Chicken “Alfredo” (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

This creamy, rich slightly cheesy sauce is definitely something anyone can find comforting and warming.  And so much easier to make than at least I ever thought.  I’d eaten it out but not at home thinking it was difficult and so fattening that it was to be avoided.  This is a much lower calorie dish that you can adjust to fit your tastes. Makes two servings.

“Alfredo” Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1 cup thick rice milk (blend 1/3 cup rice with 1 cup cold water)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar and mozzarella but use whatever you have on hand; of course the traditional Alfredo uses parmesan)

Heat the oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until warm.  Add the rice milk and cream cheese and blend until cheese melts.  Add the parsley and shredded cheese and heat until cheese melts stirring frequently.

Cook two chicken breasts (or use precooked breasts from a roasted chicken or store bought cooked chicken).  I used the POW Red Lentil spaghetti because its one of my favorites and I like to add protein whenever I can.  Cook pasta per box instructions.  Drain and mix sauce into pasta.  Divide between two plates and add slices of the chicken breasts.

Cooked peas, pieces of asparagus, or other vegetables works well with this recipe.

Lasagna Rolls (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free)

This is a comfort food for me that I haven’t had in years because the original recipe I used called for jumbo shells or manicotti, neither of which I’ve been able to find in my local grocery stores in gluten-free form.  They are available on Amazon.com but since I didn’t have any today, I used some lasagna noodles – I tried two kinds, Tinkyada made from brown rice and Explore made from pea protein.  When cooked, they both tasted about the same, like lasagna noodles so in the future, I’ll probably use the Explore because it has a higher protein and lower carbohydrate count.  This is really quite an easy recipe to make.  And you can either use a marinara sauce or the mushroom béchamel recipe given here.  If you wanted to make this a vegan meal, Kite Hill makes an almond milk ricotta cheese which you can use to make a vegan filling.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  For the  lasagna noodles mix:

  • 1 pound ground turkey, not turkey breast which will be too dry OR you can use 1/2 pound ground veal or a pound of hamburger.  If you use veal, also add 1/2 pound ground pork.
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage (you’d probably want to use thyme, marjoram, or another herb if you use a different meat)
  • 1/4 cup shredded non-dairy cheese
  • 1/4 cup ground mushrooms (this adds moisture to the mix)
  • 1/4 cup  minced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used about a 1/4 teaspoon of each)

Cook 10 (depending on which noodle you decide to use) lasagna noodles per package directions or when the water boiled, I added the noodles and when it came back to a boil, I cooked them for 3-4 minutes, then turned off the heat and covered it for another 3-4 minutes.  Be sure when you remove them from the pot to run cold water over them so that they don’t stick together. (I had to pull apart the Explore noodles since they stuck together in the boiling water.)

For the longer, brown rice noodles, cut them in half so that you have two equal sized pieces from each noodle.  The Explore noodles, I just used a larger portion of the meat to fill each one.  Take approximately 1/4 cup of meat mixture, shape it into a log to fit in the noodle side to side rather than lengthwise.  Be sure that you’ve put a good amount of sauce into your baking dish before you add the rolls because they will stick to the bottom of the baking dish.  Line the rolls up in the baking dish with the ends side of the noodle on the bottom.  Once you have them all in the pan, add more sauce to the top, non-dairy cheese shreds if you like, and bake at 350 degree for 45 minutes if your oven isn’t pre-heated or 30 minutes if its to temperature.

For the Mushroom Béchamel Sauce, put into a saute pan:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6-8 ounces of sliced mushroom, or you can dice them if you prefer
  • 1/4 cup of minced onion
  • 2 diced garlic cloves

Cook until soft, approximately 4-5 minutes.  Stir in:

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage (again, if you’re using veal or hamburger, use a different herb)
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free brown rice flour

Let this cook for a minute to get the flour incorporated and then add:

  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (anything other than soy)

Cook until the milk gets hot.  This will thicken in the oven as the noodles and meat cook so it doesn’t need to be thickened on top of the stove.

 

Turkey Osso Buco (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

One of our favorite cold weather meals is a turkey osso buco (or turkey stew) made with root vegetables.  The hot gravy with the succulent root vegetables is so warming and very filling.  I don’t always use the same vegetables but they are usually root ones although I’ve been known to add both peas and string beans to the stew.

