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 the ‘faux fast food’ Category

postheadericon Corn and Bean Quesadillas

Quesadilla lunchOnce upon a time, before we went gluten-free, I was a vegetarian. During that time, I lived in Texas, and we ate a lot of quesadillas. This is one of my favorite recipes from that time. I served it to my kids last night, after a long time, and they devoured them! This recipe barely fed my family of four, so I’d recommend doubling it if you want leftovers or if you have more than 4 hungry people to feed.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes and for under $10! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and vegetarian recipe. You could easily make this dairy-free by using a dairy-free cheese, but I haven’t tested it with dairy-free cheese. If you do that, please comment so I will know how it works!

Serves 4, easy to double

Corn & bean quesadillaIngredients:

  • 1 TBS coconut or canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 14oz can black beans
  • 1 14oz can corn (or 1 3/4 cups frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, clipped
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese mixture (not the kind that already has spices, though)
  • Cayenne or hot sauce (we like Frank’s Red Hot) to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas

Corn and bean quesadilla with cheeseToppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Additional cheese or cilantro


In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, warm coconut or canola oil. Saute onion for a minute or two, and add cumin so it will toast a bit in the skillet. Saute for another minute, until the onions are tender,  then add the beans and corn.

Increase the heat to medium, and stir until the mixture is warmed. Add cilantro and 1/2 cup of cheese, and stir until combined and the cheese is melty, helping the mixture stick together.

Wrap corn tortillas in a damp kitchen or paper towel. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds.

toasted corn & bean quesadillaHeat a small non-stick skillet or two (or one large one if you have a skillet that will fit 2 corn tortillas) over medium heat, and add a bit more oil. Place one tortilla in the skillet, add a small handful of cheese, 1/4 of the corn & bean mixture, then another sprinkling of cheese before  putting the second tortilla on top. Let it cook for a few minutes, then carefully flip. Both sides should look a bit toasted, and the cheese should have melted when done. Repeat until all of the corn & bean mixture is used up.

Eat them up, yum!




postheadericon CSA Veggies and Chicken

We are now part of a CSA, an Eastern Seaboard CSA that gives us fresh (and mostly organic) veggies from farmers on the East Coast of the USA before the Farm Direct Coop starts up for the late Spring/Summer. The price for organic produce is much better through a CSA, and the food has been amazing – and seeing how much my girls like eating rainbow chard sautéed with garlic and olive oil is priceless!

Stirring after simmering

This is a 1-pot meal that can use up a good amount of fresh produce, and a great way of getting chard into people who might be leery of eating any dark leafy green that isn’t spinach. They don’t really have to know it’s chard!

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, and top 8 allergen free recipe. This recipe is Faux Fast Food, and can be made in under 45 minutes.


  • 1-2 TBS olive oil

  • 1-2 TBS butter/margarine
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3-4 lbs boneless/skinless chicken
  • 6-8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 2 small-medium zucchini
  • 2 small-medium summer squash
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or cooking wine
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (this is tricky to find corn-free, but a few brands don’t contain citric acid/ascorbic acid)
  • 1 bunch swiss, red, or rainbow chard
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, stemmed and roughly chopped


Ready to eat!

Start by doing all the prep work with the veggies and the chicken. There’s a lot of chopping for this recipe, and you don’t want to end up overcooking something because you need more time to chop!

Mince the onion and garlic, and set aside. Chop the chicken thighs into cubes about 2 inches long. Rinse and slice the mushrooms, and set aside. Slice the zucchini and summer squash in half length-wise, and cut into half-moons. If the zucchini/summer squash is quite wide, you may wish to cut them into quarter-moons.

To prepare the chard, first break off the bottom stem, then rip the chard in half. Use a salad spinner (I love the OXO Salad Spinner, myself) to rinse the chard, then dry and roughly chop the greens. You want to have pieces that are about the size you’d use for lettuce in a salad.

Simmering Chicken with CSA veggies

Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and warm the butter/margarine and olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic, and sauté. When the onion and garlic are tender, add the chicken. Stir with tongs (I use the Oxo Good Grips 12″ Tongs), until chicken begins to brown.

Add the mushrooms, salt, and dried herbs to the chicken mixture, and keep stirring with tongs. When the mushrooms start to soften and the chicken is looking browner, add the zucchini and summer squash. Stir well to combine, then cover and let simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Open only once or twice to stir. The steam will help the chicken and veggies finish cooking.

Drain the “juice” that has accumulated in the pan. Next, deglaze the pan with about a little apple juice or wine. Stir again with tongs, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine, and let simmer for another 5 minutes with the cover on.

Adding the green leafies

Finally, add the chopped fresh parsley and the chopped chard to the pan. Stir, cover, and let simmer for a final 5 minutes. The heat and steam will wilt the greens, and they will be perfectly cooked with little to no additional work.

