Scallops with Seasoned Breadcrumbs

I think scallops are my very favorite seafood, well maybe lobster runs a close second. They are definitely much easier to find in Minnesota than Maine lobsters! My very favorite way to cook scallops is to broil them wrapped in bacon and then serve with a side of maple syrup (are my New England roots showing?). I wanted to try something different and it turned out very flavorful, delicious, and oh so quick and easy to make. If you can handle a knife and a fork, you can make this!

I used sea scallops and cut them in half to make disks but I think this breading would work as a topping for any fish. If using bay scallops obviously don’t cut them and bake them for 10-15 minutes instead of the 18-20 minutes.

Heat oven to 425 degree. Spray the bottom of a glass baking dish large enough to hold 20-24 scallop disks. Arrange in the bottom of the dish:

10-12 large sea scallops, cut in half to make 20-24 disks

In a 2 cup bowl mix together:

3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs

2 teaspoons diced parsley

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon herbamare

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pumpkin seeds (if preferred use sesame, sunflower, etc.)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Spread the breading mixture evenly over the scallops. Into a cold skillet add:

6 ounces bacon, chopped (optional)

Brown and then drain on a paper towel before sprinkling the bacon bits on top of the breading. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

I served it with a tossed salad that included tomatoes and avocado.

“Cheesy” Crackers

One of my favorite lunches used to be tomato soup with Cheezits. That cheese cracker with the tomato soup tasted so good. This cracker isn’t a cheezit but they taste very good and have a cheese taste from the nutritional yeast. And they are very easy to make in the food processor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the food processor add:

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour

2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Pulse to combine before adding:

1 tablespoon vegan butter or margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Pulse until mixture is crumbly then add, 1 at a time:

5-6 tablespoons water (I needed to add all 6)

Pulse after each addition. Mixture should come together but not be sticky. This may require removing from the processor and working manually (with your hands) until combined. Place onto a sheet of parchment paper. Put a second sheet of parchment paper on top and flatten the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness or as thin as you can get it, the thinner the better! Mine was thicker in the middle than around the outside which meant I had to remove the outer pieces and continue baking the thicker middle so try to get the dough the same thickness.

Remove the top parchment paper and place the dough, lifting carefully by the bottom paper, onto a large cookie sheet. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into small 1″ squares. The outside pieces can be removed and rerolled and recut to form squares.

If you prefer a saltier cracker, sprinkle some fine sea salt on top sparsely before baking. Make some holes with a fork in each square and bake for 16-18 minutes. As I previous mentioned, if necessary remove outer pieces that are thinner and continue baking the thicker squares for another 5-7 minutes. Cool on sheet before moving to a cooling rack. When completely cooled, store in airtight container.

Lemon Garlic Chicken Drumsticks

One of my favorite Italian dishes is lemon chicken. Here’s an recipe that’s easy to make and ready in less than an hour. And need I add delicious! I think this is, like many Italian foods, going to taste even better tomorrow when I eat the leftovers. Serves 4.

You’ll need:

8-10 chicken drumsticks*

Herbamare (herbed sea salt) and pepper (available at specialty grocer stores, Whole Foods or Amazon)**

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan margarine

Zest of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons juice

3 teaspoons minced garlic

Fresh parsley for garnish

Salt and pepper the chicken and let sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes so that it won’t be ice cold when you cook it. In a 12″ skillet, heat the oil and margarine over medium high heat until margarine starts foaming. If the chicken is too wet, be sure to dry with a paper towel, remember – wet meat doesn’t brown well and will spit oil! Reduce heat to medium and sauté chicken, turning to brown on all sides, this should take 6-8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low (I actually started out on medium low but the drumsticks were getting too brown so I reduced my heat to low), cover and let cook 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Turn the chicken every 5-7 minutes making sure to move them around in the skillet as well.

In a small bowl, mix the grated lemon zest and juice along with the garlic. When the chicken is cooked, pour this mixture over the chicken, turning the chicken to be sure the sauce coats the pieces on all sides. Take off the heat and cover, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Garnish and serve.

  • * Chicken breasts would also work
  • ** Substitute sea salt mixed with some thyme, marjoram, and basil (or an Italian herb blend)

Quick Salmon Cakes

My mother would have loved these! I tried it first with fresh salmon and they were too dry and fell apart. Using canned salmon worked much better. I topped mine with an easy lemon garlic mayonnaise sauce. They take less than 5 minutes to put together and about the same to cook.

In a medium size bowl, mix together:

10 ounces (2 small cans) salmon (I use the Safe Catch brand of canned fishes)

1/2 cup quinoa flakes (Don’t have these? Find them in the cereal aisle or Amazon. Or you could try using any other cereal flakes such as quick oats or gluten free bread crumbs.)

1 tablespoon gluten-free all purpose flour

2 green onions chopped (green and white parts)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Stir in 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise.

In a 10″ skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Saute over medium heat 2-3 minutes until brown. Flip and repeat. TIP: You might want to cover the skillet since these will spit at you from the moisture in the cakes. If you want to reduce this and get a browner cake, coat with seasoned flour before frying.

I serve mine with lemon garlic mayonnaise which I make simply by mixing Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing and vegan mayonnaise (about 2 tablespoons dressing to 1/4 cup mayonnaise).

Baked Fish in Paper

I love this fish! Mainly because I use sea bass but any dense fish works well. A sole or flounder wouldn’t do for this dish but cod, trout or salmon would work well. And it’s very versatile because you can use whatever vegetables you like. Quick and easy to put together if you can wrap a sandwich in waxed paper (if you were alive when we used to have to do this rather than using a baggie!), or can fold down a paper bag, you can do this, it isn’t difficult.

For 4 meals, you’ll need:

4 4-6 ounce pieces of fish

Lemons, sliced into 8-16 slices

1 small onion sliced

2 cups of diced vegetables – here you can use anything you want – have a couple of picky kids who don’t like the same veggies, use different ones for different packets – pea pods, mushrooms, yellow or zucchini squash, thinly sliced potato (white or sweet), grated carrot, broccoli, sweet pepper, cauliflower, whatever you want or like. Of course, if you use things like pea pods and pre-grated carrot, it is even easier, 1/2 cup for each piece of fish

Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking spray

Parchment paper

Tear off four approximately 18×12″ pieces of parchment paper. Spray with the non-stick spray – DON’T FORGET THIS STEP OR IT WILL STICK TO THE PARCHMENT PAPER! Place 2-4 slices of lemon on each paper (the number you use will depend on the size of your fish.

Next, add one piece of fish to each paper and then heap the vegetables on top, doesn’t matter if they fall off slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Once you have the vegetables you want on each paper, take the short sides of the paper and lift them up and fold like you would a paper bag until they rest on top of the fish and vegetables.

Then fold the ends like on a package you’re wrapping, fold each side in and then the entire end under the package.

Place the four packets on a sheet tray with edges or a baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. The packets will expand with the steam the vegetables let off (along with the lemon). Because of this steam, the fish generally doesn’t dry out because it’s sealed in the paper.

Using kitchen scissors, cut the paper (YOU DO NOT WANT TO TRY TO UNWRAP THE PACKET!). Be careful of the steam released when you cut it, you don’t want to burn yourself.

Using a spatula, lift each piece of fish onto a plate along with the vegetables (you don’t want to serve the lemon slices). The fish is delicious as is or you can serve with extra lemon slices or a tartar sauce. I often make a sauce using an avocado based vegan mayonnaise and some Chosen Lemon Garlic dressing mixed together.

Easy Spicy Yogurt Chicken (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

I eat a lot of chicken so I’m always looking for new ways to cook it. Here’s one that’s as delicious as it is spicy. Feel free to kick up the heat with some red pepper flakes. Using curry powder in place of the spices would work as well for an easy curried chicken.

You’ll need:

2 pounds boneless chicken (either breasts or thighs)

4 green onions chopped

12 ounces of plain, non-dairy yogurt (I used Oatly but Kite makes a nut based one which would also work)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (you can buy already grated/minced ginger)

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric

1 1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon’s worth)

Spray a 9″x9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Add chicken.

In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chicken and green onions. Pour over the chicken and turn the chicken so all sides are coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces. Top with the green onions. Serves 4.

Fish and Rice Stirfry (Dairy-free, Soy-free, Gluten-free)

I’m always looking for new ways to use fish.  Fish is one of those proteins that I love to eat but don’t often like to cook.  This is a quick recipe that really highlights flavor.  Its well balanced nutritionally, very filling, and can be adjusted to serve the tastes of anyone.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  •  6-8 ounces white fish, diced
  •  1/2 cup diced onion
  •  1/2 cup shredded carrots
  •  1/2 cup cooked peas
  •  1/2 cup diced celery
  •  1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  •  1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 3 tablespoons fresh parsley)
  •  Scallions, cherry tomatoes, etc. for garnish
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
  •  Juice of a half lemon

In a large hot skillet, add the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery.  Saute over medium heat until celery and carrots are softened.  Add the fish and cook thoroughly.  Add the rice, quinoa, peas, and herbs.*  Stir to combine.  Heat through, spritz with the lemon juice and serve with whatever garnishes you like.  This time of year, my first garnish is always tomatoes although this year, without my husband’s garden, I’ve had to find fresh tomatoes in the markets.

*Other additions, depending on your tastes, could be some diced peppers, sweet or hot; some hot sauce or chili oil; Old Bay seasoning or other herbs; and perhaps, since I’m now living in Minnesota instead of New Hampshire where this seems to be like seafood back east, some wild rice instead of the brown rice and/or quinoa.