Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Easy Pork Tenderloin

2 t oregano
2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t paprika (smoked if you have it)
1 t salt
1/s t pepper
1 t rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the spices.  Pat average pork tenderloin dry.  Using the spice mixture rub on all sides of pork tenderloin.  Preheat cast iron skillet.  Heat 2 tsp olive oil.  Brown all sides of tenderloin.  Once meat is browned, pop in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.  Roast until about 145 internal temperature has been reached.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to return to the meat and not spill out onto the plate rendering the pork tenderloin dry.

Yummy Oatmeal

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced
3/4 c gf oatmeal
1 1/2 c milk product or water
pinch of salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t vanilla
1-2 T brown sugar
1/4 c golden raisins

Peel, core and dice medium cooking apple.  Add apple, oatmeal to boiling milk.  Turn down heat to medium.  Stirring occasionally cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and brown sugar.  Stir in raisins if desired.  Serve hot.  Enjoy!

NOTES:  I use rice milk with no difficulties in the cooking process.  If you want to go completely milk free, just use water although I have also heard that you can use apple juice.  If you use apple juice, taste before adding the sugar as apple juice will give a natural sweetness to the oatmeal.

I also will make enough to save for Leftover Oatmeal Pancakes.

Leftover Oatmeal Pancakes

My friend Bethany has a great cooking blog.  I have wanted to try these  pancakes for several weeks.  They were "blow your socks off" good!  Probably the best pancakes I have ever had.  I also liked that I did not feel guilty eating them due to the high amount of fiber and protein that is packed into them.

Leftover Oatmeal Pancakes
~ RidgetopFamilyFarm - Sonlight Forums

1 c. gf flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. cold cooked oatmeal***
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk or dairy free milk
2 T. oil or melted butter or coconut oil

Mix dry ingredients together; add to oatmeal and mix. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl, then stir into oatmeal mixture. Cook on lightly greased griddle over medium-high heat. Use 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Makes about 10 pancakes.

Notes: These are thick and puffy pancakes that taste wonderful, thanks to the cinnamon!! A pastry cutter is perfect for getting the leftover oatmeal to mix evenly with the dry ingredients.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bombay Chicken

This is a very yummy dish but requires a considerable amount of taste testing along the way to acquire the taste that your family will enjoy.  Please read the entire recipe before beginning as I have personally screwed this recipe up more times than I care to tell you.  :)

3 T olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/2 pounds shrimp
1/2 c red onion (sweet yellow will also work)
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t slat
2 T fresh ginger root, minced
1/8 t chili powder or Tabasco sauce
1/8 t cayenne or 1/2 t paprika
1 t curry powder
1 c fresh tomatoes or peaches, chopped
1/2 c chicken broth, gluten free
1/4 c dry white wine or gluten free beer or apple cider vinegar
1/3 c milk
2 - 3 t cornstarch or arrowroot
Cooked rice or Coconut Rice

Cut chicken into 2 inch pieces.  Preheat cast iron skillet.  Add olive oil.  Heat over medium heat.  Brown chicken pieces.  Remove from skillet. Cook onion for 3 minutes.   Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.  Return chicken to pan along with broth, salt, ginger, chili powder, cayenne, curry, peaches and wine.  Simmer covered for 15 minutes on low heat.   Combine milk and arrowroot in small cup making sure to remove all clumps of arrowroot.  Stir into chicken mixture while bringing it to a boil.  Thicken sauce which should take about 1 - 3 minutes.  Serve over rice with garnish.


2 green onions, chopped including green stems
1/4 c chopped almonds, cashews or peg almonds (salted peanuts work too although not as good)
1/4 c shredded coconut (toasted coconut is really yummy)

While chicken is cooking mix onions, nuts and coconut.  Allow ingredients to sit for at least 20 minutes.


