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.

Pork and Tomato Stew

This is a very easy recipe to make, cutting up the vegetables and pork are the most time consuming parts of the recipe. Be smart and use pork chops rather than pork roast so you don’t have to deal with as much fat and silver skin. I also used pre-cut carrots. Makes 4 servings.

In a 6-quart or larger Dutch oven, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering, add:

3-4 cups diced pork (4-6 boneless pork chops depending on size and thickness)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook until the meat is browned on all sides. Lower heat to medium and add:

2 medium onions, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Cook until the onions are translucent before adding:

2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

Mix the flour into the pan so that it absorbs the fat before adding to the pan:

1-1 1/2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups button or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters (or 6ths if they are larger)

1 cup chicken stock (or bone broth)

Stir to combine these ingredients and mix the chicken stock into the meat mixture. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 teaspoons siracha (optional)

1 tablespoon date syrup

Add to the pot along with:

5 large RIPE tomatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths

2 teaspoons dried basil (or, if preferred add 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil right before serving)

Stir to combine, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45-50 minutes until meat is tender and carrots are cooked. Be sure to taste before serving and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve it over any starch your family likes – it will go great with rice, mashed potatoes or pasta, or any other grain such as quinoa.

Chicken Vindaloo-Style

I was looking through the CHICKEN BIBLE this morning seeking a new, different chicken recipe for the chicken thighs I took out of the freezer and found this one. It was fairly easy to make allergy-free. A relatively easy stew to put together, slightly spicy, vindaloo is a mix of Indian and Portuguese styles. Very flavorful, this dish serves 4.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In an ovenproof Dutch oven heat over medium high:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 1/2 pounds diced chicken thighs

Sprinkle chicken with:

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Let the chicken brown for 2-3 minutes before turning and cooking another few minutes until well browned. Remove to a bowl. Add to the pot:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 medium onions, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add:

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cardamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir to combine and cook about 1 minute. Add:

2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

Stir to combine and cook for a minute to cook out the flour. Add:

3/4 cup chicken stock

Stir to combine. Add the chicken back into the pot and then add:

6 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms

1 small can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons diced dates (or 2 teaspoons date sugar)

Stir to combine, cover and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Serve over rice.

Chicken Cacciatore

There are probably as many recipes for chicken cacciatore on the internet as there are recipe sites. But here’s another one that’s easy to prepare and tastes oh so good! The chicken stays fairly moist (because it’s browned before stewing), the portobellos add some depth to the dish and the sauce is rich and succulent. Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs cuts down on the cooking time so this can be ready in about 40 minutes for a fairly quick midweek supper.

Trim fat and dry with paper towels:

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Salt and pepper lightly. Over medium heat begin heating a Dutch oven and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add the chicken thighs and cook, about 4-5 minutes before turning and browning on the other side. If the chicken sticks to the bottom of the pan when trying to turn it, it’s not ready to turn so brown a little longer. Once browned on both sides, remove to a plate and add to the pan:

1 medium onion, diced

5-6 stalks celery, chopped

3 large or 5 medium portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and chopped

3/4 cup diced carrots

Lightly salt and saute until the onion is translucent and the celery and mushrooms are softened. Add:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

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

Mix to combine and cook out the flour over medium low heat for a minute before adding:

2 cups chicken stock (or 1 cup white wine and 1 cup chicken stock, or 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup mushroom stock)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

14-15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

Stir to combine and then place the chicken thighs into the stock, pushing down to cover. Be sure to add any juices that have accumulated on the plate as well. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until chicken reaches 175 degrees internally. It will start falling apart when completely stewed so don’t worry if you don’t have a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. Add:

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Stir to combine. Serve over rice, pasta, or potatoes. I’ve discovered at my local Whole Foods Market, a heart of palm pasta (365 brand) that is very low in carbs and very tasty so I added a bag of it (drained and rinsed) about 10 minutes before the cacciatore was done. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 4.

Chicken Marengo

Here’s another great recipe adapted from the Chicken Bible. Because of salt restrictions, I left out the chopped olives and brandy also isn’t allowed in my diet so that’s gone as well but I’ll list them as optional if you want to add them to your dish. It was quite tasty and fairly easy to make. Be sure to use an oven safe pan or after making the sauce, transfer the sauce and then the chicken to an oven proof dish.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop:

1 medium onion, diced fairly small

Using paper towels, dry:

4 medium size bone-in chicken breasts or 2 breasts and 4 thighs

After drying sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used herbamare)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat over medium high, in a skillet large enough to cook the chicken without cramping:

