Asian Style Lemon Chicken with Vegetables

One of my favorite Italian dishes is Lemon Chicken. I also love Asian chicken and looked on-line for a recipe but of course, with all my allergies, I didn’t find one that would work. So here’s my own recipe. I added a bunch of vegetables so that it’s a balanced meal. It can be served with either rice or noodles. Serves 4 generously.

Cut into chunks:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put the pieces into a large food storage bag and add:

1/4 cup arrowroot

Shake to cover the chicken completely with the arrowroot, adding a little more if necessary. You may need to separate the pieces during this process to be sure they are completely covered with the arrowroot. Let sit in the refrigerator for about a half hour. In a large skillet, heat over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot but not smoking, saute:

1 medium onion, diced

6-8 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal (I use celery hearts so if using a whole celery, you might use less stalks)

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup grated carrot (or 2 carrots thinly sliced on the diagonal)*

Reduce heat to low medium and continue to saute until the onion is translucent. While the vegetables cook, combine in a 3-4 cup bowl:

grated lemon rind from 2 lemons

1/2-2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 1/2 lemons)

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup date sugar (or agave or coconut nectar, honey)

1 tablespoon garlic puree (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 tablespoons arrowroot

Whisk until well combined and set aside. Heat in a deep skillet over medium high heat:

2-3 inches oil (I use a combination of olive and avocado oil)

Add to the vegetables:

1 cup bean sprouts (I used canned and drained the liquid before adding them)

1 can chopped or sliced water chestnuts

1 can sliced bamboo shoots

Stir to combine and add the sauce mixture, after whisking again. Stir as the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to simmer or remove from heat. In 2 batches, fry the chicken pieces being sure to separate them into individual chunks before frying. Fry until browned on each side, about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. You will probably need to reduce the heat to medium as the frying continues or the oil will get too hot to completely cook the chicken before it’s too brown on the outside. Drain each batch on paper towels and salt before adding to the vegetable mixture. After stirring in the second fried batch of chicken, the dish is ready to serve and should still be hot but if it’s cooled, reheat for 1-2 minutes over medium. Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions.

*Of course, other vegetables can be used such as bok choy, pea pods, string beans, etc.

Fish Casserole

I baked a beautiful halibut fillet yesterday but it was too much for just me. I’ve had a craving for tuna casserole for several weeks now so decided to mix the leftover halibut in with the tuna and wow, what a delicious, warm, comforting bite. I grew up on things like tuna casserole since my mother worked as a teacher and I began helping her cook meals when I was about ten. This was always a quick and easy meal to put together, but of course, we used canned soup and tuna along with frozen peas and regular pasta. Nothing I use today except the canned tuna and frozen peas. I find having grown up on it and not having fresh tuna until I was well into my 20s, that I prefer the canned stuff even though it’s not politically correct these days to use it. Feel free to use fresh if your family prefers it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish (I found that my 12″ deep skillet made just enough to fill my 9x9x3″ baking dish). Put 3 quarts of water on to boil in a large pot. Chop either by hand or in a food processor:

1 small onion

4-5 stalks celery

8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms

2 medium carrots

Over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12″ skillet with deep sides. Add the chopped vegetables along with:

1 cup frozen peas (or fresh if you have them)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dry thyme

Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and carrot is softened, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, add one box (4 servings) to the boiling water of:

gluten-free pasta (I used a mixture of the heart of palm linguini which I love and some brown rice pasta)

Cook per package instructions. When the vegetables are ready, add:

2 cans tuna (I use the Safe Catch, low mercury brand that you don’t drain)

about 1/2 pound cooked white fish (such as halibut, haddock, cod), flaked

1 cup chicken stock (another 1 cup below for a total of 2 cups of chicken stock or fish stock if you have it)

In a small bowl, combine:

1 cup chicken stock

2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

Combine with a whisk until smooth before adding to the vegetables. Stir constantly until mixture is thickened. Add the strained pasta and place in the prepared baking dish. Top with a bread crumb mixture or French fried onions if desired. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Air Frier Turkey Tenderloins

With all my food allergies, protein is difficult sometimes. And since I live alone, most meats except for individual things like pork chops or chicken pieces are always too much for one meal. So when I find turkey tenderloins, I always buy several packages and freeze the tenderloins individually. And then look for new and different ways to cook them. If you have an air fryer, this is so easy and quick. Otherwise, it could be cooked in the oven but it’ll just take a little longer. Of course, the essential thing about tenderloins, whatever type of animal they come from is not overcooking them and drying them out. This air fryer method worked very well for that. And, of course, this rub works on any protein, not just animal. And try mixing it up with different herbs and spices.

Preheat air fryer at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, combine:

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic granules (or powder)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Using paper towels, dry:

2 turkey tenderloins

Once dry, rub with:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Then sprinkle the rub mixture over the tenderloins being sure to coat both sides. Using dry hands, rub the herb mixture into the tenderloins. Place in the air fryer basket and cook for 12-15 minutes. Turn and repeat. Check turkey temperature (should be at 165 degrees) before removing. Let rest about 5 minutes before slicing.

