Archive for the ‘faux fast food’ Category

postheadericon Creamy Chicken and Asparagus faux-risotto

I’ve been missing the creamy taste of Risotto, but haven’t had any arborio rice, nor the desire to stand over a stove stirring for an hour. With chicken and asparagus (or any other vegetable) and some basmati rice you can make a delicious faux-risotto. Asparagus is wonderfully in season right now, and the wonderful fresh taste stands out. I added coconut milk to add the creaminess you would usually get from the arborio rice. It was delicious! (Remember that coconut milk doesn’t give a coconut flavor if the dish has salt and is savory – sugar enhances the coconut flavor)

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and top 8 allergen free recipe. This is also a faux-fast-food recipe that can be cooked in under 45 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive or canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 shake cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken, I prefer to use thighs
  • 1 splash white wine (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup basmati or Jasmine rice (The Carolina Basmati and Jasmine rices work wonderfully)
  • 1 lb fesh asparagus
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water

Method:
Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and spices, and sauté until they begin to get tender.

Chop the chicken into 1/2″ cubes, then add to the onion/garlic mixture. Cook the chicken over medium heat until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally.

While the chicken is cooking, break the ends off the asparagus, and then cut it into approximately 1″ pieces.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine, then add rice, coconut milk, water, and asparagus.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook for about 20 minutes, following the guidelines on your rice package.

Serve to great applause. :) An easy, quick, and delicious meal that mixes fresh with fast, and all in one pot!

postheadericon Zucchini and Chicken one-pot meal

Our oven broke recently. We can (thankfully) still use the stove, and we also have the microwave and the crock pot. However, I had planned to make some oven-roasted chicken legs, and had no clue what to do with them without an oven. A friend suggested that I toss everything I was going to roast into a pot and let it simmer. I ended up doing just that, and it turned out to be a delicious meal.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and faux fast food {ready in under 45 minutes} recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2+ lb chicken drumsticks

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic minced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (or sub the last 3 ingredients with 2 tsp Italian Seasoning)
  • Splash wine (optional)
  • 1 28oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes, and 1 can of water
  • 2 14 oz cans beans
  • 3 small-to medium zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

Method:

Warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and drumsticks. Add seasonings. Use tongs to move the drumsticks around, and continue cooking until the drumsticks start to brown and the onion & garlic has softened.

Splash the wine into the pot to deglaze, using the tongs to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

Add tomatoes, water, beans, potato, and zucchini. Stir to incorporate all ingredients

Turn the heat up almost to high, and barely bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning and that veggies & potatoes are tender, then bring to table.

Serve in bowls, 1 drumstick and 2 scoops of broth and vegetables. The meat is easy to just take off the bone with a fork. Delicious, easy, healthy, and on your table in about 45 minutes!

No pictures, sorry – camera’s broken

postheadericon Kitchen Sink Soup

Kitchen Sink Soup

Have you ever started to make a recipe, only to find out that you are inexplicably out of half of the ingredients? Of course, we make do, but sometimes the “making do” recipes are wretched, and sometimes they taste better than the original. Here’s our “everything but the kitchen sink” soup that can help you clear out your crisper and pantry, and please your family all at once! It will also please you, because it’s as quick as it is fabulous.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe. This can easily be a vegan and vegetarian recipe if you omit the meat. This is also a yummy recipe that will be ready in less than 45 minutes!

Kitchen Sink Soup

Ingredients:

  • Splash olive or canola oil

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 lbs ground or chopped meat (if using meat)
  • Seasonings to taste – Italian seasoning, cumin & chili powder, or cajun seasoning
  • 2 pinches kosher salt, couple grinds fresh pepper
  • splash wine (alcohol will carry flavors, but this can easily be omitted)
    • 3 yellow squash or zucchini, cut into half-moons AND/OR

    • 2 carrots, cut into half-moons AND/OR
    • 1 box frozen/bag fresh spinach AND/OR
    • 1 cup frozen peas AND/OR
    • 1-2 cups sliced okra (frozen or fresh) AND/OR
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms AND/OR
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (or not)
  • 1 can beans of choice (or not)
  • 1/2 lb noodles or 1/2 cup rice or 1/2 cup lentils
  • (approximately) 2 quarts stock or water (amount will vary depending on ingredients chosen)

Method
In a soup pot, warm the oil to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Stir, and when they start to soften, add the meat. (if using meat)

Add the spices to the onion, & garlic mixture. As the meat (if using) starts to brown, add any fresh vegetables you have chosen. Stir until meat has browned and vegetables have softened. Deglaze the pan with the splash of wine, if using.

