Tag Archives: comfort food

Changes and Biscuits

This recipe was created out of a desire to make a gluten-free goody for a special occasion where the person honored is on a strict no-gluten diet.

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And then real life happened, and I find myself cutting gluten to deal with an ongoing issue that COULD be chronic if I don’t nip it now.

So now… this recipe is for me, too.

Let’s be real, here:  gluten-free flours are expensive.  If you’re accustomed to a food budget that uses conventional flour, switching that out can really take a chunk out of what you eat/make.  Some people increase what they’re willing to spend on food when needing to go gluten-free, others cut most carbs out entirely.  And I know that there’s that whole logic, “you pay for it now with more expensive food OR you pay for it later with increased health issues and medical bills”… but y’all, that just doesn’t work for people who REALLY don’t have the extra money.  If you have $400 leftover in a month to spend on groceries for two people, then you ONLY HAVE $400.  I have to tell you, $400 for two people to eat real food is not impossible, but it can definitely be tricky.  Telling someone with only an extra $400 to “pay for it now or pay for it later” is just simply faulty logic.  We can’t certainly expect to advise people to go into debt in order to eat.

(Insert a thoughtful pause.  I understand that the last statement could be construed to be political.  I don’t think so.  It’s called stewardship.  Read my rant on that here.)

So, here I am, trying to go gluten-free.  Rest assured, it’s a legitimate health issue.  I’m not doing this on a self-diagnosed (aka hypochondriac’s introspection) logic.  I’m doing this from a place where a doctor told me my body is NOT doing what it’s supposed to.

It’s not a “new” topic to discuss how I manage a strict food budget that consumes 90% real food (no processed, additives, GMO-free, etc.).  I don’t expect I’ll make these often… because again, pound for pound, gluten-free flour is expensive.

Needless to say… it was a FABULOUS treat.  They freeze AND thaw well! This was about as close to a “real” biscuit as it gets!  And if you’re wondering if it’s possible to have a gluten-free biscuit that tastes like a “real” one… ask my taste-testers… a.k.a. my biggest picky eaters. (Yes. They cleaned the bowl afterwards.)

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INGREDIENTS:

2c gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting your hands
4tbl salted grass-fed butter (this version is HEALTHY. Please don’t get me all wound up about dairy fat.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 plain whole milk yogurt
3/4 c whole milk

DIRECTIONS:

Mix your flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda in one bowl.  With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter.

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Mix in your yogurt and milk.

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Grease your cookie sheet.  I used butter.  What isn’t improved with butter?

Dust your hands with flour, and make a 2″ ball of dough, then flatten it out a little bit.

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Space them well on your greased baking sheet.

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Bake at 425* for 10 minutes.  And VOILA! Biscuits.

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Ancient Grain Lazy Chicken Pot Pie

It’s ancient grain because it uses Einkorn wheat, which is the “original wheat” (no hybridizing or bred for production.  It just is what it is.  And it’s GOOD).  I give quite a bit of information on why I prefer Einkorn in this post – my recipe for waffles.

It’s lazy because I didn’t bother with the crust.

Well, I bothered, but didn’t go crazy.

See what I mean?

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A) I didn’t make it in a pie dish – I actually made the pie right in the cast iron skillet.  So there’s only a top here.

B) I didn’t bother making it perfect looking. And point a) to this is… this was food for my belly, not for presentation.

I’ll add this in now — This recipe =  1/2 green, 1 yellow, 1 red for those on 21 Day Fix. Yes, I did the 21-day fix, and yes, I promise to post my thoughts soon. But for those on the plan now and watching what they eat… there ya go. :)

I grew up on stuff like chicken pot pie.  This time of year I tend to really miss comfort foods. I think, at least here in upstate NY, it’s because we’re inside, and you actually want to cook because there’s the side benefit of warming your home.  You want hot food.  I don’t tend to miss it so much in the summer – for me, this has to do with the amount of grilling I do.

But I digress.  Let’s deal with the weather at hand, and make a clean chicken pot pie.

TOOLS:
Cutting Board
Good Knife
Cast Iron skillet… I would go bigger rather than smaller

NOTE:
I ate a quarter of this in one sitting without guilt. So, if you’re planning on serving this to more than four people, I recommend throwing in some side dishes.

Also, you can cook the chicken and prep the pie crust ahead of time.  No real changes to the latter parts of the recipe are necessary if you choose to do so.

