Always Time for Comfort Food…Dairy and Egg Free Chicken Pot Pie

I am so thankful that winter is behind us.  Now that it’s warming up a bit and it doesn’t take two parents and 3 hours to suit up to go outside, we are enjoying fresh air, sunshine, and even breaking out some fresh recipes.  This recipe I’m sharing today, goes with us pretty much year round.   I use it less during the warmer months, but Nathan still asks for it even on the hottest of days.  He loves it so much that he had leftovers for breakfast this past Sunday.  Whatever, he was a happy kid with a full belly…and hey, it wasn’t unhealthy Pop Tarts!

Let’s make some chicken pot pie!  Here’s what you’ll need….

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I use frozen veggies, because that’s about all I can manage with an almost-four-year-old and a 14-month old running around the house.  I put in broccoli, peas, and corn, but you could do carrots (Nathan is allergic), lima beans, or green beans.  Come up wit your own unique blend of veggies that you love.  If you want to get really easy, pick up the frozen vegetable soup mix and use 1 1/2 cups of it.  I would advise picking out the okra if there is any, because it gets slimy when cooked too long and it’s just gross!

We use Pillsbury Pie Crusts, but I’d eventually like to start making my own.  Beware that Kroger brand refrigerated pie crusts contain dairy!  Read your labels every time!  For the butter we use Dairy and Soy Free Earth Balance margarine, and it’s great.  Rice milk does the trick for the milk, too.  You’ll also need some 2 cups of chicken broth, which is not pictured here (totally forgot!).  If you don’t have a dairy allergy, just use your regular butter/margarine and milk.

In the measuring cup is flour, and the cubed chicken (leftover from a roasted chicken earlier in the week) is already in the pan with the gravy and veggies.

Here’s what you do…

Melt the butter in the skillet on medium heat.  Once melted, mix in 1/2 cup of flour, salt & pepper.   Once the butter & flour mixture have made a paste, pour the chicken broth (2 cups total) & rice milk (1/4 cup) in a little at a time, stirring constantly to maintain a smooth consistency.  Once smooth and thickened, add a little more.  Repeat this process until all the 2 cups of broth & 1/4 cup of rice milk is gone.

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After the gravy is made, add veggies and 1 cup cubed chicken, plus 1/3 cup rice milk.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into bottom pie crust, then top with remaining pie crust.  Flute the edges and pierce the top, like this:

IMG_4172Place pot pie on a cookie sheet to prevent any drippings from making it to the bottom of your oven.  Trust me on this one!  Bake at 450 degrees F for about 45 minutes.  Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.

IMG_4173Crust should be golden brown on top when done.  This will be VERY hot, so be careful when serving it up.  We usually pair this meal with a salad, or sometimes fruit.  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

I really hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does….which is quite a bit!  If you try it, let me know what you think.  Now, what’s your favorite allergen free comfort food to make?

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dairy free margarine

1/2 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup rice milk, separated

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup broccoli florets

pie crust (We currently use Pillsbury, homemade is preferable)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Melt the butter in the skillet on medium heat.  Once melted, mix in 1/2 cup of flour, salt & pepper.   Once the butter & flour mixture have made a paste, pour the chicken broth (2 cups total) & rice milk (1/4 cup) in a little at a time, stirring constantly to maintain a smooth consistency.  Once smooth and thickened, add a little more.  Repeat this process until all the 2 cups of broth & 1/4 cup of rice milk is gone.

After the gravy is made, add veggies and 1 cup cubed chicken, plus 1/3 cup rice milk.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into bottom pie crust, then top with remaining pie crust.  Place pot pie on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Lasagna, Cake, and Ice Cream, Oh My!

This weekend we attended a birthday party for one of our family members.  Nathan was so excited to go to a party and see his cousins.  Thankfully, all of his cousins (and their parents) are really good about remembering his allergies.  They are very accommodating and wash their hands after they eat and before they play with Nathan.  If they forget, we just remind the kids to wash up before playing.

Parties are a whole new ball game for those with food allergies…..and especially their parents.  Once Nathan turned 3, he was definitely wanting to go off and play with friends or cousins at birthday parties.  This can be absolutely nerve wracking for us as parents.  Think about it.  There’s usually tons of kids slathered in ice cream, icing, cheese, and often times nuts.  Depending on where we are and if we know everyone or not, we just can’t ask that every kid suds up after eating.  Skipping every party, and staying home isn’t an option either.  Even food allergic kids have to have fun and, most importantly, have to learn to manage themselves in an often unsafe world.  My husband and I often take turns watching the kids play  or checking in on Nathan to make sure he’s fine.

