Wow what a difference a week makes. Last weekend was a spectacular fall day - sunshine with the cool crispness that tells the birds to fly south, the trees to drop their leaves and the Moms to get ready for flu season (more on this last one in a bit). Also known to some around my house as football weather.
We took advantage of our Indian summer's final furry and went for a boat ride from downtown Seattle to Blake Island. Really, it was so beautiful at Elliott Bay that we could of just sat there on the boat and been totally contented.
But we needed to get the boat out to top off the gas tanks for the winter, so we made the short trip over to Blake Island. Blake Island is a beautiful state park that offers views, sometimes only seen on TV, back towards Seattle.
The kids immediately scattered to search for sea glass and build drift wood forts . . . an already perfect afternoon, when we saw it.
That first splash and the huge fins of the unmistakable orca whale. Then another commotion in the water a little further out as God treated us to a spectacular demonstration of his creations. Having spent as much time as possible boating in the San Juans, we have seen enough whales that at times my kids won't even look up from their books (sad I know). But never have we seen so many and in such playful spirits. They were breaching and blowing, arching high in the air. They seemed to be enjoying their last day of summer as much as we were. I know this is "gluten free" blog, but I have to share this photo:
Earlier I said "what a difference a week makes" because no sooner had we reached our driveway after a day on the beach, when my Middle Child said she did not feel good. By bedtime her temperature had reached 101 degrees and what followed was a long week in bed, with "the flu." It hit our school so hard that at one point our small elementary school had 50 students out. Far be it from me to let a germ pass through my house without first testing my immune system ( in other words I have been down and out as well). And the Indian Summer replaced with "did I hear thunder today" and, of course, rain. Our summer was so beautiful that I had almost forgotten that I lived in Seattle.
What does all of this have to do with Crunchy Chicken Pot Pie - two words, comfort food.
When fall finally let it be known that it had arrived in combination with us being down and out with the flu, I was craving something comforting. And I was tired of everything we always make.
I was sitting in the carpool line at school to pick up the Six Year Old boy (who has an immune system coated with iron - he rarely gets sick) and I downloaded the Whole Foods Recipe Application for my iphone. It is a really cool app that lets you search by course, such as main dishes, salads etc. and by category such as quick and easy, family friendly. Even more impressive, it also lets you search by "Special Diets" which includes gluten free. With a few touches of the screen, I had a new recipe for dinner. You can search through what appears to be the same recipe library on the Whole Foods website.
Even better yet, it was tasty and satisfying. We all loved it. Next time I will definitely double the recipe and stick one in the freezer.
From the Whole Foods Recipe library here is:
Crunchy Brown Rice Crust Chicken Pot Pie
This is a delicious gluten-free and healthy alternative to traditional chicken pot pie. The Parmesan melts into the rice to create a tasty crust, but omit the cheese, if you like.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
1 tablespoon butter (we used Earth Balance for Casein Free)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 pound sliced button mushrooms (we left out the mushrooms)
2 teaspoons chopped thyme, divided
1 large carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium gluten-free chicken broth
1 cup whole milk (we used Almond Milk for Casein Free)
1 cup cooked brown rice or brown and wild rice blend
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (we left this off the casein free one)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 cup frozen peas
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish with oil; set aside. ***Since half of use are casein intolerant as well, I made one with the Parmesan Cheese and one without.
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, carrots, celery, onions, salt and pepper and cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add broth and milk, stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until very thick, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine rice, cheese, paprika, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Stir peas into chicken mixture then season with salt and pepper and transfer to prepared dish. Scatter rice mixture evenly over the top then arrange dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until bubbly and crust is crisp, about 30 minutes.