Welcome Friends!

Welcome Friends! I am so grateful for all who have shared their stories of food-related hurts and healings. It is an ever-evolving journey for me, and I have relied upon others who have held similar experiences for comfort, empathy, knowledge and support. In this blog, I share some of my personal experiences as well as some of my favorite foods. I am currently on a grain-free diet, very similar to the Paleo diet. Having multiple food sensitivities as well as hypoglycemia, I have taken liberties with the diet, such as using agave nectar instead of honey. I'm aware of the great agave debate, but keeping my blood sugar low takes priority. I use such small quantities, that it is a non-issue for me. In addition, I still use cream in my coffee as well as a few other dairy products sparingly. I have given up so many beloved foods, that I am stubborn when it comes to dairy. Also, when I am really craving a starch, I will eat quinoa, buckwheat, lentils or beans. Again, it isn't very often, and these foods have some very healthful benefits as well. However, I find I feel my best when following most closely to the Paleo diet, eating large quantities of vegetables and animal protein. It isn't a philisophical choice for me, but rather a choice to feed my body what it seems to need for optimum performance-pain free, clear-headed, energetic and balanced. I hope you find something here that looks delicious even though your diet may look quite different than mine. Good food transends across the boundries of "diet." Enjoy!


Sausage Lentil Soup

It snowed tonight for the first time this year! Yay! Snow is my favorite thing! I love sweaters, boots, fires in the fireplace, the quietness after a big snow, and I especially love soup. It makes me happy.

Tonight I had my weekly Mary Kay meeting. That's right. I am a Mary Kay girl. I subbed in a classroom for one day and decided I didn't want to go back to teaching right now. It is just too stressful and too much work for me to be a successful teacher and mother. And since being a successful mother is really my life's ambition, I needed to choose a different career. But guess what? I couldn't be happier! I love my job. I am stoked every time I facial a new client. I love talking about it, wearing it, sharing it and playing with it. I feel like I did when I was a little girl and would go to work with my mom. She worked at Gates Rubber Co. in a small town in Missouri. At the end of each year, she would get so bogged down with inventory work that we would have to go to her office at night while she worked. I loved it! I would sit at the desk next to her and type (before computers were commonplace) and use all the fun stamps, staples, tape and other office stuff I could get my little hands on. It was the best! That is how I feel with my job every day! It has been very uplifting.

Anyhow, I digress. After preschool drop off and pick-up, jr. high PTO, a volleyball game, picking up a highschooler who spent the last 2 days in Blue Hole, NM getting scuba certified, and watching both older girls get another stripe on their green belts in karate, we had to eat! I threw together a yummy sausage lentil soup that pleased all and was quick in the crock pot. Then off I was to my Mary Kay unit meeting. What a day! I think I will head to bed now, after I peel my preschooler out of my spot and snuggle her back into her own bed.

1, 12 ounce package of Mulay's bulk Italian Sausage (I prefer spicy)
1/2 med white onion, rough chop
12ish fat baby carrots, rough chop
3 celery stalks, rough chop
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dried yellow lentils, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • I pulsed the onion, carrots and celery in the food processor until smaller in size 
  • Sauté sausage and chopped veggies until sausage is cooked through, breaking up the sausage into smaller chunks
  • Once sausage is cooked through, add broth and rinsed lentils and rosemary and transfer to the crock pot
  • It's ready once the lentils are tender, about 4 hours in my crock pot


Burrito Bowls

My poor hubby came home from work feeling sick tonight, which is very rare! He soaked is achy self in a hot tub, sipped 2 cups of green tea and filled his tummy with a bowl of spicy burrito fillings. He's feeling better today :)

2 chicken breasts, sliced into smaller bite-sized pieces
oil for sautéing
1/4 medium white onion, chopped
1, 25 ounce can of Westbrae Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 roasted green chiles, stemmed, seeded and diced (about a 4 ounce can)
1/2 cup sliced black olives

1 tsp chile powder (I like straight red chile powder rather than the mixed kind)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne if you like it spicy
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lime
1/2 avocado chunks
sliced scallions or chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Saute chicken and onion over medium heat
  • When onion is soft and chicken is no longer pink, about 7 minutes, add beans, green chiles, seasonings, olives and heat through2-3 more minutes
  • Remove from heat and stir in lime
  • Serve in bowls and top with avocado and cilantro or scallions


Time to Change

What a crazy diet it is in the life where food sensitivities never cease to change!