1 tablespoon oil

Add the seasoned chicken pieces, skin side down and leave them alone for at least 5 minutes to brown the skin and get it crispy. Then turn and cooked for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan, drain all but 1 tablespoon oil from the skillet and add:

the diced onion

Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softened before adding:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

10 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms

Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms start to soften and give off their liquid before stirring in:

28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dry thyme)

Combine and then add a sauce made with:

3/4 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1/3 cup brandy (Optional)

2 teaspoon hot sauce (or more if your family likes it spicier OR 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

6 Kalamata olives, chopped fine (Optional)

Stir to incorporate before placing the chicken pieces on top of the sauce mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the breasts reach 160 degrees and the thighs register 170 degrees. Remove from oven and move the chicken to a serving platter. Add to the sauce:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

Whisk to combine and then spoon the sauce around the chicken and serve. Serves 4.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Salad

I often buy a rotisserie chicken, it’s a quick and easy meal. I’m careful of course, all rotisserie chickens are not equal. I read the ingredients until I found one that had no soy, canola, or corn oil. But since I live alone, this chicken always has lots of meat left over. I do so love chicken salad but even that can get boring when always made the same. I’ve added curry powder and made curried chicken salad which is delicious but I recently tried using a sweet and sour dressing, much like one used for coleslaw. Delicious, very easy and tasty at the end of summer when we’re getting tired of the same old salads.

I like to pulse my cooked chicken in my food processor to produce a slightly chunky chicken. Don’t take it to the extent of puree, just a fairly rough chop, almost like cooked ground chicken meat. For 4 servings, dice or pulse:

2 cooked chicken breasts, of medium size

Remove from food processor or cutting board into a bowl. Dice or pulse:

4-5 stalks celery, cleaned and quartered

4-5 scallions, cleaned and quartered

1/2 cup shredded carrots (or diced carrots)

Add to the chicken meat. I also add:

1/2 cup cooked baby peas

Mix these ingredients together. In a separate smaller bowl make the dressing using:

1 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 good dash hot sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar or date syrup

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish (or minced dill pickle)

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the dressing to combine and then add to the meat mixture. Mix well, chill and serve over a bed of mixed greens. Tomatoes and avocado on the side are a nice addition to this meal. I’ll often also garnish my chicken salad with pumpkin seeds or mix into the salad sesame or poppy seeds.

Easy Moroccan Chicken

I’m reposting this recipe that I original developed in 2020 because I have some additional tips for you about it that I thought made it so much more scrumptious. Many of us can’t (and shouldn’t) eat corn. I know because I’m one. But I grew up eating corn and I do so love it. Especially when it’s corn season, like it is right now. I happened to get to the market this morning right after they’d put out a fresh batch of local corn.

If you don’t know when corn is fresh, here’s what to look for: check that the tassels are still moist or at least still have some green to them and are not turned completely brown and that the stem end is still green. If the stem end is brown, the corn is old and will have lost much of it’s flavor. Also don’t husk the corn until you’re ready to put it in the pot! A definite no no. And always steam corn, it should never be boiled.

My mother was a great admirer of Craig Claiborne, the food critic for the New York Times in the 1970s. When he published a cookbook, she had to have it. About a week later, she found a recipe in it for corn in which he said corn should be boiled. She slammed the book shut, said the man was an idiot and never read anything else he ever wrote.

Having grown up on a farm where my father wouldn’t eat corn unless he went out and picked it, husked it and brought it to my mother who had the steamer all set to cook it. And the bushels of corn that we’d blanch and cut off the cobs in September to freeze for the winter. My, it was a two-day affair.

So please, another tip, never reheat or cook corn in water. If you have frozen corn off the cob, it should be simmered in milk (such as oat milk) and some fat (of course my mother always used butter!). Corn has a milky base, not a watery one so cooking it in milk enhances the flavor.

So, today, even though I knew better, I added corn to this recipe. And of my goodness, it was so delicious and I suffered so desperately all afternoon after I ate it but the enjoyment and flavor was worth the few bad hours afterwards. Here’s the amended recipe, feel free to omit the corn if you can’t eat it.

You’ll need:

4 chicken thighs (I tried using a breast and it was tough)

1 cup salsa – use whatever salsa your family prefers, mild, medium, hot or spicy, doesn’t matter

Approximately 3/4 cup of freshly cooked corn cut from the cob (I used only 1 ear)

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon garam masala or coriander

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce [optional]

1/2 teaspoon salt or herbamare

Spray a 9×9″ pan with cooking spray. Mix the salsa, honey and spices together (I use a small whisk) and put a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the thighs on top and then spread the remaining salsa mix on each thigh. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-45 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken thighs.

It’s that easy! You can serve it with brown rice to sop up all the wonderful flavors of the salsa.

PS: I gave the rest of the corn to my grandson so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it myself!

