Author Archives: kchan

Product Review: Foster Farms Gluten Free Frozen Chicken Options

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NOTE:  I was sent two large packages of items to try and share (Foster Farms GF Chicken Nuggets, Foster Farms GF Chicken Strips, and Foster Farms GF Corn Dogs) in exchange for this review.  And, being the genius I am (ha!), I forgot to take a picture of the GF nuggets or the baked items.  I’m sorry!

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Forever ago and a day, I came home to discover two GIANT boxes on our kitchen table.  They were not hard to see as they honestly covered our entire kitchen table.  It was late (for our girls) and the world was dark outside, but upon opening the boxes, we quickly knew we had to head back out into the night.  You see, the lovely people at Foster Farms had sent the sampler pack that I agreed to try.  Unbeknowest to me, however, was the fact that the sampler pack was actually made up of 4 packages EACH of three items.  FULL size!   We do not have a freezer in our garage and our refrigerator/freezer had just been stocked thanks to payday shopping for the month.

Admittedly, a little panic entered my mind when I tried to figure out how to store/freeze a gross of corn dogs and a dozen packages of nuggets and strips.  Thank goodness my DH was around.  We quickly organized and left the house on “Gluten Free Corn Dog Fairy” runs.  We shared the packages with as many of our gluten free friends as we could find at home.  I even brought some to school to stick in the freezer there for a couple gluten free buddies.

I have to say, I didn’t expect a lot from these gluten free items despite the inviting packaging images.  I’ve tried frozen chicken nuggets or strips before and I didn’t go back.  My daughters – especially the chicken nugget lover – refused to eat the other brands that we’ve tried.  However, the sight of the gluten free corn dog box convinced her that she needed one RIGHT AWAY the next day.  I think she was hoping for breakfast corn dogs, but I capitalized on the 4 year old memory span and put it off until dinner.  (We don’t have much time in the mornings before we have to get out the door.  Breakfast is QUICK!)

After tasting all of the offerings from Foster Farms, I have to say this:  WOW.  We REALLY like these!  Especially the chicken strips.  Even our non-chicken eater in the house will not only request these but she does a happy dance when she hears they are on the menu.  We like them so much that we’ve purchased them a few times since we got this sample package and shared them.  (Dang that no freezer in the garage status…LOL)

I especially want to say something about the breading.  So many gluten free frozen breaded products are either doughy (they don’t crisp up) or they rely heavily on polenta/coarsely ground corn meal to make up the “crunch”.  This breading does NOT do that.  As a result, it is delicious and crunchy – and natural breading like you would make (and like I have made numerous times) at home.

Overall, here are our thoughts about Foster Farms Gluten Free Chicken Strips and Nuggets:

  • delicious, whole chicken.
  • moist and well seasoned.
  • perfect breading
  • super convenient
  • just like mom makes (mom being me here…LOL)
  • versatile

Here are the drawbacks:

  • ummm….my freezer size?

Really – there were no drawbacks for us.  The meat is not chicken paste that has been shaped, etc.  They are great!  So great that I used them for ADULT dinner nights too!  I prepared them as the package required and then have made:

  • chicken parmesan (less baking time as the chicken is precooked)
  • lemon-glazed chicken
  • sweet and sour chicken
  • Thai Sweet Chile glazed chicken in lettuce wraps

 

The corn dogs are yummy too, but a bit on the dry side for me.  My daughter doesn’t think so and I am fairly certain if she could read this, she would be annoyed that I even mentioned it.  (However, she eats everything with a liberal lather of either peanut butter (not these, thank goodness) or ketchup (totally these…LOL).

My friends and colleagues who received sample packages with us have not stopped RAVING about them either.  In fact, a vegetarian friend even commented on how “good and high quality”  the chicken looked.  I had called him to share the product with his daughter who is gluten free.  She and her family – and little person – devoured them as well.

I am certain that a local grocer is now carrying these Foster Farms Gluten Free products because there were so many of us requesting them after this sampling.

If you are a chicken eater, try these if you see them.  I think you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you, Foster Farms, for sharing your delicious product with our friends and family!

-Kate and family

One year later some anniversaries never go away

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Tomorrow marks a year since the passing of my father.

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My friends have been stopping by to give me an extra smile or hug; a knowing glance from those that have lost their parents before me; or even just to “check in”.   It’s been nice.  We (Americans) do have a strange culture when it comes to death/dying.  We don’t really know what to say (really…there is not much you can say); how to act (no different than normal, please); or even if we should acknowledge the passing.

