Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplings {grain-free}

Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplings. 
Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm. Goodness.  This grain-free version was so close to the way I remember my grandmother’s that I want to make it every day this week, I am THAT excited!   Please tell me that you will let me know when you try this recipe! I want to share in the taste party with you.

 

chicken & dumplings

 

Chicken & Dumplings
1 whole chicken
12-14 cups water
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
Leek tips (you can use any portion of the leek, an onion, or green onion, I just keep leek tops for broths*)
2 teaspoons salt
Cracked pepper
1/2 cup arrowroot powder

Dumplings:
1 cup Garfava Flour** (you can substitute with brown rice flour, but they would no longer be grain free)
1/2 cup arrowroot (you can also use potato starch flour, but I prefer arrowroot)
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon organic all-purpose seasoning
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 egg (This recipe would work fine with an egg substitute)
1/4 cup water

**+ more garfava flour for rolling and dusting hands to handle dough.

In a large stockpot, place your whole chicken, 12-14 cups of water, your carrots, celery, and leeks or onions. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until your chicken is cooked through (1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes).  At this point, remove the chicken onto a carving board. Strain out your broth and set aside the veggies from the strainer. Broth will go back on the stove in the stock pot over a simmering heat (low/simmer). In a mug or glass Pyrex measuring cup, scoop out a cup or two of the broth and set it aside.  (You may also use a longer cook bone-broth is that is your preference, this is just how I did this from scratch).

I separated my carrots and celery out and gave them a rough chop and dropped them back into the broth. Once your chicken has cooled a little and you are able to handle it, remove the meat from the bones. Save those bones for more broth later. Roughly pull or chop your chicken meat and add it back into the broth pot.

Into your mug of broth that you set aside, whisk in 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder until there are no lumps. Pour this slurry into the broth pot and give it a stir for a minute.

Now, mix together your dumpling ingredients to make your dough. It is kind of sticky, so you can use a bit more flour if needed. The easiest way to roll these out is to place the dough between two pieces of parchment. I cut mine into rough square pieces and then pressed them together a bit with my thumbs. As you press each dumpling, drop it into the simmering pot of thickened broth. Continue until all of your dumplings are in. Cover your stock pot loosely with a lid, increase heat to medium, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Serve and enjoy!  I served mine in one of my very favorite soup dishes of ALL time, my beautiful Le Creuset Stoneware, one of my favorite gifts from my sister-in-law. Garnish with fresh parsley or sage. I hope this recipe hits that nostalgic part of your heart like it does mine.

Pecan Chicken Piccatta

Pecan Chicken Piccatta
Food should make you feel good when you eat it. Don’t you agree?  The best forkful of food is one that makes you exhale with delight, drop your shoulders in relaxation, and absolutely be unable to stop yourself from closing your eyes, humming “mmmmm” in delight,  and smiling in contentment. Okay, yes, so it might be the simple things for me…. but this version of Chicken Piccatta, which was perfect for the SCD plan that we are currently on, made me do just that!

I will admit, I am a crunch junkie ~ so going through an intro phase with lots of broths and soups and soft foods – the crunch that I got from this meal was a welcomed treat!

I am going to experiment a couple more times (what? Its for research ;))  with perfecting this recipe, but here is what I did yesterday – and the results was mighty tasty. Mighty tasty, indeed.

Ingredients:
1 package of chicken tenders (boneless breasts would work)
1 1/2-2 cups raw organic pecans (soaked and dried, or purchase “Better Than Roasted” from here)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon real salt
3 tablespoons ghee + more for cooking the zucchini pasta
1 organic lemon if you have one
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon organic capers

Optional but delicious – Zucchini for spiralizing to serve under your Pecan Chicken Piccatta.

What To Do:
First things first, you want to grind down your pre-soaked and dried Pecans. I try to make it a habit when I purchase my nuts and seeds to give them a soak overnight and then stick them in the dehydration before I store them, but when I don’t want to take that extra step, I buy these already done. You probably already know why, but in case you are scratching your head as to why this is necessary, I’ll give you a brief explanation: Soaking the nuts releases the enzyme inhibitors that protect the nuts in nature. Their protection is good for them, but often bad for us. So, soak them overnight, then place in a low temp oven or dehydrator (or even out in the sun) until they are dry again.

Now, find you pecans into a meal and add the salt. Spread this mixture out onto a flat plate. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a large zip-top bag, or any other method you prefer, place each chicken tender in the bag (this helps me prevent splattering chicken all over my kitchen). Pound the chicken to make it thin (about 1/4-1/2 inch).

