Posts tagged ‘Chicken’

Cheesy Lemon Thyme Millet Squares

I initially found this recipe on the back of an Arrowhead Mills puffed millet package I bought for my gingerbread marshmillets. Using the millet in a savory dish sounded interesting, and I was wondering how else I could use puffed milled beyond cereal and bird seed. The original recipe called for sharp cheddar cheese and wheat-based pastry flour, so I had to alter the recipe. Since I was making substitutions to the recipe anyway, I opted for a “chia egg” rather than the standard chicken variety and thyme rather than dill.

Cheesy Lemon Thyme Millet Squares-1

Honestly, replacing the sharp cheddar with cheddar-style shreds was a mistake. I have discovered I do not actually like Daiya’s cheddar; they taste is very strong and rather off. I do hope they change their recipe soon. The only recognizably cheddar-like property of these shreds is the color; otherwise, they taste like mildly cheesy peas. It was very hard to mask the pea flavor even after I added more spices. The only way I was able to mellow the flavor was to add sliced avocado on top; hummus or chicken salad might also work. I’m sure including real cheddar cheese would taste lovely. Maybe I will try Daiya’s Pepper Jack-Style Shreds in the future to improve my dairy-free version of the squares.

Cheesy Thyme Millet Squares
These can accompany entrees in lieu of bread or can be used as appetizers topped with various spreads, like hummus, tempenade, or bruschetta.

Yields 9 servings

1 C Daiya Cheese-Style Shreds
1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Pinch Fine Grain Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Fresh Minced Garlic
Dash Sweet California Paprika
1/4 tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika, more to taste
1/8 tsp Ground Mixed Peppercorns
3 T Earth Balance Spread, melted
1/2 C Fine Ground Buckwheat Flour
1 Chia Egg (1 T Ground Chia Seeds + 4-6 T Filtered Water)
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 Lemon, juice of
2 C Puffed Millet Cereal
Topping (see description above), optional

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8″ square baking dish.

In large mixing bowl, combine the cheese, thyme, seasonings, spread, flour and baking soda. Stir in the lemon juice. Fold in the millet. Bake for 25 or until the top starts to brown. Cut into squares. Decorate as desired. Serve warm.

Italian Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti squash is a great option for people who want pasta without gluten or lots of carbohydrates. It readily absorbs flavors from sauce, herbs, and spices, so it blends very well with other ingredients. It is also easy to prepare; please see my Spaghetti Squash post for roasting directions. Spaghetti squash provides a lovely splash of color to any noodle dish, unlike bland beige wheat noodles.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole 1A

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare spaghetti squash. It is so colorful and flavorful, and it is easy to create various color and flavor combinations with different veggies. Additionally, you can use any protein you prefer, like veggie sausage, ground meat, cubed chicken, soy or hemp tofu, pine nuts, etc. You can also always dress your spaghetti squash with pasta sauces, too.

Keep in mind you are going to need a very large bowl to mix all of the components. It has been a while since, I used this recipe, so I quickly ran out of room as I added ingredients. I spit the recipe into two stages, mixing the squash, sausage, dried herbs, and cheese in one large Corning Ware dish and the fresh herbs and remaining vegetables in another. I used a third smaller bowl to help transfer half of the contents one bowl into the other, so I could incorporate all the ingredients together into each bowl and keep the right proportions. As a side note, even though I added the Daiya cheese to the sausage and squash while they were hot, it did not melt properly. Daiya’s shreds require higher temperatures to melt than dairy cheese, so I suggest reheating the casserole before it is served.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole 2A

Italian Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Yields 14 to 16 servings

1 Med Spaghetti Squash, roasted, skin removed
1 T Dried Ground Sage
1 T Dried Oregano
2-3 T Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch or 3 C Spinach or Kale, torn into bite-size pieces
1 Bunch or 1/2 C Fresh Sweet Basil, chopped
Olive or Grape Seed Oil for cooking
3/4 – 1 lbs Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage
3/4 – 1 lbs Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage
1 10-oz pkg Daiya Mozzarella-Style Shreds
1 Medium Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
3 T Fresh or Bottled Minced Garlic
1 lb String Beans, cut into 1″ lengths
3 Med Yellow or Orange Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped
4 oz Pea Spouts with long shoots, separated
Ground Peppercorns, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste

Be careful not to burn your fingers while handling the squash. In a large bowl, break up the squash into noodles with a fork. Mix the herbs and greens into the squash. Set aside to allow the dried herbs to absorb moisture from the noodles and the greens to wilt a bit.

