Category Archives: Meats & Seafood

GF Tortilla Soup

Posted on by .

GF Tortilla Soup, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Sorry for the blogging lags, everyone. I really do have things to share… just not a lot of computer time to share them!

And forgive the photo… it was taking without much broth so you could see the ingredients and with a HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPO begging for MORE MORE MORE in the background. (Okay… so she’s hardly a hippo in her teeny bod, but you get it, right?)

Yesterday we had a visit from our social worker. Adoption doesn’t end at the arrival of the baby. Nope, there are six more months of social worker visits, reports, photos back to Korea for foster mom/birth mom and Korean social workers, doctor forms, etc. After six months, we can then officially petition the courts for Zoe to become legally OURS OURS OURS! (After that, we start the whole process for her to get her Certificate of Citizenship for the US, new birth records, social security, etc…. a whole new paperchase that HOPEFULLY will *not* last as long as the first several!)  The great news:  we will most likely be able to begin our “finalization” paperwork in September.  This news just about brought me to tears.  She is already such a natural part of who we are.  I can not even begin to imagine my life without her in it.  OH!  Soon she will be ours on paper too!  (Thank goodness heart-strings DON’T need paperwork!)

Oh! Could you not just eat up this cuteness!?!?!?!


I had an enjoyable little fruit/coffee luncheon with the social worker while Zoe climbed all over me, played a little next to us and read her books. Really though, she just wanted to sit in my lap so she could eat my fruit and watch the social worker. She’s quite the monkey, but was also well behaved for her almost 15 month old self. She even “said” (sign language) please when asking to get up on my lap. (Let’s not mention the fact that she wanted to put her feet all over the table though, k?)

When the social worker left, I put Z down for her nap and then began to clean up the book piles, the luncheon dishes, pay the bills, organize my menu plan, etc. (Yes! I’m back to menu planning! I think it will help save my sanity once I return to work…. what do you think?) I realized that I had forgotten to pick up the pork chops for dinner (oops) but that I had some frozen chicken breasts. Menu plan swap-a-roo and TA-DAH! It’s tortilla soup night instead of pork chop night!

Here’s the beauty of this: the chicken breasts did not defrost in time. I had even popped them in the microwave for the defrost… didn’t work because the two breasts were clumped together. Ah, well. I figured this was probably MUCH more like a typical work-week anyway. I often forget to defrost something for dinner the next night and have to rush or pick something up on the way home. I know Zoe is probably NOT going to be happy with me if we have to stop for groceries after a long day at daycare (at first, anyway), so this was good practice.

And guess what? This soup came together in a snap. And Zoe likes it! (Okay.. she ate the carrots, black beans, avocado and a few bites of chicken…LOL) I’m sure as her ability to chew grows, this will be something that she will like more and more because she can add her own toppings – thus making a food adventure at dinner. My nephews said they would like that idea too!

So… all you non-defrosting folks – worry not! This will work with your partially frozen chicken breast too! In fact, I think it made cubing the chicken that much easier.

If you are up for a great tasting soup with a decent amount of veggies, I highly suggest this. In fact, I was quite happy to realize that I had made enough for today’s lunch for all three of us too!

Gluten Free Tortilla Soup
Makes enough for dinner for 4
1 – 15oz. can organic diced tomatoes
1 – 15 oz. can organic black beans
3 pasilla peppers (large, mild peppers)
3 medium-large carrots (1 cup diced carrot)
1 sweet onion (1 1/2 cups diced onion)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 chicken breasts
4 -5 cups of water or chicken stock  (tastes better with stock, IMHO)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder (or more depending on taste)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 bunch cilantro, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
2 jalapeños, diced (optional: can be used as a topping or soup ingredient)
6-8 old GF corn tortillas (fried to a crisp and sliced/chopped) OR GF corn tortilla chips
sour cream (for topping)
avocado, diced (for topping)


