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!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hawaiian Chicken (Gluten Free)

Hawaiian Chicken is a super easy, very moist and delicious main dish. I love it because it has a slightly sweet (from the pineapple) yet slightly salty flavor (from the ham and cheese) and the combination is delightful. I like to pair it with coconut rice for the extra sweet flavor but you can pair it with any side dish. Of course if you want true authentic Hawaiian style you can use SPAM instead of ham! ;)

Hawaiian chicken is great served not only for a quick dinner after a busy day at work but if you cut the pieces (or use chicken finger sized chicken) it makes a great appetizer or brunch recipe as well.

I came up with this recipe because I had some chicken in my refrigerator and I was tired of the "same old chicken recipes". I didn't have the ingredients to make my traditional pizza chicken recipe but I did have ingredients to make a "Hawaiian pizza" chicken. Therefore....Hawaiian chicken was born at our house! You can use any type of pineapple that you have on hand. I only had crushed pineapple and I love it because you get a little bit of pineapple in every bite. You can use pineapple rings for a more elegant presentation. You can also make extra chicken and freeze them for future use on a night that you are really busy. You can cook the pineapple and chicken in the crockpot for convenience and then just add the ham and cheese just before serving.

Hawaiian Chicken Recipe:
  • 4-6 chicken breasts
  • 4-6 slices of ham (you can use gluten free deli ham or sliced ham like I did today or for true Hawaiian style you can use thinly sliced SPAM)
  • 1 can pineapple (I used a 15 oz can and let the extra cook in the bottom of pan for extra juice and flavor)
  • 4-6 slices of  cheese (any type will work. If you only have shredded cheese that will work too!)
Put the chicken in an oven safe pan (or in your crockpot on low so it doesn't burn). Spoon the pineapple on top of the chicken. Cover the oven safe pan with foil. (If you are using the crock pot then put the lid on and set temperature on low and cook 4-6 hours until chicken is done and no pink is showing in center or until juices run clear). If you are baking in the oven, set the temperature on 375 degrees and put the foil covered chicken in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken is) until the juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove from oven and place the ham on top of the pineapple and place a slice (or handful of shredded cheese) on top of the ham. Return to oven until the cheese melts. (If using the crockpot just remove the lid and place the ham and cheese on top of the chicken and return the lid. Keep covered until the ham is warm and cheese is melted. I like to save any leftover juice and put it with any leftover chicken in the refrigerator for extra flavor and to keep the chicken moist until I re-heat it for a left over meal!

Prior to covering with foil and baking in 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes

This is the gluten free sliced ham I used for today's recipe

Any type of sliced or shredded cheese will work with this recipe

Ready to eat! Extra Cheesy!


Up close view of the Hawaiian Chicken. See the layers?

This is a very easy recipe and can be changed to use what you have in your cupboards. If you have a dairy allergy then you can certainly use a dairy free cheese substitute. I like this recipe because it tastes really fancy but it goes together pretty quick and is budget friendly. It is simple enough for a casual weeknight dinner yet elegant enough for a holiday dinner or brunch! You can also make ahead and freeze them or make a few days ahead and refrigerate until ready to cook. This is great for those crazy schedules! Of course if you really want "traditional Hawaiian then you can substitute SPAM instead of ham!)

Gluten Free Casually

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños are great for a very casual appetizer. This recipe is great for people that are gluten free, low carb or if they love bacon! I love this recipe and I can eat several of them and make it a main meal! They are elegant enough to serve at the brunch or holiday table but yummy and fun enough to serve at a super bowl party or tailgating!

This is my youngest son David's recipe and he changes it up depending on his audience. He is known for this recipe and is always asked to bring it to potlucks and family gatherings. (He will be making these for our Christmas family get together this year for the appetizer! Yummy!) This is his basic recipe but he has also added crushed pineapple to the cream cheese mixture or chipotle chiles or cooked chorizo....depending on what people like. We also had a fantastic idea this past week. We could stuff the jalapeños with my dad's cheese ball recipe since it is a cream cheese base and has soooooo much flavor! This is a fantastic recipe and you can customize it to what you have on  hand or what flavors you prefer. You can also make several varieties if this is your main appetizer so people can try different flavors!

David and his friend Megatron did this batch for the blog just for me since I have been insanely busy. They not only made the recipe but did the photo shoot too! :) If you would like to be a "guest" baker on the blog and feature your recipe....please feel free! We all learn from each other and I appreciate the help! The past few months have been super crazy busy and I have just not had the energy to do the blog. I am getting back into the swing of things now and hopefully will be updating the blog again every week. If anyone has a recipe they would like converted to gluten free...let me know and I will see what I can do with featuring the conversion on the blog!

