My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sassy Salsa Chicken with Rice (Gluten Free)

I decided that I would like to share some of my favorite recipes with others as I journey through converting some of my old favorites & new recipes into gluten free versions. I really enjoy cooking & experimenting in the kitchen & now I would like to share my successes, suggestions & mistakes with others that are cooking gluten free or for those that just want to cook casual but tasty food! I am new at blogging so please forgive my mistakes in advance as I learn to navigate through the process! I try to pick food that everyone can enjoy (not just those with gluten allergies!)

Tonight for dinner I made Sassy Salsa Chicken in the crockpot with Rice. Very Casual Friday evening dinner. Since we are empty nesters.....I didn't feel obligated to fix an additional vegetable because I wanted dessert too. I don't have to be a good example any more since the kids moved out. Bahahaha!

Recipe for the Sassy Salsa Crockpot Chicken:

  • 4 decent sized pieces of chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
  • 2 cups chunky salsa (whatever brand you prefer - I used Pace because it was on sale and is gluten free
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning powder (I used McCormick brand because it is gluten free & on sale but check your labels because many brands use Wheat flour as an ingredient)
Place all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours until chicken is tender and cooked through. If you are in a hurry, you can cook it in a casserole dish with foil or lid in the oven for about 70 minutes at 350 degrees. I personally prefer using the crockpot as much as possible. 

For the Salsa Rice:
  • 2 cups of instant rice (I used Uncle Ben's because I already had it)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chunky salsa (I used Pace because it was on sale)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (I used Trader Joe brand that was fire roasted) but you can certainly use canned corn and just drain it or just leave it out completely. I like to use corn because it adds more flavor and a beautiful yellow color to the rice. 
Bring the water & rice to a full rolling boil. Stir in salsa & corn. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 7-8 minutes until water is absorbed. (If you don't have instant rice on hand, you can use the long cooking type - it will work fine also but will just take a little longer to cook).

I scooped out some rice, then some chicken with the salsa smothered on it. It just looked naked... so I decided to sprinkle on a little shredded Mexican blend cheese onto the salsa covered chicken & just zap in the microwave for 40 seconds until cheese melted. I know....cheese isn't necessary but it is Friday and well....the extra calories just don't count on Fridays! :)

And since calories don't count on Friday.....What the heck: We need some dessert! I was really in the mood for some chocolate brownies but so far I wasn't impressed with any boxed gluten free brownies out there and a couple of the gluten free homemade recipes I had were just plain nasty.  I want a REAL brownie. I refuse to sacrifice flavor and texture so I am just going to re-formulate my "normal" recipe with gluten free flour and see how it turns out!)  And the verdict: WINNER! Yes, I really like these brownies & they passed my husband's taste test!  Okay, now for a special name for my special brownies.....I will name them something....(GEEK ALERT!)

Darth Vader's Dark Side Brownies (gluten free):
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe brand)
  • 3/4 cup of gluten free flour blend (see below): if you don't have a gluten allergy, then by all means use regular flour! It is less expensive and easier to find. 
  • 6 tbs. real butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or baking emulsion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chile pepper powder, optional (I like to add this sometimes when we do Mexican food night because I LOVE the slight tingle on the tongue from the smokey spicy flavor mixed with the rich sweet chocolate. You can find it in the spice isle of most grocery stores. But if you prefer not to use it, just leave it out. These brownies are awesome without the seasoning too!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the chocolate chips & butter together in a glass bowl in the microwave (or use double boiler) until melted. I stirred after 30 second intervals in the microwave. Cool for 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the sugars and vanilla & chipotle (if you are using it). Gradually stir in eggs, one at a time. Add flour and salt. Stir about 40 times by hand. (If you are feeling like extra chocolate, add additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips for chunky chocolate brownies). I lined a 9x9 pan with parchment paper (next time I would use 8x8 pan for slightly thicker brownies) and poured batter on top. Bake 20-25 minutes. When toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs, time to remove them. Cool for about 20 minutes before cutting them.

Gluten free flour blend:
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/8 cup rice flour
  • 1/8 cup tapioca starch or corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

This blogging thing is all new to me so I am open for suggestions & comments or questions. If you haven't figured it out yet....I am somewhat of a geek. I love Star Wars, Star Trek, etc and you will see some of the Geek stuff at some point in this blog. 

Gluten Free Casually


  1. This is wonderful!!! When I opened it up, I saw the black screen and green letters and just knew it was you!! Very nice layout~very easy to follow~ and now I am hungry for, well, all of this!! I'm going shoppin!

  2. Thanks Ammie! :) I am doing easy every day meals and desserts that everyone can eat (not just those with gluten allergies). It is difficult to find recipes that you can serve the entire family or friends that don't taste "special". Many of the ingredients I use will be old fashioned traditional recipes that aren't expensive and can be made with gluten free flours (for allergies) and you can use regular flour if you like the recipe and don't want to do it gluten free! I plan on posting at least every weekend! Thanks for checking out my blog!

  3. another update....On Thursday, we were looking for something new...I came up with tacos...Not new, the family would say! Anyway, I shredded the chicken and threw it on tortillas and we have sassy chicken tacos with a side of rice! Very yummy! Then for today Ash's Nathan was talking to us about southern bar-b-que. Mike got the brillant idea of using the shredded chicken again. I was not so sure, but I thought let's try it! Well, I put Sweet Baby Rays in the pan with the shredded chicken and it was incredible!! It had so much flavor! Mike made his on toast and was very happy!! I am loving these recipes! I will check to see what I am having for dinner this week!!!

  4. I like to add a can of black beans (and sometimes a can of corn, drained) for a splash of color and flavor! Super easy. I love it when the crockpot does all the work and I get home to a delicious meal! :)