Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tortilla soup

I uploaded this picture months ago and forgot to finish the post. And I can't believe I forgot it because it's one of my favorite meals! Borrowed from a friend, this recipe is great because it is really easy to leave out the dairy until the end, and let my hubby enjoy it as is, then add some cheese for the little ones who really enjoy the stringy yumminess of melted cheese. We sometimes leave out the chicken for a meatless meal.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
½ c chopped onion
2 C. cooked chicken, torn or cut into small pieces (I use canned chicken)
1 pressed garlic clove
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies, undrained
1 c frozen corn
1 c zucchini, thinly sliced
4 tsp snipped fresh cilantro
½ c (2 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp each: chili powder, ground cumin
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth
1 (5.5oz) can of Spicy Hot V8 juice
4 thick slices each: fresh lime, avocado
Cook chicken, onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin for 2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, chilies, corn, zucchini and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
In individual soup bowls, add cilantro, tortilla strips, ladle full of soup,  top with cheese and garnish with lime & avocado. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Freezer meals

We have a new baby joining our family next month. As everyone knows, babies take a lot of planning. But even more so in a gluten-free house. I have a hard enough time getting dinner on the table these days with my 15-month-old under foot doing her best to thwart my cooking plans. With a nursing newborn on top of that I have no hope of cooking dinner without a lot of screaming and stress for a while. And while other people might rely on friends to bring meals over, or a call to the pizza guy or other takeout, that's not a luxury we have. The only "safe" restaurant close to our house that we know of and trust is a Thai restaurant that has delicious food, but it gets a little old (not to mention expensive) to rely on that too often. So I've got a plan I'm beginning to implement: freezer meals.

At this point I've just started, but just making a few meals makes me think I might begin to regularly rely on freezer cooking in the future. Just things like having cooked ground beef, cooked chicken, or cooked taco meat ready to defrost and use in throwing together a meal at the last minute seems like a big time-saver.

Thus far this is what I have in the freezer (I'm working on posting the recipes I haven't yet):
Chicken enchiladas (since Jake is off dairy for now, we're going with the dairy-free version, but this one also freezes well)
Tortilla Soup
Taco Chicken
Taco meat
Ground beef (for spaghetti)

I have plans to make many more meals between now and next month whenever the baby gets here.
Some of my plans:
bread (I now use the recipe from Gluten-free on a Shoestring rather than my old one)
Salsa chicken
Shepherds' Pie
Chicken Pot Pie (from GF on a Shoestring)
Cafe Rio Chicken
BBQ pork
biscuits (from GF on a Shoestring)
pizza dough (again, from GF on a Shoestring--can you tell I like that book?)

I've also looked at a few websites that do GF freezer meals for some ideas, and I'll probably end up trying some of those. Like this one or this one.

EASY Apple/Pear Crisp

This is a real quick recipe for a delicious dessert. It uses canned pears and apple pie filling so there's no peeling and slicing which makes it quicker than quick. I think I got this recipe originally from A Soft Place to Land several years ago.

4 15 oz. cans sliced pears, drained
1 20 oz. can apple pie filling
1 1/2 C. gluten-free oats
3/4 C. GF flour
3/4 C. brown sugar
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 C. butter (or we use Smart Balance Light since it's dairy-free), cut up

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pour the pears and apple pie filling into a 9"x12" pan.
Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix in the butter using your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Crumble the topping on top of the fruit.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the fruit is hot and bubbly and the topping is crisp and browned.
Enjoy. With some vanilla ice cream if you've got it on hand.
I've made this in an 8x8 pan, too with half the fruit, but the same amount of topping, which I like better because then the topping is a bit thicker and covers it better. Have some for dessert, then eat the leftovers for breakfast, because really, it's just fruit and oatmeal. And sugar. :) Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


For a while, every time I wanted to make pancakes I would do a google search for gluten-free pancakes and pick a new pancake to try. Until last summer when my Grandpa's wife made us some pancakes using her regular recipe, just substituting rice flour in and they turned out just right. No xanthan gum or anything. So now I use my former whole-wheat pancake recipe as my new gluten-free pancake recipe.

