Spatchcocked Roasted Cornish Game Hen

This is a very simple recipe as long as you have a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Spatchcocking is cutting out the backbone of the chicken and laying it flat. It cooks faster and is easier to grill, just don’t try to stuff it or you’ll have to tie it back up!

Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. For each hen, prepare a mixture of:

2 teaspoons pureed garlic*

1/8 teaspoon herbamare (or plain sea salt)

1/8 teaspoon dry sage**

dash of black pepper

Spatchcock each hen by cutting along the backbone on each side using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cutting the bones attached to the backbone. Wash the inside of the bird and then dry thoroughly using paper towels. Discard the backbone. Release the skin from the meat by inserting your finger between the skin and the meat and shifting it to loosen. (I personally prefer to just cut along one side of the backbone to open the chicken (or hen) since I’m a lover of the tail, a bad taste inherited from my grandmother.)

Next, take 1/2 of the garlic mixture and rub it in one side of the hen between the skin and the meat. Repeat on the other side with the other half of the garlic mixture. Place in the prepared pan and repeat for the other hens you want to cook. Generally, one hen per person depending on their size and what else you’re serving with them. I actually only ate half a hen. Larger birds will feed more people but they generally average about 1 1/2 pounds per bird.

Rub the skin of the birds with oil and bake 45-55 minutes depending on how your oven temperature runs or until the thigh meat measures 175 degrees.

*I bought pureed garlic but it’s fairly simple to puree whole garlic cloves by using the flat side of a knife. Place the peeled garlic clove(s) on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Smash with the flat side of a large knife and then pull the knife towards you to smear the garlic and voila, pureed garlic. Or use a small food processor to puree cloves.

** I happen to love sage with poultry but if you don’t, feel free to use thyme, rosemary or whatever other herb your family prefers.

Easy Creamy Chicken Pasta Casserole

I do love chicken and I especially like creamed chicken. I find it a very satisfying dish, probably because of the combination of cream sauce, vegetables, and tender chicken. This recipe can be made with any type of pasta you like – from lentil spirals to egg noodles, spaghetti or heart of palm linguini like I used.

Grease an 8 cup (10x8x5″minimum) casserole dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a high-sided pan, over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When hot (shimmering) add:

3 medium shallots, sliced

4-6 ounces of mushrooms, sliced (any type will work, I used shitake)

Salt, garlic powder and pepper to taste (about 2 shakes of salt and garlic powder and one dash of pepper)

Cook until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add:

8 ounces of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces (approximately)

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste (as above)

Cook, stirring frequently until chicken is well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir into the pan:

1 tablespoon all-purpose, gluten-free flour

If there is still oil showing, add a little more so that all the oil is absorbed. Cook stirring for about 1 minute to cook the flour taste out of the mixture. Add:

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup non-dairy milk (any EXCEPT soy)

Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through, depending on how cold the liquids are, 3-6 minutes. Add:

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 cups cooked pasta

1/2 cup grated non-dairy parmesan cheese*

When peas are heated through, transfer mixture to the casserole dish. Sprinkle top with mixture of:

1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons grated non-dairy parmesan cheese

Be sure to mix the oil and bread crumbs together before adding to the top of the casserole. Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until topping is browned (broil for 2-3 minutes if preferred). Serves 4.

*Any non-dairy cheese that your family enjoys will work in the recipe such as provolone or cheddar.

Easy Farmhouse Chicken Casserole

I know, again with the chicken! But there are just so many delicious ways to cook chicken and here’s another one. Easy and quick to make with pre-cooked chicken, this casserole covers all the bases with protein, starch and vegetables all in one mouth-watering package. So if you have some chicken (thighs, drums, breasts whatever) or leftover rotisserie chicken, this is a great way to use it up that your family will enjoy.

Make sure your oven rack is in the upper half of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole (or spray with non-stick spray). Over medium high heat, heat a medium sized Dutch oven and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 slices of bacon, diced

Cook bacon until it’s crisp. If you don’t want to eat the bacon fat, drain it before adding:

1 tablespoon olive oil (3 tablespoons if you drained the bacon fat off)

1 medium onion, diced

3-4 celery stalks, diced

1 cup thinly sliced carrots (or shredded)

1 cup frozen peas

Reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are softened. Stir into the vegetables:

1/4 cup gluten-free, all-purpose flour (I had to use 1/3 cup to absorb all the oil)

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup non-dairy milk (anything EXCEPT soy)*

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Stir, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all those wonderful drippings from the bacon. Cook, stirring frequently until sauce is thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Add:

3 cups diced or shredded chicken

3 cups diced and cooked potatoes (I used a mix of sweet and Russet potatoes)

Turn off heat. Pour (or ladle like I had to) the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

2 tablespoons avocado oil

Using a fork, mix thoroughly so that the bread crumbs are combined with the oil. Add:

1 cup gluten-free French-fried onions (or forget the bread crumbs and just use onions, oh so tasty!)

Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the casserole and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Serves 6-8 generously.

*The original recipe called for cream. Silk now makes a non-dairy cream which you could use in place of the non-dairy milk for a richer sauce. The Silk cream is coconut based.