Fajitas

Fajitas are wonderful, whether made with steak or chicken. Haha, we usually opt for chicken because it’s cheaper. You don’t need a whole packet of taco seasoning–just enough to give it a little flavor. Serve with Spanish rice or cilantro lime rice, cheese, sour cream, maybe some salsa, and of course a tortilla.

If you’re making this gluten free, make sure to use gluten free taco seasoning and corn or other gluten free tortillas. You may also want to use a new or uncontaminated bag of cheese.

Fajitas

  • Servings: 5?
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Don’t forget the Spanish rice or cilantro lime rice.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 Green Peppers, cut in small strips
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. Chicken breasts or beef sirloin, sliced thin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Taco Seasoning to taste (such as McCormick or homemade)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Spanish rice or cilantro lime rice
  • Flour or corn tortillas

Directions

In a heavy pan, heat the oil then add the onion and green peppers. Cook until tender and maybe with a tiny bit of black for flavor. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove and place in a bowl. In the heavy pan, brown the chicken and then salt and pepper to taste. Add the onion and peppers back into the pan, then sprinkle all with taco seasoning. Serve on top of tortillas and rice, adding sour cream, salsa, or other toppings as desired.


Chicken Salad (Loaded)

Chicken salad is great when served of course as a sandwich, but it’s also great with crackers or sliced cucumber. Chicken salad is a nicer sandwich than just lunch meat, but it can also be slightly boring. So we loaded it up with pecans and grapes to make it more exciting and delicious. Note that it does take a fair amount of time to get the chicken off the bone, as well as pulling the grapes off the vine, and chopping everything. But they make great sandwiches for picnics.

If you’re making this gluten free, it’s naturally gluten free as long as you use a new jar of mayo or one that’s dedicated gluten free (so you don’t get crumbs from previous sandwich making).

Chicken Salad (Loaded)

  • Servings: 8-9
  • Difficulty: easy
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Great served with crackers or cucumber slices, or of course as a sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, pulled to bite-size pieces (Sam’s Club’s is nice and big)
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 c. Mayonnaise (or new jar/dedicated gluten free jar)
  • 2 c. Grapes, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 c. Pecan Halves

Directions

In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, and green onions. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, then stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.


Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

Great for cold weather or when your stomach is upset, especially if you need something gluten free. This is adapted from a great recipe on twopeasandtheirpod.com

And as previously mentioned, this one is naturally gluten free.

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Mild and great for cold weather or upset stomachs.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced (abt. 1 tsp. minced)
  • 2 medium Carrots, chopped
  • 2 Celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tsp. + Dried Thyme Leaves
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 qts. Chicken Stock or Broth (I often just do 3 Tbsp. chicken base and 9 cups water)
  • 1 c. Water
  • 1/2 c. Rice, uncooked
  • 2 c. Shredded Cooked Chicken (can use about 1/2 rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and chicken; season with salt and pepper.
Cook on medium-low until the rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes.


 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas

Jeff and I had our first date at Chili’s, so it’s always had a special place in my heart. I used to love getting their quesadilla explosion salad before I found out I have celiac. One day for a date night, I looked up ideas of how to make those quesadillas, stuffed with cheese, chicken, bacon, and ranch. I didn’t find an exact copy, but I’m quite happy with how these turned out, and we’ve had them a lot. They’re pretty easy if you’ve got pre-cooked chicken (such as from rotisserie chicken) and bacon. And Chili’s would serve them with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream, so that’s what we try to do if we can.

