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CHICKEN VEGETABLE RICE CASSEROLE

There is something about the combination of chicken, rice, mushrooms and broccoli in a casserole that is pure comfort food.  Back in the day, we used to make the old recipe that used canned cream of mushroom soup for chicken and rice casserole.   I have yet to find a good store bought dairy free, gluten free cream of mushroom soup.  If you have the time, homemade mushroom soup in this recipe would be wonderful – just adjust liquid/rice ratio.  While this recipe does not use cream of mushroom soup, it is a yummy casserole dish for those days when comfort food is beckoning.

With this recipe, I took some guidelines from here – then made a few adjustments/additions so will do a re-cap here.

8 skinless organic chicken thighs – bone in

Season blend for chicken:

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 1/2 tsp. Paprika

1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

3/4  tsp. Italian Seasoning

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Mix ingredients in a small bowl, place chicken onto a plate and slather the season blend onto the chicken thighs rubbing in well, then put aside

1 1/2 cups basmatti rice – rinse and drain well

2  3/4 cup chicken stock

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4-5 crimini mushrooms, diced

1 generous cup broccoli florets, cut small

1/2 a celery stalk, diced

5 minced garlic cloves

1 chopped onion

2 Tblsp. each:  fresh Italian Parsley, fresh Basil – minced

salt and pepper

grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat up a medium sized frying pan on low medium heat with a good drizzle of EVOO.  Add in the mushrooms, garlic, broccoli, celery and season with salt and pepper.  Saute 2 min. then cover with a lid – stirring a couple of times for 5 more minutes.  Remove from the heat, and add in the fresh minced Italian Parsley and Basil and mix.

Lightly oil a large square casserole/roasting pan/dish 10X13 approx. with EVOO.  Pour in the chicken stock, add in the rice stirring lightly to make even, then sprinkle in the chopped onion, and mixed vegetables.  Lay the seasoned chicken thighs on top and cover with foil.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and take off the foil adding a good sprinkling of grated Parmesan Cheese through out and bake 20 more minutes.

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ITALIAN POLENTA WITH MARINARA ASPARAGUS AND GOAT CHEESE

Oh how I love Italian Food. What I love is, Italians keep their food simple, without any fuss or complex ingredients, always using fresh ingredients and as a result their food is always delicious.  Jamie Oliver once said he was born in the wrong country….I very much think the same thing!

This recipe was quick, easy, elegant and delicious.  What makes this dish so easy is you can make up the polenta the day before or the morning of.  You can also use leftover marinara sauce or use a store bought jar of marinara if you are in a crunch for time.

How this recipe came about is years ago we had this dinner in a restaurant and I fell in love with it.  That was back in the day when I did not know anything about anything in regards to cooking.  However, I never, never forgot about this wonderful meal. This dish would be wonderful cut into smaller portions as an appetizer too.  Anyways, for whatever reason, this recipe popped into my head the other day and I thought …. yes …. it is time to give it a go.  So happy to go down memory lane…and how delicious it was too.

TO MAKE THE POLENTA:

1 cup of milk (we use 2% lactose free)

2 cups water (plus keep extra water on hand)

1 Bay leaf

salt – be generous

1 cup polenta

1/2 cup Parmeasan cheese

Combine milk, water, generous amount of salt to season, and bay leaf in a good sized pot.  Bring to the boil on low medium heat.  Add in the polenta – whisk well, then turn down to a good simmer.  Now using a wooden spoon continue to stir well.  Keep stirring for a good 30 minutes.  I added in total at least an extra 1/2 cup of water a bit at a time continuing to stir.  When it feels smooth to taste remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese mixing well.

Lightly oil an  8 1/2 x 12 inch glass casserole dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Transfer the cooked polenta to the casserole dish spreading out evenly.  Allow to cool 20 min. then refrigerate until 30 minutes before it is to go into the oven.

MARINARA SAUCE:

one  796 ml/28oz can of organic crushed tomatoes with basil

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 minced garlic cloves

fresh cracked pepper

2  generous Tblsp. finely chopped Italian Parsley, and fresh Basil

Heat up a sauce pan of low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the minced garlic, and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute until fragrant – a minute or 2.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, and add the finely chopped parsley and basil stirring to combine.  Take the casserole dish of polenta out of the fridge and put aside.  Keep the marinara on a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 min. and remove from the heat.

Other ingredients:

130 grams herb crusted goat cheese

Grated Parmesan Cheese

10 asparagus spears – cut in half

While the marinara is simmering, blanch the asparagus for 1  1/2 min. drain and add to a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well and pat dry with paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add a few generous ladle fulls of marinara sauce on top of the polenta – spreading evenly.  Then a generous layer of grated Parmesan cheese, topping with the blanched asparagus.  Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese through out the dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.

