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This fun take on 2 kid favorites – chicken pot pie and pizza – is a recipe I adapted from Family Fun Magazine, and can be made either as a pizza or biscuit pot pie.  I began making the pizza when we figured out that my son was suffering from Intersticial Cystitus, a chronic condition that feels like a constant urinary tract infection.  While there’s no cure, the symptoms can be alleviated by avoiding certain trigger foods like caffeine, citrus and many other fruits, including tomatoes (hence, the search for a tomato-free pizza).

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Before I go on to tell you about this tasty recipe, I just want to take a minute to tell my readers how much my heart goes out to you, especially if you’re a parent of a child with multiple food intolerances.  When I downloaded the enormous list of possible food triggers (many of which we’ve now determined are okay for him), it was like receiving the gluten intolerance diagnosis all over again.  I looked through my pantry with despair at all the foods that would be off limits to my son until we slowly tested each food.  As I looked through my cookbook and tagged the half-dozen recipes there were NOT off limits to him, I cried for him and myself.  I remembered how overwhelmed I was during our first few months on the gluten free diet, and how sad I was that my kids had to be “different.”  If that’s where you are today, I just want you to know that you’re not alone.  

It’s been 6 weeks since then, and my son has handled his new diet restrictions remarkably well.  I’m reminded, once again, of how resilient our kids are.  We think they’ll fall apart when something bad happens, but if we continue to love and support them, showing empathy and compassion, they can amaze us with their ability to bounce back.  Kids with food intolerances have the potential to be some of the most compassionate kids on the planet because they know what it’s like to be the only one who has to pass up the Valentines cookie or sip punch at a reception because it’s the only safe thing to eat.  They also tend to be more grateful when people do go out of their way to include them because they don’t take for granted that they will be given anything.  So yes, it hurts to see our kids suffer, but sometimes the road of suffering is the road that leads to strength of character, compassion, and gratitude.  

One way we can support our kids is by taking the time to make yummy substitutes for some of their favorite foods.  That’s why I’m continuing my series of “Gluten Free Kid Favorites” (like corn dogs and chicken tenders) with the recipe below.   

Whether you like chicken pot pie or are just looking for an easy GF pizza crust recipe, I’ve got you covered on both!  The crust recipe is so versatile.  It makes tender, flaky biscuits, a quick and easy pizza crust, and can be used in your favorite recipes that call for Pillsbury biscuits from a can.  I like to mix up the dry ingredients in bags to have on hand for quick suppers.  If you have a food processor, you can simply dump the dry ingredients in, cut in the butter, then add milk.  So easy!  I’ve made it with half milk and half cream for extra moist biscuits, and rice milk for dairy free recipes.  The pot pie filling is spot on when it comes to mimicking those little (nutritionally void and laden with unhealthy ingredients) frozen pies I used to love.

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Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie Filling/Topping

1 T. butter
1 T. GF flour blend with a pinch of xanthan gum
1 tsp. chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon + 2/3 c. water (or 2/3 c. GF chicken broth)
1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. sage (I use ground sage, not rubbed)
1/4 tsp. thyme
2/3 – 1 c. frozen mixed veggies, thawed and patted dry (I use peas, diced carrots, and corn)
2/3 – 1 c. cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
1 c. shredded mozzarella (optional, if making biscuit pot pie cups)

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.  If using Better Than Bouillon, whisk this into the roux (the flour/butter mixture).  Slowly whisk in the water (or chicken broth) until the mixture is smooth.  Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and begins to bubble, about 2 min.  Whisk in onion and seasonings, and cook for 1 more minute.

Remove from heat and let cool while you make the dough.  If you made the dough first, just pop the sauce in the fridge on a hot pad to quickly cool while you chop the meat.

Biscuit and Pizza Crust Dough

1 c. gluten free flour blend
1/4 c. tapioca starch/flour (they’re the same thing)
1/4 c. potato starch (for softer biscuits) or cornstarch (for pizza crust)
2 1/2 T. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 c. butter or dairy free margarine (real butter is best, if tolerated)
2/3 c. milk, rice milk, or half-and-half (for really good biscuits)

Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl or food processor.  Cut butter into chunks, then cut into dry ingredients with a food processor or two knives used like scissors.  (When I use my food processor, I like to add half the butter and pulse a few times, then add the remaining butter chunks and pulse a few more times.  Ideally, you want some pieces to be small and some larger pea-size chunks.  Smartypants Factoid: It’s the steam created from the melting of the larger chunks of butter that creates the flaky layers in biscuits, so don’t over-process.)  Stir in milk.