If you’re making this gluten free, just use corn tortillas and make yours either in a separate pan or make yours first before making any with flour tortillas.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas

  • Servings: 6?
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Chili’s flavors, delicious with shredded lettuce, pico, and sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. Bacon, cut into pieces with scissors
  • 1-1.5 lbs. Chicken Breasts, sliced thin or Rotisserie Chicken pieces
  • Taco Seasoning to taste (optional)
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Cheese
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Optional: Shredded lettuce, pico de gallo or salsa, sour cream

Directions

In a heavy frying pan, cook the bacon pieces until crisp and then place on a paper towel lined plate. Remove the grease, then cook the chicken on high heat, adding taco seasoning to taste. Set chicken aside in a bowl. Wipe out the pan, then cook one side of two tortillas (or alternately you can use one tortilla to make a quesadilla, but fold it in half). When the tortillas are crisp but not dark, flip one over and set one aside. Place a handful of cheese on the one in the pan, then squirt ranch dressing in a spiral on top of the cheese. Add several chunks of chicken, then sprinkle bacon pieces over top. Sprinkle another handful of cheese over all, then place the reserved tortilla with the uncooked side up. Then carefully flip the whole thing so the uncooked side of the tortilla cooks. When the quesadilla is done, place on a cutting board and cut into four pieces. Serve with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream.

 


 

Country Fried Chicken

Jeff prefers chicken without bones, so I searched out a country fried chicken recipe and found this one on favfamilyrecipes.com. I’ve made it several times, and it’s great. The breading does often fall off while you’re eating it. But it’s delicious. The gravy is also very good, but you need to incorporate every bit of brown that you can get out of the oil so that it has the most flavor. It takes a lot of time, but it’s nice to make every once in a while.

If you’re making this gluten free, of course just switch out the flour for gluten free flour. It turns out delicious. The picture below is gluten free. I’ve even made it dairy free by adding 2 Tbsp. lemon juice to 2 c. almond milk for the buttermilk and using almond milk in the gravy.

Country Fried Chicken

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium-hard
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Very delicious, but it takes a fair amount of time and milk.

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, halved
  • 2 c. Buttermilk (or 2 c. milk + 2 Tbsp. lemon juice)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • 2 c. Flour (or gluten free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1 Tbsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

Gravy

  •  1/4 c. Reserved Pan Drippings (get every bit of brown that you can)
  • 1/4 c. Reserved Flour Mixture
  • 2 c. Chicken Broth or Stock (or 2 tsp. Members Mark Chicken Base and 2 c. water)
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Carefully pound each chicken breast half flat without tearing, with each chicken piece about the size of your hand or slightly smaller. Place chicken in a gallon bag and pour buttermilk over. Press as much air as you can out of the bag, seal, and place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight).

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk, set aside. In a separate shallow dish, stir flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Set aside about 1/4 c. of this dry mixture for the gravy later.

Remove chicken from Ziploc, shake off excess buttermilk, and dredge each piece evenly with four mixture. Lightly shake off excess, dip in egg/milk mixture, then place back in flour mixture, giving it a double coating of flour. Place chicken on a cookie sheet until ready to fry.

Preheat 1/4 inch of oil in electric skillet until reaches 350. Add each piece of chicken to the oil without overcrowding (you may have to do this in batches) for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden. Place cooked chicken on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to catch excess oil. Place in warm oven (about 200-degrees) until ready to serve.

For gravy: Drain off all but about 1/4 c. of the oil from the pan. Whisk reserved flour mixture into the oil until the flour has absorbed the oil. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly and reduce heat to a simmer. Once the gravy starts to thicken, slowly add milk (you may not need all of it) to thin to desired consistency, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over chicken and mashed potatoes.

 


Easy Chicken Parmesan

This comes from a recipe book that Jeff’s Mom put together, so I like to think of it as Grandma Marilyn Mitchell’s recipe–except I may have added a little more parmesan cheese. I love it so much. It’s easy, we basically always have the ingredients, it’s delicious, and it’s healthier than breaded chicken parmesan. In fact, I even prefer the flavor to breaded chicken parmesan. Also, this calls for parmesan cheese–don’t bother with the fancy shredded kind. The regular powdered Kraft kind works great.

Depending how thick the chicken is, if it’s still slightly frozen when you put it in the oven, or if you have lots of chicken in the pan, it generally takes 40-55 minutes. So of course check for doneness by checking for an internal temperature of 165°.