(1)  If using shrimp, do not add it with the broth, salt, ginger, spices, peaches and wine as shrimp does not need as long to cook.  You will over cook it.  Add it after 10 minutes.  Also I marinade the shrimp in the mixture of the broth, salt, ginger, spices and wine.  When it is time to add this mixture, add the liquid and then add the shrimp after cooking the liquid for 10 minutes.

(2) To keep this recipe dairy free, gluten free and soy free the following substitutions are made:  gluten free chicken broth for regular chicken broth, rice or coconut milk or Mimicreme for the milk, AND arrowroot for the cornstarch. 

Sesame Seared Tuna

One of our favorite special occasion dinners is this Sesame Seared Tuna.  It seriously competes with anything that you might order at a fine dining restaurant but for a fraction of the cost.

1/4 c Bragg's Liquid Amino's
1 T mirin or white wine
1 T honey or coconut nectar
2 T sesame oil
1 T rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar with an additional 1 tsp sugar
4 tuna steaks approx 6 oz a piece
1/2 c sesame seeds
gf wasabi paste
1 T olive oil

Combine soy sauce, mirin, hone and sesame oil.  Divide into two equal parts.  Stir in rice wine vinegar into one to make the dipping sauce.  Set aside for serving.

Pat the tuna steaks dry with a paper towel.  Spread sesame seed on a plate.  Coat the tuna steaks with the other soy sauce mixture.  Press each steak into the seeds and set aside.

In preheated cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking.  Turn heat down.  Immediately place tuna in skillet and sear for 30 seconds per side.

Slice thinly.  Serve with dipping sauce and wasabi paste.

Mustard BBQ Sauce

1/2 c Dijon mustard
2 T honey or coconut nectar
1 T brown sugar
3 T rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 t Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Dash of Tabasco Sauce to taste
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper

Whisk together in bowl.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator between 1 hour and 24 hours.  Remember the longer a sauce rests, the better the flavors blend.  Bring to room temperature before using.

I use this sauce for either chicken or salmon although beef, pork or shrimp would also taste good.  I will either grill under the broiler or on the grill.  Both are delicious!  When grilling or broiling, continue to brush the chicken or salmon with the sauce every few minutes.  Serve with some sauce on the side.

Italian Marinade

1/2 c. Italian salad dressing (Make sure it is gluten, dairy and soy free)
1/4 t salt
1/4 c lemon juice
1/8 t pepper
1 t oregano

Mix thoroughly and use either as a marinade or a basting sauce.  I will use this to marinade chicken breasts that will alter be done on the grill.  I have even marinated chicken breasts overnight and then frozen them in the sauce.  I have heard that this is also a great marinade for white fish or shrimp.  I plan on using this recipe over the summer.

Camping Menu Tip:  Right before leaving for the camping trip, place the frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the cooler and pile the ice on top of it.  Continue to pile ice on top of the chicken breasts to keep them frozen until about a day before you plan on cooking them.  Move the package to the top of the cooler which allows them to thaw out enough for cooking but stay cold enough to be safe.  :)

Tangy Marinade

1/3 c Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 T. rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. ketchup
1 t. thyme
1/4 c olive oil or salad oil
1 t  dry or prepared mustard

Mix thoroughly.  Marinade for 24 hours in refrigerator.  Cook as usual.

This is a good marinade for pork or beef particularly London Broil or flank steak.  I will occasionally use this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts as well.  Then I will make chicken kabobs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Hummus

2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 cans (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans
4 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
pepper to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil

In food processor, chop garlic until finely chopped. Drain but do not rinse beans.  Reserve liquid for later.  Add all remaining ingredients.  Process in food processor until smooth adding reserved bean liquid until desired consistency is reached.  I had to use 2 tablespoons of the bean liquid.  Store in air tight container in fridge.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Country Mustard

This is what I would normally use as a glaze on my ham and then serve as an accompaniment at the table.  It does take some planning in order to have it on hand.

1/3 c whole mustard seeds
1/3 c powdered mustard
2/3 c cold water
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/4 c dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/ 1/2 T gf flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground cinnamon

Using a nonreactive saucepan, combine the mustard seeds, powdered mustard and cold water.  Set aside for 10 minutes.  Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, flour, salt, allspice and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.  Cook until thickened, about two minutes.  Pour into dish, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Next morning using a wire whisk, beat until smooth.  Return to refrigerator until read to use.  Stir before using.

Easy Roast Pork Loin

1-2 pound boneless pork loin

Heat oven to 400.

While heating oven, pat the pork loin dry.

One side of the pork loin will have a layer of fat.  Do NOT trim that fat as it is what helps keep the loin moist throughout the roasting process.

Mix thyme and salt together.  I use 2 parts thyme to 1 part salt.

Pat all over the pork loin.

Place on a rack, fat side up in an oven safe baking dish.  I use either a shallow quiche like pan or even a cast iron skillet.

Cook for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 200 degrees.

Continue cooking for between 60 to 80 minutes.  An instant read thermometer should register 150 when done.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Resting allows the juices of the loin to saturate the meat thoroughly.  If you cut this prior, all the juices will run out and the loin will become tough and dry by the time you get it to the table.

A good accompaniment is the Braised Red and Green Cabbage.

Braised Red and Green Cabbage

This is delicious!  My 6 year old daughter asks for this whenever we have pork for dinner.  I will say that this recipe makes a very large amount.  I kept this in the fridge for about two weeks as we ate it.  Keep it in an air tight container as the vinegar seems to have a preserving effect on the cabbage.  

Braised Red and Green Cabbage

1/2  head red cabbage
1/2 head green cabbage
1 c dry red wine
3 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves, whole
3 T sugar
1 c whole cranberries
2 cooking apples, peeled and chunked

Shred cabbage.  Combine wine and vinegar.  Preheat dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add liquid.  Add cabbage. Cover and bring to boil.  Once a boil has been reached, reduce heat, cooking for about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cook an additional 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove bay leaves prior to serving.

Serve with Easy Roast Pork Loin.

Sesame Orange Crusted Salmon

1/4 c sesame seeds
1 1/2 T grated orange rind
1/2 t white pepper
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets
2 t dark Asian sesame oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toast sesame seeds in skillet about 5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Cool.  Place cooled toasted sesame seeds, orange rind, white pepper and 1/4 tsp salt in food processor.  Whirl until mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Place salmon fillets on aluminum foil lined baking sheet.  Rub with sesame oil.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Bread fillets with sesame mixture.  Cook for 20 minutes until salmon flakes done.

Banana Almond Smoothie

1 large ripe banana
1 c almond milk
1 c ice cubes
1 T honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend in blender until smooth.

Amazon Cherry Smoothie

1/2 c frozen cherries
1/2 c frozen bananas (about 1/2 banana)
1/2 c frozen strawberries
1/2 c milk product
1/2 c yogurt product (any kind that is plain and unsweetened)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 T freshly ground flax seed

Blend in blender until smooth.


(1) We often freeze bananas for smoothies.  The easiest way is to freeze them peeled so that you don't have to try to peel them when they are frozen.  Sounds like a no-brainer but I only post this because of one too many times of dealing with frozen fingers.  :)

(2) If you do not use fresh ginger quickly enough to keep it from going bad in the refrigerator, freeze it whole and unpeeled in a Ziploc bag.  When you need some fresh grated, just pull out the frozen ginger and grate.  Voila! 

(3) Store your flax seed in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid.  Especially in the warmer months.

Fruit and Flaxseed Smoothie

During the summer we really like smoothies at our home.  I know it is not summer now and no one is probably thinking about making a smoothie but I had to post.  This is a frugal alternative to Jamba Juice.

1 1/2 c frozen fruit (any combination)
1/2 c milk  product (any type)
1/2 c yogurt product (any type of plain, unsweetened)
1 T ground flax seed

Blend in blender until smooth.