In a large skillet, heat your coconut oil over medium high heat.  Have a paper towel-lined plate ready, as well as a baking sheet.

Pat your chicken pieces into the pecan meal, getting a pretty even coating on both sides, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Drop the chicken into the heated pan. Cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. They will cook pretty quickly since they are thin. When each piece is nicely browned on both sides, transfer to the plate with the paper towel to let some of the oil drip off, then transfer to a baking sheet. Finish each piece of chicken, and then place the baking sheet into a 350 degree oven.

Now it’s time to create your lemon butter “sauce” and your “noodles”.  Spiralize your zucchini and set it aside.

In a large skillet, heat a little ghee or oil and run your zucchini pasta through for 2 or 3 minutes.
Pour out into a bowl for the time being.

In the same skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of ghee and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. If you have anemone, cut it into slices and place those in the pan as well. Mix together with a whisk or fork, salt & pepper to taste, and toss the capers in right at the end.

Take your chicken out of the oven and get ready to serve.

To serve this up, I dumped *most* of my lemon butter sauce over my zucchini pasta and gave it a toss, then plated the pasta. I placed two pieces of chicken on each plate. And then drizzle a little more of the sauce over top.

The lemon flavor, the salty capers, and the sweet crunch from the pecans fried in the coconut oil – you MUST TRY THIS!!!!    And let me know how you like it! 🙂

Happy Eating!
~Kendra

Sauerkraut & Kielbasa

Oktober Feast

This is by far one of my favorite meals that my mother passed down to me.  I honestly have no idea where this recipe originated from, But it is a favorite and it has transitioned wonderfully into my gluten-free, whole-food kitchen! I made a few changes to the original recipe, like making sure that our kielbasa is nitrite free and humanely raised without any hormones or additives and buying naturally fermented sauerkraut of making my own from scratch. I also add apple to mine, which my mom never did. But, for the most part,  it is the same meal & this remains a staple during the fall and winter at our house.

1 large jar naturally fermented sauerkraut (recipe below)
About 2 cups cubed organic potatoes (* FOR SCD use celery root/celeriac instead of potato)
1 large organic apple, cubed
1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil 1 organic onion (small to medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Real Salt
1 package (4 links) Applegate Farms Pork Kielbasa* (or your favorite nitrite free kielbasa)*
1-2 cups filtered water

*For SCD, look for a kielbasa that is free of nitrites and has no sugar. You can find some here.

Heat oil in a large dutch-oven over medium heat.  Add in your onion and garlic and cook until soft.  Add in the sauerkraut, potatoes, and apple pieces. Season with about a teaspoon of real salt and add in about 1 cup of water, stirring to combine all of the ingredients.
Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, adding more of the water of you need to. Recover  and continue cooking for 30-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Check on it about every 10 minutes to be sure more water isn’t needed.

This has always been one of my favorite fall one-pot dishes. Growing up, my mom always served this dish with steamed rye bread. Since Rye is not a gluten-free grain, try pairing this gluten-free meal with some Udi’s Millet & Chia bread.

Tip:  If you don’t eat pork, try the Applegate Farms Chicken & Apple Sausage instead.

Home-Made Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut

2 ½ pounds of cabbage; green, purple, or a combination of the two.
1 tablespoon Real Salt
1 quart-sized glass canning jar

Finely shred cabbage. Start by placing a couple of handfuls of the cabbage into your jar and sprinkle just a little of the Real Salt in. Using the back of a wooden spoon, pound your cabbage to release some of the juices. Continue with a couple of handfuls of cabbage and a sprinkle of salt, tamping each layer down and repeating over and over until your jar is filled.
Place the lid on loosely and let your jar rest for 30 minutes to an hour, allowing the juices to
come out of the cabbage and form a brine ( If you still need extra brine, mix ½ teaspoon of Real Salt to ½ Cup of filtered water. )
Open your lid and press down on the cabbage to see how much brine the cabbage made. There should be enough liquid to completely cover the cabbage, and you will want the cabbage to stay moist as it soaks up the liquid during the fermentation process.
Tightly screw on your lid. You will let the jar sit at room temperature for 3 weeks*. After 3 weeks, check your jar by opening the lid and checking to see if there are little bubbles on top. Re-lid and then place in the refrigerator to continue fermenting to your taste. You can eat it at this point, or let it sit for longer to let the flavor come out even more.
*Tips:  -You may have to gas (open the lid of) the jar occasionally as it ferments. If you press the top of the lid and it doesn’t give at all, simply open and reapply the lid.  -Do not use unfiltered tap water. Be sure it is filtered.