Oil a large pan. If the sausage came in casings, remove them. Brown the sausage over medium heat. Mix the sausage and cheese-style shreds into the squash.

Saute the onion, garlic, and beans together in a large oiled pan. Add to the squash with the salt, pepper,  tomatoes, and sprouts. Serve and enjoy!

Red-Label Curry no Ohji-Sama

I finally made S & B’s red box of Curry no Ohji-sama with chicken and mixed vegetables. It tasted so good! This variety is a Japanese sweet curry roux mix that was originally intended for children, but I don’t see why adults shouldn’t enjoy it, too. S & B also makes a blue-box version of this curry, too, which has a different flavor (from what I can tell based on the listed ingredients). What exactly the blue-labelled box mix is supposed to taste like is still a mystery to me, but it looks good. For more information, please read the sections I wrote on both varieties here  or here.

Thankfully, both flavors are gluten-free, as they include corn starch and white sorghum as thickeners in lieu of wheat. The directions call for the addition of meat, but you can substitute it with beans, tofu, nuts, seeds or whatever protein you prefer. The package instructions also call for potatoes and carrots (two sources of carbohydrates), which I felt were not inclusive enough. I didn’t just want to use a boring brown or yellow potatoes and a red onion (the sweet yellow and white cultivars carry less sulfur), and I decided not to serve the curry with rice but to add more colorful vegetables instead. I felt as though that the more colors I included, the healthier and tastier the meal would be, so my curry was a rainbow of yellows, orange, purple, red, whites and greens.

Each box comes with two curry roux blocks, enough to either make the curry twice or cook a double batch. The bricks are sealed individually, so you can cook one and save the other for later, preserving the flavor and moisture and preventing spoilage. As soon as I pealed back the wrapper on the roux, I knew I was in for a treat from the pleasant aromas and yellow curry color of the savory spices and slight sweetness of fruits and vegetables. I could already smell the wonderfully enticing scents of cumin, coriander and turmeric, and for some reason my mind went to cinnamon as a complimentary flavor. Maybe next time I should make a cinnamon infused dessert.

Cooking the Chicken & Vegetables

As usual, I made many of alterations to the recipe, but the dish turned out quite scrumptious, much to my delight and satisfaction. My husband liked it so much, he went back for seconds. He’s a pretty picky eater, so that’s certainly saying something. Please keep in mind that this is a sweet mild curry, so you may have to adjust the flavors to more of your liking; check out Sadie’s blog entry on the blue-box curry roux for some suggestions. Surprisingly with all of the extra meat and vegetables, the curry sauce was still rather thin in consistency. I used the same cooking techniques as described in the directions and decided not to add a thickener (like corn or arrowroot starch) on the first try, since the mix already contained some. Another option is to let some of the water evaporate rather than cooking the meat and vegetables so long with the cover on. Regardless of the outcome, the meal was a success and a learning experience.

Red-Label Curry no Ohji-Sama with Chicken & Mixed Vegetables
Adapted from the instructions on the back of the package
As stated above, this dish already includes enough carbohydrates, so do not serve this with a white rice. If you want to serve it along side or over something, I suggest something with fiber, for instance more vegetables (broccoli or cauliflower) or a seed-like “grain” (quinoa, millet or buckwheat) as a side.

