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.

Chicken and Dumplings (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

Another thing we always did with leftovers was make a stew and then either serve it with dumplings or put it in a pie crust and make a meat pie with it.    And you could easily do it with a rotisserie chicken or turkey breast from the store.  And you can adjust the vegetables to your taste, i.e., add some cooked diced turnip, parsnips or some lima beans, etc.

In an 8-quart dutch oven mix:

  • 2 cups diced chicken
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 cup cooked green beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced onion
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced celery
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced carrots
  • 1 cup cooked diced sweet potato

Add stock until the pot is 2/3 full; this should take 3-4 cups and needs to cover the meat and vegetable mixture.  Mix up your dumplings in your food processor:

  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper

Pulse in:

  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine OR 1/4 cup avocado oil

Once there are pea sized crumbs, add in 3/4 to 1 cup of non-dairy milk depending on if you used the margarine or the oil (I use rice milk but soy would work as well; you want a milk that doesn’t have a strong aftertaste).  Pulse until well mixed and the batter is smooth.  If your like your dumplings more flavorful, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of an herb mixture OR 1/4 cup fresh parsley to the sifted dry ingredients.

Drop by tablespoons into your boiling stew.  Cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then cover and cook an additional 10 minutes or until dumplings look dry on top.  Makes about 12 smaller dumplings or 6 large dumplings (the larger ones will take longer to cook so I usually make them smaller for ease of cooking and my husband usually eats 2-3 of them.

Remove the dumplings into a dish and keep warm in the oven while you thicken the stock.  Mix 1/4 cup of brown rice flour into 1/2 cup of cold stock until its smooth without any lumps.  Add to the boiling stew, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens.  If its too thin, make another slurry of brown rice flour and cold stock (a tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the desired thickness.  Be sure the gravy boils before you add more flour slurry since it will thicken more as it boils.  And be sure to stir scraping the bottom of the pot so that the gravy doesn’t burn on the bottom (also reduce the heat; you don’t want to do this on a high heat).

Return the dumplings to the pot and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie (Dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

One of my husband’s favorite dishes is a pot pie.  This one has lots of tender chicken or turkey for my husband along with plenty of vegetables to satisfy me.  If you pre-bake the bottom crust, it won’t get as soggy from the gravy while baking.  Feel free to change up the vegetables — lima beans, mushrooms, garlic, etc. can be added along with greens like kale or spinach (chopped of course).  I had some leftover mushrooms that I sautéed, cut up and added to my stew.  Some diced sweet potatoes would also do well in a stew or any diced and cooked winter squash.

First make some chicken or turkey stew:

  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas
  • 1/2 cup cooked string beans
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey diced
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • Herbs, salt and pepper to your taste

Cook the onions and celery in a little oil under tender, about 3 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups of the stock and herbs.  Whisk the brown rice flour into the other 1/2 cup of stock and add it to the stockpot and whisk until the mixture thickens.  Add the cooked meat and vegetables and cool in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the pot pie or whatever you want to do with the stew (you could also use this for chicken and dumplings or a chicken casserole with a cauliflower crust).

If you don’t cool the stew before adding it to the pot pie, the bottom crust will get too soggy, even if you pre-baked it.

You can either make your own gluten-free crust (see my recipe for pie crust), use a mix (Bob’s Red Mill makes a very tasty mix) or purchase a ready-made gluten-free crust.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Pre-bake your crust per package directions.  When cool, add the cooled stew to fill the pie crust.  Add top layer and bake approximately 40 minutes until pie bubbles and top crust is browned.

Chicken and Cranberry Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free)

As all my allergies progressed, one of the things that most bothered me was a sensitivity to leafy green vegetables.  No more salad, what was I going to do!  Then I discovered that I could eat red leaf lettuces, what a relief.  Now I have a salad almost daily and here’s one of my favorites.  I really like various textures in my salads so I add crunchy ingredients as well as softer ones.  Green Goddess dressing usually has walnuts in it but since I’m allergic to nuts, I used pumpkin seeds instead.  You could substitute sunflower seeds.

You’ll need for the salad (for 2 entries or 4-6 side salads):

  • 1 head of red Romaine, cleaned and broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 2-3 small tomatoes
  • 2 wedges of jicama, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • several scallions or some red onion diced, optional
  • 8 ounces of cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries (I used the kind sweetened with fruit juice and unsulphered)

For the dressing, in a food processor put:

  • 1 ripe avocado, skinned and pitted
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley, or 1/2 cup fresh parsley (you can add more if you like parsley; not one of my favorite herbs so I didn’t use much)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to get to dressing consistency, 1/4-1 cup (my dressing came out fairly thick and I used 1/2 cup of water)

Blend until creamy and all ingredients are combined.  Here, again, I used some roasted whole coriander seeds that I pulsed in my spice grinder so they were not fully ground and the pumpkin seeds were also only partially ground.  This added some crunchy texture to the dressing.

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free)

Who doesn’t like fried chicken (except perhaps vegans).  Its one of those comfort foods that I don’t make for my family very often but every once in a while we have a craving for it and of course, being allergic to gluten, dairy, and eggs, we can’t just go buy some fried chicken, never mind not knowing what its been fried in.  But its really easy to make at home,  and takes a half hour to 45 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces, plus some prep time.  I like to serve it with some sliced tomatoes from our garden along with sautéed squash (see recipe under side dishes).

You’ll need, for 4 servings:

  • 3-4 pounds of chicken pieces depending on how much your family eats; I used thighs and legs since that’s what my husband prefers but breasts work as well, trim off the excess fat and skin — for my husband and I, I used 3 legs and 2 thighs and we had 1 leg left over
  • Non-dairy milk to cover
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 2 food storage bags
  • Flour mixture (see below)
  • at least 1 deep fry pan and maybe two if you have more then will loosely fit into one pan, electric if you have one OR a fry thermometer
  • Oil for approximately 2 inches in each pan (I used my olive oil)
  • Meat thermometer

About 2-4 hours before you plan to cook the chicken, place it in a gallon food storage bag covered with your choice of milk plus a tablespoon of vinegar.  Let marinate in the refrigerator.

In a deep fry pan, or if you have one, an electric skillet, heat sufficient oil to go about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the chicken pieces.  Heat to 375 degrees.  While the oil is heating, remove the chicken pieces from the milk marinate and wash (I don’t particularly like the taste of vinegar in my fried chicken so I wash off the milk mixture but you don’t have to).

In another gallon food storage bag, put:

  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1for1 GF flour (or your favorite GF flour blend)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sorghum flour
  • Salt, pepper, and herb mixture to taste

Drop the chicken pieces into the flour mixture and shake well.  You’ll probably want to do just 3-4 pieces at a time.  When the oil is up to temperature, add the chicken and fry for 10 minutes, turning once at 5 minutes.  Turn again at 10 minutes and cover the fry pan for 15-20 minutes to cook the chicken through.  Remove the cover and cook another 5 minutes or so to crisp up.  Chicken is cooked when a thermometer registers 165 degrees internally so have a meat thermometer handy.  Remove to paper towels to drain the excess fat (if your fat has consistently been at 375 degrees, the chicken shouldn’t have a lot of excess fat).  Be sure to season your chicken pieces as soon as they come out of the pan.  Do not leave on the paper towels but remove to a serving platter.

Easy Curried Chicken with Sweet Potatoes (dairy free)

I’m a real lover of curry.  My mother grew up in Jamaica and introduced us to English curry very early on (Jamaica was still a British territory when she lived there).  That’s made quite differently from the Indian and Asian curries I’ve now come to love.  Here’s a quick, easy recipe that serves two but can easily be doubled, etc.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 to 1 pound diced chicken, depending on your appetite
  • 1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small to medium onion (I used red but it doesn’t matter), diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1-3 teaspoons Madras curry powder [if you want a mild curry flavor, use 1 teaspoon; for a full flavored, slightly hot curry, add 3 teaspoons]; if you use the pre-bottled stuff from the grocery store, you’ll need to add more because those are very bland. Some Whole Foods stores, and probably now some grocery stores, have it in bins where you can purchase the amounts you want.
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock or, if you can use it coconut milk

Heat a medium to large skillet over high heat and add the oil when hot.  When the oil gets hot, turn the heat down to medium, add the curry powder and toast until very fragrant but be careful not to burn it, this should take less than a minute.  Add the diced chicken, onion, garlic and celery.  Cover and cook until veggies are soft and chicken is cooked, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the sweet potato and chicken stock, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 7-10 , minutes.  At this point, you have several choices.  You can remove the cover and let the liquid boil off OR you can add 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch or gluten free flour (all purpose works fine) that you’ve dissolved in 1/4 cup of stock or milk.  That will thicken the sauce.

Plate and garnish with chopped scallions, dried cranberries or raisins along with a quarter of lime.  Curry loves citrus and sweet things so feel free to add cranberries, raisins or coconut, along with nuts (the oilier nuts work best here rather than almonds or macadamias; my mother always added walnuts) for a crunch or put them on the side so they can be added to taste.

“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).