Getting Out of My Comfort Zone With a Gluten and Dairy Free Dinner

Pan Seared Chicken and Broccoli in an Almond sauce

As I go out of my comfort zone this week, I made a dinner and dessert that are both gluten and dairy free for a friend in need. As an Italian growing up, we never heard of such a thing! Not to mention food allergies? Vegan?  Really? We used more butter and flour than anyone else on earth…..well, maybe not the French!

And let’s not forget the pasta! We ate, slept and drank pasta! I never hesitated to look at a recipe and ask myself, “Is this gluten free? Is this dairy free?” Especially when cooking for my family and friends! And now, I find myself asking if anyone has food allergies, can’t eat gluten, wheat or dairy, let alone are you “vegan”? Yikes!

But like most things, it takes a little time, positivity, and patience to adjust to something new, something that you may not have ever thought you would do, love or cook in my case! It’s like going to the same job every day, knowing you’ve mastered the skills and expertise needed to do a great job. And when a new system is put in place, or a new design becomes the new brand, or someone puts a challenge in front of you, you start to think, it’s time I expand my horizons.

And when you do, you grow in your skills and expertise, your mind and palette expands, and you begin to enjoy things you never thought you’d enjoy!

I am afraid of gluten free flours, and almond milk, and non-butter butter, but the more I open myself up to it, practice how to make it be the best it can be, and even give it my own flair, it can turn out pretty darn good. Like this Pan Seared Creamy Almond Chicken and Broccoli dish that @vigorwave inspired me to cook instead of creating a dish on my own when this is not my area of expertise. Reaching out for help, ideas, and coaching is all part of life, and we are all on both sides of it constantly. I continue to be amazed and inspired by so many great cooks out there…the world is my oyster!

Pan Seared chicken breasts and broccoli in a creamy almond sauce

In this case, I did stick to almost everything in the recipe, but substituted Kirkland’s Organic No-Salt Seasoning instead of Italian Seasoning, and drizzled a lemon balsamic vinegar over the top, right before serving. And it turned out AMAZING! Thank you @vigorwave! Now I just hope my friend and her family agreed!

So anytime you are going out of your comfort zone, get the support of others, don’t be afraid to fail (that’s how you learn they say), and just do it! It worked for Nike, right?

Until next time,

Let’s get cookin’ (even gluten and dairy free)!


Pan Seared Creamy Almond Chicken and Broccoli

This gluten and dairy free dish was inspired by @vigorwave, and you will absolutely LOVE it! I followed it pretty closely, just substituting one ingredient and adding another at the end. Enjoy it by itself, or with a bowl of rice or quinoa on the side!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Dairy Free, Gluten Free
Keyword: pan-seared chicken, SimpllyAlmondMilk
Servings: 4 people


  • Large Stove Top Sauté Pan
  • Medium Mixing Bowl


  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless
  • 2 tbsps Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning you can substitute 1 tsp. minced onion, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 4 tsps gluten free flour I used Bob's Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free flour
  • 1 medium broccoli head, broken apart into chunks about 3 cups
  • 1 tbsp lemon balsamic vinegar if you don't have lemon balsamic, you can use regular balsamic, but make sure it's a thicker and syrupy.
  • 1 lemon, cut in 6 or so wedges for garnish


  • Rub the chicken breasts all around with the seasoning(s).
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Cook the chicken until golden brown, about 6 - 7 minutes on each side (temperature should be 165°.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and set aside to keep warm on a plate, covering with foil.
  • In the mixing bowl, whisk the almond milk and flour until smooth.
  • To the same pan, heat the additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, adding the garlic and cooking for 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the almond milk mixture and stir as the sauce thickens almost immediately.
  • Add the broccoli and cook for 6 - 8 minutes, or just as it turns tender, keeping its bright green color.
  • Return the chicken back to the pan to cook for a couple minutes in order to heat back up.
  • To serve, garnish with cut lemon wedges and drizzled lemon balsamic vinegar.
  • Serve as is or with a side of rice, noodles or over mashed potatoes.



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