Asian Style Lemon Chicken with Vegetables

One of my favorite Italian dishes is Lemon Chicken. I also love Asian chicken and looked on-line for a recipe but of course, with all my allergies, I didn’t find one that would work. So here’s my own recipe. I added a bunch of vegetables so that it’s a balanced meal. It can be served with either rice or noodles. Serves 4 generously.

Cut into chunks:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put the pieces into a large food storage bag and add:

1/4 cup arrowroot

Shake to cover the chicken completely with the arrowroot, adding a little more if necessary. You may need to separate the pieces during this process to be sure they are completely covered with the arrowroot. Let sit in the refrigerator for about a half hour. In a large skillet, heat over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot but not smoking, saute:

1 medium onion, diced

6-8 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal (I use celery hearts so if using a whole celery, you might use less stalks)

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup grated carrot (or 2 carrots thinly sliced on the diagonal)*

Reduce heat to low medium and continue to saute until the onion is translucent. While the vegetables cook, combine in a 3-4 cup bowl:

grated lemon rind from 2 lemons

1/2-2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 1/2 lemons)

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup date sugar (or agave or coconut nectar, honey)

1 tablespoon garlic puree (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 tablespoons arrowroot

Whisk until well combined and set aside. Heat in a deep skillet over medium high heat:

2-3 inches oil (I use a combination of olive and avocado oil)

Add to the vegetables:

1 cup bean sprouts (I used canned and drained the liquid before adding them)

1 can chopped or sliced water chestnuts

1 can sliced bamboo shoots

Stir to combine and add the sauce mixture, after whisking again. Stir as the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to simmer or remove from heat. In 2 batches, fry the chicken pieces being sure to separate them into individual chunks before frying. Fry until browned on each side, about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. You will probably need to reduce the heat to medium as the frying continues or the oil will get too hot to completely cook the chicken before it’s too brown on the outside. Drain each batch on paper towels and salt before adding to the vegetable mixture. After stirring in the second fried batch of chicken, the dish is ready to serve and should still be hot but if it’s cooled, reheat for 1-2 minutes over medium. Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions.

*Of course, other vegetables can be used such as bok choy, pea pods, string beans, etc.

Old Fashioned Cake Donut Muffins

It’s a snowy day here in Minnesota so I’m stuck at home. Days like this always give me an urge to bake. It comes from the days, growing up, when my father who worked for the Town road crew, could be out all day and often into the night plowing snow and salting the roads. He’d stop home once or twice in a twelve-hour period and be hungry and want a fresh thermos of coffee. On days like that, I’d bake cookies, muffins, cupcakes, anything portable but his favorite thing was my old fashioned cake donuts. I found a recipe yesterday, not allergy friendly of course, for donut muffins (Dianne on allrecipes.com) and I managed to make it allergy free. Hope you enjoy these. Make a single batch (6-7 small muffins) or a double batch (12-14). Either way, it takes longer to measure out all the ingredients than it does to mix them together and get the dough in the muffin tin! Very quick and easy.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini or small muffin tin and set aside. For a single batch, in a medium bowl combine:

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons date sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (those of you who follow me regularly know I don’t like nutmeg but in old fashioned donuts, it just has to be nutmeg!)

Stir to combine before adding:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or any melted butter, margarine or shortening)

Stir until just combined. Portion into the baking sheet. Try to get all the muffins around the same size. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes or so before removing from the baking pan. If desired, top with the following:

Dip each muffin’s top into:

1/4 cup avocado oil (or melted butter, margarine or shortening of your choice)

Then dip into a mixture of:

1/4 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (cinnamon, allspice, etc., would also work just fine)

Let cool a few more minutes before serving, if they last that long!

*I used a small muffin pan (about 2″ diameter at the top and a double batch made 12).

Quick Pumpkin Bread

Quick breads are so easy to make and so delicious to eat. Flavorful with warm spices, they take minutes to mix together and, when gluten-free, can take almost an hour to bake. But definitely worth it. Here’s a pumpkin quick bread recipe that will delight your whole family. I used allspice and ground cloves but feel free to use cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger (pumpkin pie spices) instead. Various flours can also be used including all-purpose (I use the 1 to 1) but whatever one you choose will work. For a lighter bread, eliminate the protein powder and use an additional half cup of one of the other flours.

First make some flax gel by combining in a small dish:

2 tablespoons ground flax meal

1/4 cup warm water

Whisk to combine and set aside to gel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bread pan (9×5″) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Into your mixer’s bowl or a medium bowl (if using a hand mixer), add:

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup maple syrup (date or agave syrup, honey)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Mix until combined before adding:

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup pumpkin protein powder (or another 1/2 cup of any of the flours)

2 teaspoons allspice

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 to 1/2 cup date sugar (depending on your taste)

the flax gel

1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional, you could use chocolate or carob chips instead)

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional to sprinkle on top in the pan)

Mix until all ingredients are well combined. This is a thick dough. Spoon into the prepared bread pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds if desired. Bake for 50-60 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean cook for another 5 minutes. Cool on a rack. Great warm or toasted the next day. Will keep for several days in an airtight container.

Oatmeal Cookies

My husband’s favorite cookie was oatmeal with raisins. I’m allergic to grapes so raisins are out for me. Instead I rehydrated some dried cranberries and used those instead. But chocolate or carob chips would work just as well. Easy to make, this is a very thick batter which doesn’t spread and has just a slight rise in the oven so don’t worry about spreading them too far apart on the cookie sheet. Depending on how large you make them, I got 16 from the mixture, you’ll make 15-24 cookies. I also shaped them into disks so they started out flat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two medium cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons warm water

Whisk to combine and let sit for approximately 5 minutes to form a flax gel. In a medium mixing bowl combine:

1/2 cup avocado oil (or other mild flavored oil)

3/4 cup fine date sugar

Whisk to combine before adding:

flax gel

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (any kind)

Mix until smooth. Add:

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup protein powder

1/2 teaspoon allspice*

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 cup rehydrated raisins, cranberries or chips (chocolate or carob)

Mix until combined. Dough is very thick and shapeable but still a little sticky. Scoop into balls, approximately 2 tablespoons each, flatten and place on prepared sheets. Bake for about 12-14 minutes until firm. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in air-tight bags or containers for about 4 days or freeze for up to three months. If freezing, place wax or parchment paper between layers of cookies.

*Or of course cinnamon if you can use it.

Watermelon Seed Butter

Don’t call me crazy yet – hear me out. I mean, I always thought who eats watermelon seeds? They’re the nasty things you bite into by accident when eating watermelon. However, I ordered, by mistake, some watermelon kernels a while ago. Put them in my pantry and forgot about them until recently when I had to clean out the pantry because I couldn’t fit anything else in there. I started throwing them out for the birds and some fell on the counter. I ate them and was shocked! They taste great, almost like a mix of peanut and cashew, except they aren’t as high in fat as most nuts. Needless to say, the birds aren’t going to get anymore.

Here’s a breakdown of what 1 ounce of watermelon kernels contains: 8 grams protein; 13.4 grams fat; 4.34 grams carbohydrates; 15.3 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 146 mg magnesium; 214 mg phosphorus; and 184 mg potassium. They’re low in calories, high in fiber and essential fatty acids.

And like the pumpkin seeds I love, they grind up well into a butter. I think I’m going to try some of those cashew butter recipes for things like cheese that didn’t work well with my pumpkin seed butter. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In the bowl of a food processor combine:

1 pound of watermelon kernels (Yupik is the brand I used but there are quite a few available online)

Begin blending until they are mostly crumbly before adding:

2-3 tablespoons avocado oil (amount depends on how creamy you want the butter)

If the mixture becomes too thin from the oil, add more kernels. I ended up adding 1 1/2 pounds to my food processor. When the butter is the desired texture (I like mine a little crunchy), add:

pinch to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blend to combine before scooping the butter into air-tight jars. Refrigerate (or freeze). Use like you would any nut butter. My 1 1/2 pounds of kernels produced 4 cups of butter.

Vegan Creme Brulee

No eggs, no dairy – how can one possibly make creme brulee without these things? At least one that actually tastes good? Well, here’s how. Although it’s much more a pudding than a custard, this tasty vanilla creme brulee will satisfy anyone’s desire for a rich, creamy dessert. If you don’t have a brulee torch, simply put the ramekins under the broiler for a couple of minutes – be sure to watch them closely!

In a 2-quart saucepan whisk vigorously:

1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (any milk except soy) – for a richer creme brulee, use 1 cup of non-dairy creamer and 3/4 cup milk*

1/4 cup avocado oil (or other mild tasting oil)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/4 cup date sugar

3/4 teaspoon agar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Whisk until the arrowroot, agar and date sugar are all dissolved. Place over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture thickens and you see small bubbles along the outer edge of the pot. Remove from heat and pour into 1/2 cup ramekins and let cool on the counter for about 1 hour before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating until thoroughly chilled, 2-3 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the top of each ramekin with:

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of date sugar

Using either a torch or the broiler, caramelize the sugar. This should take about 1 minute per ramekin with the torch and about 3-5 minutes under the broiler. Date sugar doesn’t caramelize as easily as cane sugar and will not get hard. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

*If using a creamer that has added fat, reduce the amount of oil added to the milk or omit it entirely.

Carolina Mustard Barbeque Sauce

I’ve recently found that tomatoes and tomato-based sauces bother my stomach so I’ve been searching for alternatives, especially since my favorite foods are ribs and wings. Here’s one that’s very tasty and easy to make. I used a jar of dill pickle mustard that I had in my cupboard and wow, that a great taste! Only takes a couple of minutes to mix and can be frozen if you don’t use it all. I made a batch of chicken wings with it.

In a small bowl (about 2 cups) combine:

1/2 cup mustard – any mustard will work – I’ve used the dill pickle mustard as well as my usual stone ground and both made very delicious sauce

1/4 cup honey (date sugar, coconut or agave nectar, maple or date syrup would also work)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup white vinegar (rice or apple cider vinegar would also work)

1 small can green chilis (about a 4-ounce size; I used mild but feel free to use a hotter variety if your family likes them)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Brush on ribs or wings or serve on the side once the meat is cooked. Makes about 1 3/4 cups of sauce. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender.

I brushed the sauce on the wings before baking them for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Broiled (or Grilled) Eggplant

Here’s another very easy side dish that’s just yummy if you like eggplant, especially if you love it as much as my grandson does! This would work for zucchini or yellow squash as well.

First, wash, remove stem end, and peel*:

1 large Italian eggplant (or multiple other smaller ones), about 1-1 1/2 pounds

Cut into 1/2″ slices crosswise. Place on a cooling rack over your sink (or if you have a very large sink, in your sink). Once all the slices are on the rack, sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Be sure to sprinkle on both sides. Then place a baking sheet on top of the slices and weigh them down with something heavy like canned goods or a bag of flour. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes. You’ll see that they are now wet. Remove tray and weight before washing each slice under cool water. Dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Preheat the broiler in your oven or start the grill. If using the broiler as I did, spray a baking sheet large enough to hold all the slices comfortably with non-stick cooking spray. Place the slices on the sheet and then sprinkle each slice with:

Garlic powder

Ground black pepper

Herb of choice (I used an Italian seasoning mixture but any herb your family likes will work)

Spray the tops of the slices with more cooking spray (I use avocado oil spray but whatever you normally use will work). Place under the broiler for approximately 10 minutes until the slices begin to soften and turn golden brown. Remove and turn them over, return to the broiler and broil for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately. A nice pasta sauce would compliment them nicely.

If you’re grilling the eggplant slices, spray each side with cooking spray and sprinkle with the herbs before placing on the grill.

*FYI, I peeled strips off my eggplant and found that they were very tough and inedible after broiling.

Asian Coleslaw

I do love a good coleslaw. I’ve put several recipes for it on my blog over the years and here’s another one that I think is up there near the top. Quick and easy to make, it tastes delicious. Of course, if you can use real soy sauce, feel free but use only half as much as the soy sauce substitute. And I know, more brown food! Can’t seem to stop making brown things.

To make the sauce whisk together:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup avocado oil

5 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini would also work well)

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute (or 3 tablespoons soy sauce) (SEE recipe under SAUCES)

3 tablespoons date sugar (or honey, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup)

1 teaspoon garlic puree

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (Optional)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (toasted preferably)

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Whisk until thoroughly blended and then pour over:

5 cups shaved green cabbage (or Napa cabbage, even some bok choy would work)

2 cups shaved red cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup diced water chestnuts

1 cup diced Asian pear*

6 scallions, chopped (reserve a few of the chopped greens for garnish)

Mix thoroughly (I used a serving fork) to combine the sauce with all the ingredients. Makes 8-10 servings.

*Asian pears aren’t very sweet and are very firm. If you can’t find Asian pears, feel free to add another chopped fruit such as pineapple. Regular apple or pear won’t work very well here. Jicama would also work but not add any sweetness but you could substitute some apple juice for some of (or all of) the oil. You may want to omit the date sugar if you add pineapple or apple juice.

Thai Chicken Tenders

My husband loved chicken tenders. I think more because they’re usually deep fried than for their texture which I find generally to be stringy because they’re often overcooked. I found an adaptable recipe online so I decided to give them a try. It’s quite an easy recipe to make but I’d suggest you make the sauce first so the tenders don’t sit around after frying waiting for the sauce. Like most things that are fried, once dipped in the sauce, they will quickly lose their crunch so serve immediately after you finish preparation. Makes 2 servings.

First, put the oil on to heat. In a deep 12″ skillet heat over medium high heat:

approximately 3/4″ of oil (I used a mix of olive and avocado oil)

Next prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together:

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon pumpkin seed butter (or any butter you like – sunflower, peanut, tahini, etc.)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

2 tablespoons water (more may be added if the sauce gets too thick)

1-2 teaspoons arrowroot (I used 2 and the sauce got much too thick)

1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic puree

Cook over medium heat until thickened. I had to add about 1/4 cup of water to thin mine out and I think now that I probably should have made it even thinner so that the sauce wasn’t as thick on the tenders but I didn’t mind it since the sauce is so delicious!

Next coat ONE POUND of chicken tenders. Mix together in a shallow dish:

1 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika (or if you want them really spicy, use red pepper flakes instead)

In a separate shallow dish add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Dip each tender into the milk to coat and then into the crumb mixture. Gently place in the oil that should now be at 350 degrees (after you add the tenders if the oil is still at temperature, reduce heat from medium high to medium). Cook on the first side for approximately 3-4 minutes before turning and browning on the other side for another 2-3 minutes or until firm. Remove from fat. Be sure not to crowd the tenders in the skillet. Drain on paper towels. When all the tenders are fried, dip each one into the sauce making sure to coat evenly. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro or green scallions.

I know, I know, more brown food. But as Anne Burrell says “Brown foot GOOD!”