Roasted Lemon Chicken (gluten free)

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In honor of my mom’s birthday, I made roasted lemon chicken for dinner (it’s one of my “fancy dinner” options when it comes to Kelsey-safe recipes).  The best part about roasting a chicken is that the Mr. Man and I easily get a dinner, two lunches, and a soup out of it.  I’m planning on making chicken stock from scratch a little later today.  How do you use up chicken leftovers?

Ingredients: 

  • Whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary (or 4 sprigs)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • two medium yellow onions
  • A couple potatoes, celery, and carrots (optional)

Direction: 

  1. Rinse chicken (inside and out) and remove giblets and liver, and pat dry.  Then, trim excess fat from around the cavity.  Let sit at room temperature for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 450.
  3. Cut the onions into 1/2 inch thick, round slices.  Lay onions in two rows in the middle of the roasting pan (the onions should all rest on the lower onion — it’ll look like onion dominoes that fell over).  Make sure the rows of onions right next to each other; place chicken on top of onions.
  4. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper (freshly ground is nice) inside the chicken cavity.  Then, stuff garlic cloves and rosemary in the cavity, too.  Roll lemon firmly against the counter with your hand. Afterwards, use a fork to poke holes all around the lemon and then place it inside of the chicken cavity.
  5. Tie legs together with twine (optional). Rub outside of chicken with olive oil.  Sprinkle chicken with rosemary and salt and paper (optional).
  6. If you want extra veggies, cut up cleaned potatoes, celery, and carrots and put them around the chicken (you’ll want to put a little bit of olive oil on the veggies so that they don’t get to dry, and sprinkle with seasonings of your choice).
  7. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes (you’ll want the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh to be 165 degrees).
  8. Let it rest for about ten minutes before serving (this keeps all the juices from coming out, which means your chicken will be more moist).

Sausage Veggie Hash (GF & Allergen-Free)

Sausage Veggie Hash

The Mickey Mouse apron is courtesy of my in-laws who brought it back from Disney World.

The hubby and I (yep, all married now!) have been experimenting with breakfast options.  Due to my various food foes (namely gluten and dairy), breakfast is a tricky meal but hash seems to be working out quite nicely for relaxing Saturday mornings.  We’ve tried a couple different types now, which I’ll have to post later.  This one is the slightly modified version of Sausage Veggie Hash from Tammy Credicott’s cookbook The Healthy Gluten-Free Life: 200 Delicious Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-free & Egg-Free Recipes.  Tammy likes to cook with coconut oil and, since I’m allergic, I swapped it for olive oil.  I also used red potatoes just because I liked them and it’s what we had on hand.

I like how easy this recipe is because it won’t take too long to put together in the mornings (or at any other time of the day).

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage (I used GF chicken sausage)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 red potatoes, diced (or 2 regular potatoes)
  • 3 medium zucchinis (sliced and quartered)
  • 1 medium sized avocado

Directions:  

  1. Heat olive oil up in a skillet.  Then, add breakfast sausage and cook until it’s no longer pink.  Remove the sausage from the skillet and put it off to the side.
  2. Cook diced onions in the skillet for a minute.
  3. Add potatoes. Cook until tender and brown (you’ll want to cook it on a lower setting so that it doesn’t  burn).
  4. Add zucchini, and cook for a couple of minutes until softened.
  5. Mix the sausage in.
  6. Serve hash in a bowl with slices of avocado on top.

Lemon-Mustard Chicken (gluten & allergen free)

This recipe is based on the Lemon-Mustard Chicken recipe from the retro-pink (breast-cancer addition) Better Homes and Gardens© cookbook that’s sitting on my shelf, pages stained with brownies and pancakes.  Much like the velveteen rabbit, it’s on its way to becoming real.  This cookbook has pretty much taught me how to cook because, even though it never mentions food allergies or celiac disease even once, I’ve learned how to modify recipes and I’ve gained a best grasp of some of  technical jargon in cookbooks that used to scare me.  I’m still learning how to cook and it’s still proving to have some pretty tasty recipes between its covers; a pretty good combination.  

The original recipe calls for removing the skin (something I couldn’t bring myself to do, which meant I had to be careful not to charcoal the skin but it turned out nice and crispy). 

