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A Curious Case of Multiple Hat Disorder

Cooking for Friends with Allergies

I realized I am blessed to be able to cook meals each night for my family and not have to worry about allergies…well other than AB and I react to kiwi and fresh pineapple but those don’t count. We had made plans to get together with a family from CC. The wife was actually the first friend I made when we moved to this area and she will always have a special place in my life.

Because of our 100 Meal Challenge, eating out wasn’t an option. It would have to be dinner at my house. After settling on a date I had to pick a menu. I always ask if anyone has allergies or strong food preferences and good thing I did….one was allergic to shellfish, one was allergic to nuts and two of the four of them are gluten free. Baked ziti and Caesar salad went out the window. I have never cooked with gluten free pasta before. I have heard of the challenges that come with it and I did not want to experiment with first time guests. I could have made the Caesar salad without croutons but what’s the point.

The next option was salmon, but I knew my kids would call me on it. They would say, “we are eating this again!!” in front of the guests and again the gluten free pasta issue. Keep in mind I am not a fantastic chef. I pull out some good ones ever now and then but I do not have a long list of good meals to pull out for company.

The next choice was taco salad with all the fixings. Get a bag of gluten free tortilla chips and there are no worries. The rest of the meal is a breeze but…it is way too casual for first time guests and the table would be crowded enough with all the extra people and the highchair and the kiddos table that setting up a buffet of taco toppings on the stove top would create too much traffic and it makes it no so friendly for grabbing seconds.

The only other choice I had in the back of my head was…gulp…marinated chicken. I get anxiety at the thought of serving under done or over done chicken. Both are atrocious. But if I did the marinated chicken thing that I do, I could do the bacon potatoes I make, roasted cauliflower, green beans and bread with butter (for 6 out of the 8 of us) it would be a very nice balanced meal. So gulp….marinated chicken it is.

Oh, wait! And Dessert. I already covered it in my Key Lime “Pi” post but if I do a citrus marinade it will compliment the citrus dessert. So there the menu is set.

As the day went on, the girls got so excited to have friends over. Lydia asked to wear her fanciest dress possible…I let her wear one of AB’s old flower girl dresses. AB was very helpful and set the table for the first time…well not the first time, but the first time properly/formally. I’ll share a pic in a later post.

Here is what I made and how I made it:

The Marinated Chicken

I have chicken issues. My husband requires that we do not have chicken on the bone. He had a bad experience once (pre-me) and just the thought makes him queasy. It’s a little more expensive but fine by me. And with me being so super concerned about the cooking temp, I do not use breast. For this meal I planned on using the breast tenderloins, small consistently sized strips. Around lunch time I put 2 packs into a gallon zip lock bag and put ¾ of a the McCormick Grill Mates Baja Citrus Marinade seasoning packet in, along with 2 T of apple cider vinegar and 2 T of water and ¼ cup of olive oil. 30 minutes before they came I put the chicken strips in 2 casserole dishes and baked till I thought it was the right temp. I tested a couple of the thicker pieces minutes before they pulled into the drive. Turns out I nailed it! Yay!

The Potatoes and Bacon

I took 6 potatoes and diced them up and tried to make them all about the same size so they would cook consistently. I took the remaining ¼ of the Citrus Seasoning Packet along with olive oil and shook them around in a zip lock bag. Now for the bacon part…its not as yummy as it sounds. I used turkey bacon. When I make a pack of turkey bacon for my family all but 7 or so slices actually fit on our skillet. I take the left over slices and put them in the freezer for just a time like this. I took out 7 strips and chopped it up and sprinkled it on top of the potatoes. Baked them at 400 (expect for when the chicken was in and it was 350). The potatoes are the first things that went in and the last things that went out. I think I might have had too much olive oil this time, I like them to be crispier than they were but none of them were under done!

The Roasted Cauliflower

With the chicken causing me anxiety I needed to throw in some no brainers too. Cut up a head of cauliflower, toss around some olive oil, sprinkle salt and garlic powder, and bake at 400 (expect for when the chicken was in and it was 350).

YaYa’s Green Beans

The easiest dish of the night hands down. My mother in law has send us home with jars and jars of green beans! All you do is dump them into a pot and throw in a beef bullion cube. That’s it. Oh well, throw in a beef bullion cube and walk away. It’s so easy. Everyone always says ooo they are so good and I say thank you they are from my mother in law’s garden.

French Bread

This was a first for me. It was Pepperidge Farm Bake and Serve French Bread. I bought it a day before it expired (for one dollar yay) and threw it in the freezer. I felt like today was a good meal for it. The only prep that it took was remembering to pull out a stick of butter in the morning so it could be at room temp by the time we needed to spread it on our yummy hot bread and I did!

Key Lime “Pi”

On this particular day, it was Pi Day, 3/14. These were some of our homeschool friends so it just seemed appropriate to serve a pie. Key Lime is the only pie I know to make. Here is the post I put up about the pie.

The dinner must not have been too horrible because they stayed for 5 hours! Another meal at home, a friendship deepened! Success!

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