Vegan Queso Bean Dip: Dairy & Egg Free

I jokingly called this “Chip Dip” and it has stuck. Otherwise named by me as vegan queso bean dip… also known as my new obsession for my lunches.

It has just three ingredients: Daiya cheddar style block, salsa, & black beans.

3 Simple Ingredients

3 Simple Ingredients

And it’s SO, SO good!

Doesn’t this look yummy?

Yummy Vegan Queso Bean Dip

Yummy Vegan Queso Bean Dip

I’ve been making chip dip with just salsa and Daiya cheddar for awhile now, and it’s great that way, too. I wanted to bulk up my lunch by adding more protein, so a few days ago I threw in a cup of my frozen black beans. (I soak and cook my own beans so I keep them in the freezer in one cup portions.)

The beans were apparently just what my body needed, because I felt great all afternoon! I didn’t even need my usual afternoon cup of coffee.

This recipe is so easy and I’m just lovin’ it!

Today I measured the ingredients for the sake of this post, but I usually don’t measure. You can’t really mess this up.

Vegan Queso Bean Dip:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of safe salsa
  • 1 cup of black beans (drained if from can)
  • A few slices of Daiya cheddar style block, cut into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Add salsa, beans, & cheddar pieces to a pot.
  2. Heat until cheese is melted and the dip is well mixed and heated through. Add more cheese if the dip isn’t cheesy enough or add more salsa if it’s too cheesy.
  3. Serve as a dip with tortillas.
2 Cups of Salsa

2 Cups of Salsa

1 cup of Black Beans

1 cup of Black Beans

I started off with this much "cheese."  I later added another strip of Daiya to make it a bit cheesier.

I started off with this much “cheese.” I later added another strip of Daiya to make it a bit cheesier.

Ready to Heat

Ready to Heat

I like the dip to be about this color.  Yum!

I like the dip to be about this color. Yum!

Mission is our favorite brand for tortilla chips.  This is my favorite new lunch.

Mission is our favorite brand for tortilla chips. This is my new favorite lunch.

Not only is this a rockin’ lunch, but this would also be a great dip to bring to a potluck or to serve at the next big game.

I hope y’all enjoy this as much as I do!

P.S.  Did you notice the cute blue measuring spoon with the super long handle?  I recently bought them at Hobby Lobby and I LOVE them.  They are so much fun!  It’s the little things, ya know?

1 Package of Chicken Breasts, 5 Ideas for Lunch!

Our “big grocery” day is every Monday. Every Monday, SG and I go to Aldi’s and HyVee and any other place I decide we need to go for groceries.

For some reason, I cannot get us ready and out of the house before 10 am. I don’t know why. Seriously, I’m so slow at getting us out of the house unless we have a doctor’s appointment. Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me?

I digress.

Leaving at 10 o’clock (ish) puts us at a dangerous spot— we end up shopping at lunchtime when we are hungry! And y’all know we just can’t go to any drive thru. I pack snacks for SG, but by the time we come home we are both hungry.

A few weeks ago, I started buying one package of Just Bare chicken breasts on grocery day. The minute we drag the groceries in, I preheat the oven. In less than 25 minutes, we have yummy and fresh baked chicken breasts.

Here’s the best part- we use them for lunches several days in a row!

Here’s how I use our chicken breasts for lunch. Look for how I bake the chicken at the end of the post.

1. Chicken Salad Sandwiches. This uses a lot of the chicken so I don’t do this as much. I usually get 2-3 breasts per pack. I use about 2 breasts for this recipe.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

2. BBQ Chicken Nachos. This is my current absolute favorite! I eat this for lunch several times a week. I even bribed SG into taking a bite for the cost of just one skittle… and she LOVED it! (The bbq chicken nachos and the skittle.) She had bbq chicken nachos today and declared she wanted bbq chicken nachos for lunch every day.

