Mango Tango Chicken Salad with Tropical Tahini Dressing

Mango Tango Chicken with Tropical Tahini Dressing

I’ve never been much of a green salad person. I mean really! How boring is a plain old green salad with the same cucumber and tomato. Yes you can dress it up with a different dressing. I’ll give you that. But all the best salads I’ve eaten have had one thing in common – uncommon ingredients. Foods you might not think of in a salad.

So when I spotted a jar of tahini on sale the other day at “The Crunchy Grocer” I brought it home and came up with this delightful tropical salad, “Mango Tango Chicken Salad with Tropical Tahini Dressing. That’s just so fun to say “Mango Tango Chicken Salad with Tropical Tahini Dressing”, I just had to say it again. I can just picture a mango doing the tango with the avocado while the blueberry waits impatiently for his turn to do a dance in this dish. They make such a cute couple, don’t you think?

The salad is very easy to prepare, so you can have it on the table in no time at all. If you’ve never tried tahini before, it makes a wonderful base for dressings. It’s packed full of protein and very healthy for you. A much better option than bottle dressings. While you’re grilling your chicken for your salad, throw all your ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor. Super easy!

Mango tango chicken salad with tropical tahini dressing also calls for “Bragg Organic Hawaiian Dressing” this adds a nice zing to your salad dressing but if you are unable to buy this you can substitute regular apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

Mango Tango Chicken with Tropical Tahini Dressing

Mango Tango Chicken Salad with Tropical Tahini Dressing
 
A mango does a tango with an avocado in this tempting tropical recipe
Author:
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • ½ mango diced
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast grilled
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 2 Tbls bragg organic Hawaiian dressing
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbls raw honey
  • 1 sliced strawberry
  • ½ diced mango
Instructions
  1. Salad
  2. Chop greens add to bowl
  3. Add sliced avocado, diced mango, blueberries
  4. Cook sliced chicken breast in 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat until brown add to greens.
  5. Dressing
  6. Place all ingredients for dressing in blender or food processor
  7. Mix until well blended
  8. Pour over salad
  9. Enjoy
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2

 

Chinese Dinner Party

Chinese Dinner Party Decor

Two of my favorite things are Chinese food, and throwing parties with our friends. So this year we combined them and rang in the Chinese New Year with a Chinese dinner party. This can be done anytime of the year.

Make sure that when you invite your friends, you give them plenty of time to plan on your Chinese dinner party. We asked everyone on our list to bring their favorite Chinese dish to share. I also made gluten free orange chicken (recipe coming soon) and a new cocktail named the “Prancing Pony”. We found a little store in Fort Collins called “East meets West” that had all kinds of decorations, red envelopes & chopsticks. This made planning our event much easier.

We kept the table decorations simple with red, gold & black as our main colors. I picked up the red square plates and black napkins at our local dollar store. The gold tablecloth is just extra fabric I had on hand. The vase I’ve had for years and the gold branches I picked up at a craft store on clearance. I paid a dollar. (I knew I needed them at the time, I just didn’t know what for :)

Chinese Dinner Party Table Setting

My wonderful husband made me some beautiful Chinese paper lanterns to display at the party out of scrapbook paper I found at Micheals. He is really amazing with making things out of paper. It really is fascinating to me how he accomplishes this, since I would probably get frustrated and tear the paper up. Lol

Ken painstakingly makes all kinds of creations for me for our parties making sure every little crease is perfect to give it just the right form and shape. Thank you honey, for once again adding the finishing touch to the decorations.

Chinese Paper Lanterns

We displayed the Chinese paper lanterns alongside Ken’s Chinese swords in my Zen corner of the living room. We also hung up a Chinese dragon we found at the east meets west store. If my memory serves me correctly, it ran about six dollars for our elegant dragon.

Keep in mind you don’t have to spend a lot of money when throwing any type of themed party. The trick is to check your local dollar store first and then the clearance section of your craft stores. I always check my available supplies at the house first to see if there is something I can use before ever stepping foot out the door. If you decide you want to start entertaining more often, find yourself a space in your home, or a bin to store decorations, so you can reuse them.

Decorated Living Room

By having everyone bring their favorite dish, we had a ton of great food. Let’s just say no one went away hungry. Once the party started, I was busy making our signature cocktails for the night so I forgot to get images of the food table Ooooops!

If you would like to try our “Prancing Pony” cocktail, you can get the recipe here.

Prancing Pony Cocktail

One of the highlights of the evening was the gift of Chinese lanterns our friends Greg and Michelle brought for our enjoyment. This prompted everyone to head out into the cold and dark to light the lanterns, and watch them float off over the roof tops. It was truly a beautiful site to behold.

They went up so high in the sky that their was much speculation as to whether the police station would be getting calls about UFO sightings. A special thanks to Greg and Michelle, and all our friends who showed up. You made it a night to remember.

Lighting Chinese Lantern

At the end of the night we had everyone write a wish for the year and we tied them to the gold branches in the vase. We are keeping the envelopes for the whole year, and when we have a party next year the guests can open them to see if their wishes came true. We also gave them a parting gift of a red envelope with gold chocolate bars inside for luck and abundance in the coming year.

If you could have any theme party you wanted what would it be?

Prancing Pony Cocktail

Prancing Pony Cocktail

This year, just for fun, we decided to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a party. We had a lot of friends over to our place, and everyone brought their favorite Chinese food. I made a gluten free orange chicken, and decided to polish up my old bar tending skills by making a new cocktail for the special night. Enter the “Prancing Pony Cocktail”.

I wanted something light and refreshing with ingredients that even I could partake of. This recipe fit the bill. Now, this recipe is not for a single serving. its for the whole dang pitcher! Trust me. When you serve this for summer barbecue parties, you will love that it’s for a pitcher full of drinks. The best part is that you can store your blender pitcher in the fridge until the next guest needs a drink and then just whip up another one by mixing it again and adding the optional garnish on the top.

I used “Tres Agaves Organic Margarita Mix” because it’s gluten free. But you can always substitute this for another brand that you know if safe. You will want to make sure the rest of your ingredients are gluten free. Then you should be fine to enjoy a refreshing summer cocktail. Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Prancing Pony Cocktail
 
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A light refreshing summer type cocktail made with organic margarita mix and fruit juice.
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktails
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups "Tres Agaves Organic Margarita Mix"
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 1 cup "Canada Dry" seltzer water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 can of mandarin oranges drained (add juice to cocktail mix)
  • 1 can of chuck pineapple drained (add juice to cocktail mix)
  • Fresh Raspberries
Instructions
  1. Add all liquid ingredients to blender pitcher.
  2. Mix well
  3. Add crushed ice to pitcher until drinks are think like a margarita
  4. Pour into chilled glasses
  5. For garnish use optional chopsticks to place pieces of orange, raspberries and pineapple on or just place fruit on top of the drink.
  6. Cheers!

 

Lemon Garlic Artichokes

Lemon Garlic Artichoke

Living in the Rockies is so hard some days. I mean, really! One day it’s sixty degrees, and the next it’s thirty degrees. It just teases you with the thoughts of Springtime…or is that Summer in the Rockies? So when I came across a big batch of artichokes on sale at the market the other day, I just had to buy some and make a lemon garlic sauce for dinner that night.

Artichokes do take a little work to prepare. That is probably why I don’t make them too often. And that’s kind of silly, really, because I really love the taste of them. I promise, if you take the time to make this recipe, you won’t be disappointed.

This is what our dinner looked like that night. We had smoked beef brisket, lemon garlic artichokes and mashed potatoes and gravy. I think my husband was loving the meal, and I was just tickled that I had artichokes.

Lemon Garlic Artichoke Meal

The trick with artichokes is to prepare them properly before cooking.

1. Rinse the artichokes and cut off the stem at the base.
2. Cut one inch in from the top.
3. Remove a few of the outer leaves
4. Snip the ends of each tip with scissors
5. Rub the ends with lemon juice to prevent browning
6. If you would like you can cut them in quarters and use a spoon to remove the fuzzy center.

What do you get in the mood to eat when Spring fever starts to hit?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Garlic Artichokes
 
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A lemony garlic artichoke recipe
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 medium artichokes
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Dipping Sauce
  • ½ melted butter
  • 1 juice from one lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp thyme
Instructions
  1. Preparing Artichokes
  2. Rinse the artichokes and cut off the stem at the base.
  3. Cut one inch in from the top.
  4. Remove a few of the outer leaves
  5. Snip the ends of each tip with scissors
  6. Rub the ends with lemon juice to prevent browning
  7. If you would like you can cut them in quarters and using a spoon to remove the fuzzy center.
  8. Cooking Artichokes
  9. In large saucepot combine the artichokes, lemon slices, garlic and rosemary
  10. Cover with water and bring to boil
  11. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 30 to 45 mins
  12. Drain arrange plate serve with dipping sauce
  13. Dipping Sauce
  14. Combine all ingredients for sauce in a bowl. Whisk together
  15. Serve while still hot

 

No Sugar Spiced Cranberry Sauce

No Sugar Spiced Cranberry Sauce

This no sugar spiced cranberry sauce is going to make you very happy. Why? Besides the fact it is so easy to make, I changed around my original recipe here to get rid of the sugar. I can’t get enough cranberry sauce. Especially at times like Easter (it pairs so well with Ham). we’re trying to eat a cleaner, more health conscious diet, so I wanted to see if I could eliminate the sugar.

The result is a tart cranberry sauce with a snap. Yep, I said that. And guess what? It will still rock your meat dishes! The ultimate test was my family. Not only did they love the no sugar spiced cranberry sauce, my son in law ate half the jar. I’d say that was a win.

If you’ve never made home made cranberry sauce, it’s time to make the change. The canned stuff you buy in the store is full of high fructose corn syrup. YUK! Cranberry sauce is super easy to make. Just place all your ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and split open. Then place the cranberry sauce in a bowl to cool off and store it in your fridge afterwards.

I buy fresh cranberries every time they are out in the produce section. You can freeze them for later use. Then when I have a free day, I make up cranberry sauce and ladle it into clean sterilized hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Add lids and rings and process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. This way I have cranberry sauce all year round without having to resort to buying the store brands.

No Sugar Spiced Cranberry Sauce
 
Prep time
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A wonderful no sugar spiced cranberry sauce to dress up your meals
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Pineapple juice
  • 16 0z can Pineapple chopped
  • ½ cup Apple juice
  • ½ cup Applesauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups cranberries
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to large saucepan
  2. Stir and bring to boil
  3. Reduce heat to medium and cook until cranberries split and pop
  4. Stir often to prevent sticking
  5. Cool and store in fridge
Notes
You can make this recipe gluten free by simply making sure all ingredients are gluten free like your spices.

 

Italian Quinoa With Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pinenuts

Italian Quinoa With Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pinenut

I have a confession to make…I love Italian food! From a rich Italian pasta dish, all the way to a tasty tiramisu. Italian meals just hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when my husband and I first got together we would try a new Italian restaurant every chance we could get. Then at the end of a romantic meal we would share a piece of tiramisu deliberating over the flavors and discussing how it held up to the last one we had enjoyed.

That all changed when I found out that I needed to be gluten free. The first Italian restaurant that I went to for an anniversary dinner turned into a total disaster. Even though I ordered from their gluten free menu, fifteen minutes out the door I started to feel sick and we had to cut our night short and return home.

While I haven’t given up on finding a decent gluten free Italian restaurant in the area, I have started cooking more Italian food at home. This recipe is a healthy version of Italian cooking, substituting pasta with quinoa for a unique taste combination. It’s an easy one pan dish to make, and will help satisfy an Italian food craving. Be sure to check back with us as I post more delicious gluten free Italian recipes, and I hope you enjoy my Italian quinoa With sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts.

Italian Quinoa With Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pinenuts
 
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A healthy version of Italian style cooking with delicious quinoa, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and green beans.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbls olive oil divided
  • ½ small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 160z can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh green beans or snow pea pods
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbls sun dried tomatoe pesto
Instructions
  1. Add onion & garlic to 1 tbls of oil and saute until onion is transparent
  2. Add pinenuts and roast till lightly golden brown
  3. Add 1 more Tbls of oil and quinoa.
  4. Stir to coat quinoa with oil
  5. Pour in chicken broth and the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Mix well
  7. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
Notes
You can substitute snow pea pods for the green beans in this recipe.

 

Healthy Gluten Free Snacking

Healthy Snacking

If you’re like me, healthy, gluten free snacking can be a challenge, especially at first. And if you have little ones who are also gluten free, things just got even more complicated. So I thought a post of healthy, gluten free snacking ideas might help your family as well. It also gives me a handy list to refer to whenever I get stuck in a rut.

I have to admit that while I love veggies, they are not something I typically think about when snacking. So I’m trying to change that. Even if I have to dress the veggie up to make it seem more appealing. So here is a list of snacking ideas. Hope you enjoy them. What is your favorite snack?

1. Fresh Veggies.
I try to buy certain ones organic to keep the pesticides down. The worst offenders: tomatoes, spinach, celery, cucumber, peppers, potatoes, kale, & summer squash.

Special treat: Celery with almond butter and raisins. This tastes great, and even little kids tend to like them.

2. Yogurt in many forms.
We love yogurt for breakfast and it is so important to help with good gut flora when you are gluten free. Kencaid also loves frozen yogurt as a snack during the day.

3. Kefir
We mix kefir with our yogurt in the morning. You can also add it to milk, yogurt etc. for a quick smoothie. I find it a bit tart to drink alone, but a lot of people do just that. It is full of probiotics and will help with healing.

4. Nuts
Check the bags to make sure they say gluten free. A lot of nuts are processed in factories that process wheat. Nuts of any kind are a great treat and help to keep hunger at bay. My favorites are almonds and pistachios. Nuts have huge health benefits so make sure to include them in your diet.

5. Fresh Fruit
You can’t beat a sliced apple or a cup of fresh berries for a sweet snack that satisfies. I make sure that certain fruits are bought organic because they tend to be pesticide magnets. Worst offenders: apples, strawberries, grapes, nectarines, peaches.

Special Treat: Slice your fruit and serve with 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips, to dip the fruit in. We use “Enjoy Life” gluten free chocolate chips. These will give you a rich dark chocolate treat.

6. Dried Fruit
I love using dried fruit. Both in recipes, and for a snack.
Check the bags to make sure they say gluten free. A lot of dried fruits are processed in factories that process wheat

7. Fermented Veggies or Fruit
If you haven’t tried fermented veggies or fermented fruit, you’re missing out on a great thing for your body and your taste buds. Packed with probiotics, they are extremely healthy. You can find them at your local health food store, but I like to make my own. You will soon see recipes for these and more on “A Dish N Thyme”.

8. Hummus
Oh how we love hummus! And even my 5 year old likes to dip stuff in hummus. Although he prefers meat and cheese to veggies for dipping. But little does he know, he is still eating a veggie. Mawahahahaha!

Special Treat: Try a tray filled with different veggies, sliced meat and cheese with hummus.

9. Muffins, Crackers and Chips
While these can be healthy, you need to choose wisely. Forgo the the over processed ones and make your own.
Zucchini, sweet potato and even kale chips. We will be sharing recipes for all of these soon.

10. Eggs and Cheese
A hard boiled egg makes a good snack. As do cheese sticks or cubed cheese.
With cheese & eggs I like to buy organic, so I know we are not adding anything we don’t want to our diet.

11. Organic popcorn.

Special Treat: I put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a paper bag and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes 15 seconds. For a little something extra, I ad a little organic melted butter with sea salt and just a bit of organic sugar sprinkled on top for our own kettle popcorn. This is only an occasional treat for a special movie night.

12. Sometimes you need a fast, convenient snack. My “go to” on these are usually Kind Bars. They’re full of good ingredients and everyone loves them. And with the nuts and fruit, it keeps us going till we can have a meal. I always keep a couple in my purse for just such emergencies. I can’t tell you how many times Kind Bars made it possible for us to make it home without having to resort to fast food.

I hope this helps with some ideas for healthy gluten free snacking. Watch for upcoming healthy recipes where we will explore more yummy options.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Ahhh love sweet love. You know the one I’m talking about, the love you have with chocolate. Personally, I’ve had a love affair with chocolate for as long as I can remember. Maybe it was the chocolate Easter bunnies I used to get as a kid. Or the chocolate cake my mom would bake for special occasions. And who can forget snowy nights sleigh riding with friends and a cup of hot coco with marshmallows. Oh yes, chocolate, you made me love you! There is no doubt that this love affair will last till the end of time, because frankly I can’t get enough. That is why I thought it fitting that our first recipe on A Dish N Thyme should include chocolate.

These gluten free chocolate chip cookie bars are amazingly easy to whip up, and it will taste like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen putting them together. They’re so good that my family had them gone in the first couple of hours. So sneak out an extra cookie bar for yourself and put it away for the next day before you serve them, or you will be very disappointed looking at the leftover cookie crumbs in the pan.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars side view

In making these gluten free chocolate chip cookie bars I used Lillabee gluten free cake mix, but you can use whatever gluten free yellow cake mix you have on hand. By using a cake mix you cut your time way down, and who couldn’t use a shortcut or two in the kitchen? Now for the bad news…this recipe only makes a brownie size pan full of goodness. Yep they never put enough cake mix in those darn gluten free boxes so if you need more you will have to double the recipe which means buying two gluten free cake mixes.Then again, this could keep you from going into chocolate overload (if there is such a thing) so maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.

Chocolate Cheers!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
 
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A quick and delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookie bar made with a gluten free cake mix. When you need dessert fast this does the trick.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 box Lillabee gluten free yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of flake coconut
  • 1 cup of gluten free chocolate chips (we used "Enjoy Life")
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Empty cake mix into bowl.
  2. Add coconut and chocolate chips stir together.
  3. Add melted butter, vanilla and eggs. Stir together. Mixture will be really thick
  4. Pour batter into a 10x10 greased brownie sized pan.
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden brown on top