  1. Char the pasilla peppers over an open flame or under your broiler until blackened ALL OVER.  Put the charred peppers into a paper bag and set aside while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. Chop and prep your carrots, onion, corn (if using fresh), garlic, tomatoes (if using fresh), and cilantro.
  3. Over medium-high heat in a stock pot, saute onion, carrot and half of the garlic in olive oil until the onion begins to become slightly golden and the carrots are tender (about 5 – 6 minutes).
  4. While the onion, carrot and garlic saute, cube your chicken breasts into 1/2 – 1 inch cubes.  (This is really quite easy if your chicken is still semi-frozen!)
  5. Once the onion/carrot/garlic mixture is ready, add the chopped chicken and the remaining garlic.  Stir frequently and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, remove the pasilla peppers from the paper bag (feel free to reserve any juices from the peppers and add it to the pot!).  Under cool water, rub your fingers over the peppers to remove the skin.  The charred skin will come off easily.  Remove the stem end and seed the peppers.  Once you have completed this with all 3 peppers, cut each pepper into strips and then dice/chop the pepper into smaller pieces.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the chopped peppers, black beans, corn, tomatoes and cilantro. Stir.  Add the stock or water.  (Add the diced jalapeño at this stage IF you want a hotter soup otherwise reserve it for people to add to their own individual soup bowls.)
  8. Add the seasonings and taste.  Adjust the seasonings to your preferences, PLEASE!  (Sometimes we add much more chile powder or cumin, but rarely do we add too much more oregano).  (Other spices to consider:  red pepper flakes, a touch of fennel, green onion, pasilla chile powder, tabasco sauce, etc.)
  9. Heat thoroughly. Taste again… and again….. :)  While this is heating, fry up some old corn tortillas in olive oil (additional) until golden or browned.  Drain and cool.  Slice into strips then chop into chunks.  Reserve for topping soup bowls.
  10. Serve soup along side bowls of toppings for people to make their own adventure (or top and serve).  Top with:  diced avocado, a  handful of tortilla strips or tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling in diced jalapeño.  You may even enjoy some more cilantro sprinkled on top.

I hope you enjoy this.  We really like it.  I think I will add some fall vegies as we get them in too.  It will be great with slices of autumn squash etc.  Yum!!

Happy GF Eating!


PS.  My next post will be about sugar cookies.  Zoe and I have been taste-testing and today I brought some over to my sister’s house for her and her boys (husband and 2 boys) to taste and vote on.  There’s definitely a love of both recipes I’ve been playing with.  Guess I will have to make more before I decide which recipe to post!  Or…. better yet:  How do you like your sugar cookies?

Gluten Free Skillet Pasta

Posted on by .

Gluten Free Skillet Pasta, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Oh, I’m tired. Yes, this little girl is quite the wiggly worm – I love it! But, yes, I am tired. Thankfully, her dad has been able to stay home with us for these first few weeks. I’m so happy he did, too! Not only has it helped Zoe with bonding (she adores him!) but it has helped us both transition to this new role in our lives.

And… selfishly… when I’ve been busy with the little imp. he has been great at doing practically everything else: the laundry, the cleaning, the sweeping, the … well.. everything. He does it all. Even make the best comfort food dinners possible for our family.

This recipe is simple. You’ve probably made something lke this yourselves. We used organic ingredients because that is what we have on hand, but use whatever you’ve got.

This recipe is also kid-tested and kid-approved. Zoe loved every bite of her pasta (without the meat, anyway). So far she loves just about everything she comes in to contact with – especially blueberry yogurt, bananas and Asian pears… and now this.  How do I know it’s kid-approved?  Check out this facial expression… it’s heavenly munching, I tell you.

Kid-tested, Kid-Approved Recipe

What do you all put in your skillet pasta? Here’s what we put in ours…

Gluten Free Skillet Pasta
Serves 3 (well, 2.5) for two + meals
1 package TInkyada fusili (or gluten-free pasta of your choice)
1 pound organic, grain-fed ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
2 roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped (reserve juices!) (roast two tomatoes in the oven on broil, allow to cool then chop)
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
seasoning to taste: salt, pepper, fennel, oregano, basil (about a teaspoon of fennel, oregano and basil to start with)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
4 ounces shredded mozarella


  1. Prepare pasta as directed.  Drain and set aside.  (We sometimes try to make skillet pasta without pre-cooking, but we didn’t use extra liquid this time to allow the pasta to cook in the sauce.  We make lasagna without pre-cooking the pasta too.  Have you tried that?)
  2. Over medium-high heat in a large , oven proof skillet, saute onion until tender.    (NOTE:  When we add other veggies to this dish, like carrots, red papper strips, etc – we add them at this point depending on how tender we want them to be too.)
  3. Add the garlic for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Add the ground meat and brown.
  5. Add the roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
  6. Add the seasoning to taste.  Allow to simmer  for 5 minutes.  Taste and season again to your liking.
  7. Stir in the cooked, drained pasta.  Stir well.
  8. Top with cheeses and pop in to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned.

Happy GF Eating, All!

Chipotle London Broil

Posted on by .

Chipotle London Broil, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Okay – has it really been THAT long since I posted? GOOD GRIEF! The last two weeks of February just about did me in. Between having the flu and waiting for word on the Chicklet’s arrival, I think all of my brain cells were on vacation. It’s *quite* overwhelming this wait. In fact, last Friday I just about broke.

