Summer Vacation Grocery List

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The only way I can actually relax on vacation, is if I do the cooking myself.  For that reason, we try to stay somewhere with a kitchen.  We have made do with just a minifridge and microwave, but let’s just say it was no gourmet affair.   Every year, I try to make a grocery list ahead of time that will allow us to be in and out quickly once we arrive at the store near our location.  This year, I’ve decided to blog it so I don’t have to rewrite the darn thing next year- and also to share with you of course!  Some items we prefer Publix brand for, but if you know of another brand substitution that is milk, egg, and peanut free- please share!

This is my list for out of town groceries for 5 days for a family of four, with two children allergic to milk, egg, and peanut.  We try to stick to simple recipes that hopefully our kitchen-away-from-home will have the tools to execute and just focus on hitting the basic food groups:  protein, produce, carb.

  • Breakfast:
  • Frosted brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts
  • +/- a box of cereal: Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Cookie Crisp
  • Vanilla soy milk.  We prefer Publix Greenwise brand but will use Silk in a pinch.
  • Lunch:
  • 1 loaf of bread.  We use Publix honey wheat.
  • 1-2 pounds of deli meat.  We do not use fresh sliced meat from the store’s deli due to the concern of cross contamination with cheese and meats containing nuts.  We use prepackaged Oscar Meyer delifresh honey ham.
  • Pepperoni.  We use Hormel original.
  • 1-2 bags of chips.  We like Tostitos original, Rold Gold pretzels, and Lays original or BBQ.  We have found milk in some BBQ brands, milk in some Tostitos flavors, and the potential for peanuts with other pretzel brands.  Always read the label.  The whole label, not just the “Contains” statement.
  • Produce:  Carrots, baking potatoes, bananas, watermelon, apples, strawberries, blueberries…mmmm.
  • Snacks:
  • Microwave popcorn.  At least a 6 pack.  We use Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals, Simply Salted variety.
  • If we’re lucky: ice cream!  We like Tofutti Cuties vanilla ice cream sandwiches, So Delicious brand vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and Purely Decadent’s Cookie Avalanche flavor of dairy free ice cream.
  • If not ice cream: popsicles!  We like So Delicious brand creamy fudge bars, Popsicle brand plain flavors (although they have recently had a recall where these contained milk so I may be revising my opinion of this brand), PhillySwirlz, and FunPops- the kind grandma always had in her freezer- the all-American brightly colored sugar-in-a-plastic-sleeve type.
  • Cookies!  We like Oreos.  Oreos have recently updated their labeling so that now ONLY the original and double stuffed are safe for us.  No more minis or vanilla kind. 😦  We also like Chips Ahoy original chocolate chip cookies.  I know the package says contains whey, but for some reason, these have never been a problem for us.
  • Dinner:
  • 1 pound of chicken breast cutlets.  1 pound of lean ground beef. 2 pounds of salmon.
  • 1 small box of Bisquick original baking mix (for “breading” oven-baked chicken).
  • 1 bottle of Morton Season All, salt and pepper.  Or *pack ahead*.
  • Canned veggies.  We like Green Giant brand green beans and corn.
  • Pasta sauce.  We use Prego Traditional variety.
  • Spaghetti.  We use Publix brand.
  • Dairy free margarine.  We use Earth Balance brand.
  • Cooking oil for greasing pans.  We use Publix brand vegetable oil, EVOO or canola spray.
  • Canned bread.  We use Pillsbury brand french loaf or original crescent rolls.
  • Tyson brand dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.
  • Oreida brand crispy crowns, waffle fries, or crispers.
  • Ketchup
  • Maybe a frozen pizza for Mom and Dad on nugget night.  Yes, we sometimes eat what they can’t.  We feel the world will be this way for them, and they will have to learn to adjust and take caution for cross contamination in every circumstance.  But that’s a whole other blog topic!
  • Hmmm.  One night left.  What to fix?  I think I will *pack ahead* (**= reminding myself) a baggy of Ener-G egg replacer and use the rest of my Bisquick box for pancakes.  So you will also need:
  • 1 package of Oscar Meyer bacon.
  • Oreida brand crispy crowns or hash browns.
  • 1 bottle of maple syrup.  We use Hungry Jack Lite.
  • Bottled water, soda
  • Plastic baggies to make snacks portable
  • Sunblock!!!

I know, this is not the absolute healthiest list, but it’s simple and I’ll rest easy knowing it’s safe and they at least got a few more nutrients than a week of fast food would provide.

Also, when we get to our kitchen-away-from home, I always run the dishwasher first to rewash the dishes.  That’s just me.  I want to know for sure that they have been cleaned properly and are free of cross-contaminants.

Happy trails!

Garlic & Herb Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

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I make this delicious dinner in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. Love that thing! It’s like magic for meats, whether in the microwave or oven, they come out soooo moist. If you don’t have one, you could still roast it in the oven in a regular roasting pan.

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, thawed, rinsed, inside stuff removed (of course!)

1/2 cup of dairy free butter. I use Earth Balance brand.
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced

Red potatoes, washed and diced. Enough to serve your party size.

