Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! - Storing Diced Onions

When it comes to being efficient in the kitchen, I'm a big proponent of "Need it twice, chop it once." Often, I'll chop not only the veggies I need for the meal at hand, but also for the next day's fare. One item though, has destroyed flavors in my fridge more than once (cue dramatic music)...the Onion.

Even double bagging a chopped onion doesn't contain that strong flavor, or keep it from seeping into more delicately flavored food housed alongside of it.  But, if I can, I want to avoid crying over my cutting board two days in a row.  So here's what I came up with:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shhhh...Super Secret Chili Recipe

I have guarded this chili recipe for years.  I have not shared it with friends, or family.  I have made it for informal chili cook-offs, game day parties, potlucks, and I have basked in the praise of my guests.  I have kept secret the two unexpected ingredients that elevate this chili from an ordinary dish, to a rich meal with layers of flavor. And now, now I am sharing it with you. It's time for me to share this goodness, nay, greatness. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Ditch the Dye

As a family, we've made a commitment to "Ditch the Dye."  It hasn't been too difficult to remove artificial dyes from our daily diet, it's really just about label reading and putting anything with artificial dye in it back on the shelf. But when it comes to decorating cutout cookies....?  There has to be a way to get colorful sprinkles on those cookies without artificial food coloring.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Spicy Ball Squash - Tomato Sauce

This fresh tasting, flavorful pasta sauce was a hit at our dinner table, and was really quick to pull together. Pasta (wheat or GF) is such a perfect go-to meal during the week.  It's warm, it satisfies, it fills the children up before they do their evening lessons and activities, but I'm always looking for ways to just change it up a little, so that none of us get bored with "Pasta Night."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! - Sharp Knife

The best tool to have in your kitchen is a sharp knife.  No joke, just a very sharp chef's knife.  

A sharp knife is safer than a dull one. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true! A dull knife can slip while slicing, and the pressure you exert on dull knife is greater than that which you put on a sharp one, which can lead to fatigue, and sloppy slicing.  In my personal experience, I have also found that I am much more focused and careful when using my awesome, sharp chef's knife.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

12 Cookies of Christmas

I'm thrilled to present the 12 Cookies of Christmas!  This collection of 12 dairy free, egg free, and peanut/tree nut free cookie recipes is available as a PDF download for $1.99.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Quickie with SunButter - Sunbutter Chocolate Mug Cake

Warm, soft, decadent, intense....hmmmm, it's time for a quickie!  A quickie with SunButter.  In the microwave.  Wait. Huh? Get your mind out of the gutter, this is NOT that kind of website! Grab your kids and make this Quickie SunButter Chocolate Mug Cake for snack time!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Onions

Today's kitchen tip takes a kitchen staple - the humble yellow onion - and unlocks both flavor and utility. 

When roasting meat, take the metal rack out of the roasting pan and replace it with thickly sliced onions.  The "onion rack" will keep the meat from touching the bottom of the pan, and will add great flavor to the pan drippings.  In addition, you can serve the onions over top of the sliced meat for a delicious flavor boost! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Smokey Steak Seasoning

Every once in a while I get a craving for a great steak, (I prefer an organic rib-eye).  My three year old has a beef allergy, so we don't eat beef as a family any more.  But sometimes, my husband and I eat a late dinner after the kids have gone to bed.  We call it a "date night in." One of our favorite meals is simple steak and potatoes with some sauteed veggies.

I became a little tired of the same old kosher salt and cracked black pepper on my steak, so I concocted this smokey, muted seasoning, with just a hint of heat.  Sprinkle it on your steak , and then sear the steak in a cast iron skillet. (I like to use bacon fat in the skillet, but olive oil would do just fine!) Then serve with whipped potatoes and sauteed veggies of your choice!  Simple, special, and tasty!

I added shrimp to our dinner to make it surf and turf.  After I removed the steak from the skillet, I added a tablespoon of olive oil, and sauteed the shrimp just until opaque.  Then I squeezed fresh lemon over it right before serving! 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ian's Onion Rings - Review

I became aware of Ian's Natural Foods when I attended The Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. What impressed me most about this brand was the variety of MEAL offerings.  There are a lot of food allergy focused companies specializing in snacks, desserts, safe baking items, etc.  But, few focus on providing a kid friendly, busy-mom-friendly, simple meal.

Our family received a box of products from Ian's for review. I'll be honest, Ian's scored points with the kids right away - the cooler was packed with dry ice.  Well now, a homeschooling family can't let that opportunity go to waste, right?  Once we opened the box, we spent a good half hour making fog and talking about sublimation. Bonus!  Thanks Ian's!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! - Pre-made Mixes

Ah, the pre-food-allergy-days of being able to buy a boxed mix for any variety of baked good, and whip it up with minimal measuring at a moment's notice.  Those days can be yours again!  Grab your recipes, some zip top bags and a sharpie marker!

You can see how beat up my cookbook is - that's because all the
recipes in it REALLY ARE the recipes we make at home! I actually use my own cookbook! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Turkey Casserole

One of our family favorites is a Thanksgiving leftover, "Turkey Casserole."  We make this throughout the year, but it never fails that the day after Thanksgiving, the kids are begging for Turkey Casserole.  In this post, I'll include both the dairy and non-dairy versions!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Omission Gluten Free Beer - Review

Forget about Black Friday - It's Product Review Friday!  Today, I'm reviewing a beverage that I had the pleasure of sampling at the FABlog Conference in September. I found it at our local grocery store and brought it home for an assist from my husband! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Salad Dressings and Harvest Salad - Thanksgiving Series

Loads of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing...all can add up to a heavy feeling.  Balance your table with this colorful Harvest Salad, and two choices of homemade salad dressing. Chop all the ingredients the day before, store them in zip top bags, and simple combine them on Thanksgiving!  The salad dressings can be made up to a week in advance.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy - Thanksgiving series

It's "Kitchen Tip Tuesday - Thanksgiving Edition!" Today, I'm sharing a tried and true solution to the last minute "gravy scramble" when the turkey comes out of the oven...you know the one - wondering if there will be enough drippings, hoping the gravy doesn't turn out lumpy, all while your guests are waiting for you to sound the dinner bell. Avoid all that stress, and make your gravy ahead of time! Use turkey stock , OR chicken stock if you didn't make turkey stock ahead of time.  

So here's the big secret to awesome gravy every time, it's all about the ratio: 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Time for PIE! - Thanksgiving Series

It's Monday of Thanksgiving week!  What can you do today to prepare for Thanksgiving Day?  Make your pies!  Actually, you'll assemble them, wrap them, and freeze them until Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  Today, I'm sharing my recipe for Apple pie! (Filling AND crust!) 

Friday, November 21, 2014

So Delicious Soy Frozen Dessert Review

I love ice cream.  LOVE ice cream.  When an ice cream lover is in a dairy-free family, a solution MUST be found. MUST!  So today, I'm reviewing a product that I bought at our local grocery store: So Delicious Soy Frozen Dessert - Chocolate Velvet.  Here we go!

Pros: The name is accurate, this soy ice cream is chocolaty, and the texture of the dessert is smooth, not gummy, like some other brands we have tried. The mouthfeel isn't as creamy as a full fat ice cream, but satisfies my craving nonetheless.  Everyone in the family has enjoyed this frozen dessert, and we even made homemade "Ice Cream" sandwiches with it!  It's organic, Non- GMO Project Verified!

Cons: As with any specialty item, it's pricey - and the containers are smallish (one quart), so for a larger family, that can add up. While So Delicious has high standards, and tests its batches for multiple allergens, it does produce a chocolate peanut butter flavor...which makes this allergy mama have to be very trusting in their process that cross contamination won't occur. 

Bottom Line: I'll buy So Delicious Soy Frozen Dessert again for special occasions for my family!  

For more information on all So Delicious products, including their almond, and coconut lines, click HERE to visit their website!

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!

Photo Credit: Aidan Van Horn
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! My Dairy-free Secret to Creamy Soups!

Who doesn't love a creamy soup?  I'm a huge fan of soup, nearly ANY soup, but especially of creamy soup.  The warm, filling, comfort of a creamy soup is hard to beat on a blustery Fall day, or in the midst of Lake Effect Snow - like today!  

The view from my kitchen! 

When dairy is taken out of the equation, it's sometimes difficult to get that creamy mouthfeel that I crave in a soup when the cold weather sets in.  There are several standard purees that can be added to a soup to make it "creamy," like pureed cashews - which doesn't work for this nut-free crowd, or potatoes, blended right into the soup.  Both are good, but I'm going to share my secret with you, are you ready?  Here it is: 

TA DA!!!!

Some of you might recognize this gorgeously odd looking veggie from the aisles of the produce department.  You might have filed it under "Things I don't know what to do with." Or, maybe it doesn't look familiar to you at all.  One of my friends and I were grocery shopping together when I bought this, and her exact words were "WHAT is THAT???"

I'll tell you what it is, it's CELERIAC!  Also known as "Celery Root," this underutilized gem of a vegetable is delicious as a mash, or even blanched and fried like a french fry.  It has a delicate celery taste and a potato-like texture.  But, it has a secret...it makes soup creamy!  This is my secret weapon!  I use it in any veggie base that I will be pureeing into a "cream" soup.  Here's how to get at the pale, lovely interior of celeriac. 

First, cut off the top stalks, and the bottom "bumpy" part, so it sits flat on the cutting board. Then use a knife to peel the thick exterior to reveal the surprisingly smooth, dense interior. 

Proceed to dice as you would a potato!  After
cooking them along with carrots and onions
for a soup base, add the broth and then puree with an
immersion blender!  The soup will be dairy-free and
have a delicately creamy texture! 
Now that I've let you in on my secret, you can start making creamy soups of your own!  Start by trying my Potato Leek soup, or simply replace the celery in your favorite Chicken Soup recipe, with one large bulb of diced Celeriac.  Before adding the chicken pieces, blend soup with an immersion blender for dairy-free, gluten-free "Cream of Chicken Soup!"

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!
Saturday, November 15, 2014

Guest Blogger: Kathy Thornburg from Food Allergy Jams!

I have always enjoyed cooking, which you realize is a tremendous blessing when food allergies enter your family! I remember spending time in the kitchen with my mom as a child and learning by watching her and helping her prepare meals. She was always fearless with a frying pan! She wasn’t afraid of tackling a new recipe, which I have always admired.

Now that I have children of my own, it’s important to me to share my love for cooking and baking with them. I enjoy making memories with my son Milo (age 3) as we prepare dinner or a special snack together. He knows just what to do when I start to drag our long heavy bench up to the kitchen counter. Without missing a beat, he runs to his room, opens his dresser drawer, and grabs his oven mitts, apron, and chef hat.

As we cook together, we talk about the ingredients we are using, we read labels together, and we don’t worry too much if we make a little bit of a mess as we mix the ingredients together. 

My son loves to cook, but that’s not the only thing he enjoys. He LOVES music! When I was struggling to find an age appropriate way to teach Milo about his allergies, (peanuts, eggs, and dogs) I decided to try writing him a song. He loved our song, “No No Peanuts” and quickly memorized it and started singing it on his own. I continued to write, we continued to sing, and he continued to learn! Now, we are nearing the end of our journey on Kickstarter to fund a professional recording of our CD, Food Allergy Jams, with Kurt Heinecke (creator of VeggieTales music).

We have until Wednesday, November 19th at noon to reach our $35,000 goal to make our CD a reality! If you would like to learn more about our project and make a pledge to help us reach our goal, I encourage you to check out the link provided below. With your pledge, you not only get to choose from some great rewards, but you also get to go with us on this adventure of making our music CD come to life!

A big thanks to Beth and The Allergy Safe Kitchen for allowing me to write on her blog and for supporting Food Allergy Jams with a pledge on Kickstarter!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sunbutter Review

Today, I am reviewing SunButter sunflower seed butter.  I received some in my swag from the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference, but we also purchase SunButter frequently on our own. 

First I'm going to start with a little story.  My husband and I both loved peanut butter.  One of my specialties used to be a wickedly decadent peanut-butter cream pie, with a chocolate and rice krispie crust...I'll just pause for a moment while you salivate.  

When we went cold turkey after my son was diagnosed with peanut allergies, it took a loooooong time for us to find something to fill that void.  We tried quite a few "butters" that really didn't taste very good.  After tasting one of them, (which shall remain nameless), my husband looked at me and said, "Please don't buy any more of these.  Give up.  Please."   So, I did.  Until I heard about one called "SunButter."  I'm going to be honest, I don't remember who recommended it to me all those years ago, but if it was you - THANK YOU!  

I brought some home, opened the jar and inhaled the roasted scent, startled that it smelled so good. My husband and I actually ate it with spoons, right out of the jar, standing in the kitchen, moaning. True story. 

