Gluten Free Chicken Fingers – 2 Ways – Low carb or Not

Gluten Free Chicken Fingers

Low Carb Chicken Fingers

Have you seen “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”?  I watched the first couple of episodes.  In it I found out that chicken nuggets are apparently a staple for American kids.  Kids who were eating them for lunch at school talked about eating them the night before for dinner.  (Pizza and hamburgers were other ones that are  staples and I will get to my recipes for those soon.)  That show left me, once again, feeling incredibly grateful for Celiac Disease.   Why grateful, you may wonder?  I’m grateful because my kids will never eat those things at school.  They are a nutritional nightmare and my kids have a medical reason to never even get near them.  On Jamie’s show one of the lunch ladies kept referring to the list of ingredients and saying “chicken, it’s the first thing on the label,” or for the potato pearls they use to make some sort of glue that they serve under the rouse of mashed potatoes;  “potatoes, the number one ingredient.”  She said this like as if all those other things on the label after the first ingredient are just other foods and don’t really matter.  They are not just other foods that don’t matter.  Most of them are not food at all.  In so many processed foods there is white flour, which even if we could eat that we wouldn’t because it is really nothing more than sugar, metabolically speaking.  It offers no nutrition.  It offers carbohydrate aka sugar.  There are stabilizers, preservatives, fillers, coloring, starches, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, anti foaming agents and hydrogenated oils (In case you didn’t know hydrogenated means trans fats.  Reasearch has proven that trans fats cause cancer and heart disease.)  Here is a link to McDonald’s web site that lists every ingredient in all of their food.  The McNuggets are on the fifth page.  I chose to illustrate my point using McDonald’s nuggets because years ago they were my favorite.  I loved those things.  Prior to Celiac Disease my daughters loved them too.  Who doesn’t?  Look at those ingredients.  Forty some ingredients in there.  Mmmmmm.  Makes you want to run straight over to your nearest Mickey D’s (which is likely within a mile of where ever you are) doesn’t it.  Ugh.  Gross.  I make chicken fingers here at home regularly.  It is a favorite for all of us.  I use a couple fewer ingredients.  Additionally I cook them in coconut oil so we are getting a good fat to go along with it.  It is really pretty quick and they are even good warmed up.  Sometimes I will make dips to go with them but mayo is the kids favorite.  (Making my own mayo with coconut oil is on my to do list.)  I make them 2 ways and both are well liked here.  One is really low carb, one is not.          

Chicken Fingers – 2 Ways – Low Carb or Not         

1 package raw chicken tenders (1-2 lbs)         

3 eggs         

1/4 cup whole flax seed ground up into a meal         

1/4 cup Kim’s All Purpose GF Flour    (to make this recipe low carb omit the flour and double the flax meal)         

2 tsp kosher salt or to taste         

pepper to taste         

1/4 tsp garlic powder         

1/2 tsp dried oregano         

1/2 tsp mild chili powder         

Coconut oil for frying         

Heat a generous amount of coconut oil (if you use expeller pressed it doesn’t taste like coconut) in a large frying pan over medium heat.  In medium bowl beat eggs.  In second bowl or pie plate combine remaining ingredients and mix until combined.   With each chicken tender coat in egg first and then coat evenly with flour/flax seed mix.  Fry until lightly browned on both sides and serve hot.  If you are doing this the low carb way, omit the gf flour and lower your heat to medium low.  The flax seeds brown pretty quickly so it is easy to burn.  I like to serve these with “fries”.  I cut up carrots, sweet potato and white potatoes into “fries”.  I coat with, yes, more coconut oil, salt and pepper or whatever sounds good to me at the moment.  Bake them at 425 for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through and are crispy at the edges.  And there you have it, chicken fingers and fries, gluten free, dairy free, low carb (or not), REAL FOOD.        

 
 

     

 

   

           

          