Gluten-Free Eggplant Primavera Pasta Dinner {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

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One of the staples in my gluten-free kitchen, from the very beginning of my gluten-free days until now, is brown rice pasta. In the beginning, I used pastas quite often, not every day, but nearly. They were easy and were a gluten free meal that everyone in the house would eat and not complain about – which meant ONE meal for me to cook. That was always more appealing to me – the less work for me part. And the bonus was the happy faces part, for sure.

Adding to those positives, I began to get very creative in my “sneaky chef” ways with pasta sauces. We were on some supplements fro a while that I could easily hide into sauces for my non-pill-swallowing daughter. I could juice greens or carrots and stir them into the sauce after it cooled down a bit, adding a burst of phytonutrients into the kid’s bodies {this was super appealing to me!}. I could roast garlic and other veggies and blend them in my Vitamix with no complaints from the crowd. 

Now, years later, my kids’ taste buds have become more acclimated to larger textures and more complex flavors, so I have a lot of fun coming up with combinations for topping our Organic Brown Rice pasta on pasta night, and it always feels like a treat since we eat far fewer pasta meals than we used to. Hope you enjoy tonight’s primavera recipe!

Gluten-Free Eggplant Primavera

1 small-medium organic eggplant, medium dice
6 organic Roma tomatoes, small dice
1/4 – 1/2 organic onion, fine dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped?
Sliced green and black olives, I used 6 of each
1/2-1 cup fresh chopped organic basil
3-4 tablespoons organic olive oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti or Angel Hair Pasta {my favorite two brands are Tinkyada and Jovial}

Start boiling your water for the pasta.

As you bring your water to a boil, prepare your sauce by first chopping all of your fresh, organic produce. Heat the oil  over medium high heat in the largest skillet you have. Add the onions, garlic, eggplant and salt and pepper to the pan. Brown the eggplant a bit, stirring everything as you sauté.

Check your pasta water and go ahead and drop your pasta in if you have a rolling boil.

Once the eggplant has cooked down a bit in your skillet, and the onion and garlic have softened, add in your tomatoes and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the basil at the end and toss everything together.

Strain the pasta once it is cooked to your liking. Serve the chunky primavera sauce over your pasta, add another pinch of your fresh basil, and enjoy!  Easy Peasy Gluten Freesy!  {And the perfect meal for any meatless Monday}.

Happy Pasta Night, Canaries!
~Kendra

Saturday Breakfast, Gluten-Free Breakfast Quesadillas

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Saturdays. Sweet, sweet Saturdays.

It seems like a recurring theme for me. I always try to pretend like I am going to steal some time for myself come Friday evening, like I am going to sleep in, no matter what the rest of the family need on Saturday morning! . Most stay-at-home moms will probably understand that sentiment. I FINALLY have an extra pair of hands home for two full days and I won’t have to rush out of bed to get the day started, get lunches packed, get kids motivated to do their morning routines to get off to school without their teachers or peers knowing JUST how close we are each morning to NOT making it to school in one piece {let alone with a special-diet lunch & snack in tow for two kids}.

Every week on Friday evening, I take a deep breathe and celebrate the weekend, and I tell myself, “I am totally sleeping in in the morning.”. 

Every Saturday morning, I wake up {halfway} to a nursing baby who has been by my side since the first time he cried from his crib in the middle of the night. I wake up a little more when my seven year old come and wraps her little arms around me and steals all of my fuzzy cover for herself. And then, I wake up almost completely by the time my five year old makes himself a nest in the bend of my knees and starts whispering, “Momma. Momma, is it time for breakfast yet?”

He is a boy after his Mommy’s heart! Breakfast is hands-down my favorite mealtime. I am a waffle-a-holic, a crepe-addict (never planning to recover, either), and a lover of breakfast muffins and breads! But, today, I was in the mood for some eggs, and so I set the kids up with a cartoon, waited on my husband to roll out of bed and start a pot of coffee, and I began whipping up all the fixings for some breakfast quesadillas: got some nitrite-free bacon cooking in the oven, had some organic refried beans warming in a small saucepan, and scrambled up some beautiful pastures eggs.  I oiled the griddle with a little coconut oil and placed a brown rice tortilla down {I had some from Trader Joe’s}. The, I smeared some refried beans onto the tortilla, piled on some eggs & some bacon pieces, and topped with another brown rice tortilla. I let it all crisp up a bit and then flipped. I cooked that side to a golden brown and then transferred to a cutting board to cool and slice.