Stir and serve. I like mine plain and with a salad on the side, but my daughters liked theirs with some Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne Pasta. Eat it up, yum!

postheadericon Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach

Plated stuffed chicken

This is the first recipe to include dairy on this blog. My daughters passed a dairy challenge at the end of August, and our diet has started to include dairy. While most of the recipes on this site will still be dairy-free, an occasional recipe that includes dairy will appear, like this one.

One day when I was trying to come up with something new to make for dinner, I had an idea to make a stuffing for the chicken. This turned out to be beautiful as well as delicious, and easy.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and low-carb recipe. This meal can be on the table in 45 minutes, making this a faux fast food recipe.


Ready to bake
  • 6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 8oz block cream cheese (you could sub soy cream cheese to make this dairy-free)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (home-made or premade – Amazon has several types of GF breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 or 1 tsp Italian-style seasoning – I like Trader Joe’s “21 Seasoning Salute” myself (if the breadcrumbs are pre-seasoned, use the smaller amount)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup, packed, raw baby spinach or kale
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 and oil a 9×13 pan.

Pounded chicken breasts

Separate the chicken breasts, then pound them flat one at a time. I have found it is best to place the chicken breast on a cutting board, place a layer of wax paper of plastic wrap on top, then use a mallet to pound the chicken flat. When pounding, you just want to get them flatter and thinner so they will roll well, don’t worry about making them perfectly thin.

Stuffed Chicken Breast Filling

In a food processor combine cream cheese, gluten-free breadcrumbs, seasoning, garlic, and spinach. Pulse until the mixture is well combined and evenly green.

Optionally, sprinkle a few spinach leaves on the bottom of the oiled pan, place the chicken rolls on top of that.

Spoon about 1/6th of the cream cheese mixture onto the middle of the chicken breast, then roll the chicken around it. Place the stuffed chicken breast in the pan, seam-side down. Repeat until all the chicken breasts are stuffed.

Rolling the chicken

Drizzle olive oil over the top of the chicken, then sprinkle a bit of kosher salt. A couple shakes of Italian seasoning on top looks nice, too.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with a roasted vegetable, some roasted potatoes, and then quickly sauté spinach in garlic & olive oil.

Plate with the chicken sliced into rounds on top of the spinach – a perfect, yet easy, meal for a dinner party!

postheadericon Portuguese Linguiça and Kale Soup

I recently made my Kale and Black Bean soup, and my step-father got very excited – apparently it tasted almost the way his father’s Linguiça and Kale soup had tasted. So, I listened to his suggestions, and ended up with this soup. I recently served this to several relatives at a family party, and they all loved it!

Carb-less Linguiça and Kale Soup

Enjoy this hearty soup on a cold day, it will warm you up. It warms my heart along with my body – I see my family awash in memories, and my girls gobble it up. This is definitely approved by adults and kids!

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, low-carb, and top 8 allergen free. While the soup can simmer for a while, this can also be ready within 45 minutes, a faux fast food!


Portuguese Linguiça and Kale soup simmering
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into circles (note: 4 baby carrots equals 1 carrot)
  • 1 lb linguiça (double check this – most brands include milk, but there are a few which are milk-free)
  • 1 large bunch kale, rinsed, stemmed, and ripped into bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups dry fava beans, rinsed, soaked, and cooked OR 2 14 oz cans kidney or black beans, drained (fava beans are the most authentic, but not as easily available)
  • 3 quarts liquid – 1 quart broth, 2 quarts water works well
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning to taste, or 2 tsp Italian seasoning mix + 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 white potatoes, cubed [optional]
  • 1/2 lb elbow rice pasta (we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows or the Trader Joe’s rice pasta [also optional]

Chop the onions, carrots, and garlic, and set aside. Slice the linguica in half length-wise, then slice in half again length-wise. Slice into quarter-moons about 1/2 inch thick.

Bring olive oil up to medium heat in a large soup pot. Sauté the onion, carrots and garlic until tender. When the veggies start to get tender, add the linguiça. Let cook for a few minutes, until the linguiça starts to brown.

Linguiça and Kale soup over pasta

While the linguiça is cooking, prepare the kale. Rinse, peel from the hard stems, and rip into bite-sized chunks. Add to the soup pot and stir with tongs, it will cook down pretty quickly. Once the kale has cooked down a bit, add the beans, seasonings, and broth/water.

Turn heat up to high, and bring soup to a boil. Turn the heat down and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you want to add the optional potatoes or rice pasta, add them when the soup begins to simmer. Cook potatoes for 15 minutes, or pasta for amount of time suggested on the packaging.