Once again, my diet has taken a crazy turn. I have been diagnosed with increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut syndrome…Nice, huh? So my mission now is to heal my intestines with healthy doses of probiotics and an anti-inflammatory diet. Fun for me! Just when I thought I figured out my diet, it drastically changed. Again.

Right now I’m on day three of my Clearvite cleanse. So far so good! I’m trying to simplify my tastes in food a bit. This is the first time I’ve really kicked the cheese out. It was by far my favorite food. I love cheese. And chocolate. And coffee. And wine. I guess I definitely know I am at a place where I just want to feel better because I am really okay with forgoing the cheese this time around, along with my other food loves. Maybe someday we will be together again.

But for now, I am finding new food joys and feeling sooo much better! As it turns out, I was also extremely low in B12, D and protein as well. So now I’m on a customized vitamin regimen and high protein diet.

One more thing discovered is my blood sugar seems to be on a crazy roller coaster all day when I don’t avoid sugar and cheap carbs, so I am now using stevia almost exclusively. Good news is I might actually drop a pant size. Go Me!

Like I said, it’s been interesting here in the food department.

Here are some new ingredients that have made dining life better these days:

Almond and Cashew Milk

I use this in smoothies, banana bread, tea, chocolate bark, and more! So good!

The Chai Green Tea is especially good with the above two ingredients! Yum! I barely miss coffee now.
So goodnight for now, but new "crazy diet" recipes are to follow. We had burrito bowls tonight that me and my hubby really enjoyed!


Three Pepper Soup with Grilled Chicken and Sausage

I realize when it's 85 degrees outside and your husband is testing the new furnace he installed for the winter to come is not the best time to prepare a hot soup, but I guess I don't always think that far ahead...

Oh well, it is tasty, filling and cleaned out the fridge!

3 bell peppers, diced. I used red, orange and yellow
1 medium white onion, diced
2 small celery stalks, finely sliced
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1-2 tbls oil of choice
1 quart of hot water mixed with 2 squares of Rapunzel's vegetable bullion with sea salt and herbs or chicken broth
1, 28 ounce can of Muir Glen crushed tomatoes with basil
1, 15 ounce can of Great Northern beans, rinsed
1/2 package of gluten-free pasta, cooked slightly al dente. I prefer Tinkyada brand
1 full chicken breast, grilled
4 Mulay's Hot Italian sausage links, grilled
Parmesan shreds, if desired
  • Saute onion, celery and bell pepper in oil of choice over med-low heat
  • After a couple minutes add Italian seasoning. Saute until tender but not browned
  • Add quart of broth, can of tomatoes and beans. Simmer 20 minutes
  • Meanwhile, grill chicken breast and sausages
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving only slightly firm to the bite
  • After soup simmers, add chicken, sausage and pasta
  • Serve with parmesan shreds, if desired


Lemon Ginger Kiwi

Kiwi is such a beautiful green fruit and is bountiful at Costco right now. Of course, purchasing kiwi in a 4 pound box limits your ability to purchase only ripe, sweeter ones. We are fans of adding a little honey, lemon and ginger to compliment the sweet-tartness of this powerhouse fruit. Not only are kiwi pretty, adding a bit of the tropical to our kitchen, they have nearly 300% of the rda of vitamin c, 89% vitamin k, 21% fiber and are about 100 calories each. In addition, they are only about an 8 on the glycemic index (before the addition of honey). Plus they are just so pretty, which rates high on my happy index.