Serves 6Curry no Ohji-Sama With Chicken & Vegetables

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Yellow Sweet Onion, peeled, trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 Head Garlic, peeled, trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 Medium Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
2 Medium Carrots, trimmed, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
2 Purple Potatoes (any variety), coarsely chopped
1 – 2 Chioggia or Red Beets, trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 Stalks Celery, diagonally sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 Broccoli Head and Stem, trimmed, coarsely chopped
2 C Baby or Dinosaur Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
2 C Carrot Greens, stemmed, optional
1/4 – 1/2 C Enoki Mushrooms, trimmed, left long or quartered
2 1/2 C Filtered Water
1/2 pkg Red Label Curry no Ohji-Sama Roux, finely chopped
Rice Wine Vinegar, optional
Sweet Paprika, to taste, optional

Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are soft and translucent in a large lightly oiled pan over medium heat (I used my Misto to spray on the olive oil). Mix in the carrots, beets and potatoes, stirring occasionally. Cook this mixture until the carrots are slightly soft.  Add the water, broccoli and celery. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the mixture for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables become tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the kale, greens and mushrooms. Fold in the curry roux, half at a time. Cover and return the pan to the heat. Simmer the curry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the roux is evenly distributed. Taste the dish, add more paprika (and or other spices) to taste. Serve the curry either on top of an accompanying vegetable in bowl. Be sure to ladle on some extra sauce if you like.

I served this dish along side a tossed green side salad drizzled with a tasty miso sesame dressing.

Cooking the Chicken & Vegetables

Chicken and Kelp Noodle Stir-Fry

I love stir-fry dishes and using my wok! I have a electric wok and wish I had a cast iron one. I also have at least two stir-fry cookbooks and actually got rid of several others during my spring pre-moving purge. These dishes are pretty much one-pot meals, which is marvelous, since this means there are fewer dishes to wash. Stir-fries are also usually less complicated, too. Woks aren’t just for cooking Chinese and Japanese dishes; you can cook all sorts of sautes in them from any style of cuisine.  Here’s a tasty looking stir-fry from Sea Tangle Noodle Company that uses kelp noodles.

Kelp Noodle Chicken Stir-Fry
Serves 6

2 – 4 T Chopped or Minced Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
12 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, diced
1/2 Yellow Onion, peeled, sliced
1/2 C Broccoli or Broccolini, trimmed, chopped
1 C Spinach Leaves, stemmed, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, seeded, thinly sliced
1 pkg Plain or Green Tea Kelp Noodles, rinsed, cut into desired length
Nama Shoyu, Tamari or Liquid Aminos, to taste
Filtered Water, to taste
Vegetable or Chicken Stock, to taste
1/2 C Whole Raw Almonds or Cashews, soaked & dehydrated
Sea Salt, to taste
Mixed Peppercorns, fresh ground, to taste

Saute the garlic in a lightly oiled pan. Add in the chicken and vegetables. Saute them for about , occasionally stirring with a wooden or plastic spatula. Add the noodles and a few dashes of soy sauce, water and stock. Stir with a wooden or plastic spatula or spoon until the noodles and vegetables soften. Season the stir-fry with salt and pepper as you prefer. Remove the stir-fry from the heat. Fold in the nuts. Transfer it to a large serving bowl. Serve.

Kelp Noodles

Kelp noodles are great! These may look strange, maybe like they made out of plastic, but these sure are edible and healthy. They are like rice-based glass or cellophane noodles but are made out of sea vegetables (kelp and sodium alginate from brown seaweed) and water and can be used just like any other type of pasta noodle. Kelp noodles are a raw, vegan and gluten-free alternative to pastas made out of rice, buckwheat, wheat, and other grains. Think of these noodles like other raw vegetable “noodles” made with “spiralized” zucchinis or cucumbers (this is the slicer I use, and here are some delicious looking recipes) or like cooked spaghetti squash. Since kelp noodles are made out of seaweed, they are rather nutritious, containing your daily value of 15 percent calcium, 4 percent iron and 4 percent fiber, only 6 calories, and no carbohydrates. That’s pretty amazing for a food is that is clear!

Kelp noodles have an extremely mild seaweed flavor and are very easy to season with herbs, spices and dressings. It’s usually a good idea to use some sort of acid in your sauce to marinate the noodles and soften them, unless you like your noodles a bit crunchy. Although the noodles are healthier for you raw, you can cook them with stir-frying or boiling. Kelp noodles are good in soup, salad and pasta dishes. Your possibilities are really endless, since these noodles are so versatile. Sea Tangle Noodle Company makes plain and green tea flavored kelp noodles, and Gold Mine Natural Foods also makes plain flavored kelp noodles, too. There are all sorts of recipes I want to try making with kelp noodles. I’m going to post some more recipes that I want to try out and got a few from the back of the Sea Tangle Noodle Company kelp noodle package.