1 ½ C. GF flour mix
2 T. sugar
2 T. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 C. soy milk
1 egg (optional)

Mix it all together. I really don't measure the milk, or if I do, I usually end up adding more water after until it reaches the consistency I like.
These behave just like any other pancake: pour them out thin-ish, then wait until the bubbles on top have popped, flip and cook the other side, and enjoy.
I can't tell any difference between these and "real" pancakes.
Happy breakfasting!

Food storage-week 2

This week all I did was evaluate my long-term food storage, and make plans for what I need to get for that. I added two sheets to my spreadsheet. The first one has a list of all the stuff I have or need and how much I have and need. I included a list of non-food items I use regularly that I would like to have as part of my long-term storage, as well. Ideally I'll have a year supply of the long-term stuff, but realistically at this point I'm just working on getting what I think I might be able to accomplish this year. Baby steps to start.

The second sheet I added (the last sheet at this point) is a list of all the long-term items I need, and where I typically buy those items. My church runs canneries all over the country, including one here in my town, where you can go and work with others to pack up a bunch of long-term food storage, then buy it pretty much at cost, so I stick to that for anything that they have there. You can also order some pre-packaged stuff online if you want. For the other items, I get a lot at the grocery store or Sunflower Market. I also enjoy the fruit, especially, from Shelf Reliance (they have a GF list if you ask for it), and get some other items, including long-term gluten-free storage stuff from Augason Farms.

So the plan at this point is to spend either $10 or $20 each week (I haven't quite decided how much yet) on accumulating short-term storage items, and each month spend up to $100 on a few long-term items, rotating through the different places that I buy my long-term storage each month. If I have extra money in my grocery budget at the end of the month (according to my trusty budget tracker), that'll go for a few extra items as well. I'll probably base my short-term purchases on what is on sale that week, and if nothing is on sale that I need, I'll just go down the list.

Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a healthy store of food we can all eat and enjoy. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Food storage

One of my new year's goals (really my only one) is to get my food storage in order. I had my short-term food storage pretty well under control until Jake went dairy-free a few months ago, but never really had a good long-term plan in place. One of my friends shared her plan a while back and I decided that doing a similar format would help me. So my goal was to have a plan in place by the end of the first week, then each week I can add to my food storage, hopefully having it well under control by the end of the year. I'm almost there. I have my list of what I need short-term, which was a bigger under-taking than I thought. So I guess my goal for week 2 will be to get my long-term needs listed, and a weekly plan outlined.

If you're interested in some gluten-free food storage ideas, feel free to check out my spreadsheet and use it as you see fit. This is planning for 2 adults and 2 kids. The dinners are completely gluten-free, and able to be dairy-free (we just leave the cheese off until it's dished out then add it to the plates that are okay for dairy). Not all breakfast, lunches, and snacks are gluten-free because we go for quick and easy (and cheaper) when Jake's not around. These are all shelf-stable ingredients, or able to be frozen for longer-term storage, though not for over a year.

Probably a little explanation of each sheet is in order:
3 month meal plan: This sheet has all the meals and ingredients needed for each one. There are 18 meals, I think, which would mean you would need to rotate through the list about 3 1/2 times for a 3-month food storage, which is what I was going for. I multiplied the amounts by 4 to get a nice round number, so this plan is actually good for longer than 3 months.

ingredient amounts: This is where I compiled how much of each ingredient is needed. I also have random calculations and measurements off to the side, which may not make sense to people other than me, but the important part is the first 3 columns.

grocery list: I made a list of what I normally/occasionally get at the grocery store by aisle to make my grocery list making easier. I also put in parenthesis how many of the storage items I should have in my pantry. Useful for anyone who shops at the Rita Ranch Fry's but other than those few people, not much help to you.

Breakfast-lunch-snacks: This is basically my plan for the rest of the food besides dinners.

If you have questions or want any recipes that I haven't shared, let me know.