Herbed Baked Chicken Breasts

This is a tasty, easy and quick recipe. Feel free to change up the herbs you use so that you get the flavors your family prefers. I like thyme and marjoram so those are the two I used but the paprika and garlic powder are staples for this recipe. It only takes a couple of minutes to get the herb rub together and cut the breasts in half (lengthwise) so total, this recipe takes less than a half hour before ready to eat.

First, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dry off:

2 chicken breasts, about 6-8 ounces each

Using a long knife, hold a breast upright against the palm of your hand and cut in half to produce two approximately equal portions of chicken breast. Repeat with the second breast. Next place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil.

Rub to coat the breast pieces evenly. Wash your hands. Next, in a small bowl combine:

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon date sugar (or coconut sugar)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sprinkle the herb mix on one breast at a time and rub to coat. Repeat until all pieces are covered on both sides. I sprinkled all the breasts at once so by the time I got to the third one, the herb rub was a paste instead of dry. That’s why I suggest you sprinkle the rub on one piece at a time! Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. The time needed will depend on the thickness of the breast pieces. My pieces were about a 1/2″ thick and took around 16 minutes. Don’t overcook or the breasts will be dry. Be sure to let the meat rest for about 5 minutes before cutting. Serves two generously.

Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

I’ve posted other wings recipes. This one is slightly different because it mixes a little tomato paste into the soy sauce substitute base along with some pureed garlic (find it in grocery store next to minced garlic in the Ethnic Foods aisle; Emperor’s Kitchen has an organic one). It also omits any coating, other than spices, on the wings themselves so no extra carbs from flour or breadcrumbs. Added to the delicious flavor and the fact that they take only a couple of minutes to prepare and a half hour to 40 minutes to bake, they can’t be beat!

In a gallon food storage bag combine:

up to 3 pounds split chicken wings

1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked, whichever your family prefers)

1 teaspoon onion powder (NOT salt)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper)

Press the air from the bag before sealing, seal the bag and then massage the spices into the wings. In a small bowl mix together:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil*

1 teaspoon pureed garlic

1/8 teaspoon Garlic Chili Sauce (OPTIONAL)

Add half to two-thirds of the sauce to the bag and shake to coat all the wings. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (be sure there’s room between each wing) and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove and brush with the remaining sauce and turn the wings over so that they brown on both sides. Bake for another 15-20 minutes (depending on size, larger may need a few more minutes) and serve. Garnish with sesame seeds, sliced scallions or chopped parsley.

*TIP: This can be omitted for totally oil free wings. Pour your 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil into the tablespoon (or quarter cup measure) that you’ll use for the honey and swish it around to coat. This will let the honey slip right out.

You can find the recipe for my Cole slaw under Soups and Salads.

Asparagus with Prosciutto

I love asparagus but don’t eat it often because my doctor forbids it. But this is such an easy and delicious recipe that I just had to have some. If you like salty, you’ll love this dish. And it’s so simple to make! Takes about 10 minutes. Serves 2-4.

First, clean your asparagus, wash the spears and break off the tough ends. If the cladodes* are large, remove them by plucking them off or peeling the spears. In a 12″ skillet heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon oil

When it shimmers, add:

1 pound prepared asparagus

Sprinkle the asparagus with:

1/4 teaspoon sea salt**

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (or add 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic)

Stir the asparagus to distribute the seasonings and let cook for 1-2 minutes until tender but still firm and doesn’t fall down when you pick it up with the tongs. Remove from the pan onto a plate and place in a warm oven while you cook the prosciutto. Into the same skillet, add:

5 slices prosciutto, cut into pieces (or cook whole and cut afterwards)

If cooking the prosciutto whole, be sure to separate the pieces. Most pre-packaged prosciutto contains about 5 pieces. Cook until browned and most of the fat is rendered. Remove from the pan. If you didn’t cut it before cooking, chop now. BE CAREFUL – IT CAN BURN VERY QUICKLY AS I CAN ATTEST! Top the asparagus with the prosciutto and serve.

*These are the triangular, tough things on the asparagus spears. They are especially tough when the asparagus is larger than the pencil size.

** If you haven’t heard about the danger of using sea salt, read the article: Himalayan Salt vs. Sea Salt on YouTube.

Eggplant Schnitzel

I just searched the site and can’t believe I haven’t posted a recipe for fried eggplant! It’s my grandson’s favorite so I make it quite often this time of year. It’s slightly different since it’s only floured or battered. Schnitzel has a bread crumb crust instead. It’s pretty easy to make, just be sure to salt the eggplant and let them sit awhile before proceeding. (This actually keeps the eggplant from absorbing oil when fried or sauteed as well as removing any bitterness. So this isn’t necessary when using the thinner eggplants such as Japanese or graffiti.)