Kelp Noodle Salad
I adapted this recipe from one that was printed on the back of the kelp noodle package so that we have actual quantities and not just a list of ingredients.
Serves 6

1 pkg Kelp Noodles, rinsed, cut into desired length
3 – 6 T Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
3 Cucumbers, trimmed, seeded, thinly sliced or spiral cut to desired length
6 Carrots, trimmed, sliced thinly
Salt, to taste

Combine the ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl with a wooden or plastic spoon. Set the sauced noodles aside for 20 to 30 minutes to soften them. Stir in salt to your preference. Serve.

Tamale Pie and Southwest Salad

The turkey black bean chili lasted for days. When I had about two portions left, I decided to make tamale pie; besides, I still had cornbread to make, too, in some form or another. 😉 My husband and I decided to invite friends over to join us for dinner. I kept with the idea of tamale pie but decided to make it bigger to ensure there would be enough for everyone, so I added more vegetables! Since this was so much more food, I decided make something more akin to a casserole rather than a deep-dish pie. It’s a good thing I did, too; all of the ingredients fit perfectly in my 2.5-quart baking dish. I also asked our guests to bring a salad to accompany the pie, so they decided to extend the food theme by making the salad with peppers, corn and avocado. After dinner I brought out fresh chilled cherries, which I had recently picked, for dessert. This meal was a big hit with many smiles and happy bellies.

Tamale Pie Adapted from Golden Cornbread and Tamale Pie
I recommend preparing ingredients ahead of time, so when you are ready to make the pie, you can just layer everything in the dish and pop it into the oven.
Serves 10 to 12

Crust Ingredients
1 T Chia Seed, ground or whole
3 T Filtered Water
1 + 1/2 C Unsweetened Almond Breeze or Non-Dairy Milk Alternative
1/4 Nana Mae’s Smooth Apple Sauce
1 C Gluten-Free Biscuit Mix
1 C Coarse Cornmeal
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt, ground fine
1 T Sucanat, ground fine
1 tsp Turbinado Sugar, ground fine
2 T Earth Balance Spread with Olive Oil, melted
1/4 Fresh Cilantro Leaves, finely chopped*

Combine the chia, water, 1 cup of milk, and apple sauce with a fork in a 1-liter (or bigger) mixing bowl. Set the mixture aside for 20 minutes, stirring again after 10 and 20 minutes. Thoroughly mix together the cornmeal, baking mix, salt, and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. After the seeds are plump and saturated, stir in the Earth Balance. Don’t worry about the spread floating back up to the top. Pour the wet mixture into the dry. The two mixtures will be difficult to incorporate together and seem rather dry. Gradually stir in about half a cup (that’s only an estimate!) of additional milk into the dough one tablespoon at a time to ease stirring. (The additional liquid may be needed due to the gluten-free dough’s stickiness from the inclusion of xanthan gum in the baking mix.) Once the dough becomes easier to work with, fold in the cilantro. Cover the dough to preserve the moisture. Set aside.

*If you do only have dried cilantro, soak it in a small bowl with a cup of filtered water for 20 to 30 minutes. Mix and press the leaves into the water occasionally to make sure all of the leaves become saturated. Add extra water if needed. The cilantro is ready to use when all of the leaves are pliable and dark in color. At this point drain the excess water and treat the leaves like fresh cilantro.