So now that I've got you on the edge of your seat, wondering what kind of review I'll give SunButter...

Pros:  Peanut free, tree nut free, gluten free, dairy free, and egg free.  Here's a direct quote from their website: 
"Processed in a strictly nut-free facility (Our employees aren't even allowed to bring in peanut butter sandwiches for lunch!)"It's a direct substitute for peanut butter - in baking, and in daily life. Sandwiches, on crackers, on a spoon, using an Enjoy Life chocolate bar to scoop it out of the jar...(NOT that I would EVER do something like that...especially during pregnancy...ahem, back to the review). 

Cons: Just one - Cost.  This stuff is pricey. As a family of nine, we go through a lot of SunButter, but it does impact the food budget. You can order it online, in regular jars, and in a 5 pound size.  You can save a little bit by purchasing it that way.  

Bottom line: Our family loves SunButter so much, that several of the recipes in my first cookbook feature SunButter as a key ingredient. It is a staple in our pantry, and I still sometimes eat it from a spoon straight out the jar, in the middle of the kitchen.  (And so do my kids!) If you're craving a nutty tasting peanut butter replacement, go get some SunButter!  It comes in several varieties; we typically use Natural, and Crunch

Chocolate Layer Cake with SunButter frosting! Recipes
for both components of this cake are in my first cookbook
"Love Letters from My Kitchen"

Chocolate SunButter Krispie No Bakes....This recipe is in my 
mini-cookbook: 12 Cookies of Christmas (Vegan edition also available!)

For information on the full line of SunButter products, click HERE to visit their website!

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Preparing for the Long Winter

I live in upstate NY.  We get our fair amount of snow over the winter, plenty of below zero days, and the occasional blizzard or ice storm.  There are times we go without power, or just have to hunker down until the roads are clear.  Now, I'm perfectly aware that everyone, not just families with food allergies, should be preparing for winter conditions. However, I think that because food allergy families can't just make do with whatever they find at the gas station down the block, we need to think ahead in a very strategic way. Today, I'm going to share my Top 5 items to stock up on for the long winter ahead!

(Drum roll please...)

Number 1:  Shelf stable milk alternative. (Especially if you have toddlers or pre-schoolers!) Each time you do your regular grocery shopping trip, pick up one (or two) large container (s) of whichever milk alternative your family uses.  We use Rice Dream Rice Milk as our shelf stable alternative.

Number 2:  Canned tomatoes.  Whether you've canned your own, or you purchase them, lay in a supply of canned tomatoes.  Stock a variety so you can make sauces, soups, or add them to a crock pot recipe.  Canned tomatoes are versatile, and can be used to create many different warm comfort-food dishes. Again, just pick up an extra can or two each time you go shopping for your weekly groceries.

Number 3:  Pasta.  All different shapes and sizes.  Whether you eat rice pasta, or wheat pasta, stock up on this hearty staple.  Pasta can provide good energy for those days you might have to shovel the driveway, or knock the ice off your roof!  It can be a main dish, side dish, ingredient in a dish... When the brand of pasta we purchase goes on sale, I buy a LOT of it.

Number 4:  Baking staples. Flour (GF if that is what your family needs), sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla, shortening.  If you have a good supply of baking staples, you can make breads, pancakes, waffles, dumplings, biscuits, hey - maybe even some cookies!  I tend to stock up on these items using sales or coupons.

Number 5:  Last, but perhaps most importantly, stock up on prescriptions.  Refill all your/your child's prescription medications in case you cannot get to the pharmacy due to whether.  No one wants to be without epinephrine, nebulizer supplies, steroid cream, or antihistamine when they need it.

May you have a safe winter, and may you eat well if you get snowed in!

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!

Photo Credit: Gregory Van Horn
Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hosting Thanksgiving: Homemade and Allergy Safe

My family, my inspiration for all my recipes.  For them, I give thanks. 

We gather around the table.  We give thanks.  Family and friends bond over the breaking of bread and the sharing of bounty. May we have another year of plenty. Amen.

Every person should be able to share in a delicious meal with their family and friends without fear or anxiety over food allergies and restrictions. 