INGREDIENTS:

Pie crust ingredients (you can sub in your own recipe, but I recommend giving Einkorn a chance!) —
1 cup of Einkorn flour
4 tbl salted grass-fed butter
3-4 tbl water
sprinkling of salt

Innards of the pie —
1 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken (I highly recommend going with dark meat! It will taste better!)
2 cup chopped veggies – what you have around will work
1 tbl salted grass-fed butter
1 cup milk
2 chopped skinned potatoes (about 1 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
lots of salt, rosemary, thyme, sage

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your chicken if you haven’t already done so.  Some families roast a whole bird and then pick off of it for other meals… this is a great option for this recipe.
I sprinkled my chicken with rosemary, thyme, salt and garlic and then roasted it.

I roasted it at 400* for about 35 minutes.  I wasn’t really worried about over-cooking it since I was going to dump it in a creamy-brothy pan later.

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While the chicken is cooking (if you aren’t using leftovers) make your pie crust.

Cut the 4 tablespoons of butter into the flour.  You want the pieces of butter pea-size or smaller. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

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Then, drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the butter-flour mixture.  I would recommend using your hands to mix this together.  If you’ve made pie crust before with a food processor, feel free to do so.  I am without a food processor so it’s up to ingenuity to do without. :)

You want to mix it until it comes together in a somewhat dry dough.  Think play-dough.  You may want to add that fourth tablespoon of water if it’s really flaky or you can’t get it to combine.

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Cover it, and put it in the fridge to harden up.

Once chicken is done and cool, chop it up.  I used the breast pictured above and a few other pieces of dark meat.

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Chop up those veggies.  I used a tiny bit of celery, lots of carrots and onions.  I would recommend whatever combination you do with your veggies that you at least involve a little bit of carrot and onion for flavor. Chop up those potatoes too. (*Note: you can do without the potatoes, if you desire, and sub in more veggies. HOWEVER, potatoes help thicken up the “sauce” later, so I would recommend sprinkling a tablespoon of gluten-free, einkorn, sprouted wheat, or rice flour when you’ve combined the milk in a later step).

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Preheat your oven to 400*.

Melt some butter in your cast iron skillet.  A tablespoon will probably be enough if it’s a well-seasoned cast iron pan.  If you are not using cast iron, you’re likely going to need quite a bit more butter to prevent the veggies from sticking.

Add your veggies to the pan of melted butter. Throw a very hearty dash of your spices – I recommend dried rosemary, thyme, sage and salt.  You could add garlic if you feel so inclined.  Fresh is better, but this time of year I have no fresh, so dried it is.

See this picture below and about the amount I added?  Add twice as much.  (If you’re a visual person.)  The veggies and potatoes should be very covered in spices.  The photographer (erm… me) forgot to take the second picture where I added more. :)

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Let these cook until soft, adding more butter if the food starts to stick.

 

Once all vegetables are soft, stir in the two cups of broth and the chicken.  Bring to a rapid boil.

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While your veggies are coming to a boil, bring out your chilled pie crust.  It’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease to roll it out, but if your kitchen is hot like mine, choosing to NOT cool the crust means the butter starts to melt/soften which means a really sloppy and hardly-stick-together crust.

My preferred method of rolling out is between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll it until it’s so think it’s nearly transparent (but no holes!) Then, once it’s super super super thin, you can slowly peel one of the parchment layers back.  Set this prepped crust aside, leaving it attached to one of the parchment pieces.

Go back to your veggies… by now they are boiling.

What’s going to happen next is this:  because it’s a wide pan, the water is going to boil off fast.  Keep stirring to prevent any sticking, and your potatoes are going to start to fall apart (only a tiny bit).  This is good because this is what’s going to thicken the sauce in the next step.

After it’s been rapid boiling for about 5 minutes and the liquid is reduced, stir in the milk.  Let it boil for another 2 minutes.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL LONGER THAN THIS. It will cause your milk to separate and turn the mixture a funky texture.  How do I know, you ask?  ;-) Let’s just say lots and lots and lots of failure in the kitchen.

Now turn off the heat, and slowly peel off your pie crust on top of the pan.

Remember… this is about appealing to your belly and not the picture.  If it’s sloppy, it’s ok.  This is a lazy pie.

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Slice through the top of the crust to make tiny slits.  This allows the steam to vent as necessary while baking.

Now, you can put your pie in the oven at 400* and let it cook for about 20 minutes.  This is mostly about letting the pie crust golden and the ingredients in the pie have time to stew.

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Next, your house starts to smell like heaven. And comfort. And yumminess. (How on earth do you spell that?)

You’ll know it’s done when the entire crust is golden, and maybe just a tiny bit brown on the edges.

I served mine with my favorite salad – blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and olive oil + balsamic vinegar.

My belly was soooo comforted!

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Sarah’s Chicken Cordon Bleu

You ever just crave something that you know is crazy bad for you, but you just HAVE to scratch the itch?

