Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ultimate Green Bean Casserole with cheese and bacon!

This is a holiday side dish staple at our house.  I've always loved the traditional green bean casserole, but some people in my house don't like onions.  I wanted to find a recipe that would get them to eat some vegetables during the holiday. I've adapted this recipe over the years to make it cleaner and then to make it gluten free.

Originally it featured Kraft Garlic Cheese.  If you've never seen such a thing, it was a processed cheese that came in a plastic tube.  I think it was really popular in Southern Louisiana because it was a prominent ingredient in a Spinach Madeline recipe.   It's no longer available, at least not here in Missouri, so I substitute Old English Cheese.  I realize this is still very much in the processed food category, but it's only once or twice a year and the Old English Cheese is a tasty substitute for the garlic cheese.

You are welcome to use canned cream of mushroom, but the homemade, gluten free version is really so much better.

The Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

2 (14oz) bags of frozen green beans
1 jar of Old English cheese
8 to 10 slices bacon
1 can cream of mushroom soup or Cream of Mushroom, below
1 large onion chopped
black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided


1. Saute onion in butter and add green beans with 2 slices of bacon.

2. Meanwhile, cook 8 to 10 slices of bacon in microwave and drain on paper towel.

3. Once green beans are tender crisp, remove cooked bacon and add cut up garlic cheese, stir until melted. (Only takes a minute.). Add cut up, cooked bacon to beans and 1/4 cup of the cheese and fold in cream of mushroom soup.

4. Top with more bacon and cheese.

5. Pour into greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top, approximately 30 minutes.

Gluten Free Cream of Mushroom

8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms, finely diced
1/4 cup finely diced sweet onions
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste

1. Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic with butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes. 

2. Gradually stir in gluten-free chicken broth and stir to blend. Add 1/2 cup milk and continue to cook over medium heat. 

3. Once hot, add other 1/2 cup milk stirred together with cornstarch.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat and cook until soup thickens. 

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Authentic Cajun style (Gluten Free)

When I first went gluten free, I figured my gumbo days were over.  But thanks to the Lagasse Girls, daughters of the famous Emeril Lagasse, I embraced the idea that gluten free gumbo could be a possibility.  I mean, surely these girls know what really good gumbo tastes like.  

But after studying the recipe, I realized their approach to gumbo skips some very important steps for that depth of flavor I'm used to.  So I took this new found confidence and adapted my tried and true recipe. 

I would imagine this recipe will be most appreciated by those who are gluten free and miss having their gumbo, but in case you've never made gumbo before I'll try and go step by step here.  By all means, this recipe can be made with regular flour.

You are going to begin by frying up your sausage followed by your chicken.  I have been using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for years.  I don't believe that chicken breasts have enough flavor.  You could definitely use a little of both, but trust me on this one.  Use some good dark meat in your gumbo.

After you brown your sausage over medium high heat, you will place in large bowl set off to the side.  Add the chicken to the sausage drippings and brown them, turning down to medium. You don't have to cook the chicken all the way through, just enough to brown both sides.  I usually stop my browning and remove the chicken to the bowl when I feel like the brown bits on the bottom are about to burn.  You don't want that. You'll also notice I use an enameled cast iron pot.  It's super heavy and is easier to keep up than a traditional cast iron pot.  Especially since my chief dishwasher can't seem to keep from using soap!

 Next add the oil to the pan drippings, stir in flour.  Coincidentally, I use the same amount of oil and flour I used in my old recipe, I just replace with a gluten free flour blend.  I believe it's the Bob's Mill version. 

You want to cook on medium heat, stirring nearly constantly, until the mixture reaches a nice dark color like the last photograph on the right.  You'll notice the same, nutty scent you get from a flour gumbo.  Just be careful not to rush this.  And don't burn it.  If you do, there's no use in crying, just throw it out and start over.

I'm sure some people let their roux get a little darker, but I find that it continues to darken when the onion mix is added. This was difficult process to photograph. The oil kept foaming on the top and hiding the color of the roux.

Once your roux is brown add your onions, celery and bell pepper.

You'll notice that the photo below has carrots. Yeah, I grabbed the wrong bag of frozen Miropaux blend. I love that my Gerbes/Kroger carries these but they really messed up when the labeled both of these mixes Miropaux. They are, however, a great time saver and I've never been able to tell a difference in the end product if they are to be sauteed or cooked down in some fashion.

Once the onions, celery and bell pepper have softened add the garlic.  Cook until aromatic.  Don't let them burn.

Add in 2 cups of water or homemade chicken stock.  Once this is nice and smooth add the rest of the water and your meats back into the pot.

Add your seasonings and cook for at least 30 minutes, certainly you can cook for an hour if you have it.  I cooked for 30 minutes and then started to cook my rice, which was done in 20 minutes.  It looked pretty darn good at that point and we ate it!!

You'll notice my gumbo does not have okra. I thicken with Gumbo File instead of okra.  I do not like okra and think it's kind of gross and slimy in a gumbo.  In my opinion, a gumbo with okra is indicative of a Creole approach and I am Cajun. Two totally different birds.  Trust me.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup vegetable oil  
1/2 cup gluten free flour blend, or all purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped  
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped  
2 celery ribs, sliced 
6 cups hot water 
3-5 garlic cloves, minced  
2 bay leaves 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce
4 green onions, sliced  
1 teaspoon parsley
a good shake of Filé powder, about a teaspoon
Hot cooked rice 
Optional: chopped green onions 

1. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Move to large bowl and reserve drippings in cast iron pot.

2. Cook chicken in reserved drippings in cast iron pot over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned. Move to same large bowl you used for the sausage, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set chicken aside.

3. Add 1/2 cup oil to the pot along with the gluten free flour blend  and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 25 minutes, or until roux is a light chocolate color, or darker than peanut butter.

4. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender. Cook garlic until it becomes fragrant.  Be sure not to let it burn.  Gradually add 2 cups hot water, whisk or stir vigorously until smooth.  Add rest of water and bring mixture to a boil; add chicken, sausage, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally,  for at least 30 minutes.

5. Remove chicken thighs with slotted spoon and chop as necessary.

6. If desired, stir in green onions and parsley; cook for 15 more minutes.

7. Remove and discard bay leaves. Remove gumbo from heat. Sprinkle with filé powder, if desired. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Sharing Here: Party Junk-Recipes @ Funky Junk Interiors  /

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Chicken Chili

Yep, more soups/stews to share.  It's definitely that time of year.

This is one the boys in our house will eat.  Nice and hearty especially with a side of cornbread or tortilla chips.

I like for the recipe to come out a little whiter in color, but I forgot to hold off on the black beans before I pureed it some.  Not that it really matters, but it is prettier in my opinion when it's more white in color instead of "chili colored". Ha!

The recipe is pretty straight forward. Here are few things that might need some explainin'. 

• I use a grill pan to grill the chicken after it's marinated for a while, the longer the better. Shoot for about 30 minutes.
 •  Roasted Salsa Verde, green salsa is much more flavorful than green chilies.  I actually think the best one is from Wal-Mart.  It's under their World Table label.
Penzey's Arizona Dreaming Seasoning is fantastic southwest seasoning blend.  If you can't get it or don't have it on hand you can just up the other spices as necessary.  Be careful if you try and replace it with the Ms. Dash Southwest Seasoning because it has a good kick to it.  Go easy on that one unless you like it spicy!
• You will need a big pot.  I often forget this does not fit in my 4.5 quart pot and end up moving up to a 6 quart pot.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cooked or grilled chicken diced
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup roasted salsa verde, green salsa
juice of lime
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 cans white beans, drained & rinsed
2 can black beans, drained & rinsed
4-6 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more
hot sauce (optional)
1-2 tsp of Arizona Dreaming Seasoning, Penzey's
Ms. Dash Southwest Chipolte seasoning

shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
tortilla chips


1. Cook or grill chicken breasts marinated in lime juice, cilantro, Ms Dash Southwest Chipolte seasoning and salt. Chop and set aside.

2. Chop onions or use frozen chopped onions, saute in heavy pan, until soft. Add garlic, saute a few minutes. Add dry spices, stirring until distributed evenly.

3. Add Salsa Verde. Add chicken broth, white beans, corn and lime juice.  Add hot sauce if desired. I use a few dashes of cayenne.

4. Cook for a few minutes until corn is defrosted if using frozen. Puree some of the soup with a hand emulsifier to thicken soup.

5. Add chicken and black beans. Simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes. 

6. Add cilantro and more lime juice to the pot right before serving. 

7. Serve with your favorite cheese, Colby Jack, Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, lime wedges, cilantro and tortilla chips.

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