Add canned tomatoes, beans, and stock/water. Add 1 quart stock/water, then add 1 cup at a time until it looks soupy. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add rice/noodles/lentils and any frozen veggies. Simmer 15-20 minutes (depending on directions on your dried good), test and alter seasonings, and serve. Yum!

postheadericon Ides of March Italian Chicken and Artichokes

Happy Ides of March, everyone! In honor of Julius Caesar, let us eat well, and with an Italian-inspired meal! I remember making chicken with artichoke hearts in several different dishes in college, before I became a vegetarian. However, in the past 15 years a lot has changed and I don’t have all of my recipes from that time in my life!

This recipe was inspired by the memory of those meals eaten with friends in one of the townhouses on the Skidmore College campus. It was delicious then, and it is delicious in its current incarnation as well! Still easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive as well.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Ides of March Italian Chicken and Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole grain pasta (we prefer the Tinkyada Brown Rice penne pasta)

  • splash cooking oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1+ pounds boneless-skinless chicken, cubed (we prefer thighs)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • splash red or white wine (optional)
  • 1 28oz can diced or petite-diced tomatoes
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 14oz can chick peas, drained

Method:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Double check cooking times – every pasta appears to have a different cooking time requirement!

The chicken part should take about 10 minutes if everything is chopped in advance, so you can start the chicken when the pasta has 10 minutes left to cook.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until they begin to soften.

Add chicken and spices to the onion/garlic mixture. Adding the spices at this stage will warm them in the oil and intensify the flavors. Brown the chicken.

When the chicken has browned, add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan (optional).

Ides of March Pasta take 2

Add the can of diced tomatoes, red peppers, chick peas, and quartered artichoke hearts. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain, then toss with the chicken & artichoke mixture. Serve, and watch it disappear!

Just make sure you put away the knife after you’re done using it…

postheadericon Indian-Inspired Lentils, Pork, and Quinoa or Rice

I read a book a while ago which included a chapter about eating frugally without eating fast food. If you have dietary restrictions, it’s unlikely that you’ve been eating fast food, but it is likely that you’ve been paying a lot of money for your food. Sometimes cooking from basic whole foods and looking at dishes inspired by other cultures will lead you to something inexpensive, tasty, filling, and delicious.

I always make sure we have some meat in the freezer, and if I can’t get to the grocery store, we’ll eat this meal. We eat it more frequently than that because it’s a meal everyone likes, and it’s inexpensive. What a great deal!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and an under $10 recipe.

Indian-inspired Lentils, Pork, and Quinoa or Rice

Ingredients:

  • splash cooking oil (canola or olive)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb pork, cubed (substitute chicken, ham, or whatever is on sale)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala spice mix (I highly recommend having this on hand, it’s well worth the original expense!)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • splash wine (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup red lentils (optional, but it adds to the flavor and color)
  • 5-6 cups water or broth
  • about 2oz frozen spinach (I buy the 1lb bags of frozen spinach, and use 2 handfuls)

Method:
Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until they begin to soften.

Add meat and spices, and continue to sauté until meat has browned.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine (or not if you don’t have any/don’t cook with alcohol).

Mix in rice, lentils, and broth, and bring to a boil.

A touch of green on the plate

Add the spinach, then turn heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir 2-3 times during the cooking time.

Check rice & lentils for done-ness, and cook for a longer period of time and/or add more liquid as needed.

