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.

String Beans with Garlic Sauce

I used to love vegetables with garlic sauce. I’d order them, especially eggplant or green beans, whenever I went to an Asian restaurant. A friend recently saw a TikTok video showing how to make them and forwarded it to me. Of course, I had to change a few things to make it suitable to those of us with allergies but it’s a very simple, easy, quick recipe. Enjoy!

First, wash and cut the ends (both) off:

1 pound string beans, green, yellow, purple, doesn’t matter

Next, cut them in half and set aside. In a 12″ high sided skillet, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is shimmering, add:

1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced garlic OR 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Reduce heat to medium and saute until just starting to brown. Add the string beans along with:

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

1/4 cup stock (vegetable, chicken, doesn’t matter unless you want to keep it vegan)

1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cover and simmer over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until the string beans begin to get tender. If you like your string beans a little crunchy, cook them a little less and if you like them soft, cook them a little more. Remove the cover and put the heat back up to medium high, stirring the beans constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed and reduced by at least half. It will thicken considerable as it reduces. Serves 4.

Italian Millet

Millet is my newest favorite grain. It’s so simple to cook and it takes on other flavors so easily just as rice does. But unlike most rice dishes, millet is lower in simple carbs and higher in complex carbs so a great alternative to those watching their blood sugar levels. Here’s a really easy recipe that incorporates some of the great Italian flavors we all enjoy – sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, onion and garlic. This is definitely NOT a low-fat side dish! I used vegetable stock rather than a meat stock because most vegetable stocks have a nice mushroom flavor which adds umami to the dish. Be sure to use sun-dried tomatoes in oil because some of that oil will be used in cooking the dish.

First, cook per package directions (except using stock instead of water):

1/2 cup millet

in 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Generally, this means toasting the whole millet in a little oil and then adding it to the boiling stock, covering and cooking on low heat for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is soft. I like to take it off the heat at this point, leave the cover for a few minutes and then fluff the millet with a fork.

In the same skillet, heat until shimmering:

2 tablespoon olive oil (from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes)

Add and cook until tender, over medium heat:

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup shredded carrots* (optional)

When the onion is translucent, add:

1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1 teaspoon cumin (or turmeric)

2 teaspoons Italian herb mix (or dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, and basil)

Mix thoroughly so that the onion mixture is covered with the herbs. Continue cooking until the tomatoes and garlic are heated through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cooked millet. If the millet is cold, continue to cook over medium low heat for 3-4 minutes to reheat the millet. Serves 4.

*I like a lot of vegetables in my grains so I added a cup of shredded carrots with the onions.

Turkey with Pea Pods

My father managed a dairy farm so beef was a staple in our family. My mother used to make beef and pea pods, always one of everyone’s favorites. Here’s my version using turkey tenderloin rather than beef. Serves 2-3.

Into a gallon food storage bag, add:

2-3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Shake (close first) to combine and then add:

6-8 ounces turkey tenderloin, cut into slices (about 1/8″ thick)

Seal and shake to coat the turkey with the arrowroot mixture. Put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but up to overnight. When ready to start cooking, heat a 12″ skillet over medium heat with:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add and saute until slightly softened:

1 medium onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

1 large or 10 baby carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal

5 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal

6-8 ounce bag of pea pods, remove the strings and then cut into several pieces on the diagonal

1 medium sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

In a 2 cup bowl, combine:

1 cup soy sauce substitute (if you can have soy, feel free to use soy sauce but reduce to 1/2 cup and increase the stock to 3/4 cup)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 cup chicken (or turkey) stock

1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot (or tapioca starch)

1 teaspoon siracha (optional)

Whisk to combine. In a separate skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

When shimmering, add the turkey and saute, turning once, until cooked about 2 minutes per side depending on thickness. I had to do this in 2 batches since the turkey shouldn’t be crowded in the pan (we don’t want it to steam!). Add to the vegetables. When all the turkey is combined with the vegetables, stir in the sauce mixture and cook for about 1 minute until thickened and coating all the vegetable mixture. If needed, add more chicken stock by tablespoon. Serve, garnished with sesame seeds and/or sliced scallion greens.

Easy Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey is easy to overcook producing a dry, not very appetizing meat. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, I would suggest you invest in one. It makes cooking meats, especially poultry, much easier.

Turkey can also be rather bland so it needs help to bring out the flavor. This recipe combines a number of herbs to do just that. If you have time, rub the turkey breast, under the skin as well as on the skin, with the herb rub and then refrigerate for several hours.