Filling Ingredients
1 1/2 – 2 C Turkey Black Bean Chili
3/4 – 1 C Medium or Mild Salsa Verde
14.5 oz Can Pinto Beans, drained, tender-cooked in water
3 Medium All-Natural Mild Italian Sausage, removed from casings, browned
1 tsp Ground Cumin Seeds
1 C Golden Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 Large Bell Pepper, cored, seeded, chopped
1 Avocado, skinned, pitted, chopped
2 Large Tomatillos, shucked, chopped
1/2 Bunch Kale, stemmed, torn into bite-size pieces
3 Large Garlic Cloves, peeled, chopped
3 Scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced
3.8 oz Can Lindsay Naturals Sliced Black Olives, drained
3 oz Daiya Vegan Mozzarella-Style Shredded Cheese
OR 3 oz Daiya Vegan Pepper Jack-Style Shredded Cheese
16 oz pkg Frozen Peas, Corn, Green Beans & Carrots, defrosted, cut into 1″ pieces

If you are preparing the ingredients ahead of time, combine the chili, a half-cup of salsa, beans with water, sausage and cumin in a sealable 6-cup storage container once the beans and meat are cool.

In a separate lidded container that holds at least 4 cups, mix the tomatoes, tomatillos, bell pepper, avocado,  kale, garlic, cheese, onions, olives, and one half-cup of salsa; I just dumped all of the veggies and cheese in, put the lid on, and gave the container a few vigorous shakes. Set this aside these mixtures aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. To assemble the casserole, layer the filling ingredients into the casserole dish in the following order: mixed thawed vegetables on the bottom, meat and beans in the middle, veggies and cheese mixture on top. Over the last filling layer, spread the crust evenly with a rubber spatula. Do not cover the dish. Place the baking dish on a foil-lined cookie sheet to catch liquid that boils over. Bake the pie for 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned on top. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out free of crumbs. Cut the crust into slices before you serve the pie, which makes serving individual portions easier.

Southwest Salad**
You can prepare the salad ingredients in advance and chill them in the refrigerator to save time and meld the flavors together more; when you’re ready, just arrange the ingredients as you like in your serving bowl.
Serves 10 to 12

Grilled Salad Ingredients
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Gypsy Sweet Pepper or Other Mild Wax Pepper
1 Medium White Onion, peeled, trimmed
1 Ears White Sweet Corn, husks and silk removed
1 – 1 1/2 C Chopped Tomato, seeded, chopped optional
3.8 oz Canned Lindsay Naturals Sliced Black Olives, drained
3 Small Avocados, skinned, pitted, chopped

Green Salad Ingredients
1 Head Romain, torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 + 1/4 C Fresh Cilantro Leaves
1 Small Avocado, skinned, pitted, sliced
1 + 1 Limes
Salsa Verde, optional dressing
Salsa Fresca, optional dressing
Non-Dairy Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt, optional garnish
Cilantro Sprigs, optional garnish

**My amounts may be off, since I only helped make the salad. Please adjust the proportions and flavors according to your tastes. There may be a light amount of oil and vinegar mixed into the grilled salad mixture; you can use these to dress the salad and brighten to the flavor profile.

Preheat the barbeque grill. Oil the grilling vegetables. Cook the peppers, onion and corn for 5 minutes per side, turning them with barbeque tongs half way through. (Cook them about 10 minutes total.) Set aside the vegetables until they are cool enough to handle. Core and seed the peppers, and chop the them with the onion. Kernel the corn, and discard the cobs. Place the grilled veggies in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Place the romain in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cilantro on top of the lettuce. Arrange the sliced avocado like they are radiating out from the center of the bowl. Squeeze a lime over the avocado slices to prevent oxidation. Set aside.

Combine the tomatoes, olives, chopped avocado, 1/4 cup of cilantro and remaining lime juice with the grilled vegetable in the mixing bowl. To assemble the salad, scoop the grilled salad mixture onto the middle of the green salad. Toss the salads together if you like or leave it as described. Serve the big salad at the table family style with the garnishes of cilantro, salsa and sour cream.

Vegetable Chicken Sausage Medley with Quinoa

Recently my husband and I made dinner together. It’s great when he has actual food ideas, even herbs and spices. He suggested something with chicken apple sausage, broccoli and cauliflower and Italian spices. He pulled out the breakfast sausage, which I happened to be eager to try. The maple went very well with the other flavors we used, too. It’s wonderful when that happens with my food concoction experiments. I took advantage of this time to use up the last of some of my vegetables that were just waiting to be made into tasty dishes, like carrots, and I felt very fortunate to have come across the asparagus on sale at Oliver’s for two dollars off the regular per pound price.

