Category Archives: Tips

Gluten-free Cream of Chicken Soup

Finally!  I’m so excited to present….homemade, gluten-free “Cream of Chicken Soup.”

Until now, I have always used a can of soup from “Health Valley” in recipes, but at over $2 a can, it was not an economical option, just a necessary one.  Eating gluten-free means that we get used to paying quadruple for some substitutions.  With this homemade version though, we now have an option that is cheaper and healthier than normal “cream of…” soups, which are filled with chemicals and preservatives.  This recipe calls for just 6 ingredients, almost all of which will always be on hand.

Cream of Chicken Soup:

1 C. milk

2T. cornstarch

1 1/2 T. butter

1t. chicken bouillon (can use “Better than Bouillon” or 1 cube of the dry stuff)

1/2 t. salt

dash of pepper

Whisk milk and cornstarch until blended.  Stir in butter, bouillon, salt and pepper.  Heat until boiling slightly, stirring continuously.  Reduce heat and then stir until thickened.

I use this recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini, King Ranch Chicken, Tator Tot Casserole,  Tuna Noodle Casserole, and as a white sauce for pasta.  Enjoy!

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Simple Food

Eating gluten-free forces me back to the simplicity of enjoying beautiful, natural food.  It causes me to return to the food that nature provides and appreciate the goodness of its original state.  It awes me to think of all the foods we have to enjoy – all the colors, tastes, textures, smells, and shapes we have to choose from.

Eating gluten-free spurs thankfulness in me.  I’m thankful for all the choices I have.  Thankful for health.  Thankful for this beautiful earth that gives abundance every day.  Thankful that I can focus on what is pure, simple, and good, instead of all that is not.

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My Favorite Gluten-Free Cookbooks

DSC_0690Cooking gluten-free has become easier with my good friends you see above.  Each has recipes that have become staples for me, and each one has brought me and my kids a step closer to normalcy.

DSC_0696This one has blessed us with corn dogs that rival those at the State Fair, a very good pizza crust, pizza muffins, and very kid friendly meal ideas.  Those alone are worth the price of the book.

DSC_0698Think of Bette Hagman as the gluten-free queen.  In this book, she’ll teach you so much about the ins and outs of gluten-free baking, how to use different flours, and how to cook.  The bread recipe in this book is my favorite ever.  This book is a must have, and it would be nice to just get all of her other cookbooks too.

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And, don’t neglect your cook books from your former life.  They are full of gluten-free options, and full of those that are very easy to modify to be gluten-free.  I still use my favorite normal cookbooks more than my gluten-free cookbooks.

What are your favorites?

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Our Favorite Bread

DSC_0687After eating gluten-free for a while, I began the search for that most elusive of gluten-free foods….. a good “version” of bread.   And I do mean “version”, because I have never heard of anyone that has claimed a gluten-free bread to be “normal”.  There are so many things that can be made just as tasty gluten-free, but bread isn’t one of those things.  And, it really isn’t fair to the gluten-free bread, considering GLUTEN is what makes bread so springy and soft and sandwich worthy.

So, if you are hankering for the bread you had in your former gluten-full life, just let go and say good-bye.  Make your peace with it and move on.

The good news is that you will love your bread so much more than all those gluten eating people.  You won’t take your bread for granted and treat it like nothin’.  You’ll bake your own bread, carefully slice it up, and relish each bite.  And, that sandwich might even bring you to tears, you’ll be so happy about your blessed bread.  Seriously, just one bite of grilled cheese and my day becomes roses.  So, when it comes down to it, I feel sorry for the regular bread people.  They can have their bread AND eat it too, but they just don’t get to appreciate it and love it like we do.  They don’t know what bread love is.  Poor things.

Here are my favorite gluten-free bread options, in order:

1.  Bette Hagman’s New Formula Yeast Bread (recipe found in “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy”).  This is our favorite for flavor, texture, and cost.  We love this bread!  I make 4 loaves at a time and freeze them, pre-sliced.

2.  The Gluten-Free Pantry’s Favorite Sandwich Bread (good flavor and texture)

3.  Bob’s Red Mill Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix

4.  Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Bread Mix (tastes a little like rye, so my kids won’t eat it, but I love it as toast)

Try these and see which is your favorite.  And let the bread love flow.  It’s the right way to treat bread anyway.

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Bulk Baking

DSC_7891If I’m going to dirty up my mixer and my kitchen, it’s gotta be worth it.  So, when I bake, I jump all the way in and get it over with, so I can just spend time eating and not cleaning.

I never make 1 batch of anything.  If I’m doing bread, I do 4-5 loaves.  I make about 50 muffins at a time, and I usually throw in a batch of brownies or cookies along with it to bake while my bread is rising.  I’ll start with the muffins.  Then, while they’re cooking, I get the bread mixed and rising.  And then, I bake the brownies or cookies while I wait for the bread to be ready to bake.

Many of the ingredients I need for all these things are the same, so it saves time to get them all out just once, mix things up and get things dirty, and then clean it up.

As soon as it’s all cooled, I put it into baggies (slice the bread first), label it, stack it up on a freezer shelf, and celebrate that I now have baked treats to enjoy for a while!  It takes a little chunk of time to have a baking day, but it saves lots of time in the end.  Try it!

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Your Freezer is Your Friend

DSC_0279This shelf holding frozen meals is one of my best friends.  It makes me happy.  It supports me when I’m down.  And, it comes along beside me when I’m short on time and feeds me dinner.

All I have to do is spend about an hour once a month nurturing this shelf, and it will treat me right several times a week.

Here are my tricks.

When meat goes on sale (I buy mine at Sprouts), I haul it home, trim it up, and put 4 portions worth for our family into freezer bags.  This was the end result from my recent trip.  All this meat will last us a month!  And, all I have to now is take it from the freezer and make a meal!

DSC_0607 I usually put chicken in plain, just sticking the portions into baggies.  For ground beef, I cook some to put into bags for tacos, enchiladas, beef stroganoff, chili, etc..  I also mix a giant bowl with meat, cooked rice, Italian herbs, eggs, salt and pepper, and Worshteshire sauce, which I then shape into a meat loaf and family portions of meatballs.  It is so easy to just pull out meat in the morning and be ready for a speedy dinner prep in the afternoon.  And, it saves so much time to cook all the ground beef at once or trim all the chicken at once instead of doing it each time you need it.

I have 2 shelves in my freezer for meats, one for plain meats that I need to do something with before cooking, and 1 for ready-made dinners (meatballs).

So, I guess I have a 2 best friends helping me out.

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