Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My gluten-free girl shares chicken enchiladas recipe, GF advice (CCC feature)

My M Squad shows off the honey
lemon chicken enchiladas they made.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This feature was published July 1, 2015 in the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper in the weekly "cook of the week" feature. Anyone who lives and/or works in Huron County, Ohio or the Erie County villages of Milan and Berlin Heights or has ties to the area is encouraged to be featured. To make recommendations, call the newsroom at 419-668-3771 ext. 239.

NORWALK, Ohio — When Megan Ashby visited her father in Norwalk last week, she wanted to make some gluten-free recipes.

First, the 11-year-old girl made pork casserole for Father’s Day. The second dish she helped make is this week’s featured recipe, honey lemon chicken enchiladas, which Ashby got from a magazine clipping.

“We were looking through a magazine and a lady said it was really good,” she said. “I hope people will see the recipe and be inspired to make the honey lemon chicken enchiladas.” (See the recipe after this feature.)

Ashby is the daughter of NORWALK REFLECTOR reporter and Cary's Comics Craze blogger Cary Ashby. Megan and her sister, Melissa, 6, helped make both recipes. The girls have lived in Maryland with their mother since August 2011.

Melissa had a rave review for the enchiladas, giving it five out of five stars.

“It was really good; it was awesome,” she said.

Making the enchiladas was a team effort since all the Ashbys helped with the process. “I stirred what was in the bowl,” Melissa said, referring to the sauce for the chicken.

Megan Ashby, who was in charge of making the dish, said the most challenging part was folding the corn tortillas with the chicken since they fall apart and tear “pretty easily.”

“You just can’t fold them,” she said.

Ashby was pleased with the taste, but considers the presentation or the way the enchiladas look so-so.

“This was the second time I made it,” she said. “It turned out pretty good. It was better than I thought it would be.”

Ashby’s hobbies include reading and playing video games. She has been in chorus for the last two years and will be in sixth grade in the fall.

“I like to help Mom cook. I like the feeling I can make things that are gluten-free,” she said.

When she was 2 years old, a doctor diagnosed her with having celiac disease. That means Ashby’s body can’t break down flour, wheat, barley and malt. As a result, she needs to follow a strictly gluten-free diet.

“(Having) celiac disease is worse than the gluten intolerance. Some people decide to go gluten-free because it makes them feel better,” Ashby said.

The Ashby family takes a picture with a statue ofthe Cleveland Indians
mascot, Slider, at Progressive Field. The Indians beat the Detroit Tigers, 7-3,
on June 23, 2015. Many thanks to the mother who took this pic!
Her biggest lifestyle challenges are people not remembering she is gluten-free or they simply don’t grasp the concept.

“Sometimes they just don’t understand,” Ashby added. “Gluten-free is a part of who you are; it’s part of your personality.”

The girl shared what can happen if someone on a gluten-free diet eats improper foods. Ashby said some people are nauseous and feel like they need to vomit, “but nothing comes out.” Other symptoms can include low energy for a time after eating, stomach cramps, constipation and diarrhea.

“Some people pass gas,” Ashby said. “I throw up (and) get really sick.”

The elementary-age girl has advice for people preparing gluten-free food.

“If you’ve handled gluten, wash your hands thoroughly. If you work at a restaurant, put on different gloves and wash your hands,” Ashby said.

Avoiding cross-contamination is important.

“Try not to contaminate. Stay focused,” Ashby said.

Honey lemon chicken enchiladas 

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon canola/vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups shredded chicken breast or tenderloin (cooked)
2 10-ounce cans red or green enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas (warmed)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sliced green onions (optional)
chopped tomatoes (optional)

Grease an 11x7 or 9x13 microwave-safe dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the first five ingredients in large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Pour 1 can of enchilada sauce into pan. Put already-coated chicken off center into each tortilla. Roll up tortilla and place in dish, seam down. (Tortillas can go along sides of dish if necessary.) Top with other can of enchilada sauce.

Oven option: This recipe was tested in a full-size, 1,100-watt microwave. If your microwave doesn’t accommodate an 11x7 or 9x13 dish, bake in oven at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.
Microwave option: Microwave enchiladas, covered, on high for 11 to 13 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. If desired, top with sliced green onions and chopped tomatoes.

Let cool for about 2 minutes before serving.

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