Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie

So, last fall I took a picture of chicken pot pie, but never got around to writing down the recipe or posting it.  Big breath.  Here goes.

Then only chicken pie I remember eating when I was a kid was at my grandma’s house.  She fished it out of her huge chest freezer. It’s funny because I don’t remember much pre-packaged food at my grandma’s house.  She made just about everything from scratch. I don’t remember being terribly impressed.

When I first started making chicken pies, I used a pre-made crust.  Wasn’t I doing enough without having to make a pastry too?  Anyway, once I made the mistake of making pastry for the chicken pie and my husband will not be happy with anything less now.  Whatever, even if I am making this just for myself I will make the pastry.  It’s just better. Good thing I have a KitchenAid. ‘Cause if Julia Child said they were good for making pastry I will not argue! When I started making pastry as a kid, I made it by hand.  I used the recipe in my mom’s checkered cookbook. My pastry was flaky, but it also fell apart and looked like a 2nd grade pottery project. Now I use a machine and I can roll and re-roll my pie crust and it is still tender, flaky and good. Although I still think pastry is tricky and I’m never quite sure how it will turn out. Handmade, KitchenAid made or bought at the store, pastry filled with creamy chicken and vegetables is yummy!

Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time! -Julia Child

Greek Gyro Burgers

I’m so glad that hardly any one reads my blog. Every time I read the comments on popular blogs I feel so bad for the writer. Why are people so harsh? Sometimes I write something nice just to offset some of the negativity. Why do people think that bloggers should be the absolute authority on what they are writing about? Everything doesn’t work for everyone. I’m pretty sure I would upset vegans with my writing. I’m not vegan, I’m not writing for a vegan audience, I’m writing for myself and some family and friends. So here is a recipe designed to offend vegetarians, vegans, anti-soy people(which I usually am, but I can’t find a good sour cream) people who don’t want cancer from grilling, gluten free people and Greeks!

I love Greek food.  I am not Greek, have never been to Greece and don’t have a Greek restaurant that I frequent. I occasionally have Greek food at restaurants, I LOVED going to the Greek festival when I lived in Anchorage, and I would love nothing better than be able to order a gyro at a food truck. However, tzatziki is made with yogurt and that would make me sick, but without the sauce what is the point?  I have a recipe for gyro meat, but it is way too involved.  So, here is a recipe that is easy and tastes good.

 

Avocado Smoothie

While my husband was “out of country” in “the desert” he ate some interesting and fabulous things. One of the things he raved about was an avocado milkshake. I have no idea what might have been in the original drink, besides avocado. However, I made a healthy smoothie version and he thought it was wonderful. I usually put an avocado in his smoothies as he doesn’t really like the taste of oats, but he wanted a smoothie with flavor of avocado highlighted.  I’m so happy he liked it and so happy he is drinking green smoothies!

Dessert in a Cup

This is either a genius idea or just horrible!  I am leaning toward genius, until I can’t fit in my jeans.  On the pro side, I won’t feel inclined to eat an entire batch of brownies or a two layer cake.  On the con side, I might want to try out a different dessert every night.  And what if it doesn’t turn out?  Then I will have to try another one.  I am planning on making a folder with all the best single serving recipes and saving them until I am a crazy old lady, living in a retirement home, with no access to a stove.  It will happen, if I live long enough.  But until then I really didn’t think I would ever make a cake…in a mug…in the microwave.  I mean, these seem to be mostly for college girls in dorms and crazy cat ladies.  Until… my dearest husband is out of town, the kids are in bed and I NEED something sweet!  Pinterest to the rescue!  Found this blog with a page of single serving desserts.  So far I have tried the microwave mug brownie, (too much flour) cheesecake mug (I “broke” mine, not good) and another brownie (made it with tofutti sour cream, pretty good) and an actual cake in a cup.  None of them have been spectacular and I am wondering if the bloggers are better photographers than cooks.  I’m not a photographer or food stylist and there is no way I’m going to use another bowl for mixing and then pour the batter into a mug.  If I’m making a cake in the microwave it will be mixed, cooked and eaten out of the same container.  So, my results are not Instagram worthy.  However, with a little tweaking I have made a decent tasting dairy-free brownie and cheesecake pudding.

 

 

New green smoothies

Occasionally my forays into the green smoothie world are a bit scary.  Jumping in without a recipe is not always a good idea.  As I was searching for a smoothie recipe without bananas I stumbled upon a site with great green smoothie recipes.  Green Thickies.  This woman has invented a new genre of smoothie.  Check it out.  I can recommend several to try.

The Lemon Meringue Pie,  Cold and Flu Busting, Almond Milk Smoothie, Key Lime Pie, and Carrot Cake, are all good.  I didn’t care for the Creamy Citrus Fat Burner because I found that I don’t like grapefruit (after buying half a dozen).  Also, The Loch Ness smoothie is good if you cut down on the sunflower seeds.  And the Apple Pie smoothie is better if you don’t make it a thickie.  Just my opinion.  But I want to write it down so I don’t keep trying the same smoothies over again.  The great thing is that she has changed the way I make smoothies!  Using her basic recipe I can make a smoothie with ingredients I have on hand.

