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.

Asian Pear Coleslaw

I love coleslaw, probably even more than potato or pasta salad. It’s often my go to vegetable if I have everything on-hand. But when my stomach started have a bad reaction to leafy green vegetables, I found it more difficult. At the store the other day, they had some small red cabbages. Red ones I can eat so I bought one, about 3-4 inches in diameter, just enough for a couple of servings of coleslaw. It’s also Asian pear season so I’ve been buying them as well and wondering what to do with them since I always seem to buy more than I can eat just as fruit, especially since the ones I find at the market are extra-large in size. So, of course, this recipe seemed ideal. Feel free to use any cabbage you like be it green, Chinese or red or any combination thereof. I’m rather lazy when it comes to chopping these days with my two rotator cuff tears so I chopped everything in the food processor. Feel free to do the chopping whatever way you like.

In the bowl of a food processor, add:

1 small cabbage, cut into chunks after removing the tough core

4-5 trimmed scallions

1 small or 1/2 of 1 large Asian pear (or slice into thin slices for more crunch)

2 stalks celery, cut into chunks

Pulse until chopped to your liking. Remove the chopped vegetables to a medium bowl. Set aside. In a blender combine:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 teaspoons roasted pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)

Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon mustard (whatever type your family likes)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (a dash or pinch)

2 teaspoons maple or date syrup

Blend until most of the seeds are ground and the olive oil is emulsified, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes depending on your blender. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and combine. Makes 4 servings. To serve garnish with:

1/4 – 1/3 cup roasted seeds

Non-dairy cheese (optional)

Creamed Salmon with Pasta Casserole

It’s one of those day when the snow is falling and I don’t want to go anywhere. Unfortunately, I neglected to get anything out to cook so what do I do now? Well, I had a can of salmon in the pantry so I pulled it out and mixed up this casserole. I added peas but asparagus or any other vegetable you like would also work.

Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large (4-6 quart) pot with water and bring it to a boil to cook the pasta. In a separate 1-2 quart pot, heat over medium high:

1/2 cup oil or melted margarine

Whisk in:

1/2 cup (more or less) all-purpose, gluten-free flour (I find I use several tablespoons more flour than fat)

Cook the roue for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour before whisking in:

1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (anything EXCEPT soy)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon brown mustard

Reduce heat to medium. If the water is boiling add:

2-3 servings dry pasta (I used the Thai Brown Rice noodles)

1/2 to 1 cup peas

Cook according to package directions. Continue whisking the sauce until it thickens, more milk may be necessary to get the right consistency (thick enough to stick to the pasta but not gloppy!), reduce heat to simmer and add:

16 ounces of salmon (freshly cooked or canned, skin removed)

When cooked and drained, stir in the pasta and peas. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling and slightly browned on the top.

Seafood Capellini with Lemon Sauce

Bought some beautiful scallops the other day and wondered what I could do with them. I also had a jar of crabmeat in the refrigerator and since I’ve been carving some seafood pasta, I decided to try something a little different. Generally, one can’t mix lemon juice with dairy since it curdles the milk. However, we don’t use dairy milk but plant-based milks so that doesn’t apply here. Basically, I made a white sauce with oat milk, grated in the rind of one lemon and stirred in the lemon juice, added the seafood and voila! Feel free to use whatever pasta and seafood your family enjoys.

First, put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook pasta according to box instructions. Also in a small pot, boil (or steam):

1 cup frozen green peas

Next, in a medium saute pan, heat over medium high:

1/4 cup olive oil

When the oil is very hot add:

8-10 sea scallops (dried thoroughly)

Reduce heat to medium and saute on each side for approximately 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of the scallops. Remove from the heat, reduce heat to medium low and stir in:

1/4 to 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

Stir to combine the two, the flour should absorb all the oil. Stir while it cooks for 1-2 minutes. Add:

Grated rind of one lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (NOT soy)

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk to combine and continue whisking over low medium heat until the mixture thickens. Stir in the seared scallops and whatever other seafood your family likes. Add cooked pasta and strained peas. Serve immediately.

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.

Lemon Sauce for desserts

Another easy quick sauce.

In a small saucepan combine:

1/2 cup date sugar (agave nectar, honey, or use 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder)

2 tablespoons arrowroot

3/4 cup water

zest and juice (1/4 cup) of 1 lemon

Whisk over medium high heat until thickens, about 3-5 minutes. If a richer taste is desired, when thickened, whisk in:

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or vegan butter or margarine)

Serve warm.