Mix butter and seasons together and spread over, under, inside, and beneath skin of chicken.
Place potatoes in bottom of pan. Place chicken directly on top, breast side up.

Bake at 400F for 1 hour, or until meat thermometer placed in meaty party of thigh reads at least 165 degrees and meat is no longer pink.

The juices from the chicken make the potatoes so moist and flavorful and the leftover chicken can be frozen and saved for use in other dishes like chicken and dumplings.

Sausage Pasta

This creamy, flavorful pasta dish is a good substitute for the creamy pastas you may be daydreaming about if you’ve ever had a good bowl of fettuccine alfredo. This is not an alfredo based dish, but it has the same satisfying quality to it.

Ingredients:
1 package (about a pound) of Publix Greenwise brand chicken sausage, mild or hot variety.
1/2 cup of Toffutti brand Better than Sour Cream.
1/2-1 red bell pepper, diced.
14.5 oz can of corn (drained). I use Green Giant brand. (some canned vegetables “may contain” peanuts!)
1/2 lb (1/2 bag) Publix brand “Extra-Wide No-Egg Pasta Ribbons” or safe pasta of your choice.

I start by removing the chicken sausage from it’s casing and sauteing until done. While that is working, add in the diced red pepper to the same pan to soften while the sausage cooks. At the very end, add the can of corn just so it is warmed through with the rest. When the sausage is done, don’t drain it! Save those yummy juices. Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions and then drain all but the last bit of water. Add the sausage, pepper, corn, juices and all to the pot with the drained pasta. Then add the 1/2 cup of “Better than Sour Cream”. Stir gently to incorporate the sour cream substitute, pan juices, and last bit of starchy pasta water into a flavorful, “creamy” sauce.

Enjoy!

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Chicken and Dumplings

According to my daughter, this chicken and dumplings recipe is “deliciously amazing”.    When we are having this for dinner, her friends ask if they can stay for dinner too!  Yeah, how ’bout that?!   No weird allergy food here!

Occasionally, I will purchase a rotisserie chicken from the Publix deli.  Either lemon pepper or barbecue flavor.  I haven’t ventured out to other flavors.  I am aware that the Publix deli posts signs that there may be cross-contamination from other allergens, but I have considered what must go into processing and “rotating” a chicken and we have never had a problem.  Acceptable risk?  That’s up to you.  Anyhow, I use the main parts of the chicken for a regular chicken dinner with sides.  Then, I cut off what scraps are left and freeze them to use for chicken and dumplings.  You could also use fresh cooked chicken breasts or roast your own whole chicken.

For the soup base, you will need:

  • approximately 1 & 1/2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 3 celery stalks, diced to about 1/8 inch thickness
  • 3 carrots, diced the same size as celery
  • 32 oz carton of chicken stock.  We use Swanson Natural Goodness.
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of parsley, basil, and/or oregano if desired

Put all of the above ingredients into a large soup pot and bring to a boil.  While waiting for it to boil, prepare dumplings.

For the dumplings, you will need:

  • 2 cups Bisquick Original pancake & baking mix
  • 2/3 cup of vanilla soy milk (you can’t taste the vanilla, honest)

Mix the Bisquick and milk until soft dough forms.  Drop by teaspoon-sized spoonfuls onto boiling soup.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Then cover and cook for 10 minutes longer.   Serve and allow at least 5 more minutes to cool as it will be boiling hot at first.

chicken n dumplings

Chicken Baltimore with Glazed Carrots and Butter & Herb Shells

We named this dish Chicken Baltimore because we made it, cramped in a hotel kitchen with minimal ingredients on hand, while on a family trip to Baltimore.  Note: When you have a kitchen in your hotel room, always wash the dishes before using them!  (because they sometimes don’t- ew)

For the chicken, you will need:

  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • 1/2 cup of Original Bisquick baking mix
  • 1&1/2 Tbsp of Season All
  • 2-3 Tbsp of Earth Balance dairy free butter

Melt the butter on medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all your chicken.  Mix the Bisquick and Season All in a small “chicken cutlet-sized” container.  Dredge the chicken cutlets in the seasoning mixture, then cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until done (no pink in the center!) and coating is nice and brown.

For the carrots, you will need:

  • 1-2 carrots per person, peeled, and chopped into bite size pieces (or use baby carrots and make life easier!)
  • 2 Tbsp of Earth Balance dairy free butter
  • 3 Tbsp of brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Boil or steam the carrots on the stove top until fork-tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain, then stir in brown sugar, butter, and salt.

For the Butter & Herb Shells, you will need:

  • Small pasta shells, free of your allergens.  We use Publix brand.
  • 2-3 Tbsp of Earth Balance dairy free butter
  • 1 Tsp each of your favorite herbs.  We use thyme, basil, oregano, and sometimes rosemary.
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp of salt

Boil pasta until done, about 8-9 minutes, or according to package directions.  Drain.  Melt butter in a small dish, then add herbs, lemon juice, and salt and stir into pasta.

Voila!  Less than 30 minutes prep and cook time to a balanced family  meal.

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