One important tip I learned while reading through these recipes is to stop adding ingredients.  I have a tendency to keep adding.  While I’m in the freezer for peaches I think I might as well add blueberries.  While I’m in the pantry getting coconut I think I should add some flax and sunflower seeds or maybe some protein powder.  When I’m done I have a blender full of not terribly tasty gunge.  I am trying to pick two or three flavors that complement each other and leave it at that.  This morning I made a peach, lime, coconut smoothie that was quite yummy.  Probably because I didn’t add the blueberries or spirulina like I wanted to.

I just made the Key Lime Pie smoothie again and it is so yummy! Here is the way I make it:

Key Lime Pie Smoothie

1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dates
2 cups baby spinach
2 bananas
juice and zest of 4 limes
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ice cubes

Blend the oats, seeds and dates with the milk until smooth. Next blend the spinach. Add bananas, vanilla, lime zest and juice. Add ice cubes last. Blend until smooth.

Breakfast at home and one to go

My favorite way to have oatmeal. Oatmeal should be healthy and maybe it still is if you fix it this way, but it doesn’t taste healthy.

Second, our favorite granola bars. It is difficult to find dairy-free granola bars. We tried several baked varieties, but weren’t too fond of the results. Here is a modified recipe for no-bake granola bars. Feel free to sub in any dried fruit for the raisins.  I have also used sunflower seeds instead of almonds for nut-free bars.  Also, old-fashioned oats work instead of the mixed grain flakes.

My Gumbo

No, I am not from Louisiana, but my husband is. I had heard of Gumbo before I was married, New Orleans food sounded yummy, but I had no idea what it actually tasted like. When we were first married I tried making gumbo from a box. I didn’t think it was that bad, but apparently it wasn’t gumbo. First I had to actually taste some gumbo. There was a restaurant in Anchorage called Little New Orleans, where my husband and I loved to go. I thought it was wonderful, he thought it wasn’t too bad. Then we went to the Double Musky Inn in Girdwood. And the food there, we agreed, was fabulous. But I really didn’t try making my own gumbo until we moved to Florida, or Lower Alabama, as the area we lived is known. I actually got to go to New Orleans! I don’t really remember my first foray, but I know I started with a recipe from the Double Musky cookbook. Yes, the recipe I used came from Alaska. I have tasted quite a few gumbos and my recipe has evolved over the years. And now I have finally written it down!

New Years Nibbles

Any reason to have finger food!  I have had a super-bowl party by myself, just to make finger-food.  Going to parties is particularly difficult for those of us with allergies.  Never go to a party hungry because there may not be anything you can eat.  So, I like to have a reason to make a party food spread at home.  Ah, the feeling of knowing that I can eat anything on the table I want!

Party Menu

  1. Chicken fingers
  2. Ranch dip
  3. hummus
  4. pitas
  5. cucumbers and carrots
  6. assorted  olives
  7. queso dip
  8. tortilla chips

I totally cheated with the chicken fingers and bought them from our neighborhood grocery store.  The Ranch Dip I have posted before, but the hummus and cheese sauce recipes I need to write down.  I make both of these things all the time.  They are easy and kid-friendly.

 

Dairy-Free Potato Casserole

My husband bought a turkey fryer.  We have had three turkeys since Thanksgiving.  We have another turkey in our fridge ready to fry.  I didn’t want more turkey for Christmas so we had ham.  I have made mashed potatoes to go with ham, but unless my aunt is around to make ham gravy I’d rather have hash-brown casserole.  I remember this casserole from my dairy days.  So creamy and cheesy and greasy and yummy.  Turns out it is pretty easy to make dairy-free and it is still really yummy!  Even my husband loved it.

 

 

I did not measure ingredients while I was making my white sauce, I never do.  I put some margarine or other fat in a sauce pan, stir in flour until I have a thick roux, then I add milk or broth until I have the thickness I want.  Season to taste.   Here is a recipe that has real measurements and maybe it is even kitchen tested.  Only thing is it isn’t dairy-free, so substitutions are needed.  I don’t know if cow milk makes sauces thicker because this recipe seems to have not enough flour and too much liquid.  Guess I’ll try it and see if it works.

The Rocky, Rocky Road

Candy without dairy doesn’t always work like you want. I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to make toffee for years. I actually got pretty close this year when I was trying to make caramel. It turned out more like those See’s lollipops. Well, this is a recipe I was a little nervous about. I didn’t think the candy was setting up, but I left some out of the fridge overnight and it didn’t melt. Success!

Mama’s Rocky Road

2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons dairy-free butter or coconut oil
3 cups mini-marshmallows
1 1/4 cups dairy-free sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped nuts (I used pecans and actually like it!)

In a double boiler, or stainless steel bowl over a pan of water, melt chocolate, butter/oil and milk together. Remove from heat. In a large bowl combine nuts and marshmallows, fold chocolate in chocolate mixture. Line a 9×13 pan with waxed or parchment paper. Press candy into pan (mine didn’t fill a 9×13) and chill for 2 hours. Cut with sharp knife and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

That is it! It was a bit messy, but I really didn’t mind licking all the chocolate off of bowls and utensils. In fact I think I might have another piece right now.

rocky road