Friday, December 11, 2009

Hy-Vee has a Gluten Free List

I realized today that Hy-Vee has a gluten free list that they keep updated on their Web site (I think they got sick of me calling all the time!). See here for more details. Please note that it says, "to the best of our knowledge" these are the items that are gluten free.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Orange-Cranberry Muffins

I love cranberries, and have been trying to figure out recipes to make with the abundance of cranberries that have been on sale recently.

I came up with recipe tonight, and it turned out pretty well. Little Z loved it, and the orange glaze is really delicious, and is the perfect compliment to this not-too-sweet muffin.

I used freshly squeezed orange juice for this recipe, but I am sure store bought orange juice will work just as well.
Cranberry Orange Muffins:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
¼ cup canola oil
¼ tsp salt
2 cups white rice flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup shredded fresh cranberries (use a blender or food processor)

Orange Glaze
I didn't provide great measurements because I just eye-balled it. Just make the glaze thin enough to drizzle over the muffins.
powdered sugar (around 1/4 cup)
orange juice (the juice from a half of a freshly-squeezed orange)

Mix dry ingredients together; mix wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until thoroughly blended. Pour into oiled muffin tins (or muffin tins with paper cups). Bake in a preheated, 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

let cool, and drizzle with orange glaze.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Gluten-Free Oven Fried Chicken

This is easy recipe to make, and if you can believe it, is crunchier than when it is made with wheat flour. I can't tell a difference between this version and the wheat version I used

to make.


3-4 lbs cut up broiler-fryer chicken

½ to 1 cup of corn starch

¼ cup canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

spices (anything you like – paprika, oregano, etc)


Heat oven to 425° and mix corn starch, salt, pepper and spices in a gallon plastic zipper bag. Rinse chicken well in cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in plastic bag (one or two at a time) and shake well until they are thoroughly coated. Drizzle canola oil in the bottom of oven safe baking dish. Place coated chicken in baking dish and bake skin side down for 30 minutes. Turn chicken and bake another 30 minutes, or until juice is no longer pink in the center (when thickest pieces are cut).

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"Fast Food" on Road Trips -Traveling with a food intolerant/allergic baby

It's Holiday Time again, which means long road trips (at least for our family) to visit relatives. Every time we travel, I get a feeling of dread and worry: what will I feed Little Z? Where can we stop? Will he have a reaction if I feed him a plain hamburger patty from McDonalds? (which is the last thing you need when you are away from home!).

In the past, we just fed him carby snacks (like chex and apple slices) but those are not very filling, and if it is a really long car ride, that is just not acceptable. I discovered an easy solution to this problem: We always travel with an ice-filled cooler and containers of homemade, allergy-friendly meals. When we stop to get gas, I simply microwave his meals in the gas station's microwave.

This is also something that doesn't have to take that much pre-planning since I started making and freezing a lot of the meat ahead of time. It is easy enough to take meal portioned amounts and throw in some frozen veggies and leftover potatoes (or boil a quick batch of GF pasta).
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Puppy Snack - Puppy Chow minus the dairy and soy

As a child, I loved it when kids would bring Puppy Chow to school for our Holiday Parties (The original Puppy chow is made with chocolate chips and peanut butter melted over Chex and covered in powdered sugar).

A few weeks ago I made Puppy Chow for myself, and I was trying to figure out ways to make it without chocolate chips and peanut butter (you can buy allergy-friendly chocolate chips, but I have never introduced them to Little Z, and probably won't until he is a bit older). This is what I came up with. It is easier to make than regular Puppy Chow; Although it is not quite as delicious as the original, it is a nice second, and Little Z loved it. He scarfed it down, getting powdered sugar and cocoa powder all over himself in the process.

I don't really provide great measurements because I just “eye ball” it.


Rice or Corn Chex Cereal

Canola Oil (a few Tbl Sp – just enough to lightly coat the cereal when drizzled over it)

cocoa powder

powdered sugar (contains corn; see here for a corn-free recipe)


With a spoon, drizzle canola over the cereal, while mixing to lightly coat all the cereal. Once cereal is coated, sprinkle cocoa powder over the cereal using a sifter. Once the cereal is coated with the cocoa powder, sift powdered sugar over the cereal and mix until coated. Seal in an airtight container.

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Rice Crunchy Treats

If you have been following my blog, you know that I wondered if my son was intolerant to corn. I recently re-introduced corn into his diet, and he seems to be tolerating it well. This is wonderful, because it opens up so many new opportunities for meals and snacks since corn and corn derivatives are in just about everything (including most brands of marshmallows).

Rice Crunchy Treats are simply a new version of Rice Crispy Treats, and in my opinion, are easier to make than the original version because you don't have to waste your time melting butter. When I was breast feeding (and before I knew my son had gluten issues) I made these with Rice Crispies, and even though the oil element in this recipe is canola oil, everyone who has eaten them says they cannot tell they are made without butter. Since finding out Little Z is intolerant to gluten, I make them with Rice Chex. I can't really taste a difference between the original loved standard, except for an almost imperceptible texture difference due to the difference between Rice Crispies and Rice Chex. I have been using the Walmart brand of Marshmallows because it says on the package "naturally gluten free."


¼ cup canola oil

10½ oz safe marshmallows (about 36 large marshmallows)

7 to 8½ cups Rice Chex Cereal (depending on how gooey you want your treats)


In a large pot, combine oil and marshmallows and turn the heat setting to medium-high. Stir with a wooden spoon continuously until the marshmallows are melted. Add the Rice Chex Cereal and stir until well mixed and thoroughly coated with marshmallow. Place in a greased 11x13 pan and press and smooth out bars with a plastic zipper bag on your hand. Let cool and cut. Makes about 24 bars.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Rice Dream coupons available

$1/2 Off Rice Dream beverages are available on the Mambo Sprouts Web site.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make-Ahead Chicken

A time saving and money-stretching trick I started employing at my house recently is cooking hamburger and chicken ahead of time so when I am in a rush, I can just pull it out and it is already made. This is not quite as easy as pulling out a freeze-ahead homemade meal, but to be frank, there just are not a lot of freeze-ahead meals that are gluten and top 8 free (rice noodles just don't hold up the same way!).

The first time I did this, it was a huge hit with my husband (who really doesn't like chicken-on-the-bone). I am able to get several meals out of it, and it is perfect for casseroles, Chinese food, enchiladas and goulashes, and you can save the bones for an allergy friendly, inexpensive chicken broth.

In the photos shown here, I cooked 10-12 lbs of chicken (I bought it when it was on sale for $.99/lb), removed the skin and visible fat from the chicken, drizzled it with canola oil, and seasoned it with garlic, salt and pepper (seasonings that will go with just about any meal). I baked it in a 350° oven for around an hour to an hour and a half. This is a great method, too, because you don't have to rely on the expensive chicken in a bag that often has solutions that may bother an allergy sufferer.

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$1/1 Hain Celestial Group Coupons

I just got a call from my sister-in-law telling me about this great coupon. Sign up for the Gluten-Free Choices Newsletter and you will be able to print several coupons for products from Hain Celestial Group (like De Boles Pasta and Rice Dream). It let me print 20 (this is unheard of) and they don't expire 'til 2011.

This one will go fast, so get it while it is still available.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hu Hot = Not so Hot for allergy sufferers

Last week my brother's family and my family went on a weekend family vacation. The vacation was a blast, and it's something we do every year. Now that we have a son with special dietary needs, we have to do a little more planning, as well as make sure we get hotels/lodging with a built in kitchen. We still like to eat out once or twice though, so we make sure to call ahead and do the legwork necessary to make sure Little Z doesn't have to go hungry or eat only a potato/rice.

Because of the great experience with BD's Mongolian Grill, we thought Hu Hot (West Des Moines, IA) would be a great restaurant choice because they would have a special grill in the back for allergy sufferers (and I really like Hu Hot's food). We called ahead, they assured us they deal with allergies all the time; although they don't have a special grill, they "clean the grill three times, don't share utensils," and so on.

Well, cleaning the grill constituting spraying it down with water and scraping it 3 times. Even though I told the employees he was an allergy customer (I don't even mess with explaining intolerant and celiac disease), they still shared utensils. I asked the manager if he could cook or microwave his food in the back, and he said that he couldn't because they couldn't make sure the meat would be cooked fully. I was really disappointed -- there was no way his food could have been cooked in the back somehow? Not in a pan?

Well, I decided to only let Z have the rice that is brought to the table when you arrive. Well, it must have been cross contaminated with an offending ingredient because he woke up that night around 1 am and screamed (SCREAMED) until around 3 when we could finally calm and settle him. Little Z developed the standard yeast diaper rash and diarrhea. It took him 5 days before he took more than a 45-minute nap and didn't sleep fitfully at night.

Lesson learned: don't assume anything, and always make sure you inquire more deeply into a restaurant's allergy practices; i.e. when they say they clean a cooking area, ask how they clean it. Do they use soap?

Rice Dream Frozen Dessert Coupons

Rice Dream Frozen Dessert coupons
($1/1) are available on You should be able to print two from each computer.

I want to point out that these deserts all have soy.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

This dish easy and fast to make, and I can't even begin to tell you how delicious it is. You can make it in muffin tins, or even better, in individual ramekins (there is no dairy or cheese to bind the potatoes together, so keeping the potatoes in the ramekin makes you feel like you actually are eating the old-fashioned scalloped potatoes.

For those of you who make scalloped potatoes from scratch, this is MUCH easier, and tastes just as delicious.

3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
½ yellow onion, diced
canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
spices (like oregano, Italian seasoning, parsley, etc)

Mix potatoes, onion, salt and pepper in bowl and transfer to greased muffin tin/ramekins. Sprinkle spices on top, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375° oven for 20-30 minutes. Bake uncovered 10 more minutes, or until tops are golden and potatoes are soft.

Orange Pumpkin Spice Cake - a Perfect Fall-Weather Treat

This is such a sweet, moist cake that I didn't add frosting, (well, I also don't really like frosting that much, but this cake really didn't need it!). This cake is delicious and I really can't tell that it is gluten free (or egg free, for that matter). Such a perfect treat for the fall – and little Z loves it.

1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup orange juice or water
1 cup canned pumpkin (I ran out of pumpkin, so I used ½ cup mashed butternut squash & ½ cup pumpkin and it worked great).
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 cups white/brown rice flour
1 Tbl sp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup finely shredded carrots

Icing (optional)
½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tbl sp orange juice or water
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together brown sugar, orange juice, pumpkin/squash, oil, vanilla and salt. Add flour, baking soda and powder and stir until thoroughly mixed. Stir in carrots. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake 25-30 minutes in a preheated 350° oven until firm in center. Let cool and top with icing (if desired).
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Good Morning Coffee Cake

I made this recipe recently and it was very tasty. I adapted it from Sunny Cinnamon Bars from the cookbook, "Cookies for everyone" (if you follow this blog, I use this cookbook all the time). The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seed kernels. Little Z reacts badly to sunflower oils and seeds, so I left them out. If you or your child doesn't react to sunflower seeds, I think it would definitely be a great addition to this recipe by adding another element of texture.

1 cup applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 Tbl sp ground cinnamon
¼ cup water
1½ cups white/brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca starch
dash of salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup crushed Chex cereal(or safe granola)

Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl and wet ingredients in another. Stir in raisins. Pour into an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top, and top with crushed Chex. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes in a 350° preheated oven.
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Oh Honey Grahams - a Great Alternative to Graham Crackers

These crackers, when rolled thin enough, are a very delicious alternative to graham crackers (they really do taste a lot like graham crackers!). When rolled thick, they taste like a muffin in bar form. I have made them with and without oatmeal. Either way, they taste wonderful and are very satisfying. A good friend of mine and her little boy (who are not gluten free) love these, and even though I can eat gluten and eggs, I will gladly eat this over a lot of snacks because it is not only healthy, but filling (unlike a lot of processed snacks).

Unfortunately, each time I have made these (and anything with flax meal), Little Z gets very fussy, diarrhea and diaper rashes. I think the high fiber of the flax meal bothers him. This is disappointing because these are fairly easy to make and he adores them.

½ cup canola oil

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cup white or brown rice flour (I usually use brown)

1 cup rice bran (or 1/2 cup rice bran & 1/2 cup Quinoa/GF Oatmeal)

1 cup flax meal

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ cup rice milk

Sugar-in-the-raw (as much or as little as needed)

Mix together the dry ingredient, except sugar-in-the-raw. When thoroughly mixed, slowly add the rice milk while stirring. The dough becomes sticky, so you may need to mix/kneed by hand. Divide the dough into 4 balls and place each ball on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roll out each ball – Roll out the dough very thin for crackers or thicker for bars. Cut into individual bars with a knife (I use a pizza cutter). Sprinkle sugar-in-in-the-raw on top. Curl aluminum foil around the edges (so they don't burn and bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes; uncover edges and bake 5 more minutes until lightly browned. Let cool completely before handling the crackers/bars.

Adapted from Cookies for Everyone, Laakso and Hammond
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Friday, October 30, 2009

BD's Mongolian Grill

We recently ate at BD's Mongolian Grill, and it was a good experience. The location we visited (Independence, MO) had a special grill in the back that is thoroughly cleaned between uses, especially for allergy sufferers. I requested that they cook his food only in water, and they were able to give him food from the back that had not been on the line (so it wouldn't run the risk of being contaminated).

If you decide to go to this restaurant, be sure to still call ahead to make sure they have a grill in the back. Also double check how they clean the cooking surfaces/utensils, and so on. I recently went to Hu Hot (I thought it was pretty much the same restaurant) and it was not a good experience.
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Fiorella's Jackstack - Plaza Location, Kansas City, MO

Whenever my in-laws, who are from Minnesota, are in town, we love to eat at Fiorella's Jack Stack. Jack Stack is an award-winning Kansas City BBQ restaurant. When my in-laws said they wanted to eat a Fiorella's, I thought that I would end up just staying home with Little Z, so I didn't have to deal with bringing him cold food to the restaurant, while we enjoyed our delicious barbecue. However, I called ahead, fully thinking I would have to stay home, but I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful and knowledgeable the kitchen manager was. I also was surprised to find out that their sauces and rubs are gluten free.

The kitchen manager was amazing, and had had some firsthand experiences with allergies, so he knew how to prepare and cook for my son. When we arrived, he greeted our table, suggested we order the meat plate from the child's menu (either the beef brisket or turkey because it didn't come in a brine) and he specially made a baked potato (their baked potatoes are usually coated in a soy butter before baking). The kitchen manager went out of his way to help us, and in fact, personally prepared my son's food!

Amazing. Fiorella's has been the best restaurant where allergies are concerned that I have come across.
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Eating Out

Eating out is quite a hassle if you have multiple intolerance or allergies. It's a lot easier if you simply want a gluten free meal, but pair that with other allergies/intolerances, and you will have quite a task on your hands!

It also comes with several risks: if food is not handled/prepared with the utmost care, Little Z will not nap well, will cry, scream, whimper through the night, get a yeast infection/lesions on his bottom, and be sick for several days (and my son's reactions are relatively mild compared to children who have anaphylactic reactions).

Because of this, and the cost involved, we don't eat out all that often; however, when we do, these are the steps we take:
  • Call ahead and ask to speak to a manager (if possible, speak to the kitchen manager).
  • Explain your situation, allergies, and explain what types of foods you would like to try if possible (Little Z has so many off-limits foods, it's easier for me to tell them what I want and for them to let me know if they can accommodate me). For example, I always ask if they have 100% chicken, turkey or beef that is unseasoned and doesn't come in a brine/solution/marinade. To prepare it, I explain they can cook it the following ways: boil it in water, cook it in 100% canola or olive oil, or grilled (as in a wood-fire grill) with a piece of tin foil under it.
  • Request that they double check the labels (for example, chicken breasts often are injected in a solution, which may have gluten).
  • When you arrive, let them know you called earlier and ask for the manager. Re-explain your wants and needs again to the server and manager and have them involved so the kitchen staff doesn't contaminate the food.
  • Remember that most people don't have a good understanding of food allergies, or the proper precautions in handling them. So don't feel like you are explaining too much or dumbing things down. One time we ordered our son a burger with nothing on it: "no bun, no seasonings, no ketchup nor mustard. Nothing. Just the hamburger patty." They still brought it to us with the bun on it, and the server said I could just take it off. I had to explain to her that because the bun touched the meat, he can't eat it because it will make him sick.
Usually, restaurant staffs are very helpful, friendly and accommodating. Just remember to stay friendly and leave a good tip. I used to be embarrassed, and I felt bad for inconveniencing my server and the restaurant staff, but they don't have to suffer with a reaction if the food is not prepared properly!

On the few occasions we have eaten out, we have had more success than I would have thought. Here are some of a few:

Fiorella's Jack Stack (Plaza location, Kansas City, MO)
BD's Mongolian Grill (Independence, MO location)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Protein Intollerance Confirmed & Celiac Update

Whew. It has been over a month since I have had time to do any updating on this site, and I apologize! I am taking design classes again, and I have hardly any time to sleep – much less write!

Here are some updates on Little Z. We recently visited the pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's Mercy, in the KC area, and he was very informative and was... just wonderful (I have heard from several mom's that their pediatric gastroenterologist are not helpful at all!).

Regarding Celiac Disease: The Pediatric Gastroenterologist was more concerned with Z's possible Celiac Disease than his multiple food intolerances, and that is what we discussed for most of the appointment. As many of you may know, Z tested negative for Celiac Disease, but he reacts to gluten, and Celiac disease runs heavily in my husband's family. The PG said that Celiac tests done on babies under 2 are not reliable (regardless of what kind of test that was done). He said we should keep him on a gluten-free diet until he is at least 4, and at that time, we can test him again, but it will require that he go back on gluten. He also said that now research is showing that some people who have Celiac Disease test negative for it (even when they eat lots of gluten) because they don't have a normal IgA response (this is really technical, and I don't fully understand it myself. See this article in Living Without to read more). I was concerned that he would have to have a biopsy done to confirm that Little Z had Celiac, but the Pediatric Gastro assured me that those are not needed anymore like they were in the past. Ultimately, I got the feeling that he thinks Z has Celiac, but right now we just don't know for certain.

Regarding intolerances: Little Z is clearly intolerant to several foods, but the Ped. Gastro. was not too concerned with them. He said that most children outgrow dairy and soy (and other) allergies/intolerances by age 3, but some later. He said we should not introduce any new foods to him until he is at least 2 years old, and he suggested that we could try putting a teaspoonful of milk in his tippy cup of rice milk for several days and see if he handles it OK. Increase it every few days to see if he has a reaction. And of course, introduce foods very slowly (one every four days or longer).

It was a wonderful visit, and the main point I took away was this: we should follow the symptoms and not test results. In fact, the doctor said he has one little boy whom he sees that tests allergic to eggs, but he eats eggs everyday with no reaction!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

My favorite time of year is the fall, and my favorite kind of pie is pumpkin. I had a hankering for both this weekend, and as a result: Pumpkin Pie Pancakes were born.

1 cup brown rice flower
1 T superfine sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup tapioca starch
dash of salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 T Canola oil
3/4 cup water
1 T honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Mix all wet ingredients together with a whisk in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix with whisk. Pour some of the batter into a well heated and oiled skillet (high heat). When your pancake bubbles, flip it over and continue cooking. When pancake is golden on each side, remove from pan and place on a plate. Top with honey, powdered sugar or pure maple syrup.

NOTE: After several minutes, these pancakes stick a bit to each other if piled on top of one another. Put a piece of wax paper in between each pancake if they are going to sit on a plate for awhile, or if you are putting them in the freezer or fridge to eat later.

Tip: You can freeze your extra pumpkin in ice cube trays, and once frozen, place in a plastic zipper bag to use the next time a recipe calls for pumpkin.
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Crispy Chicken Under a Brick (or Cast Iron Skillet)

I tried this recipe by Tyler Florence tonight, and it was really fun to make and tasted delicious. I was skeptical that chicken on the bone would be able to fully cook in 30 minutes or less, but it did. And the skin was so crisp – it was amazing. The original recipe calls for toasted cumin seeds, which I don't have. Instead, I simply used ½ teaspoon ground cumin. I was a little intimidated about making this dish, but it turned out to be much simpler and faster than I thought it would be. I will definitely make this dish again!!!

I had never heard of “brick chicken” until I saw Melissa D'Arabian from the Next Food Network Star make it in a challenge (she won the competition, BTW). Instead of using a brick, she recommended using a cast iron skillet. How simple! I just put a little olive oil on the bottom of my cast iron skillet before I placed it on my chicken.

3 lbs chicken on bone
3/4 cup olive oil
2 oranges, juiced and zested
½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper, to taste

In gallon zipper bag, mix together 1/2-cup olive oil, orange juice and zest, cumin, curry, brown sugar, garlic and parsley. Marinate the chicken in the mixture for 1 hour, covered in the refrigerator.

Place an ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Put the remaining 1/4-cup olive oil into the hot skillet and wait 1 minute for it to heat up.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, season all over with salt and pepper. Place the chicken halves in the skillet, skin side down. Wrap 2 bricks in aluminum foil (or us a cast iron skillet) and set them on top of the chicken. The weight will flatten the chicken resulting in a very crispy skin.

Cook on the stove top for 10 minutes, then transfer the weighted skillet to a preheated 450° oven. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to pry the chicken from the pan so not to tear the skin.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fantastic Herb Marinade

At our house, we have a very tight grocery budget, so we don't eat steak very often. When we do, it is usually the cheaper cuts and they need a little “love” to make them taste really good.

This is a marinade that I used on last nights charcoal steak and they tasted fantastic. Actually, fantastic doesn't do it justice. It was fantastic to the 3rd power. When I grilled my steaks last night, I also tossed a couple of small pieces of firewood on top of the briquettes, which really gave the meat a smoky flavor.

1½ to 2 lbs steak
the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp minced garlic

Place steaks and all ingredients in a plastic gallon bag. Seal and shake and massage meat until all ingredients are mixed and cover the steaks equally. Place in fridge and marinate for several hours. Grill to your liking.
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