Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Chicken Alfredo Recipe

This uses the vegan alfredo sauce recipe I previously posted. I’ve included all of the ingredients and instructions here so you don’t have to refer to two separate posts.

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Chicken Alfredo
with Asparagus and Artichoke Hearts

I intended to include some left over sliced black olives that I had but they had gone bad. I’ve also come to realize that I don’t particularly like artichoke hearts! It doesn’t matter really; you can easily substitute any vegetable you like for the asparagus or in addition to it. Just make sure it is cooked but firm when you add it in!

16oz Gluten Free Pasta
1 pound asparagus
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ pounds of boneless chicken cut into 1” pieces
12oz jar unmarinated artichoke hearts
8oz can sliced black olives
6 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp Gluten Free flour (any blend should work)
6 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese
2 cups almond milk (you could also use hemp or rice milk but rice milk will take longer to thicken)

How to prepare GF/DF Chicken Alfredo:
Wash the asparagus making sure to rinse any sand from the tips.  Cut (and discard) the woody part off the bottom of the asparagus (about 2") and then cut into roughly 2" pieces keeping the tips separate.

Chop the onion.

Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. (When it comes to a boil add the pasta and cook until al dente – I usually start testing around 6 minutes as I’ve yet to find a GF pasta whose cooking times are correct on the package! I would try to start the pasta about the time the chicken was done browning)

In a large pan, sauté the onion until beginning to brown. Remove and set aside.

Set a second smaller pot of water to boil for the asparagus.

Sauté the chicken pieces in the sauté pan until browned. Remove and set aside.

Boil the asparagus stalks for six minutes and the tips for four minutes (add them to the pot 2 minutes after the stalks) but want to time them to finish about the same time as the sauce thickens below.)

Heat the 6 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in the sauté pan.  Add the gluten free flour blend and stir until it starts to brown.  Add the vegan Parmesan and almond (hemp/rice) milk while continuing to stir.

Return the chicken and onion to the sauté pan and add the artichoke hearts and olives. Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add the asparagus when it finishes cooking. If the sauce finishes thickening before the pasta is done, remove from heat until pasta is done (you'll need to reheat it once the pasta is ready).

Serve over pasta.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: If you are relatively sure of the cooking time of your pasta you could cook the asparagus in the same pot. Just keep in mind that adding the room temperature stalks and later the tips will drop the temperature of the water and perhaps delay the pasta’s finish time slightly.

Other Gluten Free / Dairy Free Recipes You May Enjoy:

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Stuffed Shells Recipe

Dairy Free / Gluten Free Chicken and Rice Recipe

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Restaurant Review: Energy Kitchen (Hoboken, NJ and Montvale, NJ plus 11 locations in NY and 2 in FL)

I spent quite a bit of time in NYC with some cousins visiting from Spain in December and noticed more than one location of a new quick serve restaurant: Energy Kitchen. I stopped in quickly at one point and found out that they had a gluten free menu. I never did get to try them during those two weeks but was pleased to find out that they had a Hoboken, NJ location.

Sirloin Burger on Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Bun
(brought my own) with Gluten Free Fries at Energy Kitchen
Last week I decided to look up the Hoboken address and finally give them a try. I was shocked to find that they had recently opened a location in Montvale (14-A Chestnut Ridge Road, Montvale, NJ 07645) about a mile from my office! Needless to say this has quickly become my new favorite lunch place! [There really aren’t many GF options near work so I bring my lunch almost every day – still it’s nice to have the option to go out!]

They have both a Gluten Free Menu and an allergen chart listing the 8 major allergens as well as which items are vegan in each store. Neither menu is online. Both lists appear to be a work in progress (for example, French fries are new and not listed yet), but this is better than most restaurants.

According to their website none of their menu items contains more than 500 calories and their menu is chock full of healthy options. (When was the last time McDonald’s offered you a black bean and mango salad? Brown Rice? Edamame? Yeah, me neither.) Energy Kitchen even bakes their French fries! (So no contaminated fry oil, they just spray the fries with Canola oil and bake them.) [They have snack bags of Pirate's Booty too, but sadly only dairy containing flavors.]

