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.

Spiced Carrot Millet

If you’re looking for something different as a side dish, here’s a tasty way to go. If you haven’t tried millet, or just used it for breakfast, this gives you a great introduction to using it as a savory side dish. Per usual, the recipe is very adjustable – carrot is one way to go but parsnips, butternut squash, or even pea puree would work just as well depending on your family’s tastes. It’s fairly quick, about 30 minutes to prepare, and quite an easy, straightforward recipe. Enjoy something different!

First, in a 12″ skillet over medium heat dry toast:

1 cup whole millet

While the millet is toasting, in a 4-quart saucepan, over medium high heat, bring to a boil:

2 cups stock (I used vegetable stock but use any type you like, or even water, works)

Once millet is toasted (about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally), add it to the boiling stock. Stir to combine, cover and reduce heat to medium low or low, and cook through, about 20 minutes, until water is evaporated and the millet is softened.

While the millet cooks, in a double boiler, steam:

3/4 cup carrots (I used the pre-sliced but any kind will work)

Steam until soft and then blend, using a hand-held immersion blender with:

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin (or 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric)

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper)

In the bowl of a food processor, or using a hand grater, grate:

6-8 baby carrots

You should have about 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Once the millet is cooked, stir in these grated carrots and cover again. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Once the cooked carrots are pureed (you could also use a food processor or stand blender), add to the millet mixture, stirring to combine.

Finish with some avocado oil, vegan butter or margarine; or a squeeze of lemon and/or 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind. Garnish with some cilantro, green onions or chopped carrot top if desired. Serves 8.

Easy Summer Pickles

My husband loved these pickles. It was the only way I could get him to eat cucumbers so I made them often. It’s a quick and easy thing to do. The longest part of the process is peeling the cucumbers so feel free if the peels don’t bother you to leave them on. And it’s so variable – by simply changing the type of vinegar and herbs/spices used, the taste changes completely. I’ll give you some variations at the end of the basic recipe.

In a 3-cup bowl combine:

1/2 to 1 cup water, depending on how strong you want the pickle

1 cup vinegar (I use a blend of white and rice – a strong and a mild vinegar)

2 teaspoons date sugar

1/4 teaspoon alum (keeps the cucumbers crunchy)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Add:

6 mini cucumbers, sliced

That’s the basic recipe and they are very good just this way. I like to change it up though so think about adding the following, remembering that spices are always better once they’re a little roasted.

Variations:

1/2 teaspoon of: mustard seed, cumin seed, celery seed, coriander seed or just one of these

2 bay leaves

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced or several scallions, sliced

1 tablespoon of: fresh dill weed or 1 teaspoon of dried dill weed

1 tablespoon of: fresh tarragon or fresh rosemary or fresh thyme or fresh basil or parsley

Using all white vinegar makes for a very pungent pickle where you may want to increase the date sugar or even use a couple of tablespoons of honey or agave nectar

Using all rice vinegar will make a very mild pickle where the date sugar can be totally eliminated

As I said at the top, changing the vinegar, and there are plenty of them out there these days, will totally change the taste of these pickles so use the vinegars your family likes best

Salisbury “Steak”

Salisbury steak is basically a hamburger with mushroom gravy. Since I don’t eat beef, I had to change it to ground turkey but since I also wanted to make one last meatloaf before it got too hot, I used a meatloaf mixture to make the “steaks”. If you only need a couple of servings of Salisbury steak, use 1/4 or half the mixture for this dish and bake the remainder in the oven as a meatloaf. Feel free to use whatever ground meat you like, or even pieces of tofu would work. I basically used the recipe I published several weeks ago for turkey burgers with zucchini because they stayed so moist and were so delicious.