The original recipe also only makes just enough sauce to cover the chicken lightly but I wanted to have enough lemon-mustard mix leftover in the pan once the chicken was done to use as a sauce on my basmati rice, which tasted pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  If you’re not planning on using the drippings/lemon-mustard mixture for a sauce, just cut all of the ingredients (besides the chicken) in half.  Easy peasy.


Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 to 3 pounds Chicken (drumsticks, breast halves, or thighs)
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil (crushed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Directions:

  1. Broil chicken about 5 inches from heat on high for about 15 minutes on each side. 
  2. While the chicken is cooking, stir oil, mustard, lemon juice, lemon-pepper seasoning, oregano/basil, and ground red pepper together in a small bowl.
  3. Brush mix onto one side of the chicken.
  4. Meanwhile, lower the baking rack back to the middle of the oven and turn the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees.
  5. Bake chicken for 10 minutes.  Then, take chicken out, coat the other side with the mustard mixture, and bake chicken again for another 10 minutes.  Or until chicken is no longer pink (turn the heat down on the oven if you’re afraid the skin will burn). 
  6. Serve chicken with basmati rice, cooked veggies, or salad.  And enjoy.

Gluten-Free 101: What is Gluten Anyway?

Are you feeling confused by all the “gluten-free” labels popping up on everything from cereal boxes to sandwich meat?  Do you think celiac disease is an allergy to gluten?  Are you unsure whether it’s all a big hoax or maybe just a new celebrity fad diet?  Unsure what gluten even is?  Well, my friend, this informative yet entertaining little video is just what you need!

I kind of wish he would’ve gone into a bit more detail about what it feels like to get glutened when you have celiac disease: I end up in bed for a couple of days, miss work and school, and have the worse stomach pains I’ve ever had in my life.  And it takes a good week before I can eat normally again (I have to eat super soft gentle foods) and about two weeks (sometimes closer to three) before my stomach completely stops hurting after eating or drinking (water is the worse, it hurts so much).  And all of that drama and pain can happen if I were to just pick croutons out of my salad. 

But I suppose going into all of that would’ve made for a much longer video.  Check it out.  And let me know what you think. Smile


What to know more about living gluten-free?  Check out these posts:

Allergy Baby’s First Word

food-allergies_thumbYesterday afternoon—a notable day because for the first time in, well, a while Seattle was the hottest major city in the country, the poor little Washingtonians weren’t quite sure how to handle all that foreign sunshine—was spent catching up with my friend Aubrey.  She told me about her retro-themed wedding, their hippie landlords, gardening, and eating gluten-free (something we both share).  I tried to convince her to start a crunchy, foodie-ish blog.  Even promised to comment.  But we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, the story that stood out to me the most as we got caught up was about a little baby Aubrey knows. 

He’s a year old now but when he was only a couple of months old he had food allergy testing done because he’d been having some unusual skin irritation and general health oddities.  The poor little guy came up with 10 food allergies (exactly how many new ones I found out about when I had testing done back in September). 

Aubrey showed me a picture on her phone of Allergy Baby’s back after the testing—so many bright red, itching-looking bumps from where he’d reacted to the test.  Poor little guy.  I remember exactly what that feels like; at least I was big enough though to understand what was happening.

His first word was even … drumroll please … allergic.  As in, “No, baby you can’t have [insert yummy-looking food].” 

“Allergic?”

“Yes, allergic.”

In his little mind allergic might just be a shorthand for “not for babies” or “not for you,” but soon enough he’ll know how in addition to being disappointing the word can also be frustrating, annoying, and even scary.  I hope he also learns though how to stand up for himself and keep himself safe even when people think he’s just being dramatic or weird, to not be embarrassed about being the only allergic kid and to define himself apart from his allergies, and that a limited diet—and all of the other limitations food allergies impose on him—doesn’t mean he can’t live a full, satisfying life.   

What would you want someone new to the allergic life to know?

My Allergen-Free/Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Yes, I know it’s now December and this is no longer seasonally fitting to talk about Thanksgiving.  I’d planned on showing off pictures of my Thanksgiving feast sooner, but the combination of coming down with a cold that just didn’t want to go away and attempting to get back into school mode enough to finish out the quarter meant that blogging has taken a backseat the last couple of weeks.  Thanksgiving was great though, so it at least deserves a quick mention.

