Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spicy Chicken and Rice - Another Quick Recipe to Make Before the Big Day!

So much is going on, wrapping last minute presents, finishing up your big menu, and worst case scenario, you are still shopping! Well this meal is a quick, one-pan, dish that your family will love. This dish has some kick, so if you don’t like a lot of spice, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper. This is a dish that is better the next day. One other note, you can use green, red or yellow peppers for this recipe. I used yellow peppers; they were on sale.

Spicy Chicken and Rice
Serves 4-6

2 pounds frying chicken
½ pound ham, cubed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1½ cups uncooked rice

Cut chicken in legs, thighs, breasts leaving meat on bone (or you can buy it already cut up.
Saute chicken and ham in extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side and remove from pan. Make sure you get a nice golden crispy skin, this will seal the juices in the meat.
In same pan, saute pepper, onion and garlic 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add seasonings and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add rice and meat.
Simmer 25 minutes, covered.
Fluff rice with fork and cook 5 minutes longer.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Appetizers for New Years Eve!

I have been a little lax in my posts lately and I want you to know why. I am currently attending culinary school (The Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, A Cordon Bleu School) to learn all the tricks that can take my recipes over the top. I am so inspired to create delicious allergen-free foods; I want to make it my career. Well, this past week was my final for Garde Manger which is a very difficult station in the kitchen. It includes buffets, canapés, breakfast foods and sandwiches (really a lot). Anyway, I am finished and got an A, so my posts should go back to normal. Thanks for your patience, I promise it will be worth your while…

The big night is coming; do you have your menu set? As promised, here are a few more appetizers to go along with the ones in my post titled Lisa Entertains Allergen Free: Appetizers to Serve at Your Next Party. Today’s recipes are simple and easy, you can prpare them in advance (except the Brown Sugar Bacon Bites) to help keep you out of the kitchen all night.

2009 is going to be very exciting; I have some very special events and giveaways planned for you. Make sure to sign up to follow my blog to keep up to date.

On to the food!

Serves 8

½ cup cilantro, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup onions, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (if you like it hot)
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together and grab some tortilla chips.

Melon and Prosciutto

1 large honeydew melon, cut into 1” squares (can use cantaloupe, I did)
½ pound prosciutto, cut into 1” strips
tooth picks

Really easy!
Wrap prosciutto around melon and secure with tooth pick or you can make melon balls and wrap prosciutto around melon like a present (see picture).

Brown Sugar Bacon Bites
Serves 6-8

1 pound thick cut bacon
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried mustard

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place cooling rack over aluminum foil on baking sheet.
Mix maple syrup and dried mustard in a bowl.
Cut bacon into bite sized pieces and generously place brown sugar mixture on one side of bacon.
Place bacon strips on cooling rack in a single layer, brown sugar side up, it will take you a few sheets to complete the whole pound of bacon.
Bake for 10-15 minutes and serve immediately.

If you are sensitive to sugar, maple syrup is a yummy alternative.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lisa Visits with Breads from Anna and Beer Can Chicken (minus the beer)

Looking for a great bread mix to make at home? Anna really hits the mark with her unique mix of breads. Nine out of ten of her mixes are gluten, corn, dairy, soy, rice and nut free.

All Breads From Anna® mixes are high in protein and fiber and only sweetened with maple or honey, no refined sugars. The ingredients used are all-natural, free of any additives or flavor enhancers.

Most importantly, the taste of Anna’s breads is great, my personal favorite is her banana bread, you’d never know the difference between it and any variety filled with allergens!

Let’s hear what Anna has to say…

Q. Do you have food allergies?
Anna is celiac and allergic to soy, dairy and corn. She also is Type I Diabetic.

Q. How many attempts have you taken at your recipes to make them just right?
20-30 tries, WOW!

Q. How long do your products last once you make them?

Banana/pumpkin bread 5-7 days
Pie crust 3-4 days
Bread similar to regular bread

Q. What new products do you have coming up?
Anna is introducing a new line of pancake and muffin mixes! Look for 3 varieties, apple, cranberry and maple.

Q. What do you do to ensure no cross-contamination in your products?
All Breads From Anna® mixes are packaged in a gluten-free and nut-free facility and all ingredients are sourced from gluten-free vendors.

Q. What are your favorite products you make?
Regular sandwich bread and pie crust.

Check out Breads by Anna, a great addition to your family’s diet. Most recipes require eggs, but you can easily use an egg replacer. You can buy Anna’s Breads thru her website http://www.glutenevolution.com/ but she recommends buying it in the store for better pricing. Store locations along with a form you can bring to your favorite store (if you would like them to carry Breads by Anna) are found on her site.

Beer Can Chicken (minus the beer)!
Serves: 4

Beer can chicken is a great way to make the chicken nice and juicy. Of course, those of us with allergies can’t use a beer, so let’s get creative and use another can and fill it with your favorite spices and liquid, have fun with it, try my recipe and the next time add any other spices your family likes. Enjoy!

