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.

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.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

This was a hit at my house last night so I thought I’d pass on the recipe. Another very easy, quick recipe for a delicious dinner. I recommend serving it with a small side salad! Serves 4.

In a high-sided 10″ skillet, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 small onion, diced

1 small sweet pepper, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic (roughly 2 cloves)

Cook until the onions soften, about 4-5 minutes. Push the onions and peppers to the side and add:

1 pound ground turkey (94% preferably)*

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

Cook, breaking up the turkey and stirring frequently until the turkey is cooked (no longer pink), about 5 minutes. In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (I use Organicville made with agave nectar)

1/4 cup sugar-free barbecue sauce (again, I use Organicville made with agave nectar)

1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce (sugar-free preferable, I use Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha)

1/2 tablespoon vinegar

2 teaspoons mustard (I used stone ground)

1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (Optional)

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)**

When turkey is cooked, pour the sauce into the pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve on gluten-free buns, dairy-free cheese optional.

*This recipe could easily be made vegan by substituting a large can of any type of beans, such as Great Northern, kidney, etc. or some diced firm tofu.

**The recipe I used as a template called for Worcestershire Sauce which has soy in it so for flavor and spice I substituted the sriracha, chili garlic and fish sauces. If your family has no problems with Worcestershire Sauce, go ahead and use that instead.

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.

Korean Style Ground Turkey with Cabbage

Super quick and easy, especially if you buy the pre-shredded cole slaw mix at the supermarket. The only other thing that needs dicing is the small onion and that doesn’t take long. This dish is a little sweet, spicy and tangy and the ground turkey, unless you really overcook it of course!, stays moist and succulent in the sauce. I apologize for not sprinkling the finished dish with scallion as it should be but I didn’t have any in the house and wasn’t up to going to the store today. Excellent even without them! As usual, feel free to mellow or increase the spices to fit your family’s tastes.

First, in a deep skillet (3″ or so), heat over medium high heat:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot reduce heat to medium and add:

1 pound ground turkey breast

Break up the turkey and sauté for about 2 minutes before adding:

1 small onion, diced

1 cup shredded cabbage*

1/4 cup shredded carrots (in the cole slaw mix if you use that or most supermarkets now sell pre-shredded carrots)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 minced garlic cloves)

Stir to combine and cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 4-6 minutes until the cabbage and onion are softened.

While the dish simmers make the sauce by combining in a small bowl:

1/2 cup soy sauce substitute** (of course if your family can have soy, use regular soy sauce but reduce to 1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons date sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1/4 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or 1 teaspoon siracha)

Whisk to combine. Remove cover from the turkey mixture and add in sauce, stirring constantly until it thickens which should be about 5-10 seconds. Remove from heat to a serving dish, top with toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

*If cabbage isn’t a favorite in your family, add a small can of sliced bamboo shoots and a can of sliced water chestnuts. Or some thinly sliced bok choy would also work.

**See recipe under sauces. I generally have several 1 cup jars of it in the freezer.

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.

Mahogany Chicken

The CHICKEN BIBLE strikes again! Once more, I needed to make changes to the recipe but another delicious, succulent chicken. I was impressed on how moist the chicken stayed even though I think I cooked it about 10 minutes too long. I was also impressed that it didn’t come out as sweet as I thought. Not difficult, a fairly easy recipe to make, very little preparation time, less than an hour, beginning to end. This would also work great for turkey or even duck. I did find the sauce a little bland so I added a dash of hot sauce but some coriander would also work.

In a 12″ skillet (oven proof) combine:

1 cup water

1 cup soy sauce substitute (of course if you are able, you can use regular soy sauce)

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons date sugar

2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

Whisk to combine and dissolve the sugar. Place in the sauce, skin side down:

4 chicken leg quarters (leave whole or cut between legs and thighs)*

2″ stick of fresh ginger, peeled and halved (lengthwise) then smashed

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

Bring to a boil and simmer over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. After 5 minutes place skillet in the oven uncovered and cook for 25-30 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over so that the skin side is now up and bake another 15-25 minutes or until chicken reaches 195 degrees. Remove from oven. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

At this point, pour the cooking liquid through a strainer to remove the bits of garlic and pieces of ginger. Strain into a fat separator if you have one and let sit for 5 minutes so the fat rises to the surface and can be removed.* Turn the oven to broil.

Add the strained and defatted liquid back into the skillet and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add:

Slurry made with 1 tablespoon arrowroot (or tapioca starch) mixed into 1/2 cup water (or chicken stock)

Whisk to combine and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place chicken, skin side up, back into the skillet and place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes until the skin is crispy and crackling. (I put my chicken pieces on a small baking sheet lined with parchment and broiled them while I made my sauce.) Serve with the sauce on the side. Makes 4 servings. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes. I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on mine after I served it with the sauce.

*I don’t have a fat separator so I didn’t do this step but there wasn’t a lot of fat in my pan because I trimmed the fat off the thighs before putting them in the skillet.

Empanadas

I know you’ll take one look at the picture and say, But Jean, empanadas aren’t round! I know, they’re supposed to be half-circles but this gluten-free dough is supposed to have an egg to bind it together and the flax egg just didn’t work as well so I made full-moons. They taste delicious, just don’t try to eat them with your hands! I used ground turkey in mine but any ground meat will work.

In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons water or aquafaba

Let sit about 5 minutes until it sets then make the dough. In the bowl of the food processor put:

3 cups gluten-free flour (whatever blend you have works)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 tablespoons date sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup vegan margarine, Earth Balance, or Spectrum shortening (put in around the food processor, not in just one spot)

Pulse until the mixture is a coarse meal. In a small bowl combine:

1 flax egg (that you made above) [OR if you can use it, 1 large egg)

1/2 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Add to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together. Remove from the processor into a food storage bag and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. While the dough chills, make the filling. In a 12″ skillet heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1/2-1 teaspoon paprika

1/2-1 teaspoon cumin

1-2 teaspoon dried oregano

Heat just until fragrant, about 30 seconds then add:

1 small onion diced

Cook to soften the onion, about 2 minutes and then add:

1 pound ground meat, like turkey, beef, or pork

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Cook, breaking the meat apart as it cooks, until the meat is done, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the skillet to a bowl. Add:

1/3 cup sugar-free ketchup mixed with 1-3 teaspoons hot sauce (hot sauce optional)

1 small can mild (or medium whichever your family likes) green chilies

1/2 cup non-dairy cheese shredded, whatever cheese you can eat (I used parmesan)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Stir to combine and let cool. Before the dough is chilled, line a 24×24″ space on a counter with plastic wrap and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When the dough is ready, take out of the bag and cut the dough into two pieces. Put one half back into the bag and the refrigerator and put the other half on the counter with the plastic wrap. Press down on the dough to flatten slightly and then cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut in whatever size you desire (I used a bowl that’s about a 6″ circle). Use a spatula to pick up the dough and move to the lined cookie sheet. Place about 3/4 of a cup of the filling** in the center of the disk and cover with a second disk of dough. Seal the edges together, if necessary moisten the edge with water (I didn’t need any water with my dough).

Repeat, rerolling the dough until all the dough is used and the filling is gone. I was able to make 4 of the 6″ size. If you’re able to use the egg in the dough, you can probably fold over the dough to make the half-circles and therefore can make more empanadas. Use a small knife to cut air holes in the tops of the empanadas so steam can escape. Spray with a non-stick cooking spray or brush with oat milk or egg wash if you can use eggs. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Makes four servings (6″ size). Serve with guacamole, salsa, or as I did, just slices of avocado.

**Of course, if you’re using a smaller circle to cut your empanadas, you’ll use less filling in each.