Notes:  Flax seed goes rancid very quickly.  I only grind up what I need when I need it.  I recommend using a small food processor or a coffee grinder specifically designated for nuts, spices, etc. Not one used for coffee as well.

Coast Toast

When I was in college, I journeyed to southern California one spring break with 50 of my closest friends......not really, but it sure sounds good!  I went as a cook/chaperon for 50 high schoolers.  While there, we spent an afternoon at LaJolla Cove.  I fell in love with that little cove and dreamed about returning some day.  Little did I know that is would be almost 15 years later that I would return with my husband and daughter.  It is now a favorite place for our family. 

While there we always try to go to Brockton Villa for brunch.  If you are ever in the area, it is not to be missed!  All of the food is wonderful but their signature item.....Coast Toast......oh my!  They are so generous that they give this recipe away on their website as well as on recipe cards at the restaurant and I have tried in vain to reproduce the exact taste and texture.  While good and quite delicious, the real McCoy is even better.  And NO there is nothing about this recipe that fits in with the dairy free and egg free diet that we need to follow for Arthur's sake.

If you are looking for a great special occasion breakfast, brunch or even dinner entree, this is it!  I only make this once or maybe twice a year.  It is soo goood!

Toast Coast
compliments of Brockton Villa

1 loaf soft French bread (sliced)
1 qt. whipping cream
10 eggs
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tbs. vanilla
2 tbs. orange flavoring

Combine liquid ingredients. Pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

Remove bread and discard liquid. Spread butter on flat grill.

Cook bread until golden brown, then bake at 450° for 5 -7 minutes or until bread is puffed up like a soufflĂ©. Dust with powdered sugar.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Notes:  I have not tried any substitutions on this.

Hot Chocolate

On occasion Dacia Grace will ask me to add her favorite recipes to this blog.  This happens to be one of them.  She loves to cook and has quite the palate.  Here is one of her favorites that she picked up from the Activity TV DVD series.  (Love this series.  There are many other topics other than cooking in this series.)

Hot Chocolate

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
Dash of salt
1/3 c hot water
4 c Mimicreme or other dairy free milk
3/4 tsp vanilla
Whipped cream or marshmallows

In small sauce pan whisk sugar, unsweetened cocoa and salt to remove lumps.  Add water to make a paste.  Over medium high heat, whisk to a smooth paste.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Reduce to medium low.  Add milk gradually, stirring constantly.  DO NOT let it come to a boil.  Skim off skin film that forms on top.  Add vanilla.  Whisk rapidly to create foam.  Pour into cups.  Add whipped cream or marshmallows and enjoy.


Can also make with regular milk for those that do not have to be dairy free.

Can also use a small amount of mint extract for a minty flavor.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

6 large strawberries, stems removed
1/2 c milk option (dairy or non dairy option)
1 banana
2 tsp sugar
1 c yogurt (dairy or non dairy)

Blend in blender until smooth.

Berry Best Smoothie

Living here in Oregon where berries are plentiful, we seem to always have fresh or freshly frozen berries to use for yummy smoothies.  Because of all the options available now for dairy free milk options and yogurt options even Arthur can enjoy these on a regular basis.

Berry Best Smoothie

1/2 c strawberries
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c raspberries
1 banana
1/2 c non-dairy yogurt (coconut or goat are our choices)
1 c non-diary milk (coconut, rice or almond are our choices)
1/2 c ice (optional IF all the above fruits are frozen)

Place in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth.  :)

Cranberry Pork Chops

4 pork chops
1-2 T olive oil
1/3 c dry red wine (can also use balsamic vinegar)
1/2 c honey
1 c fresh cranberries

Trim pork chops of excess fat.  Pat dry and set aside.  Mix red wine and honey completely.  Preheat skillet for 30 seconds before adding olive oil.  Heat oil for 30 seconds.  Add pork chops. Cook pork chops UNTIL 1 minutes after the juices begin appearing on top of the meat.  Turn pork chops over.  Add liquid and cranberries.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Cook for 1 minute when cranberries begin popping.  Remove from pan and serve.


Serve with a green salad or another green veggie as well as quinoa.

Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken

2 pounds of chicken breasts, thighs or legs
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 c cornstarch or arrowroot
1/3 c brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Put chicken into crockpot.  Combine other ingredients and pour over chicken.  Turn on high for about 3 hours or low for about 4-5 hours depending on your individual crockpot.


2 green onions, chopped
3-4 T shredded coconut

Combine and refrigerate until serving

Serve Hawaiian chicken over rice (white or brown).  Garnish with onions and coconut mixture as well as cashews.

Smoked Salmon Pasta

I have not made this in a long time primarily because we have not had any smoked salmon.  But if you received some as a gift for Christmas and have no idea what to do with it, well here is your recipe.

Smoked Salmon Pasta
(If Mimicreme is used, this will be dairy free)

ONLY serves between 3 to 4

8 oz gf spaghetti, capellini or linguine, cooked per directions
1/4 c pine nuts
2 T olive oil
1/3 c shallots, chopped (can substitute white or yellow onions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c dry white wine (can substitute pasta cooking water with 1 T lemon juice)
1/4 c cream (we use Mimicreme)
1 T lemon juice
2 T lemon zest (divided)
2 T fresh parsley or dill, chopped
4 oz smoked salmon, cut into bite size pieces
fresh ground pepper to taste

- Cook pasta per package directions for al dente.  If not using white wine, reserve 1/3 c pasta water for sauce.
- Heat large skillet on medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add pine nuts in single layer.  Stir occasionally until fragrant and lightly brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add olive oil.  Heat for 30 seconds.  Add garlic and shallots.  Cook for 2 minutes but do not allow garlic to burn.  Add white wine, lemon juice and 1 T of lemon zest.  Increase heat to a boil, reduce liquid by half.  Add cream and boil for an additional minute.
- Add cooked pasta, salmon, toasted pine nuts, parsley and lemon zest.  Season to taste and serve.

(1) As previously stated, if Mimicreme is used, this will be a dairy free pasta.  You can also make this dairy free by omitting the cream altogether.  I have done both and it is delicious either way.
(2)  We have made this with shrimp or precooked chicken pieces as well.
(3)  Precooked broccoli or peas can also be added at the end.
(4)  If you would like to add mushrooms, do so before sauteing the garlic and shallots so that the garlic does not burn.
(5) Pine nuts are actually a seed; however, some experience cross-reactivity after consuming pine nuts.  Exercise caution.

Thai Chicken & Coconut Rice

I found this recipe via my friend Bethany's cooking blog:  For the Love of Grub It is delicious. I have included Bethany's notes at the bottom as well as a few of my own.

Thai Chicken and Coconut Rice
~ Waiting For The Day - Sonlight Forums

2 14 oz. cans coconut milk
2 c. water
1 t. salt
2 c. uncooked long grain rice
6 T. creamy peanut butter
4 T. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1-4 t. chili garlic paste (depends on how spicy you like things) **
1/4 c. sesame oil
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed or sliced
6 green onions, sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, sliced thinly

Bring 2 cups coconut milk, water and salt to boil. Stir in rice; cover and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes.


Put 2 cups of the coconut milk, water, salt and rice in rice cooker and start cooking.

Meanwhile, whisk remaining milk, peanut butter, Bragg's Aminos and chili garlic paste until blended. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over med-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir-fry 5 minutes or until browned. Add onions and bell pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add peanut butter mixture and bring to boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Serve over rice.

Bethany's Notes: You could easily cut this recipe in half and use as much chicken as you want. Some people add carrots, green beans, broccoli, pineapple, cashews and/or peanuts for flavor or to stretch the dish a little farther. 



(1) For us, the addition of the red bell peppers needs to be later in the recipe as they become too soft if cooked for 10 minutes.  We like ours to have a snap to them.  I suggest adding these after the peanut butter mixture is added and begun to boil.  These only need about 2-3 minutes of cooking.

(2)  If adding bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, baby corn or canned bean sprouts, DRAIN, DRAIN, DRAIN for a long time.  Then pour them out onto a couple of layers of paper towels and pat dry.  The high water content will ruin this recipe if you skip this step.

(3) Chili garlic paste will keep in the fridge for a long time.  Do not skip this ingredient.  We use only 1 1/2 tsp so that it is not too spicy for the younger members of the family.  You can also add some to your individual plate when you eat it.

(4) We will also substitute shrimp for the chicken to change it up.  You could probably also use pork chunks but I have not tried it yet.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuscan White Bean and Southern Greens Chicken Soup

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery with leaves on, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, freshly ground
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups gluten free chicken broth
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro(optional)
  • 10 ounces of southern greens, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey pieces, precooked


Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add drained beans, broth and chicken.  Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.

In saute pan heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the roasted peppers, minced garlic and cilantro.  Cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the southern greens , cover and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the pot and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.desired.


(1)  This can be made in the crock pot IF you leave the addition of the roasted peppers and the southern greens until right before you serve the soup.

(2) Southern greens:  I purchase mine from Trader Joe's.  The package includes, spinach, collard greens, kale and turnip greens.  However, you can pick up what you would like at any grocery store.  I started using these because Trader Joe's was out of kale one day.

(3)  This is a great soup for leftovers but only if you add the greens prior to serving them.  When I am going to do this I do not saute the southern greens.  I just throw them into the soup and cook for a few minutes.

Mom's Lentil Soup

This recipe is compliments of my mother, Esther Ruth (Hostetler) Zook who would often make this in the fall when the Midwest weather would turn crisp and cold or would become cold and rainy. "Good soup day!" would be my mom's comment as she began to pull the ingredients out of the cupboards. I think of her every time I make this soup.

Mom's Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
2 T olive oil
3 -4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
6 cups boiling, gf chicken broth
1 c lentils
1 pinch thyme
1 large can stewed tomatoes (minimum 14.5 ounces) *Personally I like to use Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes because of the flavor that it adds to the soup.


(1) Put chicken broth on to boil.
(2) Saute onion and garlic in oil.
(3) Add carrots and celery, saute 2-3 minutes more.
(4) Add chili powder, boiling chicken broth, lentils and thyme.
(5) Cook covered for 35 minutes.
(6) Add tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes.

Make sure to use boiling water. This decreases that amount of time needed to cook the lentils.


This is the basic recipe. There are many things that you can add to make even more yummier soups.

Crock pot Version:   Do NOT use hot water as this will quick cook the lentils.  Use room temperature water or chicken broth.  This should be done in about 4 hours in the crock pot on high.

Lentil and Lamb Stew
Add 1 - 2 cups lamb meat, cooked (Or ground beef, stew meat or sausage.  Even chicken apple sausage is good with this.)
Decrease the water by 2 cups
Add some oregano...Greek oregano if you have it

Today we added cooked chicken, leftover rice and some browned turkey meat. So yummy.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chocolate Scotchies

I cannot remember where I found this recipe so I cannot give credit where credit is definitely due!  I apologize.

Chocolate Scotchies

1 c light corn syrup or coconut nectar or honey
1 c turbinando sugar
1 c creamy peanut butter
6 c crisp rice cereal *
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate **
1 c butterscotch chips***

Cook corn syrup and sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolves and begins to boil.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.  Mix thoroughly.  Add crisp rice cereal stirring until well coated.  Press into a 13 x 9 pan lined with aluminum foil.

Mix both chips together in pan over low heat stirring constantly.  Spread melted chips over cereal mixture.  Allow to cool.  Enjoy!

* Make sure to find gluten free crisp rice cereal if you want this recipe to be gluten free.  Brown rice crisp cereal is usually gluten free

** Dark chocolate chips can be found that are dairy free.

** If you make your butterscotch chips from scratch, you will have gluten free chips!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Radishes and Cauliflower

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 bunch radishes
1/2 head cauliflower
1 onion, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons, olive oil or coconut oil
2 teaspoons sea salt

Trim Brussels sprouts of woody stem as well as any yellow leaves.  Cut in half.  Clean and trim radishes.  Wash and cut cauliflower into similar sized pieces as the Brussels sprouts.  In a gallon Ziploc bag or a large Tupperware container, place 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 of the veggies.  Toss to coat completely.  Place in a oiled shallow roasting pan.  Repeat with remaining olive oil and sea salt.  Top veggies with a few more sprinkles of  sea salt.  Roast at 425 between 30 and 40 minutes depending on the doneness.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.


Can serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano OR with English walnuts or toasted almonds or pine nuts.  Pecorino Romano cheese is made from sheep's milk and for my family this is considered dairy free.

Roasted Apple Chicken

1 whole chicken (5 to 7 pounds), cleaned inside and out, patted dry inside and out
6 stalks of celery, cleaned and trimmed
1 sweet apple, sliced
1 semi sweet apple, quartered
1/2 an onion, cut into chunks
4 - 5 garlic cloves, skins on
1 - 2 tsp freshly ground salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground pepper

Combine salt, thyme and pepper.  Rub the inside cavity of chicken with this mixture.  Loosen the skin from the breast of the chicken, lay the sliced apple between the skin and the breast meat.  Fasten the skin to the breast of the chicken with toothpicks so that the skin does not recede back during the breast meat as this will dry the chicken out during the roasting process. Stuff the cavity with the remaining ingredients:  celery, quartered apple, chunked onions, garlic cloves.

Roast at 425 for approximately 90 minutes.  An instant read thermometer should read 170 when checking the thigh.  Juices should run clear.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Truffle Risotto

Ever buy an ingredient for some dish only to store it in the pantry for weeks waiting for that moment when the fear of cooking that one dish is gone?  Been there.  Yep, I have!

Arborio rice meant for risotto has graced my pantry shelves......well, let's just say a long time.  Finally last week, I took the dive.

OH MY!  Yes, it was labor intensive but so worth it.  Coupled with a roasted chicken and roasted veggies it was not too labor intensive for the meal.  By pairing it with "easy" dishes that require little labor at the time meal prep, risotto can be quite calming to make.

Basic Risotto
compliments of Giada deLaurentiis

  • 4 cups of gf chickenbroth
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or dairy free butter
  • ¾ cup of finely chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1½ cups of Arborio rice
  • ½ cup of dry white wine
  • ½ cup of freshly grated Pecarion Romano cheese
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • In a Medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  • Add ½ cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rise is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total.
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and the salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
My notes:

(1) I used my cast iron dutch oven.

(2) Per Giada's notes in her Everyday Italian Cookbook, I decided to saute my portabello mushrooms in the Dutch oven before beginning the basic risotto.  I sauteed them in about 2 -3 teaspoons of Truffle Oil.  Oh my was that good!  After sauteing the mushrooms, I removed them from the pan and set them aside for later.  Cooking veggies for 30 minutes in the risotto will result in overcooked, limp and flavorless veggies.  By cooking them prior to the risotto, you maintain the flavor and the texture of the veggies.  This is also true if you are planning on adding any type of seafood, prosciutto or already cooked chicken.

(3) Due to the dairy allergies that exist in our family, I substituted Earth Balance Buttery Spread for the butter and Pecorino Romano cheese for the Parmesan cheese.  I also only used a small about of the Earth Balance, substituting some Truffle oil to enhance and deepen the flavor of the risotto.

(4) I ended up using closer to 5 cups of chicken broth before the risotto was done.