My immediate family—mom (several allergies), sister (gluten-free and multiple allergies), and brother (practically vegan and also a couple of food allergies of his own)—is, needless to say, pretty gosh darn hard to feed.  And with the addition of my 10 newest food allergies, we weren’t sure how we were going to work out Thanksgiving.  Not to mention, the extended family has never really understood allergies (they’re getting better) but having a meal at their house felt like I would’ve been risking a trip to the ER.  

Thankfully, Mr. Munger’s parents invited us over for dinner.  This meant that there were more heads trying to figure out what would be Kelsey-safe and less food for any one person to make.  And it worked out great.  

What I had for dinner: turkey, cranberry sauce, peas with onions, stuffing (my future mother-in-law actually found gluten-free/dairy-free/egg-free/soy-free bread!), smashed red potatoes, sweet potatoes, pickles, and even rolls (made by yours truly).

I’ll try and get the roll and cranberry recipes to you soon because they turned out great.  And the cranberries are super easy to make! 

So how was your Thanksgiving?  Any tips for working around food allergies this holiday season or figuring out how to explain your dietary restrictions to the people you’ll be celebrating with?

Simple Spaghetti (gluten & allergen free)

PastaTomatoes.  I’ve really been missing tomatoes since I found out I was allergic to them three weeks ago.  Partly because they’re yummy and go well with so many things, but mostly, at least at the moment, because I’m having a hard time adjusting to life without spaghetti sauce.

This is something my mom has made for me before but I hadn’t made it myself until this week because previously I’d just dump red sauce on everything.  But it’s pretty darn easy.  And yummy.  And gives me hope that a red-sauce-free live doesn’t have to be one void of flavor.


Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces of gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2 large minced garlic leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook spaghetti as usual—boil water in a pot, put pasta in, cook until soft, and strain.
  2. Place cooked spaghetti in a large bowl.
  3. Mix all other ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. Pour olive oil sauce over the pasta and mix it together well.
  5. Serve, and enjoy.

Debi’s Confetti Salad (gluten & allergen free)

101_1075I’ve shared this recipe before, but I had to post it on The Crunchy Cook again when I realized yesterday that it’s one of the few recipes previously posted on my blog that I can still eat.  I can eat something!

Due to my extreme peanut allergy, I can’t even walk through the food area at my university around lunch time because someone might be eating something peanut-y.  And that would be bad.  Really bad.  This means that the one and only microwave on campus is completely off limits to me (who had the grand idea to only put one microwave in at a college?), so foods that don’t have to be reheated are the best options for lunches.  And I can still have one of my favorites!

This recipe, Debi’s Confetti Salad, is something my mom came up with.  And it’s a dish my family tends to eat a lot.  You can find her original post about this recipe on her food blog, Cheap Eats.


Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked rice, cooled (I usually use brown rice but you can also use white or basmati)
  • 1 can (16-oz) red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can (16-oz) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can (16-oz) corn (drained)
  • 4 sliced green onions
  • 1 small green or red pepper (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar if you can eat apples)
  • 1 tablespoon Spenda/sucralose (or sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together in another bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, mix together.  And you’re done!  It’s that easy.

It’s Official: I’m Allergic to the World

food-allergies“Wouldn’t it be bad if I found out I was allergic to more foods?”

My sister, Shannon, shot me back a worried look that said, “Don’t even joke about that!”

With my already nearly epic allergen list (peanuts, mushrooms, coconut, honeydew, and the inability to digest gluten or beef) I felt pretty confident that not a thing would show up during my food allergy testing.  How many food allergies can one gal have?  Apparently, quite a lot.

Yesterday, after my allergy testing was done, I felt like a car had run over me.  My body didn’t like the testing very much.  While the good news is that I’m feeling less like roadkill this morning,  the bad news is that I have TEN NEW FOOD ALLERGIES to try and navigate life with.  Oh, boy.

The happy woman doing my testing suddenly looked very grave: “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”  Not exactly what you want to hear.  She’d never seen anyone come out with so many food allergies.  And as she read of the list of the foods I had to say goodbye to, I felt like I was going into shock.

1. Milk
2. Eggs
3. Apples
4. Peaches
5. Pork
6. Shrimp
7. Soy bean
8. Strawberries
9. Tomatoes
10. Tuna

By the time she was finished reading off my new found food foes, I was laughing in that “better-call-the-men-in-the-white-coats” kind of way.  Seemed better than crying all over myself at the doctor’s office.