Good to the last drop

Serve alone or with a salad and rolls. Smile as you watch your family enjoy every last drop!

postheadericon Sausage-Stuffed Chicken with Apples

For those who avoid pork, or who would prefer to eat chicken, this is an adaptation of my Sausage stuffed pork with apples recipe.

This is incredibly easy, delicious, and can be on the table in 45 minutes. Serve with some quinoa, rice, or roasted potatoes and pair with roasted vegetables and/or a salad.

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, and top 8 allergen free recipe.


Sausage-stuffed chicken with apples
  • 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 lb chicken and apple sausage (uncooked is preferred)
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning or another seasoning that has a touch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil, for the bottom of the pan

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 9×13 or 9×11 baking pan (I line mine with Reynolds Release, which makes it much easier to clean up).

Delicious dinner

Lay a chicken thigh in the pan, skinned side down. Squeeze part of the apple sausage from the casing onto the middle of the chicken thigh. Roll chicken around sausage, and set in pan. Repeat until you have used up all the chicken and sausage.

Sprinkle the top of chicken rolls with a smidge of Tony Chacheres.

Core the apple and slice it into thin slices. Lay the apples on top of the rolled chicken. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on top, then slide into the oven.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until chicken and sausage are cooked thoroughly.

postheadericon Pan-Fried Salmon and Capers

This is one of my favorite ways to cook fish! I usually find fish somewhat intimidating, but this recipe is easy, delicious, and almost fool-proof. This was inspired by an early episode of Good Eats and Alton Brown’s recipe. I highly recommend picking up his newest book – Good Eats: The Early Years, even if you haven’t watched the show. It’s filled with a lot of great information, plus, he’s covered substituting for allergies on the show and he quite nice and friendly at booksignings.

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, shellfish free, and corn free recipe.


  • 1 large or two small salmon fillets – with the skin on. We figure on about 1/3lb of fish per person, and I have made this with 8 oz of fish and also 2 lbs. The bigger issue is to make sure you have only 1 or 2 fillets to flip.

  • 1 tsp Sea Salt or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour for dredging – amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum all work well
  • 2 TBS cooking oil – olive or canola oil
  • 2 TBS margarine (I like Earth Balance for this, but if you are dairy and soy free, using a little extra oil works well)
  • 1 TBS capers
  • 1/2 – 1 lemon, juiced

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

In a cake pan or large, shallow bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. Lightly dredge fish in flour and shake off excess.

When pan is good and hot, add 1 tablespoon margarine (or a bit more olive oil) to the oil. As soon as it is melted, place fish in the pan, skin side down. For the first 10-15 seconds, shake the pan back and forth so the fish doesn’t stick to the pan. Cook until golden crust forms on the skin – about 2-3 minutes.

Carefully flip the fish away from you and wiggle the pan again for the first few seconds. Cook until the meat turns golden brown and delicious. Remove from the heat and slide the fish onto a warm plate.

Pour out the oil, add the 1 TBS reserved margarine (or oil). When the margarine has melted, add the capers and fry them quickly. After about one minute, take the pan off the heat, add the lemon juice to pan and mix together. Pour the caper and lemon sauce over the fish and serve.

This is great and quick meal served with some quinoa or rice and then a roasted vegetable or salad. Yum!

postheadericon Artichoke and Salami Sautéed Chicken

Artichoke & Salami Chicken over rice

This is a recipe that popped into my head as I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to serve for dinner. Finding new ways of making chicken is a pretty regular event around here, and I’m sure around many homes! This recipe is likely inspired by a meal I ate in a restaurant once, or one I saw on a menu. It’s delicious and easy, and definitely faux fast food – on your plate in under 45 minutes.

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, and top 8 allergen free recipe.


Simmering Supper
  • 2 TBS olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • approximately 1.3 lbs boneless/skinless chicken – thighs work great
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • a couple grinds fresh pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 1 6 1/2 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 roasted red pepper, fresh or from a jar packed in water
  • 3-4 slices good quality genoa salami (our favorite is Applegate Farms)

Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until tender. Chop chicken into 1-2 inch pieces as the onion is cooking.

Add chicken, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and basil to the pan, and sauté until the chicken is browned on all sides. This means using tongs to move the chicken, onion, garlic, and spices around the pan and rotate the chicken.

While the chicken is browning, cut the artichoke hearts into quarters, chop the sprig of rosemary, slice the salami into strips, and roughly chop the roasted red pepper. Don’t forget to stir the chicken in between chopping!

Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir until well combined. Continue cooking over medium heat until the newly-added ingreients are hot, and well-integrated.

Serving Supper

There will be some liquid in the pan from the artichokes (even after draining) and roasted red pepper. Some will evaporate while cooking, and the rest can be spooned over rice or pasta along with the chicken.