To plate:  Add a small ladle full of marinara sauce to your plate, then add a slice of the baked Polenta Asparagus Goat Cheese.  It is amazing how a few simple fresh ingredients can create a delicious wonderful meal.  Enjoy!  We sure did.

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CURRY BEEF SOUP

This was literally a “throw together” soup with anything you have on hand….and it was mighty tasty!  We had a few lovely days of warm spring weather here on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada.  Then all of a sudden it disappeared right before our very eyes.  Yes, back to cold, drizzly, rainy weather – so typical of our West Coast weather at this time of year.  We are half tempted to start a fire in the fire place…at spring time for heaven’s sake!

As usual, I gravitate to soup….soup of any kind makes me a happy girl.  Well, this soup started out with leftover roast beef and just went on from there.  You could use vegetable stock, chicken stock, beef stock, whatever you have on hand…also whatever veggies you have in the fridge that need to be used up.

My brother recently shared that he always makes curried beef soup with leftover roast beef.  I’m not sure why, but this is a soup I have never made before. So I asked “how do you make it”?  He said it is so easy, just use what you have on hand, add some good curry seasoning and then go from there.  Boy, did he get that right, so here it is:

3 1/2 cups stock:  veggie, beef, chicken – your choice (I did a combo of tomato veggie and chicken)

2 tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion roughly chopped

2 large garlic cloves, roughly minced

2 large crimini mushrooms, chopped small

3/4 cups diced carrots

1 celery stalk, cut in half and chopped

1 1/4-1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes (cut small)

3/4 cup zucchini cut into 1/2 inch size pieces

1 1/2 cups leftover roast beef cut into 1/2 inch size pieces

1 tsp. good curry powder

1/2 tsp. garam masala

salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a medium sized dutch oven on low/medium heat with the EVOO.  Add in the mushrooms, garlic and onion sauteing to sweat out, about 4 min.  Then add in the carrots, celery, seasonings and saute another 5 min.  Pour in the stock, and bring to a simmer.  Simmer about 8 minutes, then add in the potato and simmer another 10 min.  Add in the zucchini and continue to simmer about 5 min.  Check the vegetables to see if they are done, and adjust any seasonings.  Add the roast beef just to heat through and serve with a side salad or some good gluten free bread.  Yummm, I will always think of leftover roast beef to make this soup from now on, regardless of the weather – super easy and a great way to use up any leftover veggies/stock in the fridge.  Delicious and economical at the same time. :)

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QUINOA BREAKFAST BOWL AND OTHER RECIPES

This was a hearty breakfast bowl using leftover cooked Quinoa.  There are a vast variety of recipes for Quinoa from savory to sweet, it is such a versatile healthy food.  Here are a few different recipes in this post to share with you.

This was not so much of a recipe as it is a method [...]

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SALMON POTATO CAKES

This is another salmon dish but had to share as it was such a super easy lunch/dinner to make, I can’t believe not having made it before now.  Plus, it was tasty and very economical.  At some point during the week we always end up with leftover potatoes in the fridge – such a great [...]

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SALMON IN A GINGER MARINADE WITH A HEART HEALTHY SIDE DISH

Where has the time gone? I have just realized Gluten Free Delightfully Delicious is soon to be 8 years old! I have not been posting as many new recipes as I used to as life has taken many a different turn in my neck of the woods.  Having said that, I will continue to post [...]

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GRANOLA - GLUTEN FREE/NUTRIENT DENSE

With this new granola recipe, I took a few tips from my previous gluten free granola recipe, with an emphasis on it being more nutrient dense, and grain free.  Keep in mind, Quinoa is not a grain but a seed.  Even rolled and dried to create a “quinoa flake” it still carries all the nutrients [...]

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CURRIED MUNG BEAN VEGETABLE RICE DISH

This recipe is similar to my Mung Bean Stew – with a few changes/additions.  It is said that mung beans are a legume that are heart healthy, they help to reduce cholesterol, are the least gas forming of all legumes, and they also assist in improving/balancing digestion.  It is my goal/hope for 2018 to eat [...]

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CROCK POT WILD RICE CHICKEN SOUP

If you read my blog you will know that while I love the idea and convenience of a crock pot/slow cooker – in terms of success we have really had minimal results – just the odd recipe turns out great.  Usually, we find the dish is lacking in flavor, and any meat is over cooked. [...]

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GREEK BAKED ZITI

While this recipe was a bit time consuming to make – it was worth the effort.  It has been non stop raining in our area which always makes me want comfort food – with a roaring fire in the fire place blazing away to bring in some added warmth and coziness to our dreary damp [...]