Settled.

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

I apologize for not posting sooner.  I was really trying to get back on a posting regular schedule, then the bar and moving across the country occurred.  However, given my recent unemployment status and terrible job market, I now have tons of spare time to work out, cook, and perfect my cover letter and resume writing skills.  Joy.  As such, I figured it would be the PERFECT time to try and make something out of these random ramblings.  Also, I have a recipe!

So this dish came together a few nights ago when I was really craving something with tomato sauce. Warning now: I love sauce.  So there will be a ton of sauce recipes here.  #sorrynotsorry  I call this (very imaginatively) Chicken & Tomato Sauce.  Again, sorry, I really don’t have a name for this.  You’ll see.

CHICKEN & TOMATO SAUCE
INGREDIENTS:

– 2 tbsp or so of olive oil
– 1 defrosted pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (containing 6-8 tenderloins)
Optional: 3 chicken sausages, sliced down the middle and cut into 8 bite size pieces (we used Aidell’s Chicken & Apple — I only added it because BME likes more meat, less sauce and I didn’t defrost a second chicken pack)
– 8 oz tomato sauce (I use Hunt’s because they are typically 10/$10)
– 14.5 oz stewed tomatoes (again, Hunt’s)
– 4 cloves of garlic, as finely chopped as you can
– 1 orange bell pepper, diced*
– Dried Italian herbs (I used rosemary, parsley flakes, garlic-onion powder, salt and black pepper)

*You can use whatever bell peppers you like.  I used to eat green peppers liked it was my job but have found lately that they upset my stomach too much.  You could also add diced white/yellow onion but again, hurts my stomach.  For less crunchy/more tomato sauce-y veggies, sauté them and drain all the excess oil before adding them to the sauce.

INSTRUCTIONS:
– Put 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan, swish it around a bit, then drop in the cloves of garlic. Heat (keep an eye out and don’t burn the garlic).
– Once the pan is hot, add the chicken and sausage pieces and brown well.
– Once the meat is done, add the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, and dried herbs.
– Leave the pan on medium heat and bring the mix to a low bubbling.  Once bubbling, turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer uncovered a couple hours (mine only ended up simmering for about an hour and a half).
– Stir every 30 minutes or so.  If anything is sticking, the heat is too high; turn down a bit more.
– Check the meat after about an hour to ensure they are cooked through and if the meat cuts easily.  If not, keep on for a bit longer.

Ours turned out delicious, BME had more than one serving!  The chicken meat could be parted with only a fork and the sauce/stewed tomatoes thickened up a bit.  I even had a bit for breakfast the next morning.  The only thing I could think to add would be a thick and hearty gluten free loaf of bread.  However, I am still on the search for such a perfect loaf.  If you can have gluten, by all means, have this over some spaghetti.  YUM.  Or if you are gluten-free, use quinoa spaghetti or other bf-alternative.  I bet it would even taste good over some rice.

Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie Muffins

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:
– Bag of frozen mixed veggies, thawed (I try to go for the one that has peas, carrots, and lima beans)
– 2 or 3 cans of Hormel canned chicken, rinsed off to decrease sodium & large pieces shredded (OR alternatively, if you have left over chicken breasts, 1 to 3 cups of chopped up, cooked chicken)
– 1 can of Cream of Chicken (ALLERGY WARNING: a L-O-T of cream of chicken, mushroom, etc not only have gluten but also have MSG.  Read the back.  If you can tolerate those, then you suck. Buy whatever you want, the food brand is typically the cheapest.  Otherwise, you might have to pay a bit more to get an organic, GF version. Sorry :/)
– Milk (you’ll need approximately 1/2 cup or more, just in case you make a mistake the first time around)
– Eggs (you only need 1 but hey, eggs are good protein — eat more of them)
– Box of gluten free Bisquick mix
– Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees & grease up some muffin tins.  We only have 2 muffin tins, six indents each; I end up cooking a batch and then popping them out to cool onto a plate before making more batches in the same tins, newly oiled each time.
2.  Mix together 1 cup GF Bisquick mix, 1/2 cup milk & 1 egg; drop about one spoonful of batter into each greased indent.  Set aside the remaining Bisquick batter.
**As for layering: eyeball it — you want enough in the bottom that it forms a bottom layer of yummy Bisquick biscuit but you are going to layer the chicken/veggie/cream mix on top of that and finally, some more Bisquick on top, so you estimate best on how much of each you want.  I try to make the bottom two layers equal and the top layer I envision as a little biscuit hat on top.**
3.  Mix together about half of the thawed bag of veggies, the can of cream of chicken, and at least 1 can of Hormel chicken/1 cup of chopped cooked chicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
**I typically end up adding 2 cans, if not more, so there is more meaty substance to the food and so its less soupy.  But again, its up to you.  ALSO MAKE SURE THE VEGGIES ARE THAWED.  Frozen veggies will melt, adding water = not good.  Been there. Done that.**
4.  Drop spoonfuls of the veggie/chicken/soup mixture into the indents.  Set the remaining mixture aside.
5.  Drop spoonfuls of the Bisquick batter on top of the veggie/chicken/soup layer.
6.  Bake 30 minutes or until “gold and bubbly!”  (Steel Magnolias. Watch it. Love it. Sob over it.)  Seriously, it will get golden brown.
7. ENJOY!  The “pies” end up tasting like these delicious, moist biscuits with an infusion of delicious chicken, which chunks of chicken and veggies.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have not frozen them before.  However, after making a large batch, we typically put them in a large tupperware and keeping them in the fridge for about a week, eating them for lunches, snacks, really, whenever.  If you DO freeze them, I suggest cooking them, letting them cool, wrapping them in saran wrap and then freezing them.  When you are reheating them at work, or wherever, they should be mostly defrosted and to keep the biscuit moist, wrapping a damp paper towel around the biscuit before microwaving should work.

FOR MORE OF A “PIE” TYPE MUFFIN: toy with the layering!  Or buy individual sized tins or even those tinfoil muffin liners.  Having the bottom layer of the bisquick batter helps in keeping it all together (and what pie doesn’t have a bottom), and there is probably even a way of indenting into the batter some to make “sides” of the mini pies and less of an infused biscuit.  Try different ways out and let me know! =]

Gluten-Free Chicken Florentine

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

INGREDIENTS:
– Rice*
– 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins, chopped into bite size pieces (marinated in olive oil, salt & pepper, dried rosemary & parsley shakes — or really whatever spices like those you prefer)
– 2 tbsp butter
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 4 cloves garlic, minced (or chopped because I am really terrible at mincing — also I know garlic is NOT low fodmap; however, I really have no issue with garlic & I haven’t found myself getting sick after eating foods with it chopped in)
– 1/2 cup chicken broth
– 2 big handfuls of baby spinach
– About 6-10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
– Some goat cheese crumbles

Rice: I did not measure out how much it was — I am sorry! I put 1 cup of white rice into 2.5 cups of boiling water, cooked it for 15 minutes so it was a little undone (in order to soak up the chicken broth better later) & then used two big cooking scoops in the actual recipe.  Also other recipes used pasta but I did not have any on hand.

INSTRUCTIONS:
– Cook the rice (make it a little undercooked if you want it to soak up some chicken broth later.  Set aside.
– In a large skillet, heat butter & oil over high heat; add chopped chicken and brown.  Once done, set aside.
– Turn heat down to medium and toss in the chopped/minced garlic; stir quickly, scraping the bottom of the skillet.  Pour in the broth and stir again, scraping the bottom of the skillet.  Let the liquid cook until most of the liquid is bubbling.
– Turn off the heat and add the chicken, the spinach, the grape tomatoes and the rice.  Scrape in some goat cheese crumbles and toss the chicken, spinach, grape tomatoes, rice & cheese together, until the rice is brownish tinged and the liquid is sopped up.
– Serve heaping scoops with more goat cheese crumbles/scrapes on top.
– Enjoy!

Gluten-free Chicken Fried Rice

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

Simple GF/MSG-Free Fried Rice
Makes at least 2 helpings for 2 people (active people, standing at 6’0 & 5’0 respectively)

INGREDIENTS:
A wok or skillet with relatively higher sides than a standard frying pan
2+ cups cooked white long grain rice (see below)
2 tbsp pure butter (as always, I prefer Kerrygold — so good)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped as finely as you like (or less: I had 2 larger sized cloves & 2 super small ones so I had to make up for the small ones)
4 tbsps chicken broth (possibly more; see recipe)
Salt & pepper
A bag of frozen veggies — whatever mixture you prefer, mine was carrots/peas/green beans/lima beans
3 medium to large eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:
RICE:
When I made my rice, I used Pampa long grain white rice (it comes in a bag at Shoppers and I am almost positive it was 10 for $10 — you guys know I like a bargain) and I just followed the directions on the back: 1 cup uncooked rice in 2.5 cups of boiling water, cook over low heat, semi covered. Now Pampa says to cook over low heat, semi covered, “until all water is absorbed (approx. 35 minutes)”; I cooked mine for 20 minutes. From other fried rice recipes I read, people advised undercooking the rice some so that it will suck up more moisture later on. So that is what I did (totally by coincidence — I thought you were supposed to cook it for 20 minutes but yeah, no, I am just terrible at reading directions & got lucky).  After I made my rice, I put it in a glass tupperware in the fridge to cool.  This made more than 2 cups of cooked rice which is great because I wanted 2 cups and worse case scenario, I have to cook up the remaining 1/2 cup or so of rice left in the exact same fashion later.

FRIED RICE:
– Heat wok to medium high heat; toss in 1 tbsp of butter & the garlic; swirl the melting butter + garlic around a bit so the bottom and up to the middle of the sides are covered.  If you need extra butter, add extra butter — BUTTER MAKES EVERYTHING TASTE BETTER (yes, there is still a chance I will die young).
– Add 2 cups of cooked rice to the wok and mix with the butter + garlic, splash 2 tbsps of chicken broth on the mixture, throw on some salt and peppa’ and then stir together so you have butter + garlic + chicken broth rice.  Then spread the rice out in the bottom of the wok and up the sides a bit so that there is just a thin layer (I used a spatula for this).  This way the rice can begin to brown on the bottom and suck up the butter + garlic + chicken broth for extra flavoring.  Stir about every 2 minutes or so; adjust the heat if you feel the need but not too much (burnt rice sucks).  I adjusted mine a bit higher (think 3 to 5) when it was taking forever to brown.
– Once the rice has browned a bit, mix the bag of frozens veggies in with the rice.  I adjusted my heat to 5 at this point (I had it back to 3 since I was attempting to feed the mongrels/clean the kitchen/consider the effectiveness of butt lifting exercises) since there was excess water (my veggies were frozen).  Add the last 2 tbsps of chicken broth to the mixture and spread thin once again (it won’t be as thin as when it was just rice, but you guys know that).  I then put the wok lid over the top and stirred approximately every 2 minutes.  Once I saw things were browning, I kept the lid off.  I am sure that if you don’t use a lid they will brown it might just take longer.
–  While the rice and veggies were browning, get 3 eggs from the fridge and whisk in a small bowl with some salt.  I did 1 egg white and 2 whole eggs (I was tempted to do all egg whites but BME prefers the yolk — ohhh, the things we do for those we love).
– Once the veggies + rice has browned, push the mixture to the side so you have some free wok space to work with, pour your scrambled eggs there & cook.  It should only take about 1-2 minutes before the eggs are mostly cooked.  Push in the outside of the egg so that the uncooked egg on top can get some of that hot wok.  Once the eggs are mostly cooked, start pulling the veggies+rice onto the egg and mixing the whole shebang together.  I added extra salt and pepper; feel free to go crazy.  After mixing it all together and breaking up big hunks of egg that you see, you are ready to CHOW DOWN!

Meaty Sweet Potato Hash

(Originally posted on Tiny Girl Eats at tinygirleats.wordpress.com)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:
– 3 medium to large sweet potatoes
– Kerrygold herbed butter
– 1 container Jimmy Dean All Natural Sausage
– 6 slices of natural, uncured & nitrate-free bacon
– 4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:
– Peel the sweet potatoes.  Boil some water and boil the sweet potatoes until they can be easily halved with a fork.  You don’t want them “mashed” softness, but tender enough that you aren’t biting into raw potato.
– Heat up a cast-iron skillet on the stove, placing a slice of Kerrygold herbed butter in it (about 4 quarters together thickness).  Let it melt a bit then swish it around so the bottom is covered.
– Once the potatoes are done, toss them in the cast-iron skillet so the bottom is covered.  Cut off another slice of herbed butter and quarter it, then put the pieces spread out on top of the potatoes.  Keep the skillet over low to medium heat, flipping the potatoes occasionally.
– Put a slice of butter in a regular frying pan (or Pam non-stick spray, really whatever you normally use for non-stick) and brown the sausage.  Once the sausage is cooked through, take it off the heat and then get the grease out. I scooped about one spatula amount onto a shallow wide bowl lined with three paper towels and then press three papertowels onto the top of the sausage to get some of the grease out. After that amount has been “degreased”, I add the sausage to the sweet potatoes; throw away the bottom greasy papertowels and replace them with the top degreaser papertowels I had just used (flip them over so that the non greasy side is facing up).  I repeat the “degreasing” until all of the sausage has been “degreased” and added to the sweet potatoes skillet.  Once the sausage is all in the skillet as well, I flip the potatoes around so the sausage and potaotes are evenly mixed.
– Put one more quarters slice of butter on top of the mixture and pop the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
– I take the other frying pan that I used for the sausage and drain as much of the grease as possible.  Then I cut the 6 strips of bacon in half so there are 12 mini strips and fry them up until they are crispy.  Once all of the slices are done and “degreased” (same way as the sausage), I pull the skillet out of the oven real quick and crumble the bacon over it.  If all of the slices are not crumbling, but rather some of them are still cooked but limber, you have two choices: a. eat it straight (this happened to quite a few of the slices I had… Don’t hate, I’m a bacon addict) or b. cut it with some scissors and pop it in the skillet as well.  Mix the potatoes, sausage and newly added bacon around.
– Put the skillet back in the oven.  If the ten minutes were up when you pulled the skillet out, try a potato.  If its still on the harder side, put the skillet back in for another 10 minutes.  If the potatoes are to your liking, then fry up an egg and munch away!

I like to put a splash of hot sauce on the hash, then add two over easy eggs and cut it all up into a delicious mix so the yolk is mixing with the hash, the whites are mixing with the sausage, and the bacon is a delightful cruncy surprise.  Corny enough? Yeah, I’ll stop now.  Before the new stomach troubles, I would add chopped green peppers, onion, and garlic; other times I would mix the sausage with ground beef and ground turkey (this helps make the hash go further into the week!)  However, as you will see, once you splash some green Tabasco sauce or Chalula on top with an over easy egg or two, the foundation recipe is super filling on its own!