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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday Recipe - Quick Creamy Chicken Gravy (non-dairy)

I'm in graduate school. I would love to come home from class and find my house sparkling clean and dinner waiting. But since my children still at home are mostly teenage males, I'm lucky to find the house still standing. They aren't very messy since all they do is play video games, but dust and dog hair still accumulate in corners and food doesn't cook itself. They don't usually think about cooking until they are starving.

So I walk in the door at 4:30 the other day, hot and tired and just wanting to sit down and put my feet and not think for a while. But the house is a mess, dishes aren't done, laundry is draped everywhere, kids are arguing over some pointless computer game, and I lost it. I'm scary sometimes. My kids scrambled to clean things in an effort to avoid the tongue-lashings. I'm human, it happens. Life is not always sunshine and happy at my house. Sometimes mom becomes a raging volcano.

End result? The house was sort of clean. Laundry is still everywhere, but not quite as deep. And dinner ended up being something we could throw together quickly. It even ended up tasty. Serve this gravy over brown rice with a side of broccoli and it's even fairly healthy. Feel free to substitute milk for the almond milk if you don't need to worry about dairy allergies.

Quick Creamy Chicken Gravy

1 T. oil
5-6 chicken tenders
2 T. chopped onions
4 c. unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
2 t. dry onion soup mix (not the commercial ones but this homemade mix)*
salt to taste
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. cold water

Heat oil in large saute pan. Add chicken. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Turn chicken over. Cook uncovered until juices are evaporated and chicken is beginning to brown. Turn chicken as needed to get a nice browning on all sides. Remove chicken to a cutting board and set aside.

Add onions to hot pan. Cook and stir for about a minute until onions start to soften. Make sure you scrape up the browned chicken bits stuck to the pan. They add a wonderful flavor. Add almond milk and onion soup mix. Stir well. Taste and add salt if needed. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water. Bring gravy to a boil, then stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until it comes to a boil again and gets nice and thick.

Chop up chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir into gravy. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

*If you don't want to bother with the onion soup mix, try this instead:
Increase onions to 1/3 c.
Add 1 t. dried parsley, 1/2 t. turmeric, 1/4 t. garlic powder, 1/4 t. celery salt, 1/4 t. mustard powder, 1/4 t. ground black pepper, and 1 t. salt.

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Keep it clean, keep it nice.