The results mean: buying pre-made foods is a luxury I don’t really have anymore, all of my favorite holiday dishes aren’t options, there’s no way I’m going on the four-week study abroad trip to Rome with my school, not sure how baking would even work, and just going to the grocery store will take even longer than usual thanks to all the ingredient-label reading.  And, also, every single recipe I’ve posted on The Crunchy Cook so far are things I can’t eat anymore.  That one probably makes me the most sad (I was already pretty sure Rome wasn’t happening).

The results also explain why I’m so hyper-sensitive to all of my allergies, why I feel crummy much of the time, and my stomach hurts so much.  It’s a shock to the system trying to wrap my head around my new list of food allergies, but I wouldn’t go back to not knowing about them for anything.  I wish I didn’t have any allergies, I wish I was easier to feed, but I don’t wish that I was blissfully unaware … because now I can start taking proper care of my body.

I know I’ll slowly figure out how to feed myself again, and eventually discover food I enjoy eating, too.  But I feel like I’m starting over completely and it’s overwhelming.

Mom hugged me and said, “You’re not on your own.  We’ll figure this out together.”  And she’s right.

Debi’s Sour Cream and Cheese Enchiladas

Sour cream and cheese enchiladas[Update: As a result of tomato and dairy allergies, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But it’s good!  Give it a try]

Whenever I tell anyone that I’m gluten-free the first thing they usually do is list off all of their favorite bready foods—breadsticks, sourdough, donuts, fried chicken, waffles—and lament my inability to eat them.  They imagine my regular diet being completely void of flavor and tasting like a second-rate imitation.  But what they don’t realize is that there are countless delicious, healthy foods and recipes that are naturally gluten-free.  No modification required.

Mexican food (both the authentic and Americanized variety) is an especially good source of naturally gluten-free meal ideas because a lot of the dishes tend to focus on rice or corn rather than wheat.  And this Sour Cream and Cheese Enchilada recipe, shared by Debi at The Original Simple Mom, is the perfect example.

Special thanks to Debi for being willing to be The Crunchy Cook’s very first guest post. The following is copyrighted to Deborah Taylor-Hough. And used with permission.


I usually serve these with something simple like refried beans and rice as a side dish with a tossed green salad.  And don’t forget the mandatory basket of chips and salsa.  I personally feel that these taste the best when the tortillas are fried first to soften, but when I’m pressed for time or want to cut down on the amount of oil used, I simply place the stack of tortillas on a plate and microwave for about 1 minute to soften.

Sour Cream and Cheese Enchiladas
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pour enchilada sauce into a flat pan or pie plate (you’ll be dipping freshly softened tortillas in the sauce).
  3. In small frying pan, heat salad oil over medium-high heat. Fry the tortillas–one at a time–turning once, just to soften (won’t take more than about 10 to 15 seconds). Remove from oil.
  4. Dip softened tortilla on both sides into the enchilada sauce. Stack dipped tortillas in an empty pan or pie plate.
  5. Repeat the softening/dipping process for each tortilla. Add more oil to the frying pan, if needed.
  6. Don’t forget to turn off the oil when you’re done softening the tortillas!
  7. In a large mixing bowl, blend 2 cups of the sour cream, 1 cup of the green onions, the cumin, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. (Remaining sour cream, onions and cheese will be used later.)
  8. In a 9×13-inch casserole or baking dish, carefully roll each tortilla around about 3 tablespoons of the sour cream mixture. Work gently because the tortillas will want to rip.
  9. Repeat with all tortillas, placing them side-by-side and covering the bottom of the baking dish. If it’s tight, just squeeze them in as best you can.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining 3 cups of cheese evenly over the top.
  11. Bake uncovered at 375 F degrees for 20 minutes.
  12. Garnish with more sour cream spooned down the center and sprinkle with chopped green onions.

MAKE-AHEAD NOTE: This can be covered and frozen (or stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours) before baking. Save garnishes for serving day. If frozen, thaw completely and then bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Optional Ingredients: Depending on what I have on hand, these can morph into all sorts of things with just a few changes or simple additions:  Shredded leftover chicken, fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices, diced chilis, freshly diced tomatoes, Jack cheese instead of Cheddar.  Don’t be afraid to play with these a bit.  But be sure to try the recipe “as is” first … it’s SUPER good!

Enjoy!  And don’t forget to check out Debi’s website, The Original Simple Mom.