8-10 kiwis, peeled and sliced
2-3 tbls honey (depending on how tart the fruit is), warmed to liquid
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
juice from half a lemon
  • Slice kiwis into a bowl
  • In a smaller bowl add warmed honey
  • Grate ginger with a microplane or small-holed cheese grater right over the honey to catch any juice
  • Squeeze half a lemon into the honey bowl, removing any seeds
  • Mix honey-ginger mixture and stir into kiwi bowl


Scalloped Ham and Potatoes with Goat Cheese

Food and Holidays go so well together, and Easter is no exception. Ham and asparagus are always on the menu at our home. Most hams contain sulfites, dextrose and other undesirable ingredients. Luckily, Whole Foods and other natural food grocers carry more alternatives to mass-produced, chemically-stuffed, inhumanely treated little piggies. Niman Ranch is just the kind of rancher who pays careful attention to the environment as well as the health of the animals and those who eat them. One taste of a Niman Ranch ham and you will know quality.

1-1 1/2 cups ham, diced
2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp butter or ghee
2 cups chicken broth, warmed
4-6 ounce goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
  • Saute onion in butter over med-low heat until soft but not brown
  • Stir potatoes into butter and onion mixture
  • In a buttered 2 quart baking dish, layer half of the potatoes then half of the ham. Repeat layers again.
  • In a blender mix the chicken broth and goat cheese. Pour over the layered ham and potatoes.
  • Cover and bake at 375 degrees for half an hour. Uncover and bake for 25 more minutes or when potatoes are fork tender.


Spinach, Feta and Sundried Tomato Mini Quiches

We served these at our Valentine's Day Playgroup along with the Chocolate Raspberry Scones. They were tasty, and so much easier without the crust! It's a great way to get a serving of greens! I use Valebreso Feta, which is a Sheep's Feta from France. I used to buy it at Whole Foods and was thrilled to find it at Costco at a third of the cost. What a deal!

5 eggs
3/4 cup cream (cashew cream is doable to keep it free from cow's milk)
1 package of frozen chopped spinach (Cascadian Farms Organic is great), defrosted and squeezed well
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, not minced
1 tbsp safflower oil
2 tbsp finely chopped sundried tomatoes (dehydrated or packed in oil)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dill weed (optional)
1/3-1/2 cup Valbresa Sheep's Feta (the amount depends upon your tastes-use any feta you can eat)
  • Beat eggs until foamy
  • Add cream and blend well
  • Saute onion in oil until soft but not brown
  • Stir onion, spinach, sundried tomatoes, salt, pepper, optional dill, and feta into egg and cream mixture until well incorporated
  • Prepare a 12 muffin pan with paper muffin liners
  • Using a ladel or measuring cup, give a stir as you scoop out the egg mixture
  • Fill each cup 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set in the center


Chocolate Raspberry Scones

I have been practicing with scone recipes and finally found one I enjoy. Honestly, my favorite scone still comes from Pamela's Baking Mix, but until I can tolerate her wonderful mix again, I will enjoy these tasty scones. My girls love them with whipped cream. It was a nice Valentine's Day brunch treat.
1 tbsp baking powder (Hain is gluten free and corn free)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp guar gum
10 tbsp cold butter (freeze it for 20 minutes before using if possible-cold Spectrum Shortening can be used)
2 eggs (or egg replacer)
2 tbsp agave
1/2 cup cold milk (cow, nut, hemp or whatever you tolerate)
3/4 cup fresh raspberries or 1/2 cup defrosted raspberries, juice drained
1/3 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand are allergen free)
  • Mix dry ingredients (first 4 ingredients) together
  • Cut butter into small pieces and cut into flour mixture until it forms a course crumble
  • Beat eggs or egg replacer until foamy. Adding lots of air into this portion helps create a lighter texture
  • Add agave and milk and mix
  • Add wet ingredients into dry all at once and stir to incorporate
  • Gently stir in raspberries and chocolate chips
  • Drop by large spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
  • Bake at 375 degrees until set and lightly browned. The time depends upon how large of a spoonful you use. I ended up with large scones that took 18 minutes.

    I have not made these vegan yet, so if you try it please let me know how it worked! We served them with whipped cream.
    1 cup whipping cream
    2 tbsp agave
    1 tsp vanilla
    • Whip the cream on high until very soft peaks form
    • Add agave and vanilla and continue whipping until desired consistency is reached


    Creamy Chicken Salad

    I love chicken salad. I love it on crackers, on toast, on a bed of lettuce or on a spoon! There are so many variations as well: curry, asian, spicy, traditional, with pecans, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, grapes, apples, oranges, cranberries, pineapple, coconut...endless possibilities!