Serve and enjoy with a salad or a yummy roasted vegetable!

postheadericon Great Garlic Calamari Pasta

My whole family loves fried calamari, but I don’t like the work required to make it. Occasionally we’ll go to a restaurant that sells gluten-free fried calamari as a treat for my oldest daughter (fried calamari and sushi are her two favorite foods), but we were looking for an easier cooking method for in-between restaurant trips.

Sweet on dinner

Our local grocery store sells frozen calamari tubes which are pre-cleaned and easy to just slice into rings. I found that if the calamari is mostly thawed rather than fully thawed, it’s easier to slice. This is a light “sauce” for pasta, and could be paired with a salad, artichokes, or any roasted vegetable. We had roasted brussels sprouts on the side, one of our favorites.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, and corn free recipe.

Cooking the calamari

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta (we used Tinkyada Brown Rice penne, but linguine would be great)
  • 1 lb calamari, pre-cleaned tubes & tentacles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS margarine or 2 additional TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 3-4 grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 2 tsp chopped fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if you don’t have fresh basil)
  • 1 splash white wine (optional)

Method:
Thaw the calamari: submerge the frozen package in cold water, then place under a slooowly dripping faucet for 20-30 minutes.

While the calamari is thawing, bring the salted water for cooking the pasta to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

When the calamari is mostly thawed, cut the tubes into rings (cutting the flattened tubes into strips, which creates rings when the tube is opened). Don’t slice the tentacles, they’re great as-is. Set the calamari to the side.

In a large skillet, mix olive oil and margarine, and heat to medium, melting the margarine.

Add onion and garlic to the oil, and begin to sauté. Add spices, and keep the garlic & onion moving so it doesn’t brown or burn, cooking for about 3-5 minutes.

Great dinner plate

Add a splash of white wine if desired, it will carry the flavors, but the alcohol is burned off.

Add the calamari rings and tentacles to the garlicky goodness, and cook for about 6 minutes. The calamari will be cooked, but not rubbery. Take calamari off heat before it gets rubbery!!!

Drain the pasta and toss with the calamari, then serve with a salad, roasted brussels sprouts, or another vegetable. Delicious, easy, and ready in under 45 minutes!

postheadericon Pasta Carbonara

This is based on an Italian peasant dish. It’s made with a little of this and a little of that – leftovers that have been turned into a delicious meal. The original has plenty of milk and cheese, but our version is dairy-free. We needed to keep the eggs, though – so this won’t work for folks with egg allergies.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and corn free recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta (we like the Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta)
  • 3 eggs
  • several pieces of bacon or ham, cut into small pieces (double check ham/bacon for allergens!)
  • olive oil, flax oil, or margarine

Method:
Prepare pasta according to package directions

Lightly whisk the 3 eggs together.  Add a bit of milk substitute if desired.

Drain pasta, immediately dump into a serving dish, and drizzle with olive oil, flax oil, or margarine.  Stir until combined.

Drizzle the egg mixture over the pasta, and toss – the hot pasta will cook the egg.

Add the bacon or ham, and mix until well combined.

Serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a light dinner.  Yummy, easy, quick, and inexpensive – what’s not to like?

postheadericon Speedier Dairy Free Stroganoff

We love Beef Stroganoff here. It’s got a deliciously creamy sauce, meat, sautéed mushrooms, and noodles. Add a salad or a steamed veggie on the side, and you’ve got dinner in less than 30 minutes, and for well under $10. Our other Dairy Free Beef Stroganoff recipe required 3 pots, and was a bit of a hassle. This revamped recipe only requires 2 pots, and is less work. Same delicious taste, but with less work. What’s not to love?

Remember: Coconut milk does not have a coconutty taste when used in a savory dish. For some reason, salt appears to eliminate the coconutty taste, and you end up with just a deliciously creamy dinner that tastes like you’re able to eat dairy again!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Simmering dairy free stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • splash cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/3 lb ground beef (approximately)
  • 6-10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced (use whatever size container you can buy easily)
  • 3 TBS starch – arrowroot is best, but you can use tapioca or corn starch if that’s what’s available
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning, or a little more salt and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 lb brown rice pasta (we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti)

Method:

Set a large pot of salted water over high heat so it will come to a boil for the pasta.

