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Country Captain Chicken

Country Captain Chicken, what? A new to me Indian curry dish featuring lightly fried chicken, mild curry flavor and just enough sauce to temptingly drizzle over hot cooked rice. The original Country Captain recipe used bone in chicken pieces rather than boneless chicken but I prefer to use boneless chicken instead, it gets dinner on the table quicker and I never have to worry about if the chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve Country Captain Chicken with hot cooked long grain rice.

I was flipping through one of my favorite cook books, James Beard's American Cookery, looking for inspiration, I needed something new to do with chicken. I'd passed by this unassuming little recipe every single time I looked through the cook book, this time instead of flipping right past it I stopped to read it. I was kind of blown away that I'd never even considered the recipe because after reading it I was tearing my kitchen apart to see if I had all the ingredients I needed to make it happen. Fortunately it didn't call for anything too out of the normal pantry wise and I got lucky, so did my family because let me tell you this recipe is a marvelous addition to any repertoire.

This is my adaptation of the recipe Cecily Brownstone's Country Captain from James Beard's American Cookery cook book. Besides using boneless skinless chicken, I omitted the thyme and the currants. I found my family was not a fan of the sweet little surprise bits in the curry. If you like currants or raisins in your curry feel free to add them, the recipe called for 3 TBSP but because I roughly doubled the sauce ingredients you may want to add up to 6 TBSP. I've left out the almonds too because there were no firm directions on HOW many to use or exactly WHAT to do with them, I suppose you could chop them and sprinkle them on the top if you like, other recipes call for them to be used that way. We liked it just fine without them.

Country Captain Chicken

stove top or oven 350 
dutch or french oven

4 TBSP butter or ghee
8 boneless skinless thighs, cut to bite sized pieces
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 TBSP curry powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
2 16 cans crushed or chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup golden raisins 
salt and pepper to taste

begin by melting half the butter over medium heat in a heavy dutch oven 
mix the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag
add 1/2 the chicken to the flour shake to coat 
when butter has melted carefully add the chicken shaking to remove the extra flour, fry until lightly turn and cook the other side, you're just browning it so don't try to cook it all the way through
once it's browned remove to a platter, add the rest of the butter to the pan and allow it to melt
cook the rest of the chicken in the same manner, coat with flour, lightly fry and remove
once all the chicken in browned and removed to a platter add the onion and pepper, cook and stir 5 minutes scraping the browned bits off the bottom while stirring
then add the curry, thyme and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, don't burn it just cook it a little
add the tomatoes and stir well to combine
nestle the chicken into the sauce
reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or bake in 350˚ oven for 35 minutes 
serve with hot cooked long grain rice


Rhubarb Dream Bars

Rhubarb Dream Bars, no dream just real life in the land of abundant rhubarb. If you're looking for a way to use up that rhubarb out of your garden these use 4 WHOLE cups of rhubarb, a great way to use a lot in one recipe, if you ask me anyway. And Rhubarb Dream Bars with their shortbread crust, and that top layer with just a delicate bit of a crust that gives way to a gooey layer of almost custard are quite a delight to eat, or give, or eat. Whatever you do just make Rhubarb Dream Bars and bring me some, ok?

Last week a friend came over looked at my rhubarb patch and said "you better use that rhubarb up!" and the funny thing was I HAD been using it! I'd been cranking out crisps, rhubarb soda, crock pot cobblers and rhubarb juice it still looked like I hadn't touched. So in a fit of USE IT OR LOSE I decide to USE IT. I went at my patch with a vengeance and after going through a 1/4 of it I had 10 quarts in the freezer for winter use and a nice big batch of these dream bars. While I was at I took out all the under stalks and cleaned it all up and it looks so sad and barren but never mind my freezer is bulging full of rhubarb. And I have so much more to go! We are going to be eating so much rhubarb this winter.

I did leave several stalks on each plant though so it does have a way to regenerate and come back nice and healthy for another harvest this summer, what-am-I-even-saying?!? Oh well, I had someone suggest I bring to the new Palmer Food Swap and I might just go for it.

