Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Oatmeal Cookies

My husband’s favorite cookie was oatmeal. After looking though dozens of oatmeal cookie recipes, this one came out first in the ones I thought sounded really delicious and easily converted to allergen free. With a food processor, it was very easy to put together and turned out delicious! As with many cookie recipes that are allergen free, these should be flattened before baking and bake a little longer than most cookies.

In a small pot, bring to a boil:

12 ounces of dates with sufficient water to cover them

Once they come to the boil, remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, put into a food processor:

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds

Blend until the seeds are well ground but not turning into butter, larger chunks are okay. In a medium bowl, blend:

2 cups quick cooking organic gluten-free oatmeal

the ground seeds

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Place the cooled dates into the food processor along with:

2 cups cooked pumpkin or sweet potato or a 15 ounce can of pumpkin or sweet potato puree

1/2 cup of the date boiling liquid (or if a fruity flavor is desired, 1/2 cup of any fruit juice)

Blend until smooth. Add the date/pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and blend until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Let the dough sit for 15-20 minutes so that the oats and chia seeds can absorb some of the moisture in the dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-3 medium cookie sheets with parchment paper.

When the dough is ready, scoop by tablespoon onto the baking sheets and flatten the cookies with the back of a wet spoon. Depending on how it’s measured, the dough should make 2 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.* Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes depending on size and thickness or until the outside of the cookie is golden brown. I found getting the cookies as thin as possible leads to a cookie that is browned and crispy around the outside and chewy on the inside. Cool on baking sheets and then store in air tight container.

*I actually used about 2 tablespoons per cookie and the dough made 29 cookies.

Baked Chicken Breasts (dairy-free, gluten-free)

I eat a lot of chicken since I’m allergic to anything that comes from a cow as well as most other red meats.  So I’m always trying out new chicken recipes and this is an old recipe I found while digging around for blog posts in my old cookbooks and files.  It originally used almond flour and nut butter but I’ve updated it and removed those ingredients and added several healthier options.  It can be served with some cranberry sauce (see Cranberry Compote).  Be careful with the baking times — its a very moist breast due to the marinade but will dry out around the edges if cooked too long.  Its difficult to tell when its cooked just by looking at this chicken; take it out of the oven and check it for firmness to be sure its cooked.  Depending on how thin the breasts are pounded will vary the cooking time.  Mine were around a 1/2 inch and I cooked them 35 minutes which turned out to be about 5 minutes too long since they were a little dry around the edges.

This recipe serves 4 using two whole (versus half) chicken breasts.  Place a breast in a gallon storage bag.  With either a rolling pin or a meat tenderizer (flat edged), pound out breast until its about a half inch thick.  Repeat for the second breast.

Spray a shallow 10″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Add the flattened breasts.  In a small bowl mix:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pour over chicken breasts.  Turn over the breasts several times to be sure that all parts of the breasts have some marinade on them.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a second shallow dish (like a large pie plate), combine:

  • 1/4 cup ground flax/hemp mix
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir to combine.  Press a chicken breast into the mixture to cover.  Turn it over to coat the other side and don’t forget the edges.  Repeat with the second breast.  Place in a greased baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on thickness (for 1/2 inch breasts; for thicker breasts increase slightly).  Serve plain or with cranberry sauce.  I paired mine with the celery root and parsnip mash (see Side Dishes) which is now one of my favorite sides — can’t tell you the last time I ate a potato!

Sugar Cookies (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free, vegan)

My son’s favorite Christmas cookie is a decorated sugar cookie.  I haven’t been able to make him any in years but this year will be different (of course I have to find my cookie cutters first!).  This cookie comes out crispy and full of flavor.  My husband says the consistence was a little powdery but making sure the cookies are a little thicker and don’t get too brown took care of that problem.  Makes 2 dozen cookies (approximately).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl whisk together:

  • 1/3 cup agave or coconut nectar
  • 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk such as hemp or soy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Let sit for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a food processor blend:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Blend just until mixed.  Blend in:

  • 1/2 cup shortening such as Spectrum or solid coconut oil, a tablespoon at a time

When combined and mixture is crumbly, add the liquid and blend until well mixed.  Be sure to stir the mixture so that any flour on the bottom of the processor gets blended as well.  For drop cookies, drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets either lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Flatten with your palm or a lightly oiled or silicone spatula.  If rolled cookies are desired, drop the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, place another sheet on top, flatten and wrap.  Refrigerate at least one hour before rolling out and baking.  Bake between 10 and 15 minutes depending on how thin the cookies are or how large.

Orange Sugar Cookies:  Substitute orange juice for the milk and add grated rind of one orange to the dry ingredients.  I also added 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, delicious!

Strawberry Sugar Cookies:  Reduce brown rice and millet flours to 1/3 cup and add 1/3 cup ground dried strawberries.

Savory or Sweet Seed Crackers (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, egg-free)

Sometimes the best comfort food is something small, quick and within reach.  These seed crackers fit that need for me since I can’t have anything pre-made like store-bought cookies or crackers.  The savory crackers go well with hummus, guacamole, or other dips and even with some non-dairy cheeses.  The sweet ones are tasty by themselves or with some hemp cream.  And with both of them, you can vary the herbs and seasonings to fit your taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the savory or sweet crackers, put in your food processor:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water

Process until blended and the rice is broken down, adding small amounts of water as needed.  The amount of water used will depend on the moisture in your rice and quinoa. The mixture should have a dough consistency.  Remove half from the processor and form into a ball.  Make a hollow in them middle and add herbs such as:

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Need herbs into the dough.  Place dough on a piece of greased parchment the size of your baking tray (preferably one without sides so you can slide the rolled out dough onto the sheet easily, before and after baking.  Place a second greased parchment sheet on top and using a rolling pin or heavy can, roll out dough until very thin.  The thinner you can make it, the crispier the crackers after baking.  Place on baking sheet, remove top layer of parchment and bake 20-25 minutes.  Remove from over, flip over (this is always difficult for me and I usually end up with some of the dough underneath so I have to pull it open again but if you’ve cooked it long enough, this is easily accomplished), and cut into cracker sized squares.  Put back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes until crackers are crispy and browned on the edges.  If you have some that are thinner than others (usually the middle of my crackers are slightly thicker), remove the thinner ones and continue cooking the thicker ones until they are dry and crispy.

For the sweet crackers, you should have left half the dough in the food processor.  Return the bowl to the processor and add:

  • 2 tablespoons carob or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hulls

Process until well mixed; you shouldn’t need to add more water but if you do, add it by tablespoons being careful not to get mixture too wet.  Remove from processor, and follow rolling and baking directions above.

 

“Healthy” Chicken Tenders (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free)

My husband has always been a big fan of the deep-fried, breaded chicken tenders while I didn’t find them that appetizing.  They always seemed so tough and stringy to me.  These chicken tenders are as far away from that as you can get; delicious and healthy!

Place 1 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders in a bowl and cover with your favorite milk.  Let sit while you make the breading. Preheat oven to 400 degrees if using a conventional oven.  My Cuisinart convection/air fry oven does a beautiful job making these crispy while keeping them fat free.  And they came out so tender, juicy, while remaining crunchy on the outside.

Mix

  • 1/3 cup ground golden flax
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (make sure they don’t have any sugar in them)
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (I used approximately a 1/4 teaspoon of each)

Prepare an 8×10″ or 9×11″ baking dish by spraying with a non-stick spray.

Dip each chicken tender into the coating mix and place in the prepared pan.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until chicken feels firm when pressed and coating is a golden brown.  In my Cuisinart, I air fried them for 6-7 minutes and then turned them over for another 6 or 7 minutes.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce; honey mustard or marinara.

Honey mustard dipping sauce:  whisk together 1/4 cup of your favorite mustard with 3 tablespoons of honey (or agave or coconut nectar).