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Creamy Potato Leek Soup

In my never-ending quest to get my kids (and husband) to eat their veggies I came up with a great idea.  The girls love to shop.  (They do not get that trait from me.  We’ll just leave it at that. ) They love to go to a store, pick something new out, take it to the cashier, pay for it and take it home (and then play with it for about 3 minutes).  So a couple of days ago I was out with the girls and had to stop by our usual grocery store, Sprouts.  It is a natural/whole foods/farmers market type store.  They have a sizable produce department and carry many things I have never seen before  and lots of stuff I have never tried before.  I probably do have a pretty varied diet and likely eat better than maybe the typical American but it is easy to get comfortable in buying the same things over and over.  I wanted to try to step out of my comfort zone and try something different.  I told the girls on the way to the store that they were both allowed to choose something from the produce department.  The only rules were that they had to choose a vegetable and it had to be one we have never had before.  They were so excited to pick something out.  I was hoping that if they chose it and then we decided on how to prepare it together and then cooked it together that maybe they would be more enthusiastic about eating it.  I was right!  Sage choose 2 large leeks.  Rori choose flowering kale, which was really pretty.  I didn’t even know what it was.  I had to look at the receipt to figure it out.   With the flowering kale I made a pork stir fry that included onion, garlic, ginger, orange bell pepper, broccoli, carrot, soy sauce and fish sauce.  Oh, and lots of coconut oil.  I served that on top of quinoa.  It was really good.  I won’t bother with a recipe because it is a stir fry.  Who follows a recipe for that?  For the leeks we decided on soup.  How have I never had leeks before?  They are so good.  Sandy and a bugger to clean up but yummy!  I made this soup without following a recipe and I didn’t measure anything but I did want to write down what I did because it turned out to be the best soup I have ever had.  It is unbelievable!  Once I started to make my own soups from scratch it is hard to stomach one that comes from a can.  Not only do they taste bad and have a bunch of stuff in it that I don’t want (have you ever read the label for a can of soup?) but every single Campbell’s soup has gluten in it.  (Unless of course that had changed since the last time I tried to buy one a couple of years ago.)

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

3 strips of thick cut bacon

2 T coconut oil (I use expeller pressed so it does not have the flavor or coconut)

2 large leeks – ends cut off, washed really well and coarsely chopped

5 cloves of garlic minced

5 smallish starchy potatoes – peeled and cubed

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme – stem removed

2 bay leaves

4-5 cups chicken broth (mine was homemade)

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup sour cream or plain greek style yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot on medium heat and add diced bacon.  Render fat and cook until a bit crispy.  Remove bacon and set aside.  To bacon fat in pot add coconut oil and heat.  Add chopped leeks, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook, without browning, for approx 10 minutes.   Add chicken broth, potatoes, thyme and bay leaves.  Simmer for about 30-45 minutes until potatoes are soft.  Remove bay leaves.  Using an immersion blender puree until creamy and free of any lumps.  Add half and half and sour cream or yogurt. Blend to combine.   Adjust seasons with salt and pepper.   Garnish with bacon bits.  And there you have it, green goodness in a bowl.

Roasted Beet Chips

Roasted Beet Chips

 

Last Friday we went to a farmers market and picked up these little gems.  I made chips out of them and they are to die for.  They are super sweet and crunchy.  I however am the only one who will eat them.  It is Easter today so the kids are eating nothing but candy.  I am kind of hoping that they will eat enough that they get sick.  So far, it’s not happening.  A couple weeks ago I got Ron to watch “Food Inc” with me.  I had already seen it but really wanted him to see it too.  It is a really great documentary about what passes as  “food” in America.  Anyway, one of the statistics given in the movie was that 1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will develop Type II Diabetes in their lifetime.  That’s horrifying, isn’t it?!  I mused aloud that statistically that is 1 of our 3 kids.  Ron’s response?  “Not under this Nazi regime.”   I took that as a compliment.  It’s true that I am maybe a tad obsessed with what I feed my family.  So this Easter, like last year, I am letting them eat as much garbage as they want.  It literally makes my stomach turn to see them eat that.  I keep offering real food but to no avail.  I was hoping that these beets might be acceptable to them but they just can’t compete with straight up processed sugar.  Oh well.  Tomorrow this Nazi regime is back! 

Roasted Beet Chips 

Wash and peel beets.  Slice thinly and toss in coconut oil (olive oil would be fine too but I have a love affair going on with coconut oil lately).  Sprinkle with kosher salt and roast in a 425 degree preheated oven on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes or until crispy at the edges.  Serve warm.  (I bet these would be awesome with a little dot of goat cheese on top!  Wish I had some…)  Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

I used to make broccoli this way all the time.  Then some how I forgot about it.  I need to put this here so that it doesn’t get forgotten again.  This is hands down my favorite way to have it.  The kids used to like broccoli but recently they have all been doing their best to avoid it.  So today I made a bunch of this and offered it as an appetizer when I knew they were hungry.  All 3 of them enthusiastically finished all of it.  Score!

Roasted Broccoli

 

Roasted Broccoli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Break clean broccoli into florets.  On a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with some kosher salt.   Roast for 10-15 minutes until they  are done to your liking.