Do you live in the Palmer area? You should come to the Palmer Food Swap, (and bring these!) it's doing to be great fun!

Rhubarb Dream Bars
oven 350
9x13 pan

shortbread crust
2/3 cup of powdered sugar
1 cup flour
2 pinches of salt omit if using salted butter
1 cup butter

1/4 cup flour
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups chopped rhubarb, 1/4-1/2 inch works best
1/2 teaspoon salt

**optional topping
1/2 cup dried shaved or shredded coconut-use scant 1/2 cup for shredded
1/2 shelled, chopped walnuts

mix the flour, sugar and salt together
cut cold butter into chunks and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, two knives or just use your hands

, mix it until it looks like coarse crumbs
press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan
bake for 15 minutes

meanwhile mix the flour, sugar, salt and eggs together until smooth, you may have a few little lumps of hardened brown sugar in there, they'll be ok!
then fold in the rhubarb
when the shortbread comes out after 15 minutes stir the rhubarb one more time and pour evenly over the crust
return to the oven and bake for another 35-40 minutes until the top is browned, no longer sloshes around and appears set, you can give it the toothpick test it may come out damp from steam but it shouldn't have crumbs or batter on it, if it does continue baking in 5 minutes increments until done
**if using optional topping then sprinkle it on after 15 minutes of baking and then continue baking until done


25 Minute Dinner Smoked Sausage Jambalaya

This one pot Smoked Sausage Jambalaya comes together so fast you'll have to hustle to get everything else ready to go before it's finishes cooking. Believe it! Smoked sausage and chopped ham are quickly browned with chopped onions and sweet peppers and then left to simmer in a bright tomato broth for just 10 quick minutes before you add leftover cooked rice to finish it off. Don't have cooked rice? No worries, I have a few tips below to help with that too.

The secret to such a quick dinner is starting with leftover rice then you don't have to worry about cooking it and/or sucking up all the broth while it to cooks. If you don't have leftover rice you can start some long grain before you start this recipe and it will be done in time to drop in your jambalaya. You could in a pinch use instant rice it's not as tasty as the recommend basmati but it will work. And if you're thinking "meh too much trouble", just remember to make extra rice next time you make rice and this recipe is all yours.

I also use and love a rice cooker, it cooks perfect rice every time, and I never worry about it sticking, burning or any other troubles. I use an older model similar in easy to use design like this one (affiliate link), mine has sadly seen better days but it is still limping along. I cook all sorts of things in mine though like oatmeal and quinoa, I warm up soups and the like too. But this post is NOT about getting you to buy a rice cooker, although I highly recommend it, it's about feeding your family good food

This recipe is endlessly open to variations--have more sausage and no ham, DO IT! Got chicken and no ham? Dice it up and use it. Only have ham? Try it! And you could even make it without the rice if you're paleo!

Smoked Sausage Jambalaya 

1TBSP cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet pepper, chopped 16-20 ounces of smoked sausage such as Hillshire Farms, I used a local reindeer sausage 
4 ounces of cooked ham, smoked, unsmoked, lunch meat even works, I used precooked ham from a boneless ham 
1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ancho powder or use cayenne if you like heat 
1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes, crushed or stewed would be fine too
1/2 teaspoon smoke flavor
1/2 teaspoon fennel 
3 cups water or vegetable broth, if using water you may need to add more salt
2 TBSP tomato paste
3 cups cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste

heat the oil over medium heat and add as you chop it up the onion and the peppers
cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
while it's cooking chop the sausage and the ham into roughly bite sized pieces
add them to the pot and cook another 2-3 minutes
add the garlic, paprika and ancho powder, cook and stir 30 seconds, don't burn your paprika
then add the tomatoes, the smoke flavor
quickly crush the fennel between two spoons to just break them up add them to the pot
pour in the water/broth
mix in the tomato paste 
cover simmer for 10 minutes, reduce heat if needed to keep it from boiling hard
then taste it, do you like it? add salt and pepper to taste-do you need more heat add it, more smoked paprika? (taste testing is thankless work!)
once it's perfect add the rice and cook for another five minutes until it's heated through


Cherry Cheesecake Smoothie

If you're looking for another option on the smoothie making front you might want to try my Cherry Cheesecake Smoothie, seriously. Fruit meets graham cracker crust and tangy yogurt for a luscious cheesecake taste with less of the fat and calories of a true cheesecake. It's our new favorite, I bet it could be yours too.

This smoothie started life in recipe development as a strawberry cheesecake smoothie but I kept having to add too much sugar to actually make it anywhere near sweet enough and that just turned me off. I guess the strawberries I was using just weren't sweet or probably just weren't ripe enough to use without a bunch of sugar. Stumped and totally out of strawberries I turned to cherries in hopes of having better luck. First one out of the Vitamix was a HIT with my sons but my husband, who came home later, was a doubter when I told him how much it actually tasted like cherry cheesecake. People he poopoo'd me! So I made another batch and he HAD to agree with me that they were in fact as good as I'd said. I made one more batch because we were hot, er no in the name of recipe testing, and we decided they were good to go.

Please note

  • that you may need to add more sugar if your fruit is less sweet
  • you will need a food processor, vitamix, sturdy blender, blendtec or ninja to make this smoothie

Cherry Cheesecake Smoothie

1 1/2 cups milk--maybe more, depends on how loose you like your smoothie
3 cups frozen, pitted cherries
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons sugar--you may need more depending on your fruit
3 rectangle graham crackers

pour the milk in the blender jar(that's what I'm calling it)
add the cherries, yogurt and sugar
blend until smooth, I like to keep going until there's almost no discernible cherry parts left, in other words really smooth
once you've achieved your desired smoothie-ness open it up and have a taste does it need more sugar? or maybe more milk? don't be afraid to add a little more of either and blend again
once you've added sugar and milk to your liking crumble the grahams on top and blend until they are incorporated
serve in chilled glasses if desired

Also have you gone to enter the Breville juicer giveaway yet? DO IT without delay! 


Win a Breville Juicer {a #giveaway post}


I've teamed up with My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life along with some blogger friends and we are bringing you this Juicing to Health Giveaway with a Masticating Breville Juicer (rv $599)! We love living a wholesome clean lifestyle and we want to give one lucky reader the chance to enjoy the health benefits of juicing!

About the Breville Juicer

There are two main types of juicers, centrifugal juicers and slow (or masticating) juicers. This Breville is a Masticating Juicer. Centrifugal juicers work by shredding the fruits and vegetables and spin at high speed to separate the pulp and juice. Slow or masticating juicers crush and grind the fruits and vegetables to extract the juice, then filter out the pulp. They're called slow juicers because they don't spin rapidly, but they still only take minutes to produce juice! Slow juicers produce drier pulp than centrifugal juicers, and extract more juice from leafy greens like kale. A slow juicer tends to be less frothy.

About the Breville Juicer Giveaway

We are giving away one Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer! You can read more about the Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer HERE (affiliate link!)This Breville Juicer retails for $599!

This Giveaway is Open to US residents Only, You must be 18 years or older to enter. The Giveaway Ends at 11:59 PM EST on July 31, 2015. All the bloggers on the Rafflecopter entry form have pitched in to buy this Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer for one lucky reader to win!

Enter for your chance to win on the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This blog and any participating blogs did not receive compensation for the published material in this post. No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one person entering per household. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning are determined by the number of valid entries received. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and will be emailed via the email address used to enter the contest. New winner(s) will be chosen if original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification. My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life is responsible for prize shipment, for questions about this giveaway contact Colleen. This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. Disclaimer is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


You Can Bake Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler in Your Slow Cooker

Sure this is a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler but we all know most summer fruit works wonderfully in a cobbler, the unfortunate part of summertime fruit cobbler is heating up the house because you’re baking. Did you know you can make a cobbler in your crock pot or slow cooker? You can, it's quick, easy and uses up that summer fruit you might just be regretting stocking up as it threatens to overwhelm you kitchen. Give this recipe a whirl and then think about adapting your own cobbler to bake right in the crock pot my guess is you'll find most recipes easily adaptable.

Now the thing about summer fruit is this, it will vary on ripeness and sweetness, so now that you're warned here's how to account for that, start with a simple taste test, try a bite. If your fruit is sweeter than normal add a little less sugar than called for, if your fruit is less sweet or not quite ripe (congratulations you must live in ALASKA) add a little more. I like to sprinkle the sugar on the cut up fruit, let it rest about 10 minutes and try a bite of the fruit. If its sweet enough I proceed if not I add more sugar and taste it again. Letting the fruit juice a bit will give you a truer assessment of how sweet it is. Just a sprinkle of sugar and taking a taste isn’t the same, to me anyway. 

I’ve tried this recipe in an old crock pot and a newer crock pot just to see the cooking differences. The older crock pot was a deep round one and it cooked hotter and therefore the cobbler was done in less time and the topping was fluffier and well cooked. In the newer crock pot the cooking time was longer and the topping was cooked through but a little less fluffy. In both pots I used the paper towel method in the recipe below and they collected a lot of moisture, so they really are necessary to a successful crispy topping.


Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler in the Slow Cooker

for the filling
3 cups chopped rhubarb
3 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1/2-3/4 cup sugar, the amount depends on the sweetness of the strawberries
2 TBSP quick cooking tapioca

for the topping
1 cup flour
3 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

spray the cooking crock with a non stick spray or lightly butter it
add the chopped berries and rhubarb-make sure you've figured out how sweet your berries are
sprinkle with the sugar and let them juice for 10 minutes, taste the berries are they sweet enough? they'll probably be too sweet but in this case they'll be carrying the rhubarb so too sweet is ok
if it's not sweet enough add more sugar and taste again
once the amount of sugar is figured out add the tapioca and stir to combine
turn cooker on to high and let it start warming up while you make the topping
mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl or food processor
chop the butter into them until the mixture resembles dried crumbs, a couple of pulses with a food processor or a few minutes work with two knives or your hands
add the milk and the beaten egg and mix until just combined
drop by spoonfuls on the filling
cover the top of the crock with 3-4 layers of paper towels and then cover with the lid
cook on high for about 90 minutes but if you have an older cooker begin checking for doneness about 60-70 minutes in to the cook time
you're looking for a topping that's cooked all the way through so use a tooth pick to check it, if it's just got a few crumbs on it your topping is done
once the topping is cooked through remove the lid and paper towels, reduce cooking temperature to low and continue cooking for 30 minutes on low
it can be held on warm for another hour or so but I don't recommend covering it again you're topping will get soggy


Thrifter Share

A place to share your thrifted finds whether you plan to keep them, sell them or give them, share them here first.

This week it was all about the books, I hit the thrift store twice and came out with books for boys. LOTS of them. Ok well that may be an exaggeration but it felt like a lot, looking at the picture of them, not so much! I did have more actually but the boys made off with them. I brought home 10 kids books between Monday and today and 7 of them have been read, needless to say we got readers! WOOT!

The two bigger picture books are for keeping the youngest boy busy on the plane tomorrow. He's in a medical drug trial for Type 1 Diabetes and we fly to Seattle a few times a year to check in and make sure he isn't progressing to Type1. Currently he has 4/5 markers for Type 1 which means he has a 75% chance to develop it within the next 5 years. He's been in the trial for 9 months and has so far NOT progressed at all. We had the boys tested for Type 1, an autoimmune disease, because their older brother is a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic and has been since he was 9 years old. So the books will keep us/him/me busy on the plane tomorrow. Fun!

I know this is short and sweet but we have to be out the door by 445 in AM to catch our plane so as usual leave a link-leave a comment and maybe give thrifter share a shout out on Facebook!