You can cook this either in a dutch oven in your oven or in a crock pot.  You’ll need:

  • Turkey leg quarter or breast
  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
  • 3 small to medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • Salt, pepper and herbs to taste
  • 1 quart turkey (or chicken) stock
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free brown rice flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Cut the turkey leg quarter in pieces (leg and thigh).  Put in a gallon food storage bag, the brown rice flour along with salt, pepper and herbs to taste (I like to use some paprika, oregano, thyme, parsley, along with the salt and pepper; if I don’t have those, I’ll use a teaspoon of Mrs. Dash or other herb mix).  Shake to mix and then add the turkey piece(s) and shake to coat.

In a skillet large enough to hold the turkey piece(s), heat the olive oil and then add the turkey over medium heat to brown.  While the turkey is browning, dice the onion.  If you are using a crock pot, add the onion to the cooker.  If you are using a dutch oven, you’ll want to brown your turkey in that and add the onion when the turkey is browned.  Be sure to brown all sides of the turkey.  Remove the turkey and add the dredging flour to the oil and stir so that the flour absorbs the oils and drippings from the pan.  If you are using a slow cooker, add the flour mixture to the pot and then add the turkey along with the stock.  If you are using the dutch oven, simply add the stock and the turkey back in.

Using a slow cooker, turn it onto high and cook for 3-4 hours.  If you’re using a dutch oven, you’ll want to prepare the vegetables (peel and dice them) and add them into the dutch oven before cooking in the oven at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours.  I’ve found that the vegetables don’t cook well in the slow cooker so I peel and dice them and cook them on the stovetop separately,  mostly cooked through and then add them to the crock pot during the last hour of cooking.

Makes six to eight servings.  You’ll want to deskin and debone the turkey pieces before serving.

Stuffed Peppers (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

When I make stuffed peppers, I have to make two varieties.  My husband likes the traditional pepper stuffed with a tomato-based rice while I prefer them with a cheesy rice stuffing.  We don’t have them often since he’s diabetic and all that rice isn’t good for his blood sugar so I’ve revised my recipe to include only half the rice using quinoa for the other half.  Adds more protein while cutting the carbohydrates.  So here are both recipes.  Makes two servings with a little extra stuffing.

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium peppers, whatever color you like
  • 1 cup cooked ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef or pork)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cheese sauce (see Macaroni and Cheese recipe)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (see Spaghetti and Meatball recipe or use one from a jar) plus 1/2 cup for the bottom of the baking dish
  • 1/2 cup diced onion, sautéed
  • Salt, pepper, and herbs to your taste
  • Sliced non-dairy provolone or shredded mozzarella for the tops of the peppers

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the tops off your peppers and scoop out the seeds, cutting some of the white inside rind away as well (it can be bitter).  Place them in a 2 quart pot with water filling the peppers and covering them.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until just tender; since you’re also going to bake them, don’t overcook them, just want them parboiled.  The 10 minutes includes the time it takes for the water to boil.

Mix together the onions, meat, brown rice, and quinoa, and herbs in a bowl.  When mixed, divide into two bowls and add the cheese sauce to one bowl and the tomato sauce to the other.  Mix thoroughly and fill the drained peppers.  You should have some extra stuffing for serving with them (I usually cut them in half when serving and add the extra stuffing on the top, with more cheese, if you like.

Put the 1/2 cup of extra tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.  Add the peppers and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until very tender and the cheese melts.

Try to choose peppers with flat bottoms but if you can’t find two like-sized peppers with flat bottoms, cut the bottoms to flatten them trying not to cut into the pepper itself.  When I can’t find peppers with flat bottoms, I will often cut them in half and stuff the halves and bake them lying on their sides.  Or, of course, one could cut the bottom off entirely and place the peppers into the baking dish before filling them, allowing that the stuffing could run out during baking.

Chicken and Dumplings (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

Another thing we always did with leftovers was make a stew and then either serve it with dumplings or put it in a pie crust and make a meat pie with it.    And you could easily do it with a rotisserie chicken or turkey breast from the store.  And you can adjust the vegetables to your taste, i.e., add some cooked diced turnip, parsnips or some lima beans, etc.

