Tag Archives: Gluten-Free

Anti-pasta salad redux

My previous post, the low carb antipasto, was nutritious but too bland. With a July 4 cookout approaching, I made a double batch with a few modifications for more flavor.

Chicken wasn’t on sale this week, but steak was. Since this is a double batch, I picked up two pounds of somethingorother steak.

Now, the flavor upgrades:

  • double strength ranch dressing
  • double the capers
  • sear the steak on a gas grill
  • salt the cukes
  • dance naked in the moonlight

  • 8 cucumbers
  • 2 ts salt
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 2 lbs steak
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • 1 cup capers, drained
  • 3 cups ranch dressing
  1.    Peel the cucumbers, remove the ends, and slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the seeds, then slice the halves again lengthwise. Cut the resulting spears in 1/2 inch sections. Put the pieces in a large collander and toss with salt. Let rest for two hours or more (refrigerated, over a bowl to catch the juice).
  2.    I used a packet of ranch seasoning meant for a gallon, and made two quarts instead. I used half mayo and half yoghurt. You could use buttermilk instead of the yoghurt but the cucumbers release a lot of water, so I opted for the thicker dressing. You’ll use three cups of the resulting dressing.
  3.    Cut the peppers and onions into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  4.    Trim the steak well, then grill on a hot gas grill to about medium. Cool the steak then slice into 1″x1/2″ pieces, and add them to the mixing bowl. Good strong grill marks will pay you back with a burst of flavour.
  5.    Cook the bacon to crispy (using your favorite method- microwave or nu-wave work well) then crumble or snip it into small pieces in the mixing bowl.
  6.    Add the capers and ranch dressing and stir to coat.
  7.    Shake the cucumber pieces in the collander to drain out the last of the juice, then add to the bowl and stir to coat everything. Serve cold.

Some attractive add-ins would be cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, sliced Greek olives or cubed sharp cheddar.

Impromptu Chicken Soup for Two

Chicken soup: simple, fulfilling, and nutritious.

Today, I looked in my fridge, and chicken thighs and chicken broth were both there. Sounds like a good day for soup.

I started off by chopping up a potato and an onion. In a small saucepan over low heat, I sautéed a handful of baby carrots, eight or 10 cloves of garlic, and the potato and onion. The whole mix sizzled and emitted an aroma that I could only call “Mom’s Kitchen.”

While the veggies were cooking, I cut the meat off of one chicken thigh. It was an exceptionally chubby chicken, and I took my time removing the fat before I chopped it into about 1 inch chunks.

I tossed the chicken into the pan, stirred it, and let it sauté for a few minutes more. Then I added spices, salt-and-pepper, and 1 quart of chicken stock. I had homemade chicken stock, but store-bought chicken stock (low-sodium by preference) would work too.

Once the soup began to simmer, I turned the heat down very low, and left it simmer uncovered for an hour. I stirred two or three times.

Soup improves the longer you simmer it. What had been a bland and watery broth when I started turned into a deeply flavored, savory chicken soup, with sweet notes of roasted garlic paring well against the dark meat chicken.

I found that the garlic still had more crunch and “raw” garlic flavor that I’d hoped. When I make this dish again, I will start sautéing the garlic three or four minutes before all the rest of the veggies.

Impromptu chicken soup for two

  • one small onion
  • one small potato
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots OR regular carrots coarsely chopped
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • one chicken thigh, deboned and fat removed, chopped into one inch (ish) chunks
  • 1 quart chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • salt to taste (around 1/4 tsp)
  • pepper to taste (around 1/4 tsp)
  1.    Chop the onion and pepper (and carrots). If the garlic is in large cloves (such as elephant garlic), cut them up too.
  2.    Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat
  3.    Sauté the garlic for about four minutes. It should be fragrant but not yet softening at the end of this step.
  4.    Add  the veggies and cook for for about ten minutes, until the onions are becoming translucent and the potatoes are beginning to lose their sharp edges.
  5.    Turn the heat up the medium and add the chicken. Cook for four more minutes, until at least one surface of the chicken chunks is starting to brown.
  6.    Add the salt, pepper, basil and broth, and turn the heat up to high. Once the broth begins to boil, turn the heat down to very low and let the soup simmer for an hour or more.