dried rosemary spice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop into small cubes as much rustic, day-old or semi-stale bread that you have on hand for this recipe.  Add them to a medium mixing bowl, then drizzle a little olive oil over the bread cubes.  Next add a sprinkling of salt and a sprinkling of dried rosemary spice.  Use your hands to mix the bread, oil, salt and rosemary together.  Add another drizzle of oil over the bread cubes if it looks like it might need it (don't overdo the oil), and use your hands to mix it together again.  Pour out the bread cubes in a single layer onto one or two cookie sheets sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container in the pantry.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (Corn-free)

I've been wanting to come up with a creamy frosting for my Yellow Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze Recipe,  to use instead of the sugar glaze.  With the help of my husband and daughter, the three of us came up with a perfectly creamy, delicious cream cheese frosting that uses Caster sugar (super fine cane sugar) instead of powdered sugar (I found the Caster sugar at my local PCC Market).  I also use Singing Dog Organic Pure Vanilla Extract in this recipe (found at my local Metropolitan Market), which is corn-free.  So now we're good to go!

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

1 cup whipped cream cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup Caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients using an electric mixer and beat until smooth.  Add about 20 drops of food color to get a nice light color shade to the frosting.  This recipe will frost a 9x12 cake.  Refrigerate cake after frosting it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Oven-Roasted Minted Lamb Loin Chops Recipe

I bought some beautiful lamb loin chops at the store the other day and decided to put the mint plant on our deck to some use.  This recipe is super simple, flavorful, and is a great addition to our meat rotation.  These lamb chops go great with rice on the side.

Oven-Roasted Minted Lamb Loin Chops Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil
10 fresh mint leaves
6 lamb loin chops (1 1/4" thick)
Salt and pepper

Finely chop the mint leaves.  Put the lamb chops in a large Ziploc bag and pour the olive oil over them, then add the chopped mint, seal the bag, and move the lamb chops around inside the bag to fully coat them.  Let the lamb chops marinate in the bag for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before roasting (1 hour preferably).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a large cast iron skillet to High heat on the stove top and add the lamb chops in a single layer.  Generously salt and pepper them.  Sear them for about 3 minutes, then flip them over to sear the other side for about 3 minutes.  Turn off the stove top and use a large spoon to remove the excess oil from the skillet before moving it to the oven.  Transfer the skillet to the oven, uncovered, and roast the lamb chops for 10 minutes for medium-rare or 15 minutes for medium.  Let the lamb chops rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 2-3 people as a main course.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chocolate Pudding Recipe (Vegan)

I've been craving chocolate pudding lately, but with corn being out of our diet, I can't buy packaged pudding mix or pudding cups in the store.  So I came up with my own recipe for chocolate pudding that is thickened with arrowroot powder.  Using unsweetened coconut milk as the base, this is a really delicious, creamy vegan treat.

Chocolate Pudding Recipe

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 heaping tbsp of arrowroot powder mixed with 1/4 cup coconut milk (for a slurry to thicken)

In a medium sauce pan over Medium High heat, add 2 cups of coconut milk, sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and salt and bring it to a boil, stirring it constantly with a small whisk.  In a small bowl, add the arrowroot powder and the 1/4 cup of coconut milk and whisk it together until the powder is dissolved.  Pour the slurry in the sauce pan and whisk it with the rest of the ingredients.  Lower the heat to Low and whisk it until thickened, then turn the heat off and whisk it for a few more minutes to help it to cool down.  Pour the pudding into glass custard cups and let them cool for 20 minutes before covering them with plastic wrap and refrigerating.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before eating so the pudding can set. Makes 6 individual servings.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Chocolate Cookie Bars Recipe (Vegan)

We've been having some reactions lately and had to cut out cocoa butter, so I decided to come up with a chocolate cookie bar recipe.  Now Sam can still have that rich chocolate flavor, but without as much sugar as brownies have.  These cookie bars are very chocolate-y and moist and are a great addition to our dessert rotation.

Chocolate Cookie Bars Recipe

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Spray an 8x8 square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread batter evenly into pan with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Toaster Pastry Recipe

These homemade toaster pastries (we call them "Toaster Pops" at home) are made with minimal wholesome ingredients, so you don't feel bad when your child wants one.  I've found that jam works better than jelly for the filling (it's less runny when heated).  These toaster pastries are flaky and delicious and are a good complement to any breakfast or afternoon snack.

