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.

Fish Casserole

I baked a beautiful halibut fillet yesterday but it was too much for just me. I’ve had a craving for tuna casserole for several weeks now so decided to mix the leftover halibut in with the tuna and wow, what a delicious, warm, comforting bite. I grew up on things like tuna casserole since my mother worked as a teacher and I began helping her cook meals when I was about ten. This was always a quick and easy meal to put together, but of course, we used canned soup and tuna along with frozen peas and regular pasta. Nothing I use today except the canned tuna and frozen peas. I find having grown up on it and not having fresh tuna until I was well into my 20s, that I prefer the canned stuff even though it’s not politically correct these days to use it. Feel free to use fresh if your family prefers it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish (I found that my 12″ deep skillet made just enough to fill my 9x9x3″ baking dish). Put 3 quarts of water on to boil in a large pot. Chop either by hand or in a food processor:

1 small onion

4-5 stalks celery

8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms

2 medium carrots

Over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12″ skillet with deep sides. Add the chopped vegetables along with:

1 cup frozen peas (or fresh if you have them)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dry thyme

Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and carrot is softened, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, add one box (4 servings) to the boiling water of:

gluten-free pasta (I used a mixture of the heart of palm linguini which I love and some brown rice pasta)

Cook per package instructions. When the vegetables are ready, add:

2 cans tuna (I use the Safe Catch, low mercury brand that you don’t drain)

about 1/2 pound cooked white fish (such as halibut, haddock, cod), flaked

1 cup chicken stock (another 1 cup below for a total of 2 cups of chicken stock or fish stock if you have it)

In a small bowl, combine:

1 cup chicken stock

2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

Combine with a whisk until smooth before adding to the vegetables. Stir constantly until mixture is thickened. Add the strained pasta and place in the prepared baking dish. Top with a bread crumb mixture or French fried onions if desired. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Korean Vegetable Pancakes

I’m constantly looking for new ways to serve vegetables so when I came across this recipe for Yachae Jeon (Korean vegetable pancakes), I had to try it and see if it would work gluten-free. I used to eat something like these at a local Vietnamese restaurant except they called them scallion pancakes. Quite easy and quick to make with a food processor and oh so tasty especially with the dipping sauce.

First, into the bowl of food processor:

1 small to medium zucchini (about 6-7 inches long), cut into chunks

6 ounces of sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet potato (I used 2 very small purple sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium carrot, chunked (I used about 3/4 of a cup of shredded carrot)

1 jalapeno pepper (Optional), seeded and chunked

1 bunch scallions (roots removed), cleaned and cut into chunks

It may require several batches in the food processor. Process the vegetables until they are small pieces so they’ll cook quickly in the pancake.* You should have about 4-5 cups.** Next, in a large mixing bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 cup arrowroot

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)

Whisk to combine before stirring in the finely chopped vegetables. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. In a 10-12″ skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 teaspoon olive oil (or spray with cooking spray)

Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out pancake mixture and place in skillet, using a spoon (or the back of the measuring cup), to flatten into a round disk about 6″ in diameter. Cook over medium low heat until bubbles appear, just like a regular pancake (in my case, it was really bubble holes in the pancake that I saw). Flip and cook 3-4 minutes on the other side before increasing the heat to medium high to brown the pancake on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Place on a cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remainder of the pancakes. Serve hot with the following dipping sauce. Makes 6-8 pancakes.

DIPPING SAUCE

Combine in a small bowl:

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon date syrup (or agave syrup or honey)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/8 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or your hot sauce of choice) (Optional)

*If you don’t want to use a food processor simply cut all the vegetables into thin strips like shredded carrots you buy in the supermarket or grate them on a box grater.

**These are just my suggested vegetables. Feel free to use whatever vegetables your family might like but the scallions really are the only ones required. I thought about adding a few garlic cloves as well as a crunchy vegetable like jicama or water chestnuts as well.

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.

Zucchini and Turnip Fritters

I love finding easy side dishes to replace the starch of potatoes, rice, or pasta. Here’s one that’s healthy as well as delicious that your family will love because it’s fried! The golden brown goodness of these fritters will get even your children to eat them. Feel free to change up the vegetables – I used zucchini, purple top turnip and carrots but one made with yellow squash, kohlrabi, and butternut squash would also work, or maybe you’d prefer zucchini, celery root, and parsnips. The seasonings can also be switched up – instead of garlic powder and coriander, how about dill, marjoram, basil, thyme, cumin or even some curry. Have fun with this one.

In the bowl of a food processor, place:

1 medium zucchini, cut into sections lengthwise and then quartered

1 medium purple top turnip, ends removed, peeled, and quartered*

8-10 baby carrots, rainbows make a pretty patty

Pulse until well grated. While the vegetables are grating heat over medium heat in a 12″ high-sided skillet:

about 1/4 inch of oil (I used a mixture of olive and avocado oil)

Pour the grated vegetables into a medium-sized bowl and add:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)

1/4 teaspoon coriander

2-4 green onions, chopped, both green and white sections

Stir to combine thoroughly. Scoop out portions using a 1/4 cup measure. Form into patties. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, flip and do the same on the other side. Remove and drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil, season with a little more salt. Serve immediately. Makes 2-4 servings depending on what else you’re serving with them and your family’s appetites!

*The purple top turnip has a very mild flavor while the yellow turnip (or rutabaga) is much stronger.

Asian-Style Sorghum Salad

There are so many great grains out there for those of us who can’t digest gluten or potatoes. Here’s one that takes a little longer to make, only because sorghum takes such a long time to cook but is really delicious and quite different from any other grain. As usual, feel free to use variations listed below if a non-Asian type of salad is desired. Enjoy something other than pasta or potatoes!

Cook in 2 quarts of boiling water:

1 cup washed sorghum*

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once water boils, reduce heat to medium high and boil uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until sorghum is soft. Rinse under cold water.

While the sorghum is boiling, prepare:

1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1 cup diced jicama (or diced water chestnuts)

1 cup stringed and sliced pea pods

Combine in a large bowl. Then make the dressing. Pour into a 2-cup jar:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)

2 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or wasabi paste)

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or ginger (Optional)

Shake vigorously to emulsify although the oil will separate if not used immediately so it will need to be repeated prior to use. Once the sorghum is cooked, rinsed and cooled, pour into the bowl of vegetables and add the dressing. Toss to combine and serve.

*Sorghum has a waxy outer shell that needs to be rinsed off before cooking.

VARIATIONS:

Italian Sorghum salad: Use diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or basil, carrots, peas, etc., with an Italian style dressing.

Sorghum “Potato-style” salad: Add some diced onion, celery, hard-boiled eggs, and a mayonnaise dressing.

Indian Sorghum salad: Use chickpeas, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, spinach, or zucchini along with a curry or tahini-based dressing.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Most cole slaws are pretty easy to make especially if you buy a pre-sliced bag of cole slaw mix which usually includes green and red cabbage along with shredded carrots. I’m always looking for new types of cole slaw and a cooking show I watched recently added kohlrabi to it and I remembered the kohlrabi from my childhood. My sister, brothers, and I would be weeding the garden and see the kohlrabi bulbs, cut them off, and eat them like apples. So delicious! And my mother would be so angry with us because she’d planned on cooking them for supper.

This reminds me of that because they’re raw. If you don’t like kohlrabi or can’t find it in your supermarket, jicama would work just as well. Some thin slices of apple or pear would be great in this as well.

Combine in a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced kohlrabi

1 cup shredded carrots

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (I sliced it thin and then cut the slices in half)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced white cabbage (I used Chinese but any white or green cabbage works)

In a glass jar combine:

1/2 cup olive oil

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

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)

Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for about a minute or until emulsified. Pour over the vegetables and stir to mix the vegetables and dressing (I used tongs for this). Serve chilled. Makes 6 servings.

Italian Millet

Millet is my newest favorite grain. It’s so simple to cook and it takes on other flavors so easily just as rice does. But unlike most rice dishes, millet is lower in simple carbs and higher in complex carbs so a great alternative to those watching their blood sugar levels. Here’s a really easy recipe that incorporates some of the great Italian flavors we all enjoy – sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, onion and garlic. This is definitely NOT a low-fat side dish! I used vegetable stock rather than a meat stock because most vegetable stocks have a nice mushroom flavor which adds umami to the dish. Be sure to use sun-dried tomatoes in oil because some of that oil will be used in cooking the dish.

First, cook per package directions (except using stock instead of water):

1/2 cup millet

in 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Generally, this means toasting the whole millet in a little oil and then adding it to the boiling stock, covering and cooking on low heat for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is soft. I like to take it off the heat at this point, leave the cover for a few minutes and then fluff the millet with a fork.

In the same skillet, heat until shimmering:

2 tablespoon olive oil (from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes)

Add and cook until tender, over medium heat:

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup shredded carrots* (optional)

When the onion is translucent, add:

1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1 teaspoon cumin (or turmeric)

2 teaspoons Italian herb mix (or dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, and basil)

Mix thoroughly so that the onion mixture is covered with the herbs. Continue cooking until the tomatoes and garlic are heated through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cooked millet. If the millet is cold, continue to cook over medium low heat for 3-4 minutes to reheat the millet. Serves 4.

*I like a lot of vegetables in my grains so I added a cup of shredded carrots with the onions.

Turkey with Pea Pods

My father managed a dairy farm so beef was a staple in our family. My mother used to make beef and pea pods, always one of everyone’s favorites. Here’s my version using turkey tenderloin rather than beef. Serves 2-3.

Into a gallon food storage bag, add:

2-3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Shake (close first) to combine and then add:

6-8 ounces turkey tenderloin, cut into slices (about 1/8″ thick)

Seal and shake to coat the turkey with the arrowroot mixture. Put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but up to overnight. When ready to start cooking, heat a 12″ skillet over medium heat with:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add and saute until slightly softened:

1 medium onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

1 large or 10 baby carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal

5 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal

6-8 ounce bag of pea pods, remove the strings and then cut into several pieces on the diagonal

1 medium sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

In a 2 cup bowl, combine:

1 cup soy sauce substitute (if you can have soy, feel free to use soy sauce but reduce to 1/2 cup and increase the stock to 3/4 cup)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 cup chicken (or turkey) stock

1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot (or tapioca starch)

1 teaspoon siracha (optional)

Whisk to combine. In a separate skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

When shimmering, add the turkey and saute, turning once, until cooked about 2 minutes per side depending on thickness. I had to do this in 2 batches since the turkey shouldn’t be crowded in the pan (we don’t want it to steam!). Add to the vegetables. When all the turkey is combined with the vegetables, stir in the sauce mixture and cook for about 1 minute until thickened and coating all the vegetable mixture. If needed, add more chicken stock by tablespoon. Serve, garnished with sesame seeds and/or sliced scallion greens.

Sesame Noodle Salad

It’s been very hot in Minnesota so I don’t feel much like cooking never mind eating something hot. I’ve been looking for salad recipes and this one is scrumptious and quite easy to put together. Most of the vegetables are raw which means some cutting but very little cooking. Boiling noodles, no problem there. And the sauce can be whisked together very easily. Add some cold meat if you like; I added some grilled chicken breast to mine but even without that, it’s very filling and delicious. This recipe makes two servings as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

First, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water boils add:

6-8 ounces Thai rice noodles or whatever type of gluten-free pasta your family likes

1 teaspoon salt

Cook following package directions. I used the Thai Kitchen brown rice noodles which you throw in boiling water and remove from heat, let sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then drain and put in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.

Next, prepare the vegetables. I can’t eat raw onions or sweet pepper so I sauteed them for several minutes to soften on the cooktop but feel free to add them raw if you like them that way. Into a medium (4-quart sized bowl), combine:

6-8 (depending on size) baby onions (the white parts of the scallions, should be about a half-inch in diameter; these are sometimes called spring onions)

1/2 of a yellow, orange, or red sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

8-10 baby carrots, grated, diced, chopped (I used the food processor for this) or one regular-sized carrot

2 baby cucumbers, peeled and diced

4 stalks of celery, diced

1 small can diced water chestnuts OR 1/2 medium jicama, diced

Next, make the sauce. In a small bowl add:

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

2 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used my pumpkin seed butter)

1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon garlic puree (or crushed garlic)

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or siracha (more if you want it quite spicy; I think 1 teaspoon would have been better)

1-3 tablespoons hot water to bring the sauce to the right consistency

Whisk together everything except the water. If the sauce seems too thick (it should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing), add the water a little at a time.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables, drain the noodles and toss them with:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

and add them to the bowl and mix to combine. Cut:

1-2 scallion greens

On the diagonal as a garnish. Add more sesame seeds as a garnish as well (about 1 tablespoon). Serve.

To serve as a main dish, add some diced grilled chicken breast; diced beef; shredded turkey breast; or other protein like grilled tofu. This would be the perfect vehicle for leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey breast.