I have found that I, as a food allergy mom, have less anxiety and more enjoyment of the holidays when I host the meal.  I know it seems like hosting can be a lot of work, and it is, but it allows control over the ingredients, and the kitchen in which the dishes are prepared.  And that, to me, is worth any effort - to know that my children are safe and can relax around the the table. No worries over Aunt Gertrude planting a big kiss on my dairy allergic pre-schooler after eating cheese laden potatoes, or over someone mixing up the serving spoons between safe and unsafe side dishes.  No relatives concerned that they have done something "wrong" or dangerous." No cross-contamination to be concerned over, no constant watching over my shoulder to keep an eye on the faces and mouths of my children...looking to spot the first signs of redness or swelling.  When I take the menu, preparation, and venue into my own hands, the result is more relaxing for everyone.  

I have found great joy and peace in hosting the holidays in our home.  The kitchen is filled with delectable smells for days, the children help with the preparation of the food, the decorating of the table, and the creation of crafts to adorn the dining room.  It can be a beautiful time for the whole family.  It can also be overwhelming and a LOT of work! And let's be honest, not everyone in the family has the same idea of "tidy" when it comes to preparing the living room for company!  But even considering all of that, the joy of hosting a safe meal is greater. 

Stick with me over the next couple weeks, as I lead you through making dishes ahead of time, so your actual Thanksgiving eve, and day, can be enjoyable and safe!  

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and by e-mail to keep up to date with all the Thanksgiving preparations that are happening in The Allergy Safe Kitchen.  (Go to the top of the blog, the link buttons are all there! Don't forget to follow by email for grocery lists ahead of time, and additional tips and tricks!)  

Here are the links to the dishes and recipes I've shared already: 

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!

Time for Turkey Stock - Thanksgiving Series

I prefer to make turkey stock about a week or two before Thanksgiving.  I make a lot of it, in order to make gravy, and also to have it ready for my favorite post-Thanksgiving turkey soup.  I prepare for my leftovers!  Making this stock means that you will be roasting a turkey in a very simple fashion.  Roasting this turkey is a means to an end, what you really want is the carcass.  It's a bit of effort now, so you don't have to work so hard on Thanksgiving, or right before it. So, break out the roasting pan, here we go!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Apple Bread

My family loves to pick apples in the Fall.  It's a much anticipated family outing, and every year we get more apples than the year before!  The children REALLY love apple muffins, but if I'm being totally honest with you, I detest greasing and then cleaning the muffin tins.  I was looking for an alternative, so I turned to my trusty "Joy of Cooking" cookbook.  Of course, the apple bread recipe had eggs, buttermilk, and nuts in the ingredient list, so I got to work doing what I love to do - taking a classic recipe, making it allergy friendly, and tweaking it until it's just right and no one suspects that it's dairy, egg, and peanut/tree nut free! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Veggetti Review

I have been eyeing this product for a while now.  I'll be honest, my initial reasons had nothing to do with food allergies, I just was looking for a way to cut down on carbs...my clothes are feeling a little tight. In a family of nine, pasta is an inexpensive weekly meal, but I was looking for something lighter for myself.  However, this is a way to have gluten free "spaghetti," and to get lots of good nutrition in any "free from" diet. This week, I took the plunge and tested out this kitchen gadget! Today's review: The Veggetti!

I used the recommended veggies: yellow squash, zucchini, and carrots, to make a veggie pasta.  I sauteed some garlic, leeks, peppers, tomatoes, and steamed baby broccoli in extra virgin olive oil, and added those to my veggie pasta. I also heated up some homemade spaghetti sauce to entice the reluctant veggie eaters. Here are my pros and cons:

Pros:  Easy to use, clear instructions.  My nine year old daughter, and 7 year old son both really wanted to try it, and they were able to manage it just fine.  Anything that helps to get allergy kids cooking deserves points in my book! The yellow squash and the zucchini ended up in colorful ribbons of veggie pasta.  Very appealing to the eye! The cooking time was short, I simply sauteed the veggie pasta in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. 

The end result was tasty, and surprisingly filling!  I loved it, as did my husband.  

The Veggetti is small, and easily stored in my cabinet. 

Cons: Although the yellow squash and zucchini worked beautifully, the carrots did not.  We couldn't get a nice strip of carrot noodle, it ended up looking like shredded carrots, but was more frustrating.  (My daughter thinks our carrots were too skinny, and we should try thicker ones next time. Duly noted.) The kids' opinions ranged from "Just ok" to "Don't serve this again." 

One last con - more of a caution, really, is that although the kids had no trouble using it, there are exposed blades, so close parental supervision is a must. 

So, here's my bottom line:  The end result, the Veggetti pasta, was a hit for the adults, and so-so for most of the kids.  Instead of trying to serve it as a meal to the family, next time, I will use the Veggetti to create a side dish for the kids (main meal for me, I still need my clothes to fit better!) I'm happy with my purchase, and I'll be using it again.  

To purchase a Veggetti for your family, click HERE!

*Please read all labels when purchasing products for your food allergic family and friends, to ensure that the product meets your allergy needs.  

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

For the Love of Cranberries - Cranberry Sauce

I've already made my Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving.  Yep, I'm that far ahead of the game, and you can be too!  I make my Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce at the beginning of the month, and I preserve it.  You certainly don't have to go through the process of preserving, this recipe is fantastic made the day of, or up to a week before, simply keep it in the fridge.  I make 4x this recipe and I use it for Cranberry Muffins, and for Cranberry Spread. (4x the recipe yields approximately 5 quarts of Cranberry Sauce.) 

This cranberry sauce recipe is peanut-free, tree nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, soy-free, fish-free, and shellfish-free. Top 8 Allergen Free! As always, check this ingredient list and your local products to make sure that this recipe is allergy safe for your family and/or friends!

Steps marked with an asterisk (*) are child friendly for children who understand stove top safety!  
Click HERE for more information! 

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup water
Zest of 2 oranges
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
24 ounces fresh cranberries

I wish you could smell this! 

1. *Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
2. *Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes until           thickened.
3. Ladle into warm glass jars and process for 10 minutes in a               boiling water canner. OR Store in airtight containers in the               fridge for up to 1 week.

Everything in the pot and ready to simmer! 

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!

Photo Credits: Aidan Van Horn
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Double up

Convenience foods for food allergy families are expensive!  You name it - breakfast foods, snacks, main meals, desserts?  All pretty pricey.  One of my secrets to staying on a budget is to double up! Double the recipe you are making, and freeze the extra!  I have a kitchen cabinet dedicated to freezer containers.  I double everything I can (that freezes well), and it saves me time and money when time is short, and the budget is tight.  With seven kids, we are always on the go, and some nights I don't have the time to make a healthy, safe, dinner from scratch.  With a well stocked freezer, I know that I can get food on the table without a huge amount of time, or breaking the budget.

Here's what you need in order to become a "Freezer Diva!"

- Roll of masking tape
- Advanced planning to double at least one recipe each week (two is better) 

I use these "Pen Pal" pencil holders to keep my Sharpie and a pencil always on hand in the kitchen.  The holders just peel and stick right to the door.  I love not having to rummage around a junk drawer to get what I need.  The masking tape is always tucked right in there too! 

On a "Double Up" night, after your family enjoys the sumptuous meal you've prepared, portion out the leftovers into containers.  Use masking tape as a label, and write in permanent marker, not only the contents of the container, but a "Use by" date, and anything you'll need the day you bust out the frozen leftovers.  For example, if I freeze the veggie and meat mixture from a stir fry, I write "Stir-fry: needs rice" on the label. 

Be strategic about your portions.  Is it something that might be nice as a hot lunch?  Save in 2-cup containers for individual sized meals. Is it something that you'll want to heat up for the whole family? Make sure that the freezer container isn't bigger than the vessel you'll be reheating in! 

I can't tell you how many times using the "Double Up" method has allowed me to get a healthy safe dinner on the table on a super busy day.  Here are 10 of our favorite "Double Up" foods:

Pancakes (recipe in "Love Letters from My Kitchen")
Waffles (recipe in "Love Letters from My Kitchen")
Zucchini Bread (recipe in "Love Letters from My Kitchen")
Apple Bread
Kicked Up Sloppy Joes
Chicken Soup (freeze without noodles)
Potato Leek Soup
Turkey Slop (yep, it says slop...turkey in gravy, and then we serve it over a scoop of mashed                                     potatoes) *freeze just the turkey in gravy
Meat sauce 
Cookies (recipe in "Love Letters from My Kitchen")

Get started and "Double Up" a meal this week!  For additional freezable baked goods, get my cookbook, "Love Letters from My Kitchen!" Available here, or on Amazon!  

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!