But we humans are much stronger than we ever thought possible. And a new month has begun. Across adoption-waiting Land, a new month means NEW hope for news from the other side of the waiting game. And oh – what I wouldn’t give for a DUE DATE about now!

Thanks for your lovely supportive emails. I’m sorry I haven’t been very good about getting back to all of you as quickly as I would like (either to your fabulous comments or your emails). I promise to get on that. Really. I do.

Last time I posted, I wrote about Gluten Free Grocery Shopping. I didn’t realize how much interest, discussion and emails that one little post would prompt, to be honest. I thought most of us started out by sticking to the foods we could easily identify as being gluten-free rather than risking the box-label-can-prepped nightmare. (Although, I will say that I am mighty glad I was diagnosed in the age of cell phones!)

My sister-in-law was just told she has to be wary of developing Gestational Diabetes and she called me in a bit of a panic. She’s at a complete loss for what she can/cannot eat. We kicked off our conversation talking about snacks and breakfast. She was floored when I told her that I pack a handful of raw almonds for my mid-morning snack or that breakfast can sometimes be a fruit smoothie or a hard boiled egg.

Poor girl. She is struggling with the adjustment of missing out on convenient foods. When she told me that the dietitian recommended that she eat a whole wheat English muffin, she recoiled in horror. Why? Well, according to her, she freaked because her work cafeteria (where everyone picks up bagels for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch) doesn’t carry whole wheat anything.

Yes, you can guess what came out of my mouth next. I proffered that maybe, just maybe she should consider NOT eating in the cafeteria and bringing her lunch OR why not talk to the cafeteria manager and ASK for whole grain items to be served? (Surely she is not the only one who would eat them.)

She was appalled. How could she NOT eat there? What was she to do? Maybe she should pay hundreds of dollars a month for the next 4 months of her pregnancy to a food service that will deliver her meals and snacks to her?

At first, I was stumped. Here was this completely brilliant woman that I admire breaking down and I was stumped. And then I remembered just how much of our lives are truly saturated with food and food choices that are not necessarily healthy for us as a culture – let alone gluten-free for those of us who need it. And what about the nut-free? soy-free? casein-free? yeast-free?

Dang. We are a bunch, aren’t we?

So, it was back to the grocer for me. And my lovely sister-in-law and I are plotting menus together for her to live off of. And I’m trying to think of ways to help her adjust to that immediate loss of simple access and convenience – let alone the giving up of caffeine, sugar, and most carbs too.

We humans get through the tough spots together, huh?
Her with her diet and me with this insufferable wait.

In the meantime, I’m back to shopping the outside of the store. And to show you what kind of meal you can make, check out this one:

Chipotle-Dijon London Broil, sauteed spinach with garlic and mashed potatoes.

(Sadly, the sweet potatoes and yams didn’t look too tasty, so I settled for spuds. If my sister-in-law had been here, we would have gone with the sweet potatoes I just picked up today. OH YEA YUM!)

What is your favorite outside-of-the-grocer meal?
Or better yet – do you have any extreme low-carb, no sugar, low GI snack recommendations for my lovely Sis?
Do share!

Chipotle-Dijon London Broil
Serves 4

1 London Broil (about one and a quarter pound)
1/2 cup dijon mustard (GF)
2 chipotle chiles in adobe (*See note below)
salt/pepper for seasoning


  1. Chop the chipotle peppers finely and whisk together with the dijon mustard. Set aside.
  2. Season the beef with salt/pepper.
  3. Turn on the broiler.
  4. Broil the beef to sear it for 3-4 minutes then flip to sear the other side.
  5. Remove from the oven and drizzle half of the chipotle-dijon mixture over the top. Return to the oven and broil for an addition 4 -5 minutes.
  6. Flip and repeat: smear the top with the most of the remaining chipotle-dijon mixture and broil again for 4-6 minutes. (This length of time will produce a medium-rare/rare meat depending on the thickness of your cut. Please be sure to test your meat until you achieve your desired doneness.)
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 6-9 minutes.  (I didn’t let the one above rest long enough, thus the juices are flowing out, sadly.)
  8. Serve with a drizzle of the left of your chipotle-dijon sauce.

*NOTE:  Chipotle peppers in adobo are sold in cans.  Chipotle peppers are just smoked jalapenos.  If you are sensitive to heat, cut the chipotles down to just one or if you like things spicy, add another.

I promise not to be gone so long again….
I really had no idea that I had lost my mind so completely.
Ah well.
Maybe is the pregnancy adoption hormones?

Happy Gluten-Free Eating!