Lemon Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Chicken is one of my staple proteins. I had some chicken breasts in my fridge that needed to be used but I didn’t have time today to do a lot with it. Chicken soup I thought! Quick, easy, not too much work. Then I thought about the lemon beurre blanc sauce I made a few nights ago to go with some fish and thought I love chicken and lemon. It won’t be too hard to put them together. This soup is the outcome of that thought process. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

First, heat a small Dutch oven over medium high heat. When it gets hot, add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

1 small onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 cup shredded carrots

3-4 ounces sliced mushrooms (any kind you like)

Stir to combine and let cook reducing heat to medium until the vegetables begin to soften. Add:

6-8 ounces white meat chicken, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir so the chicken goes to the bottom of the pot, or as much as possible. When chicken is browned, add:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

approximately 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of one large lemon)

3 cups chicken stock

8 ounces of small pasta like elbows (I used green lentil safari)

8 ounces whole chickpeas

Stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to medium low so that the stock is on a low boil to cook the chicken and pasta, about 12-15 minutes. While it’s cooking combine in a small bowl (2 cups):

1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from one large lemon)

1/2 cup oat milk

2-3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour

Whisk to combine the flour. When the pasta and chicken are cooked, add:

1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas

Cook for 3-5 minutes longer to cook the peas before adding the milk mixture. If necessary pour the milk mixture through a small sieve to keep any flour lumps out of the soup. Stir the soup to mix in the flour and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes while the stock thickens and the flour cooks. Stir in:

2 tablespoons honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4.

Of course you can add any vegetables your family likes. Asparagus would work very well in this soup as it goes great with lemon. And rice would work as well as pasta depending on taste.

Lemon Chicken with Asparagus and Chickpeas

My grandson and I made this the other night. He ate two helpings! Very simple to make and quite delicious especially if you like chicken and lemon like we do.

First, dry and trim any fat from:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cut each breast into large chunks then salt and pepper to taste. Heat in a 12″ skillet with high sides over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add chicken chunks, brown on every side. Remove to a plate and add to the pan:

1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces

Sauté 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan. Pour off oil in pan to leave about 1 tablespoon. Add:

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 teaspoons lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Sauté just until the coriander becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

chicken breasts along with any juices on the plate

1/2 can (about 1 cup) drained and mashed chickpeas*

Reduce heat to medium low or low and cook just until the chicken registers 175 degrees or is completely firm to the touch, about 10-15 minutes. Turn the chicken several times while cooking to ensure an even cook. If the sauce is reducing too much, reduce heat to low and/or cover the pan to keep in the remaining sauce. When chicken is cooked, remove to the plate and add the asparagus back into the pan to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until just tender. Stir the chicken back into the pan. Serve over rice, garnish with fresh parsley or green onions. Makes 4 servings (unless you’ve got someone like my grandson around!).

*If you like the texture of whole chickpeas you can also add the other half can whole when you add the asparagus back into the pan towards the end.

Chickpea Blondies

Easy and quick to make and delicious, nutritious snacks. I’ve been making chickpea carob chip cookies and chickpea brownies for years. I made sweet potato blondies a few weeks ago and those turned out almost fudge-like. These are thicker but every bit as “fudgy”. Feel free to substitute the sweetener as well as the quinoa flakes for quinoa flour. And of course, sunflower butter (or any nut butter if possible) would substitute quite well for the pumpkin seed butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor combine:

2, 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed (save the aquafaba for another recipe; it’ll store in the refrigerator for a week)

1 cup quinoa flakes (find it in the cereal aisle)

3/4 cup pumpkin seed butter

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

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

1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pulse until the garbanzo beans are creamed and incorporated into the batter. The batter will look mottled because of the quinoa flakes. While it’s pulsing, line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Scoop the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool before serving.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

I do love gingerbread but I also love pumpkin. This cake doesn’t have a pronounced pumpkin taste – the ginger overwhelms it so if you want more pumpkin taste, reduce the amount of ginger you add. It’s wonderfully moist and delicious served with a vanilla frozen dessert or a non-dairy whipped cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 square or round pan (to take the entire cake out of the pan to serve, cover the baking pan with parchment paper and then grease). In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons aquafaba*

*Add 1 teaspoon aquafaba powder to 3 tablespoons hot water. Don’t have aquafaba powder or a can of chickpeas handy? Substitute 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons hot water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until a flax gel forms. In a medium sized bowl (at least 3 cups) combine:

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup unsulfured molasses

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup hot (the hotter the better) water

Mix until the molasses and honey are fairly thin. In another medium size bowl (at least 6 cups) sift together:

1 cup sorghum flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (or nutmeg)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.

Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

If you love quinoa and sweet potatoes as much as I do, this recipe is a must for your side dish repertoire.  It easy to make and delicious to eat, flavorful from the herbs and garlic as well as the sweet potato, crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.  Garnish with your favorite aioli or eat them plain.  Be sure to add lots of scallions to garnish as well since sweet potatoes love them.  I used a curry aioli which I made by adding 2 teaspoons of curry powder to 1/2 cup of hot olive oil.  Let it cool before you begin blending the aioli. Make sure you don’t heat the oil after you add the curry powder or it will burn very quickly.  Makes 6 servings (2 patties each).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, whatever color you like
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1 15 ounce can drained chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a medium onion
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 scallions sliced for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon seasoning mixture such as Mrs. Dash
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax, preferably golden
  • 2 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups breads crumbs, with seasonings added — remember if you need more, you can add more but you can’t take it away or use it again once you’ve covered your patties.

