Real Life Eating

Eating Our Way Through the Real World

Chicken Macaroni & Cheese – Feingold Diet Stage 1 Recipe

This is a great recipe I found a long time ago. The original recipe can be found at Tasty Kitchen. Originally it was a buffalo chicken recipe, but I make it now without the buffalo sauce. Head on over to the original site if you want to try it a little spicy.

Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
2 Boneless Chicken Breasts
3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 lb. Elbow Macaroni
1 c. Sour Cream
8 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese
8 oz. Blue Cheese
3 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. All-purpose Flour
3 c. Milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into small chunks. Put oil in skillet and cook chicken all the way through. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Shred the cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese into a bowl with crumbled blue cheese. Mix in sour cream and a little black pepper to taste, set aside. Cook elbow mac according to instructions on box. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium-high heat in the skillet. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk the milk into the mixture, stirring often until the sauce is thickened. Remove pan from heat and add cheese mixture. Stir until cheeses are melted. Add pasta and chicken, mix well. Pour into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake for a half hour until bubbly. Remove from oven and enjoy!!

Happy eating!

Sweet and Sour Chicken – Feingold Diet Stage 2 Recipe

I haven’t tried a new recipe in a while, in fact I have kind of been in a food slump lately. I haven’t really been cooking many meals at all. Tonight I was in the mood to cook, so I planned on making my Pork Roast and green beans. However, I discovered that my green beans had been in the fridge too long and weren’t good anymore. So I quickly had to improvise. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand to make a recipe I have been wanting to try for a while. It’s from Life as a Lofthouse. I modified the recipe a bit, I hope it tastes as good as it sounds! Since this has ketchup this is considered a Stage 2 recipe.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1/2 Tbsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 c. Flour
2 Eggs
1/8 c. Water
1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
3/4 c. Sugar
4 Tbsp. Ketchup
1/2 c. White Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Garlic Salt

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse chicken and cut into cubes. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in one bowl. In a second bowl whisk eggs and water together. Add oil to skillet and heat to medium high. Dip chicken pieces in flour mixture and then in the egg mixture. Cook in skillet until lightly browned, but not cooked all the way through. Remove chicken from skillet, and place in a lightly greased, 9×13 baking dish. Whisk sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic salt together in separate bowl. Pour mixture over chicken. Cook in oven for 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes.

Happy eating!

Family Reunion – Feingold Diet

Now that it is summer I am finding that we are going to visit family more and more. This always creates an issue of what we will eat. I thought I would share our food plan for a recent family reunion. We brought all our own food as we could not be sure of what was going to be offered there. I also spoke with my son that we could not be sure if what they had was safe, so we would be eating only what we brought. I didn’t want to have him disappointed when we were there, and I didn’t want to look “mean” by having to say no to him if he asked about the food that we didn’t bring. So I made sure to have a talk beforehand. I also made sure to listen to what he wanted for snacks so he would have a good variety of items while we were there.

The reunion is about 3 hours away, so the plan was to leave the house at 7:00 AM, arrive at the reunion by 10:00 AM and leave by 9:00 PM. This meant we would have to have something for snacks, lunch, and dinner. We had breakfast at home and here was our game plan for food for the day:

Drinks for car ride:
Nantucket Nectar Lemonade, Seltzer Water

Lunch: Subway

Snacks: Pringles, mozzarella sticks, Utz Potatoe Chips, Fresh Mango, Fresh Strawberries, 2 bags hard candy

Drinks: Simply Lemonade

Dinner: Homemade Burgers, Maccaroni Salad

Extras: Bread, Sliced Cheese, Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, and Ketchup for burgers

I also brought my own salt & pepper, just to be safe. My son didn’t end up eating any of the Pringles or mozzarella sticks, but he did eat all the mango and even shared some of his candy with others. We drank almost all the lemonade and I was happy to see that everyone else was eating burgers as well, so we didn’t stick out when we warmed ours up. In the end, my son only asked me once to read a label for Graham Crackers for when the kids were making s’mores, I just reminded him about our talk and he dropped it right away. He happily jumped back in the water and that was it. Overall I would call this a success and I didn’t feel like we were left out of the festivities. Unfortunately because of our diet, family outings cost us more because we have to provide all our own food, but it’s worth it to still be able to spend time with the people we love.

Happy eating!

Blue Cheese Burgers – Feingold Diet Stage 1 Recipe

We have not eaten homemade hamburgers in my house since we started Feingold. Not because of the actual burger, but because of the bread. Bread machine bread isn’t good for a burger (too soft and big), and I haven’t had time to make my own buns. Recently we finally were able to test some sliced loaves of bread from the bakery department of our grocery store and discovered that we did not react to it. The bread had a firm texture and a crusty exterior which lends itself perfectly to being used with burgers. As I got ready to make these, I searched the web for the best tips on making burgers and finally put together my own recipe that was a combination of many different tips. The best tip I found was to put olive oil in the meat as it makes it more moist and prevents the patties from crumbling as you cook them. I hope you enjoy these as much as we have.

