Category Archives: Easy Meal Ideas

Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Gluten and Dairy Free!)

When I was a kid, I’d whine to my dad that I was bored and he would jokingly tell me to go jump in a snow pile. That’s about to happen because there’s about 3 or 4 feet of snow on the ground. FEET OF SNOW. It’s becoming comical. There’s hardly anywhere left to put it.

With the 72 inches of snow Boston has seen over a two week span, most people I know are in hibernation mode. Hibernation mode calls for hot meals made from whatever is already in the kitchen, and we’ve been hooked on soups and stews.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie Soup

 

Oh, there’s chicken and frozen veggies in the freezer? And some fresh vegetables that need to be used up? Hello, chicken pot pie (sort of)!

 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This recipe is inspired from a take-out soup business that used to be downtown. My favorite soup was their chicken pot pie soup. The restaurant closed a few years ago, but I’ve missed the soup which was simply a chicken pot pie filling. I made this meal dairy-free by substituting a can of coconut milk for cream or regular milk, and used a gluten-free all purpose flour mix to thicken up the broth.

The result? This is as close to a regular chicken pot pie filling you’re ever going to get. I couldn’t believe how well the flavors melded together! You wouldn’t know coconut milk was used. The recipe below calls for 3 tablespoons of gluten-free flour, but I think you could probably throw in another teaspoon or tablespoon to thicken up the broth even more. If you’re really motivated, you could make a gluten-free pie crust topping, and crumble it on top. After shoveling several feet of snow, I’m fine with this soup the way it is!

How are you surviving Snowpocolypse 2015?

Gluten Free Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Gluten and Dairy Free!)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Ingredients
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (16oz) can coconut milk
  • 3 cups mixed frozen vegetables (I used a corn, green bean, carrot, peas mix)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dairy-free butter
  • 3 Tbsp Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill.)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • all-purpose, no salt seasoning mix
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken breasts into small, bite sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Coat a pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Cook chicken thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a 5 or 6 qt pot. Add the carrots and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the celery and onion. Season with all-purpose seasoning. Cook until onions are translucent.
  5. Stir in flour. Pour in chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add chicken and frozen mixed vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, and seasoning mix.
  7. Cook on medium for about 30-40 minutes.

 

Easy Vegetable Quiche – the Anytime Comfort Food

It’s been so long since my last post… How y’all doing? 🙂 It’s been a looong winter, and I needed to step away from this space for a little bit. A few folks (including a dear photography client) suddenly and unexpectedly passed away this fall, then the holidays came around, then there was a carbon monoxide leak in my apartment building on a -6 degree evening, ended up suddenly moving to a new place, and was sick for almost a month.

Phew. It was a long winter. There was barely time to cook, never mind photograph, write, or indulge in the things that bring any sense of creative joy.

It’s now the end of March, and I’m just starting to get back into a normal routine. So, hi there! Happy almost spring! Let’s defrost and come out of hibernation, shall we?

Moving created an interesting culinary “problem”. I found a lot of dry and frozen ingredients stuffed in the back of my pantry and freezer that I totally forgot about. So there’s an effort right now to use up everything that’s still good, but has been totally neglected. And I want to make healthy meals that are quick to prepare. (There have been many whole chickens tossed in the crockpot with lemon and herbs over the past two months!)

Since my boyfriend is gluten-free, most of the recipes I make include gluten-free flours or bread products. One of the items stuck in the back of my freezer was a quiche and pie crust from Gillian’s, which happens to be based nearby in Lynn, Massachusetts. We had some leftover fresh red pepper, a few mushrooms, some leftover shredded cheese from a pizza, a carton of eggs, and a bunch of herbs.

Quiche! The perfect dish to use up leftover fresh produce. And I was in the mood for some comfort food that was not in the form of cookies.

Gluten Free Vegetable Quiche

No lie – the quiche came out so well, I could eat this whole thing in one sitting. But I will control myself. (Maybe.) I’m not sure if it’s the vegetables, the seasoning (this is what I used), or what, but it’s delicious. The Gillian’s gluten free pie crust tastes exactly like a regular pie crust! It’s so good!

Gluten Free Vegetable Quiche

I would have liked to style these photos a little more, but my props are still packed in boxes, buried in the basement. This is the first time I’ve picked up my camera since I moved. And now I have more space to work in, which is such a wonderful thing! It’s so good to be back in this creative space. 🙂 xoxo

Easy Vegetable Quiche - the Anytime Comfort Food
Author: 
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Ingredients
  • 1 frozen pie crust (I used Gillian's Gluten-Free Quiche and Pie Crust)
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • Handfull of fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • A few cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp quinoa flour
  • 1Tbsp no-salt dry seasoning mix (I used Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning sold at Costco and Amazon.com.)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch of dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the chopped red peppers, mushrooms, spinach evenly over the crust and sprinkle with the cheese.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, quinoa flour, salt, and seasoning blend.
  4. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Top with the tomatoes.
  5. Place the quiche on the center rack and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is set. Remove from oven and sprinkle the dried parsley on top. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

On Being Thankful…

Thanksgiving ends up being a reflective time for me. I think about all that’s happened this year, where I was last year, and where I was five years ago at this time. It’s been an incredible journey, and I have so much to be thankful for.