1 empty can, ¼ filled with water, ¼ filled with orange juice or any juice of your choice
1 whole fryer
Kosher salt to taste
black ground pepper to taste
thyme to taste
rosemary to taste
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Add seasonings to can along with liquid mixture, reserve some spices to rub into the skin of the chicken.
Place chicken in oven and cook for 90 minutes or until internal temperature in the thigh reaches 165°F.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lisa Bakes Christmas Cookies

I was going thru some old papers and I found this story I wrote for my school newspaper, appropriate for today’s post, eh? Well, making these cookies were challenging, no butter, no egg, no wheat, but the end result should be quite pleasing. I encourage you to modify the recipes to include foods that are safe for your family; all my recipes are free of the 8 major allergens plus gluten. The cookies are VERY delicate until they are cooled, so be very careful when handling them. Enjoy!

P.S. I used white frosting for my sugar cookies, you can color your frosting with these natural colors or use food dye.

Beet juice or powder for purple.
Chlorella algae for green.
Paprika for a redish-orange.

Graham Cracker Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies

2 cups of all purpose allergen free flour
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons water
1½ tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375°F degrees.
Combine flour, Kosher salt and cinnamon together by sifting and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together water, canola oil and baking powder.
Blend sugar and shortening together and mix together with baking powder mixture.
Fully blend in the flour mixture, adding small amounts at a time.
Make 1” balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to push down cookies (cross-hatching them looks good).
Bake for 9 minutes and put on a rack to cool. The cookies are very delicate until they are fully cooled, be careful!

Sugar Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies

¼ cup canola oil
½ cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup apple sauce
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon egg replacer
2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon rice milk
2 cups allergen free all purpose flour mix
1 teaspoon xantham gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375°F degrees.
Combine oil, shortening, apple sauce and sugar until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine egg replacer and water and stir until fluffy, add to sugar mixture with vanilla and rice milk.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, xantham gum, baking powder and Kosher salt.
Gradually add flour mix to sugar mixture until well combined.
Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
On a clean dry surface, sprinkle rice flour and roll ½ of dough out to 1/4” thickness. Sprinkle flour on your rolling pin to keep dough from sticking.
Be very careful when cutting shapes as this dough is very fragile until it is cooked and cooled.
Put cut out cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting
Makes enough frosting for several batches of cookies

4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons rice milk
¾ teaspoon vanilla

Blend together powdered sugar and vegetable shortening.
Add rice milk and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Next Post: Lisa Visits with Breads by Anna

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dining Out with Food Allergies & Beef Brisket and Asparagus

It is so hard to feel safe when you go out to eat and have to trust your safety in the hands of strangers. Try using these tips to make your dining experience more safe and enjoyable. If you don’t want to go out, enjoy some brisket with grilled asparagus!

Tips for Dining out with Food Allergies

  • Tell everyone about your allergies; download our food allergy restaurant safety sheet to give to your waiter to take back with your order. The more people that know in the restaurant the better. You may even want to call in advance and let the manager know you are coming. He can give you an idea of what foods are safe and what practices are used to avoid cross-contamination.

  • Don’t feel intimidated asking the waiters about the menu, if they don’t know, ask them to go to the kitchen and ask. If they are resistant, you might want to consider another restaurant or contact the manager. Your families safety is worth it!

Now some recipes for those of you that like to stay home… Enjoy!

Beef Brisket
Serves 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1-4 pound beef brisket
ground black pepper to taste
2 onions, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
Kosher salt to taste

In a large deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat, add extra-virgin olive oil.
Season brisket generously with ground black pepper.
Place brisket in the pan and cook until the surface is a rich brown color, not burnt, but dark and flip to brown other side.
Lift the brisket and scatter the onions in the bottom of the pan.
Place the brisket, fat side up, on the onions.
Saute for 2 minutes, or until onions are browned.
Add the garlic to the pan, and fill with enough water to almost cover the roast (about 2/3 way full).
Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid or tight-fitting aluminum foil.
Simmer for 4 hours, turning the roast over once halfway through, the roast should be fork tender.
Remove the brisket to a serving platter.
Bring the broth in the pan to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen any browned bits.
Cook until reduced to a thin gravy. Taste and season with Kosher salt and ground black pepper if needed.

Sauteed Asparagus
Serves 6

2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup onion, diced
2 pounds asparagus spears
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

Trim ends off asparagus and discard.
In a skillet on medium-high heat, add extra-virgin olive oil and onions to pan and sauté 2 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add asparagus, Kosher salt and ground black pepper, cook to desired doneness, about 5-8 minutes.

Next Blog: Lisa Bakes Christmas Cookies

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Getting Ready for the Holidays and Garlic Chicken and Rice

The holiday shopping season is among us and this tasty chicken and rice dish hits the spot after a long day at the mall!
I am starting to put together some christmas cookies which is a real challenge when I have to omit all 8 allergens plus gluten, but I think you will like the results, look for them in the next week or two, I still have some tweaking to do...

Chicken of Many Garlic Cloves
Serves 6

The garlic is great if you squeeze it out of it's skin on rice bread or my dinner rolls. See Thanksgiving Sides Your Whole Family Will Love

6 chicken legs and thighs
1 cup rice
1½ cups chicken stock
3 sprigs Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
25 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon tarragon
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lay rice in bottom of large casserole dish, add chicken stock.
Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a saute pan and sear chicken on each side to seal in juices.
Add chicken and garlic over rice in casserole dish.
Mix white wine, Italian flat leaf parsley, tarragon and Kosher salt in a separate bowl and pour over chicken.
Cover casserole dish and bake 1½ hours – don’t peek.