Watermelon Gazpacho

There are about as many recipes on the internet for watermelon gazpacho as there are for regular tomato based gazpacho. Naturally sweet from the watermelon, my recipe is very simple and easy to make with just a few ingredients. Again, the most difficult part is peeling the tomatoes so get the ripest ones you can find.

First, just as with tomato gazpacho, put a pot of water on to boil. When it’s boiling drop in:

4 small Roma (or plum) tomatoes with + cut in the blossom end (as opposed to the stem end)

Turn off the heat and let them sit for just a minute or so before dousing them in an ice bath. Peel and cut out the stem end (about 1/4 inch into the tomato). Set aside.

Cut into pieces:

1 mini personal watermelon (about 8″ diameter or a little smaller)

Cut the meat off the peel and place in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add the tomatoes and blend until smooth. Add:

1 small English cucumber, peeled and cut into 3-4″ pieces

Add to the mixture and blend until smooth. At this point, there are options:

1/2 small jar of mild (or hot if heat is desired) chili peppers

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

I prefer mine pure so I just add at this point:

1 teaspoon sea salt (or herbamare)

Ground pepper to taste

Juice of 1-2 lemons, strained*

Chill and serve. Makes 8 cups.

*OR Limes if preferred.

Gazpacho

This is the time of year for one of the best things to eat on the planet, fresh picked tomatoes! But for anyone who grows them, it soon becomes an overabundance and the issue becomes, “okay, what am I going to do with all these tomatoes?”. For many, this abundance becomes canned (or frozen) pasta sauce, tomato juice, or we even start picking them green and making fried green tomatoes (see recipe under side dishes). Here’s another tasty way to use up some of these extra tomatoes and, with the temperatures around here in the high 80s and low 90s right now, it’s also a very refreshing meal. And it will use up some of those extra cucumbers from the garden as well!

First, put on a good size pot of water to boil. Wash and cut slits (+) across the bottom (the one opposite the stem end) of:

8 medium to large plum tomatoes (use plum or Roma tomatoes because they aren’t as seedy or juicy as other tomatoes)*

While the water comes to a boil, prepare an ice bath in a large pot or bowl by filling the container about half full of cold water and then adding a tray of ice cubes. When the water boils, add the tomatoes, turn off the stove, and let the tomatoes sit for 1-2 minutes in the hot water. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into the ice bath. Let sit for a minute before peeling them. The riper the tomatoes, the less time they need in the hot water and the easier they are to peel. Peel them and cut out the stem end along with the tough part that extends into the tomato for about a quarter inch. Place them into a food processor or blender after peeling.

Pulse until coarsely chopped (or blend). I like my gazpacho fairly smooth so I used my Vitamix and made it fairly smooth. Put into a large bowl (at least 5 quarts). Pulse in a food processor or blender:

3-4 roasted red peppers (fresh can be used by I prefer the flavor of roasted peppers)

2-3 small red onions, peeled and quartered

1 large English cucumber (peeled if not organic otherwise just cut into chunks before pulsing)**

When chopped finely, add to the tomato mixture and stir to blend. Add:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic powder (if you like the taste of fresh garlic, pulse 6-8 garlic cloves along with the vegetables)

2 teaspoon sea salt or herbamare

1 teaspoon ground pepper

48 ounces strained organic tomatoes (or tomato juice)

Mix thoroughly and add:

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (reserve 2 teaspoons for garnish)

Chill thoroughly before serving. WARNING: This makes 16 cups of gazpacho so unless you’re hosting a large dinner party (or want to freeze some), this recipe can be cut in half. Garnish with extra chopped basil, diced cucumber and tomatoes. You can also garnish it with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or sour cream as well as croutons.

*Regular cucumbers can be used instead, just be sure to seed them before pulsing.

Greek Butter Beans

Butter, or lima, beans are a good source of protein as well as flavorful and very satisfying as a side dish. This recipe is very easy to make, especially if canned beans are used. It would work with any type of bean if butter beans are not to your taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray an 5x8x3″ baking dish. Heat over medium heat in a 12″ skillet:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When hot (shimmering), add:

1 small onion diced

2 small or 8-10 baby carrots, sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until the carrots are slightly softened and the onion is translucent. Remove the cover and add:

2 medium to large fresh Roma (or plum) tomatoes, peeled and diced

2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (OPTIONAL)

Salt and pepper to taste

Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add:

1 16ounce can butter beans, with liquid (unsalted if possible)

Stir to combine and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium high heat until sauce starts to thicken. Transfer to the baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt would add some richness. TIP: If your family likes spicy food, consider adding a few dashes of hot sauce when the tomatoes are added to the pan. Serves 4.