Easy No-Bake Carob Quinoa Bites

If you’re looking for a delicious, easy to make snack, this just might work for you. It’s very easy to put together and has a wide variety of possible flavors. I made carob bites but mocha, coffee, vanilla, pumpkin, etc., etc., etc., would work. It’s very easy to do.

First, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup cooked quinoa (I packed my 1 cup measure like one would brown sugar)*

1/4 cup carob powder (or other powder of choice, see variations below)

1/4 cup date syrup (agave, coconut, maple or honey all would work depending on the flavor desired)

1/4 cup seed or nut butter (again can vary depending on flavor)

1 tablespoon whole chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the above together until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop (mine was 1 tablespoon), scoop out the mixture and drop on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 1-3 hours depending on size. My 1 tablespoon scoop produced 24 bites and they froze within 1 hour.

*Quinoa is very quick and easy to cook. For this recipe combine 1/2 cup quinoa, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until water is gone and quinoa is translucent.

VARIATIONS:

COFFEE: Use 1/4 cup instant coffee and delete the vanilla extract, add coffee extract or a little water if mixture is too tight

MOCHA: Use 2 tablespoons instant coffee and 2 tablespoons carob powder (or cocoa if possible)

PUMPKIN: Use 1/4 cup pumpkin flavored protein powder (not pumpkin seed protein powder which has no taste)

VANILLA: Use 1/4 cup plain or vanilla protein powder; I would suggest using white quinoa and white chia seeds for vanilla as well as agave nectar

ALMOND: Use 1/4 cup almond butter, a 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and plain protein powder

MAPLE: Would probably work best with 1/4 cup maple syrup, maple extract instead of vanilla and the mildest of butters, perhaps tahini or cashew with plain or maple flavored protein powder

Use your imagination! As many combinations as we can think of would be possible for these bites.

Pear Donuts (or fritters)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for either a fried fritter or baked donut with fruit. I used pears but apples, peaches, plums, or any berry would work just as well. Simply substitute the other fruit in place of the diced pear and use a coulee of the same fruit in place of the pear sauce. For most people that would be apple since applesauce is readily available although it’s fairly simple to make fruit sauces, or coulees, from other fruits. Simply wash, core, and slice the stone fruits (no need to peel), place in a pot with a couple of tablespoons of water and cook until the fruit is soft, then puree. With the berries, it’s even easier because all you have to do is wash the fruit like blackberries or strawberries, and then cook them down (with a little water) before pureeing. Brown food again!

In a medium-size bowl add:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose, gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)*

Stir to combine. Add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk, such as oat or soy

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup pear sauce (or other fruit coulee)

Stir just until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet. Don’t overmix. In a 4-quart sauce pan or heavy, high-sided fry-pan, add:

2″ of oil (I used a combination of olive and avocado)

Heat to 375 degrees (use a cooking thermometer). For fritters, scoop out about 1/3 cup of the dough, form into a ball and flatten (use wet hands for this) before dropping into the hot fat. Cook 3-4 minutes per side (for a dough circle about 1/2″ thick). Should be golden brown. Only cook one or two circles at a time in the pot, more in the frypan.

For baked donuts, grease two 6-donut baking pans and spoon in dough. Bake at 425 degrees about 12-15 minutes or until the donut bounces back when touched. Cool slightly before unmolding.

Serve plain or with a glaze.

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.

Squash Parmesan, Lasagna Style

This dish is a lot like lasagna but with parmesan cheese between the layers instead of ricotta. I know it’s a little early for summer squashes but they are so tasty and now available year-round so I wanted to make something different, something fairly quick and easy which this dish definitely turned out to be. And so delicious with my favorite pasta sauce and parmesan. The only hard part of the dish is slicing the squash!

First, preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two LARGE baking sheets with parchment paper. Next, trim and slice lengthwise in about 1/4″ slices:

4-5 medium zucchini

4-5 medium yellow squash

About 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of squash. Place in a 9×12-13″ baking pan, and sprinkle with:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Using your hands or tongs, mix to coat the squash slices with the oil. Lay the slices of squash out on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the slices with:

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until they are tender. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In the 9×12″ baking pan (the same one you already used, it’s okay if there’s olive oil in the bottom), spread:

1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

Line the pan with squash slices. Top with more pasta sauce and:

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Repeat once or twice depending on how many squash slices are left. I only had a few so filled some gaps and only had two layers. If possible, end with sauce and cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cheese in browning and the casserole is bubbling. Let sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving so it sets. Serves 6.

TIP: Want a main dish instead of a side? Add 1-pound cooked ground meat, Italian sausage, or vegan protein to the pasta sauce.

As you can see, I ran out of sauce so ended with cheese only on top of the layer of squash.

Sweet and Sour Cole Slaw

Quick and easy, especially with pre-mixed cole slaw mix, this is a delicious, fat-free side dish that won’t spoil if left out because it has no mayonnaise.

I find it hard to believe that this is my 300th blog! How time flies and how the recipes just keep adding up. Hope you’re enjoying this adventure in cooking as much as I.

In a medium size bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 cup white vinegar

Whisk until the date sugar dissolves. Stir into the dressing:

1 1/2 cups pre-mixed cole slaw mix (green and red cabbage and carrot)

1/4 cup sliced scallion greens

Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 2-3.

Carnitas Tacos

I cooked a pork roast last night and had about half of it left so what to do with it? Tacos are so easy to make and tasty to eat, it was a no-brainer. Whether you make soft tacos like I did or prefer the hard ones, this filling is delicious and so easy to make with a food processor.

First, in a 12″ skillet, over medium heat, add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat till it’s simmering and add:

1 small onion, diced

1 small, sweet pepper (any color), diced

1 teaspoon chili powder (Optional) – I’m not crazy about chili powder so I used sriracha instead

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stir to combine and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers soften. Add:

3 cups shredded pork (pulse in a food processor for a few seconds until it’s the consistency you want – be sure to cut into chunks before pulsing!)*

1/2 to 2/3 cup salsa (or plain tomato sauce) – enough to moisten the meat

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules

Stir to combine and heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes until pork is heated through. Makes 8-10 tacos.** Top with refried beans, sliced avocado, cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc., whatever your family likes.

*Don’t have a food processor? Heat the leftover pork roast in a 325 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes and then using two forks, shred the meat.

**There are now a number of tortilla brands available that are gluten free including corn, quinoa, cassaba, cauliflower, etc. I just love the quinoa tortillas. Be sure, if using soft tortillas, to heat them under moist paper towels in the microwave for about 30 seconds before filling.

Creamy Tuscan-Style Chicken and Garlic Mushrooms

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken. I used chicken breasts but 16 ounces of any chicken works just fine. Like mushroom soup, this is a pretty easy recipe to make. It can be done with either whole small mushrooms or sliced ones (I usually buy the cleaned, pre-sliced at the store). For a stronger mushroom flavor, use mushroom stock instead of chicken stock. Makes 4 generous portions.

In a 12″ high-sided skillet, heat over medium high:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 medium onion, diced

Cook for about 3 minutes until onions are translucent before adding:

4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

1/3 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)

1 tablespoon of the tomato oil

Cook for about a minute so that the tomato flavor comes out. Add:

12 ounces mushrooms

Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 4 minutes, over medium heat. Stir into the pan:

2 tablespoons all-purpose, gluten-free flour

Stir to combine the flour with the fat in the pan before adding:

1 cup chicken stock (or mushroom)

1 cup non-dairy milk (any kind EXCEPT soy which will not thicken)

Stir to combine and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add:

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

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

2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced into strips*

Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes to warm the chicken and melt the cheese. Serve over pasta or rice. I can testify that it’s delicious over zucchini noodles! Top with chopped parsley or scallion greens and additional cheese.