Blue Cheese Burgers
2 lbs. Ground Beef
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. Olive Oil
2 Large Shallots
1 Large Sweet, White Onion
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Salt to Taste

Finely chop the shallots and combine with the ground beef, cheese, and oil in a large bowl. Do not add the salt at this stage and be sure not to overwork the meat as both of these could make for very dry patties. Cover the bowl and allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight. Form the ground beef mixture into patties. I poke a hole right through the center of my patties to prevent them swelling up there and to ensure that they are cooked all the way through. Slice the sweet onion and cook on medium heat in a large skillet with no oil. Turn the onion often, and cook very slowly. Cook until the onion turns a wonderful caramel color. Remove from pan and set aside. Sprinkle a little salt on each side of your burger patty. Cook on one side for 4-5 minutes, flip and cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes. Do not press on the patties with your spatula while cooking or you will release the juices, and be sure to only flip them once. Add the blue cheese crumbles to the patty as it is cooking on the second side. Top blue cheese with your caramelized onions. Serve and enjoy!

Happy eating!

Macaroni Salad – Feingold Diet Stage 1 Recipe

While searching the interwebs for the perfect macaroni salad recipe to bring to my son’s 9th birthday party, I stumbled upon a little gem from All Recipes. It is aptly named “Mom’s Best Macaroni Salad,” and I would have to agree. The salad was a hit and there was not one noodle left to take home with me. When making this, you can pick whatever type of pasta you like. The first time I made it I used elbow, then I tried vermicelli. I bet a spiral noodle would be good as well. I hope you enjoy this one as much as our family did!

Macaroni Salad
1 lb. Uncooked Macaroni
3/4 c. Carrots, shredded & chopped small
1 Large Sweet Onion, diced
1.5 c. Mayonnaise
1 (12 oz.) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 c. White Sugar
1/2 c. White Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Fill a large stock pot half way with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for recommended time on box. Drain pasta and run under cold water while still in strainer. Leave the pasta in strainer to continue draining while you finish this recipe. I have found that the more dry I can get the pasta, the less soggy the pasta salad will be in the end. So I always cook the pasta first and let it just sit and drain for about 10 minutes before adding it to the sauce. In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk well together. Once the pasta is well drained, add it to the bowl with the sauce and mix together. Place the salad in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Stir every couple hours to ensure the pasta stays fully coated as it cools. The pasta will absorb the sauce and become nice and thick and creamy.

Happy eating!

Chocolate Covered Fruit – Feingold Diet Stage 1 Recipe

These is so incredibly simple, but such a great, quick snack to have on hand. I modified these recipes from ones I saw over at Show Chef Food and nomnomnom blog.

Kiwi Bites
3-4 Kiwis
Magic Shell Chocolate

Peel kiwis and cut into 4-5 thick pieces. Place pieces on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, drizzle (or drench like we do) slices with magic shell chocolate. It should harden up pretty quick. If it does not, you can pop the pan back in the freezer for a bit.

Banana Peanut Butter Bites
1-2 Bananas
Peanut Butter
Magic Shell Chocolate

Peel bananas, and slice into bite size pieces. Spread tops with a small amount of peanut butter. Place on cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, coat in magic shell chocolate. Refreeze if necessary.Happy eating!

Restaurants & Fast Food on Feingold

While I do love cooking at home, we also love to eat out. Finding a good place to eat out can be super hard on the Feingold Diet. If you are relatively new to Feingold, I would strongly suggest that you try to limit your eating out to almost not at all. But once you are well past that 6 week mark and are well prepared to judge a reaction, you should be able to spread your wings a little. Below are a few restaurants that work for us. Your family may or may not be able to tolerate these, so please do not take this post as any kind of approval for these places. Some of them are listed in the restaurant guide, some are not. We have strategically tested each of these (even if they were in the guide) over the past few months and have found we were able to handle them.

First off before going to a restaurant, it’s a good idea to have in mind what kind of things to look out for. Bread is always touchy because if they don’t make it from scratch, it probably has a preservative in it to make it last longer for them. I almost always avoid bread at a restaurant. If you can get your food without seasoning, do it. You can always add salt anyway. Steak doesn’t need all kinds of seasoning on it to taste great, a plain steak, medium rare, with salt is the best thing ever. Remember your veggies. A side of plain broccoli, plain green beans, plain corn (if you can do it) is a wonderful thing. If your dish involves butter, ask if it’s real butter they use. If not, leave it off. Next time you can even bring your own to add if you are so inclined. We often bring our own ketchup to places that we need it as we cannot do ketchup with corn syrup in it. Remember cheese. Most white cheeses are approved. Of course not all of them are, but I will often take a chance on something made with white cheese without asking about it and just see if we react. 9 times out of 10 we do not. If you are wary of doing this, look in the book. There is a description of the only ingredients a white cheese should have in it, you can ask them to check their labels.

