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“Anytime” Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

August 9, 2022

Say “yes!” to this fry sauce anytime! This healthier ingredient, restaurant style sauce is perfect for fry dipping, salad dressing, burger topping, and more!

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

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Summer staples!

I know that my “long-time” readers know how much our family adores summer. We live for our Lake Michigan beach right next door, the powdery sand, crystal fresh water, and near perfect summer temps! We also love walking through our little beach town to window shop, and one of the things the girls notice more as they get older are some of the yummy looking foods on the plates of people dining outdoors! We went for a rare-for-us out to dinner at one of these spots for the 4th of July this summer, and the girls were introduced to the concept of “fry sauce.” They were obsessed, and I just had to figure out how to make it at home…with ingredients that I felt comfortable with them having more than just one time!

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

So what’s so wrong with restaurant style or store by fry sauce?

Well, nothing really, if you are only going to have it for a special treat one time. But if you are wanting to replicate this fun dip for a homemade burger & fry night at home on your menu plan on a regular basis, making it with ingredients that don’t inflame might want to be on your radar. The last thing any of us need, including kids, is more inflammation. Most store bought and restaurant style sauces, dips, and dressings are made mostly with inflammatory, rancid oils like canola, sunflower, or soy. These oils have a great shelf life, and are cheap for companies to save money, but they wreck havoc on our bodies, causing fiery inflammation and free radicals to roam.

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

But I just don’t have time for one. more. homemade. thing….

I so get it, dear momma. I really do. Which is why I wanted this fry sauce to be made in under 5 minutes. You’re already making the steak or burgers, and the fries, so this quick dipping sauce can be made while the burgers are grilling in just a few minutes. Or even the day before. It is a big serving too, so you can stash it away in the fridge for weeks and pull it out when you need it. It even works double time for you because it can be a salad dressing, or burger topper too!

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

The “Anytime” Fry Sauce prep ::

Everything into a small mixing bowl, and stir to combine! That’s it! Truly! This can even be a prep item for the kids to make while you are fixing the rest of dinner.

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Mayo options and other swaps

Primal Kitchen Mayo (we get this from Costco), or Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Mayo are healthier choices here using good fats versus rancid, inflammatory fats. If you prefer to make your own, you can try my traditional mayo recipe in my cookbook, The Little Lunchbox Cookbook, or my Egg Free/Dairy Free Paleo Mayo, or my Egg Free Dairy Based Mayo. Also, if you prefer to skip the ketchup in the recipe, try a tablespoon or 2 of tomato paste mixed with some honey for a more natural sugar option. 

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

The possibilities are endless!

Why do we call this “anytime” fry sauce? Well not only am I happy to let the kids have this fry sauce “anytime,” it actually can be used for so many other things “anytime” too! It is so versatile! Of course use it for your french fry dipping, but my girls love it on a salad, on top of a burger, or using for veggie dip!

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Tell me about those FRIES!

These sheet pan french fries are a staple recipe in my home, and I think you are going to love them! Easy peasy method, and a special trick used to ensure the crispy fry factor (without the extra time of pre-soaking the fries!). Making your own fries also allows you to control the oil used. Just like with store bought or restaurant dipping sauces, french fries from restaurants or the freezer at the store are typically cooked in junky oils. I don’t know about you, but I like to have fries more than just once! When you make them with healthier oil, you can serve them more often without the inflammation spike.

"Anytime" Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

“Anytime” Fry Sauce! :: Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup healthy mayo of choice See "Notes" section for recommendations!
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup ketchup See "Notes" section for alternatives if needed
  • 1-2 tbsp mustard

Instructions

  • Whisk all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. If you want it thinner, I like to splash in pickle juice. This dip/dressing keeps in the refrigerator as long as your mayo has a good "best by" date.

Notes

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One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

January 4, 2022

This no fuss Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole is one of those “dump it all in,” one pan wonder dinners you can make even on a week day!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

Building progress, and winter comfort food made “busy life” easy!

We’re truckin’ along on the new home build, and with these new walls finally up, came a new sense of relief that soon (well, maybe more like soon-ish!), we’ll be “home.” There’s something about winter that makes me want to hibernate, and because of that, I’ve been busy in the kitchen creating comforting winter meals that not only help me feel like I’m cozy in my own home, but also work for a really busy season of life.

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

Chicken Divan…a childhood classic!

I don’t know one Mid-West adult that hasn’t grown up on some sort of version of a chicken divan casserole. I’m not even sure where it originated from, but in the Mid-West, a casserole is like a 6th food group. So, as a Michigan born and bred kid, it is pure childhood nostalgia for me.

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

Mid-West Casserole flavor, without the processed Mid-West casserole ingredients…

The biggest problem with most Mid-West casseroles from a health stand point, lies in those BPA lined red cans of creamed soups that are loaded with really crummy preservatives, and ingredients that are just not necessary. Years ago, I perfected a healthier condensed cream of chicken soup so that I could re-create all of my favorite casserole dreams, and that recipe is still so great! There is really nothing wrong with making that recipe to use in casseroles (it can even be done dairy free!), and there really isn’t even anything wrong with a little cheese in your casserole…that is, unless, you don’t have the time for a homemade canned creamed casserole assembly, and you don’t tolerate dairy well!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

A faster, even tastier way to casserole!

