Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Feast!

P1000805P1000807When we changed our diets and gave up several categories of staple foods, the consensus was that we were going to starve. The pictures above feature the makings for a typical meal at our house. Chicken with mushroom sauce is a favorite. We serve it over spaghetti squash. My husband has to fight for a leftover for his lunch at work. So, how do I obtain a cream sauce without using milk? See the measuring cup of cashews in the upper left-hand corner. There is the secret. I use a cup of cashews with a cup of chicken broth and heat it up in the microwave for a minute to heat up the broth and help the cashews soak it up and soften a bit. It goes into the blender with seasonings of choice, a half tablespoon of Arrowroot starch (you can use cornstarch, too), blend it smooth and put in a pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. If it is too thick, add more broth, too thin a bit more of your chosen thickener dissolved in a tablespoon of water.

Meanwhile, brown your boneless chicken really well. Cool a bit and slice into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Do NOT wash your browning pan because now you are going to brown your onions (add a bit more olive oil if necessary) and the sliced, fresh mushrooms. Return the chicken to the pan along with your sauce and bring to a simmer, turn down the heat, and let the flavors meld. Test for seasoning adding more salt and pepper, if needed. I like to put a sprinkle of cayenne into the sauce but not for heat but to perk up the taste.

The greenery in the second picture is Kale which has become a favorite around here. For a meal with a sauced protein, you need a contrast and this is an easy one. Wash your Kale and strip off big pieces of the woody center. Put the Kale pieces in a large bowl and add two smashed and diced cloves of garlic along with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of sesame seeds. Toss with half olive oil and half sesame oil. You want the Kale to glisten not drown in the oil. Lay out the Kale on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes depending on your stove. The leaves will begin to brown a bit and be crisp.

Spaghetti Squashes only challenge is in cutting the thing in half! I find that buying two or three small ones is easier as they are more tender than the large ones. In any cash, cut a thin slice off each end to form a flat surface to cut them down the middle, lengthwise, Scrap out the seeds and put them cut side down in a baking dish. Pour in enough water to come just a half inch up the side of the squash. Put in the microwave and it takes approximately 15-20 minutes to get tender. Remove from oven and with a wad of paper towel to keep your hand from getting burned, use a fork to scrap out the spaghetti-like strands.

Dinner is served and I guarantee no one will starve.