Okay so those are the things we look for. Here are some of the places we have successfully done. Remember this DOES NOT mean these places are approved for you. You must try them in your own family, and never try these until you have been doing the diet with no reaction for at the minimum 6 weeks. You have to be able to judge a reaction before you venture into this.

Local Pizzeria
As I am sure most of you do, we have a lot of pizza places nearby. We have tried many of them, and found one that had a good combination of flavor we like and makes everything from scratch. We made sure they made their own dough to try and avoid any preservatives there. We get our pizza with no sauce (my son can’t do tomatoes and hubby can’t do paprika which is often in tomatoe sauce) and we have them put unmarinated chicken and broccoli on it. We have to special order it that way as their pizza chicken is usually marinated. At first they gave us a hard time, but now they are so used to our order they all know exactly what to do (yes we order pizza a lot). Since we can’t do corn, I made sure their cheese had no corn starch in it. They shred all their own cheese and use a combo of white cheeses. We made sure to test this for the first time when we were not reacting to anything so we could tell if we had a reaction to the cheese. None of us did, so now it’s one of our family favorites.

This is in the Restaurant Guide and we have had good success here. My family doesn’t do corn syrup, so we normally get their fries, but will use our own ketchup. If we are eating there, we just bring it with us. The buns also have corn syrup in them, so we don’t eat those. We will get a double hamburger with no cheese or condiments and just eat the patty dipped in ketchup. We cannot do soda either, so we always just ask for a large ice tap water. I do believe they have Sprite as well if you are able to handle that. Hubby can handle corn syrup and some stage 2 items, so he will get double hamburgers with onions and pickles and then add his own ketchup (though I guess he could use theirs, but he doesn’t).

Five Guys Burger & Fries
My son LOVES this place. They are also in the approved restaurant guide, though their buns are not listed as approved, so we avoid them. We will get a large fry and you can actually tell them you have an allergy and just order a patty with no condiments or bun. They will wrap just the patty in foil for you. We always bring our own ketchup and we also get tap water here. I do believe they have Sprite as well. Since the bread is not listed in the food guide at all, hubby doesn’t eat it here so he doesn’t get anything extra on the patties. They taste great plain dipped in ketchup though!

This is another Restaurant Guide place. No matter which sub we get, we always get the regular white italian sub roll. I often get the tuna with some onion or lettuce and American Cheese. Since I can do tomatoe, I sometimes will get the meatball sub too. My son will get the plain chicken strips with American cheese and have it toasted. He does not put any veggies or condiments on it. Hubby will also get the chicken strips with cheese toasted, but he will often add pickles and olives since he can do stage 2.

Olive Garden
This is not in the restaurant guide, but it has always been one of my favorites so we had to try it out once we were ready. So far we have kept it really simple and just stuck with meals made with alfredo sauce. Hubby and I can do tomatoe, but I don’t eat tomatoe dishes there anyway. Some day hubby might try a tomatoe dish, but so far we are all happy with the alfredo. When we go, we always tell the waitress straight off that we have allergies, so no salad or bread. I am not sure if the oil they use for the salad dressing is approved, and I am sure they do not make their own bread, so we avoid it for now. My son will order the kids fettuccine alfredo with chicken. We just make sure to indicate that it must be unmarinated chicken. Hubby and I order the steak gorgonzola alfredo. We ask them to not put the demi-glaze on the steak as I am not sure what is in there and I also ask them to leave off the sun dried tomatoes since I am not sure of the oil they were in. We have had great success by ordering this way. We only get tap water here, but they also have Sprite I believe.

Taco Bell
This is the most controversial restaurant we go to. I wasn’t going to put this here, but in the interest of full disclosure I am. We have had luck at Taco Bell by ordering just their plain taco (soft for my son and I, hard for hubby). My son and I have sour cream added, hubby will add both the sour cream and tomatoe. That’s it. We do not order anything else there. Since the meat is rather mysterious, we made sure to try this restaurant when we were clearly not reacting and waited a few days to see if anything happened. Luckily we did not react to it at all. I would not get anything else from here though and you should absolutely be very careful when trying this restaurant. Be prepared for a reaction and if you are lucky like us and can handle it, be prepared for other Feingolders to tell you how bad it is. We get tap water to drink, and they have Sprite if you can do soda.