For Pizza: With floured hands, spread dough onto a 15-in. greased pizza pan or, if preheating a pizza stone in the oven, spread dough onto a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the stone.  (Preheating your pan will help brown the bottom of the crust.)  Spread sauce over the crust and top with 1 c. veggies and 1 c. meat.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the pizza.  Bake 18-20 min. at 425 degrees.  (This crust also works with any topping, not just the pot pie topping!)

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For Pot Pies: Divide dough into quarters.  Divide each quarter into 3 balls.  Place the balls in 12 greased muffin cups.  With floured hands, gently press the dough down and up the sides of each muffin cup.  The dough should reach the top of the muffin cup.  (If you do this before making the filling, you may need to go back and press the dough up the sides again before filling, since it will slide down after sitting for awhile.)  Stir 2/3 c. meat and 2/3 c. veggies into the sauce and divide among the cups, about 2 T. filling per cup.  If desired, sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.

For Biscuits: Divide dough into quarters or thirds (depending on how big you want your biscuits to be) and roll into balls according to pot pie directions.  Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and, with floured hands or the bottom of a glass, gently press down on each ball until it’s about 1/2-in. thick.  Or, using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and gently press down to flatten.  (These won’t rise or spread much, so you’ll end up with more even results if the biscuits are flat instead of rounded.)  Bake 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.

There are lots more variations for this dough, so check back for future recipes like Garlic Cheese Biscuits, Bread Sticks, and more!

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Awhile back I was CRAVING my favorite Chinese food, Mandarin Chicken.  But alas, there are no gluten free Chinese restaurants in town where I can go to feed my addiction.  After a disappointing search on the web for anything resembling my favorite orange sauce, I had a “duh” moment when I realized that I don’t need to make the sauce because it doesn’t contain any wheat.  A quick call to the Chinese restaurant down the road confirmed my suspicion that they sell the sauce as an optional side – for only $.89, which is cheaper than buying most jarred sauces at the grocery store!  So I drove down to the restaurant and introduced myself as “the weird lady who called about just buying Mandarin sauce,” and returned home with a gelatinous, unnaturally red, nectar of the gods.

All that remained was to fry up some chicken.  For this, I turned to my Texas grandmother’s chicken fried steak recipe because southerners know how to fry stuff.  Instead of round steak, I substituted chicken breasts that I floured, fried, and cut diagonally to look like the restaurant version.  I’m happy to report that it tasted just like we remembered (only with no MSG!), although I must confess that I’d probably eat cardboard if it was covered with that sauce.  The great thing about this recipe is that you pound the chicken flat, so it fries quickly and a little chicken can go a long way, especially when paired with a filling side dish like the one below.  (The chicken pictured is just 1 large chicken tenderloin!)

To round out the meal, I suggest the GF crock pot fried rice recipe by Stephanie O’Dea.  We. LOVE. It!  You can check out the hilarious recipe on her awesome blog, or follow the instructions for my version below.  I decided to try to make a healthier version by substituting quinoa (a gluten free grain that’s uber healthy) for half of the rice, and my husband agreed that it’s even better than the all-rice version because the quinoa seems to make it fluffier.  (If you’ve tried quinoa and been creeped out by the little round grains – my nephew calls them “eyeballs” – do try mixing it with rice because the texture is totally different than plain rice or plain quinoa.)

Even if Mandarin sauce isn’t your thing, this versatile chicken recipe would taste great with any dipping sauce.  My daughter dipped her chicken in cranberry mustard, which we encouraged because it left more sauce for us.  Check back later this fall for my Country Fried Chicken with Biscuits and Gravy variation on this recipe.  (Did I mention I have Texas roots?)  In the meantime, grab some chopsticks and boil a pot of Oolong tea because gluten free Chinese food is back on the menu!