Overall, the food is good and good for you. The chain is centered around NYC for now, but they appear to be expanding out into the suburbs and also have a couple of locations in Florida. I hope they continue their expansion as it’s nice to have another fast food/quick serve option when out and about.
Energy Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Other gluten free fast food / quick serve reviews you may be interested in:

Gluten Free / Dairy Free at Chipotle

Dairy Free / Gluten Free at Elevation Burger

And of course, my full list of New Jersey Restaurants with a Gluten Free Menu, my list of Quick Serve / Fast Food / Chains with a Gluten Free Menu, as well as my list of Restaurants with Gluten Free French Fries!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dairy Free Milk Chocolate Bars

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been dairy free for over 20 years now. I first started getting sick when I was 17 and slowly cut out different foods as I identified they were an issue. It took me about 4-5 years to go mostly dairy free and the last holdout was Pizza Hut Pizza! (I’d get together with friends on Sunday night and be sick all day on Monday!) For a couple of years after that I could handle cross contamination and minor amounts of dairy in baked goods. Eventually it got so bad that I cut out dairy entirely.

Chocolate Dream Dairy Free 'Milk' Chocolate Bar
I bring this up since milk is a major ingredient in milk chocolate and at least with American manufacturers an ingredient in dark chocolate as well. This made for a fairly chocolate free couple of decades. Whole Foods carries a couple of dairy free dark chocolate bars and even dairy free chocolate chips. But no Milk Chocolate alternatives.

Over the past year I’ve started to see Chocolate Dream dairy free chocolate bars popping up for sale at more and more locations (I first saw them at Nature’s Pavilion on Rt23N). The bars are made by the same company (Taste the Dream) that makes Rice Dream and Soy Dream non-dairy milks. While they make four dark chocolate bars they also make one ‘creamy’ chocolate bar which is a good substitute for milk chocolate!

If you can't find these locally you can order them from online here: Chocolate Dream Dairy Free Chocolate Bars

Other dairy free snack reviews:

Justin’s Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Kinnikinnick GF/DF Donut Review

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gluten Free NJ Bakery List!

I've recently found a number of additional bakeries in New Jersey offering gluten free products (including two that are dedicated gluten free). Rather than continuing to add them to my New Jersey Gluten Free Restaurant List, I've given them their own page!

There are eleven bakeries so far (plus two in NY State) and if I'm missing any please use the contact me form on the left to let me know!  Where information was available, I've included the other allergens they could handle as well as whether or not they could do vegan baked goods as well.

Each bakery advertises at least some gluten free products, but as always, discuss your specific needs with the bakery itself.

Here's the list: Gluten Free NJ Bakeries

[I've been to both Tu-Lu's and Babycakes in NYC and will be writing reviews at some point . . . and then adding them to the NY section of the list!]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Restaurant Review: Loving Hut (Ledgewood, NJ) (+ other locations)

This is one of the most interesting “chain” restaurants I have ever been to. Usually when you go to a chain restaurant you expect it to have the head-office dictated color scheme, layout, and kitsch. You also expect that the menu will be uniform from one location to the next.

Fantastic Pho (Gluten Free / Vegan)
at Loving Hut in Ledgewood, NJ
Well, none of that is the case for the Loving Hut “chain” – I’d actually say it is more of a loose association of vegan themed restaurants. Each restaurant is allowed to set their own menu as long as it is 100% vegan. This explains why some locations flag their gluten free menu items while others do not.

I recently grabbed lunch at the nearest Loving Hut (538 State Route 10, Ledgewood, NJ 07852). Ledgewood is one of the locations that flags their GF menu items. (The other location in NJ, Matawan, does as well but they only have two items that are GF and both are appetizers.)

While you may not be able to tell from some of my previous articles (my Review of Vegan bakery Papa Ganache, my Review of Vegan Restaurant Good Karma Café, my Vegan Lasagna Recipe, etc) I’m not a vegan. I am however seriously intolerant of all milk products and somewhat intolerant of eggs so vegan establishments keep me safe from both of these.

Years of being stuck with plain grilled chicken and a dry baked potato when eating out has left me drawn to any gluten free item on a menu that I’ve never had before. This little quirk drew me directly to the Fantastic Pho. So, since I’m neither a vegan nor have I ever had Pho before I can’t tell you how authentic this dish was, I can however tell you it was amazing!

It was served in a giant bowl (I ended up eating the other half of it for dinner that night), had a slight kick to it (via the hoisin sauce on top), and the crispy fried bean curd was far better than I had ever imagined. (As a matter of fact, if I hadn’t known it was vegan, I may have assumed the crispy bean curd was fried chicken strips.)

Overall I found the staff very gluten aware and I was seated close enough to the kitchen that I overheard the waitress double check everything was prepared gluten free before bringing it out to me. I was in a rush to get to a Jazz concert that afternoon so I didn’t stick around long enough to find out if their vegan ice cream was also gluten free or not, but I’ll definitely check the next time I’m there!

