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.

Curried Ground Turkey with potatoes and peas

Another way to make curry! And so good but be sure to adjust the curry to meet your family’s tastes. It comes together quite quickly and has very little prep time – just dicing the onion and grating a little ginger.

In a high-sided skillet over medium high heat, heat until shimmering:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil (depending on the fat content of your ground turkey)

When the oil is hot add:

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Heat the spices just until fragrant (10-30 seconds) before adding:

1 pound ground turkey

Cook, breaking up the meat until the turkey is browned and no pink remains. Add:

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Mix to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in:

2 cups diced potatoes (or if like me you prefer them, sweet potatoes)

1 small can mild diced chiles

1/2 cup water

Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add:

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the peas are cooked. Serves 4. Serve with either chopped parsley or, as I like, with wedges of fresh lemon for people to squeeze over their curry.

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

I know, you don’t have to say it! Another chicken recipe. This one can be fairly quick and easy. It’s a chicken stew with mashed potatoes (or in my case, mashed celery root and parsnips) on top with a few French-fried onions on top, baked for an hour (less if the stew is already hot). Again, like many of my recipes, feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand that your family prefers.

Grease or spray a casserole dish large enough to hold the stew and toppings. This will depend on the amount you need for your family, for me, I made a 4-serving size so used a 2-quart casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering hot add:

12 ounces of chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chicken turning after about 2 minutes to brown on the other side(s). When chicken is fully browned, but not necessarily fully cooked, remove from the skillet and add to the skillet:

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 cup carrot slices

1/2 cup green beans

1/2 cup peas

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or parsley, or herb of choice [I really like sage in my chicken dishes]).

Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are transparent, reduce the heat and cover for 5 minutes or until the green beans and carrots are tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan. Whisk into the remaining fat:

2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour or enough to absorb all the fat in the pan

Cook the flour for several minutes and then add:

3/4 cup chicken stock

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

Whisk to combine with the flour and get out the lumps and then stir frequently until gravy comes to a bowl and thickens. If it’s too thick, add a little more stock or milk. If it’s too thin, make a slurry of another tablespoon of flour and a little milk and add to the gravy.

Mix in the chicken and vegetables. Top the casserole with:

2 cups mashed potato (or 2 cups celery root puree (see recipe under side dishes)

Sprinkle the top with French-fried onions or paprika. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 30-60 minutes depending on if you bake it immediately or put it together to bake later as I did.

Easy Farmhouse Chicken Casserole

I know, again with the chicken! But there are just so many delicious ways to cook chicken and here’s another one. Easy and quick to make with pre-cooked chicken, this casserole covers all the bases with protein, starch and vegetables all in one mouth-watering package. So if you have some chicken (thighs, drums, breasts whatever) or leftover rotisserie chicken, this is a great way to use it up that your family will enjoy.

Make sure your oven rack is in the upper half of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole (or spray with non-stick spray). Over medium high heat, heat a medium sized Dutch oven and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 slices of bacon, diced

Cook bacon until it’s crisp. If you don’t want to eat the bacon fat, drain it before adding:

1 tablespoon olive oil (3 tablespoons if you drained the bacon fat off)

1 medium onion, diced

3-4 celery stalks, diced

1 cup thinly sliced carrots (or shredded)

1 cup frozen peas

Reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are softened. Stir into the vegetables:

1/4 cup gluten-free, all-purpose flour (I had to use 1/3 cup to absorb all the oil)

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup non-dairy milk (anything EXCEPT soy)*

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Stir, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all those wonderful drippings from the bacon. Cook, stirring frequently until sauce is thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Add:

3 cups diced or shredded chicken

3 cups diced and cooked potatoes (I used a mix of sweet and Russet potatoes)

Turn off heat. Pour (or ladle like I had to) the chicken mixture into the prepared casserole dish. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

2 tablespoons avocado oil

Using a fork, mix thoroughly so that the bread crumbs are combined with the oil. Add:

1 cup gluten-free French-fried onions (or forget the bread crumbs and just use onions, oh so tasty!)

Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the casserole and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Serves 6-8 generously.

*The original recipe called for cream. Silk now makes a non-dairy cream which you could use in place of the non-dairy milk for a richer sauce. The Silk cream is coconut based.

Mushroom Stuffed Potato Cakes

Delicious side dishes that the entire family will enjoy are hard to come by, especially if one believes the television commercials! Here’s one that takes a little time but is worth the effort. And it’s quite easy to adjust to a particular taste – the dill can be replaced by one of a dozen herbs or spices. Potatoes are the type of food that can be enjoyed with a multitude of preparations. I made the mushroom stuffing several days in advance, prepared the mashed potatoes for the cakes a day ahead so it cooled overnight (no one wants to try to form hot potatoes into disks!), and then assembled them on the third day. They take very little time to assemble and fry so plan accordingly. About 15 minutes before my protein was ready, I started and had them fried and salted just as the ribs were coming out of the oven.

First prepare the mushrooms. In a 12″ skillet heat over medium high:

1 tablespoon olive oil

then add:

1 small onion minced (the food processor does this very quickly and easily)

8 ounces chopped mushrooms (again, a mince is best although not required)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

When the mushrooms and onion are soft and slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes, remove from heat and add:

1 large stem dill, chopped (fronds only)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes (or a dash of hot sauce) [Optional]

Set aside to cool. Peel and dice:

2-2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes

Cover with cold water and boil until soft. Depending on the size of the dice, this could take 10-30 minutes. Once cooked, drain the water and mash the potatoes, being sure to remove all lumps. DO NOT ADD ANY LIQUID TO THE MASH POTATOES.

In a large soup dish or pie plate (or paper plate), mix together the dredge:

1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1 tablespoon tapioca flour

Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

To assemble the potato cakes, in the palm of a hand, scoop:

1/4-1/2 cup mashed potatoes (depending on the size cake desired)

Flatten until about 1/4″ thick and then make an indenture in the middle. Add about:

1-2 tablespoons mushroom mixture

Cover with about 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup scoop of mashed potatoes, spread to cover the stuffing and then lightly seal the edges of the disk to form a cake. Roll in the dredge mixture and set aside. The mixture should make 6-8 medium sized cakes.

Heat in a large skillet over medium high heat:

1/2 cup olive and avocado oil (the avocado oil has a much higher smoke point than the olive so a combination works best)

When shimmering hot, add the cakes to the oil and lower heat to medium. Fry on each side until well browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel and salt to taste. After a minute remove from the paper towel so that the cakes don’t get soggy. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped dill or scallions.

TIP: When I next make these, hopefully when my grandson comes to visit, I’ll add some crispy bacon bits to the mushroom mixture!

TIP 2: I think I’ll also try this recipe with sweet potatoes but it will need different handling since they are quite moister than russet potatoes. Flour will need to be added to the sweet potatoes before shaping. I’ll give it a try and let you know how it works out.

Turkey Hash

Hash is a favorite of mine. It’s so tasty and so versatile. Any meat, any vegetables can be used in hash. It’s not just corned beef hash anymore! After I made the roasted turkey breast the other day, I had over half the breast left (since there’s only one of me and the recipe served 4). I’d already cooked plenty of sweet potatoes (but there’s nothing wrong with cooking more!) and had some rainbow carrots in the freezer. Hash is so easy to make, hope you’ll give it a try.

I served this with the leftover turkey pear gravy! Oh so delicious

In a large skillet (12″), heat over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 medium onion diced

3-5 celery stalks, diced

When the onion is becoming translucent, add:

2 cups diced cooked sweet potato (or white if you prefer)

1 cup cooked rainbow carrots, sliced or diced

2 not quite ripe pears, peeled and diced

1-2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix to combine and continue cooking until sweet potatoes start to brown. Stir in:

2-3 cups cooked turkey, diced

Lower heat to medium low and cover. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes until turkey is hot. Remove lid, stir. At this point, if eggs are allowed in your diet, crack 4 eggs on top of the hash, cover and cook until eggs are ready. Serves 4.

