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Nov 11, 2018

Chicken with Spinach Mushroom Cream Sauce (Whole30, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Does anyone else feel like we went straight from Summer to Winter? Here in Kansas, we just had our second snow of the season and I am not ready for the cold weather yet! We are only a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving and I haven't even started to plan our menu yet. We're traveling over the holiday week this year for a fun getaway with my family. Other than traveling to out of town relatives' houses, we don't often travel far from home during the holidays. So when I do get around to planning my recipes for Turkey Day, they'll either be make ahead or easy to throw together at the last minute. Thankfully we'll have a full kitchen where we're staying which makes life and traveling with food allergies so much easier.

Whole30, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free

Speaking of food allergies...as you know we already avoid dairy due to Mason's severe allergy, and I avoid gluten due to Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroid condition. I've completed several rounds of the Whole30 this year in an effort to get my thyroid function under control, at least to a somewhat manageable level. Cutting out inflammatory foods really does help me to feel my best and it's been really motivating to me to just feel really good this year. 

During my latest round of Whole30 in September, I discovered I developed an allergy to salmon. I'd been making salmon a few times because it is a simple dinner that is easily Whole30 compliant, it's always been one of my favorites, and my family all seems to really like it as well. Lately I just hadn't been loving it and the last time we had it (day 30 of my September Whole30), my mouth immediately became really itchy and I lost circulation in my fingers and toes. I knew what I was feeling wasn't right but I've never had that kind of allergic reaction before and I thought maybe I was overreacting. 

However, my gut told me that I was, in fact, having an allergic reaction so I kept Mason's Auvi-Q's nearby until the feeling passed. The next day I called a local allergist and got an appointment for the next week (I had to wait a week because I'd taken an antihistamine and they don't want you to do allergy testing within 5 days of taking those medications). Sure enough, I suddenly developed a salmon allergy. They tested me for other fish like tuna, cod and catfish and those were all negative. 

Needless to say, salmon will no longer be on our menu at home out of necessity. I am debating whether I'll still make it on occasion for the rest of the family, or if they'll just be out of luck. I love that my kids like to eat fish and it really does have health benefits that I don't want to take away from them. Weirdly enough, my reaction to cooked salmon was much higher than to raw salmon so there is still a chance that I wouldn't react to just coming into skin contact while preparing it. The jury's still out on it for now....

Thankfully though, we've had a lot of other really great recipes on our menu. This chicken with a savory, spinach and mushroom cream sauce is one of my favorites. Served alongside some mashed potatoes or cauliflower, it's super decadent and delicious without being to heavy or filling. And it's simple to make on a weeknight. If you've tried any delicious, Whole30, fish-free meals lately, send them my way!

Whole30, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, weeknight dinners, budget friendly

Chicken with Spinach Mushroom Cream Sauce  (Whole30, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free)

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders (I like the tenders because they cook quickly)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
For the sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp olive or avocado oil (only needed if your oil from cooking the chicken is gone)
  • 1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 package fresh button or baby portabello mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup dairy free milk (I like to use unsweetened coconut milk or flax milk)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca starch 
  • 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Begin by prepping the chicken. If using breasts, I like to pound them out until they're a consistent thickness, then slice them lengthwise into strips. Another option is to use chicken breast tenders which are already thinner so they cook evenly. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to remove as much of the moisture as possible. This will help to create a crispy crust during cooking. Sprinkle the chicken with a small amount of salt and pepper. 

Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, prepare dredge ingredients in two shallow dishes. In one dish you'll have one egg, well beaten. In the second dish, combine the tapioca starch, salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. 

First, dip each chicken strip in the egg, then into the tapioca starch mixture, turning the chicken several times until it is completely coated. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Repeat with a few more strips of chicken, allowing space in the skillet between each piece so they can cook without steaming. Allow the chicken to cook for about 3-4 minutes before turning. Once they are a light golden brown, flip the strips to continue cooking on the other side.

When the chicken is browned on all sides and cooked through, remove from the pan and lay each strip on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath to catch any excess oil that may drip. I like to use a cooling rack to help keep the crust crispy. Repeat until all of the chicken is cooked and cooling on the rack, then make the sauce.

To make the sauce:
With the skillet you used to cook the chicken heated to medium high, add more oil if needed. If you still have oil from the chicken, you can omit this. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and toss the mixture together until the spinach begins to wilt. 

Pour in the dairy-free milk and bring the mixture to a low boil. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits from the chicken that may still be in the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and tapioca starch to create a slurry. While the sauce mixture is just at a low boil, add the slurry and whisk slowly until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in the tarragon then salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve the chicken and sauce over mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes. 



Budget-friendly weeknight meals, Whole30, paleo, gluten-free

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