Versatile Fried Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins

4 small chicken breasts or 2 large breasts cut in half or 8 tenderloins
Salt and Pepper
Gluten free flour blend (I used Gluten Free Pantry’s blend, but any would do)
2 eggs, beaten
3 – 4 T. milk
Canola oil for frying

Place chicken on a piece of waxed paper with plenty of space between each piece.  Place another piece of waxed paper on top and pound chicken with a meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4-in. thick.  For best results, pieces should not be larger than the palm of your hand when frying, so cut large pieces in half, if necessary.  Blot chicken dry with a paper towel, then season BOTH sides with salt and pepper.  (You’ll be tempted to think it’s not necessary to season both sides, but trust me, it really is.)

Pour about 1/3 c. flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate and dip both sides of each chicken piece in the flour.  Set aside floured chicken, and add additional flour to the bowl for the next step.  Heat about 1/2-in. oil in a large skillet over medium high.  When it begins to shimmer, flick a little water into the oil.  If it sizzles and pops a little, you’re ready to fry.

While oil is heating, beat 2 eggs in another shallow bowl or pie plate with a fork.  Beat in 3-4 T. milk.  Line 1 or 2 plates (enough to hold all your cooked chicken) with paper towels, and get out tongs for turning the chicken.  (You want to have everything ready so you can work quickly and keep an eye on the chicken.)

When the oil is very hot (but not smoking), coat a piece of chicken in the egg mixture, then use the fork to transfer it to the bowl of flour.  Coat both sides with flour, then carefully lay the chicken the pan.  Immediately turn the heat down to medium to keep the chicken from browning too quickly.  Continue with the remaining chicken until the pan is full.  (I like to lay them in a clockwise pattern so I can keep track of which ones have been in the longest.)

By the time the last piece is in (you may have to do 2 batches or use 2 pans), the first piece should be ready to turn.  Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.  (Trying to keep them warm in the oven will result in soggy chicken.)  For a fancy presentation, cut the chicken diagonally into strips and cover with reheated sauce from your favorite Chinese restaurant (we used Quick Wok) or whatever sauce you like.  (Warning: If you order any other type of sauce, check to make sure it’s not made with soy sauce, since most Chinese restaurants don’t use GF soy sauce.)

Crock Pot Pork Fried Rice/Quinoa
Serves 4

1/2 c. enriched white rice (also called long grain rice – not instant)
1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained (or another 1/2 c. rice)
3 T. butter or nondairy margarine
2 T. GF soy sauce (we use La Choy brand)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 c. frozen peas and carrots (or whatever veggies you like)
1 c. diced ham (we use half of a 12 oz. package of Hormel’s nitrate-free cubed ham)
1 egg

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 c. water (minus 2 T. for fluffier rice) to boiling.  Stir in 1/2 tsp. salt, rice and quinoa.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Fluff with fork.  While rice is cooking, chop onion and gather remaining ingredients.

In a 4-quart crock pot that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray, put 3 T. butter cut into cubes, chopped onion, and cooked rice/quinoa.  Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Add veggies, ham, and egg.  Stir until combined, then with the back of your spoon, press mixture against the side and bottom of the crock pot for maximum crispy pieces.

Cook on high for 3 hrs.  If possible, I like to stir it after about 2 1/2 hrs. and press against the sides again to get more crispy pieces.  If rice/quinoa seems too soggy, shift the lid so some steam can escape and let it continue cooking on high for another 15 minutes while the moisture is allowed to get out.   Serve with the chicken recipe above or by itself.

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You’d think that in May it would not be soup weather anymore.  But if you think that, you obviously don’t live in southern Idaho where it snowed last week.  With the cold spring temperatures hanging on, I decided to experiment and make a creamy chicken and potato soup.  I didn’t have a recipe, so I just made it up as I went along – and it got a thumbs up from the whole family!  Along with the soup, we enjoyed some Onion, Poppy Seed, Cheese Rolls that I made using Pamela’s gluten free bread mix.