“Irish” Potatoes

I hit 200 recipes on the site the other day! This is a recipe I learned from a dear departed friend of mine. She called it Irish potatoes. Easy side dish to prepare and very delicious. My grandson would rather have this with a meal than practically anything else. He especially likes to have the leftovers for breakfast the next day with eggs (and bacon if his mother will let him!).

For 4 people, I use:

2 medium to large sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced*

2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (I had some purple on hand but any sweet potato will work)

1 medium onion, diced

1-2 sweet peppers, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the diced potatoes in a pot of cold water, just covering the potatoes, and cook until a fork will pierce but not split the pieces. If the potatoes cook to fully done, they will be mushy when you fry them.

In a skillet large enough to have a single layer of potatoes (about 12″) heat over medium heat:

1/4 cup of olive oil (or other if preferred)

Add:

Diced onion

Diced pepper (I used the yellow and orange because I can’t digest the green)

Cook until the onions and peppers are softened. Add the potatoes and garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes before turning and repeating. A crispy outside and soft inside is what we want here but hard to achieve if you flip the potatoes too often or too soon. Also difficult if there’s not enough oil in the pan. Might have to reduce the heat if the sweet potatoes start to brown too quickly (they will burn easier than the russet chunks). The dish is ready when a majority of the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Feel free to garnish with chopped parsley.

*Try to make the dices roughly the same size so that they will all cook at the same speed. Having large and smaller pieces will give you mushy fried potatoes since the smaller ones will cook so much faster.

Vegetable Fritters

It’s not often that you’ll find me giving you recipes that require frying. Too much oil is as bad for a diabetic as too many carbohydrates or sugar. But I just couldn’t resist this recipe when I found it. And once I cooked them up, oh my, I did eat too much for lunch today! I did fry them but I think if I cook these again, I’ll probably oven fry them with a lot less oil (see tip at the bottom of the recipe).

You’ll need:

1 1/2 cups grated Russet potato (1 medium large potato) – soak the grated potato in cold water for 5-10 minutes to get out as much starch as possible since the starch is not a friend to fried foods, the cakes will brown better with less starch. Drain and dry with paper towels to get out as much of the moisture as possible*

1 cup grated sweet potato (about 1 medium)

1 cup grated carrots (about 1-2 medium) – I used the pre-grated from the store

1 cup grated red onion (onion has a lot of moisture so be sure to dry thoroughly with paper towels before adding)

If you have a food processor, this is the time to break it out and use it! It’s the easiest way to grate the potatoes, carrot and onion. In a large bowl, mix the above. Then add:

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup chickpea flour (DO NOT USE ALL PURPOSE GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR; many have potato starch in them and we just tried to remove the starch from the potato!)

1/4 cup aquafaba

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (depending on how dry your mixture is)

Mix together until combined. If the mixture is too dry and won’t hold together, add the non-dairy milk. If the mixture is too wet and won’t hold together, add the tablespoons of flour until the mixture will bind together. Using a 1/4-1/3 cup measure, form into balls.

Heat over medium high heat in a 10-12″ skillet:

1/2-3/4 cups oil for frying (the oil should come up the side of the pan about a 1/2 inch)

When the oil is glistening, take a ball, flatten it and gently place it in the oil starting with the side nearest you. Being sure to not crowd the skillet, add additional flattened balls. Cook on the first side about 4-6 minutes until golden brown, turn and cook the same on the other side. If the fritters are browning too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Then flip the fritter again and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the first side. The cooking time will depend on how thick the fritters are; the thinner the less time they need to cook. Remove to a paper towel and salt immediately. Do not leave the fritters on the towel too long or they will get soggy. They can be placed on a cooling rack (on a cookie sheet) in a 200 degree oven to stay warm while the rest of the fritters cook.

