Tag Archives: Gluten-free

Creamy Vanilla Chai Tea

22 Mar


This post goes out to all my non-coffee drinking friends!  In a coffee drinking society, we can feel a little left out at times.  Ordering a hot chocolate instead seems unsophisticated; a cup of tea seems less than enticing.  What a quandary!  I know, such a first world problem, right?!  But I’m a cold-natured person who would truly appreciate a nice hot cup of something to warm me up. Especially when it’s the end of March and temps are still below freezing- boo!

So, I created a drink I thought was new, but in reality is pretty much an Americanized version of Indian chai tea.  It goes down much smoother than coffee, is not as dessert-y as hot chocolate, and is more satisfying than normal tea!  Basically, it’s perfection in a cup!  Tea Bags- Familyktichenblog.com

To make this concoction, I start with a heated mug o’ milk (and I always drink milk in a mug because it’s so much fun to say “mug o’ milk” or “milk in a mug!”).  If using regular cows milk you will want to stir in a teaspoon of sugar.  Alternately, you can use vanilla almond milk and no extra sugar is necessary.  Then, I steep a bag of vanilla tea in it (following directions on box).  In the past I was able to buy vanilla hazelnut tea, which was my absolute favorite, but these days I have to settle for the other versions pictured here.

I often make a cup when I’m trying to resist a late night urge to eat dessert. Or anytime when I need to warm my body, really.

I’d love to hear if you love it as much as I do and when you like to drink it!


Barbecue Chicken Salad

18 Mar

Barbecue Chicken Salad

To all my local followers, skip this recipe and go straight to The Fort Grille, an amazing local restaurant owned and run by some dear friends of mine.  Barbecue Chicken Salad is just one of their many fabulous dishes.  We don’t eat out often, but when we do, this is usually where you can find us.  I drool almost daily while reading the announcement of each day’s specials on Facebook.  Even my son claims,”Mr. James makes the best French Fries!”

For those of you not in town, here is my copycat version so you can taste little of what you’re missing!  The amounts are approximate- please feel free to adjust to your own liking.

Barbecue Chicken Salad
2 servings

  • 4 Cups Salad Greens (Romaine or Spring Mix, sometimes I mix in Spinach too)
  • 1 1/2- 2 Cups Barbecue Chicken (most often I take a bag of frozen cooked chicken out of the freezer and pour some bbq sauce on it while it’s thawing)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/3 Cup Roasted Corn (cook frozen corn in toaster oven for just a few minutes @400°)
  • 1/3 Cup Red Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Tomato, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Tortilla Strips Salad Topping (or broken up tortilla chips)
  • 1-2 Tablespoon(s) Ranch Dressing (I use Boathouse Farms Yogurt dressing to be a little more healthy)
  • 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Spread greens in two large bowls or plates.  Top with cilantro, corn, onion, tomato and tortilla strips.  Next add chicken.  Top with cheese, then drizzle with ranch dressing.

That’s it!  Perfect for nights when I don’t really feel like cooking, but need something to satisfy the family!

Barbecue Chicken Salad


Meatloaf Makeover

12 Feb

Meatloaf Makeover

It may surprise you to learn that I’m not a fan of traditional meatloaf.  But, I’m always up for a new twist on an old classic!  This version of meatloaf was created in an attempt to cross meatloaf with Chicken Parmesan- and it actually works!  (Seriously, when has adding cheese not improved a recipe???)  It basically tastes like a big yummy, cheesy meatball.  It freezes well, so go ahead and double the recipe to have some both now and later.

If you happen to have a heart shaped pan, this would make an especially cute Valentine’s Day dinner! 


Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf
from What’s Cookin’ Chicago?

  • 1 pound ground chicken (ground turkey or ground sirloin can be substituted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used GF corn flake crumbs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 small onion, grated or finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Place the mixture in the greased loaf pan and form into a loaf. Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

Place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing.  Garnish with parsley if desired.

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the meatloaf mixture as directed, top with sauce, and place in a disposable loaf pan. Cover and freeze.

When ready to prepare and serve, preheat oven to 350°.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for 55-60 minutes if frozen; 40-45 minutes if completely thawed.  Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving/slicing.

Valentine Snack Mix

6 Feb


Just in case you’re not aware, Valentine’s Day is exactly eight days away!  In honor of the holiday, today I’m sharing a snack that would be fun to send your kids (or spouse) in their lunch.  Or to snack on while watching a romantic movie???

Valentine Snack Mix
from chex.com

  • 9 Cups Chex® Rice or Corn cereal (I used 6 cups rice chex and 3 cups chocolate chex – yum!)
  • 1 Cup White baking chips
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Red, Pink, and White M&M’s
  • 1/4 Cup Red or Pink Jimmy Sprinkles (I found heart shaped sprinkles!)