My boss’s dad just passed away this last month as well.  A few days before his birthday, if I am not mistaken.  The strange part for me was still living in this fog of not having my dad and watching someone else enter into the fray.  I observed how uncomfortable my colleagues were (well….some of them) as my boss expressed his emotions and gratitude for their kindness.  And he was just choked up while speaking.

It’s tough this life without a dad.  Especially if your dad was BIG LIFE!  Gregarious, strong, laughing, opinionated, engaging…and always, always *on*.

And as the days here in the Pacific Northwest edge us closer to permanent slumber with gray skies and mushy footsteps, I count myself blessed.  Blessed to have had a Dad like him.  Blessed for my daughters to have such a great dad too.  And lucky to be here.

It’s been a foggy year.  And while the anniversary of his passing is tomorrow, for me it has been everyday that I wake up without his voice, guidance or laughter.

Tomorrow is just another day on the calendar.  It’s everyday in between that feels empty.

-back again in a few with a recipe and a product review –

Kate

Gluten Free Potstickers with White Wine Sangria – and a giveaway!

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Gluten Free Gobsmacked/Kate Chan

Gluten Free Potstickers?  Yes, please!

Peach-Mango White Wine Sangria?  Bring it on!

Plated - Go!

NOTICE:  I was contacted by a marketing company for Al Fresco (gluten free sausages, etc) and Columbia Crest wines to create a recipe using Al Fresco meat and pairing it with Columbia Crest wine..  They sent me wine, coupons (2) for al fresco products, and some “entertainment” things (a trivet, spatual, grilling brush, wine opener and bottle stopper) in exchange for a post about wine matching that used Al Fresco gluten free meats.  The recipe is purely mine as are the opinions that follows.  I was not paid but rather was gifted the products and “entertainment” items for my time.

…………………………………………………………

I thought this summer would be lost of leisurely time to do things like, you know, clean our our closets and get rid of stuff stuff STUFF that seems to be everywhere!  It has been filled with work – but not what I anticipated.  More often than not since the weather has gotten HOT, we’ve been seeking easy dinners.  Without air conditioning and living someplace where the hottest time of day is *just when* you want to start cooking dinner, it’s been a struggle.  I hate HOT and the house has been hovering around 86F at 5PM.  The thought of hanging out by the stove or turning on the oven just makes me ill at that time of day.  You can usually find us out on the deck grilling….. that was until we ripped the deck off the back of the house.  Oh yes.  We’ve been doing work (!) this summer.  I’ve spent more time at Home Deport (and more money!) in the last two weeks than I have in the last thirteen years.  Ha!

The Al Fresco meats that we’ve found have been delicious so I was quite happy to participate in a little wine pairing/recipe making.  We typically grill the meat with tons of red/orange/yellow/green bell peppers and then chop it all up and toss it into some quinoa with a dressing.  It’s delicious!  But this time, the coupons and recipe challenge arrived in the middle of our “empanada” vs. “potsticker” debate – as in which one would you rather (1) make and (2) eat?   Potstickers win every time in this house.  Empanadas are a close second with only two of us voting.  If the girls voted, we’d be eating cheeseburgers or sushi every night.  Ha!

And while the wine they sent (4 bottles!) was about the same amount of wine as we buy in two years, it was fun to taste and try.  The wine was delicious and quite easy to pair.  We chose the Columbia Crest Unoaked Chardonnay for our pairing as it fit perfectly with our plan:  White Wine Sangria!  The wine by itself is super smooth, light and with a hint of citrus, so it was lovely with peaches and mango for a sangria.

If you haven’t tried to make a gluten free potsticker before, never fear!  We’ve been making them since 2008 – and while we don’t make them as often any more, it isn’t as giant of an undertaking as you might think.  All in all, our dinner from scratch was ready in an hour.  That is how long it took the two of us to make the potstickers, salad, plate it and sit down for dinner.  It would have taken a little longer had I been flying solo in the kitchen.  Or better, I would have just shaved the brussel sprouts earlier!  (I’m a bit of a last minute Nelly on the salad making lately.)

The only thing missing from our meal tonight was a fabulous outdoor setting with a cool evening.  But until our backyard is put back together, this is not an option.  Maybe the sangria and potsticker fuel will help us get even more accomplished on our major yard projects tomorrow!