  • * If like me, you don’t eat much potato, other than sweet potato, grated parsnip could be used instead

TIP: To oven fry, place the flattened balls on a greased (spray with non-stick spray) cookie sheet (with sides). Lightly spray the tops of the fritters with the non-stick spray) and bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Turn over half-way through the bake.

Easy Oven Fries (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

Who doesn’t like French fries? Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, with or without ketchup, delicious. But all that fat! Here’s an alternative that doesn’t even need any ketchup because they are seasoned with garlic and paprika. Turn half-way through the bake so that they will get crispy on two sides.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. For 2 servings you’ll need:

3 medium russet or sweet potatoes (organic if possible)

1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Herbamare*

ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into wedges remembering that the smaller the slices, the faster the cook. Be sure to remove any bruises or eyes from the potatoes. Place in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle with the seasonings and mix then add the oil and make sure all the wedges or slices are well covered with the oil. Arrange in a single layer on a medium to large cookie sheet (with sides!) and bake until tender and golden brown, 25-40 minutes depending on size of your cuts.

*Herbamare is a seasoned salt where fresh herbs are left to marinate in salt for several months. Quite flavorful.

Cinnamon Swirl Sticky Buns (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

I love cinnamon rolls! In fact, I won the winter carnival for my junior class in high school with my sticky buns. Back then I didn’t worry about gluten or dairy, didn’t have any allergies then. My son recently asked me, after the cinnamon swirl bread, if I could make some rolls instead. Here’s what I came up with. The recipe makes a 12-15 rolls.

This a a very tender, soft dough and doesn’t rise as much as traditional yeasted dough.

In a large bowl mix:

1/2 cup warm water (around 100 degrees; my Nana always told me the key to yeast was to make sure the water didn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just wet, then it’s the perfect temperature, like a baby’s bottle should be)

1 teaspoon date sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Stir to dissolve the yeast and then let sit for 5-10 minutes until it bubbles. Throw it out and try again if it doesn’t bubble or foam, that means its not working.

Warm over a very low heat in a small sauce pan:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons oil

Be sure not to get this liquid hotter than the water was for the yeast or it will kill the yeast mixture when you pour it into the bowl. When the honey is melted, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and add:

1 cup whipped potatoes (don’t want any lumps in the dough!)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt (be sure the salt goes in last so it doesn’t affect the yeast)

Mix thoroughly. Add more brown rice flour if the mixture is too wet. You want a dough that you can handle and roll out. Grease a bowl and add the dough, put in a warm place, covered with wax paper or a clean small towel and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

For the filling you need:

1/4 cup avocado oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine

1/4-1/3 cup date sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste, I was rather generous with mine and probably used more like 2 tablespoons)

Prepare a 9×12 baking dish by greasing. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface where you can roll it out to approximately a 24×30″ rectangle. You may need to add some flour to the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Once rolled out, rub the dough with 1/4 cup of avocado or coconut oil (or a vegan margarine), sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup date sugar and several teaspoons of cinnamon. Beginning on the longer end, slowly roll the dough (you may need to loosen the dough from the counter with a butter knife if stuck). Tuck the ends into the roll and make sure the last side is securely attached to the rest of the roll. Cut into 1″ slices and place in the prepared baking dish. You don’t have to leave much space between the rolls because they won’t rise much at this stage. Cover with a clean towel or waxed paper and put in a warm place to rise again. (I turned my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting it would go) and turned it off after 5 minutes of warming so that it was approximately 100 degrees and used that to let the dough rise. Worked well.) This should only take about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the Honey-Bee Glaze like we used on the Cinnamon Swirl Bread (1/2 cup date sugar, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2-1 cup hemp hulls, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds – if too thick to pour, add a little more milk) and pour it over the rolls before baking them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a middle roll comes out clean.