If you have a dairy allergy then check Trader Joes, Sprouts, Whole Foods or specialty section in your grocery store for a dairy free cream cheese. Trader Joes also carries a goat milk cream cheese which is very tasty or you can substitute a slice of a different style of dairy free cheese.

David cooks these on a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet or piece of foil with the edges rolled up to catch the grease drippings. You can also use a wet toothpick or skewer and place across a pan to catch the drippings. They can be cooked in the oven or on the BBQ grill. We love this recipe because you can make them in advance and freeze them (uncooked or cooked) and just pop them into the oven the day you need them. These have so much more flavor than the store bought ones with the gluten infested bread crumb coating!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños Recipe:

  • Jalapeños (however many you need. Each half of the jalapeño will make one appetizer). Wash and dry them well.
  • Cream cheese (or you can substitute a dairy free cream cheese or any cheese of your choice. Feel free to use flavored cream cheese or add other items to your cream cheese. Cheese balls or cheese spreads will work also. As will pimento cheese spreads, cooked sausage or chorizo, etc.)  
  • Bacon (You will cut the bacon slices in half to make it go further. Freeze any leftover bacon, if there is any....for future use). If you have a gluten allergy then make sure you get gluten free bacon!

See the steps below for instructions!

Ingredients you need

Slice the jalapeños length wise and remove the seeds

Remove seeds after slicing them in half. I suggest wearing gloves or using a spoon. Wash your hands well and don't touch your eyes! The seeds are hot! You can leave the stems on for decoration or remove them. Personal preference.

Stuff with your cheese (or  whatever mixture you prefer)

Wrap in bacon and place on a rack and then put something below to catch grease drippings

Just removed from the oven and ready to eat!
David places his prepared jalapeños on lettuce leaves for color and decoration. You can use fancy toothpicks instead

I hope you enjoy this fun yet delicious recipe from my son's recipe box! I enjoy cooking and I am glad that my kids can get around the kitchen on their own! I am proud that they can put together an impressive appetizer, dessert or meal and watch other people enjoy it. It sure makes my holidays easier now that they can each bring something fantastic to the table!

I learned how to cook out of necessity and then realized that I enjoy it. When my kids were young, I was on a tight budget and couldn't afford to eat out so I learned to cook yummy but healthy food at home. I had a group of friends that would "treat" the birthday guest to dinner out. I couldn't afford to return the favor so I would invite them to my house, make an impressive table decoration with stuff I had on hand and make a homemade meal with an impressive dessert. At first I was worried that people would think I was cheap or that I didn't care about their special day. However, to my surprise....they were touched that I went out of my way to find their favorite recipe and cook it along with an impressive dessert at my home where we could visit and relax much easier than the restaurant. The same goes for holidays. I would become stressed at the holidays because I couldn't afford to buy gifts for each of my friends....but I sure could bake! I would bake cookies, candies, fudge, etc and give as gifts to my friends. They loved it because many of them didn't bake or didn't have time with traveling. They looked forward to my cookie plates and my homemade banana bread for the holiday festivities. One year when I worked overtime, I bought gifts instead and they were all disappointed because they were counting on my holiday cookie plate for entertaining!

I think people these days stress too much about buying the perfect gift. Gifts come from the heart. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. If you have a special, baking, painting, crafts, landscaping, cleaning, woodworking, photography, babysitting, etc....then give the gift of LOVE. Trust will be appreciated much more than the ugly sweater that gets shoved into the closet! If you are too busy during the holidays to make something....give a homemade hand written or computer typed "gift certificate" for the service to be redeemed at a future date. There is nothing better than getting a thoughtful, useful gift....a homemade dessert, a cooked casserole that a busy person can pop into the oven or for a chore or service to be redeemed in January or February! Make your holidays as stress free as possible and don't sell yourself short on your skills!

Happy Holidays! Turkey Day is just around the corner. Make some of these delicious jalapeños as an appetizer and if you have any left over (or make a double batch)....freeze them for the Christmas or New Years holidays for an easy dish! Even better....make a batch for your busy friend or neighbor and put in a rubbermaid container they can freeze and bake on a day they are busy! How thoughtful! My little neighbor lady Billie Jean always sends us over some Tamales at Christmas and I really appreciate them. They are great served as an appetizer (Slice in 3 pieces and put a toothpick in center) or added to my buffet table. They also freeze great! I am sure she would love a batch of these spicy little jalapeño poppers!

Gluten Free Casually