I decided that since the sausages were pretty small, we needed more protein without using up more sausage. I was thinking of using something like a grain but didn’t want to eat more carbohydrates than those in the vegetables, especially since this was an evening meal. (You’re supposed to eat larger meals and carbs during your most physically active time of the day.) I was dissatisfied with the way the quinoa turned out when I cooked it for dinner at my folks’ house. It was time to try it again, since I overcooked it last time by about three minutes. I also forgot to let it set for five minutes before fluffing it, which is very crucial.

Originally the salmon with aioli and quinoa recipe called for red quinoa, but that’s not what we had on had. I used the white variety instead. Yesterday I went to Community Market and did a little nutrition label reading at the bulk bins. I found out that actually white unsprouted quinoa has a significant amount of more vitamins and minerals in it than the red. On the other hand, red quinoa has more fiber and protein. I wonder if the red part is the seed’s skin…. Anyway, you can also get sprouted white quinoa, which has less iron but more calcium than the regular white variety. I have seen a few organic food companies sell a mixture of red and white quinoa. Maybe that’s why; with mixed you’d get the benefits of both of the unsprouted varieties.

Vegetable Chicken Sausage Medley
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or enough to coat the pan)
1/3 C Garlic, minced
1 Small Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
8 oz pkg al fresco Chicken Apple Maple Sausage, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground
10 Stalks Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 Head Broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces, stems included
1 Head Cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces, stems included
2 Carrots, chopped
2 tsp Dried Marjoram Leaves, ground
1 tsp Roast Vegetable & Fries Spice Blend* or make up your own
1/2 Filtered Water

*Salt, onion, paprika, red bell peppers, sugar, mustard, garlic, soy bean, celery seed, black peppercorns, coriander, oregano, cumin, sage

Start the quinoa. Saute the garlic and onion in a large pan on medium-low until the onions are tender and clear. Add the sausage, salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.

Turn the pan down to low. Add the vegetables, remaining seasonings and water. Turn everything in the pan with a large wooden spoon a few times to mix the vegetables, meat and seasonings. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes or until the carrots are tender crisp.

Remove the lid and transfer the meat and veggies to a large mixing bowl. Stir the meat and vegetables to get rid of heat and excess water while the quinoa sits for 5 minutes.

Italian Herb Quinoa
2 1/4 C Filtered Water
1 C White Quinoa, rinsed
1/4 tsp Smoked Alderwood Sea Salt (from Savory Spice Shop)
1 – 1 1/2 T Italian Seasonings

Mix together the quinoa, salt and water in a medium cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook the quinoa for about 7 minutes. Mix in the herbs and recover with the lid. Cook another 5 or 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and place it on a trivet. Do not remove the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Uncover the quinoa, and fluff it with a fork to get rid of excess moisture.

Serve about 1/4 cup of the meat and vegetable mixture over 1/4 cup of the quinoa.

Chicken & Dumpling Soup with Salad & Mustard Vinaigrette

It’s nice to call up a friend, who you expect to just hang out with, and ask what they want for dinner. That’s kind of what happened the other day.  After a few suggestions to each other, B and I  came up with this soup and salad combo. I went to Whole Foods three times to get all  of the ingredients; thankfully the one I went to is located in a shopping mall. Really it was more like three trips to my car and back; I just got in some extra exercise. 🙂

I have to say all of the flavors went very well together. No, actually the flavors were perfect. We were both quite proud of the outcome, even with our gluten-free dumpling experiment. The dumplings and dressing were most impressive and delicious. We were on a roll that night; we even stayed up late to make cookies afterward. I’ll include that series of recipe experiments in a later post.