    This recipe is more of a traditional chicken salad with mayonnaise, grapes and pistachios. I hope you enjoy it!

    4 chicken breasts, poached, chilled and chopped (poaching directions below)
    1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise (to taste-for salads I add more mayo because it is my dressing as well)
    1/4 cup to 1/2 cup chopped celery
    1/4 cup slivered scallions
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 heaping cup grapes (red add a pretty color) halved or quartered
    1/2 heaping cup pistachios (or any favorite nut) rough chopped

    To Poach Chicken:
      Place chicken in a pan in a single layer
      Cover chicken breasts with water or broth (I prefer 1/2 cup vermouth or white wine, 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, and fill with broth until chicken was covered by 1/2 inch)
      Bring to a boil and immediately turn to low heat
      Partially cover pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, depending how thick the meat is
      Turn the heat off and let chicken sit in the poaching liquid 10 more minutes
      Remove from poaching liquid and cool until ready to use
      Strain and freeze poaching liquid for next use

    For the Salad:
      Cube the cooled poached chicken and add to a bowl
      Stir in mayo, celery, scallions, grapes and nuts
      Serve over lettuce or with crackers or toast


    Soy-Free Mayonnaise

    I admit, I love mayonnaise. Not like eating it straight out of the jar love it, but with sandwiches, in dips, spreads, and salad dressings. It adds creaminess and tang that is just so good. It's nearly impossible to find commercially made mayo that works with my numerous sensitivities, so I make my own and might never use store-bought again!

    If you are concerned about using raw eggs, check out this tip from the Incredible Edible Egg website. I have not tried this method yet and would love to hear from anyone who has.

    2 tbsp red wine vinegar ( Spectrum organic with no sulfites added) or lemon juice
    2 egg yolks
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp agave nectar (more if you prefer a sweeter mayo like Kraft)
    2 cups of light tasting oil like Sunflower or Safflower
    • Unless you have arm stamina like the Hulk, use a food processor or blender for this job. Cuisinart's mini food processor works perfectly! Mix together the vinegar, yolks, salt and agave in the processor or blender bowl
    • Add the oil VERY slowly. The mini food processor has an oil resevoir on top that drips oil a tiny bit at a time which is very helpful. If you pour oil in too quickly it becomes an oily mess rather than a creamy mayo. Use all of the oil
    • If the mayo is too thick, thin with a little bit of water to the desired consistency
    • Store foods with mayonnaise at 40 degrees F or below or at 140 degrees F or higher to prevent growth of bacteria


    Gluten-Free Fettucine with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

    I just recently tested tomatoes on rotational basis and did not have a reaction: YAY! I am not brave enough to eat a marinara or red meat sauce yet, but an occasional tomato on a salad, with an egg, or on a sandwich is a beautiful thing! In its stead I developed a roasted red pepper sauce that is wonderfully rich on pasta or white fish. I think jarred peppers would work, but roasting your own peppers is so aromatic as well as simple.

    To roast, heat up the grill or broiler to med-high (mine is about 400-450 degrees). Put peppers on and turn every 4 minutes or so, whenever the skin turns black. Once all sides are black, take off grill (or out from under broiler) and place in a glass or metal bowl and cover with a lid or foil to steam. After about 12-20 minutes, peel the charred skin off. It should come right off. Then pull the stem out which pulls out most of the seeds. Cut into fourths and scrape the seeds and veins off. They smell so good!

    • 1, 14 ounce package of Tinkyada fettucine, cooked and rinsed (or other favorite GF pasta)
    • 1/3 cup chopped white or yellow onion
    • 2 tbsp oil (olive, grapeseed, safflower or other oil of choice)
    • 1 jar or 4 roasted red peppers
    • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
    • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 tbsp slivered basil
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
    Saute onion in oil over med-low heat, until soft but not brown. Add roasted red peppers, onion, vinegar, broth and goat cheese in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Place cooked and rinsed pasta and sauce in the same pan the pasta was cooked and heat until hot. Or heat sauce and pour over hot pasta. Serve in a pasta bowl and top with basil and toasted pine nuts.

