The Urban Dictionary defines chicken and dumplings as "The best food ever. It is best served with more dumplings than chicken."
I don't always agree with the definitions in the Urban Dictionary, but in this case, I totally agree. I'm 100 percent Southern, so I was raised eating chicken and dumplings--the greatest comfort food of all time. When I had to start eating gluten free, I was so upset because I couldn't find a suitable gluten-free equivalent of my mom's delicious recipe.
While visiting a dedicated gluten-free bakery this summer, I spotted a gluten free chicken and dumpling mix and decided I had to try it. Everything in the bakery was incredible and I was certain the mix wouldn't be any different. I bought it and put it in the pantry where it promptly got pushed to the back. I honestly forgot about it until my daughter announced that all she wanted for her 12th birthday was chicken and dumplings. My lil' southern belle wanted nothing more than a popular comfort food dish that I knew I couldn't make, then I remembered the mix I bought at the gluten-free bakery. Problem solved! Um, not quite.
So, I have cataracts. Yes, I'm way too young for that, but it is what it is. I have a lot of trouble seeing tiny print on the back of packages, so I routinely have the kids read ingredients and instructions to me when I can't see to do it myself. I had my son read the list of ingredients needed to make the dumpling mix and I thought I was good. I had everything I needed--everything except time.
With only 1 1/2 hours until the dinner party with both sets of grandparents in route, I finally heard the complete recipe instructions:
1. Mix ingredients and form dough into four balls. Let rest for 30 minutes. No problem.
2. Roll out dough and cut into strips. No problem.
3. Allow strips to dry for SEVERAL HOURS. BIG PROBLEM!
I didn't have several hours. I barely had several minutes, so I had to quickly come up with Plan B. My baby was having birthday dumplings one way or another.
Google to the rescue.
I googled gluten-free chicken and dumplings and found a recipe using gluten free Bisquick mix which I did not have and did not have time to buy. I did have Aldi's liveGfree Baking Mix in my pantry, so I substituted that and made a few other modifications to the online recipe using ingredients I had on hand. The result? Perfection! Even my mom said they were great! I think they were as good as her gluten-full recipe! I am so happy that I was able to grant the wish of my 12-year-old daughter and find a recipe that was worthy of being added to my family recipes cookbook, a handwritten recipe book given to me by my mother 18 years ago as a wedding gift.
After the dinner, I cleaned the kitchen and the gluten-free dumpling strips were finally dry, so I put them in the refrigerator and decided to try them the next day. I brought the broth to a boil, added the strips, and let them cook for one hour. They tasted fine, but were not the texture I was expecting and took way longer than this busy, working mother has time for. It's definitely not something I would buy again, especially since I found a great recipe that is super easy and really quick to make. Besides, my family prefers "drop" dumplings instead of "rolled-out" dumplings anyway.
Please let us know if you try to make the recipe below using gluten-free Bisquick. I'd love to know how it turns out. While reading the online recipe reviews, a few people commented that their dumplings (using gf Bisquick) didn't hold together and turned to mush. I didn't have that problem, but my mom has always told me to turn the burner to low and bring broth to a gentle boil before adding dumpling dough. A rolling boil will cause the dumplings to fall apart. Also, avoid stirring. That makes them fall apart, too.
Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings
3 cups chicken broth (gluten free)
1 1/2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp. corn starch
* Frozen vegetables-optional (I used carrots, onion and celery when boiling the chicken to make the broth, so I didn't add other vegetables)
3/4 cup Aldi's liveGfree Baking Mix
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
In 3-quart sauce pan, heat broth, chicken, salt, and pepper to boiling. In small bowl, mix milk and cornstarch with whisk until smooth. Stir into broth. Heat until just boiling. In a mixing bowl, stir dumpling ingredients (baking mix, milk, butter and egg) with fork until blended. Gently drop dough by 1/2 teaspoon fulls into boiling chicken mixture. Cook uncovered on low for 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes longer. Serves 2. My advice: double the recipe. You'll be glad you did!
I don't know about you, but I get a little excited when my gluten-free magazine subscription is delivered each month. I love to read the articles, product review, recipes, and even the advertisements for new gluten-free products and services. I can't explain how much more exciting it is when the mail man delivers a gluten-free subscription box full of gluten free treats. I don't just read about the products--I actually get to touch and taste them.
American Gluten Free, a relatively new subscription box service based in Chicago, sent me their August Discovery Box to sample and review. It was filled with non-perishable items that are 100 percent gluten free and dairy free! All of the products included in the box were hand selected by the owner and were made in dedicated gluten free facilities to prevent cross contamination. The discovery box I received contained the following products:
Love Grown Apple Cinnamon Hot Oats
Ocho Candies Coconut Covered in Dark Chocolate
Gluten Free Things Bakery Brownie Thing
Kameda Crisps Sweet Chili Rice Snacks
Aleia's Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Aleia's Coconut Macaroons
Aleia's Almond Horns
Aleia's Coat & Crunchy Extra Crispy
GFREE GENIUS TOP 3 PICKS
Gluten Free Things Bakery Brownie Thing
The Gluten Free Things Bakery Brownie Thing was the only product in the box that I had previously tried. The GFree Genius family LOVES Gluten Free Things Bakery and I was so excited to see the Brownie Thing when I opened the box! The brownie was delicious and I can hardly wait until the fall when www.glutenfreethings.com resumes shipping outside of Colorado. They suspended shipping due to excessive heat in other parts of the country that wasn't kind to preservative-free products. Luckily, I stocked up on my last order and have enough of their fabulous products to last until fall.
GFree Genius readers cans save 20 percent off at www.glutenfreethings.com by using the coupon code 20gfgenius. There are no minimum purchase requirements and no expiration, but this discount cannot be combined with other coupons. This coupon code can also be applied to value pack and super value pack pricing for extra savings! This code can only be used one time per user.
Ocho Candies Coconut Covered in Dark Chocolate
The Ocho Candies were also a hit at our home. I only got one of the bite-sized candy bars, but it was so delicious. I'm not a huge coconut fan, but I loved this dark chocolate and coconut treat. The texture was smooth and the dark chocolate was oh, so good! My son, 10, dislikes coconut and wouldn't try it, but my daughter, 11, said it was really good. My husband ate the rest of the bag and told me I need to buy more. I will have to shop online at www.ochocandy.com to stock up!
Aleia's Coat & Crunchy Extra Crispy
Yeah, we like sweets at our house, but we also like fresh dinner ideas! This box contained Aleia's Coat & Crunch Extra Crispy. This is a gluten-free, gourmet version of Shake'n Bake and my husband and I really enjoyed it. I thawed chicken tenderloins, drizzled them with olive oil, then placed them in the plastic bag with the seasoned crumbs. After shaking the bag to coat the chicken with crumbs, I placed it on a baking sheet and had oven-fried chicken just 25 minutes later! The herb seasoning is different than what I usually put on chicken, and while my husband and I thought it was great, the kids weren't excited about it. In our opinion, this product is better suited for adults and non-picky kiddos. American Gluten Free included a $1.00 off coupon for Aleia's products that can be ordered at www.aleias.com. I love to save money on great gluten-free products!
American Gluten Free offers two subscription box options. The box I received was the Discovery Box which contains convenient snacks and quick meal food products. It contains 7-9 handpicked snacks that change every month. They also offer a Foodie Box which has a monthly theme and is filled with 7-9 full-size pantry staples and ingredients for creative, delicious meals. The Foodie Box also includes recipe cards and kitchen gadgets. Both options are available on a subscription basis, or can be ordered as a one-time purchase. Either box would make a great gift for a gluten free friend or family member or even yourself. It contains high quality, gourmet items and most are products from small businesses that American Gluten Free is proud to support.
For more information or to order your first gluten-free subscription box, visit www.americanglutenfree.com.
What is the favorite product you've received in an American Gluten Free Subscription box? Comment to share.
We kicked off the new school year with a new lunch box, a positive attitude and a great teacher who knows what "gluten-free diet" means! Yeah!
Day 0--Meet the Teacher Night
Nathan's fifth grade teacher didn't flinch when I mentioned that he has dietary restrictions. Although she had a long line of parents waiting to meet her at open house, she took time to calm my fears by making the same suggestions to me that I had planned to present to her. She explained that she had a couple of gluten-free students in her class last year, so she is very familiar with what Nathan can/can't have and she recommended that we keep donuts or cupcakes in the school office freezer for days when an unexpected treat is needed. What a relief! She also informed me that a few of her lesson plans include food, but she would be happy to provide an alternative for Nathan. She gets an A+!!! I could've hugged her on the spot. Of course, I don't expect her to buy gluten-free treats for my child, but it is nice that she offered. I will happily send an equivalent treat that he can eat--or even supply enough for the whole class, but it was comforting to know that his teacher understands and is supportive. Now, if I can just get him excited about going back to school, my day would be perfect!
Day 1--First Day of School
Nathan's first lunch of the new school year included a pb&j on Schar Gluten Free Artisan Baker Multigrain Bread. I was shocked that he preferred the multigrain variety over the white bread. He also packed Skinny Pop popcorn, Glutino chocolate chip cookies and a juice box. I added grapes, Motts fruit snacks and a napkin. He tried hard, but I always check behind him to make sure he gets at least one healthy item during the school day.
None of his old "friends" are in his class this year, so he didn't hear the negative comments about his gluten-free lunch on the first day. His lunch was very similar to what his new classmates brought and nobody brought attention to it, so he didn't complain that he had to watch all of the other kids eat the yummy snacks he can't have. This is his new normal and he seems fine with it this year. He likes the snacks I buy and he knows he will feel bad if he eats the wrong foods. It isn't worth getting sick so he doesn't cheat! He gets an A+ in my gradebook!
Nathan did mention that he wants to take hot food like chili and soup in his lunch when the weather gets cooler. KeeleyMcGuireBlog, a gluten-free food blogger that I follow on social media, recommended the Foogo Food Jar made by Thermos to keep hot foods hot, so I will purchase one soon and let you know what I think.
Keeley's tip--fill the food jar with hot water to warm the core, then empty and replace water with hot food. Warming the container first keeps food warmer for a longer period of time. She has lots of great lunch box ideas, so check out her blog.
What do you pack in your child's gluten-free lunch box? Share your ideas with us!
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