Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gluten-Free Chicken Pasta Recipe

I have learned my lesson. Whenever I take a gluten-free anything to a church dinner, I no longer label it as gluten free. Most people don't know what gluten is, and the mere sound of the word is frightening to the uninitiated. Anything labeled as gluten free is left pretty-much untouched. I might just as well have labeled it, 'mucous-laden poison.' However, if I leave it unlabeled, it gets eaten. So, here's a great recipe, 'in me 'umble opinion,' for my gluten-free chicken pasta casserole - which I took to the church dinner today.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a gluten-free cooking spray, coat the inside of a 2.5 quart casserole dish.

Ingredient list:

  • 1 bag Tinkyada pasta (elbow macaroni, penne pasta, etc.) cooked according to the instructions on the bag.
  • 2 - 13 oz. cans of chicken, drained and broken up with a fork.
  • 1 med. onion, chopt
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopt
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopt
  • 1 can black olives, sliced
  • small can sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese or more
  • 1/2 c. parmesean cheese or more
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. plain, no-fat yogurt (I like Dannon)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c. milk
  • garlic salt
  • Stax (they're gluten-free) potato chips, about 1/3 can, crushed.
  • gluten-free cooking spray

In a small skillet, saute onion, peppers, and celery until just tender. Add to the cooked and drained pasta. Stir in the two cans of chicken, the sliced olives, mushrooms, the butter, yogurt, and milk. Add a little garlic salt (1/4 t.). Spoon half the mixture into the casserole dish which you've sprayed with gluten-free cooking spray. Sprinkle half the cheddar cheese on top. Sprinkle half the parmesean cheese on top. Add the second half of the mixture and sprinkle on top the remaining cheddar and parmesean cheeses. Top with crushed Stax chips and spray the top with the gluten-free cooking spray. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for about a half hour. If you prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate, you'll need to take the cold casserole and, after placing it in the preheated oven, bake it 45 minutes to an hour. The cooking spray on top helps the chips become golden, rather than looking bland and pale. This recipe will serve 10-12.

I struggled with gluten-free eating for the longest time, always feeling deprived when others ate cookies and pie and all the other yummy things I liked. Over time, however, I've found it's really not so bad to feel better. For me, feeling better means staying away from wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, sodium benzoate, modified food starch, and MSG. It's not that difficult when I eat 'real' food and make my food at home.

The down side is having to leave alone my favorites - Laffy Taffy and Good 'n' Plenty and Dots. (Some have gluten; some have corn.) The up side is that I feel better, I have less stiffness, and don't feel rotten and tired all the time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tiptoeing into the Blogosphere

Okay, this is it. I've been lurking long enough and it's time to step into the wide, wide world of blogging. It's a pretty steep learning curve, but I'm told that it's best to just jump in, which is against my nature, and learn as I go along. I'm trying to get this posted so I can let myself watch Mystery tonight on PBS and get ready for the weekend at our son's home - our first 'overnighter.' We're looking forward to seeing the grandkids and having breakfast with the fam on Saturday morning!

In case anyone wants to know, my favorite little sheep is a cross between a Scottish Blackface and Yorkshire. We met these delightful creatures in the Yorkshire Dales a few years ago. I never tire of looking at the darling little face which, I'm sure you've noticed, carries a sweet smile.

I wonder if I'll clean off my desk before we leave for the weekend. It's always such a dilemma: clean off the desk and never find anything again OR don't clean the desk, know where everything is, and have the mess staring at me. Worst of all, when my desk is piled high with papers and books, I can't view my Tube Map of London which is under my glass desktop. How will I know if it's Bakerloo or Circle and District that runs from Picadilly to Elephant and Castle.

Speaking of order, having lost the rabbies vaccination certificate on Bridger, my big German Shepherd, I had to pay for a duplicate so we could get a dog license again. Why, oh why, my husband asked, is your file labeled 'Vet Bills' under the D tab? What a stupid question. It's under D for dogs, of course. Where else would you expect to find it?? I could have been more specific, I suppose, and put it under B for Bridger. Alas, I was probably in a hurry and filed the rabbies vaccination paper under something like Vaccination or Health or maybe even Miscellaneous. I don't know. It was definitely worth the $3 to get another certificate from the vet clinic and not have to spend the entire day looking for the thing. They FAXed one to me immediately. Isn't technology wonderful!


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