     Toasted pine nuts: toast nuts in a dry skillet over med-high heat, shaking pan often to toast evenly
    For fish: replace red wine vinegar with lemon juice



    Lamb with Balsamic Rosemary Reduction

    This dish is a favorite primarily because it is delish and easy, but also lamb is my favorite red meat, and spinach is one of my favorite vegetables. We put it in lasagna, omelettes, pasta stir-fries, salads, soups, wraps and dips. Spinach is a great source of Vitamins A, K, C, E, folate, iron and several others: A great way to "sneak" antioxidant-rich veggies into your family's diet. Sometimes red meat gets a bad wrap, but lamb has some wonderful benefits as well. It is a super source of zinc (responsible for growth, tissue repair and a sturdy immune system), Vitamin B12 and amino acid carnitine. It does a body good!

    4-6 lamb chops
    5 ounce pack of baby spinach
    grapeseed oil
    salt and pepper
    3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp whole peppercorns
    2 tbsp honey
    6 inch sprig of rosemary
    • Bring balsamic vinegar, pepper corns, honey and rosemary to a simmer in a small saucepan. Simmer until reduced by 1/3
    • Season both sides of lamb chop with salt and pepper
    • Heat skillet and oil to med-hi
    • Add lamb to skillet and cook on both sides until internal temperature reaches 140-150 for med-rare or 150-160 for med
    • Pull from heat and let rest for 10 minutes so juices will redistribute through the meat (I cut my lamb too soon in the picture and the juices ran all over the plate)
    • Add spinach to hot lamb pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes until just wilted
    • Place spinach and lamb on plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction

    Costco has great prices for lamb and balsamic vinegar


    Sweet Potato Fries

    My family really likes these fries, especially my girls! We don't even need dipping sauce.Vitamin A with over 700% of your RDA in one serving. In addition, they have a respectable amount of Vitamin C, B6, Potassium and fiber.

    These are almost as easy as opening a package of frozen ones, but much tastier! I especially like these with burgers or pork. Two large sweet potatoes serve as a side dish for about 4 people.

    2 large sweet potatoes
    salt, pepper, and cayenne (optional)
    1-2 tbsp oil of choice (I used sunflower)
    • Scrub or peel potatoes (keeping the skin on adds to the fiber content-I peeled the ones in the picture because the skins weren't looking so tasty)
    • Cut into 1/2 inch by 3 inch sticks (1/3 inch if smaller fries are preferred)
    • Lightly coat with oil
    • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a small pinch of cayenne if you like spice
    • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir half way through to recoat with oil and to promote even browning.


    Jalapeño Poppers Sans Gluten

    My clever and beautiful sister-n-law, Ramona, created these gems using wonton wrappers. I replaced the gluten-containing wonton wrappers with rice-paper wrappers and rolled it "egg roll" style. Rice paper does not get quite as crispy as wonton wrappers, but it has a light crisp-chewy texture that works nicely with the creamy cheese and crunch of bacon. She also experimented with Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Montery Jack cheeses. All were tasty, but cream cheese won the "fave" status. The sauce shown is a mixture of raspberry jam thinned with a bit of cran-raspberry juice. Another awesome gluten-free appetizer, sure to please gluten eaters as well. I know my gluten-eating husband loves these! And I love not having to deal with messy batter and deep frying to have the great taste of Jalapeño Poppers. All I can say is YUM!

    12 (8 inch) rice paper wrappers (purchased at a local asian market)
    6 fresh jalapeño peppers
    6-8 ounces of cream cheese (light or regular)
    4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve drippings)
    onion powder or garlic powder to rub on jalapeños before grilling
    oil for sautéing peppers (about 1/4 cup) I used safflower oil
    • Preheat grill or broiler for peppers.
    • Rub whole peppers with oil and sprinkle with onion or garlic powder and salt
    • Grill until skin is slightly charred and blistered on all sides
    • Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Using gloves will keep the hot oils from irritating your skin (trust me... removing your contacts from your eyes is a torturous process after seeding peppers with your bare fingers-ouch!)
    • Cut each jalapeño lengthwise into 6 strips
    • Soak one rice paper at a time in cool water until soft (30 seconds or so). I just let the next paper soak while I was rolling one popper
    • Pat the excess water off of the soaked rice paper with a towel or paper towel. Lay it out on your work surface and place 2-3 strips of grilled pepper, about 1 tbsp bacon crumbles (or 1/3 of a full strip), and 1/2 ounceish chunk of cream cheese in the middle of the rice paper. Fold up the bottom half of paper over the filling. Fold in each of the sides and roll up "egg roll" or "burrito" style.

    • When all poppers are rolled, add enough oil to bacon drippings to evenly cover the bottom of the pan and heat to high

    • Sauté poppers until golden on all sides and cream cheese is threatening to ooze out the ends

    Now you are ready to dip and pop!


    Dreamy Gluten-Free Vegan Brownies

    Okay, it is 8 degrees outside. I was supposed to do our weekly shopping today, but brrrr! I really don't want to leave the house, dragging my 3 year old to several grocery stores (of course we can't find everything my special diet requires at one store!). All I really want to do is stay in my jammies, clutching my steamy cup of coffee and bake, warming my kitchen and my spirits. In fact, that is what I did-sorry girls, we are out of milk, eggs, and lunch fixins...but we have brownies! And I must say, THESE BROWNIES ROCK! Whenever I take them to school or NCL functions, no one has a clue that they are gluten-free, let alone dairy free. Admittedly, I still prefer the taste of butter over shortening, but when dairy has to go-these brownies more than satisfy the chocolate monster in us all. Stay warm and enjoy!

    4 ounces Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened chocolate baking bar, roughly chopped
    1/4 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening (or butter if not vegan)
    1 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer (or 2 eggs-omit water if using eggs)
    1/4 cup warm water
    3/4 cup Raw Blue Agave Nectar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/3 cup Sorghum Mix
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup walnut meal (I chop them in my small food processor and store them in the freezer)
    1/4 cup Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips (optional)
    1/4 nuts (optional)
    • Melt chocolate in shortening or butter over low heat
    • Mix sorghum flour mix, soda, salt, and walnut meal in a small bowl
    • In a separate bowl, beat or whisk egg replacer and water until frothy, about 1 minute
    • Add agave nectar and vanilla to egg replacer mixture and beat well
    • Mix dry mixture into wet and beat until well combined
    • Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if using and pour into a prepared 8x8 pan. I line my glass pan with parchment to prevent sticking and to make clean up easier. Using oil or shortening will also work
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes
    Product Information:
    I buy the Ghirardelli bars at Wal-Mart. They are 100% chocolate without soy, milk, or sugar. I order Enjoy Life chocolate chips by the case through Vitamin Cottage-Natural Grocers to save 10%, I used Wholesome brand Blue Agave to give the brownies more of a brown sugar taste, which I buy at Amazon


    Jalapeno Chicken Dip

    We love appetizers! We have them Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and of course for the Super Bowl, which is just around the corner. I will share some of our family faves with you. Not all of them work well with my rotation diet (or anyone's New Year diet for that matter), but they are all gluten-free and guaranteed crowd pleasers!

    This one is great with veggies or tortilla chips. It was inspired by a recipe from The Junior League at Home. I've added quite a few additional ingredients and spiced it up. We are not afraid of the heat at our house. So feel free to tame the spice or ramp it up, depending on your family's preference. Either way, everyone always loves this one!

    3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    2-3 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt) use onion powder if you are sensitive to garlic
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp ground black pepper
    dash of cayenne
    2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup minced red bell pepper (roasted reds are yummy as well)
    1/2 cup sliced scallions
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
    1 roasted green chile, chopped (Slim Jims are my personal fave) or a 4 ounce can of chopped green chiles
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp Tobasco sauce
    • Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper onto chicken. That sounds like a lot of garlic powder, but it really makes the dish tasty. Grill until just done (or saute in a skillet with oil if preferred)
    • Finely chop the chicken
    • In a larger bowl mix cream cheese with milk until well incorporated
    • Add in all the rest of the ingredients (including chicken) until well mixed
    • Spread into a greased 8 inch square baking dish (or any shallow 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly
    • Serve with fresh veggies and/or tortilla chips and collect the praise!