*To make this dish vegan, instead of adding the chicken stock, use mushroom or vegetable stock and substitute a 12-ounce can of white beans along with 2 cups of greens (spinach, chard, etc.) along with the stock.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

This was a hit at my house last night so I thought I’d pass on the recipe. Another very easy, quick recipe for a delicious dinner. I recommend serving it with a small side salad! Serves 4.

In a high-sided 10″ skillet, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 small onion, diced

1 small sweet pepper, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic (roughly 2 cloves)

Cook until the onions soften, about 4-5 minutes. Push the onions and peppers to the side and add:

1 pound ground turkey (94% preferably)*

Salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper)

Cook, breaking up the turkey and stirring frequently until the turkey is cooked (no longer pink), about 5 minutes. In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (I use Organicville made with agave nectar)

1/4 cup sugar-free barbecue sauce (again, I use Organicville made with agave nectar)

1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce (sugar-free preferable, I use Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha)

1/2 tablespoon vinegar

2 teaspoons mustard (I used stone ground)

1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (Optional)

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)**

When turkey is cooked, pour the sauce into the pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve on gluten-free buns, dairy-free cheese optional.

*This recipe could easily be made vegan by substituting a large can of any type of beans, such as Great Northern, kidney, etc. or some diced firm tofu.

**The recipe I used as a template called for Worcestershire Sauce which has soy in it so for flavor and spice I substituted the sriracha, chili garlic and fish sauces. If your family has no problems with Worcestershire Sauce, go ahead and use that instead.

Plum Cottage Pudding

Cottage pudding is a basic fruit pudding that’s often used to make fruit puddings. It’s a lot like my recipe for blackberry pudding. Very easy to make, the consistency of a muffin batter, it can be used to top a variety of fruits or can be baked on its own and served with sauce such as my mother’s hard vanilla sauce, or a fruit coulee. If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy to make dessert, a fruit cottage pudding is a good answer. Delicious with any kind of whipped topping, sauce, or frozen vanilla dessert. Serves 8.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of an 8″ cake pan, pour:

1/4 cup avocado oil or spread 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine

Spring the fat with:

1/4 cup date sugar

Line the pan with fruit slices. I used plums cut in half and then eighths to fit between the halves but all slices works just as well. Cut and place cut side down:

5 plums (be sure to remove the pits first!)

Sprinkle with:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Set the pan aside and make the pudding. In a small bowl make the flax gel by combining:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons hot water or aquafaba

Set aside for about 3-5 minutes. In a medium size bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (feel free to use more to your taste)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once dry ingredients are combined, add:

1/2 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

2/3 cup non-dairy milk

1 flax gel from above

Stir to combine until incorporated, batter should be the consistency of muffin batter. Spread over the fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Want a quick and easy side dish? Here’s one that even those who don’t care much for cabbage may enjoy. Use either red or green cabbage, or be lazy and buy a bag of cole slaw mix, doesn’t matter if there’s a few shredded carrots in there as well. Goes very well with any meat but for some reason cabbage especially likes pork or beef – steaks, chops, or roasts doesn’t matter. And feel free to change out the ground cloves for whatever spice your family prefers – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, etc.

Heat a 10-12″ high-sided skillet over medium high heat and add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat until shimmering and add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 large onion, sliced

Cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add to the skillet:

2 cups shredded cabbage

Salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water

Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 5 minutes. While it cooks, in a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons vinegar (whatever kind your family prefers, I used white)

1 tablespoon date syrup (agave or maple would also work)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed or caraway

Whisk to combine and set aside. When cabbage is ready, pour the vinegar mixture into the skillet, stir to combine and let heat for about 30 seconds. Serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

TIP: Like braised cabbage, adding a diced apple or pear when the cabbage is added to the skillet and topping with some bacon bits would be great in this dish.