Our Friday Night Menu:

      • Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Rainier Cherries and Almonds
      • Sliced peaches and mangos
      • Chicken Potstickers (*al fresco Italian Chicken Sausage)
      • White Wine Peach-Mango Sangria (*Columbia Crest Chardonnay)

So let’s get to the recipes!

Potstickers - ready!

Gluten Free Potstickers

Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer, Entrée
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot
Region Chinese
Kate Chan Kate Chan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice flour (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1/3 cup sweet rice flour (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch/tapioca starch flour (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 2 eggs (Potsticker dough ingredient & Filling)
  • 2/3+ cups cold water (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (Potsticker dough ingredient)
  • 2-3 al fresco Italian Chicken Sausage links (Filling)
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, minced (Filling)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (Filling & Dipping Sauce)
  • 1.5 " knob of fresh ginger, minced (Filling & Dipping Sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (Filling)
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (Dipping Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce/tamari (Dipping Sauce)
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar (Dipping Sauce)

Directions

Filling
Step 1 MAKE YOUR FILLING: In the bowl of your food processor, drop 5 cloves of garlic, a knob of ginger (reserve the remaining garlic and ginger for your dipping sauce) and the onion, Pulse until well minced together. Add 2-3 al fresco Italian Sausage links and pulse again. You can continue pulsing until the ingredients are broken down together. Scrape into a bowl. Mix in sesame oil and one egg.
Dough
Step 2 dough ingredientsMAKE YOUR POTSTICKER DOUGH: In the (clean) bowl of your food processor, mix together your dry ingredients for the dough (rice flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, xanthan gum, gelatin, and salt). Blend the egg into 1/2 cup cold water. Drizzle the cold water/egg into the whirring food processor. Pulse until the dough comes together. Add reserved water and olive oil until you have a pliable, non-sticky dough that you can form into a ball. If it is not pliable, add a teaspoon of water at a time. If it is sticky, add a Tablespoon of tapioca starch at a time until you achieve a pliable, non-sticky ball. Cover with a damp/wet paper towel and set aside.
Step 3 filling it upMAKE THE POTSTICKERS: Separate a handful of dough and leave the rest covered with a damp/wet paper towel while working. Roll the dough out to 1/8-1/4" thickness. (I prefer to do this between two sheets of parchment paper to avoid any accidental sticking.) Cut with a 3.5 inch biscuit round cutter (or the lip of a round drinking glass). Peel off the not cut parts to roll again and fill each of your circles with a teaspoon + of your filling. (Don't try to overfill your potstickers or they will explode while cooking.) Fold the circle in half and pinch/twist the edges as you go to crimp them together well. Set the potstickers aside on a separate plate and continue to roll out dough/fill/crimp until you have finished with your dough. (We make about 18 potstickers with this dough recipe but this will vary depending on the size or your circles/cuts.)
Step 4 COOK YOUR POTSTICKERS: Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into a fry pan and bring to a boil. Add your potstickers (cook in batches). The water should just barely cover them. Boil the potstickers to cook the dough about 5 -8 minutes depending on the thickness of your dough. Take one out and cut it/taste it to test. Strain out the potstickers and pour the water out of the pan. Return the pan to the stove and heat it up high. Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the pan and place the potstickers in the pan to brown. Allow to brown/crisp up along on side (or two, if you prefer) for at least 5 minutes, checking for doneness. Potstickers are done when golden and crispy on the outside.
Dipping Sauce
Step 5 MAKE YOUR DIPPING SAUCE: In a small saucepan, add a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Scrape in the reserved minced garlic and ginger. Stir until aromatic 1-2 minutes (or less!). Add your vinegar and soy sauce. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Taste. Heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and either drizzle over the potstickers or place in a dipping bowl with the potstickers/family style.

Peach-Mango White Wine Sangria

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Columbia Crest UnOaked Chardonnay or other white wine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large fresh peach, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe mango, slice thin
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 1-2 cup Club Soda (optional)

Directions

Step 1 Mix together fruit, sugar, wine and Grand Marnier. Put into fridge to allow fruit to soak for several hours. When ready to serve, add 1 cup (or more, to taste) of club soda and some ice cubes. (The club soda lightens the sangria considerably.)

 

And now a giveaway – I have a Grand Prize and 5 coupons for Runner Ups!

The Grand Prize Winner will receive:  (2) al fresco free item coupons, a lovely wooden trivet/spatula set, a grilling brush and a wine opener/stopper from Columbia Crest.

Five Runner Ups will each receive a free product coupon (1 each) for an al fresco product.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway