Friday, April 1, 2011

Hummus, Chicken/Rice Soup, Lasagna

I'm into fruit and hummus these days. Not together. Actually, I don't like hummus at all, but my husband and kids do, so I'm making a lot of it. :)

William doesn't like carrots. So he dips his carrots in hummus and licks it off. I'm hoping one of these days he accidentally gets a bite. Anyway, the garlic in it is helping him fight off all the new bugs going around. Anything that keeps away yet another ear infection is a keeper in my recipe book. Plus, all the fiber from the chickpeas is doing very, very good things for him.

So here's my recipe.

Hummus, with variations
1 can rinsed chickpeas
1 tbsp gluten-free, soy-free tahini paste (probably won't say on front of package; you'll have to check ingredients for factory exposure information)
juice from 1/2 lemon
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
dash of ground cayenne pepper
olive oil

Blend everything together in the food processor except the olive oil. Pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube with processor running, a few tablespoons at a time. Let it blend for a few seconds, and add more olive oil until desired consistency is reached.

Variations: Add a roasted red pepper or two, or olives, or spinach (maybe saute it first). I tried the roasted red pepper version the other night, and my husband had to go to bed to stop himself from eating the whole bunch of it. :) No really, that's what he said. *Note: it's really best if you serve it right away. Still great the next day, but it's sorta like homemade bread--best when it's still warm. Or, well, room temperature.

Super easy. The most time-consuming part of that is the cleanup. Unless you're in a different world from me and actually have a non-human dishwasher. :)

Also, here's a main dish I tried recently. My kids aren't much into soup or rice, so it didn't go over very well with them. But all my friends' kids love soup and rice, so I figure yours might, too. And I thought it was good.

Slow-Cooker Wild Rice Soup
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (1 c)
2 stalks celery, chopped (1 c)
3/4 uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 c)
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaes
1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel (the original recipe called for a full tsp., but I thought it was overpowering. If you like your lemon seasoning like *kapow!*, you might use the whole tsp.)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 chicken breast halves, with bone (2-1/4 lbs. total)--I just used the boneless, skinless variety.
3 14-oz. cans chicken broth (or a box and a half of Kitchen Basics--best chicken broth around, and yeast-free)
1/2 c snipped fresh parsley

1. In a 4-4/2 qt. slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, wild rice, onion, rosemary, bay leaves, lemon peel, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Top with chicken. Pour chicken broth over all.

2. Cover, cook on low 6-6 1/2 hours, or on high for 3 hours. Remove chicken and cool slightly. Discard rosemary sprig and bay leaves.

3. Cut chicken from bone; discard bones. Chop chicken and return to soup along with parsley. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

I thought it was a great soup. It's especially great for these unseasonably cold days we've been having, or even just when it's dark and rainy. I like soup on rainy days.

The last recipe I'm sharing with you today is another family favorite. This is a good recipe for entertaining, and all of us with restrictive diets know how important it is to be able to entertain with food "normal" people wouldn't find weird. This is certainly a break from the norm, but I've found that guests always really love it. And it gets my kids eating spinach. !!!!

Spinach Lasagna
1 box rice lasagna, uncooked
1 jar gluten-free pasta sauce (I get Rao's homemade, sort of expensive and might be only local around here, but it's seriously the best sauce I've had that isn't Mom's. Amy's is really good, too.)
1 box frozen spinach, thawed (in a pinch, it's fine to throw it in frozen; just takes longer)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can red kidney beans
1 can chickpeas
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
water or olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add spinach, and cook for a minute or two (or, if you've added it frozen, saute until completely thawed and heated through).

3. In a food processor, blend both cans of beans and salt. Gradually add water or oil in a steady stream until desired consistency is reached.

4. Set up a lasagna-assembly station: 9x13 baking pan, blended beans, spinach mixture, sauce, and uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread 1c of the sauce on bottom of baking pan. Layer noodles on top, spread with bean mixture, top with spinach mixture. Repeat layers until you run out of materials (I usually end up with 3 or 4 layers). Top with remaining sauce, cover with foil, and pop in oven for 1 hour.

We usually have tons left over, which makes lunches super easy for a few days. I usually pour a little extra sauce on leftovers before I heat them up, since this dish tends to dry out a little when it's been in the fridge.

In other news, William is totally rocking ABA. He's tolerating a toothbrush in his mouth for five seconds (which is a huge improvement) and saying "bubble" and "raisin" and pointing with one finger toward the specific foods he wants. And although he's probably the least verbal of anyone in the program so far, he's also one of the most social. His therapists have been very excited about his desire to be around and interact with the other children. These are incredible changes in him, and we're very, very hopeful about it all.

I hope your day is full of hope, too (and yummy things to eat). :)


  1. I make hummus too, it's a great bean protein, I put tahini in mine (sesame paste/butter), and not so much garlic. I have added dried tomatoes, or salsa. I blend mine, and hate to wash out that last bit in the bottom of the glass.

    I'm glad to hear he's doing great at ABA, I see lots of differences in his eye contact, and his personal interaction with people.

  2. *GASP* I forgot to list the tahini in my ingredients! Oh no! I shall correct this. :) Thanks. Your recipe sounds really super. Maybe I'll try those variations, see what the family thinks. Maybe I'll even like it! :)

    Thanks for commenting on the improvements you see in him. I really appreciate that. I keep thinking I'm seeing vast improvements, but I always worry that I'm seeing what I want to see, you know? It's good to hear it from a neutral source.