I think one of the draws to a classic Mid-West casserole is the “dump it all in” style of prep work. We all have busy lives and dinner sometimes really does need to be that fast. While I loved the homemade “canned” condensed creamed soup I created years ago, I found myself having times where I just didn’t have it on hand, and really wished I could run to the store for a can! A couple winters ago this happened, and I decided to try making the creamed soup right in the pan that I was going to make the casserole in, and I truly haven’t looked back since! Everything went into ONE pot, there wasn’t any extra cooking or pans, and it was even faster than before!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

One pan meal, creamy and delicious, *and* gluten, grain, and dairy free?!

Ah! You guys are going to just fall in love with this method, and I’m actually looking forward to hearing about any variations you make to use this method with your favorite childhood casseroles. I really feel like making the cream sauce in the pan, and then adding everything in, is a game changer, and can be used with just about any casserole. The secret to the rich, velvety cream sauce is all about using a little potato starch to thicken up your broth and coconut milk. It takes literally minutes to make, and the addition of the nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor without the dairy. The result is really decadent, and feels just like every casserole sauce you’ve had!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

The Method :: The Cream Sauce

If you have an oven save casserole pan that can be used stovetop, you are literally going to be making a one pan meal! (And if you don’t, you can still make this! You’ll just be making your cream sauce separately on the stove top and then adding it to your casserole dish!) You’ll saute your onion, carrot, and celery right in the pan to create some deep flavors, before adding the garlic and seasonings. Once you stir in the potato starch, you’ll add the broth and coconut milk to thicken the sauce. It really does just take a couple minutes to thicken the sauce. Simmer your sauce for a few minutes to develop the flavors, and you’re ready to assemble the casserole to bake!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!
Saute the veggies right in the oven safe casserole pan!
One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!
This is the finished cream sauce! So velvety!

The Method :: Assembling the Casserole

That’s right! You aren’t going to be browning your meat separately, par-cooking the potatoes, making a separate sauce, or doing anything else outside of this pan! Once your cream sauce is thick, you can turn the heat off, and stir in the potatoes, broccoli, and chicken, all completely uncooked. Pop a lid on your casserole, put it into the oven, and you’re free for the next 30 minutes to get that homework done with the kids, change the baby’s diaper, or read your toddler a book!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!
That’s right! Once the cream sauce is made, you just stir the uncooked potatoes, chicken, and broccoli right in!

The Method :: Baking the Casserole, and Adding the Topping

You’ll bake your casserole with the lid on for 30 minutes and then add the crunchy almond topping. If you are nut free, you can just leave the topping off, or use sunflower seeds. Once you sprinkle the topping on, bake the casserole for another 15 minutes, and you can even use the broiler for the last few minutes to get that golden crust on the top! From there you are ready to serve.

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!
The topping gets sprinkled on, and then back into the oven for the last 15 minutes!
One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp potato starch tapioca starch or arrowroot starch would work here too
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast divided
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup bone broth or water
  • 3 medium yellow potatoes sliced thin into rounds (I don’t peel them, but you can)
  • 3 chicken breasts cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ heads broccoli cut into florets about 5-6 cups
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup almonds blended into a fine meal

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. You’ll need a large oven safe casserole dish or large cast iron skillet to cook with on the stove-top and then transfer to the oven. If you don’t have one, you can make the sauce in a skillet and transfer everything into your casserole dish when you are ready to bake.

Make the Cream Sauce ::

  • Melt the butter in your large casserole dish over medium-high heat, and add the onion, carrot, and celery with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until the veggies soften.
  • Add the garlic, and cook for a minute.
  • Add the potato starch, 1 ½ tablespoons of nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, paprika, and pepper, and stir to coat the cooked veggies. Add the coconut milk and broth and stir until the sauce thickens. This takes a few minutes. Low simmer the sauce to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Taste the cream sauce and season to your liking. This cream sauce SHOULD taste like a very salty, condensed cream soup – it needs to be on the salty side because it will be seasoning and flavoring the unseasoned chicken and potatoes.

Assemble the Casserole ::

  • Turn the heat off the stove-top, and stir in the potato rounds, being sure that each of the potatoes are coated in the cream sauce.
  • Stir in the chicken breast cubes and broccoli next, coating everything in the cream sauce, and distributing everything evenly in the pan.

Bake the Casserole & Make the Topping ::

  • Place a lid on your casserole dish, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • While the casserole is baking, blend up your almonds into a meal, put the almond meal into a small bowl, and stir in ½ tablespoon of nutritional yeast. This is your topping – set this aside for later.
  • After the casserole has baked for 30 minutes, take the lid off, sprinkle the almond/nutritional yeast topping, and put the casserole back in the oven for 15 more minutes without the lid.
  • After the casserole bakes the last 15 minutes, turn the broiler on high for up to 5 minutes to get the top nice and crispy and golden brown if you want too!

Notes

  • The Nutritional Yeast adds the “cheesy” flavor you are used to in a traditional chicken divan/casserole. You can leave it out, but you will want to season your cream sauce with a bit more sea salt.
  • If you have mushrooms around, I love adding them in with the carrots, onions, and celery part of making the sauce – I did not have them on hand the day I made this, but it does add an element of of the flavor you get from a can of mushroom cream sauce.
  • You can swap some of the broccoli for cauliflower or green beans for a change up!
One Pan Paleo Chicken Divan Casserole :: Gluten, Grain, Dairy, & Egg Free!

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