Place a large skillet with a splash of cooking oil (we use canola or olive) over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and begin to sauté.

When onion and garlic begin to soften, add the mushrooms. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over them, and stir frequently.

When the mushrooms have started to darken and shrink, add the ground beef. Sprinkle the Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning, or a little more salt and cayenne pepper over the skillet and continue stirring.

Spaghetti tossed with dairy-free stroganoff

Add pasta to the water when it boils, and cook according to the package directions.

When the beef is browned, sprinkle the mixture in the skillet with the starch. Stir, then add the coconut milk and lemon juice. Mix together well. The sauce will thicken as it cooks. Taste test and add more salt or Tony Chacheres or cayenne pepper as needed.

Drain the noodles, then toss with the sauce – easy, quick, and delicious! The tang of the lemon, the slight kick of the Tony Chacheres and the creaminess of the sauce all meld in your mouth for much yumminess!

postheadericon Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas

I miss going to Mexican restaurants and eating gooey cheese enchiladas. While beef and bean enchiladas aren’t quite the same thing, having delicious enchiladas at home is wonderful. It’s great to know your food is safe because you made it at home, when you’ve always got some risks eating out. The trick is finding a gluten-free enchilada sauce, as most use wheat as a thickener. It is very easy to make your own enchilada sauce if you can’t find a commercial Our grocery stores sell “La Victoria” brand, which has a good taste and is gluten-free and dairy-free.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and top 8 allergen free recipe.

These are really easy, and (if you have premade enchilada sauce) should get you from chopping to table in under 45 minutes, and should cost less than $10 for the meal, too. Just pop in a roasted vegetable next to the enchiladas in the oven, and you’re good to go!

Unphotogenic, but yummy

Ingredients:

  • Splash cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/3 lb ground beef (approximately)
  • 2 14oz cans black beans, or 1 28oz can, drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch kosher or sea salt
  • 2 cans or 3 cups homemade enchilada sauce (double check ingredients!)
  • 15 or so corn tortillas

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400F and lightly oil a 9×13 pan.

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and begin to sauté.

When the onion & garlic start to soften, add the ground beef. Stir, browning the beef. Add spices so that the flavors will meld while cooking.

While the beef is browning, warm the tortillas. Wrap the stack of tortillas in a slightly damp tea towel or paper towel, then microwave for 30 seconds. Flip the stack over, and repeat. Check to see if they are warm and softened. You may need to microwave them a little longer because microwaves vary.

Drain the fat from the beef mixture, then add the drained beans and stir until well combined.

Pour a little enchilada sauce into the 9×13 pan, enough to lightly cover the bottom. Hold a tortilla across your palm, and spoon in a couple tablespoons worth of the beef/bean mixture. Roll the sides over (they fold over just like your fingers and thumb do when making a fist), and place in the pan seam-side-down. Repeat until you are out of filling, tortillas, or space in the pan!

Pour enchilada sauce generously over the enchiladas – you want them to end up deliciously moist. Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 25 minutes. If you slide in a quick roasted vegetable next to it, dinner will all be ready at once!

Serve as is or with guacamole, olives, or chips & salsa. Yum! A great tex-mex dinner without the hassle!

postheadericon Mexican Chicken and Black Beans

In our ongoing search for wonderful one-skillet meals, we decided to try a more Tex-Mex flavor rather than our usual Cajun red beans and rice variations. This got a big thumbs up from all of the taste-testers here, as well as some very intrigued onlookers as our taste-testers were eating their leftovers for lunch.This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Mexican Chicken and Black Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 TBS cooking oil (canola or olive) 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless chicken, diced (approximately). We like chicken thighs, but it works with chicken breasts, too.
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (basmati cooks quickly, but you can use any type)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28oz can black beans, or 2 14oz cans black beans
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • a couple grinds of pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Method:Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until they begin to soften.Add chicken and spices to the onion and garlic, and cook stirring frequently until chicken is browned.Mix rice, beans, tomatoes, and water into the skillet. Mix well, and keep stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.Turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Let simmer for 20 minutes, test rice for doneness, and serve with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad. Yum!

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