Step 1 is to peel and slice the eggplant into about 1/2″ slices. Then salt them generously on both sides (I usually do this on my cooling rack over the sink), place some weight on top of them (usually use a cookie sheet with some cans on top of it) and let sit for at least a half hour.

So peel and slice:

1 large eggplant or 4-5 small graffiti eggplants

Prepare the breading station by placing in 3 separate low-sided (1-2″ high) bowls large enough to accommodate the slices of eggplant):

Bowl 1:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

Stir to combine.

Bowl 2:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Bowl 3:

1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Again stir to combine. Breading stations are now ready for the eggplant.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper and then spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Remove the weights and cookie sheet and rinse off the eggplant. Dry with a paper towel. Then dip each slice of eggplant into Bowl 1 being sure to coat both sides with flour. Then dip each slice into the milk mixture in Bowl 2, letting excess milk drip off before dipping each slice into Bowl 3. Place on a cookie sheet and then sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately. Number of servings will depend on the size of the eggplant and slices. Approximately 4-6 servings.

Chicken with Eggplant and Zucchini

My search for tasty and easy chicken recipes has landed another one! This one doesn’t come from the Chicken Bible but is a combination of a recipe I found on-line and what I had in my refrigerator. Once everything is peeled and diced, including the chicken, it’s so simple to put together. Planning ahead is necessary with this recipe however since the chicken must be marinated for at least an hour in the refrigerator after dicing.

First, mix together the marinade in a gallon storage bag or large bowl:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Then dice up:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Add to the marinade, and after closing the bag, swish around the chicken to make sure it’s completely covered in the marinade. If you want a stronger lemon flavor, add:

Grated rind of 1 lemon

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables:

4-6 small cipollini onions, peeled and quartered*

1 medium zucchini, washed and diced

1 pound eggplant (any type will work, I used 4 small graffiti eggplants), peeled and diced

1 clove garlic (about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons minced)

When the chicken is almost ready, heat a 10″ skillet over medium heat with:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is hot, add:

onions and garlic

Cook for 2-3 minutes just until the onions turn translucent. Then add the:

Zucchini

Eggplant

And cook another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Put the skillet back over the heat and add the:

Marinade and chicken mixture

Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce is beginning to reduce. Stir the vegetables back into the skillet and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

*Don’t have cipollini onions and your local supermarket doesn’t carry them? They are small and slightly sweet becoming much sweeter after cooking. So feel free to use a different sweet onion in their place but cut smaller.

Carolina Mustard Barbeque Sauce

I’ve recently found that tomatoes and tomato-based sauces bother my stomach so I’ve been searching for alternatives, especially since my favorite foods are ribs and wings. Here’s one that’s very tasty and easy to make. I used a jar of dill pickle mustard that I had in my cupboard and wow, that a great taste! Only takes a couple of minutes to mix and can be frozen if you don’t use it all. I made a batch of chicken wings with it.

In a small bowl (about 2 cups) combine:

1/2 cup mustard – any mustard will work – I’ve used the dill pickle mustard as well as my usual stone ground and both made very delicious sauce

1/4 cup honey (date sugar, coconut or agave nectar, maple or date syrup would also work)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup white vinegar (rice or apple cider vinegar would also work)

1 small can green chilis (about a 4-ounce size; I used mild but feel free to use a hotter variety if your family likes them)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Brush on ribs or wings or serve on the side once the meat is cooked. Makes about 1 3/4 cups of sauce. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender.

I brushed the sauce on the wings before baking them for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Broiled (or Grilled) Eggplant

Here’s another very easy side dish that’s just yummy if you like eggplant, especially if you love it as much as my grandson does! This would work for zucchini or yellow squash as well.

First, wash, remove stem end, and peel*:

1 large Italian eggplant (or multiple other smaller ones), about 1-1 1/2 pounds

Cut into 1/2″ slices crosswise. Place on a cooling rack over your sink (or if you have a very large sink, in your sink). Once all the slices are on the rack, sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Be sure to sprinkle on both sides. Then place a baking sheet on top of the slices and weigh them down with something heavy like canned goods or a bag of flour. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes. You’ll see that they are now wet. Remove tray and weight before washing each slice under cool water. Dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Preheat the broiler in your oven or start the grill. If using the broiler as I did, spray a baking sheet large enough to hold all the slices comfortably with non-stick cooking spray. Place the slices on the sheet and then sprinkle each slice with:

Garlic powder

Ground black pepper

Herb of choice (I used an Italian seasoning mixture but any herb your family likes will work)

Spray the tops of the slices with more cooking spray (I use avocado oil spray but whatever you normally use will work). Place under the broiler for approximately 10 minutes until the slices begin to soften and turn golden brown. Remove and turn them over, return to the broiler and broil for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately. A nice pasta sauce would compliment them nicely.

If you’re grilling the eggplant slices, spray each side with cooking spray and sprinkle with the herbs before placing on the grill.

*FYI, I peeled strips off my eggplant and found that they were very tough and inedible after broiling.