Photography took on a whole new meaning. It’s been a long time hobby – simple snapshots, to learning how to develop black and white film, to having solo coffee shop shows, and participating in group shows with a magnificent group of artists. I hate to admit this, but my camera sat around collecting dust for awhile until the birth of my friends’ son. A beautiful, joyful little boy was born in January and my friends Colleen and Tim asked me to photograph the new addition to their family. The experience provided a much needed kick in the ass burst of inspiration, and for that I’m thankful.

When Pinterest came into our daily social media mix, and I became increasingly inspired by all the beautiful photos of home improvement projects and recipes. Oh, the recipes… I’m not going to qualify for MasterChef any time soon, but I do enjoy creating delicious meals. Why not photograph them?

I began to play – I started to referring to photography as “play”. I discovered food blogs. Holy black hole of time consumption? Nah. I quickly became a regular follower of a few blogs and learned from them, but one in particular changed everything – I followed my gut when a special opportunity arose. Thank you, Diane and Todd! *HUGS*

I’m thankful for the amazing clients I worked with this year. I had so much fun working with all of you and look forward to working with you again! And I’m forever grateful for my parents and friends. Mom, thank you for always being surprised that I’m earning money through photography. (“And they paid you?!?!”) I’m not quite used to it either, and your reaction always makes me smile. (“Yes, Mom – Really – I got paid!”) Jeff, thank you for constantly pushing and encouraging me to take leaps of faith. Amy, thank you thank you thank you thank you for helping me land my first food photography client. And to my “lil’ sis”, Maliha – thanks for keeping me in check and on my toes. 😉

This will be my 10th Thanksgiving that I’ll be working at the TV station rather than celebrating with my family. I’ll be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from my seat in the control room rather than a cozy couch. But I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with both Jeff’s family and my parents this weekend. Not being able to spend the actual day with my family usually bothers me a lot, but this year is different for some reason. While my workplace provides a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner every year (for which I’m incredibly grateful – I can’t wait for apple pie!), I’m prepping a little comfort meal to have when I get home Thursday night.

I have a ton of squash sitting in my kitchen right now. (Yay, sales on locally grown food!) I’ve never cooked a carnival squash before, and need to use up a few things in my kitchen. So a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and ta da – baked squash! What to stuff it with… Oh, I have a ginormous bag of quinoa, leftover dried cranberries from a cookie recipe, some fresh rosemary, and a boatload of other dried herbs. Nothing says “fall” or “Thanksgiving” more than squash, cranberries, and herbs! I tried something new and used a different lighting set up in the photo below – I’m not 100% happy with it, but it was a good experiment. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Carnival Squash

Stuffed Carnival Squash
Author: 
Recipe type: Main or Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
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Serves: 1
 
I love this because it's so versatile. Sweet like a butternut squash, just about anything will taste delicious stuffed inside of a carnival squash. If I had some onion or celery on hand tonight, I would have added that in for extra flavor. Instead, I chose some generic veggie seasoning. The ingredient measurements are estimates - I eyeballed it.
Ingredients
  • 1 Carnival Squash
  • ¼ to ½ cup of cooked quinoa, depending on the size of the squash
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut off the top of the squash and take out all the seeds
  3. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and toss in a sprig of rosemary
  4. Fill a baking pan with ¼" water
  5. Place the squash cut side facing down in the pan
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes
  7. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa. Stir the dried cranberries (or other ingredients of your choosing) in when it is completely cooked.
  8. Remove the squash from the oven, stuff with the quinoa mixture, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1

Beet Quinoa Salad

How often do you go to the market for one thing, but end up walking out with more items than what you intended to buy? A few days ago, I went to my local Whole Foods for one thing and came across this gem:

Local Produce Box at Whole Foods

Similar to a CSA box, this local produce share included lettuce, kale, red chard, tomatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers. Salad in a box! No sifting through items in the produce section! SOLD! (I really hope Whole Foods at Fresh Pond starts to carry these on a regular basis!) This package was a little more than salad in a box though. The fun part about CSA-like boxes is that there may be something unfamiliar in there…like beets.

 

Beet Quinoa Salad

 

I don’t know how or why, but I’ve never bought or cooked beets. All you have to do is clean them, and boil for 40-minutes to an hour. Peel, slice, and you’re done – simple! Not wanting to waste anything in this box, I found a recipe in Béatrice Peltre’s book, La Tartine Gourmande, for Beet Quinoa Salad. Beets, quinoa, onion, tomatoes, lemon juice, and a mixture of herbs combine to make a salad bursting with the flavors of summer. (Not to mention completely beautiful to photograph!)

 

Beet Quinoa Salad