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl.  Melt baking chips, peanut butter, and butter together.  Pour over cereal and stir until cereal is evenly coated.

Spoon into gallon size zippered bag and coat with powered sugar by shaking ingredients together (A great task for little hands).  Stir in candy and sprinkles.

If mixture is warm, spread out on wax paper to cool.  Once cool, pack into snack size bags for your loved ones to enjoy!


Valentine Snack Mix



Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

1 Feb


Believe it! These chocolate beauties are made with NO flour, but you would never know by tasting because the texture is amazing- fluffy and moist!  The ingredients are actually very simple, which is my favorite kind of recipe.  They are sweetened with honey, but are minimally sweet.  Hence the title muffin, not cupcake.  If you’re looking for more of a dessert taste, you could top them with chocolate frosting.  My thanks to Michelle at GlutenFreeFix.com for the recipe.  They were a HUGE hit with my gluten-free-chocolate-and-peanut-butter-loving husband!

  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line or grease muffin tin.  Gently melt together butter and honey on stove top or in microwave in short intervals. Do not boil.  Whisk in cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth. Whisk in eggs and baking soda. Pour into muffin tin. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until done.
Yields 12 muffins.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffin - FamilyKitchenBlog.com


Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Meatless Monday, Vol. 5

21 Jan

Crunchy Black Bean Tacos- FamilyKitchenBlog.com

I scored two successful pinterest recipes this past weekend- dinner and dessert all in one night!  Here’s the first.  It’s a mexican dish called Crunchy Black Bean Tacos.  I would describe it as part quesadilla and part taco.  It’s a bit easier than the Black Bean Burgers I posted a while back (although the burgers are better for freezing) and definitely as tasty!  Stay tuned for the second recipe later this week…

Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
from the book Cornerstone Cooking; posted on endlesssimmer.com

Taco filling1 Can Black beans, rinsed
½ Cups Red onion, minced
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Paprika
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
4-6 Ounces Pepper jack cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
8 Corn tortillas
Toppings (see below)


1) In a medium bowl, mix beans, red onion, cilantro, spices, and a pinch of salt. Grate your cheese and have it ready as well.

2) In a large, non-stick or cast iron skillet or griddle, add a few drops of oil and heat over medium-high heat.

3) Add about 1/4 cup of the bean filling to one tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese.   Fold in half and place in skillet. (Add a few drops of oil for each tortilla)

4) Using a spatula, press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.  As the first tortilla cooks, move it to the side and do a second one. The size of your pan or griddle will determine how many tacos you can cook at once.

5) Cook each taco for about 3 minutes per side until they are nicely browned and crispy.  When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out.

6) Serve tacos with toppings like hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.  I added some avocado to the inside, then dipped the tacos in salsa and sour cream- so good!!!  So, feel free to adjust ingredients slightly to suit your tastes!

Serves 4.


Crunchy Black Bean Tacos- FamilyKitchenBlog.com

Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan

15 Jan

Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan

As promised here is the recipe for Carrabba’s Chicken Bryan.  It didn’t win the birthday dinner vote, but it’s the one I was rooting for, so I made a few days later anyway!

If you’re not familiar with this party for your taste buds, it’s my pleasure to introduce you.  It consists of grilled chicken breasts topped with a generous portion of goat cheese then smothered in a lemon butter garlic sauce with sun dried tomatoes.  Can you wrap your brain around amazingness of this?!  And, as if it couldn’t get any better, try subbing out the chicken breast with a tender slab of filet mignon!  Oh my word!  The photos do not do it justice.

Chicken Bryan
from food.com

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt, to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 -4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (I used 1 tablespoon dried basil)
  • 4 teaspoons onions, minced
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided (I reduced this to about 4 tablespoons!)
  • 1/2 cup tablespoons white wine
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon’s worth)
1. Brush chicken with olive oil, season to taste with salt and cracked pepper.  Grill (or bake at 325°) chicken until done (internal temp of 160°).
2. Prepare lemon butter sauce while chicken is grilling/baking. Saute onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp butter (I used olive oil instead of butter).  Add white wine and lemon juice, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes to reduce.  Add remaining 6 Tbsp butter (I used 4 Tbsp), a little at a time, until it melts and mixture is emulsified.  Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and basil, heat until hot (but do not boil!).
3. Top nearly-done chicken breasts with goat cheese until cheese warms and softens.
4. To serve, spoon lemon butter sauce over chicken breasts.
Chicken Bryan

Christmas Poke Cake

9 Jan

Christmas Poke Cake

Alright, the votes are in and the fondue dinner won!  Thanks to all who voted!!!  Today is the hubby’s birthday, but he has to hold out for one more night to enjoy cooking his own his birthday dinner due to scheduling issues.

As a result of the voting, some questions came up from a few who aren’t familiar with Chicken Bryan and it’s amazingness (can you guess which one I voted for?!).  AND, I just found out today that our local Carrabba’s (where Chicken Bryan is served) has closed.  What a sad day!  So in light of these events, I promise that I will have this recipe on the blog next week so we can keep on (or begin) enjoying Chicken (and Filet) Bryan at home!

Now on to the all important issue of birthday dessert…

Basically, this is the winter counterpart to the Pumpkin Better Than Cake I made this fall.  This version is full of chocolate- chocolate cake, crushed oreos, and hot fudge sauce- and accented with peppermint!  I made this cake for my family’s Christmas Day dinner and it was devoured quickly!  I made a gluten free version of this for the birthday boy by substituting a GF cake mix and GF oreos .  The poor guy had to sit by and watch us enjoy on Christmas Day, so I figured he more than deserved a chance to enjoy it himself!

Christmas Poke Cake

Here’s the gist of it.  You bake a chocolate cake.  Poke holes in it.  Pour sweetened condensed milk and peppermint creamer to fill holes.  Layer hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, crushed oreos, and crushed peppermints on top.  It’s pretty much sinful!  Here are the details:

Christmas Poke Cake
from SomethingSwanky.com

  • 1 chocolate cake mix, prepared and baked according to the directions on the box
  • 1 cup peppermint dairy creamer
  • 14.5 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 jar Smuckers hot fudge  sauce
  • 1/4 cup peppermint dairy creamer
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • Peppermints or Candy canes, crushed (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
  • Crushed Oreos for topping (approximately 1 cup)

Once the cake has cooled, use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke approximately 20 holes in the cake.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of the peppermint dairy creamer. Pour over the cake, trying to fill in the holes.

In the same bowl, whisk together the hot fudge sauce and 1/4 cup peppermint dairy creamer. Mix in 1 cup crushed Oreos.  Pour and spread the fudge mixture over the cake as evenly as possible.

Spread the cool whip over the fudge. Sprinkle on the candy and crushed Oreos (as much or as little as you want).

Refrigerate for 4-6 hours (or overnight), until the sweetened condensed mixture has soaked into the cake and it’s thoroughly chilled.  Then it’s ready to enjoy!

Christmas Poke Cake

Pork Chops to the Rescue

13 Dec

Honey Garlic Pork Chops- FamilyKitchenBlog.com

I don’t know about you, but during the holidays I especially need some quick go-to meals to feed my family.  I’ll be busy shopping, wrapping, baking, addressing Christmas cards, etc and then at five o’clock suddenly remember that my family needs to eat dinner- oops!  These succulent pork chops have saved me several times!

Whenever the family pack of boneless pork chops goes on sale I buy them and then divide into freezer bags.  They are quick to thaw and made with ingredients I keep on hand.  So, they are easy and cheap! And of course, they’re tasty or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you all!

If you’re really ahead of the game, prepare the sauce the night before or in the morning to let the chops marinate before cooking.  But trust me- I know from experience- it also works to make the sauce just before cooking!

Honey Garlic Pork Chops
recipe from Spark Recipes

  • 1/4 + 1/8 Cup Honey
  • 3 Tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 Pork Loin Chops, boneless, approx 4 oz each

In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chops in mixture. Reserve left over honey mixture for basting.

Now you have options:
1) Place chops on greased grill and cook over med high heat. Baste two times.

2) Place chops on skillet and cook over med heat. Baste as they cook.

3) Place chops in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake in oven at 350° for 20-35 minutes (depending on thickness of chops).

Christmas Crack

6 Dec


Okay, the real name for this recipe is Terribly Terrific Toffee.  But someone on Pinterest labeled it “Christmas Crack” and I find it a much more appropriate name!  Here’s why: first of all, it is terribly addicting!; second,  it’s made from “crack”ers- haha; third you “crack” it into pieces for the final product.  This sweet delight was a huge hit with the company I served it to!  It just may become a holiday tradition in my household…

An added plus in my book was that it was super simple to substitute GF ingredients!

Christmas Crack
from asoutherngrace.blogspot.com

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers (I also made a batch with Glutino GF table crackers!)

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan or a 12×17-inch cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay a flat layer of crackers out on the foil.

Melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly.

Bake for 5-10 minutes- until the toffee becomes bubbly. After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.

Let cool and, if desired for expediting purposes, refrigerate until hardened.  I tried to be fancy and drizzle it with some extra white chocolate I had leftover, but that is completely optional!  Once completely cooled, break (crack!) into pieces.  I roughly followed the size of the crackers, but any shape or size will do!