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.

Squash Parmesan, Lasagna Style

This dish is a lot like lasagna but with parmesan cheese between the layers instead of ricotta. I know it’s a little early for summer squashes but they are so tasty and now available year-round so I wanted to make something different, something fairly quick and easy which this dish definitely turned out to be. And so delicious with my favorite pasta sauce and parmesan. The only hard part of the dish is slicing the squash!

First, preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two LARGE baking sheets with parchment paper. Next, trim and slice lengthwise in about 1/4″ slices:

4-5 medium zucchini

4-5 medium yellow squash

About 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of squash. Place in a 9×12-13″ baking pan, and sprinkle with:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Using your hands or tongs, mix to coat the squash slices with the oil. Lay the slices of squash out on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the slices with:

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until they are tender. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In the 9×12″ baking pan (the same one you already used, it’s okay if there’s olive oil in the bottom), spread:

1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

Line the pan with squash slices. Top with more pasta sauce and:

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Repeat once or twice depending on how many squash slices are left. I only had a few so filled some gaps and only had two layers. If possible, end with sauce and cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cheese in browning and the casserole is bubbling. Let sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving so it sets. Serves 6.

TIP: Want a main dish instead of a side? Add 1-pound cooked ground meat, Italian sausage, or vegan protein to the pasta sauce.

As you can see, I ran out of sauce so ended with cheese only on top of the layer of squash.

Carnitas Tacos

I cooked a pork roast last night and had about half of it left so what to do with it? Tacos are so easy to make and tasty to eat, it was a no-brainer. Whether you make soft tacos like I did or prefer the hard ones, this filling is delicious and so easy to make with a food processor.

First, in a 12″ skillet, over medium heat, add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat till it’s simmering and add:

1 small onion, diced

1 small, sweet pepper (any color), diced

1 teaspoon chili powder (Optional) – I’m not crazy about chili powder so I used sriracha instead

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stir to combine and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers soften. Add:

3 cups shredded pork (pulse in a food processor for a few seconds until it’s the consistency you want – be sure to cut into chunks before pulsing!)*

1/2 to 2/3 cup salsa (or plain tomato sauce) – enough to moisten the meat

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules

Stir to combine and heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes until pork is heated through. Makes 8-10 tacos.** Top with refried beans, sliced avocado, cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc., whatever your family likes.

*Don’t have a food processor? Heat the leftover pork roast in a 325 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes and then using two forks, shred the meat.

**There are now a number of tortilla brands available that are gluten free including corn, quinoa, cassaba, cauliflower, etc. I just love the quinoa tortillas. Be sure, if using soft tortillas, to heat them under moist paper towels in the microwave for about 30 seconds before filling.

Creamy Tuscan-Style Chicken and Garlic Mushrooms

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken. I used chicken breasts but 16 ounces of any chicken works just fine. Like mushroom soup, this is a pretty easy recipe to make. It can be done with either whole small mushrooms or sliced ones (I usually buy the cleaned, pre-sliced at the store). For a stronger mushroom flavor, use mushroom stock instead of chicken stock. Makes 4 generous portions.

In a 12″ high-sided skillet, heat over medium high:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 medium onion, diced

Cook for about 3 minutes until onions are translucent before adding:

4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

1/3 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)

1 tablespoon of the tomato oil

Cook for about a minute so that the tomato flavor comes out. Add:

12 ounces mushrooms

Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 4 minutes, over medium heat. Stir into the pan:

2 tablespoons all-purpose, gluten-free flour

Stir to combine the flour with the fat in the pan before adding:

1 cup chicken stock (or mushroom)

1 cup non-dairy milk (any kind EXCEPT soy which will not thicken)

Stir to combine and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add:

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper)

2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced into strips*

Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes to warm the chicken and melt the cheese. Serve over pasta or rice. I can testify that it’s delicious over zucchini noodles! Top with chopped parsley or scallion greens and additional cheese.

*To make this dish vegan, instead of adding the chicken stock, use mushroom or vegetable stock and substitute a 12-ounce can of white beans along with 2 cups of greens (spinach, chard, etc.) along with the stock.

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.

Turkey and Vegetable Casserole

This is very easy to put together. It takes about a 20 minutes IF your rice is precooked. Mine took a little longer because I didn’t think to cook the rice beforehand. And since I wanted to add a little Minnesota to this recipe, instead of using straight brown rice, I used a brown and wild rice mix which takes longer to cook but adds a whole lot of flavor. Feel free to change up the vegetables used – broccoli would work just as well as zucchini. And the oregano and thyme can be substituted for an Italian herb mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×12 baking pan or a 2-quart casserole dish. In a high-sided skillet, heat over medium high:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 pound ground turkey (this would work just as well with ground pork, Italian sausage or hamburger, just be sure to drain off the fat after cooking)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Break up the meat as it cooks and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add:

1 medium onion, diced

2 small zucchini, cut into approximately 3/4″ slices (I quartered mine before slicing so I had chunks)

2 large portobello mushrooms (deveined and diced)

1 medium yellow sweet pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup)

3 garlic cloves minced (about 3 teaspoons)

Stir to combine and then simmer for 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add:

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon siracha sauce or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Stir to combine and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in:

2 cups brown and wild rice mix, cooked

1/4 cup grated non-dairy Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons chopped parsley, flat-leaf or Italian

Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with:

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bake until mixture is bubbling and the cheese is starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with another tablespoon or two of parsley before serving. Serves 6.

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

Quick, easy, and delicious, this soup with warm your stomach. It has that comfort food vibe with great flavor. Using pre-shredded carrots is what makes it so easy. Either regular orange carrots or rainbow carrot shreds will work. Add some lemon zest on top and a lemon wedge on the plate to add some freshness and lighten the spiciness of the soup. Serves 2 but easily doubled.

Put a 4-quart pot on over medium heat and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat until shimmering before adding:

1 small onion, finely diced

Cook the onion until translucent and then add:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (depending on how spicy you want the soup)

Stir the curry powder into the onion and heat until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

2 cups shredded carrot

Stir to coat the carrots in the onion and curry mixture before adding to the pot:

1 to 1 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken bone broth but a mild vegetable broth would also work and keep this soup vegan; want to cover the carrots completely but not drown them)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

Cook over medium low heat until carrot is softened, about 20-25 minutes, covered. Put the carrot mixture into a blender and add:

1/2 to 1 cup oat milk

Start with the 1/2 cup and add more if the mixture needs to be thinned to your taste. If the carrot mixture is really hot, cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel and don’t fill it more than 1/2 full or you’ll have an explosion of hot soup all over your counter! Start blending on the lowest speed and as it purees, increase slightly. Should only take 30-45 seconds to blend. Serve with lemon zest and a wedge of lemon on the side. Serving it on the side allows the person eating that bowl to add as little or much of the lemon as they like. [I learned this trick from a Vietnamese chef and it really does mellow out the curry.]

Plum Salsa

Here’s a quick and easy way to kick up your grilled pork chop or chicken breast. Takes a couple of minutes to put together and will liven up your grilled meat.

In a medium, 3 cup bowl, combine:

1 large plum (or 2 smaller ones), diced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or 1 teaspoon dried)*

juice from 1 lime

dash of hot sauce (to taste)

dash of sea salt

Makes 2 servings. Feel free to substitute other fruits such as nectarines, peaches, or pears.

*I hate cilantro. When I hear chefs on TV say, “Who doesn’t like cilantro?” I always want to scream, “Me, Me, I hate cilantro.” So I used dried parsley instead.

Hearty Pork Stew

I cooked a pork roast the other day and we only ate half of it so today I cut it up intending to make a hash with some sweet potato, onions and carrots. After I cooked the roast, I left the roasting pan out and it was cold when I decided to make some gravy to go with the rest of the roast when I reheated it. Threw in some cold chicken stock and all the fat congealed and I was able to spoon it out of the pan before I put it on the heat to get all the sticky parts off the bottom of the pan – made such a delicious gravy! So my hash turned into a stew, rich, succulent and soul warming on this single digit day in Minnesota! Let it be 9 degrees outside, I’m toasty warm in here with this stew in me.

In a high sided skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 small onion diced

1/2 cup shredded or chopped carrots

1 cup frozen peas

Stir to combine and cover. Cook over medium low heat until onions are sweated and carrots are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add:

2 cups sweet potato (or white if preferred), diced and cooked

2 cups diced cooked pork

1 medium pear, cored and diced

Again, stir to combine, cover and heat until the pear is softened and pork and potatoes are reheated, about 3-4 minutes. Add:

2 cups gravy (see recipe for gluten-free gravy under sauces)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6. Some crusty bread would be great with it to mop up the gravy!

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.