Creamy Chicken and Potato Soup

5 chicken tenders (or 2 large breasts)
2 large red potatoes, diced
3 T. butter, divided
1 very small onion or 1/2 small onion, chopped
1 c. baby carrots, cut in 1/8 in. slices
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 T. GF flour
3 T. Better Than Bouillon broth base (or 6 c. broth)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. parsley
Dash celery salt
1 bay leaf
1/3 c. 1% or 2% milk (I used 1/4 c. 1% milk plus a little cream)
3 T. cornstarch
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh spinach leaves, sliced in thin strips

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil.  Add potatoes and chicken.  Boil 10 – 15 minutes, or until tender.  Pour 2 c. of liquid into a measuring cup, then drain remaining liquid.  Set aside to cool.  (You could probably skip this step and just add the potatoes and diced chicken to your soup when you add the seasonings, but this is how I made it, and I only post recipes I’ve tried.)

In a separate large soup pan, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat.  Saute onions and carrots in butter until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Melt remaining butter in pan and add flour.  Stir to coat veggies.  Immediately add 4 c. water and 2 c. reserved cooking liquid (or 6 c. broth).  Bring to a boil and add bouillon (omit if using broth), salt, parsley, celery salt, and bay leaf.   Shred cooked chicken or cut up into small chunks and add to soup.  Simmer 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Add potatoes to soup and heat to boiling.  Stir cornstarch into milk and add to soup, stirring until thickened.  Add fresh ground pepper and season to taste.  Remove bay leaf.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with spinach strips.  Serve with crusty bread or Onion, Poppy Seed, Cheese rolls.

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This is one of my favorite grilled chicken dishes.  The seasonings may seem strange, but trust me – it’s awesome!  The coating keeps the chicken moist and juicy, and it’s not too spicy.  If using chicken breasts, cut them into tender-sized strips so they’ll cook faster, since the sugar will make them brown quickly.  I actually prefer using thighs for this recipe.  The Caribbean sweet potato fries compliment the chicken really well, but if you’re not sure you’ll like it, just season half the fries and use salt on the other half – although you’ll wish you’d seasoned all of them!

2 T. canola oil
3 T. brown sugar
1½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or skinless thighs

Stir together oil and seasonings in a medium bowl.  Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat.

Broil:
Heat broiler on high and broil chicken in foil-lined pan for 6 minutes on each side.  (Be aware that broiling sugar can cause smoke and, thus, set off your smoke alarm.  Ask me how I know this…)

Grill:
Grill covered, over medium heat for 6-10 minutes on each side, depending on size of chicken pieces.  Cook bone-in chicken longer.

*Serve with grilled pineapple, cooked over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Fries

1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of allspice
2 T. canola oil
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
Coarse salt (regular works, too)

Cut each potato in half (or quarters, if they are large).  Cut each half into 3 or 4 long wedges.

Combine oil and first 4 seasonings in a large bowl.  Add potatoes and toss to coat.  Spread in an even layer on foil-lined jellyroll pan.  Sprinkle with salt.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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There are wonderful health benefits to making homemade chicken broth, and when you use the bones from a leftover roast chicken, it couldn’t be cheaper!  While this recipe does take some time, there’s very little work involved.  You can either make this with bone-in chicken, which will give you a little more meat, or a leftover carcass plus a few drumsticks.  I keep a cheap bag of drumsticks in the freezer for this purpose.  You can use this as a flavorful broth in cooking, add cooked rice or noodles plus additional vegetables to make soup, or try the recipe below for soup and dumplings made with leftover mashed potatoes.

2 lbs. bone-in chicken parts or 1 chicken carcass plus 2 drumsticks
1 onion, peeled
2 tsp. cider vinegar (to draw out nutrients from bones)
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules or jarred Better Than Boullion
1/2 T. salt
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks celery or 1/4 tsp. celery salt, optional
1/2 T. dried parsley

Place chicken and onion in a 4-quart pot and fill with water.  Add vinegar.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer covered for 2 hours, skimming foam off top as necessary.  Remove onion.  Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT dried parsley; cover and simmer for 1 hour.  (If making potato dumplings, start dumplings at this point since they require 1 hr. of refrigeration prior to cooking.)  Strain soup and add parsley.  Cook 15 minutes more while you separate meat from bones.  Season to taste with additional salt, bouillon, or celery salt if desired.  (I sometimes strain the broth at this point to remove the parsley if I want a clear broth for cooking.)  If making soup, chop carrots and add back to soup along with meat and any additional add-ins like cooked rice or pasta.