Lentil and Cauliflower Salad

I just whipped this up for lunch. Had my camera been working I still wouldn’t have been able to pry it away from my girls to take a picture. Sorry. This was fast and easy to make and very satisfying. I was stunned when both of my girls devoured it. Yes, even the three year old who hates all vegetables.

1/2 cup brown lentils
1 cup raw cauliflower chopped into tiny florets
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 large clove garlic
small pinch of cumin
few drops of agave or honey (maybe 1/4 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to boil add salt and then add lentils. Cook until they are tender but not mushy. While those are cooking prepare the cauliflower and put into medium sized salad bowl. For the dressing: Using a blender or small food processor add garlic, vinegar salt and pepper, blend until smooth. Add cumin and olive oil. Blend until you have a creamy emulsion. Taste for salt and pepper and add a tiny bit of honey or agave. This is just to cut the tang of the vinegar, not to make it sweet. I like to use rice vinegar for salad dressings since it is a bit milder than white vinegar. When lentils are done to your liking drain and give a quick rinse. Add lentils to cauliflower and toss with desired amount of dressing. Serve immediately. I make this salad fairly often. I use this same dressing and lentils and sub veggies. I love this with finely sliced green cabbage or lots of fresh coarsely chopped parsley, celery or broccoli.

Kale Chips

I’ll admit it, I don’t like kale. Kale is that stuff that sometimes comes on your plate as a garnish that you quickly remove. Kale is that stuff that you see in salad bars that the salad is sitting on. It is a green, leafy veggie that is a bit tough and I think it is a bit bitter. So when I kept seeing other people blogging about kale chips I quickly clicked on by. But I kept seeing it and everyone raves about it. So, trying to be open minded I decided to give it a whirl. I made Kale “Chips”. I am not going to bother to post a picture because to be honest, they are not very pretty and this has been blogged about so much by so many others, what is the point, right? I am adding it here so that I don’t forget about it. Do you ever do that? Just completely forget about something that you love??? Anyway, stunningly, these are amazing. Seriously, they are fantastic. The first time I made them my mom and I ate an entire bunch to ourselves. I should point out here that she had the same kale aversion that I had. Then I served them as an appetizer to about 15 people. I made 3 bunches (or are they heads?) and it was all eaten. Now for the most unbelievable thing… all 3 of my very picky kids and my husband all like them (although my husband won’t admit that he likes them, he did eat a lot of the plate)!! That is what I should have done: taken a picture of my kids devouring them. Now here is the best part; it’s nutritional benefits. This is now a regular in our house. Making it is so easy that it isn’t really even a “recipe” but here is what I did.

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale (washed and dried)

olive oil

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350. Tear kale up in bite sized pieces. Toss the tough, woody stem. Lay the pieces out on a cookie sheet and do not let them overlap. Lightly sprinkle with olive oil. It would be good to have a sprayer for this but I don’t so I just drizzled it. Then, very lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until they are crispy. (If they are not crispy and are still a bit pliable, they will be tough~ and then you just have kale) Serve immediately as a substitute for potato chips or the like.

The Best Ever Devilled Eggs

Being that we raise chickens, I always have fresh eggs and am always looking for ways to use them up. There are only so many times a person can have plain eggs for breakfast. Honestly, if I eat another scrambled egg anytime soon I will likely wretch. I don’t make devilled eggs very often because peeling really fresh eggs is an excersice in extreme frustration. I have tried countless ways to peel them in a manner that does not produce an egg that looks like it has already been predigested and I am still looking for that magic technique. If you know of any tips PLEASE leave a comment. Anyway, this morning I tried again. I choose the least fresh of the bunch but still they were only maybe 3-4 days old so they still looked terrible. However, they tasted fantasic. As far as I am concerned they were the best I have ever had. They are just eggs, right, how good could they be? Try this and find out.

Best Ever Devilled Eggs

7-8 eggs
1/3 cup mayo (more or less depending on how creamy you like it)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 T chopped fresh dill (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs in a pot and cover with water. Once boiling set timer for 10 minutes. Don’t overcook the crap out of them. Timing does make a difference. If you leave them in there too long the yolks get that grey color around the outside and are sort of dry on the inside, ick! After 10 minutes drain, crack shells by jiggling the pot back and forth, and cover with ice water. Peel (or try to). Cut in half, pop the yolks out into a small dish. Combine all remaining ingredients with yolks and mash together until creamy. Check for seasoning and then refill the egg white halves. If you want them to look prettier you can sprinkle with paprika but I can’t be bothered. I also didn’t bother with a picture since mine are never pretty. Fresh and yummy, yes. Pretty, no.