Serve with rice or pasta (on the side or on top, depending on your tastes and the level of pickiness in your family) with a roasted vegetable or salad.

This is a great crowd-pleaser, for adults and kids. Yum!

postheadericon Balsamic Chicken Sauté

This is a rich and flavorful meal that has a hearty feel to it. The combination of chicken meat, balsamic vinegar, and mushrooms leads to a wonderful depth of flavor and heartiness. A lighter meal with similar flavors is the Balsamic Chick Chick recipe, which pairs chicken with chick peas, plus the wonderful combination of balsamic vinegar and rosemary.

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, and top 8 allergen free recipe. This is also a faux fast food recipe, which can be on your table in under 45 minutes.


Summer dinner tableau
  • 2 TBS canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 6-8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced (also called “Baby Bella” mushrooms)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, or 1 TBS fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning, or 1/2 tsp each basil and oregano
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 3 TBS balsamic vinegar

Prepare seasonings, meat, and vegetables – mince, slice, and dice vegetables. Then cut chicken into approximately 1 inch cubes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté onion and garlic until tender.

Add chicken to the pan, and stir frequently. I find that a pair of Oxo Good Grips Tongs helps me keep the food moving so it doesn’t burn, and yet stir so the different ingredients are well combined.

When the chicken has started browning, add the sliced mushrooms, rosemary, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt. Continue to stir the chicken and veggies until the chicken is well browned and the mushrooms have shrunken and become quite tender.

Balsamic Chicken Sauté

Drain any excess liquid from the pan after the chicken and mushrooms have cooked.

Pour the balsamic vinegar over the pan, and stir as it reduces and mixes together with the flavors already in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, and continue stirring so the ingredients are integrated into the whole dish.

Serve over brown or white rice with a salad or roasted vegetables on the side. This is delicious!

postheadericon Shrimp Stir Fry

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, and fish free recipe. This is a faux fast food recipe, ready in under 45 minutes. If served without rice, this recipe is acceptable as part of the South Beach Diet phase 1.


Shrimp Stir Fry
  • 2 TBS canola oil

  • 1 small vidalia onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 handfuls snow peas
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper (or 1/2 orange bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper)
  • 6-10 crimini mushrooms, sliced (also called “Baby Bella” mushrooms)
  • 1 lb large shrimp, shells, veins, and tails removed
  • 8 oz baby spinach (approximately)
  • 2 TBS soy sauce (LaChoy soy sauce, SanJ wheat-free Tamari, and Braggs Amino Acids are all gluten-free)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
Shrimp Stir Fry with Snow Peas

Dice the onion, mince the garlic, slice the mushrooms, and clean the shrimp. Remove the string from the snow peas. Slice the bell pepper into rings, and then slice the rings into smaller sections.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wok or a large skillet. Add onion and garlic to the heat, and stir. After they have cooked for a minute, add mushrooms, bell pepper, and snow peas. Use tongs or a wooden spoon to stir regularly, so they cook uniformly.

Shrimp Stir Fry and chopsticks

When the veggies begin to soften, add the shrimp. Keep the shrimp moving in the pan so they cook on both sides and cook evenly.

Add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, then add the spinach. Stir to combine, then cover and turn off the heat under the wok/skillet. Use the residual heat in the pan to wilt the spinach.

Stir to combine well, then serve over rice with chopsticks and additional soy sauce at the table – yum!

postheadericon Pennsylvania Dutch Cabbage & Chicken

This recipe is inspired by a Pennsylvania Dutch mystery by Tamar Myers I read a while ago, and have since returned to the library. It’s further inspired by several recipes I found online that weren’t quite what I remembered. It’s slightly sweet and slightly tangy, and using red/purple cabbage makes it look beautiful. Yummm…

Stirring dinner

You can easily make this without the chicken, and have a lovely cabbage & apple side dish or for vegans and vegetarians.

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 vegan/vegetarian recipe.


  • 2 TBS cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • about 1 1/3 lb boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded or sliced very finely
  • 1 medium apple, sliced but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBS flour or starch (arrowroot or corn works well)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice plus milk substitute to make 1 cup (I like coconut milk best for this, as it’s thick and creamy – and it doesn’t taste like coconut in savory dishes)
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • a couple grinds black pepper


Chicken, Cabbage, and Quinoa

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and sauté until they start to soften.

Add chicken to the pan, and stir. Continue to sauté until the chicken browns on all sides.

Stir the apple and cabbage into skillet, and sauté for a couple minutes, until the cabbage starts to soften.

Pour in the soured milk and vinegar, then mix in the brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Once that is well combined, sprinkle in the flour/starch, stirring until well combined.

Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with some kind of starch – we like quinoa. This has a great mix of sour & sweet and different textures, yum!

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