(5) Once the risotto was done, I added the previously sauteed mushrooms with a small amount of truffle oil.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frugal Tip: Leftover Tomoato Juice

Let's be honest tomato juice is probably not your most favorite juice to drink.  So when a recipe calls for tomato juice, do you stop and think before deciding to try the recipe?  What to do with the leftovers?  Do you wonder:  Will I just end up throwing it out again because it went bad before I was able to use it all?


I like drinking tomato juice but have to be very careful how much I drink straight as it can at times give me a migraine.  So when I was doing the monthly fridge clean out, I pondered what to do with that last little bit of tomato juice.

An epiphany occurred.

Pulling out a mini muffin tin, I filled up the holes with juice.  Problem solved:  Frozen tomato juice to use in future recipes.  No wasting the leftover tomato juice.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Avocado Shake

The very first time that I visited Portland, Arthur took me to all his favorite restaurants.  Oh what fun he had introducing me not only to his favorite restaurants but also new ethnic foods.  One of which was an avocado shake from Thien Hong and then later at Pho Van.  I was skeptical to say the least but wanting to be a good sport I agreed to try it.  Oh my, was I glad! 

Later when my mom vacationed in Portland with me, Arthur and I introduced her to avocado shakes.  Like me she was quite skeptical.  After two sips, my avocado shake migrated to her place at the table.  I just turned to Arthur and asked him to order another one. How I wish I could find that picture of her enjoying that shake.  The caption would read:  Pure Bliss!

So before you write me off as crazy, which I probably am, try it!  You will not be disappointed!

Here is the recipe for Pho Van's version. 

1/2 ripe avocado
1T condensed Vietnamese milk
1/3 c water
1 1/2  - 2 c ice
1 T sugar

Mix thoroughly in a blender.  Serve in chilled glasses with a mint sprig.

Poultry Seasoning

Growing up many of the lessons that I learned about frugality in the kitchen had roots in the Mennonite community.  Mixed seasonings were made at home NOT bought at the grocery store.  Here is a way to stretch your pennies although minimally but still... :)  It also helps use up the spices in your rack so that they do not go stale before they are used.

3/4 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp marjoram OR thyme

Mix together as needed.

Chicken Adobo

While living in the Philippines in 1990 I fell in love with Filipino food!  Here is one of my favorites which we have not been able to use for sometime because of the soy sauce.  BUT since finding out that our precious girl is not allergic to non-GMO soy that is found in Bragg's Amino Acids, we can make this and many other things again.

(Please note:  I  am not in anyway supporting the health claims espoused on this website.  I just know that for us this is a good alternative to the regular soy sauce found in American grocery and specialty food stores.) 

Chicken Adobo
(Dairy, Egg, Gluten and Soy Free)
(Note:  Only gluten free if GF Soy sauce is used)

2 lbs of chicken legs with skin on
2 T oil - peanut or sesame is traditionally used although I use olive oil
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 small onion, sliced - we use a sweet onion
1/2 c rice vinegar - occasionally I will use cider vinegar
2 T brown sugar

Heat pan and add oil.  Add chicken, bay leaves and garlic.  Saute chicken for approximately 5 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove any excess oil.  Add all remaining ingredients, cover and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir chicken occasionally to cook evenly.  Serve over hot rice.

Other options:

- Boneless, skinless chicken pieces cut into 2 inch pieces and also be used BUT do NOT overcook.  This will cook much faster.

- Chicken thighs can also be used following the above directions.

-Pork chops or pork loin can also be used.  I use the pork chops without making them smaller.  I cut the pork loin into 2 inch pieces.

-Adding additional vegetables works GREAT although traditionally adobo is served without vegetables in the mix!  Add them toward the end of the cooking time.  Broccoli, celery and carrots are good options as well as green and red bell peppers.  They take about 10 minutes to cook in the pan OR steam them separately and add them before serving.

- Can also add some julienne ginger with the garlic for additional flavor