Yeah, me too.

Terribly.

So I created this mainly because I like those cheap, breaded, pretty-bad-for-you chicken cordon bleu frozen dinners.  And, while I could go buy some and use it as a “cheat” meal, I’m pretty sure I would just continue this bad habit and have more cheat meals than is healthy.  (This is not for everyone… I just know myself well enough.  I usually save cheat meals for special occasions, going over to someone else’s house for dinner, going out to eat, traveling, etc.)

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

I knew I was doing this a little bit different than the conventional cordon bleu recipe … I was putting the cheese on the OUTSIDE instead of in the chicken breast.  So, in order to defend the “original” way of making this dish, I titled it with my own name, just so we understand the difference… however, as it turns out, it seems to be up for debate what chicken cordon bleu “originally” was!

The recipe appeared in U.S. newspapers in the 1960s, and there’s quite a bit of indication that it didn’t even originate in France, but America, as its attempt to mimic popular French dishes that incorporate stuffing one meat with another filling.  (Another great example of Americanizing food?  Look at many popular pizza or Italian restaurant choices, then go visit Italy.)  And, contrary to any sort of “word” connection, there is no origination of this recipe from something at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking schools in France (if you’re up on your food history/gastronomy).

So, as it turns out, I can pretty much make this dish WHATEVER I want because I’m not really dishonoring some great classic piece!

To get this dish started properly, you’ll need to read up on my instructions on stuffing a chicken breast.  You can find the instructions here.  If you have another (or better!) method for stuffing a chicken breast, knock yourself out.  You do not have to use my method of stuffing for this dish to work!

Last note… I recommend that one chicken breast serves two people.  The logic is two-fold:

A) You’re getting more meat in as it’s a LARGE breast, and you’re stuffing it with ham

B) Americans tend to over-do the meat thing.  One serving of meat is the size of your fist.  (Men need a little bit more than women, due to nutritional requirements.)  I don’t have the source for this information, just recalling it off the top of my head.  I did a quick google search on the topic, though, and you can find scores of sources saying the same thing. (Point B.1.: Quality meat is also incredibly expensive.  So we hold very true to one serving of meat per meal as to keep our grocery costs down.)

So needless to say, this is instructions for one breast, serving two people.

INGREDIENTS:

For the meat:

Large, plump chicken breasts

Precooked ham – one ounce per chicken breast is usually enough

Almond Meal/Sprouted Flour (either will work) – you’ll need about 1/4 cup for one breast

For the sauce:

1.5 cups of shredded cheese, I recommend super-sharp cheddar

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp. prepared spicy mustard

Sprinkle of pepper

Sprinkle of nutmeg

2 tsp Sprouted flour, rice flour, tapioca/arrowroot (you’re using it as a thickener)

1 tbl Butter (preferably grass-fed for optimal nutrition)

dash of parsley

TOOLS:

Sharp Knife

Toothpicks

Plastic Wrap

Dredging dish

Oven-safe dish for roasting breasts

Small pan for making sauce

whisk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the over to 425*.

Go over to this page and follow the instructions for how to cut and stuff.  You are going to stuff it with all that cooked ham (as pictured in the other post).

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

You’re going to want to bread it – so now is when you’ll throw your almond meal or sprouted flour in your dish for dredging.  Very carefully roll the stuffed chicken breasts in your meal/flour.

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Once it’s thoroughly covered, move “breaded” stuffed breast to your tray for baking.

If you’re making more than one stuffed chicken breast, repeat the process.

Once all your chicken breasts are stuffed and breaded, cover your dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes at 425*.

While this is cooking, shred up your sharp cheddar cheese.

After the first “set” of 15 minutes, you’ll want to turn the breasts over, uncover, and put in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Now you can start working on your cheese sauce! (And let’s be real… this is what we’re really want!)

Warm your milk to almost boiling.  Once it’s almost boiling, turn the heat down as low as it will go.  Whisk your mustard, pepper, nutmeg, and sprouted flour/arrowroot/tapioca/rice flour.  Make sure there are no lumps!

Slowly stir in your shredded cheese.  Keep stirring.

Stir some more.  You’ll see that your ingredients are combining well (keep that heat on low!) and when you bring your spoon up, it’ll be like a really thick sauce, not too stringy.  If you notice it’s starting to become “stringy,” go ahead and turn the heat off.  Just remember to stir it every so often.

About this time, it’ll be time to take those chicken breasts out of the oven!

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Stir your cheese sauce some more.

Carefully take the toothpicks out just as soon as you can bear touching the chicken.

Plate your chicken and smother those chickens with your cheese sauce. Top with a dash of dried parsley.