Ingredients:

  • Safe Tortilla Chips
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
  • Cooked and cubed chicken

Directions:

  • Spread out chips on microwave safe plate. Top with Daiya shreds.
  • Microwave until “cheese” is melted. I microwave mine for 20-30 seconds.
  • Chop chicken and put in a bowl. Pour in some bbq sauce and coat the chicken.
  • Spread the bbq chicken over the nachos. Serve with additional bbq sauce for dipping, if desired.
Preparing the nachos with LOTS of Daiya mozzarella shreds!

Preparing the nachos with LOTS of Daiya mozzarella shreds!

BBQ Chicken Nachos

BBQ Chicken Nachos

Alternatively, plain chicken and “cheese” nachos with Daiya cheddar shreds are yummy, too, and are served for lunch in our house quite a bit.

"Plain" Chicken and Daiya Cheddar Shreds Nachos.  And a jeweled three year old's hand.

“Plain” Chicken and Daiya Cheddar Shreds Nachos. And a jeweled three year old’s hand.

3. Chicken Quesadillas. Here’s a link that describes in more detail how I make these. You can be so creative with quesadillas. SG loves plain chicken and Daiya cheese quesadillas. Anything can be added to quesadillas: onions, peppers, ham, carrots, salsa, rice, beans…whatever you want! SG has quesadillas for lunch at least twice a week.

4. I use the chicken as I would at dinner. I buy these microwaveable tater tots and they are great for quick lunches. I can quickly serve her baked chicken, tater tots and some fruit for lunch. Easy peasy!

5. Chicken, Rice, & Beans. Occasionally, while the chicken is cooking, I’ll make a quick pot of black beans, Spanish style. (I promise I’ll share my recipe soon.) While the beans simmer away, the chicken bakes, and I throw some rice in my rice cooker. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. And I can eat leftovers for lunch for a few days. And that’s the best!

Here’s how I bake chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive Oil or Olive Oil Spray (I use the spray)
  • Sea Salt
  • Adobo Seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Use a 9×9 pyrex & spray the bottom with the olive oil spray.
  • Put the chicken in the pyrex. Spray the top of the chicken. Season with salt and adobo. Flip chicken over. Spray again. Repeat seasoning.
  • Bake for 11 minutes. Turn the chicken. Bake for another 10-13 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked completely.
Olive Oil Spray

Olive Oil Spray

Raw chicken seasoned and ready to bake!

Raw chicken seasoned and ready to bake!

Baked and lightly seasoned chicken.  The adobo gives it just the right flavor.

Baked and lightly seasoned chicken. The adobo gives it just the right flavor.

Do you have any yummy and easy ideas for lunches? Please share. We love new recipes!

Dairy Free and Egg Free Lunch Ideas

image

Lunch is one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always struggled with lunches, but even more so now that we are living dairy and egg free.

Pre-made bread, deli meat, cheese, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, canned stuff…all are off limits!

That WAS true. Here’s what I’ve discovered since first writing this post.

Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bread is “safe” for us. It is, however, processed on a line that also processes other milk products. However, the manager I spoke to said the lines are cleaned stringently AND at least one other milk free product is made on the line before this bread. When in doubt, call and speak to someone knowledgeable. SG is very sensitive and we normally avoid anything that is processed on a line that also processes milk products, but this bread is safe for her. I do rub a piece of bread from each new loaf on her cheek and wait before serving it to her… oh, the things us food allergy mamas will do!!!

Hebrew National Beef Franks are “safe” for us!!! I also called about this and listened to the pre-recorded message about food allergens. (By the way, I was impressed that this option was available. They must get these questions a lot.) Now, I know hot dogs are not the healthiest choice, but ya know what? Our diet is limited and mama needs “easy” sometimes.

Hormel Natural Choice Deli Meats are “safe” for us. The kind in the brown boxes. I also called the company about this and was reassured these products are safe for my child. Yay! (Note: Purchasing deli meat in the deli at a grocery store is not recommended. Too much risk of cross contamination.)

Talk about a game changer… We can now have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deli meat sandwiches (No cheese but we add mustard and hummus and just have the meat- sounds weird but it’s good. If I have it, I add fresh tomato to “healthy it up a bit”.)

Here are more options for lunch I relied on before my recent discovery of the above products:

Uncrustables. I’ve recently discovered that I can make my own “uncrustables.” That has been amazing and a “lunch lifesaver.”

Hummus. I’ve only tried one brand, Sabra, and it is safe for SG. (If you’re a food allergy parent, I’d guess you’re probably like me, in that when you find a safe food and brand, you will only buy that brand. I don’t want to try another brand. Too risky.) Anyway, sometimes she eats hummus with safe crackers (we use Ritz), hummus with raw carrots, and most recently, a turkey, hummus, and Ritz crackers lunch. It’s delicious! The hummus serves as the condiment and I truly didn’t even miss the cheese!!! This will become a staple in our rotation.

Fresh fruit. This is a must. I try my hardest to always have at least one fresh fruit in the house, preferably more. I also have those little plastic pre-packaged bowls of fruit as back ups.

Fruit salad. Cut up fresh fruit mixed together. I don’t know why but it’s so much fun to call it fruit salad rather than fruit. 🙂

Homemade chicken fingers. I found this recipe from Once a Month Mom and tried it. I had to adapt it to be dairy free, but it was good and easy. The changes I made were to purchase coconut greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt and I also added some seasonings to the Panko bread crumbs. I sprinkled some salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder in with the bread crumbs. I didn’t add enough, though, because the chicken was a bit bland. However, it was SO MOIST! The best part was I only had to pop my homemade chicken fingers in the oven for twenty minutes and had a healthy protein for both of us. Add some french fries, steamed veggies or leftover sides from the night before and you have an easy and healthy lunch. I love easy and healthy. Here’s the link: http://onceamonthmom.com/chicken-stix/

Bagel Pizzas/Pizza. I use this super easy homemade pizza sauce recipe from Once A Month Mom. Click here to see how to make it. I either use a Pillsbury multi-grain pizza crust to make a pizza or make bagel pizzas. Once A Month Mom has inspired me to try making bagel pizzas to add to my repertoire of easy lunches. Click here to read the original recipe. As usual, I always adapt the recipe. I omitted the cheese and sprinkled nutritional yeast on the bagels instead. I also used Hormel Natural Choice deli ham (cut up) and jarred pineapples (cut up). I’m on a big Hawaiian pizza kick right now.
For my regular pizzas, I pre-bake the crust as Pillsbury suggests, spread the pizza sauce, sprinkle nutritional yeast, and add my toppings. I’ve realized I need to add LOTS of toppings to make up for no cheese. We also add salt, pepper, and oregano to our pizzas before baking.

image

image

Spaghetti. Spaghetti can be labor intensive, but I have that solved! I try to always keep pre-seasoned and pre-cooked ground beef in my freezer. I keep jars of spaghetti sauce and lots of safe pasta on hand. It makes for a speedy lunch! I just heat the meat with the spaghetti sauce and boil some noodles.

Leftovers. We rarely have this for lunch but occasionally do. Ya can’t beat leftovers! No work. Just re-heating.

Soup. I love to freeze extra soup. I found a great chicken noodle soup on allrecipes.com. It freezes beautifully! I tried my hand at creating my own chicken and rice soup, spanish style, and it was a hit! This also freezes well. When I’m in a pinch, I heat up a Campbell’s tomato soup. The kind in those microwaveable bowls. It’s safe for SG. Here’s the link to our favorite chicken noodle soup: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-chicken-noodle-soup/

image

Yogurt.  Silk yogurts are yummy and safe for us. SG usually has one as part of her breakfast, but if she hasn’t, I give it to her to round out her lunch. We have also recently starting adding coconut yogurt to our diet. I’ve yet to eat it outright. I use it in recipes, but I know SG would eat it.

image

Food allergy parents, what do you feed your child for lunch? I’m ALWAYS looking for new ideas and recipes. Please share, my friend!

Disclaimer: Please know that what works for us may not work for your family’s needs. Please be diligent in calling companies and making a decision that works for your family and dietary needs. Also, companies change their ingredients so please ALWAYS read the labels. I am not liable or responsible for any harm caused by my suggestions.