Potato Dumplings:
Add 2 eggs to 1-1/2 c. leftover mashed potatoes.  If desired, add 1 tsp. dried dill.  Stir in 1/3 c. potato starch until thoroughly combined (add more if mashed potatoes weren’t firm).  Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.  Bring soup to a boil.  Use your hands to gently form rough ball shapes from one tablespoon of batter at a time, and submerge dumplings in the soup.  If you prefer, you may use a soup spoon or cookie scoop to move free-form spoonfuls of batter into the pot.  Boil for approximately 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.  The dumplings will float up to the surface quickly but will need several additional minutes to cook all the way through.

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My son has the flu.  I knew something was up last night when he was curled up in a blanket on the couch instead of engaging in his usual pre-dinner, running laps around the house routine.  If you’re going to get sick, running a fever is about the best thing.  There are no messy tissues or vomit to clean up.  Your kid is basically just wiped out and lethargic – which, for those of us with high energy kids, can kind of feel like a vacation.  Don’t get me wrong, I hate seeing my little guy in pain, but the reality is that his immune system needs to be exposed to these bugs in order to develop properly.  If we overprotect our kids and try to keep them from catching anything, their immune systems won’t have the necessary opportunities to learn how to respond and protect them later in life. I read that autoimmune disorders are on the rise, partly due to all our germaphobic ways.  If our immune system doesn’t have bugs to fight while it is developing, it can go haywire and end up attacking the body later on.

So I recognize that today’s temporary setback is an important part of my son’s long-term immune system development, and provides an opportunity for a little pampering.  I remember when my sister and I both had the flu at the same time when we were kids, and we got to sit on my mom’s bed, watching The Dukes of Hazzard and eating Twinkies.  It was awesome!  So today I get to spoil my little boy.  While I can’t give my son Twinkies (because of gluten intolerance and because Twinkies don’t decompose – ever), there are nourishing foods I can give him to bolster his immune system and help him feel better.  One super food you’ve probably heard a lot about is yogurt.  By introducing the “good” bacteria into the gut – where our immune system lives – it helps your body fight the bad bugs.  So along with some egg casserole and an Udi’s GF bagel (a rare treat in our house) for breakfast, I made him a yogurt smoothie with frozen raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries (high in disease-fighting antioxidants), fresh banana and a little pomegranate juice blend I picked up at the dollar store.  Berry smoothie + Phineas and Ferb on the Disney channel = happy 9-year-old.

I’m also starting a pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove, made with bones from the delicious roast chicken I made a few weeks ago (and stored in the freezer).  I regularly make this awesome rotisserie-style slow cooker chicken from the crock pot lady, Stephanie O’Dea (whose fantastic crock pot recipes are gluten free).  I substitute 1 tsp. garlic salt for the minced garlic (and omit the chili pepper) so I can make a big batch of the seasoning and keep it on hand for this easy recipe.  I always save the bones, and sometimes freeze them if I don’t have time to make soup right away, because homemade chicken broth has so many health benefits.

According to Katie Fox over at Simple Organic, “Homemade stock contains tons of nutrients that you just don’t get in a box or a can (and many brands contain hidden MSG). The key is using bones. Yep, bones! Bones are full of minerals that will leach into the liquid as it simmers, and the result will be a rich, healing bone broth.  The minerals and nutrients in homemade chicken stock are in a form that your body can easily absorb and use. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, real gelatin, and fancy-schmancy things like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine – for which people pay top dollar in supplement form – are all abundant in homemade chicken stock.”

The key to getting all these benefits is to add a little splash of cider vinegar to the water as the bones simmer because it will draw out these nutrients.  I never made homemade broth before we went gluten free, but now that I can’t just open up a can of chicken noodle soup, I’ve had to learn how to make my own.  I have a great chicken soup recipe that is full of flavor and nutrients.  You can add rice, dumplings made with leftover mashed potatoes, or your favorite noodles.  For kids soup, I like to use Tinkyada’s GF brown rice “Little Dreams” noodles that are in a variety of fun shapes.  However you make it, nothing beats homemade chicken soup (and The Dukes of Hazzard) when you’re sick!

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Some days I love to cook, and happily spend an hour or so preparing dinner.  Today is not one of those days.  Since I often pick up a package of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts at Wal-Mart (always $1.78/lb.), I can typically throw together something with chicken fairly quickly – especially if I’ve taken the time to trim all the breasts and remove the tenders the first time the package is opened (kitchen scissors make short work of this task).  Last week, when I was in one of these moods (meaning “lazy”), I created a fabulous chicken dinner using some Stonehill Spinach and Artichoke Parmesan Dip from Costco.  It was so good, we had it four days in a row!  I made it on the stove with tenders, and also baked it in the oven using the breast portion.  The oven baked version was moist and juicy, but the stove top version was super fast.  Since both methods have their merits, I’m sharing the directions to both.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Chicken
Oven Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle chicken breasts with a little olive oil to keep it from drying out.  Sprinkle with salt (I used coarse salt, but regular salt would work).  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and spread generously with Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through and top is bubbly.
Stove Method: Pour a thin layer of olive oil in a frying pan and heat pan over medium heat.  Put chicken tenders (or breasts pounded flat) in pan and sprinkle with a little salt.  Cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned underneath.  Turn chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes.  Coat generously with Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Reduce heat a little and cover.  Cook 5 minutes more or until chicken is done and topping is heated through.

Another great use for chicken tenders is in chicken pizzas.  This month, Kinnickinnick gluten free pizza crusts are on sale at Fred Meyer, so we’ll grab a few boxes since this crust is particularly good for chicken pizzas.  My son loves buffalo chicken pizza, so I like to make this when I have a few pieces of chicken to use up, but not enough for a meal.  In the summertime, I like to grill extra chicken breasts (with a little Lowry’s Seasoned Salt) to use in barbecue chicken pizzas.  We like Sweet Baby Rays Original sauce for barbecue pizzas, although Bulls-Eye barbecue sauce is also good and contains no high fructose corn syrup (both sauces are GF).

Barbecue Chicken Pizza:
Cut up some leftover grilled chicken into bite-size pieces.  Cover pizza crust with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with chicken (we put the cheese on top of the chicken, but you can certainly put the cheese down first if you prefer).  Sprinkle pizza blend cheese or a combination of mozzarella and cheddar on top.  We also like to add some bacon bits and chopped red onion, if we have it on hand.  Bake according to crust directions.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza:
In a small baking dish (I have one that’s a little smaller than a 7″x11″ baking dish), cut up chicken breasts or tenders into bite-size pieces.  Pour a generous amount of buffalo wing sauce over top (we’ve tried Frank’s and Texas Pete’s buffalo sauces, and they’re both good).  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Cover pizza crust with your favorite Ranch dressing (we like Newman’s Own because it doesn’t have any naughty ingredients).   Separate cooked chicken pieces with a fork (they’ll stick together while baking, but are easy to separate).  Using a fork, lift a few pieces out at a time and place on crust, letting a little sauce run onto the crust.  Sprinkle with pizza cheese blend or some mozzarella and cheddar.  If desired, top with bacon bits and chopped green onion (you should desire this).

Of course, the ultimate lazy chicken recipe is to simply drizzle barbecue sauce over some chicken in a crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours.  I like to sprinkle the chicken with a little Lowry’s Seasoned Salt first.  It’s the easiest recipe I know since you can even start out with frozen chicken breasts.  In the summertime, I like to finish the cooked breasts on the grill for just a minute to give it a little grilled flavor.  You can also do this exact same recipe using boneless ribs or a combination of ribs and chicken (but “Lazy Ribs” didn’t sound like a good blog title).  This is a great recipe for a party since you can give guests a choice of chicken or ribs.   Round it out with a baked potato and salad, and this menu can be put together early in the day, leaving you time to clean or put your feet up and relax!  If you need a dessert (and what party doesn’t?), check out last week’s post on yummy gluten free desserts.

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