Thursday, August 28, 2014

Herby Turkey Quinoa Meatballs - Turkey Burger 7 Ways #2

The best way to get a head start on this recipe is to soak your quinoa and sesame seeds the day before (just do it when you're making today's supper and plan on making them tomorrow) in water double the amount of seeds. 24 hours makes it easy planning for me, but it could be shorter if that fits your schedule.  I soaked the quinoa in the cooking pan with a 1/4 tsp salt, and the sesame seeds in a jar on the counter with a dash of salt. The quinoa should be cooked (in soaking water) before making the balls, and the sesame seeds simply strained. Soaking the sesame seeds not only makes them more digestible but allows the flavor to blend more into the meatballs. But if you forgot to do that, you could just quick soak them by pouring a cup of hot water over them to sit for 10 minutes, or just use parmesan or romano cheese, for which the sesame seeds are a non-dairy substitute.

Herby Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 - 1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tbsp soaked sesame seeds
1 egg
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all together in a bowl. Heat a large skillet on medium and grease with preferred oil or butter. Add large tablespoon sized balls to pan, about 1/2 inch apart, and brown, turning with spatula to brown all sides (usually it's about three sides - they won't be balls exactly). You could also put the meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 in the oven for 25 minutes, but it's August right now and I didn't want to turn on the oven, so I chose the fiddly way. Makes about 2 dozen tasty meatballs. The fresh basil and sesame make an outstanding combination for enhancing otherwise bland turkey burger. Use however you like meatballs - in pasta sauce, with mashed cauliflower or potatoes, in soup, or just with a fork and your favorite condiment.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cuban-Style Casserole with Whole Grain Butter Biscuits

Lauren of Climbing Grier Mountain shared a fantastic recipe for Cuban Casserole which I made tonight for dinner. Well, sort of. I modified it so much for various health requirements that it was almost a different recipe. It was still so good with all the changes that I had to post my wheat-free, tomato-free re-fashion of the recipe here.

Cuban-Style Casserole with Whole Grain Butter Biscuits
Serves 4

NOTE: If making this for evening meal, prepare the first step of the biscuit dough in the morning, or the night before if desired.


1 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp sea salt
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

In a glass mixing bowl, combine flours, salt, water and vinegar to form a ball of dough. Cover tightly and allow to sit for several hours (6-24 hrs - whatever works, I did about 8) to promote breakdown of anti-nutrients. When ready to add to casserole, knead or fold into dough the butter and baking powder till well combined. Sprinkle tapioca, potato or arrowroot starch on a work surface. Pat the dough into a 1/2 –inch thick circle and cut out 3" rounds with a biscuit cutter.


2 strips of nitrate-free bacon
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 carrots, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded, diced
1/2 cup cooked (canned) kidney or red beans
1 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans
2 tsp. dry minced onion 
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp dry basil
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp prepared mustard (any kind - I used spicy brown)
2 tsp. tamarind paste concentrate -or- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
Dash of ground allspice

Fresh chopped parsley, garnish

Preheat a large Dutch oven or covered skillet to medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook till browned. Drain off most of the grease (save that good stuff for later recipes) reserving a 'coating' in the pan, snip the bacon and add back to pan. Crumble in ground beef and cook till brown, stirring to prevent sticking. Add salt, and other remaining ingredients Stir and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then cover and continue to cook on low while preparing the biscuits (below). Add the biscuits rounds to the top, replace lid and cook covered on medium/low 20 to 25 minutes or biscuits are puffy and golden. (OR, bake in oven per original recipe: Pour the beef mixture into the casserole dish. Add the biscuits rounds to the top and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.Garnish with fresh parsley and butter.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One-Pot Chicken and Lentil Dinner

Cook 1 lb. bag of lentils according to directions on bag, with addition of bay leaf, and 1 tsp. salt.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid (basically, enough to make the lentils a little soupy, but not floating in liquid).

In large, covered skillet or Dutch oven, brown
6 chicken drumsticks or thighs
1 Tbsp butter

Grind or mix together (I use mortar and pestle):
1 tsp dry rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2  tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt

Sprinkle over chicken while it browns in pan, turning to sprinkle and brown all sides When chicken is browned, or no longer pink on all outside surface, spoon cooked lentils with liquid evenly over chicken. Heat till bubbling, then turn to very low. Cook, covered 1 hour.

2 carrots, diced
Cook another half hour, covered.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, oregano or basil before serving. And parmesan cheese if you like that stuff.
Excellent paired with a salad of spring greens and red wine vinaigrette.