I think that’s it for now. We will probably continue to try restaurants, keeping our rules of thumb in mind. Have you tried any other restaurants that have worked for your family? Promise I won’t judge if you share, even if they do seem rather nefarious like Taco Bell!

Happy eating!

Individual Cookie Treat – Feingold Diet Stage 1 Recipe

This is a quick and easy recipe that I modified from one I saw over at La Creative De La Fille. I was skeptical when I first saw it, but after trying it, I was impressed! If yours does not come out exactly as you had hoped, try a different mug or less cooking time. Eventually you will find the perfect combination.

Individual Cookie Treat
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. White Sugar
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
3 Drops of Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
1 Egg Yolk
1/4 c. Flour
2 Tbsp. Chocolate Chips

Use microwave to melt butter in a small microwave safe bowl. To the butter add white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, mixing well. Whisk in salt & yolk. Add in flour and mix until fully combined. Fold in Chocolate chips. Once everything is well mixed, put the dough into a microwave safe mug. I used a flatter mug meant for soup, you may want to try a few different mugs to see which ones work the best. Cook the dough in the microwave for 40 – 60 seconds, or until cooked. I did my first batch for over 60 seconds and the cookie was a little dry, I would suggest starting with a lower time and seeing what you get. Eat and enjoy!Happy eating!

Butter Cream Chicken – Feingold Diet Stage 1 Recipe

I made the is recipe the other night. When I read the recipe I wasn’t too sure about the cream sauce, but it ended up way better than I thought it would. The family deemed this meal a definite keeper. The recipe below is an adaptation from Jamie Cooks it Up.

Butter Cream Chicken
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 Sleeves Ritz-Style Crackers, ground into crumbs
Olive Oil
1 c. Chicken Broth
4 Tbsp. Butter
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. Half and Half, divided
1/2 tsp. Thyme, dried
2 Tbsp. Flour
Salt and Pepper

Cut your chicken into chunks. Cut them so they are not too thick, I think I got about 6-8 pieces out of each breast. Place the ground crackers in a bowl and coat each chicken breast with the crumbs. In large skillet, heat up about 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil on medium-high heat. Once the oil is nice and hot, place the chicken pieces in the pan, cooking on each side for 4 to 5 minutes. Cook until both sides have nice color and chicken is cooked through. You will most likely have to cook the chicken in 2 batches, do not crowd the pan. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate with paper towels on it. Pour the excess oil out of the pan, but be careful to leave all the yummy bits the chicken created. Add butter to the pan and allow to melt, before it turns brown add the chicken broth. Scrape the pan as the broth is warming to get all those lovely bits of flavor up. Whisk in 1 cup half & half and the thyme. In a separate cup whisk together the remaining half & half and the flour until you have a smooth slurry. Pour into the pan, whisking well. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once done, serve chicken pieces with sauce over it. I made this with a side of oven roasted potatoes.

Happy eating!

We’re Going to Disney – Feingold Diet on Vacation

The Feingold Diet can be hard enough at home, but when traveling it can be downright difficult. In September 2011 we went to Disney for the first time! At the time we were not on the Feingold Diet, so we had anything and everything we wanted to eat. With a free meal plan, we didn’t have many limits on food. This time though we plan on staying on diet. The changes we have seen in our son and in ourselves are truly amazing, and we would love to have an even better vacation by continuing to adhere to the diet. A bit of the details:

Where We Live: New England
Vacation Length: 9 days
Visiting: Disney World & Atlanta, Georgia
Where We Are Staying: Vacation condos in both places
Modes of Transportation: Flying to FL, driving to GA, Flying back home from FL

Since we do not live close to FL or GA, I am unsure of the food that will be available when we arrive. My plan is to bring as much food as I can in one extra suitcase, then we will do a grocery shopping in FL and one in GA. Both the condos we are staying in have fully equipped kitchens, so we are able to make our own food. I do not want to spend vacation worrying about cooking dinner though, so my plan is to make sure I come up with super easy meals that won’t take long to make. Georgia will be a little easier as we will be visiting with family and will have a much more relaxed scheduled. Disney, on the other hand, certainly presents us with some challenges. Right now the plan is to eat breakfast and dinner in the condo and bring lunch and snacks into the park with us. They have lockers we can use, so we will most likely take advantage of that. Last time we had really good luck with just getting cups of ice water in the park, so I think we will plan on that again.

In my next post I will post my list of meals that I have in mind. I will try to be really specific about what we plan on bringing and when we return I will let you know what we actually did since we all know that plans change! If you have any advice for Feingold on vacation, feel free to leave your tips in the comments. This will help not only me, but other readers of this post.

Happy eating!

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