Watch the turkey breast carefully while baking and take the internal temperature often after about 50 minutes so that it doesn’t get above 160 on the meat thermometer. This is meant for 2 people but the breast can serve up to 4, just increase the vegetables. As with many of my recipes, feel free to change out the herbs to suit your family’s taste as well as the vegetables – any root vegetables will work in this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking dish a little larger than the turkey breast and spray with non-stick cooking spray or coat with a non-dairy margarine. In a medium bowl combine:

1 large onion, sliced

5-6 celery stalks (I used celery hearts so if you have whole celery, reduce this number), cut into large pieces

12-15 baby rainbow carrots, exclude the orange ones

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes*

2 tablespoons olive oil

If some of the baby carrots are on the larger size, cut them in quarters so all the vegetables will cook evenly. Mix the vegetables together to coat them with oil. In a small dish combine:

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic granules

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 teaspoon dried sage

Mix the herbs together to combine. Add about 1/4 of the herb mixture to the vegetables and mix once again. Pour the vegetables into the prepared baking dish. Using paper towels, dry thoroughly:

2 1/2 to 3 pound turkey breast (this is a half breast)

Pull up the turkey skin and sprinkle the flesh with the herb mixture, reserving some for the other side. Rub into the flesh and then fold back the skin onto the meat and sprinkle a little more herb on the skin. Place the breast on top of the vegetables skin side down and sprinkle the remaining herb mixture on the bottom of the breast, rubbing it in. Flip the turkey breast so that the skin side is up. Roast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes per pound or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.** Remove from the oven and place the turkey on a serving platter, loosely cover with foil and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Spoon the roasted vegetables into a serving bowl.*** When the breast is rested, cut and serve. If desired, pan gravy can be made with the fat in the pan by adding gluten-free, all-purpose flour until all the oil is absorbed (probably about 2 tablespoons) and then cook the flour for several minutes over medium heat before adding approximately 1 cup of chicken (or turkey) stock for each tablespoon of flour used. Or, for fat free gravy, heat 1 1/2 cups of chicken (or turkey) stock over medium high heat. Whisk 2 tablespoons of gluten-free all-purpose flour into another 1/2 cup of cold chicken stock and whisk into the stock on the stove. Whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.

*If your family doesn’t like sweet potatoes, simply add the orange carrots and perhaps some cubes of red-skin or Yukon gold potatoes.

**FYI, my turkey breast was 2.8 pounds and I cooked it for 1 hour and 20 minutes before it reached 160 degrees. Remember it will continue to cook when removed from the oven and covered with foil.

***The carrots weren’t cooked when I removed the turkey so I increased the oven temperature to 425 degrees and cooked the vegetables for about 20 minutes more. This not only cooked the carrots but it also browned the sweet potatoes making them a little crunchy.

Salisbury “Steak”

Salisbury steak is basically a hamburger with mushroom gravy. Since I don’t eat beef, I had to change it to ground turkey but since I also wanted to make one last meatloaf before it got too hot, I used a meatloaf mixture to make the “steaks”. If you only need a couple of servings of Salisbury steak, use 1/4 or half the mixture for this dish and bake the remainder in the oven as a meatloaf. Feel free to use whatever ground meat you like, or even pieces of tofu would work. I basically used the recipe I published several weeks ago for turkey burgers with zucchini because they stayed so moist and were so delicious.

In the food processor combine:

1 large onion, cut into quarters

1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into chunks

1/2 cup carrots

Pulse until shredded. In a large bowl combine the vegetable mixture with:

1 pound ground turkey

1 pound ground pork OR

1 pound mild/sweet Italian sausage (pork or turkey)

Add to the mixture:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (smoked or sweet)

3 teaspoons ground coriander

3 teaspoons garlic powder or granules

3 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 cup non-dairy Parmesan cheese (Optional)

Mix to combine (I used my hands, much easier than a spoon!). Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out the mixture and form each 1/2 cup into a burger shape (should make 10-12). In a 12″ skillet heat over medium high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add the burgers and saute them until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness, firm to the touch when cooked). Probably have at least 2 batches, perhaps 3 depending on the size. As they are cooked, remove to a plate. Add to the pan:

12 ounces of sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. When the mushrooms are cooked add:

2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

Stir or whisk in so the flour absorbs all the oil. Cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes and then add:

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or bone broth)

1/2 cup dairy-free milk (anything but soy), unsweetened

Salt and pepper to taste

If you are cooking all the mixture as Salisbury steak, you may need to increase the oil, flour, and liquid to make additional gravy. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the patties back into the sauce to reheat before serving. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or pasta.

I know, more brown food! Just can’t seem to stay away from it. But it really was so delicious!

Honey Ginger Sesame Noodles

This umami filled dish of noodles takes some preparation in slicing the vegetables but otherwise is very easy to put together. The seeds or nuts add a little protein so if additional protein is desired, some fried tofu, chicken, beef, or pork can be added. And the vegetables can be changed to fit your family’s likes and what you have on-hand. Mushrooms, bell pepper, bean sprouts all would work well.

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking pan with parchment and sprinkle with:

1/2 cup raw seeds such as pepitas or sunflower, or nuts if you can have them (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)

Bake for 5 minutes and then toss with:

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 tablespoon soy sauce substitute

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Following package directions, cook:

6-8 ounces rice noodles

When cooked, drain, rinse and set aside. In a 12″ skillet with high sides, over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

When the oils are hot, add:

1/2 large (or medium) onion, thinly sliced

3-4 stalks celery, sliced on an angle

3/4 cup chopped or shredded carrots

2-3 baby bok choy, sliced, including greens

Stir to combine and cook approximately 5 minutes until tender but not mushy. Add:

1-2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 small can diced or sliced water chestnuts

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Cook an additional minute or two. In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup soy sauce substitute

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon tahini (or seed butter like sunflower or pumpkin)

1 tablespoon molasses

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk to incorporate ingredients and then add to pan of vegetables. Let the vegetables simmer with the sauce for several minutes, 2-3 before tossing in the noodles and, if more heat is desired, add:

1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Separate into four serving dishes and top with the seed mixture and:

2 scallions, greens only, sliced

Top with sliced, sauteed meat if desired and enjoy!

Easy Seafood Stew (or Bisque)

I enjoy many types of seafood – from various white fish to multiple shellfish. I happened to have a small piece of swordfish, not enough for a meal, as well as some canned clams and bay scallops on hand, bought a small fresh jar of lump crabmeat and made a seafood stew. Leave out the vegetables and it’ll be a bisque instead. Fairly easy to make and doesn’t take very long either. Feel free to vary the fish ingredients to your family’s taste. I wanted to use a lobster tail but couldn’t find one here in Minnesota. Delicious!

In a medium (4 quart) saucepan, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When it’s shimmering add:

1/2 medium onion, diced

4-5 celery stalks, diced

2 cups kale, cleaned, stalks removed and leaves chopped*

Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes or until kale is softened. Remove to a bowl. Add to the saucepan, increasing heat to medium high:

1/2 pound bay scallops

1/2 pound white meat fish (I used swordfish but any white fish – cod, halibut, etc. works), cut into small chunks, about the size of the scallops

1/4 pound small shrimp (optional for those who can eat shrimp)

Stir and saute for 3-4 minutes until fish is cooked and then add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (optional)

Stir to combine and let simmer for a minute before whisking in:

2 cups non-dairy milk (anything except soy which won’t thicken)

Continue to whisk until milk heats and mixture thickens. Add:

1 small can minced clams (including the liquid)

4 ounces of fresh crabmeat (I checked out the canned, much less expensive but it also included loads of salt as well as sugar)

the cooked vegetables

1 small to medium potato, diced and cooked (whatever potato your family likes)

Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for several minutes to allow the fish and vegetables to heat through. If desired, garnish with chopped green onions or chives. Serves 4.

*If you don’t like kale, adding some frozen peas would be just as delicious.

To make the stew into a bisque, simply delete the vegetables.

Chicken and Rice with Caramelized Onions and Cranberries

This recipe is quite involved and takes some time but it’s not a difficult dish to make. And to be sure, every minute spent on this is well worth the effort! The herbs and spices used amp up the flavor profile and adding some freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice at the end takes it over the edge! Rather than adding the lemon juice at the end, some sliced lemons on the side would also work.

First, peel, cut in half and then thinly slice:

2-3 medium-sized sweet onions

If you don’t have sweet onions, add 1 teaspoon date sugar when you cook them. Let them sit while heating a medium-sized Dutch oven over medium heat with:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When the oil is shimmering add:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

that are seasoned with:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

If using skin-on, bone-in thighs, cook skin side down. Loosely arrange chicken in pan (may take more than one batch). Brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove to a plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons oil from the pan before adding the onion slices. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until well caramelized (browned). If not using sweet onions, here’s where to add the:

1 teaspoon date sugar

It can take 25-30 minutes to caramelize the onions because they need to cook slowly so that they don’t burn, we want them browned – caramelized, not burned. Once the onions are ready, add to the pot:

4 garlic cloves, minced (about 4 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (or cardamom, nutmeg, or allspice)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

Sauté for about 30 seconds until the herbs and spices are fragrant before adding:

6 ounces sliced mushrooms (Optional, peas would also work)

2 cups chicken stock or bone broth

the browned chicken pieces and any juices on the plate

If using skin-on thighs, be sure the browned side is up. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add to the pot:

1 1/2 cups uncooked rice*

1/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries but raisins or dried cherries would also work)

Stir in the rice and fruit, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for another 30 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked. Most of the liquid should be gone from the pot so be careful not to burn the dish. Remove the chicken from the pot, moving the pot off the heat and re-cover so that it stays hot. Remove skin if using skin-on chicken and let sit for 8-10 minutes before slicing the meat (and removing the bones if using bone-in chicken). Add the chicken back into the pot along with:

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon juice

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley (Optional)

Stir to combine. Reheat until the chicken is heated through and serve. Serves 4-6.

*I used pre-cooked brown rice in my dish so I cooked the chicken 30 minutes before adding the frozen rice and then cooked it only an additional 10 minutes.

Since I don’t care for cilantro and don’t think much of parsley either, I sprinkled some green onions on top of my dish.

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.