And luckily this one is naturally gluten free. I’ve also made it with dairy-free cheese instead of mozzarella on top, and it’s still delicious.

Easy Chicken Parmesan

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Great for weeknight meals or special occasions.

Ingredients

  • 1 jar Pasta Sauce
  • 1/2 c. + Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Chicken Breasts, cut in half to make 6 (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 1/2. c. Mozzarella Cheese

Directions

Pour sauce into a greased 9×13″ pan. Stir in 6 Tbsp. parmesan cheese. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Add the chicken to the sauce and turn over to coat both sides. Top with mozzarella and remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 375° for 40-55 minutes or until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165° and the cheese is melted and slightly brown. Serve over pasta.


Chicken Gyros

We’ve made these several times, and they’re delicious. Especially with warm pitas. But I wouldn’t mind trying a new gyro recipe. If I find a new recipe that’s even better, I’ll update.

If you’re making this gluten free, you’ll need to find a substitute for pitas. I haven’t found gluten free pitas in my grocery store, but you could probably try making some. I’ve used gluten free tortillas and made it a wrap, but it wasn’t so great. I’ve made gluten free naan before, which was delicious and may make a good substitute. Even just a warmed up piece of gluten free bread works fairly well.

Chicken Gyros

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Make the tzatziki first so the flavors can meld, then do everything else.

Ingredients

Tzatziki

  • 1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste (need a fair amount)
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Marinade

  • 2 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 lb. Chicken Breasts, cubed

Toppings and Bread

  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Cucumber, diced
  • 3-4 Pitas (or gluten free bread)

Directions

For the tzatziki: Chop the cucumber in large chunks and place in blender with a little water. Blend until smooth, then pour the liquid through a paper towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Place the remaining cucumber pulp from the towel in a bowl and mix with the rest of the tzatziki ingredients. Adjust flavors as needed. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes so flavors can meld.

For the marinade/chicken: Mix all marinade ingredients and chicken together in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for a few minutes while you chop the rest of the vegetables for the toppings. Once everything is chopped, heat a heavy frying pan over high heat, then add chicken and cook until it’s done, about 7 minutes or so. Warm the pitas in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Assembling the gyro: Place a warm pita on a plate, then spoon chicken down the middle. Top with tzatziki, tomatoes, onion, and cucumber. You can either wrap it up or fold it slightly and eat like a taco.


Strawberry Bacon Salad

This is a nice summery meal, and it makes lots of leftovers. You can use prepackaged candied pecans, but I usually make my own because I can make a lot–and they’re much cheaper. The coating from the candied pecans does tend to dissolve off in the leftovers, though. Haha, that’s if you don’t secretly sneak all the candied pecans before dinner–they’re too tempting! Sometimes the red onion can be a bit much, so we often opt for green onions instead. You can opt to add feta cheese, but we found that the salad didn’t need it, with the salt from the bacon. And this salad is delicious, but it does take a fair amount of time to make.

For the salad in the picture, I just used one package of spinach, 1 pound of strawberries, a package of bacon, 1 bunch of green onions, a rotisserie chicken, and I made my own candied pecans. And I used Kroger Poppy Seed dressing, much cheaper than Brianna’s.

And luckily the poppy seed dressing is gluten free, so this one is naturally gluten free.

Strawberry Bacon Salad

  • Servings: 6-8?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Delicious and summery–try not to eat all the pecans before mealtime. Haha

Ingredients

  • 1-2 (8 oz.) pkgs. Spinach
  • 1-2 lb. Strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pkg. Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 small Red Onion, diced OR 1 bunch Green Onions, sliced
  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, broken down into pieces OR 4 Chicken Breasts, cubed and cooked
  • 2 c. Candied Pecans (prepackaged or using recipe below)
  • Brianna’s or Kroger Poppy Seed Dressing

Candied Pecans

  • 3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 c. Pecan halves

Directions

Place the spinach in a very large bowl, then place the rest of the ingredients on top, except the dressing. We generally don’t toss the salad because everything falls to the bottom of the bowl. Each person can add dressing as desired.

For candied pecans: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, water and vanilla. In a heavy frying pan on medium-high heat, toast pecans until they smell nutty and brown. Be careful because once they’re toasted, they can start to burn quickly. Pour the liquid over the nuts and mix to coat. Spread nuts on wax paper or Silpat to cool and harden.


Stir Fry

Stir fry is great because you can kind of put in whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. And it makes great leftovers. I generally put in at least carrots and broccoli. And to make things faster, I usually microwave the broccoli, then add it to the rest. Jeff prefers to have stir fry on rice, but you can also make a kind of lo mein and mix it with noodles (like spaghetti).

If you’re making this gluten free, you can either buy gluten free teriyaki sauce or make your own with tamari or gluten free soy sauce (since soy sauce is usually made with wheat).

Stir Fry

  • Servings: 5?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Great Asian flavors and great leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb. Chicken Breasts, cubed
  • 1/3 c. Oil
  • 1 heaping tsp. minced Garlic
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 big Carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag fresh or frozen Broccoli (or broccoli/cauliflower blend)
  • Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce to taste
    • For gluten free, use gluten free teriyaki sauce or make your own:
    •  c. Gluten Free Soy Sauce or Tamari
    • 1 c. Water (or for more flavor use 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. orange juice)
    • 1 tsp. minced Garlic
    • 1/4 tsp. Ginger
    • 3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. Water
  • ½ c. Cashews
  • White Rice, prepared; Minute Rice, prepared (2 c. rice, 2 c. water); OR 1 pkg. Spaghetti, prepared

Directions

Heat heavy pan or wok on high, then add oil. When the oil is shimmering, add chicken and cook until golden brown. Then add garlic and onion to cook until softened. For faster cooking, microwave broccoli while doing the rest. Add the carrot and cook until tender, then add in cooked broccoli. Then add sauce to taste, diluting with water if it’s too strong. Mix cornstarch and water to make a slurry, then add it to the mixture to thicken the sauce. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough. If the veggies aren’t soft enough, cover the pan with a lid and steam a few minutes until they’re soft. Just before serving, add cashews. Serve on rice or toss with spaghetti noodles.


Tin Foil Dinner

We used to make these all the time when we’d go camping as kids. I always forget how good these are–maybe it’s the butter that makes them so delicious. You can make these on the camp fire or in the oven. We’ll often make a “camping” family night at home and have tin foil dinners, then roast some marshmallows.

I remember one time when I was about eight, my dad was in charge of Scouts for our church, and they were going to a campout at Bear Lake. My mom, twin brother, and I decided to tag along with Dad and my older brother as they went camping with all the other boys from the church. The first night was a Sunday, and all the boys were supposed to bring their own dinner with them. Most boys did, but two or three forgot. So we had to give up our tin foil dinners to those boys, and mom had to find somewhere for the three of us to get dinner. That was the first time I ever ate a raw onion on a diner burger. It was hot! Haha. But I’ll never forget it. And I think raw onions are fine now. Just a funny memory.

And of course these are naturally gluten free–I even had these when I had to do the FODMAP diet for a few months.

Tin Foil Dinner

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: medium
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Fun for camping or at-home camping.

Ingredients

For each person’s pie tin, you’ll need:

  • 1 pie tin or round cake pan
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 medium Potato, peeled (optional) and sliced
  • Corn
  • Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • Baby Carrots (optional)
  • Tin foil

Directions

In a pie tin, place chicken, potatoes, and corn. (You may want to place carrots in the bottom/top if you’re cooking on the fire, in case of burning.) Place 1 Tbsp. of butter on the potatoes and 1 on the corn. Sprinkle all with Italian seasoning. Cover well with foil. In the oven, cook at 375° for 30-45 minutes. If cooking on the fire, stack dinners with 6 coals on bottom and on top. Check after 20-30 minutes. Cook until the carrots are tender and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°.