Plum Pie with Oatmeal Crust

I’m always looking for ways to make desserts that don’t contain lot of sugar and/or simple carbs. So when I found a recipe for an oatmeal pie crust, the thought hit me that this would be an interesting concept to investigate. Having more plums on hand than I could eat that were ripening rapidly, I thought it would be a tasty combination and indeed it turned out to be just that. If you’d like to make a crumb crust for the top as well, increase the crust recipe by 50%.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup rolled gluten-free oats

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (just brown rice, sorghum, oat, etc., would also work)

1/3 cup date sugar*

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

Stir until it forms a crumbly texture. Press firmly in the bottom of a 9″ pie plate. Cover with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until crust is browned. Let cool while the plums are prepared.

In a medium bowl combine:

3-4 cups (depending on how full you like your pie) diced plums (skins on is fine as long as they’re organic)

1/4 cup date sugar*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

zest of 1 small lemon and juice from 1/2 the lemon

Stir to combine ingredients before spooning into the pie crust. If desired, cover with more crust mixture before baking for 45-60 minutes (depending on how full the pie is). Cool completely before cutting. Serve with a non-dairy whipped topping or, vanilla or lemon sauce (see recipes under sauces).

*To lower the glycemic index value of the dessert even more, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of monk fruit powder in the plums and 1/3 teaspoon in the crust. If you choose this alternative, start with 1/4 cup of oil and add by tablespoons until the mixture is a crumbly consistency.

Cucumber Boats

It’s getting very hot here in Minnesota, will hit the mid-90s this coming week. I wanted an easy, lighter meal and had seen cucumber boats on-line stuffed with tuna salad. These work best with regular cucumbers but I generally buy either the English or the mini cukes so that’s what I used. If you also use the mini cucumbers, pulse the salad in the food processor for a few seconds to grind it up. It fits in the smaller boats much better that way. Any kind of salad will do – I made some curried chicken salad but tuna would also work.

First thing, prepare the salad:

1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from the bones and pulsed in the food processor for a few seconds

4 stalks celery, chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or walnuts if not allergic)

Mix the dressing in a separate bowl:

1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup vegan mayonnaise (if not allergic to eggs, feel free to use any mayonnaise)

2 teaspoons mustard

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon garlic granules

1/4 cup dill pickle relish (optional)

Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and stir to incorporate. Salad is ready. Next, peel and cut lengthwise:

12 mini cucumbers (probably 2 regular sized cucumbers)

Using a small spoon, remove the seeds to create the “boats”. Fill with the salad and serve. May be garnished with sliced scallions, chopped chives or chopped parsley.

Vegan Carrot Spice Cake

I’m updating this recipe. Just spoke with my son and daughter-in-law who said it was good but it wasn’t sweet enough! I admit, I don’t like my desserts as sweet as most people so I’ll adjust the recipe so that those of you who want a sweeter cake can still use this recipe.

I love carrot cake but I love my carrot cake to be more like a spice cake with some carrots in it. So unlike most carrot cakes, I add more spices. If you don’t, feel free to stop with the cinnamon. I was easily able to divide this cake into two bowls and mix some ground walnuts into one bowl (for my son and his family) and some chopped dates and pumpkin seeds into the other for me. This cake only takes one bowl and is fairly easy to mix even for me with 2 rotator cuff tears.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 8″ baking pans (I used one square and one round so that I knew which was which!). In a medium-large bowl, combine:

3 tablespoons ground flax

7 tablespoons warm water (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)

Whisk to combine and then let sit for 5 minutes or so to form flax gel. When ready add to it:

1/3 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Whisk or stir to combine and then add:

1 scant cup unsweetened fruit sauce (apple, pear, peach, oh pineapple would be good) [I actually only had 7/8 of a cup and it worked fine]

1/2 to 1 cup date sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir or whisk to combine. Add:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Stir or whisk to combine (by now the whisk will be having a difficult time so use a hand mixer if necessary). Add:

1 cup grated carrots

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

1 cup oat flour

Stir to combine adding another 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk if necessary. Stir in:

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, feel free to mix it up using chopped pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or dates, chopped raisins, cranberries, or dried pineapple also work (Optional)

Spoon the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I would actually bake it about 5 minutes more after the toothpick comes out clean). Don’t worry if it’s slightly overbaked since gluten-free baked goods take longer to cook than regular ones, it still comes out fine.

Remove from oven and let cool, on a cooling rack, for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting or serving. For faster cooling, place in the refrigerator for about a half hour. Serves 8-12.

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

1 large or 2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil (coconut would also work)

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc. (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).