Crusted Tilapia

I’m always looking for new recipes for fish. This one is very tasty and very easy to make. It reminded me of fried fish but is baked in the oven. That’s because of the high fat content in the mayonnaise. Feel free to use any fish, adjusting the proportions to fit the size of your fish portions. I used tilapia but the original recipe used halibut so it works for pretty much any fish. Simple and quick to make. Serves 4.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl mix:

3/4 cup mayonnaise*

1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

2 tablespoons dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and basil (or 1 teaspoon of each fresh, chopped)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk to combine. In a non-stick baking dish** (again size depends on type of fish you use, mine was a 9×12), arrange:

1 pound of fish filets (with the tilapia, that’s four large pieces)

Spread the mixture equally over each piece of fish, covering the top completely. Bake in preheated oven 20-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish (the tilapia is quite thin and only took 20 minutes). Serve with lemon wedges or tartar sauce.

*If you’re allergic to eggs like me, there are now several brands of vegan mayonnaise available which are delicious and work well in this recipe.

**There’s enough fat in the mayonnaise so greasing the pan isn’t necessary.

Salmon Pasta Salad Revisited

Every July 4th my mother would make what she called simply, salmon salad. It was a mayonnaise based pasta salad with canned salmon, crab and baby shrimp. I made one and put it on this site last year or the year before with a vinaigrette base. So now that I’ve found a vegan mayonnaise I can eat that doesn’t contain eggs or soybean oil, I decided this year to update this salad because it’s one of my very favorites. My mother always served blueberry muffins with it but I figure who needs all those added carbs! so I just serve the salad with the addition of more vegetables than just the onion and celery my mom used. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. By the way, feel free to use a 16 ounce can of salmon, cleaned if you don’t have access to the fresh!

Bring an 8 quart pot of water to the boil, salt the water generously and add:

4 ounces gluten-free shells (you can use elbows or any other shape but my mom always used shells)*

When the pasta is about 2 minutes from being cooked add:

1-2 cups frozen peas (unless you have wonderful fresh peas!)

When the pasta is cooked, drain into a large colander and rinse with cold water until cool. I will often fill the pot I cooked the pasta in with cold water (it takes several times before the pot cools off) and then place the colander in it after I’ve sprayed the heck out of the pasta with cold water. I leave it in there for only about 5 minutes before it’s cool enough to add to the mixing bowl. While the pasta boils (or the water), heat an 8″ skillet over medium high heat with:

1 teaspoon olive oil

Add skin side down:

8 ounce (or so) salmon filet

Cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes on the skin side and then turn. Note, if it doesn’t come right off the skillet, it’s not ready to turn. Cook on the meat side for 2-3 minutes and then flip again to the skin side. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon steak. Remove from heat, uncover and move the salmon to a plate to cool. When cool, flake with a fork and add to the vegetable mixture.

In a large mixing bowl (I actually use a 2 gallon plastic container), combine:

3-5 scallions, sliced on the diagonal

5-6 stalks of celery diced

1 medium, peeled and diced (and I also seed mine) cucumber

8 ounces of crab meat

8 ounces of baby shrimp (if you can eat them, I can’t so I leave them out)

In a smaller bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

NOTE: I had a half bag of snow peas left over from the Moo Goo Guy Pan so I destringed them, cut them in half (or thirds if really long) and added them with the peas to the boil – delicious! Some diced jicama or water chestnuts would also go very nicely in this salad.

Whisk to combine and then pour over the vegetables after adding the pasta, peas, and fish in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and then cool in the refrigerator for about an hour to let all the flavors meld. I like to serve it over some lettuce or as I did now, pea shoots. Serves 4-6.

*Whole Foods makes wonderful organic chickpea shells. Only 37 grams of carbs per serving which is quite good for pasta, along with 21 grams of protein. And note, we only use 2 servings instead of 4 so it cuts down on the total carbs per serving even more.

Raspberry Crumble Bars

Well, after my fall, I’m recovering nicely and can finally stand on my bad leg for more than 10-15 minutes without it starting to throb. So, of course, the first thing I had to do was COOK! I haven’t cooked anything in almost 2 weeks and I was going crazy! I know I put up a recipe for raspberry bars a few months ago but I saw this one and it’s a lot healthier without all the fat or quite as many carbs as the other recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much I do.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then lining with parchment paper (spraying the pan allows the paper to stick and makes pressing the crust layer into the pan much easier, especially since the paper should be one solid piece because we’ll use it to lift the finished product out of the pan to slice).

For the crust, in the bowl of a food processor combine:

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup millet flour (or sorghum flour)

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients before adding:

1/4 cup honey (or agave or coconut nectar)

1/2 cup seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini, almond, etc., would work)

1/4 cup ground seeds or nuts (or hemp hulls) **OPTIONAL

Pulse to combine. If mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water. We want a mixture that sticks to itself, at least a little bit when squeezed together. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl mix:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries*

2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)

2 tablespoons date sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch (or arrowroot)

Stir to combine. Spread over the crust covering it completely and try to make the raspberry filling as even as possible. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the crust mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. It’s very important to cool the bars completely before cutting. I cooled mine on the counter for several hours and then put it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

*While I used raspberries, any fruit can be used for the filling – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. If using fresh fruit, reduce the corn starch (or arrowroot) to 1 teaspoon.

Easy Swordfish Steak

This is a very simple recipe. All you need is a nice piece of swordfish, a skillet, a little olive oil and a couple of lemon slices, oh and don’t forget the salt and pepper!

To serve two:

1-2 swordfish steaks, approximately 3/4 of a pound

In a medium size skillet (depending on if you have 1 or 2 steaks), over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering, add:

1-2 swordfish steaks which are dried and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder

Sauté for about 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks. Want to get a nice sear on the first side before turning. Flip and cook again for 2-3 minutes depending on thickness. Cover with:

3-4 lemon slices per steak

Cover the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes, again it depends on the thickness. Steaks should be solid to the touch but don’t overcook or they will dry out.

Fusilli with Turkey, Swiss Chard, and White Beans

Hope all my followers aren’t getting tired of pasta dishes! Here’s one that’s even more delicious than the last two. I do love Swiss chard, such a great flavor; I do choose rainbow or red chard because I can’t eat green leafy vegetables but feel free to use any chard you find at your market. And the meat and beans can be changed around as well, depending on your family’s taste – chicken, pork loin, even a sausage would work great in this recipe as well as any canned beans.

Start an 8 quart pot of water to boil. When boiling, add:

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 ounces gluten free fusilli (or whatever pasta you have on hand)

Cook the pasta per package instructions, usually between 8-10 minutes for fusilli. When the pasta is el dente, add to the boiling pot:

12 ounces of Swiss chard, washed with the leaves from the rib and broken into pieces (discard the ribs)

Bring back to the boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain the chard and the pasta and return to the pot. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the pasta so it doesn’t stick together. Set aside.

In a 10″ skillet heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

12 ounces cooked and diced turkey (or chicken, pork, or sausage)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

15 ounces cannellini beans with the liquid

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs

Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half. Pour over the pasta and chard along and add:

1/4 to 1/2 cup non-dairy shredded parmesan cheese

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Stir to combine and serve. Have some extra cheese to top each serving. Serves 4-6.

Chicken Saltimbocca

If you like sage, think about your Thanksgiving stuffing, you will LOVE this recipe! I especially enjoyed the fried sage on the top, something I’d never done but oh how delicious! This recipe is fairly easy as long as each individual step is followed and the chopping and slicing is done in advance.

This recipe serves four:

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces prosciutto, sliced

8-10 large sage leaves, plus 3 tablespoons minced (or 3 teaspoons dried sage)

1 pound boneless chicken, breast and/or thighs, sliced (the thinner its sliced the faster it will cook)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 onion, minced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon all purpose gluten-free flour

3 cups chicken stock

8 ounces gluten-free vermicelli or spaghettini

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed (optional)

2 tablespoons butter substitute

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice

First, in a large skillet (or a Dutch oven) with high sides, heat, medium high, 1 tablespoon olive oil until it shimmers. Add the prosciutto pieces as individually as possible because unlike bacon, they will not fully separate as they cook, cook until crisp, about 4-5 minutes, reducing heat slightly if needed. Remove the prosciutto from the skillet and place the sage leaves in the oil and cook them until crisp, about 30-40 seconds. Place prosciutto and sage on a paper towel.

Next, dry the chicken, then sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet, again medium high heat, add the chicken in a single layer and cook, not stirring, until it starts to brown, 1-2 minutes. Then stir it and cook until nearly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes or longer depending on thickness. Remove to a bowl, cover and keep warm.

Add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the onions. Cook over medium heat until translucent and starting to brown. Stir in the garlic and minced sage and cook until just fragrant, about 30-40 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, scrape down the sides of the skillet and stir to smooth out any lumps, simmer until reduced by about half, about 5-6 minutes.

Stir in the remainder of the stock and the pasta. Increase heat to medium high and cook at a slow boil until pasta is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently. The sauce should thicken more during this cooking.

Lastly, add the chicken back in along with the capers (if used), butter substitute, lemon zest and juice, stir to combine and cook for another minute or two until the chicken is heated. Remove from heat and add any additional salt and/or pepper that may be needed. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes and it will absorb any extra sauce into the pasta.

Sprinkle with the prosciutto and fried sage leaves and serve.

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).