Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aunt Barbara's Special Hot Dish

My kids love, love, love this! It's simple, lovely comfort food that my kids are guaranteed eat. The original version calls for condensed chicken noodle soup, which has either soy protein isolate or fermented whey, or both. Fortunatly, there are several dairy and soy free alternatives, but not as already prepared soups...there are several dry mixes available.

1 to 1.5 lb ground beef
1 small to medium onion, diced (depends on how much onion you like)
1 envelope MSPI safe dry chicken noodle soup mix (Mrs. Grass or Lipton KOSHER are both safe brands as of Sept '11...but always read labels to make sure)
2 c water
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Hot cooked rice (about 3 cups)
Cooked green beans (about 3 cups)

*NOTE* IGNORE DIRECTIONS on soup packet label. You'll be making it with HALF the required water (2 c instead of 4).

Brown ground beef with onion in a large saucepan or deep skillet. Drain fat, leaving meat/onions in the pan. Add 2 c water and bring to a simmer. Add the envelope of dry soup mix and stir. Once it returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Season to taste with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Serve over rice with green beans on the side. Yield: 4 servings

Knock-off Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa

I love me some Cafe Rio favorite thing is their pork barbacoa, which is a sweet, slightly smokey, slightly spicy shredded pork. While this version isn't totally spot-on, it's still awesomely delicious!

1 pork butt roast (about 4ish pounds)
1 can Coca Cola
1 c salsa
1 onion, sliced
2 Tbsp adobo sauce (or less if you don't want it terribly spicy)
2 c brown sugar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of salt

Place pork roast in a crockpot. Cover with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (until it starts to shred when you try to pick it up with a fork) or 4-5 hours on high. Shred meat and return to the crockpot (leave all liquid in the crockpot) and let simmer another 30 minutes in the juices. Serve over rice, in tacos or burritos, in salads, or any other way that floats your boat! Makes 12 servings (from a 4 lb roast).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We had corn muffins last night with "Hot Dog Soup" (what my kids call Lentil Soup). I love probably comes with the territory of having a parent from the South. However, there are several different camps in the cornbread camp.

Southerners usually prefer white cornmeal to yellow(though not always), and Southern cornbread is NOT SWEET. Many don't even put a smidgen of sugar in the cornbread. While I love a good, crusty piece of Southern cornbread, I feel adding a single tsp of sugar brings out the flavor of the cornmeal. It's not enough to make it sweet, but it lends a depth of flavor.

Westerners usually prefer yellow cornmeal over white (though not always), and western cornbread is SWEET. Like this could basically pass for a piece of cake kind of sweet. And it's often served with honey butter for extra sweet amazingness. While adding additional sugar makes for a wickedly good piece of cornbread, to me it feels like more of a dessert bread. So, I compromise and try to meet the two worlds somewhere in the middle.

Making cornbread safe for MSPI isn't difficult: Make sure you use canola, safflower, or your favorite oil instead of melted butter, and use rice milk instead of regular milk or buttermilk. Now, without further ado...

1 c flour
3/4 c cornmeal (yellow or white)
1 tsp sugar OR 3 Tbsp sugar (depends on if you like your cornbread savory or slightly sweet)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp oil
3/4 (ish) c rice milk

Blend flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl combine eggs, oil and rice milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined (don't overmix!). *FOR SOUTHERN STYLE CORNBREAD* Preheat cast iron skillet or baking pan. Add several Tbsp oil and coat bottom and sides of pan (be generous). Pour batter into preheated, greased skillet or pan. Place in oven at 375 until golden brown and crusty (the preheated pan with plenty of oil will help form an amazing crust). *FOR WESTERN STYLE CORNBREAD* Pour cornbread into a greased or sprayed baking pan. Bake at 375 until sides are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. For muffins: Pour batter into greased or lined muffin tins (3/4 full) and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pasta with Buttered Corn

Until I saw this, I'd never thought about adding corn to pasta. This is a tasty, light meal that's quick to prepare. Use fresh corn when possible, but frozen corn works as well.

1 lb hot, cooked pasta
1/3 c MSPI safe margarine OR clarified butter (if tolerated)
2 c fresh cut corn kernals (about 3 large ears)
3 scallions, chopped
Salt and pepper

Toss hot pasta with margarine or clarified butter. Add corn and scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pecan, Orange and Cranberry Bread

I have very fond memories of cranberry orange bread... one of my aunts would always bring a loaf or two every time she visited. The only substitution needed from the original recipe is to swap rice milk for dairy milk, and oil for butter!

