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!!