In an 8-quart dutch oven mix:

  • 2 cups diced chicken
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 cup cooked green beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced onion
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced celery
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced carrots
  • 1 cup cooked diced sweet potato

Add stock until the pot is 2/3 full; this should take 3-4 cups and needs to cover the meat and vegetable mixture.  Mix up your dumplings in your food processor:

  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper

Pulse in:

  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine OR 1/4 cup avocado oil

Once there are pea sized crumbs, add in 3/4 to 1 cup of non-dairy milk depending on if you used the margarine or the oil (I use rice milk but soy would work as well; you want a milk that doesn’t have a strong aftertaste).  Pulse until well mixed and the batter is smooth.  If your like your dumplings more flavorful, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of an herb mixture OR 1/4 cup fresh parsley to the sifted dry ingredients.

Drop by tablespoons into your boiling stew.  Cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then cover and cook an additional 10 minutes or until dumplings look dry on top.  Makes about 12 smaller dumplings or 6 large dumplings (the larger ones will take longer to cook so I usually make them smaller for ease of cooking and my husband usually eats 2-3 of them.

Remove the dumplings into a dish and keep warm in the oven while you thicken the stock.  Mix 1/4 cup of brown rice flour into 1/2 cup of cold stock until its smooth without any lumps.  Add to the boiling stew, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens.  If its too thin, make another slurry of brown rice flour and cold stock (a tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the desired thickness.  Be sure the gravy boils before you add more flour slurry since it will thicken more as it boils.  And be sure to stir scraping the bottom of the pot so that the gravy doesn’t burn on the bottom (also reduce the heat; you don’t want to do this on a high heat).

Return the dumplings to the pot and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie (Dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

One of my husband’s favorite dishes is a pot pie.  This one has lots of tender chicken or turkey for my husband along with plenty of vegetables to satisfy me.  If you pre-bake the bottom crust, it won’t get as soggy from the gravy while baking.  Feel free to change up the vegetables — lima beans, mushrooms, garlic, etc. can be added along with greens like kale or spinach (chopped of course).  I had some leftover mushrooms that I sautéed, cut up and added to my stew.  Some diced sweet potatoes would also do well in a stew or any diced and cooked winter squash.

First make some chicken or turkey stew:

  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas
  • 1/2 cup cooked string beans
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey diced
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • Herbs, salt and pepper to your taste

Cook the onions and celery in a little oil under tender, about 3 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups of the stock and herbs.  Whisk the brown rice flour into the other 1/2 cup of stock and add it to the stockpot and whisk until the mixture thickens.  Add the cooked meat and vegetables and cool in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the pot pie or whatever you want to do with the stew (you could also use this for chicken and dumplings or a chicken casserole with a cauliflower crust).

If you don’t cool the stew before adding it to the pot pie, the bottom crust will get too soggy, even if you pre-baked it.

You can either make your own gluten-free crust, use a mix (Bob’s Red Mill makes a very tasty mix) or purchase a ready-made gluten-free crust.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Pre-bake your crust per package directions.  When cool, add the cooled stew to fill the pie crust.  Add top layer and bake approximately 40 minutes until pie bubbles and top crust is browned.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

A throwback to my earlier life cooking for my best friend and my son, and sometimes for her parents as well, this recipe holds lots of memories.  The marinara sauce is a remake of my Aunt Jean’s sauce while the meatballs are an off-shoot of my meatloaf recipe.  If you prefer, a jarred sauce works just as well if you have one your family especially likes, and it sure is a lot quicker and easier than making a sauce from scratch.

Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 64 ounces of pureed tomatoes
  • 16 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley (about 2 tablespoons of each)
  • monk fruit powder, stevia, or agave nectar if needed for additional sweetness

In a large skillet, saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes and then add the diced garlic and the grated carrot.  Saute until softened, about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add the red wine and cook off the alcohol.  Add the pureed and diced tomatoes and cook over a low heat, covered, for approximately 1 hour.  Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Add the fresh herbs along with salt and pepper to taste and the tomato paste.  If needed, depending on your taste, add additional sweetener.  Simmer over low heat until ready to add the meatballs.

Meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, pulsed in a food processor until small dice
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used an herb mixture such as Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (such as Organicsville Agave Ketchup) OR 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 slices of gluten-free bread crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; grease an 8×10 baking pan with olive oil.  Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until combined but try not to overmix so that the meat mixture stays tender.  I use a soup spoon to measure out the meatballs so that they are all about the same size.  Mine were approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and the recipe made 24 meatballs.  Bake in the prepared pan for about 45 minutes, in the middle of the oven so that the bottoms of the meatballs don’t burn.  Add the meatballs to the sauce.

Prepare your favorite pasta.  I use the red lentil and quinoa linguine which takes just about 8 minutes to cook and my husband thinks tastes good even though he doesn’t realize its gluten-free and contains protein.  After you drain your pasta, put it back in the cooking pot, add sauce and mix thoroughly.  Serve with the meatballs and feel free to sprinkle some grated mozzarella (non-dairy of course) over the top.

Leftovers Casserole (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

This is a great casserole for using up leftovers after a big meal like Thanksgiving or just a family Sunday dinner.  It takes the meat, gravy, stuffing, vegetables, and potatoes and puts them together into one dish that’s easy and my family loves it.  You’ll want a deep casserole dish so that you can get four layers. You could also make this quick and easy using rotisserie chicken or turkey breast.

Grease a 9″ round, 5-7″ deep casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The first layer consists of:

  • 2 cups of diced meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork)
  • 2 cups  gravy (see recipe under Sauces)

The second layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of stuffing (see recipe under side dishes)

The third layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of leftover vegetables (I used my leftover string bean casserole; see recipe under side dishes)

The last layer consists of:

  • 2-3 cups of mashed potatoes, or in my case, mashed celery root and parsnips (see recipe under side dishes)

Bake 30-45 minutes until the gravy starts bubbling to the top and the top is browned.

BLAT (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato)Burger (dairy-free, gluten-free)

This is one of my favorites.   I eat one of these sandwiches for lunch nearly every week.  Easy to make and delicious.  The creaminess of the avocado with the acidity of the tomato and crunch of the bacon and lettuce makes it well worth the calories.  I served mine with a side of 4 Bean Salad.

You’ll need:

  • Gluten-free bread or roll
  • 3 slices of tomato
  • 2-3 pieces of lettuce
  • 2-3 slices of cooked bacon (I use the turkey bacon)
  • 1 burger patty (mine is turkey which I make thin so it cooks very quickly but I have to be very careful not to overcook it)
  • 1 slice of non-dairy cheese (if you want a cheeseburger)
  • ketchup or mayo depending on your taste

While the burger and bacon are cooking, toast the bread if you want or warm the roll.  I start with the avocado, then the tomato slices, then the lettuce, bacon, and finally the burger.  I put the ketchup or mayo on the second slice of bread and there you have it.  Very easy, yet so tasty.

Chili (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

My husband loves chili but it isn’t one of my favorite dishes.  I’ve experimented over the years with different chili recipes to please him and here’s the one we decided pleases both of us.  I like to eat mine over some soba noodles and garnish it with avocadoes but he’d rather eat his the traditional way.  Its a very easy recipe to make the way your family likes chili — swap out the meat, type of peppers, or even the type of beans, or even increase the spices.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or if you prefer, hamburger, ground chicken, ground pork, etc.)
  • 1 can diced chili peppers (I used the mild but you can use whatever your family likes)*
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (or 1 small can)
  • 2 cups stock (chicken, turkey, or beef depending on what meat you use)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto, or great northern, or kidney, or black beans, whichever you prefer
  • Bag of non-dairy grated cheese or for individual servings, slices
  • 1 diced avocado

*I wanted to use poblano chilis but the can I saw had added sugar so I went with my old standby of mild chili peppers.  Feel free to use fresh peppers and add the diced peppers with the onions and garlic.

In a large, deep skillet, or Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat.  Add spices (cumin, paprika, and chili powder) to release the oils.  Add onions and garlic and cook for a minute reducing heat to medium.  Add the meat and brown.  Pour in the stock and add the chili peppers, oregano, tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, salt and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 40-60 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove cinnamon sticks and discard.  Stir in the drained beans and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve topped with cheese and the diced avocado.