2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c canola oil
Zest of 1 large orange
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c rice milk
2 large eggs
1 c fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c chopped pecans or other nuts

Preheat oven to 350 (400 for muffins). Grease and flour a loaf pan OR line 2 muffin tins with paper liners (24 muffins). In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, orange zest, orange juice, milk, and eggs. Beat until combined. Add cranberries and nuts to DRY ingredients and toss to coat. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. If making muffins, you may need to add a little more rice milk if the batter is a little too dry. Spoon batter into prepared pan or muffin tins. Bake loaf for 60-70 minutes, bake muffins 15 minutes or so, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. *Optional: Brush warm bread with glaze made from powdered sugar, orange juice, and a few drops of vanilla extract. Yield: 1 large loaf or 24 muffins.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

My kids could live off chicken noodle soup alone (if I let them)! Don't be afraid of the pinch of's exactly that: the amount you can pinch between your thumb and index finger. It doesn't add a specific taste to the soup, but if you leave it out, the soup just won't taste the same!

1 1/2 c diced carrots
1 1/2 c diced celery
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 c diced or shredded chicken
3 qt MSPI safe chicken broth
1 pinch sugar (trust me)
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped (can use a Tbsp or so dried)
1 tsp(ish) dried basil
Egg noodles
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large (6 qt or larger) pot. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and saute until onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Add chicken broth, chicken, sugar, parsley, and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add desired amount of egg noodles and simmer until noodles are tender. Monitor broth level when cooking noodles and add more broth if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lentil Soup

One of my favorite (and my kids' favorite) soups!

1 1/2 c diced celery
1 1/2 c diced carrots
1 large onion, diced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 c (generous) brown lentils
3 qt water (or 1.5 qt water + 1.5 qt MSPI safe chicken broth)
1 tsp garlic powder (or use 3-4 cloves fresh minced garlic)
a few gluggs of MSPI safe Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper (to taste)
2 c elbow macaroni (optional)
1/2 lb cooked sausages or hot dogs, sliced (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large (6 qt or larger) pot. Add celery, carrots, onion (and fresh garlic, if using). Saute until onions start to soften and turn translucent. Add lentils (pick through them first to remove any debris). Add water or water/broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Stir soup, checking water level. Add more water if needed. Add worcestershire sauce (if using), garlic powder (if not using fresh garlic), elbow macaroni and sausage (if desired). Simmer until pasta is tender, monitoring liquid level and adding more water or broth as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Great with cornbread!

Banana Chocolate Chips Muffins

A fabulous treat for breakfast! I mixed some up this morning and plan to freeze at least half for busy mornings.

1/2 c MSPI safe margarine, shortening, or coconut oil
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c mashed bananas (2 to 3 large)
2 eggs
1/4 c rice milk or non-dairy coffee creamer
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c MSPI safe chocolate chips
3/4 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream margarine with sugar. Add bananas, eggs, rice milk, and vanilla and mix until combined. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then add to wet mixture, mixing just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Be careful not to overmix. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Fill greased or lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Yields 18 muffins (or 15 big muffins if you overfill the tins like I do...).

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A New School Year...

I've been MIA for a week or two... school has started and I have a very active and challenging class this year! Once I get home I'm lucky to get my kids in bed before I fall asleep. I've not made it past 9 PM once this week! I may be scarce over the next few weeks until I adjust to the insanity that is school!

Breakfast Musings

So much of breakfast seems to revolve around the dreaded "D"...dairy. It took me a little while to be comfortable experimenting, but I'm glad I did. Here are a few of our favorite breakfast foods and what I've done to modify them to be MSPI friendly:

Pancakes: Buttermilk-less Buttermilk Pancakes

French Toast: I substituted non-dairy coffee creamer for the milk I'd normally add to the eggs

Scrambled eggs: Whisk them with water or with non-dairy creamer for a richer taste

Cinnamon rolls: I substituted rice milk for the regular milk in my favorite recipe, then instead of brushing/spooning butter on the dough, I used coconut oil. They are fabulous!

Muffins: Substitute rice milk for the regular milk, adding a little lemon juice if the recipe calls for buttermilk. My son loves chocolate muffins, so I'll often buy a MSPI friendly chocolate cake mix and instead of following package directions, I'll add 1 small can of pumpkin and 1 egg, beating until smooth, possibly adding some dairy-free/soy-free chocolate chips. Bake in muffin liners. The pumpkin is nearly undetectable and adds vitamins and fiber. Eat within a day or two or freeze (they are very moist and go bad quickly).

Baking powder biscuits: Again, substitute rice milk for the regular milk

For cereal (hot or cold) my son prefers using almond milk (especially dark chocolate almond milk!)

Chocolate coconut milk (or almond milk, if you prefer...but we like using the coconut milk because it's naturally a little sweeter) heated up makes a good hot chocolate. Toss in a few marshmallows and it's perfect!