Gluten Free Cafe Rio Chicken Salad

There are a bazillion copy-cat Cafe Rio salad recipes out there - I've got at least 3 different variations in my recipe box. (Cafe Rio is a yummy fresh Mex restaurant out West).  In my humble opinion, they are all super delicious and really similar so it doesn't really matter which one you make!  This salad involves making 3 recipe (4 if you're making gluten free tortillas): Green Chili Rice, Creamy Tomatillo Dressing, and Seasoned Chicken.  

Cafe Rio chicken salad is served in layers.  First cheese is melted onto a flour tortilla (delicious with a gluten free tortilla, corn tortillas or no tortilla!) then it is filled with the green chili rice, black or pinto beans (we prefer black) and shredded chicken.  All of this yumminess is topped with the salad greens of your choice (they use romaine, but we use spinach because it's so good for you!), and if you're really ambitious you can add pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla strips before drizzling on the amazing Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.  Yum!  I'm already looking forward to having leftovers tomorrow!

Seasoned Chicken
5 pounds chicken breasts or tenders
1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (always check ingredients for gluten!)
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
Place everything in the crockpot and stir to coat the chicken.  Cook on high 2-3 hours or low 4-6 hours.  (If chicken is frozen, cook on high 4-5 hours) Shred chicken before serving.

Green Chili Rice
3 cups water
4 teaspoons gluten free chicken bullion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can mild diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cups rice (not instant)
1 Tablespoon butter
Combine ingredients in a rice cooker and cook per manufacturers directions or cook stove top following the directions on the rice package.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
3 medium tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
1 package dry ranch buttermilk dressing (double check ingredients for gluten)
1 cup gluten free mayonaisse
1/2 - 1 cup buttermilk (start with 1/2 and add more if dressing is too thick)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
1/4 -1 jalepeno (depending on how spicy you like it)
juice of 1 lime
Dump everything into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add more buttermilk if dressing is too thick.  Chill until ready to serve.  

Additonal ingredients for salad:
black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
gluten free tortillas
shredded cheese
salad greens

Optional Ingredients for salad:
Salsa (pico de gallo)
tortilla strips or chips
any other topping that sounds good to you!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are not only quick, easy, and delicious, but they also don't contain flour of any sort.  Since they don't have any special ingredients, this is a great recipe to share with friends or family when they want to make you a treat.  Make sure the peanut butter has not been contaminated with gluten!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1 unwrapped Hershey kiss for each cookie

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine all ingredients (except chocolate) in a small mixing bowl and stir until blended. If adding chocolate chips, stir them into cookie dough just until combined.   Drop dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, using slightly rounded teaspoonfuls.  Do not flatten or crisscross with a fork as they will turn out too flat. Bake 9 minutes or until cookies are puffed and golden.  Cookies will be very soft so let them stand 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing. 

For Peanut Butter Blossoms put an unwrapped Hershey kiss on top of each cookie after they’ve cooked 8 minutes and then stick them back in the oven for the last minute.