My Must Have Kitchen Items

I like small appliances and gadgets. I depend on them now that I’m a food allergy mom and cook dinner every single day.

If there’s an appliance or gizmo that will make cooking easier, well by golly, I want it!

Here is a list of my favorite small appliances, gadgets and doo dads that make my life a little easier.

  • Bread Machine: I use this a few times a month. I make my own pizza dough. My machine has a dough setting. The recipe I use isn’t even for the bread machine, but I tried it and it works. I don’t want to make bread if I can’t figure out how to do it with my bread machine. I’m not lazy… I have too many other things to do! I also make a super easy and yummy homemade bread. I choose the “rapid white” button and we have homemade bread in less than an hour.
  • Rice Cooker: I LOVE my rice cooker. I mean, I can’t live without it. Okay, *maybe* I’m exaggerating, but the point is, I DON’T want to live without it. When my old rice cooker broke, we immediately replaced it. I usually make rice at least once a week. This is a must have in my kitchen. Enough said.
  • Slow Cookers: I have a 12 year old Crockpot that I received as a bridal shower gift. I use it several times a month. I have a smaller one, too. I love having two different sizes. I want a third one, but I haven’t found one on clearance yet. You can never have too many slow cookers, right?
  • Wok:  We love stir fry!  We have a big, ole wok and enjoy using it.  I’ve also found it’s great for holding a ton of spaghetti sauce.  Like several jars of sauce plus meat.
  • Pizza Pans: Oh, cheesy and gooey pizza…I mourned you. Especially you, “Pizza, pizza!” We had to break up, you see. It’s not me…it’s you. I’ve moved on to homemade dairy free pizzas and I think I found the key- a pizza pan with holes! I bought two inexpensive pizza pans from Hy-Vee. The last pizza crust I made tasted just like the pizzas we used to buy. It is nonstick so I didn’t have to fight the pizza with the spatula to get it off of the foil. Win! Also, there was something about the pizza being round instead of the rectangular shaped ones I was making… It made me feel happy. It’s the little things, ya know?
  • Grill Basket: I love summer because the Huzz grills a lot. And I love handing him the protein to grill and a grill basket full of fresh veggies! I season the veggies with olive oil, salt & pepper. That’s it. Easy and fresh is the best!
  • Microwave Popcorn Popper: We use this to make popcorn. Just last week, SG was watching yet another movie on NetFlix. I decided she should have some popcorn. I whipped together a homemade, freshly popped batch of “Dragon’s Breath” popcorn. A few years ago, I had no clue how to do this. Food allergies have made us better eaters, that’s for sure!
  • Keurig: Okay, this is my list so I have to include it. I wake up and go straight to the Keurig. Even the short wait for the Keurig to heat up seems like it takes too long some mornings. Little Mama (that’s me!) needs and loves her coffee with Silk french vanilla soy creamer. Gotta have it. No coffee, no talkie!

What are some of the items you depend on in your kitchen?

Bread Maker & Rice Cooker

 My fabulous bread maker & rice cooker!

Pizza Pan

My handy dandy cheap pizza pan that has rocked our pizza world!

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15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 2

Y’all, I skipped two weeks in my menu planning. I had it all planned out and then we had two separate visits from both of our parents and I threw my menu plan out the window.

But once again, I’m back on track.

You might notice I serve zucchini for the veggie a lot lately. Here’s why: It’s in season. It’s dirt cheap at Aldi. SG loves it.

And this is the THIRD time I’ve included the “Crockpot Italian Chicken Soup” in a menu plan and I’ve yet to make it! Something always seems to come up… (Or I’m just lazy sometimes, which is oh so true!)

Here is our menu for the first half of September.

1. Grill Chicken, Chips, Carrots & Homemade Safe Ranch Dip (Use Just Mayo and Non-Dairy Milk for the Ranch)

2. Simple Black Bean Soup & Homemade Bread

3. Shake & Bake Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

4. Crockpot Italian Chicken Soup & Homemade Biscuits

5. Clean Eating Chicken Kabobs & Baked Sweet Potatoes

6. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Rice, & Beans

7. Mojo Quesadillas & Sautéed Zucchini (Use leftover pork from Day 6)

8. BBQ Chicken Pizza

9. Clean Eating Refried Bean Soup & Tortilla Chips

10. Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken & Roasted Carrots & Potatoes