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

And now, you can go guzzle.  Enjoy that cheesy chicken cordon bleu!

Sources:

Cordon Bleu (dish), http://www.en.wikipedia.org

History of Chicken Cordon Bleu, http://www.ehow.com

Comfort Food: Ham & Biscuit Pot Pie

This was born out a desperation for comfort food.  Earlier this month, we got hammered with snow storm after snow storm… I wanted to crawl up in a blanket, drink my coffee, and eat comfort food.

Which, for a real-food foodie, is not as easy as it sounds.

This recipe was inspired by this Biscuit Pot Pie from another blogger, but I changed it up a bit to exclude unsprouted/unsoaked wheat…  and to use up my leftover Christmas ham that’s been freezin’ away. Y’all, these are the BASICS of eating real food.  It’s exchanging the fake/unhealthy food for the good stuff God made for your body (a.k.a. “real food”).

Mmmmmm.  Ham.
P1100753Some tips before you set out to make this yummy dish: *and you need to read this before you set out to start cooking*

Prep your biscuits.  The recipe I use regularly is from The Elliott Homestead.  I make these, on average, about every 10 days.  I do this as it reduces the amount of snacking/eating the processed stuff I do allow (like cereal).  When they can grab a warm biscuit with healthier wheat, grass-fed butter, and topped with raw honey… it’s now a health-food.  So I usually plan to make the potpie close to the day I’m going to make biscuits.  The reason that it’s so important to plan this out is that these biscuits take a little thinking ahead — you have to set the dough for soaking 24 hours before you can bake them.  This is not complicated, do not be overwhelmed!  I basically spend 5 minutes at about 7 at night to prep the biscuits, then finish the prep the next morning at 7 a.m.  (I usually double the batch.)  I would bake all but six of them in the morning (which is what I did today), and save those six to top my pie tonight.

Another *think ahead* step: I usually buy organic celery, chop it up, then freeze it.  Since I do not ever want to eat it raw (sorry, YUCK!), but just cook with it, it’s so much less expensive… I can use a small amount and not waste the rest or feel obligated to eat it (again, YUCK!).

So! On to the ingredients and directions:

INGREDIENTS:

3tbl grass-fed butter
3 carrots
1c chopped celery (I did not thaw mine)
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves
1 tbl + 1/4c arrowroot powder, divided; or similar GF thickener
2c chicken broth
1c milk or heavy cream (so much yummier with the cream!)
1c frozen peas (do not thaw!)
1lb of ham, cut into bite-size
1tsp fresh minced thyme
sprinkle of pepper
6-10 soaked biscuits (depending on preference and size of dish)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Melt your butter in a large pot/pan.  Once it’s melted, begin to saute the carrots, celery, and onion.

P1100746Saute these vegetables for 5-10 minutes, and they will start to become fragrant.
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Once the veggies are starting to cook and lose their color (they look duller), add the pressed garlic.  You can do this however, but I have a garlic press.
P1100759Let this cook for another minute or two until you smell that garlic.  Garlic cooks quick (and consequently burns) so you don’t want this to sit long.

Once you smell the garlic, throw 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and stir.  This is the beginning part of the thickening process.
P1100760Still stirring, add your 2 cups of chicken broth.  Continue to stir for a minute or two until it’s all combined.  I would also suggest scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (the browned bits on the bottom are part of what makes it delicious!).

After its scraped, add your 1 cup of milk and stir.

Whisk in the remaining arrowroot powder (1/4 c).  Keep whisking until it’s mixed well.
P1100772Bring this mix to a boil, and let it boil for about 5-10 minutes until it’s thickened significantly.

Add your chopped ham, chopped thyme, and peas, and stir.  Put the lid on and let this cook at a slow boil for another 10 minutes.
P1100767When you uncover it, it will be thick and combined.
P1100775Dump into a casserole dish, and sprinkle with black pepper.
P1100789Bake this for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

It will be slightly browned when you pull it out.

Top this with your uncooked biscuits.  You can put as many as you want on top, but just be aware that they tighter they are squished into the dish, the longer it will take to cook them through.  I usually space 6-8 out over the dish, and that’s because I don’t want heavy bread at night-dinner.
P1100794Put this dish back in your over, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until your biscuits are cooked through and the tops are browned.  If you pull up a biscuit, you might notice it looks gooey on the bottom — and this is because it’s been sitting in thickened soup, basically.  If you’re concerned about the doneness, break a biscuit apart and examine the contents in the middle for how well it’s cooked.
P1100798Let it cool for 5-10 minutes, so it won’t burn your mouth.

And last, most important step –

Eat.  And be comforted.

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