Me and Daddo  {this is my husbands official father name, by the way} had some salsa Verde and some raw cheddar cheese on ours and called it a delicious start to our day! Hope yours was delicious, too!

Quinoa Sweet Potato & Pecan Tamales (TaMOLLYs)

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Quinoa Sweet Potato & Pecan Tamales

When it comes to the title of a recipe, I have been known to get QUITE CHEESY (especially for a dairy-free cook). What can I say? Being that I am a momma bear, sometimes I have to sell my kids on the healthy foods I want them to love, and what makes selling easier than a catchy name! I’m just marketing :)! My sweet Molly Rose got quite a kick out of dinner being named after her last night.

We live in Texas, and in Texas, everyone knows what a tamale is. Traditionally, they are done with masa harina (corn flour).   I have been thinking about the execution of a corn free TaMolly for a while now, and yesterday, I had some sweet potatoes that were staring at me from the potato basket and some corn husks that were wanting to be used, and so began the makings of a ‘Meatless Monday’ masterpiece ~ a QUINOA TA”MOLLY”! They were so yummy and have oodles of potential for flavor and filling combinations. I can’t wait to post more as I make these again and again.

What you will need:

1 bag of Corn husks (found at most grocers)
1 cup Organic white quinoa
1-2 teaspoon Salt of choice (I like “Real Salt”)
2 Sweet potatoes
1/3-1/2 cup pecans, chopped (if you don’t soak and dry your nuts already, just soak them while you prepare the rest of the meal and drain them when ready to use)
1/2 teaspoon organic chile powder
1 3/4 cups vegetable stock or water (homemade stock is best, if buying, try to avoid yeast extracts in the ingredients)
1/4 cup coconut oil (straight from the jar, no need to liquefy)
A Steamer or way to steam the TaMollys (I use a stacking bamboo steamer basket like this one)

First, submerge your corn husks in water for at least 30 minutes to soften them. I like to do about half the bag so that I can choose the best of the bunch and have enough to cover my ingredients. (You can also do these in double batches or more and freeze for later)

Peel and dice your sweet potatoes. Cover with water in a sauce pot, add a nice pinch of salt to the water, and boil for 10-15 minutes to soften your potatoes. They don’t have to quite be fork tender because they will continue to cook in the tamale. Strain the water out of the pan and fork-mash a bit, stirring in 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a spice grinder, food processor, or blender, grate 1 cup of quinoa until you have a fine to medium-grained meal (similar to a corn meal texture).

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring together the quinoa meal, 1 3/4 cups of vegetable stock or water, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Stir slowly and frequently just until the mixture comes together to a thick consistency similar to a breakfast porridge and stir for about 5 minutes to soften the quinoa. Remove from heat and set aside.
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Bring your 1/3 -1/2 cup of chopped pecans to the assembly party, along with your quinoa mixture, your sweet potatoes, and the soaked corn husks.

To assemble your TaMollys, simply spoon some of the quinoa mixture onto a soaked corn husk. I like to fold the husk over and use a pulling motion to spread the meal across. You will want about 1/4 inch thickness. Top with some sweet potato and a pinch of pecans. {You can see my photo of a layered husk before it is bundled up}. Now, Fold in the sides and place the bundle seems down onto a steamer tray. Try not to stack them directly on top of one another if you can help it. This bamboo steamer basket that I use was perfect!)   Continue with more tamales until your fillings are gone. I was able to get 11 tamales last night.

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Steam for 1 hour. Make sure you check our steaming water frequently and add more when needed.  Pull them out and get ready to open a little gift of food love.

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They may not look like much as you stack the corn-husk-bundles onto a serving tray…
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But when you unravel the contents inside, you find a delicious texture, very similar to that traditional corn-cake layer; and, inside, you have the deliciously mushy sweet potato and the perfect texture and nuttiness of the pecans. SO YUMMY!

For the vegan option, these were delicious served with a tiny drizzle of cashew sour cream*.  If you prefer the real deal dairy, then a regular or raw sour cream would be equally as yummy.

The best part of recipes like these are the endless possibilities for variety! I am already dreaming up some flavor combinations to try again very soon:
Chicken and Green Chile, Chicken Tomatillo, Braised Beef and Sweet Peppers, Chicken & Apple, Pumpkin and Black Bean ….. Okay, now I’m hungry again. I might have to make more of these today!

~Happy Eating, Everyone! Ole’~

* Cashew Sour Cream: Process or Blend 1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup pure water
1/4 cup organic lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional, garlic powder and/or onion powder to taste