Chicken Kabobs Ingredients
1-1 1/2 Pounds Chicken Breast, skinned, boned, cut into 1-in cubes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C Lemon Juice
3 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
6 Bamboo Skewers

Preheat your grill (we used our George Foreman). Mix the oil and seasonings in a large glass glass bowl. Add the chicken, and toss the meat to coat it. Cover and marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes or overnight. Discard the marinade, and skewer the meat, but do not tightly pack the pieces together. You can to make sure that the meat cooks evenly. Reserve the left over meat for the soup. Grill the meat for 4 to 6 minutes or until the juices run clear and meat is no longer pink inside. The internal temperature should read as 180 on a meat thermometer.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Gluten-Free Dumplings
1-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 C Onion, peeled, diced
3/4 C Celery, diced
3/4 C Carrot, diced
1/2 tsp Citric Acid (Sour Salt)
2 Bay Laurel Leaves, optional
2 qt Chicken Stock
2 qt Vegetable Stock
1 Large Parsnip, peeled, cored, diced
Remaining Chicken (from kabobs)
2 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
2 1/2 tsp Dried Marjoram
2 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
Kosher Salt, to taste
Mixed Peppercorns, ground, to taste
8 Kale Leaves, stemmed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
4 Scallions, trimmed, sliced
Dumplings (see below)

Saute the onion, carrot and celery in a lightly oiled stockpot until the onions are tender. Mix in the citric acid and bay. Pour in the stock and stir. Add the parsnip and chicken. Simmer the soup until the chicken is no longer pink inside, stirring occasionally. Season the soup. Pipe and cut in the dumplings. Mix in the kale and scallions and continue to simmer until the kale wilts and the dumplings are done.

Gluten-Free Dumpling Ingredients
1 C No or Low Sodium Chicken Stock
6 T Earth Balance Spread with Olive Oil
1 tsp Kosher Salt
5 1/2 oz Gluten-Free Flour
1/8 oz Xanthan Gum
1 Large Free Range Egg + 2 Egg Whites

Boil the stock and spread with salt over medium-high heat in a medium pan. Add the flour, and mix it into a dough. Remove the pan from the heat. Mix the dough with a sturdily motored immersion hand blender (we killed the motor on the Kitchen Aid one, since the dough was so sticky), mezzaluna or bladed dough blender until the dough is broken into fine pieces; you want to get more air into the dough. Integrate 1 egg at a time into the dough until it becomes smooth. Transfer the dough to a 1-gallon plastic zipper bag. Make sure to remove all of the air from the bag. Cut off one corner of the bag about 2/3 inch from the tip. Cut the dumpling dough into 1/2-inch pieces as you pipe it into the boiling soup (not a rolling boil).

Green Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Salad Ingredients
2 Large Handfuls Mixed Salad Herbs Greens
2 Large Handfuls Spinach, stemmed, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 C Heirloom or Golden Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C Organic Cucumber, sliced
1 Large Carrot, diagonally sliced
2 Stalks Celery, diagonally sliced
1/2 C Enokitake Mushrooms, cut into 2-inch sections

Arrange salad ingredients into a large serving bowl with the lettuces on the bottom.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Ingredients
These measurements are estimated. Please adjust the amounts to your liking.
1 T Spicy Brown Mustard
1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Yellow Mustard
1 T Local Wildflower Honey, to taste
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground, to taste
1/2 tsp Pinch Kosher Salt
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Add all of the ingredients except the oil into a lidded airtight container. Shake it to mix the ingredients. Add the oil. Shake the heck out of it to emulsify the dressing. Drizzle on your salad.

Another Super Tasty, Healthy Recipe for Dinner

This recipe is also from the American Heart Association Cookbook.

Cumin Chicken with Onions and Squash

Serves 4, 1 cup per serving

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat removed, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

Vegetable Oil Spray

1 large onion, cut in eighths, layers separated

2 medium yellow summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 tsp. salt

Put the chicken in a large, shallow bowl or baking dish.  Sprinkle with the chili powder and cumin; stir well.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Remove theskillet from teh heat; lightly spray with vegetable oil spray.  Cook the chicken for 2 minutes, or until browned, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to a medium bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium.  Lightly spray the skillet again with vegetable oil spray.  Cook the onion and squash for 10 minutes, or until they are tender-crisp and the edges of the onion are richly browned, stirring frequently.  Stire in the salt an dthe chicken with any accumulated juices.  Cook for 1 minute, or until the mixture is heated thoroughly and the chicken is no longer pink in the center, stirring occasionally.

