A Gaggle of Girls
I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters. We've outgrown dairy, soy, egg, and corn allergies, but still deal with a berry allergy in my youngest.
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Archive for March, 2008

postheadericon Ides of March Italian Chicken and Artichokes

Happy Ides of March, everyone! In honor of Julius Caesar, let us eat well, and with an Italian-inspired meal! I remember making chicken with artichoke hearts in several different dishes in college, before I became a vegetarian. However, in the past 15 years a lot has changed and I don’t have all of my recipes from that time in my life!

This recipe was inspired by the memory of those meals eaten with friends in one of the townhouses on the Skidmore College campus. It was delicious then, and it is delicious in its current incarnation as well! Still easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive as well.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Ides of March Italian Chicken and Artichokes


  • 1 lb whole grain pasta (we prefer the Tinkyada Brown Rice penne pasta)

  • splash cooking oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1+ pounds boneless-skinless chicken, cubed (we prefer thighs)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • splash red or white wine (optional)
  • 1 28oz can diced or petite-diced tomatoes
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 14oz can chick peas, drained

Cook pasta according to package directions. Double check cooking times – every pasta appears to have a different cooking time requirement!

The chicken part should take about 10 minutes if everything is chopped in advance, so you can start the chicken when the pasta has 10 minutes left to cook.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until they begin to soften.

Add chicken and spices to the onion/garlic mixture. Adding the spices at this stage will warm them in the oil and intensify the flavors. Brown the chicken.

When the chicken has browned, add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan (optional).

Ides of March Pasta take 2

Add the can of diced tomatoes, red peppers, chick peas, and quartered artichoke hearts. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain, then toss with the chicken & artichoke mixture. Serve, and watch it disappear!

Just make sure you put away the knife after you’re done using it…

postheadericon Are you getting ready for the holidays?

First, an apology – we’ve had some site-wide downtime and snafus when we needed to switch web hosts this weekend. We are sorry for any inconvenience, and will be posting extra recipes this week to make up for it.

The Food Allergy Carnival was posted Friday. Over at A Gaggle of Girls, we contributed a piece about planning in advance for the holiday.

Meanwhile, there’s about a month before Passover. Are you stocking up? Remember that many foods that are “kfp” or Kosher for Passover are also safe for a wide variety of allergens. During Passover, most Jews avoid wheat, soy, and corn, in addition to leavening, though some food has matzoh. You want to look for Kosher for Passover labeling (get your corn-free Coke!) and the words “non-gebrokts”, which means there is no matzoh.

We’ll be posting a review soon of Susie Fishbein’s fabulous cookbook Passover by Design, which includes 160 recipes, of which 130 are non-gebrokts, and many of the remaining 30 can be easily adapted to be gluten-free, if not safe for Passover. As a bonus, most of the recipes are also dairy-free, and there’s even a gluten-free, soy-free, passover-safe teriyaki sauce! That’s worth the price of the book in and of itself! 😉

postheadericon Indian-Inspired Lentils, Pork, and Quinoa or Rice

I read a book a while ago which included a chapter about eating frugally without eating fast food. If you have dietary restrictions, it’s unlikely that you’ve been eating fast food, but it is likely that you’ve been paying a lot of money for your food. Sometimes cooking from basic whole foods and looking at dishes inspired by other cultures will lead you to something inexpensive, tasty, filling, and delicious.

I always make sure we have some meat in the freezer, and if I can’t get to the grocery store, we’ll eat this meal. We eat it more frequently than that because it’s a meal everyone likes, and it’s inexpensive. What a great deal!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and an under $10 recipe.

Indian-inspired Lentils, Pork, and Quinoa or Rice


  • splash cooking oil (canola or olive)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb pork, cubed (substitute chicken, ham, or whatever is on sale)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala spice mix (I highly recommend having this on hand, it’s well worth the original expense!)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • splash wine (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup red lentils (optional, but it adds to the flavor and color)
  • 5-6 cups water or broth
  • about 2oz frozen spinach (I buy the 1lb bags of frozen spinach, and use 2 handfuls)

Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until they begin to soften.

Add meat and spices, and continue to sauté until meat has browned.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine (or not if you don’t have any/don’t cook with alcohol).

Mix in rice, lentils, and broth, and bring to a boil.

A touch of green on the plate

Add the spinach, then turn heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir 2-3 times during the cooking time.

Check rice & lentils for done-ness, and cook for a longer period of time and/or add more liquid as needed.

Serve and enjoy with a salad or a yummy roasted vegetable!

postheadericon Great Garlic Calamari Pasta

My whole family loves fried calamari, but I don’t like the work required to make it. Occasionally we’ll go to a restaurant that sells gluten-free fried calamari as a treat for my oldest daughter (fried calamari and sushi are her two favorite foods), but we were looking for an easier cooking method for in-between restaurant trips.

Sweet on dinner

Our local grocery store sells frozen calamari tubes which are pre-cleaned and easy to just slice into rings. I found that if the calamari is mostly thawed rather than fully thawed, it’s easier to slice. This is a light “sauce” for pasta, and could be paired with a salad, artichokes, or any roasted vegetable. We had roasted brussels sprouts on the side, one of our favorites.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, and corn free recipe.

Cooking the calamari


  • 1 lb pasta (we used Tinkyada Brown Rice penne, but linguine would be great)
  • 1 lb calamari, pre-cleaned tubes & tentacles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS margarine or 2 additional TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 3-4 grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 2 tsp chopped fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if you don’t have fresh basil)
  • 1 splash white wine (optional)

Thaw the calamari: submerge the frozen package in cold water, then place under a slooowly dripping faucet for 20-30 minutes.

While the calamari is thawing, bring the salted water for cooking the pasta to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

When the calamari is mostly thawed, cut the tubes into rings (cutting the flattened tubes into strips, which creates rings when the tube is opened). Don’t slice the tentacles, they’re great as-is. Set the calamari to the side.

In a large skillet, mix olive oil and margarine, and heat to medium, melting the margarine.

Add onion and garlic to the oil, and begin to sauté. Add spices, and keep the garlic & onion moving so it doesn’t brown or burn, cooking for about 3-5 minutes.

Great dinner plate

Add a splash of white wine if desired, it will carry the flavors, but the alcohol is burned off.

Add the calamari rings and tentacles to the garlicky goodness, and cook for about 6 minutes. The calamari will be cooked, but not rubbery. Take calamari off heat before it gets rubbery!!!

Drain the pasta and toss with the calamari, then serve with a salad, roasted brussels sprouts, or another vegetable. Delicious, easy, and ready in under 45 minutes!

postheadericon Check these out…

Passover by Design

I just received Passover by Design, by Susie Fishbein; a gorgeous cookbook of Kosher delights. Kosher laws require the separation of meat and dairy, so Kosher meals are very easily adaptable for allergic cooking. When Jews are celebrating Passover, they need to avoid most grains, unless they are in the form of Matzoh.  As a result, of the 160 recipes, 130 are gluten-free, and many of the other 30 could be adapted to be gluten-free, though perhaps not passover-safe. Watch for a upcoming book review.

The great folks over at godairyfree.org are hosting a gfcf (gluten & dairy-free) giveaway – a $50 gift certificate at Namaste foods. Go check it out and enter! Namaste foods has wonderful allergy-safe mixes, free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and the other top allergens, too.

It has nothing to do with food, but I have a fun book giveaway running through Monday 3/3 that will keep you laughing in between cooking meals!

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