Mix the ground flax with 3 tablespoons of hot water and let sit until cool.  In a food processor, add the chickpeas, garlic and onion.  Blend until well mashed.  In a bowl, put the quinoa, sweet potato puree, chickpea mixture, flour and seasonings.  In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot with the other 3 tablespoons of water (cold this time).  Combine the arrowroot and the ground flax mixtures and add to the quinoa mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Spread the bread crumbs in a small baking dish (I used a small cookie sheet with sides). Scoop out the quinoa mixture by 1/4 cups (it doesn’t have to be exact).  Put the scooped mixture on the bread crumbs and cover with more bread crumbs as you flatten it.  Place on another sheet while you finish the remaining patties, make sure you wipe off excess bread crumbs.

Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and when the patties are browned, put them on this cookie sheet in a single layer. In a large skillet, put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat (more may be needed as the patties fry).  Add the patties to the skillet without crowding and brown on each side.   When all are fried, bake them for 15-20 minutes to heat through and cook inside.  Garnish with aioli and scallions.

Sweet Potato Hummus (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

I love hummus but regular hummus loses all its taste when compared with sweet potato hummus!  Oh it is so good be sure to only make it when you have company to help you eat it or you’ll end up devouring the entire batch yourself in one sitting — it is really that good.  And easy to make with canned sweet potato.

In a food processor or blender:

  • 1  15-ounce can drained chickpeas
  • 1 cup of sweet potato puree
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin oil (or avocado or olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon papika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blend until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.  Garnish with scallions — be generous, they add another layer of flavor and go very well with this hummus.  Serve with crackers or raw veggies (I love mine with plantain chips),  pitas or flatbread.

If you’re looking for a healthy snack that your kids along with anybody else will love, try this alternative to sweet potato hummus:

Carob or Chocolate Hummus:  In your food processor, add:

  • 1 15-oumce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup date syrup, agave or coconut nectar (add more if you want it really sweet)
  • 1/2 cup carob or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

This is a very moist muffin, almost decadent in flavor with all the spices added.  Yet with the garbanzo beans ground into the wet ingredients, it has some protein along with the carbohydrates.  Its sweetened with dates so there’s no added refined sugar.  Because its gluten-free, it needs to cook a little longer than a regular muffin and it also needs to be made in regular muffin/cupcake pans rather than the jumbo (or the teeny ones would work but you’ll get more than the dozen).  And its versatile, you can make it with pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash (or a mixture of squashes).

Prepare 12 muffin/cupcakes by grease and flouring them.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, combine until smooth:

  • 1 cup drained garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups (or 15 ounces if you’re using canned) pumpkin, sweet potato or squash
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (using the ones mixed with flour will help dry the batter)
  • 1/2 cup dried prunes (or you could use dried figs)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Meanwhile in a large bowl combine:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates

When the wet ingredients are well mixed and all solid bits are broken down, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and hand mix until all the flour is combined.  Divide as evenly as possible between the muffin cups and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your muffins.  If you’re using the teeny muffin pans, baking time will probably be only 10-12 minutes.  These are so tasty that they don’t need cream cheese or butter but can be eaten just as baked.  Be sure to let them sit 10-15 minutes after removing them from the oven so that they dry out a little more in the baking pan.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten, dairy, egg, and refined sugar free)

In fact, these cookies have no flour in them at all.  Here’s what you can do with the chickpeas you have left over when you use the agua fava (or aquafaba; bean water) in a recipe.  These are pretty good although not as chewy as the high calorie version and they can be quite soft.  Adding a nut butter, I use tahini since I’m allergic to nuts, gives them a great flavor.  I like to freeze them because they taste really good frozen; it adds the chewiness that you get in regular chocolate chip cookies.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with a non-stick spray.

Put in your food processor

  • 12 oz can of garbonzo beans drained
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup nut butter or tahini
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I really like the Garden of Eden Vanilla in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (Whole Foods has a store brand of chopped dates that are coated in oat flour instead of the traditional sugar)*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Blend until the garbonzo beans and dates are pureed into the mixture.  I watch until I don’t see any more lumps and then blend it for  several more minutes since its not the most pleasant experience to bite into a large chunk of chickpea when eating a cookie!

Stir into mixture 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Chatfield Carob Chips) [be sure to check the package for allergens such as dairy and sugar].  Drop by tablespoons (or 1/4 cup measure) onto the prepared cookie sheet and then, with the back of a wet spoon, flatten cookies.  Bake for approximately 12-18 minutes depending on how large or small you make the cookies.  Makes between 10 to 20 cookies depending on size.

*If you don’t like the taste of dates or they have too much sugar content, you can use 1/4 cup of agave, honey, or coconut nectar in this recipe or 1 tablespoon stevia.  If you add one of the nectars, be sure to decrease the water to 1/4 cup.

Tip:  I’m really bad about flattening cookies; these work as bars just as well so I usually spread the batter in a 9×9 or 8×10 greased pan and increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes.