Spatchcocked Roasted Cornish Game Hen

This is a very simple recipe as long as you have a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Spatchcocking is cutting out the backbone of the chicken and laying it flat. It cooks faster and is easier to grill, just don’t try to stuff it or you’ll have to tie it back up!

Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. For each hen, prepare a mixture of:

2 teaspoons pureed garlic*

1/8 teaspoon herbamare (or plain sea salt)

1/8 teaspoon dry sage**

dash of black pepper

Spatchcock each hen by cutting along the backbone on each side using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cutting the bones attached to the backbone. Wash the inside of the bird and then dry thoroughly using paper towels. Discard the backbone. Release the skin from the meat by inserting your finger between the skin and the meat and shifting it to loosen. (I personally prefer to just cut along one side of the backbone to open the chicken (or hen) since I’m a lover of the tail, a bad taste inherited from my grandmother.)

Next, take 1/2 of the garlic mixture and rub it in one side of the hen between the skin and the meat. Repeat on the other side with the other half of the garlic mixture. Place in the prepared pan and repeat for the other hens you want to cook. Generally, one hen per person depending on their size and what else you’re serving with them. I actually only ate half a hen. Larger birds will feed more people but they generally average about 1 1/2 pounds per bird.

Rub the skin of the birds with oil and bake 45-55 minutes depending on how your oven temperature runs or until the thigh meat measures 175 degrees.

*I bought pureed garlic but it’s fairly simple to puree whole garlic cloves by using the flat side of a knife. Place the peeled garlic clove(s) on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Smash with the flat side of a large knife and then pull the knife towards you to smear the garlic and voila, pureed garlic. Or use a small food processor to puree cloves.

** I happen to love sage with poultry but if you don’t, feel free to use thyme, rosemary or whatever other herb your family prefers.

Easy Creamy Chicken Pasta Casserole

I do love chicken and I especially like creamed chicken. I find it a very satisfying dish, probably because of the combination of cream sauce, vegetables, and tender chicken. This recipe can be made with any type of pasta you like – from lentil spirals to egg noodles, spaghetti or heart of palm linguini like I used.

Grease an 8 cup (10x8x5″minimum) casserole dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a high-sided pan, over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When hot (shimmering) add:

3 medium shallots, sliced

4-6 ounces of mushrooms, sliced (any type will work, I used shitake)

Salt, garlic powder and pepper to taste (about 2 shakes of salt and garlic powder and one dash of pepper)

Cook until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add:

8 ounces of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces (approximately)

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste (as above)

Cook, stirring frequently until chicken is well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir into the pan:

1 tablespoon all-purpose, gluten-free flour

If there is still oil showing, add a little more so that all the oil is absorbed. Cook stirring for about 1 minute to cook the flour taste out of the mixture. Add:

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup non-dairy milk (any EXCEPT soy)

Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through, depending on how cold the liquids are, 3-6 minutes. Add:

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 cups cooked pasta

1/2 cup grated non-dairy parmesan cheese*

When peas are heated through, transfer mixture to the casserole dish. Sprinkle top with mixture of:

1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons grated non-dairy parmesan cheese

Be sure to mix the oil and bread crumbs together before adding to the top of the casserole. Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until topping is browned (broil for 2-3 minutes if preferred). Serves 4.

*Any non-dairy cheese that your family enjoys will work in the recipe such as provolone or cheddar.

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.

White Pizza with Chicken and Asparagus

This recipe requires a few steps but is easy enough to make just not a quick. But the flavor of the white sauce (same one we made for the ratatouille lasagna) combined with the sauteed chicken breast and asparagus is so divine that the effort is worth the end result!

First, make the pizza dough by combining in a medium bowl:

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

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

Stir to combine. In a small bowl whisk:

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 tablespoon honey (or agave, etc.)

1 cup warm water (about 105 degrees, should feel neutral on your wrist)

Let the yeast mixture sit for 5-15 minutes. It should become foamy and smell yeasty. If this doesn’t happen, begin again because your dough won’t rise. When it’s ready add:

1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk to combine and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. This dough will be quite loose like a thick cake mixture. Cover and set aside to rise for about 1 hour.

While the crust dough is resting, heat over medium heat in a 10″ skillet:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 medium size chicken breast (4-5 ounces), thinly sliced

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Cook the chicken breast about a minute per side depending on how thinly it’s sliced. Remove from skillet to a plate and add to the skillet:

1 medium red onion sliced and halved

1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1″ pieces

Reduce heat to medium, stirring often, cook until onions and asparagus are softened but not thoroughly cooked.

Now make the sauce by combining in a medium (2 quart) saucepan:

1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (any milk EXCEPT soy)

Slurry made with 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 non-dairy milk

Whisk to combine before adding:

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/8 (a dash) nutmeg or allspice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Heat over medium heat, whisking often. When you see the milk is getting hot, whisk constantly as the sauce thickens. Let cook several minutes over low heat to be sure the flour is cooked. Stir in:

4 ounces shredded parmesan cheese, about 1 cup (or other cheese you prefer)

Stir to combine. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When dough has risen, grease a large cookie sheet and pour the crust dough onto the sheet. Using wet hands or a scrapper/spatula, spread evenly over the cookie sheet getting it as thin as possible. Because this dough is more the consistency of a cake batter than a pizza dough, it cooks up like a cake batter and will get light and fluffy so get it as thin as possible. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes before baking the crust 8-10 minutes until set.

Spread the crust with the white sauce. Arrange the chicken, asparagus pieces and onion on top of the pizza crust on top of the sauce. If like me, you like more sauce, you can add more on top of the chicken and asparagus. Bake for another 12-15 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the crust is browned along the edges.

Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Lemon Chicken with Asparagus and Chickpeas

My grandson and I made this the other night. He ate two helpings! Very simple to make and quite delicious especially if you like chicken and lemon like we do.

First, dry and trim any fat from:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cut each breast into large chunks then salt and pepper to taste. Heat in a 12″ skillet with high sides over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add chicken chunks, brown on every side. Remove to a plate and add to the pan:

1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces

Sauté 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan. Pour off oil in pan to leave about 1 tablespoon. Add:

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 teaspoons lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Sauté just until the coriander becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

chicken breasts along with any juices on the plate

1/2 can (about 1 cup) drained and mashed chickpeas*

Reduce heat to medium low or low and cook just until the chicken registers 175 degrees or is completely firm to the touch, about 10-15 minutes. Turn the chicken several times while cooking to ensure an even cook. If the sauce is reducing too much, reduce heat to low and/or cover the pan to keep in the remaining sauce. When chicken is cooked, remove to the plate and add the asparagus back into the pan to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until just tender. Stir the chicken back into the pan. Serve over rice, garnish with fresh parsley or green onions. Makes 4 servings (unless you’ve got someone like my grandson around!).

*If you like the texture of whole chickpeas you can also add the other half can whole when you add the asparagus back into the pan towards the end.

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.

Chinese Dumplings

When I worked at Arizona State University, the chair of the department and I shared the same birthday so we’d go out for lunch annually on our birthday. There was a little Chinese restaurant near campus where we’d devour several orders of pot stickers and a soup bowl of hot and sour soup. I’ve been checking every grocery store I go to and I couldn’t find gluten-free wonton wrappers but a check on-line found a recipe. So, although this process is somewhat lengthy, the dumplings are well worth the effort.

First, make the wonton wrappers by combining:

1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 white rice flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon guar gum

Whisk together the dry ingredients then stir in:

1/2 cup boiling water

Dough will start to come together. Add:

2 tablespoons cold water

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Stir to combine, kneading with hands if necessary. Form into a ball, cut in half. Place one half under plastic wrap to stay moist while working with the other half. Roll the dough into a log then cut into 12 pieces, about 1 tablespoon each. Roll the pieces into balls and place in a sandwich bag until ready to fill. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Next, make the filling. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse:

8-10 scallion whites

6 ounces shitake mushrooms

1/2 cup shredded carrots

Pulse until well ground. Put into a medium bowl with:

3/4 pound ground turkey (or pork)

3 teaspoons date sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces)

1/2 teaspoon ginger juice (or freshly grated ginger)

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Combine, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to fill the wontons. Using a bamboo steamer (or a steamer basket or pot but you won’t be able to cook as many at once), place over water on the stove. Take one dough ball, place between two pieces of plastic wrap, and using a small rolling pin (or any can), roll out to about a 3″ circle. Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the middle. Using the plastic wrap, bring the sides of the wonton wrapper together in the middle. Pick up the ball and gently press the edges together to seal the dumpling (these can be either round or rectangular). If the dough is dry, wipe the edges with a small amount of water to moisten and seal. Place in the steamer and repeat until the steamer is filled, without the dumplings touching the edges or each other because they will stick as they cook. Bring the steamer water to a boil and cook the dumplings 10-12 minutes. Serve with a sesame garlic sauce and garnish with the scallion greens.

Sesame Garlic Sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon date syrup or honey

1/4 teaspoon chili sauce or red pepper flakes

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.

Chicken and Vegetables in Plum Sauce

Had a little of the soy substitute sauce left over from the recipe a couple of days ago so thought I’d make some choy mein. But there wasn’t quite enough sauce for that and I’d gotten a jar of plum jam out of the freezer and added some of that and oh my goodness, how mouth-watering is this! Like adding a little pear or apple to a pork or chicken gravy, adding a little plum to this Chinese sauce turned out luscious. Don’t have any plum jam around the house? Stew up 2 plums (skin too if organic) along with about 2 tablespoons of date syrup and then puree it and you’ve got plum jam!

Just like with most Chinese recipes, the first step is always to cut everything up!

Peel:

1 small to medium onion, slice in half thin slices

1 large o 2 smaller carrots, slice on the diagonal

2 garlic cloves, minced

Trim:

2 whole stalks or 4 stalks from the celery heart (about a cup altogether), slice diagonally

6 ounces of shitake mushrooms, sliced

Put the vegetables in a bowl and set aside until ready to cook. Trim the fat and slice:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts*

Place the slices in a food storage bag and add:

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot

1/4 to 1/3 cup plum jam

Seal and refrigerate 15-30 minutes until ready to cook. When ready to cook, heat over medium heat in a 12″ skillet:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Cover and lower heat to medium low and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until carrots are tender. Remove the vegetables to their bowl, turn the heat back to medium and add to the skillet:

the marinated chicken and marinade

Cook stirring constantly until the chicken is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the vegetables back to the skillet along with:

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Stir to combine and continue stirring until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Serve with brown rice or rice noodles.

*Want a vegan entrée? Substitute firm tofu or your favorite plant-based protein.

Chicken with Bok Choy and Red Peppers and Crispy Noodle Cake

Here’s another recipe adapted from the Chicken Bible. It’s somewhat spicy due to the abundance of freshly grated ginger as well as just a 1/4 teaspoon Vietnamese chili sauce.* The original recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes so use those if you can’t find a chili sauce that works for your family. I also cut back slightly on the amount of freshly grated ginger – the original recipe called for 1 tablespoon but I used only about 1 teaspoon and it was sufficient for my tastes. This is a recipe that may sound difficult and complex but if you follow the steps, it’s really quite easy to make and oh so worth the effort – just as good as any dish in your favorite Chinese restaurant.

First, cut up everything:

1 pound bok choy (I used three medium sized baby), cut off the stems and cut into bitesize pieces and then separately chop the greens and put them in a separate bowl

2 small sweet red peppers, cut in thin slices

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced as thinly as possible (if the breasts are partially frozen, they will slice much easier although the hand holding the meat will get quite chilly!)

1 garlic clove minced

about 1″ of fresh ginger peeled and grated to produce roughly 1-2 teaspoons

2-3 scallions, slice at an angle, add the white parts to the bok choy stems and peppers and set the greens aside in a medium bowl

Next, mix together in a medium bowl:

1 tablespoon soy sauce substitute

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon date syrup

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Whisk together and add the sliced chicken. Mix to ensure all the chicken is coated with the marinade. Refrigerate until needed.

Third, put on a pot of water to boil:

6 quarts water in a large pot

When the water comes to a bowl, add:

1 teaspoon sea salt

9 ounces of noodles (I used brown rice pad Thai noodles)

Cook for only 3 minutes until el dente (or the amount of time on the package of your noodles). Drain and add to the bowl with the green scallion slices. Mix to combine. In a 12″ non-stick skillet, heat over medium high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add the noodle/scallion mixture and spread out in the pan. Use a strong spatula (or I used a bacon flattener) to flatten the noodle mixture in the pan (see photo below). Cook 5-7 minutes until browned and then using a large spatula, flip and brown again on the second side 5-7 minutes. Remove to an oven proof plate and stick in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

Now, in a small bowl mix together:

2 tablespoons olive oil

the minced garlic

the grated ginger

In another small bowl make the sauce by combining:

1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon date syrup

1/4 teaspoon chili sauce or red pepper flakes (or hot sauce!)

1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Stir to combine. Set aside until needed. Pour into the empty skillet and heat:

2 teaspoons olive oil

Add:

sliced chicken (and marinade)

Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly and turning frequently until the meat is cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove to a dish and set aside. Into the same skillet heat over medium heat:

the olive oil mixture with the garlic and ginger

When hot, add:

the bok choy stems

red pepper slices

scallion whites

Cook over medium high heat stirring frequently until they just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add:

the bok choy greens

Cook just until the greens begin to wilt, add the cooked chicken along with any juice in the dish. Whisk the sauce mixture to be sure it’s still combined and pour over the chicken in the skillet. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens about 30 seconds and the chicken is reheated. Remove the noodle cake from the oven and cut into wedges. Serves 2.

*I had a lot of difficulty finding a chili sauce that didn’t contain either sugar or soy. I finally located one (at the 4th store I checked!) – Tuong Ot Toi Viet-Nam Chili Garlic Sauce. It’s VERY hot so the amount used should be to the level of your taste buds. I don’t mind spicy but super hot is not to my liking therefore the recipe calls for just 1/4 teaspoon.