11. Chicken Nachos & BBQ Chicken Nachos (Use leftover chicken from day 10)

12.  Flex Meal

13. Honey Mustard Pork Chops, Tater Tots & Steamed Cauliflower

14. “Cheesy” Taco Crescents & Steamed Broccoli (Use Chicken or Black Beans for Protein for Taco Crescents)

15. Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Ore-Ida French Fries & Sautéed Zucchini

Here’s what our Homemade Shake & Bake Pork Chops look like. The recipe only tells you how to make the shake & bake mixture. I cooked ours at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip chops after the first 15 minutes. Ours were perfect and juicy! SG kept asking for “More chicken please!” We told her it was pork chops, but hey, whatever! She loved it. I also play with the spices a bit on the recipe. Use the shake and bake as a guide. I add extra of the spices we love like oregano.

Shake & Bake Pork Chops

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza: Dairy and Egg Free

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

I used to mourn the loss of $5 hot and ready pizzas. Not anymore! This bbq chicken pizza is SO good- it has made me forget about what’s their name’s pizza.

My inspiration came from Once A Month Meals. Their recipe uses real mozzarella, which we can’t use. Daiya mozzarella shreds sub perfectly. For the bbq sauce, we use Weber’s brand. It’s so yummy! And I use my pre-cooked and pre-portioned chicken I keep stocked in my freezer. Click here for the chicken recipe and to see how to freeze it.

I also make my own pizza dough. Click here for the dough recipe. I don’t follow their directions, though. I throw it all in my bread machine and use my “Dough” setting. It takes an hour and a half on my bread machine. I also only use HALF of the pizza dough recipe. It yields two pizzas for us, which is the perfect amount. This dough is DELISH.

BBQ Chicken Pizza:
(Adapted from this recipe at Once A Month Meals)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of this recipe for homemade pizza dough
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce per pizza
  • 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce for coating the chicken per cup of chicken
  • 2 cups of pre-cooked chicken, separated into one cup each
  • 1 bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds
  • Small handful of chopped onion
  • 2-3 Tbs of chopped cilantro per pizza

Directions:

  1. Make pizza dough.  (Take a break for an hour and a half and then proceed to step 2.)
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Flour large surface. Separate pizza dough into 2 equal parts. Flour your rolling pin. Roll each 1/2 of dough into a round circle. Use a fork to prick the raw dough. Place onto a round pizza pan or pizza stone. (I use $3.99 pizza pans with holes in them. They work great.) Bake for 6 minutes. Repeat with the second pizza dough. (I always have a few pizza dough bubbles and prick them again with the fork.)
  3. Lower oven temp to 400 degrees. Spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of bbq sauce on each pizza. Use less if you want a less saucy pizza and the 1/2 cup if you like more “sauce.”
  4. Sprinkle half of the bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds per pizza.
  5. Toss each cup of chicken with 1/2 cup of bbq sauce. (Or toss two cups of chicken with one cup of bbq sauce and split the chicken between the pizzas.) Spread the bbq chicken on top of the mozzarella “cheese.” Remember, 1 cup of chicken per pizza. 🙂
  6. Sprinkle the onions on top of the chicken. Top with the cilantro.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes, or until the vegan cheese is melted and the pizza crust is browned.
Pure Yumminess!

Pure Yumminess!

We have this pizza probably twice a month. We absolutely love it! We think you will, too. 😉

Dairy & Egg Free Chicken Salad- Oh My!

Chicken Salad

Y’all, I have about a million ideas bouncing around in this little head of mine for this little blog of mine, and I just haven’t been able to sit down and get them all out.

But this, this was worth me slowing down for and sharing. (I’ve got to be more consistent with my posts!)

I’ve made “safe” chicken salad twice now. Oh my. It is SO GOOD!

Before this recipe, I had never made chicken salad so I turned to my favorite place to look when I don’t know how to make something- Once A Month Meals.

Here’s how I put my spin on it and made it safe for us.

Dairy & Egg Free Chicken Salad:
(Adapted from this recipe at Once A Month Meals)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Serve on bread as a sandwich or with lettuce for a low carb version.

Here’s what ours looks like. Yum!

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken Salad Sandwich

I made this yesterday and to make it even more delicious, I made homemade bread! Click here for my bread recipe.

Enjoy!