Nutritional Info:

Calories 167

Total Fat 1.5 g

Saturated 0.5 g

Polyunsaturated 0.5 g

Monounsaturated 0.5 g

Cholesterol 66 mg

Sodium 373 mg

Carbohydrate 9 g

Fiber 3 g

Protein 28 g

Chicken and Vegetable Meatloaf

I wanted to make a healthier meatloaf with lots of vegetables in it. At one time I made a delicious one for my husband and I, but last night I couldn’t find the recipe. I didn’t want to completely wing it (no pun intended), so I dug around and used a few recipes (1, 2, 3, 4) I found online as guidelines. I also wanted to use what I had in the house.

Generally I try to use organically grown or raised foods. I also avoid dairy products, wheat (and or gluten) and egg yolks due to allergies. In October I tried being vegan, mostly succeeding, since I’m not really supposed to eat meat either (too bad it tastes so good). The only exception I made was eating fish about four times. At the beginning of this month I reintroduced meat into my diet, only eating it during one meal a day and being otherwise vegan. Honestly I am feeling much better than before my “diet” when I was eating meat more often. I still think I would feel even better if I didn’t eat meat daily, since my stomach usually lacks the enzymes to efficiently and effectively digest meat. (Mental note: pick up digestive enzyme supplements.)

This meatloaf is actually dairy and wheat free. If you want, it should be rather easy to make it without eggs by using flax or chia “eggs” instead*. Either way, I hope you enjoy it. Sorry I didn’t take many pictures. (We were entertaining guests. It wasn’t done until midnight, and we were in a hurry and starving.) Keep in mind that when I served up the portions, I cut it into six rather large pieces (four and an half square inches), but you could cut it smaller to serve with salad or a side of veggies.

Chicken Vegetable Meatloaf
Serves 6 – 9

1 T Olive Oil
1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
2 T Garlic, peeled, minced
1/2 C Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns, ground
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 Brunches Broccoli, finely chopped
1 pkg Frozen Mixed Vegetables, chopped
3-4 Stalks Celery, chopped, optional
2 Medium Carrots, chopped, optional
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 lb Pesto or Italian Chicken Sausage, removed from casings
1 Egg or 2 Egg Whites*
1 1/2 T Italian Seasoning
1/2 T Herbs de Provence
2 tsp Mustard Seed, fine ground
2 T Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce
1 1/2 T Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking dish with foil, and lightly coat the foil with oil.

Saute the onion and garlic in oil until the onions turn clear. Add the broth, vegetables, salt and pepper and cook the mixture on medium heat for 8 minutes. (You can add herbs and spices now or later, depending on how strong you want them to taste.) Set aside.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, hand mix the meat, egg, herbs, sauces and vinegar. Mix the vegetables in the meat.

Transfer the meat-vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish. Smooth the mixture to evenly distribute it in the dish. Cover the loaf with foil, and bake it for 30 minutes. Uncover the meatloaf, and bake it another 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle (do not touch the thermometer to the bottom of the dish) reads between 160 and 170 degrees F. Remove the dish from the oven to cool for 5 minutes. Portion the meatloaf as you like. Serve and enjoy.

Note: You can wait until the meat is fully cooked to use the teriyaki as a glaze on top instead of adding it to the meat mixture earlier on, if you like, for a different texture and color.

*Typically flax or chia (yes, the same seeds used on chia pets) eggs are made by mixing one tablespoon of either kind of seed (I prefer ground for a smoother texture) and three tablespoons on water. If you want a more yellow or golden color to your eggs, use golden flax seeds. If you aren’t worried about the eggs affecting the color of your dish, go ahead and use brown flax or chia, which I have found only in black with white speckles and turn gray when ground up.

One of the reasons it took so long to make this dish is that one of my meat thermometers broke. I’m very glad I had an extra one to double check. If it takes longer than an hour to reach 160 degrees F, definitely double check. I highly recommend having a back-up cooking thermometer! In addition, I also recommend testing your oven with an oven thermometer before hand to learn how to trick your it into cooking at the right temperature; many ovens out there are inaccurate to varying amounts in either direction. So be careful. I ended up baking the meatloaf for at least an extra hour.