Cook Kindly

Adventures in cooking and navigating a gluten-free life.


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Chicken Wild Rice Hot Dish

I’m from Minnesota, so I say hot dish, you might call it a casserole, depending on where you’re from. A hot creamy dish by any other name tastes just as delicious. This recipe is easy to prep ahead of time and have in the fridge, so you can just pop it in the oven after work. We actually had some decent weather the other day, so I asked Ryan to grill up some chicken breasts. We have 3 adult-food eaters in my house (my youngest is only 4 months old – not yet gumming adult-food), naturally I had Ryan grill up 10 chicken breasts (gulp). Throughout the course of the week, we put them to good use – between a grilled chicken dinner, salads for lunches, and this dish. Having grilled, chopped chicken in the fridge helped make this dish a cinch to pull together. The rice cooker made cooking the wild rice a set-it and forget-it breeze. PSA: I love having a rice cooker, we use it a couple of times a week. Perfect rice every time, without having to babysit the pot.

I made 2 cups of wild rice on Sunday, plus the grilled chicken, and kept both in the fridge until I was ready to prep this dish Tuesday evening. In a large bowl, I mixed all of my ingredients (listed below) and spread into a prepped baking dish, topped with tinfoil and put it in the fridge for the next night. It took me about 6 minutes.

The key ingredient in this dish, for my gluten free friends, is Progresso’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Hooray! This isn’t your condensed cream of chicken soup of yesteryear, so if you’re using it in other dishes, take into consideration that you wont need as much liquid. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find GF cream of anything soup. This soup makes it possible to put together a comforting dinner perfect for a mid-winter night.

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This recipe is pretty flexible, you could add or omit various vegetables, or even top it with cheese.

Chicken Wild Rice Hot Dish

2 cups wild rice cooked
3 chicken breasts cooked & diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (*be sure it’s gluten free)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp salt OR season salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

combine all ingredients and spread into a sprayed13 x 9 or larger baking dish. (This makes a pretty big recipe.) Bake, covered with tinfoil, at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly. This recipe refrigerates well for a couple of days prior to baking, you can also freeze it for later.

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Enchilada Lasagna Style

Since going GF, I’ve come to realize that corn tortillas are not nearly as pliable as their gluten-laced flour counterparts. That and they are so darn small! Making enchiladas with corn tortillas takes a lot of (rolling) work. So, in a pregnant-lady-starving-hunger-need-to-make-dinner-pronto moment of genius, I decided to make an Enchilada Lasagna so to speak.  Instead of filling and rolling those tiny tortillas, why couldn’t I just stack them up? Brilliant. 

 

I already had some cooked shredded chicken on hand (rotisserie chicken would work great, too), which I combined with a can of diced green chilis. I layed out all of my ingredients and set to layering. 

Layer tortillas, refried beans, chicken/chilis

Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a glass pan, I used the green kind. Smear refried beans on tortillas and layer across the bottom of your pan, then sprinkle chicken/chili mixture and shredded cheddar cheese on top. Continue the layering process until you’ve used all of your ingredients (or filled your pan). Before the final top layer of cheese, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top, then layer on the cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, remove tinfoil for last few minutes to brown up the cheese. MMMM. 

add a layer of cheese

I made La Preferida Spanish Rice as a side dish, which was delicious…and a somewhat rare find for a gluten free flavored rice! 

La Preferida Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

cooked chicken, shredded

refried beans (you could use black beans too)

diced green chilis

enchilada sauce

shredded cheddar cheese

optional: frozen or canned corn, onions, other veggies/meat, sour cream, tomatoes (fresh or canned), olives, jalapenos…anything else that sounds good to you. 

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Crockpot Chicken Tacos

 

While I was doing a little Pinterest perusing, I came across this recipe, which looked so delicious, and upon examining the recipe, super easy! Thanks to My Chocolate Therapy for posting this yummy Crockpot Chicken Tacos recipe. Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tweak the recipe at least a little bit. I’m sure My Chocolate Therapy’s 3-ingredient version is delicious as well. I have to say, this chicken crockpot taco dish was outstanding! Honestly, Ryan took one bite and ran upstairs to kiss me!

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Chicken – raw & thawed (I used 3 very large chicken breasts, probably about a pound)

2 envelopes of taco seasoning (double check the ingredients to make sure it’s GF. I used one regular and one spicy taco seasoning packets)

2 cups of salsa (whatever you like, I used Pace’s Medium Salsa)

1 bag of frozen corn

1 small can of diced green chilies

1 can (drained) black beans

Pour the salsa and taco seasoning into the crockpot, stir to combine. Add in chicken breasts (I spooned some of the sauce ontop of the chicken). Top with corn and green chilies. Stir to mix everything together. (Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the black beans, they’re coming). I am so NOT a morning person, so I prepped this whole meal the night before (except for the beans, again, they’re still to come). My chicken breasts were actually still semi-frozen when I put the whole crock-pot bowl back into the fridge, but I figured this still gave the chicken plenty of time to marinate in the sauce.

So, like I said, I’m SOOO NOT a morning person. I got up for work the next day, and remembered to plug the crockpot in, but forgot everything else in the fridge. Yikes! So, I had to run home over lunch to put dinner on. Luckily, 4 hours on HIGH was perfect for cooking the chicken to tender deliciousness. According to Chocolate Therapy, you can cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is where the new-fangled crockpots come in handy, being able to set the crockpot to cook for a certain number of hours and then switch to WARM, genius!

Ok, so 4 hours after my mid-day dash home to start dinner, the crockpot magically switch to WARM until I arrived back home. The aroma in the house was intoxicating. I love food, but I was REALLY excited to EAT dinner that night. Yum! I got out a cutting board and two forks to shred the chicken with, but when I speared the first chicken breast, it melted into stringy pulled-chicken goodness. I literally shredded the chicken in the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Super easy, I practically stirred the chicken into shreds. I drained the black beans, gave them a quick rinse and threw them into the crockpot, while still on WARM. After about 10 minutes, dinner was ready.

I warmed a couple of corn tortillas in the microwave for 10 seconds, then layered cheddar cheese and the chicken taco mixture on top. I recommend letting some of the juiciness run off before adding the chicken mixture to the taco, it was a little soupy. The flavor dimension was fantastic. I ended up eating my taco with a fork, though, as it was a bit messy.

Honestly, I think you could reduce the amount of salsa in the recipe to help with the juice-factor, or just serve using a slotted spoon. I’m also curious about adding in some chicken stock and making this into tortilla soup.

I’m a big fan of bring left-overs for lunch. Even before going gluten free, I wasn’t a huge cold sandwich for lunch kind of girl. But, since becoming gluten free, I find that quick, easy, and nutritious lunches are that much harder to figure out. The chicken tacos made an excellent lunch served over rice.

 


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Chicken Curry…the easy way.

 

 

I really enjoy ethnic foods – Asian, Indian, Mexican, and so on. One of our go-to fast and easy meals is to make some jasmine rice in our trusty rice cooker (read: no attention necessary) to serve up with chicken in a simmer sauce. We have found some tasty simmer sauces from Patak’s Original Simmer Sauce. We really like the Jalfrezi Curry and Tikka Masla flavors. This time, we tried the Dopiaza Curry sauce with tomato, onion, roasted cumin and spices. The way Patak’s describes the Dopiaza Curry sauce is: It’s like marinara with an Indian accent. How true! The sauce is sweet, bold, and tangy. Although I prefer the Jalfrezi Curry to the milder Dopiaza Curry sauce, this sauce was still bursting with flavor. The Jalfrezi Curry happens to have a little more heat, which is right up my alley. None the less, these simmer sauces make for a fast and delicious meal. Not to mention, many of them are Gluten Free!

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ImageFirst, we cook up jasmine rice in our Oster Rice Cooker. Honestly, before we had a rice cooker I thought it was a silly, unnecessary kitchen appliance. Then, we got a rice cooker from my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas. Then, angels sang. No more boiled over rice in the microwave. Just pour the rice and water into the rice cooker, push down the lever and forgeh-abott-ittt (in my best Italian mobster voice). When the rice is done, the cooker beeps and automatically switches to warm. Viola.

While the rice is cooking, cube up some raw chicken, and toss it into a frying pan, add the simmer sauce. Stir. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce heat, and let the dish simmer for a while (whatever the directions on the bottle say). It’s an easy to wander away for a short while type cooking meal. Just make sure to check in and stir from time-to-time. Once the recommended simmer time is up, serve over the rice. Quick, easy, and delicious!

I don’t know about you, but the few times we’ve tried to tackle Indian cooking, we ended up with mediocre results. Somehow, the spices remain rough ground particles, with a closer resemblance to sawdust than the buttery smooth flavors I enjoy at Indian restaurants. Luckily, these simmer sauces allow us to enjoy those lovely Indian flavors at home. The combination of spices brings such a depth of flavor to the meal, a real comforting, home-cooked experience. Do you have a favorite simmer sauce, or quick go-to meal?

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Super Fast Chicken

When I first tried eating a gluten free diet I had a hard time finding adequate breakfast foods, I existed on eggs of any kind. I refused to spend a small fortune on gluten free flours or mixes to make any muffins or breads. Here I am 2+ months invested into eating gluten free and adopting this eating lifestyle long-term. I still struggle with missing some of my favorite foods. I struggle with eating out, but mostly I struggle with the lack of convenience in eating gluten free. Gone are the days of eating frozen pizza on nights that I don’t want to cook. Gone are the days of quick peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a mid-day snack. Gone are the days of eating bagels at the occasional morning meeting.

So here I am, eating eggs when I don’t want to cook. Having rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. Snacking on cereal when there’s milk in the house. I’m making adjustments in my go-to food repertoire. I’m finding new solutions and trying out new recipes.

I have been searching for granola bar-type recipes, for on-hand and easy-to-take-along snacks. Still working on that. I even bought gluten free baking mixes. The gluten free bisquick actually makes pretty good pancakes. But, it’s a work in progress.

ImageTonight, I wanted a fast, easy dinner. No fuss, no muss.  I threw a sweet potato into the oven. After the potato cooked for close to an hour, I cubed up a (very large) chicken breast, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then sauteed it in a small amount of olive oil with garlic. Just as the chicken finished cooking, I tossed in some dried bay leaves (I would have preferred sage, but I didn’t have any), a few capers and about a tablespoon of margarine. I let the butter melt, and took the chicken off the stove to serve along side my baked sweet potato and some peas. It was a delicious, and quick meal.

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