So, what’s a stressed out mom of a food allergic kid to do?  Spend a handful of hours before the party making safe lasagna and cake, and packing up all the trimmings!  I think it’s really important that Nathan help in the kitchen to learn basic skills, but also to realize what needs to be done to keep him safe.

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We were short on time today, so we are using a Cherrybrook Kitchen Yellow Cake mix.  I usually make cakes from scratch, but this time we took the easy way out.

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I even opted for the hand mixer so Nathan could have a turn.  He likes this, but what he really loves is licking the beaters after we’re done!  Don’t be afraid to include your kids in the kitchen, no matter what their age or allergies.  Nathan has been helping me in the kitchen since he turned 2.  There are a lot fewer messes now!

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His favorite part!  Even food allergic kids should get to lick the beaters and spatulas!  I remembered doing this as a kid, and it brings back lots of memories helping my mom in the kitchen.

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If you haven’t checked out Cherrybrook Kitchen’s products, you need to!  They are dairy, egg, and nut (peanut, too!) free and you can read their allergen statement here.  They also make ready made frostings that are safe.  I haven’t tried the ready made frosting yet, but a couple of months ago we tested the chocolate frosting mix and it was really tasty!

To take to the party, I also made a safe lasagna made with dairy free cheese.  This is pretty easy, thankfully!  It’s just a basic lasagna, made with what Nathan calls his “safe cheese” instead of regular mozzarella.

Here are some things we do for parties to make them as safe as possible and high on the fun factor for Nathan:

1.  Take a safe meal.  I always ask the host what they are having and make Nathan’s version.

2.  Take plenty of baby or antibacterial wipes.  Treat this as a restaurant situation and wipe things down if you need to, especially hands before and after meals.

3.  Talk to your child BEFORE the party.  Remind them not to take food off of tables or plates, and only accept food from you or other designated individuals.  You may want them to wear an allergy alert bracelet or t-shirt at especially large gatherings or a new place.

4.  Show your child unsafe food.  I sometimes take Nathan to foods that he may not recognize and remind him they are unsafe for him.

5.  Make it known.  Talk with other guests, especially if they ask questions.   This is often a great time to say, “Would you mind having your child(ren) wash their hands after they eat ice cream and cake?”  Most people are really accommodating and will comply.

6.  Take two Epi-pens and Benadryl….EVERY TIME!

Enjoy those summer parties!

Amazing Dairy and Egg Free Bread

It’s time for a recipe, and this one is one of my all time favorites.  It is oh-so-simple, and high on the comfort food scale.  I love that it is an authentic recipe, not one that’s been altered to be safe for Nathan.  Thank you to my friend, Jackie, for originally giving me this recipe after finding it in a magazine.

I make this bread for special occasions or just because we’re craving a warm loaf of satisfying bread to dip in hot soup.  I often take this to family gatherings and it’s a rare occasion that I get to bring some home with me.  It would be perfect for an upcoming Mother’s Day lunch paired with juicy, roasted chicken & roasted vegetables or an Italian dish (that’s dairy free, of course!).

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious bread….

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2 T active dry yeast

2 C warm water (110F-115F)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

4 ½ – 5 C bread flour (I prefer King Arthur)

Dissolve the yeast in water. In a separate bowl mix the salt, sugar, & flour. Add the water mixture to the dry mixture and mix until smooth to form soft dough.

The cutest baking assistant ever

The cutest baking assistant ever

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Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

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Put into lightly greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

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Punch dough down, then divide in half and shape into two loaves on greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake @ 450F for 15 minutes.   Let the bread rest and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.

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We love this bread topped with dairy and soy free Earth Balance spread, and I must say that a drizzle of local honey tops it off for me!  I have tried this bread in 2 glass loaf pans and it does pretty well, which allows the shape of the bread to be more suitable for sandwiches.  I’d love to try this in my bread maker soon to see how it does, and when I do I’ll be sure to post an update.  I know you’ll love this bread just as much as our family does, so let me know what you think!  Here’s the recipe one more time, all together without the pictures.

2 T active dry yeast

2 C warm water (110F-115F)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

4 ½ – 5 C bread flour (I prefer King Arthur)

Dissolve the yeast in water. In a separate bowl mix the salt, sugar, & flour. Add the water mixture to the dry mixture and mix until smooth to form soft dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Put into lightly greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch dough down, then divide in half and shape into two loaves on greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake @ 450F for 15 minutes.   Let the bread rest and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.

Happy Baking,

Rachel