In the food processor combine:

1 large onion, cut into quarters

1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into chunks

1/2 cup carrots

Pulse until shredded. In a large bowl combine the vegetable mixture with:

1 pound ground turkey

1 pound ground pork OR

1 pound mild/sweet Italian sausage (pork or turkey)

Add to the mixture:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (smoked or sweet)

3 teaspoons ground coriander

3 teaspoons garlic powder or granules

3 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 cup non-dairy Parmesan cheese (Optional)

Mix to combine (I used my hands, much easier than a spoon!). Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out the mixture and form each 1/2 cup into a burger shape (should make 10-12). In a 12″ skillet heat over medium high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add the burgers and saute them until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness, firm to the touch when cooked). Probably have at least 2 batches, perhaps 3 depending on the size. As they are cooked, remove to a plate. Add to the pan:

12 ounces of sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. When the mushrooms are cooked add:

2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

Stir or whisk in so the flour absorbs all the oil. Cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes and then add:

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or bone broth)

1/2 cup dairy-free milk (anything but soy), unsweetened

Salt and pepper to taste

If you are cooking all the mixture as Salisbury steak, you may need to increase the oil, flour, and liquid to make additional gravy. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the patties back into the sauce to reheat before serving. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta.

I know, more brown food! Just can’t seem to stay away from it. But it really was so delicious!

Chicken and Rice with Caramelized Onions and Cranberries

This recipe is quite involved and takes some time but it’s not a difficult dish to make. And to be sure, every minute spent on this is well worth the effort! The herbs and spices used amp up the flavor profile and adding some freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice at the end takes it over the edge! Rather than adding the lemon juice at the end, some sliced lemons on the side would also work.

First, peel, cut in half and then thinly slice:

2-3 medium-sized sweet onions

If you don’t have sweet onions, add 1 teaspoon date sugar when you cook them. Let them sit while heating a medium-sized Dutch oven over medium heat with:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

that are seasoned with:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

If using skin-on, bone-in thighs, cook skin side down. Loosely arrange chicken in pan (may take more than one batch). Brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove to a plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons oil from the pan before adding the onion slices. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until well caramelized (browned). If not using sweet onions, here’s where to add the:

1 teaspoon date sugar

It can take 25-30 minutes to caramelize the onions because they need to cook slowly so that they don’t burn, we want them browned – caramelized, not burned. Once the onions are ready, add to the pot:

4 garlic cloves, minced (about 4 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (or cardamom, nutmeg, or allspice)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

Sauté for about 30 seconds until the herbs and spices are fragrant before adding:

6 ounces sliced mushrooms (Optional, peas would also work)

2 cups chicken stock or bone broth

the browned chicken pieces and any juices on the plate

If using skin-on thighs, be sure the browned side is up. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add to the pot:

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice*

1/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries but raisins or dried cherries would also work)

Stir in the rice and fruit, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for another 30 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked. Most of the liquid should be gone from the pot so be careful not to burn the dish. Remove the chicken from the pot, moving the pot off the heat and re-cover so that it stays hot. Remove skin if using skin-on chicken and let sit for 8-10 minutes before slicing the meat (and removing the bones if using bone-in chicken). Add the chicken back into the pot along with:

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon juice

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley (Optional)

Stir to combine. Reheat until the chicken is heated through and serve. Serves 4-6.

*I used pre-cooked brown rice in my dish so I cooked the chicken 30 minutes before adding the frozen rice and then cooked it only an additional 10 minutes.

Since I don’t care for cilantro and don’t think much of parsley either, I sprinkled some green onions on top of my dish.

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers

I don’t think I’ve ever had a moister, tenderer turkey burger! These are very quick and easy with a food processor and more than worth the little effort they take to make. I just wonder why everything I make has to be so brown! Feel free to change up the herbs and spices as well as the vegetables to fit your family’s taste buds. I’m thinking next time perhaps I’ll use some garam masala instead of the smoked paprika. Makes 4 burgers.

First, put in the bowl of a food processor:

1/2 large onion (or 1 small onion), chunked

1/4-1/3 cup carrot pieces (I used shredded carrots)

1 medium or 2 small zucchini, chunked

Pulse until riced. Remove to a bowl and add:

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon roasted garlic granules (or 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound ground turkey

Mix to combine, I used my hand. Don’t overmix or your burgers will get tough when cooked. Form into 4, 1/2 inch thick patties, they will be soft. Cook in a 10-12″ skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat 5-8 minutes per side until cooked through. Serve with your favorite condiments on your favorite gluten-free buns. I happen to love avocado with my burgers as seen in the photo.

Curried Ground Turkey with potatoes and peas

Another way to make curry! And so good but be sure to adjust the curry to meet your family’s tastes. It comes together quite quickly and has very little prep time – just dicing the onion and grating a little ginger.

In a high-sided skillet over medium high heat, heat until shimmering:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil (depending on the fat content of your ground turkey)

When the oil is hot add:

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Heat the spices just until fragrant (10-30 seconds) before adding:

1 pound ground turkey

Cook, breaking up the meat until the turkey is browned and no pink remains. Add:

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Mix to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in:

2 cups diced potatoes (or if like me you prefer them, sweet potatoes)

1 small can mild diced chiles

1/2 cup water

Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add:

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the peas are cooked. Serves 4. Serve with either chopped parsley or, as I like, with wedges of fresh lemon for people to squeeze over their curry.

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.

Pear Muffins

Most gluten-free muffins (and breads) are very gummy, overly moist. These are not! They have a very soft crumb but are not crumbly or overly dry. By finely dicing an Asian pear, these have a great crunch along with the spices. Just delicious! And fairly quick and easy to put together and bake (about 30 minutes altogether). Of course, apple can be used instead of pear.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 12-muffin pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine:

1/4 cup avocado oil (or other mild oil)

1/2 cup gluten-free oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

4 tablespoons pear sauce (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons date sugar (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)

3/4 cup finely diced Asian pear (1 small)

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (one with guar or xanthan gum already in it)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix thoroughly until combined. Spoon into muffin cups (about 2/3 full), sprinkle with date sugar if desired and bake for 15-18 minutes until skewer comes out clean.

Easy Moroccan Chicken

I’m reposting this recipe that I original developed in 2020 because I have some additional tips for you about it that I thought made it so much more scrumptious. Many of us can’t (and shouldn’t) eat corn. I know because I’m one. But I grew up eating corn and I do so love it. Especially when it’s corn season, like it is right now. I happened to get to the market this morning right after they’d put out a fresh batch of local corn.

If you don’t know when corn is fresh, here’s what to look for: check that the tassels are still moist or at least still have some green to them and are not turned completely brown and that the stem end is still green. If the stem end is brown, the corn is old and will have lost much of it’s flavor. Also don’t husk the corn until you’re ready to put it in the pot! A definite no no. And always steam corn, it should never be boiled.

My mother was a great admirer of Craig Claiborne, the food critic for the New York Times in the 1970s. When he published a cookbook, she had to have it. About a week later, she found a recipe in it for corn in which he said corn should be boiled. She slammed the book shut, said the man was an idiot and never read anything else he ever wrote.

Having grown up on a farm where my father wouldn’t eat corn unless he went out and picked it, husked it and brought it to my mother who had the steamer all set to cook it. And the bushels of corn that we’d blanch and cut off the cobs in September to freeze for the winter. My, it was a two-day affair.

So please, another tip, never reheat or cook corn in water. If you have frozen corn off the cob, it should be simmered in milk (such as oat milk) and some fat (of course my mother always used butter!). Corn has a milky base, not a watery one so cooking it in milk enhances the flavor.

So, today, even though I knew better, I added corn to this recipe. And of my goodness, it was so delicious and I suffered so desperately all afternoon after I ate it but the enjoyment and flavor was worth the few bad hours afterwards. Here’s the amended recipe, feel free to omit the corn if you can’t eat it.

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

Approximately 3/4 cup of freshly cooked corn cut from the cob (I used only 1 ear)

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon garam masala or coriander

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce [optional]

1/2 teaspoon salt or herbamare

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 at 350 degrees for approximately 30-45 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken thighs.

It’s that easy! You can serve it with brown rice to sop up all the wonderful flavors of the salsa.

PS: I gave the rest of the corn to my grandson so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it myself!