Loving Hut on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Restaurant Review: Papa Razzi (Paramus, NJ, Short Hills, NJ and multiple other states)

After a late night of shopping recently I decided to stop off for dinner at Joe’s American Grill / Papa Razzi. Both restaurant chains are owned by the same parent company and at least here in New Jersey are located next door to each other (at the Short Hills Mall and Garden State Plaza). Joe’s wasn’t sure on the existence of dairy in their hamburger buns so I chose Papa Razzi. (Which reminds me, I need to follow up with Joe’s on the ingredients in their hamburger buns!)

Gluten Free Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus
at Papa Razzi in Paramus, NJ
Due to both a dairy and a tomato intolerance I usually have trouble finding something on an Italian gluten free menu. I ended up ordering the Penne con Pollo without the roma tomatoes and without the butter of course. It was quite good.

I was very impressed by the level of allergy awareness of the staff at Papa Razzi. They offer both gluten free pasta and gluten free pizza crusts. I’m not sure on the other ingredients of the pizza crust but I was warned that they add cheese to their pizza sauce (but not their pasta sauce so it was recommended that I ask them to use the pasta sauce if I wanted pizza). They also offered to sauté their potatoes without dairy if I wanted those on my next visit. It is a welcome relief when your server already knows where all of your allergens are hiding out!

It’s always nice to find another option for dining out, especially a mainstream restaurant that one can go to with a group of wheat eating friends.

Papa Razzi on Urbanspoon

Other chains offering gluten free menus:

Eating Gluten Free at Uno Chicago Grill

Eating Gluten Free at Pizza Fusion

Full List of Restaurants in NJ with Gluten Free Menus

Full List of Chain Restaurants with Gluten Free Menus

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Product Review: Amy’s Gluten Free Wraps

Dear Amy’s, these are awesome; please make your Vegetable Pie in a Pocket Gluten Free too!

Just a quick warning up front, Amy’s makes a number of gluten containing products so be sure you’ve got the gluten free versions! 
Amy's Gluten Free / Dairy Free Indian Aloo Mattar Wrap

I recently tried two of Amy’s three new Gluten Free wraps – Indian Aloo Mattar Wrap and Teriyaki Wrap. (Haven’t seen the breakfast Tofu scramble but am looking forward to trying it – especially since it doesn’t contain cheese!) [Another warning, all three contain soy.] [And one final item, the printer mistakenly listed wheat in the Allergen statement on some of the Teriyaki wraps. This issue has been corrected, it was only a printer issue, there are no wheat ingredients and never were.]

Amy’s already makes two other gluten free wraps: Gluten Free Cheddar Burrito (contains dairy; soy free) and Gluten Free Non-Dairy Burrito (dairy free, soy free). I haven’t tried the Cheddar for obvious reasons and I think the Non-Dairy may have too much tomato in it for me to handle. (Yes, the Aloo Mattar contains tomato but it was fairly far down the ingredients list and it didn’t bother me.)
Amy's Gluten Free / Dairy Free Teriyaki Wrap

Each wrap is 5.5 ounces so they're more of a snack than a full meal. Both split a bit while baking but this did not lead to any dripping or bursting while eating. The wrap itself is a bit more than an 1/8 of an inch thick and in a lot of the places where the outer surface seemed to crack, the inner didn’t. (Do keep in mind that you still need to be careful with them while eating, no gluten free wrap will hold up to the same abuse as a wheat based wrap.)

I baked both according to the baking instructions. Just a warning here, they require you to pre-heat the oven, then bake for 20 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. There are microwave instructions and I’ll try them that way next time. (Spoiler alert, I’ll be buying these again!). You can microwave them start to finish in under 5 minutes (including wait times). Since these bake wrapped in foil they weren’t super crispy when done. Not sure how microwaving will affect them.

Since most Teriyaki sauces contain wheat it is nice to have access to ready-made teriyaki products (Amy’s also does a Teriyaki bowl). I’ve never had Aloo Mattar before but the wrap was really good. It was a touch spicy but still quite mild. I did prefer the Aloo Mattar but that was just personal preference. Both were equally good and as noted above I will be buying them again.

One final thought: I used to love Amy’s Vegetable Pie in a Pockets (warning: contains gluten) and hope they consider making these using the same gluten free wraps!

Other product reviews you may be interested in:

Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Donuts

Product Review: Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Shells

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Restaurant Review: Healthy at the Garden (Gluten Free Concession at Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY)

For the past couple of years, my brothers and I have made an annual pilgrimage to the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden (4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001).  Each year I either eat before hand, bring a hamburger bun, or eat something bunless.  This year started out no differently with a couple of burger patties on an Udi’s bun while waiting to meet up to drive into the city Tuesday night.  But while we were there I decided to check and see (with all the construction the Garden is doing) if there were now any GF options (after all, how exciting is watching Rutgers lose by 20?)

New Concession at Madison Square Garden (MSG)
where most foods are Gluten Free!
I was pleasantly surprised to find some news articles announcing that there would be a gluten free concession when the renovations were complete.  It seemed to me that they may be done already so for Wednesday night’s games I at a late lunch and brought along a snack bar just in case.  (Both in case they weren’t done and in case there weren’t any DF options.)

At the half of the SHU / Louisville game, I headed down to the 6th Floor concourse and began my search.  I found the gluten free options at a concession named: Healthy at the Garden (when entering the concourse from Tower A turn left and it is the first concession on your right side).  They offer both GF and non-GF items.  The Gluten Free items include Jumbo Hot Dogs, Chips and Salsa, Pizza (contains dairy), Kozy Shack Puddings (contain dairy), jello, fruit cups, Kind Bars, fruit, chips, chipins (popcorn chips, some contain dairy) and five different Bare Naked Bakery baked goods (sadly all five contained dairy).

Bare Naked Bakery Gluten Free Baked Goods (contain dairy)
at Madison Square Garden
A quick check with the staff revealed that the Bare Naked Bakery hot dog buns are dairy free (although they do contain both eggs and mayo).  For those not familiar with Bare Naked Bakery, they are a dedicated Bakery / Cafe on Long Island (2572 Merrick Rd, Bellmore, NY 11710).  They don’t produce mass market shelf stable baked goods (a la Udi’s) but rather produce homemade quality items.  They have a large and diverse menu quite a bit of which is also dairy free (DF items are marked in their cafe on the menu)

Bare Naked Bakery Gluten Free Dairy Free Hot Dog Bun
at Madison Square Garden in NYC
The hot dog was much larger than those at the Prudential Center and the bun was bigger still (See photo at right).  The bun held together quite well and tasted well . . . homemade.  I’m even confident in saying it tasted better than the gluten containing buns they were serving at other concessions!  [The hot dogs are beef, a fact I forgot to check until after I had eaten it.]

Since the Gluten Free Cart at the Prudential Center is my ‘home’ gluten free concession, I can’t help but make some comparisons.  First, all of the Gilbert’s goodies at the PruCenter are dairy free, it would be nice if at least one of the desserts offered here was.  Second, the only condiments available at the Garden are yellow mustard and ketchup out of communal pumps (compared to individual brown mustard packets and sauerkraut at the GF Cart (plus communal relish, etc if you want to risk cc). 

Gluten Free Menu at Madison Square Garden
And finally, the GF Cart at the Prudential Center charges the same amount as the other concessions while the Garden charges $1.50 more for a hot dog (that Bare Naked bun makes it worth it).  On the up side, the Garden does offer more options overall (especially if you can have dairy).  [Note: a large slice of GF pizza is $7 while an 8” gluten containing pizza is $7.50.]

In the end, it is always awesome to have more GF/DF options especially when a captive audience.  I’ll definitely be returning for more hot dogs as the week goes on – and drown my sorrows over Seton Hall’s untimely exit from the tournament in Bare Naked Bakery goodness!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Restaurant Review: Pizza Fusion and their new GF Sub Sandwich Rolls (Red Bank, NJ / Ridgewood, NJ)

On Sunday night, I met a friend of mine (the author of Living the Wheat Free Life) for dinner in Red Bank.
Gluten Free / Dairy Free Flat Bread at Pizza Fusion

We had intended to go to Via45 but they were closed to attend a food fair in New York City. We discussed the local GF options: Good Karma Café (review), Melting Pot, a restaurant whose GF menu is heavily butter based and Pizza Fusion. [We did touch quickly on some other central Jersey eateries but decided not to drive - we'll revisit those soon!]Since I’ve already reviewed Pizza Fusion (read the previous Pizza Fusion review here), I was leaning more towards trying somewhere new. In the end though, we decided to walk up the block to Pizza Fusion and boy am I glad we did!

I had heard rumors that Pizza Fusion was test marketing gluten free flat bread for their Flat Bread and Dip Trio appetizer. This is now out and also available with their new Vegetarian Antipasto as well as with their Bacon and Sweet Corn Fonduta. (Please note, all three appetizers contain dairy, both the Dip Trio and the Vegetarian Antipasto can be made dairy free/vegan on request.)

Vegetarian Antipasto made Vegan at Pizza Fusion
I usually skip the appetizer at most restaurants (since a GF/DF item that isn’t shrimp cocktail rarely exists) so it was a treat to have options. We decided on the Vegetarian Antipasto (made vegan since we're both dairy free) and the gluten free flatbread to start. The flat bread was served warm and well seasoned. The Antipasto was a collection of sliced pears in a balsamic glaze, marinated zucchini ribbons and roasted vegetable caponata. (The candied walnuts and gorgonzola cheese needed to be left off.)

Just a quick side note, I noticed on the menu that the ingredients listed for the pizza no longer contain egg. If eggs are a problem for you (or you need vegan options) you may want to double check to confirm this is the case.

Gluten Free / Dairy Free Tuscan Steak Sandwich at Pizza Fusion
Pizza Fusion has greatly expanded their sandwich offerings and best of all . . . wait for it . . . they now offer gluten free sub sandwich rolls for their sandwiches!!! We just couldn’t pass up something new and exciting and both had sandwiches for dinner. I had the Tuscan Steak Sandwich (sans mayo and provolone) which came oven-toasted and was delicious. The roll was an average size, toasty on the outside but still soft on the inside. It held together nicely through the entire sandwich.

Obviously you do still need to be careful what you add to the sandwich to make sure the components are gluten and/or dairy free (as needed).  Our waitress was quite knowledgealbe in that regard and when she wasn't she rushed off to the kitchen to double check!
Gluten Free / Dairy Free Brownie at Pizza Fusion

Finally, for dessert we had the gluten free / dairy free brownie. (From the receipt it appears that this now comes with gelato if you aren’t DF?) All and all an amazing dinner.

Has anyone else eaten at Pizza Fusion lately?  Tried the new flat bread or sub rolls?  What did you think?

Update 3/8/12 - just found out that the Ridgewood location doesn't have these yet.  Be sure to call your local location and ask if they have the rolls and if not, when they are getting them in!
Pizza Fusion on Urbanspoon

Other Restaurants with Gluten Free Sandwich Options:

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns at Cheeseburger in Paradise (National Chain)

Gluten Free Bread/Bagels/Wraps at Pascarella Bros Deli (Chatham, NJ)

Gluten Free Bread at Plum on Park (Montclair, NJ)

And of course, click here for my list of Gluten Free NJ Restaurants and Gluten Free Chain Restaurants.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tomato Free Jambalaya Recipe (gluten free / dairy free)

The andoulli sausage really gives this dish a bit of a kick. If you prefer less spice use a milder sausage and/or cut the amount of cayenne pepper.  I am pork free as well. Bilinski makes a chicken andoulli sausage that is gluten and dairy free. Using my tomato free sauce recipe has opened up yet another dinner option.

Tomato Free Jambalaya (gluten free / dairy free / pork free)
Olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 # andoulli sausage, sliced 1/4"
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup long-grain rice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 # medium, shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups no tomato sauce (or 1 14oz can diced tomatoes plus 1 cup tomato sauce)
4 scallions, sliced

How to prepare Tomato Free Jambalaya:
In large pot/dutch oven, sauté the andoulli sausage until beginning to brown (if using Bilinski chicken sausage you may need to add a touch of oil; pork sausage should fry fine in its own fat).

Add the onion, green bell pepper, and celery and continue sautéing for another 3 minutes (add more oil if needed). Next add the garlic and continue until the vegetables are starting to brown (about 5 minutes more).

Stir in the rice, spices, salt & pepper, bay leaf, and stock. (If using tomatoes/tomato sauce add here as well). Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the shrimp and tuck under the rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato free sauce and the scallions. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and fully cooked and the tomato free sauce is heated through.

[This end cooking time is very dependent on the size of your shrimp. The bigger they are the longer they will need. Increase the amount of time they cook PRIOR to adding the tomato free sauce. If you increase the amount of time the sauce cooks, the beets will turn the sauce brown.]

Tip: I freeze portions of everything I make for later lunches. I find that long grain rice really doesn't freeze well and instead use medium grain (one for one substitute) which holds up much better when reheated. If you do so as well, increase the amount of stock by 1/2 a cup.


If you like this recipe you may want to try my Tomato Free Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
or browse my full list of Tomato Free Recipes.  (I also have a list of Nightshade Free Recipes and Acid Reflux / Heartburn / GERD Friendly Recipes.)