Chicken with Rice and Vegetables

I’ve been making rice with meat for years. It’s a convenient, easy way to stretch meat when you don’t have much of it and lots of people to feed. And a great way to use up extra vegetables because it’s an adaptable recipe where any combination of meat and vegetables works fine. The recipe feeds 6 or 4 generously.

This will be my last blog post for several weeks as I now need to concentrate on finishing my screenplay which was due today but I’m not happy with it yet so have to concentrate on that for the next few weeks.

In a Dutch oven, heat over medium high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder (if using breasts cut into large cubes

The object is to brown the meat and build flavor as well as sear the meat to keep all the juices in it. This should take about 5 minutes, 2 1/2 minutes per side. When browned, remove the chicken pieces to a plate and add to the pot:

1 medium onion diced

6-8 stalks of celery diced

1/2 cup chopped carrots (or grated)

1 cup diced mushrooms

Sauté for several minutes until onion starts to brown. Add:

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons sweet or spicy paprika depending on your taste

2-3 bay leaves

1 cup frozen or fresh peas (if using fresh, add with the rice)

2 cups chicken stock (or, if possible, 1 cup of white wine and 1 cup of stock)*

1 tablespoon date syrup or date sugar

Stir to mix and add the chicken back into the pot along with any juices that are on the plate. Cover and simmer on low heat for approximately a half hour until chicken is cooked. Stir in:

1 cup rice (I used a wild rice blend but feel free to use whatever rice you prefer)

Simmer covered until rice is cooked, stirring frequently to be sure rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. This should cook out all the liquid but if not, cook uncovered until most of the liquid is gone. If the rice isn’t cooked but the liquid is all absorbed, add 1/4 cup stock and continue cooking covered until rice is done. Remove the bay leaves, taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve garnished with chives.

*If using wine, deglaze the pan with the wine before adding the stock. This will cook off the alcohol.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

I’m always looking for new chicken recipes and here’s one that has some sweetness from a touch of honey, agave, maple or date syrup, some spice from the cumin and ground pepper, and a touch of citrus from orange. I was pleasantly surprised at that hint of orange in the flavor, very umami! And quite an easy recipe to make. Any chicken parts can be used however, I would recommend not mixing them so either thighs, drumsticks, or breasts. Serves 2-4.

In a 1 gallon food storage bag (or small mixing bowl, mix together:

1/2 cup sugar free ketchup (such as Organicville)

1/4 cup agave, honey, maple or date syrup

1 teaspoon orange zest (zest from 1 medium orange)

1/3 cup orange juice (from one orange)

1 teaspoon Herbamare (don’t have it? Use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite herb mix)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Dash of hot sauce (optional)*

Swish around in the bag (please zip-lock it first!) until combined.

Add:

6-8 chicken parts

Again swish around to be sure the chicken is thoroughly immersed in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but I left mine for about 2 hours. [If you’re unsure about using the marinade that the chicken sat in, instead of mixing it in the bag, use a small bowl and when you add the chicken to the bag, only add half the marinade and reserve the other half to pour over the chicken for baking.]

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and dump the entire contents of the bag into it, making sure the chicken is in a single layer in the dish. Bake 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165-170 degrees.

*A dash is generally around 1/8 of a teaspoon.

Lemon Garlic Chicken Drumsticks

One of my favorite Italian dishes is lemon chicken. Here’s an recipe that’s easy to make and ready in less than an hour. And need I add delicious! I think this is, like many Italian foods, going to taste even better tomorrow when I eat the leftovers. Serves 4.

You’ll need:

8-10 chicken drumsticks*

Herbamare (herbed sea salt) and pepper (available at specialty grocer stores, Whole Foods or Amazon)**

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan margarine

Zest of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons juice

3 teaspoons minced garlic

Fresh parsley for garnish

Salt and pepper the chicken and let sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes so that it won’t be ice cold when you cook it. In a 12″ skillet, heat the oil and margarine over medium high heat until margarine starts foaming. If the chicken is too wet, be sure to dry with a paper towel, remember – wet meat doesn’t brown well and will spit oil! Reduce heat to medium and sauté chicken, turning to brown on all sides, this should take 6-8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low (I actually started out on medium low but the drumsticks were getting too brown so I reduced my heat to low), cover and let cook 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Turn the chicken every 5-7 minutes making sure to move them around in the skillet as well.

In a small bowl, mix the grated lemon zest and juice along with the garlic. When the chicken is cooked, pour this mixture over the chicken, turning the chicken to be sure the sauce coats the pieces on all sides. Take off the heat and cover, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Garnish and serve.

  • * Chicken breasts would also work
  • ** Substitute sea salt mixed with some thyme, marjoram, and basil (or an Italian herb blend)

Easy Chicken Wings (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free)

I do love chicken wings, pork ribs, all those things that are so not good for us. Since it’s my birthday today, I decided to make some of the things I love. I just put up Cinnamon Sticky Rolls and now here is my recipe for chicken wings. I bake them instead of deep frying so they are not too greasy.

Spray with a non-stick spray a cookie sheet with sides, size depending on how many wings you’re making. Preheat oven to 425 degree. If making more than a dozen, just increase the recipe.

For 10-12 drummettes, mix in a gallon baggie:

2 tablespoons cassava flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Shake to combine. Add the wings (you can use split wings if you like the fattier section as well). Shake to coat all the wings completely. Remove them from the bag, shaking off any excess flour and arrange on the cookie sheet. You don’t want them touching each other or they will stick together. Lightly spray with non-stick spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until you start seeing browning around the bottom. Remove from oven and turn them over so that both sides get crispy. Bake for about another 8-10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite sauce.

Easy Sweet and Sour Pork (or chicken or tofu) (Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free)

I do love Chinese food but its been off limits since I developed an allergy to soy. With the soy substitute I gave you last year on this blog, this is really delicious! It’s not quick but it is very easy to put together; takes longer to cut everything up then to cook. Do it in stages and use precut or frozen vegetables to make it even quicker.

Start by cutting into 1/2 inch pieces 1 pound of pork, chicken or tofu

Put the pork into a zip-lock bag with 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper [If you are allergic to corn, use 1 tablespoon tapioca or cassava flour or arrowroot]. Shake to coat all the pieces of pork and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

While the pork is sitting, prepare your vegetables. I’m giving the list of what I used but feel free to use whatever veggies your family likes.

1/2 large onion sliced

2 celery stalks cut on a slant

2 baby bok choy sliced

1/2 cup grated or thinly sliced carrot

1 medium bell pepper sliced and seeded (you could cut into chunks if you prefer)

1 small can water chestnuts

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger (be sure to mince it well because no one wants a big piece of ginger! Or you can buy pre-minced in a jar)

Mix the sauce together:

1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock (use a little more if you’d like a saucier dish but increase the thickener as well)

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup date sugar (or 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar)

2 tablespoons soy substitute [See recipe under sauces and dressings or use can use coconut aminos]

1 tablespoon corn starch [or cassava or tapioca flour; I wouldn’t recommend using arrowroot because it will be very slimy]

Whisk together. Tip: Put the date sugar and corn starch in the bowl first and then the liquids. Set aside.

When the pork is ready, add 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil to a large skillet (or if you have one use a wok). When hot, add the pork in individual pieces so that each one cooks individually. In other words don’t just dump the bagful into the skillet! Turn the skillet down to medium heat and let brown for about 1 1/2 minutes before turning. It will only take about another 1 1/2 minutes for the pork to cook through. Remove from the skillet.

And the vegetables and let cook for several minutes 2-3 before turning and then give them another 2-3 minutes covered so the celery, bok choy, and carrot soften. Remove cover and add the pork back in and stir to combine.

Add the sauce and stir until the sauce thickens. This should only take about 30 seconds. And its ready to eat! Serve over rice or quinoa, or noodles.

Serves 4

Easy Spicy Yogurt Chicken (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

I eat a lot of chicken so I’m always looking for new ways to cook it. Here’s one that’s as delicious as it is spicy. Feel free to kick up the heat with some red pepper flakes. Using curry powder in place of the spices would work as well for an easy curried chicken.

You’ll need:

2 pounds boneless chicken (either breasts or thighs)

4 green onions chopped

12 ounces of plain, non-dairy yogurt (I used Oatly but Kite makes a nut based one which would also work)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (you can buy already grated/minced ginger)

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric

1 1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon’s worth)

Spray a 9″x9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Add chicken.

In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chicken and green onions. Pour over the chicken and turn the chicken so all sides are coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces. Top with the green onions. Serves 4.

Easy Moroccan Chicken

With all my food allergies, I eat a lot of chicken so I’m always on the lookout for new, interesting chicken dishes. I don’t know how many of you subscribe to the magazine “Simply Gluten Free” but I’ve been a subscriber since their very early days when they were titled “Cooking Without.”

This last issue had a recipe for easy Moroccan Chicken which I thought sounded interested and it turns out it is very delicious. I’ve changed the recipe slightly to meet my tastes and decided to share it with you. Several cautions – cook in a slow cooker if you want but if you do it in the oven like me, be sure to cook at 350 degrees. I screwed up this time and used 375 and even with watching it closely and cooking no more than 1 hour, the top still scorched. So in the oven, be sure to cook at no higher than 350. It should only take 3/4 to 1 hour to bake.

You’ll need:

4 chicken thighs (I tried using a breast and it was tough)

1 cup salsa – use whatever salsa your family prefers, mild, medium, hot or spicy, doesn’t matter

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon salt

Spray a 9×9″ pan with cooking spray. Mix the salsa, honey and spices together (I use a small whisk) and put a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the thighs on top and then spread the remaining salsa mix on each thigh. Bake.

It’s that easy! You can serve it with brown rice, mashed potatoes or celery root.

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!

Chicken “a la king” with leeks and peas (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free)

My mother didn’t make chicken a la king very often but it was a favorite of everyone in my family.  Here’s my updated version with the addition of peas, mushrooms and leeks instead of onion.  Very tasty with a variety of starches like gluten-free toast, baking powder biscuits, rice, or quinoa.   I make it now to use up leftovers from rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  Makes 4 servings.

You’ll need:

  • 6 inches of leek, white part only, cleaned and sliced thin
  • 2 stalks of celery, washed and sliced on the bias
  • 8-10 mushrooms such as baby bellas, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas
  • 1 cup cooked diced chicken
  • 1 small jar of pimentos (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, anything but soymilk
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried herb blend like Mrs. Dash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

In a 7-9″ skillet, heat the olive oil and add the leek, celery, and mushrooms.  Saute until softened (feel free to lower the heat to low and cover them), about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in the brown rice flour and let simmer for a few minutes to cook the flour (about 3 minutes).  Add the chicken, pimentos, peas and seasonings.  Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Stir in the non-dairy milk and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Serve with your choice of side such as gluten-free toast.

Chicken “Alfredo” (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

This creamy, rich slightly cheesy sauce is definitely something anyone can find comforting and warming.  And so much easier to make than at least I ever thought.  I’d eaten it out but not at home thinking it was difficult and so fattening that it was to be avoided.  This is a much lower calorie dish that you can adjust to fit your tastes. Makes two servings.

“Alfredo” Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1 cup thick rice milk (blend 1/3 cup rice with 1 cup cold water)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar and mozzarella but use whatever you have on hand; of course the traditional Alfredo uses parmesan)

Heat the oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until warm.  Add the rice milk and cream cheese and blend until cheese melts.  Add the parsley and shredded cheese and heat until cheese melts stirring frequently.

Cook two chicken breasts (or use precooked breasts from a roasted chicken or store bought cooked chicken).  I used the POW Red Lentil spaghetti because its one of my favorites and I like to add protein whenever I can.  Cook pasta per box instructions.  Drain and mix sauce into pasta.  Divide between two plates and add slices of the chicken breasts.

Cooked peas, pieces of asparagus, or other vegetables works well with this recipe.