Toaster Pastry Recipe

1/2 recipe of Flaky Pie Crust (I use 1 cup of just unbleached flour for it, not both types of flour)
Your favorite jam
Sugar in the Raw

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make the pie crust recipe.  Lay a piece of wax paper on your work surface, put a chunk of the dough in the middle, and lay another large piece of wax paper over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a flat, thin piece.  Use a knife to cut out a long rectangle the width of a store-bought toaster pastry, but twice as long.  Spoon out some jam into the middle of one side of the rectangle.  Be sure to keep the jam about 1/4 inches away from the edges.  Fold the other half of the pastry over the jam side and use a fork to press the 4 edges together.  The dough should be enough to make 4 toaster pastries.

Lay the toaster pastries in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.   Use a knife to cut a couple of slits in the tops of each pastry, and sprinkle Sugar in the Raw on them.  Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes.  Eat them right away, or let them cool completely before laying them in a single layer in a large Ziplock freezer bag.  When you want to have one, take it out of the freezer, microwave it for 20 seconds on High, then put it in the toaster.  I use two knives (one on either side of the pastry) like tongs to remove it from the toaster when done since they are so flaky.

Flour Tortillas Recipe (Corn-free)

Sam is sensitive to corn, and in ridding my kitchen of corn products and its derivatives, I discovered that I cannot buy flour tortillas in the store without cornstarch in them.  We eat a lot of Mexican food in our house, so I had to come up with a flour tortilla recipe that doesn't use cornstarch (baking powder).  This recipe took a lot of trial and error to come up with, but the result is fantastic.  The hardest part was determining the correct oil/water combination to give the tortillas the right texture and consistency.  These tortillas are flexible, slightly chewy, and work great for soft tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, enchiladas, etc.  You can store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze them for later use.

Flour Tortillas Recipe

2 cups unbleached flour, plus flour for dusting work surface
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil mixed with 1/2 cup water
Additional water to bring dough together

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  In a small cup, using a fork, mix together the oil and water until well combined.  Pour the oil/water mixture over the dry ingredients and use the fork to mix it all together.  Continue adding small amounts of water and stirring it together just until a ball of dough is formed - do not over water it.  If you accidentally add to much water and the dough is too wet, add flour until it is a nice ball of dough.

Heat a flat indoor grill pan or large skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to Medium heat.  Dust your work surface with a little flour.  Either divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, or just estimate and take a small bit of dough in your floured hands and roll it into a ball.  Lay it on the work surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out into a really flat, thin round (about 6 to 8 inches across is good, and the thinner the better).  To get the round shape, keep turning and flipping the dough as you roll it.  Peel it off the work surface and add it to the skillet.  Dust your work surface again and roll another tortilla.

When the tortilla on the skillet bubbles up a bit, or gets light brown spots (about 5 minutes), turn it over and cook the other side for about the same time.  Remove the finished tortillas to a plate and stack them as you go.  Periodically, re-arrange the order of the tortillas on the stack (i.e. move the top ones to the bottom) as the bottom ones get steamed if they stay on the bottom.  Makes about 8 to 10 tortillas depending on how big you make them.  Serve right away still warm, or cool them completely, then store them in a large Ziplock bag and store them in the fridge for up to a week.

Refried Beans Recipe (Vegan)

I used to buy Safeway Vegetarian Refried Beans because they were just beans, oil, salt, and water.  Now they have all kinds of ingredients including chilies and onions in them, and I can't buy them anymore.  So I started making refried beans myself.  It's a very simple recipe, and a good arm workout at the same time.  You'll need a potato masher utensil (pictured below) and a cast iron pan to make them as described.  The end result is creamy with a bit of texture.  If you don't like the texture, just blend them with a hand-blender in the end.  You can also make them ahead of time, refrigerate them, and heat them up in a small pan at meal time (this is what I do).

Refried Beans Recipe

1 can pinto beans (15 oz.)
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

In a cast iron pan over High heat, add the oil and a whole can of beans (including liquid).  Use the potato masher to mash the beans into a creamy paste while it boils.  It takes about 5 minutes of mashing for the beans to get to the right consistency.  You can serve them right away as they are, or pour them into a mixing bowl and use a hand-blender to blend them even creamier.  You can also refrigerate them until a later time, reheating them in a small pan on the stove.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

This is the potato masher utensil I use: