Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes w/Amazing Almond “Buttercream”

You don’t have to have a gluten-intolerance to enjoy these cupcakes, adapted from the “Quinoa 365” cookbook. A tasty, nutritious alternative to wheat-based recipes. I actually like these better than regular chocolate cake.

I’ve made these the hard way (creaming the butter, sugar and eggs first), but then found that I could add ingredients one at a time to the blender (or food processor) and save steps. The cocoa powder doesn’t even need sifting. Yay!

A simple “buttercream” frosting, flavored with almond extract, is optional. Makes 36 mini-cupcakes, or 12 standard-size, or two 8” layer cakes.

Grateful-Table-Quinoa-Chocolate-Cupcakes.jpg

INGREDIENTS

2/3 c. black quinoa (or substitute red, beige, or mixed)*
1/3 c. yogurt (or substitute milk)
4 eggs
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. lightly-packed brown sugar (or palm sugar)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Scant 1 c. confectioner’s sugar

CAKE PREPARATION

1. Quinoa contains a bitter element which can be rinsed off. It should always be rinsed, although some recipes don’t mention that. One can also presoak the quinoa overnight. The night before, in quart-sized container, soak: > 2/3 c. quinoa (black or other) > cold water to cover

2. Prepare pans for baking. For cupcakes, use cupcake liners; if those aren’t available, butter the cupcake/tart pans. For cake, butter two round layer pans, adding wax paper rounds to bottom of pans; butter again.

3. After soaking overnight, drain quinoa and cook in saucepan. (*See note below recipe if not pre-soaking quinoa.) Start on high heat, but turn to simmer, cooking for 12-15 minutes: > 2/3 c. quinoa, soaked and drained > 2/3 c. boiling water

4. Let quinoa cool some, then process it until somewhat pureed, in food processor or blender. Add and process again with the yogurt: > The cooked, processed quinoa > 1/3 c. yogurt (or substitute milk)

5. To the processed quinoa/yogurt mixture, add and process until smooth: > 1/2 c. butter, room temperature > 1/4 c. olive oil > 3/4 c. brown sugar (or palm sugar) > 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

6. Add the eggs to the processor/blender, pulsing just until mixed: > 4 eggs

7. Last, add the dry ingredients to the mixture, again pulsing just until smooth: > 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder > 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/4 tsp. salt

8. Divide the batter into one prepared standard-size cupcake tin (making 12), or into three tart-sized (making 36 mini cupcakes). (Or use 2 8” round pans.) Bake in preheated 350 degree oven. Standard-size cupcakes should take 22 minutes; bake minis for about 17 minutes or so (until a tester comes out clean.) (Alternatively, two 8” round layers should bake for 40 minutes or so.)

9. Let cool before unmolding.

FROSTING PREPARATION

1. For frosting, whip together for quite some time in the mixer, until light and fluffy: > 1 stick butter, room temperature > 1/2 tsp. almond extract > Scant 1 c. confectioner’s sugar

2. Frosting can be put into a quart-sized zip-lock bag until ready to frost. To decorate, snip the tip off one of the frosting bag’s corners, squeezing frosting in dollops onto each cupcake. Serve, or freeze for up to several weeks.

* Alternatively, quinoa can be rinsed instead of pre-soaking. In that case, cook in (almost) double the water—1 1/4 c. boiling water to 2/3 c. quinoa
** 2/3 c. uncooked equals 2 c. cooked quinoa, if using pre-cooked quinoa

Nine Core Ingredients to Stock, For Healthy, Handy Meals

One of the easiest ways to begin eating healthier is to stock the kitchen with the right things. I’ll admit to grabbing frozen, prepared foods on occasion when our family’s schedules were crazy. A bag of frozen pot stickers from Costco could come in pretty handy in a pinch…

But planning is key, if we’re determined to prepare healthier meals from scratch. We might not Jennifer Cotehave time to run to the store to get fresh groceries, but we can often make a meal of what we’ve got on hand. If we plan for it!

If you’re not feeling up to the challenge, just imagine having your own private version of Master Chef: Today’s challenge is to throw together a tasty meal with “these items”. You can do it! There are no camera crews, no judges breathing down your neck, watching your every move. There are no audiences questioning the wisdom of your efforts.

Thankfully, a hungry family will most likely enjoy whatever you’ve prepared.

So here’s the list of things that help me throw something together when I’m in a pinch:

NINE KITCHEN INGREDIENTS TO STOCK

1. Beans: You can store dry beans in the pantry, and they’ll keep over a year. Some beans, like red lentils, only take 20 minutes to cook. Others take longer; you’ll need to get in the habit of cooking those beans ahead of time. But with their long shelf life, they’ll wait patiently for you, until you’re ready to put them to work in a meal. Make extra, and freeze ‘em! They can be seasoned Mexican Style (add some cumin), Italian style (add rosemary and oregano), Asian style (add curry powder). There are many possibilities.

2. Whole Grains: Vary the family’s diet with other grains. Barley, “hulled” (the non-pearled kind from health food stores) has a meaty texture. Corn meal and corn flour (found in health food stores; not degerminated) can sub for wheat in making quick breads. Oatmeal, processed into a flour, makes a nice substitute for wheat and bread crumbs; great for dredging chicken. Rice, millet, and quinoa (high in complete protein) are also options. (Work up to quinoa—it’s perhaps not as “tasty” as other grains…)

3. Freezer Stock: Beef and pork roasts and whole fryers are handy to keep stocked. Thaw 2 days ahead in the refrigerator (for large chunks of meat); cook ‘em up and use leftovers to create other dishes throughout the week. Frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breast (or thigh meat) is also handy; you can take out just a few pieces at a time. Frozen fish is often available too, and can be a lot fresher than “fresh” fish.

4. Oils: Have various oils in your arsenal to add different flavors to simple dishes. Toasted sesame oil will lend an Asian flavor; extra Virgin olive oil can make a dish more Greek or Italian style. Virgin coconut oil is especially healthy and is good in Thai foods. And truffle oil (as a “finishing oil”, added after cooking) is a special treat- great in mashed potatoes or pasta.

5. Nuts, Seeds: Add texture with nuts and seeds. They’ll add healthy oils, and protein too—they can be meal-savers when there’s only a minimal amount of meat to work with. There are plenty of choices; consider almonds, avocados, cashews, coconut, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts… Wow- what a selection! Add a few, perhaps toasted, to garnish a dish. You can make nut milk by soaking cashews overnight; process the next day and use to add flavor and nutrients.

6. Vegetables (The Longer Lasting Ones): Use veggies to add variety and color to a base of some starch and meat. Beets, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes are all veggies that will keep mercifully long in your refrigerator. You may forget to use them for a week or two, but when you’re desperate to make that last-minute-meal out of nothing, there they are!

7. Dried Fruits: Apples, apricots, dates, figs, pears, raisins—these can all be meal-savers. Maybe this is the last day to use that package of greens. So go for a salad theme. Pick some nuts for texture, add some chopped dried fruits and slices of whatever cheese or leftover meat is on hand… Pretend you’re at a gourmet restaurant, and give it a fancy title. (Like, “Spring Greens with cranberries, pecans, and chicken”.) Make a simple dressing using a favorite oil, some vinegar. Add salt and fresh ground pepper—delicious!

8. Dried Herbs/Spices: These will help keep things interesting. Favorites to keep on hand might include: Basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin seed (and powder), curry, dill weed (and seed), ginger, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage. The list can become long, but start with a few basics. And consider that it can be more inexpensive to buy small amounts of dried herbs in bulk from health food stores.

9. Vinegars: Apple Cider vinegar, Balsamic vinegar (look for a quality brand, no sugar added), red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar—all these can add a dash of tang to so many dishes. Handy to have on hand!

London Broil w/ Marinated Mushrooms (Tri-Tip Works too)

I pulled this recipe out of the archives, since I’m planning ahead for summer barbeques. I’ve already got some homemade BBQ sauce on hand (easy, since we make this all the time at The New Deli). So–let’s get some charcoal!

This is one of my fave recipes for London Broil or Tri-Tip (AKA “bottom sirloin butt” or “triangle roast”). Either cut is economical AND so flavorful. (Did you know the expensive cuts are much more tender, but cheaper cuts have a more robust flavor?)

A bit of sugar helps the meat to brown; soy sauce adds savory flavor, and vinegar tenderizes. Easy!

Another plus: Tri-tip is also usually a decent size for a smaller family. This recipe serves 4-6.

Roast beef w/ Marinated Mushrooms, barbequed on grill

INGREDIENTS

  • One Tri-Tip Roast (2-3 lb.) (or London Broil)
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce (divided)
  • 1/4 c. plus 1 TBS. olive oil (divided)
  • 2 TBS. sweet black rice vinegar (or 1 TBS. sugar)
  • 10 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: fresh garlic and fresh herbs

PREPARATION

1. One to several days earlier, marinate a Tri-Tip roast (or London Broil) in a zip-lock bag. Add to bag: > One 3 lb. roast > 1/4 c. red wine vinegar > 1/4 c. soy sauce > 1 TBS. olive oil > 2 TBS. sweet black rice vinegar (or 1 TBS. sugar)

2. Let marinate up to several days. Sear roast in smoking hot pan; turn only when browned on one side, to then brown the other. Put pan in 400 degree oven; roast for 30 minutes or so, until it reaches 120 degrees for medium rare. Let it stay in the oven longer, with the temperature lowered, for a more well-done roast. Remove and let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting; roast will reabsorb its juices.

3. Marinate some mushrooms for a day or so as well. To another Ziploc bag, add: > 10 oz. fresh mushrooms > 1/4 c. olive oil

4. Toss the mushrooms around in the bag until they’ve absorbed the oil.

5. Next, add to bag: > 1/4 c. soy sauce > 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar > Optional: fresh garlic and fresh herbs

6. If sauce is desired, drain the marinade from the mushrooms into a sauce pan, boiling until it reaches a thicker, sauce-like consistency. Serve the meat with the mushrooms, with sauce on the side.

 

Chili Rellenos: Vegetarian Dish W/ Red (“Mole”) Sauce

To roast fresh Anaheim or Pasilla peppers at home, broil them or grill in very hot pan with a lid on it; turn the peppers as needed until all sides are blackened. Let cool, then peel off skin and remove core and seeds, trying to keep peppers as whole as possible. Canned peppers can also be used.

Paprika forms the base for this sauce- a “mole” of sorts, although it doesn’t have the cocoa powder that some chefs incorporate. It’s a nice change from tomato sauce!

Serves 5; enough for two chili rellenos per serving.

Mexican style Chili Rellenos

 

Stuffed Chilis

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. Pasilla or Anaheim Chilis (or 29 oz. can whole green chilis)
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/3 c. flour (or substitute fine corn flour or other favorite)
  • Cooking oil (canola or coconut oil is good for this)

Red Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 TBS. paprika
  • 1/2 TBS. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 c. boiling water

PREPARATION

1. Cut cheese into 1/2-inch thick rectangles, almost as long as the chili. Reserve some of the cheese for garnishing (grate the leftover and sprinkle on top). Use: > about half of the 1 lb. Jack cheese

2. To stuff the chilis, pat the drained chilis somewhat dry with paper towel. Place a slice of cheese into each chili, gently so as not to tear it. If the cheese is too large, trim it to fit. Make sure any open edges of the chili still come together. Dust the stuffed peppers lightly with flour, so batter will stick better.

3. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites until almost stiff peaks form. Use: > 6 egg whites

4. Gently fold in the egg yolks and flour: > 6 egg yolks > 1/3 c. flour

5. Preheat a large skillet, then add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, adding more oil as needed, as cooking proceeds. One at a time, dip the stuffed chilis into the batter and then into the hot oil. Let one side firm up; flip to cook other side, until batter is a crisp golden brown. Remove chilis from the oil and drain on paper towels.

6. In sauce pan, make the Red Sauce to serve over the rellenos Make a roux of the following: > 1/3 c. oil > 1/3 c. flour > 2 TBS. paprika > 1/2 TBS. chili powder > 1 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

7. To the roux, slowly add: > 3 c. boiling water

8. Bring mixture to a boil; simmer 2 minutes until cooked.

9. Pour the red sauce over the chili rellenos; top with the remaining cheese (grated or crumbled), broiling until cheese is golden.

Ginger Chicken: Easy Meal, Great on the Grill

A good marinade has a few simple elements: Vinegar or lemon for tenderizing, sugar to help the meat to brown well, soy sauce (or other salty additions) to add savory flavor, plus favorite herbs and spices. This recipe uses fresh ginger and garlic, mixed in with a basic soy sauce/vinegar/brown sugar mix. It’s a quick and easy recipe that tastes great!

Make this recipe for a group, or for a family meal, with extra for future meals. Bone what’s left and use it with the sauce from baking the chicken, in a simple stir-fry over rice. A quick meal at a later date!

Boneless chicken can be substituted; it doesn’t have as much flavor, but it will serve more people. Boneless, skinless thighs are a good choice, as breast meat can be a bit dry. Serves 15 or so.

Ginger Chicken, Spinach Salad, and Corn on the CobINGREDIENTS

  • 3 lg. cloves garlic
  • 2-4″ pc. fresh ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. soy sauce
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 9 lb. chicken pieces, with skin and bone in

PREPARATION

1. In processor or blender, process: > 3 lg. cloves garlic > approx. 2-4″ pc. fresh ginger, sliced > 1/8 tsp. cayenne

2. Add and process all ingredients: > 2/3 c. brown sugar > 1 c. soy sauce > 1 c. white vinegar

3. Marinate chicken in the above mix for 1-4 days in a sturdy zip-lock plastic bag. Use: > 9 lb. fresh or frozen chicken pieces, w/ skin and bone in (thighs or other favorites)

4. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or barbecue on the grill. Serve right from oven, or at room-temperature, or chill to serve cold. Save the juices from baking the chicken in a bowl in the refrigerator. After chilling, remove the fat that hardens on top; this makes an excellent base for a great sauce later in the week.

Chicken w/ Wild Rice and Black Cherry Sauce: Elegant Entree

The following recipe makes extra of the rice, which is nice—it makes a great side dish later in the week. It keeps well, and can even be frozen. And- it’s perfect for gluten-free folks!

To “stuff” the chicken, simply lift the skin up off the breast a bit, stuffing the rice underneath. (The trickiest part may be in locating chicken breast that still has the skin on it.) Use any amount of chicken breasts, according to how many servings are needed. This recipe will serve 7-8, plus extra wild rice stuffing.

Grateful-Table-Chicken-w-Wild-Rice-Black-Cherry-SauceINGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 c. water, plus 3 more c. water
  • 1 c. wild rice
  • 3-4 bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, peeled, left whole to cook until tender
  • 2 c. white rice (if brown rice, cook 40 min.)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • hearty splash of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Vege-sal (found at Health Food Stores, or sub 1 1/2 tsp. salt)
  • 1 1/2 c. walnuts (toast if desired)
  • 1/3 c. frozen orange concentrate
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 7 or 8 chicken breasts with skin on (bone in, if desired)
  • 8 oz. can of pitted black cherries
  • Chicken stock, water, or black cherry juice to make 1 1/2 c. liquid
  • 3 TBS. brown sugar
  • 1 TBS. corn starch

PREPARATION

1. Prepare Wild Rice Stuffing ahead of time, even a day earlier. In pot with a lid, bring to boil: > 3 1/2 c. water

2. Add the following the pot, to precook the wild rice: > 1 c. wild rice > more: > 2 c. brown rice (if white rice, cook 15 minutes)

3. Grill in pan until tender: > 1 small onion, diced > 2 stalks celery, chopped > the pre-cooked, diced carrot > hearty splash of olive oil

4. To the pot of cooked rice, add: > The grilled celery, onion, carrot > 2 1/2 tsp. Vege-sal (found at Health Food Stores, or sub 1 1/2 tsp. salt) > 1 1/2 c. walnuts (toast if desired) > 1/3 c. frozen orange concentrate > 1/2 tsp. thyme

5. In 13 x 9 ” dish, use: > 7 or 8 chicken breasts with skin on (bone in, if desired)

6. Lift skin from the chicken and stuff with: > The cooked wild rice mixture

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or so, until chicken is golden and cooked through. Meanwhile, make Black Cherry Sauce.

Black Cherry Sauce

PREPARATION

1. Drain one 8 oz. can of pitted black cherries, set cherries aside, use juice in sauce. Mix together in sauce pan: > Juice of 8 oz. can black cherries, plus enough stock, water, or black cherry juice to make 1 1/2 c. liquid > 3 TBS. brown sugar > 1 TBS. corn starch

2. Turn pan on high, stirring until it comes to a boil. Lower heat, let sauce cook 1 minute more, then add reserved cherries. Serve over the chicken.

Chicken Paprikash: Easy Chicken & Pasta Dish

This dish can be thrown together easy, with some pasta on hand, and a bit of sour cream, chicken, and spice. This version is a newer, easier, healthier version of a classic. The sour cream adds a bit of fat, but it’s still lower-fat than the original recipe, and it seems to be a crowd-pleaser. For a more traditional flavor, as found in authentic Hungarian recipes, toasted caraway seeds can be added. Serves 4.

Chicken w/ Hungarian style Paprikash sauce, over pasta

INGREDIENTS

• 3 to 4 c. cooked, boned chicken
• 1 green pepper
• 1 red pepper
• 12 oz. or so dry fettuccini (or choice of pasta)
• 1/4 c. olive oil
• 1/4 c. flour
• 1 TBS. paprika
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. pepper
• 1/2 TBS. chopped, fresh garlic
• 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
• 1/2 c. sour cream
• (optional) 1 tsp. toasted caraway seed

Chicken for this dish is best “pulled”, or torn, into pieces, as more sauce clings to it this way. Prepare the chicken ahead of time, or grill 3 or 4 half breasts, to yield: > 3 to 4 c. cooked, boned chicken, pulled (torn) into 1 to 2″ chunks

Also prepare peppers, chopping into 1/2″ diced pieces: > 1 green pepper > 1 red pepper

Grill the diced peppers in very hot skillet for a few minutes, in a little olive oil, with a splash of water to steam them a bit. Set cooked peppers aside.

Cook the following until tender, rinsing, cooling, and tossing with a bit of olive oil to keep it from clumping: > 12 oz. or so dry fettuccini (or your choice of pasta)

In iron skillet or saucepan, mix: > 1/4 c. olive oil > 1/4 c. flour > 1 TBS. paprika > 1 tsp. salt > 1/2 tsp. pepper > 1/2 TBS. chopped, fresh garlic

Slowly add: > 1 1/2 c. chicken stock

Bring mixture to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, adding last: > 1/2 c. sour cream > The cooked chicken chunks > Diced, cooked peppers > (optional: 1 tsp. toasted caraway seed, crushed)

Serve over the cooked pasta, with a side dish of steamed green vegetables, as desired, for extra color.

Chicken Piccata w/Lemon, Capers: Elegant but Easy Enough

This elegant dinner entree has a light, flavorful sauce, with capers giving it a distinct, piquant flavor. The method is streamlined for making a simple recipe. Plan 1/3 to 1/2 lb. serving per person. Serves 6-4.

Chicken Breast w/ Caper Sauce, lemon, garlicINGREDIENTS

  • Approx. 3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 large half breasts)
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt for sauce (omit salt if using canned, salted chicken stock)
  • 1/2 c. oat flour (sub wheat flour or other, if desired)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 TBS. parmesan
  • 1/2 TBS. chopped garlic
  • 1 TBS. olive oil, plus extra for grilling chicken
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 1/4 c. capers, drained
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley

PREPARATION

1. Ahead of time, in sauce pan, reduce sauce by boiling down liquids by half: > 1 c. chicken stock > 1/4 c. white wine > 1/4 c. lemon juice > 1/4 tsp. salt for sauce (omit salt if using canned, salted chicken stock)

2. Set reduced sauce aside. Mix dry ingredients together for dredging chicken: > 1/2 c. flour > 1 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/4 tsp. pepper > 1/2 tsp. paprika > 2 TBS. parmesan

3. Prepare chicken breasts by pounding them to about 1/2-inch thick; they’ll be more tender, and will cook evenly. A meat hammer works great for this!

4. Get skillet hot, adding a touch of olive oil when hot. Dip the hammered chicken breasts into the flour mix, and grill on both sides until golden and cooked through. Set aside to warm in oven until serving time.

5. After cooking chicken, prepare sauce. To the same skillet used for the chicken, add: > 1/2 TBS. chopped fresh garlic

6. Heat just so garlic can cook a bit, without burning. To the garlic, add: > 1 TBS. olive oil > 1 TBS. flour

7. To the oil/flour mix, add the reduced sauce liquid, bring back to a boil. Finally, remove from heat and stir in until melted: > 2 TBS. butter

8. Arrange grilled chicken breast on plate, add sauce, and garnish with: > 1/4 c. capers, drained > 1/4 c. chopped parsley > thin-sliced lemon

9. Serve with vegetables and a favorite pasta or rice.

Chicken Putenesca, w/ Savory Sauce of Tomato, Greek Olives

These flavors are bold; a goat cheese stuffing holds its own against a tomato sauce containing Greek olives and a dash of anchovies. Anchovy paste can be used, or fine-chop a small can of whole anchovies, freezing the leftovers to preserve flavor. Plan 4-6 oz. of meat per serving; this recipe serves 6 or so.

Stuffed Chicken w/ Goat Cheese and Spinach

INGREDIENTS

  • Approx. 3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 6 half breasts)
  • 8 oz. goat cheese (soft style)
  • 6 oz. (small bag) spinach
  • 1/2 c. fine bread crumbs* (see below for gluten-free substitute)
  • 1/2 TBS. chopped garlic
  • 2 TBS. olive oil (plus some oil for sautéing)
  • One 28-oz. can tomatoes, chopped
  • 2/3 c. (or more) Greek olives (about 3-4 oz.)
  • 2 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley for garnish

PREPARATION

1. Prepare chicken breasts by hammering to about 1/2-inch thick. A meat hammer (with a large surface area, usually somewhat “spiked”) will tenderize the meat and thin it out, so the meat will cook through but stay tender. Use: > 3 lb. chicken breasts

2. To each piece of meat, spread the top with goat cheese. Use: > 8 oz. goat cheese

3. To half the pieces, add a handful of spinach on top of the goat cheese and top with another breast piece (goat cheese facing in). The spinach will shrink considerable after cooking, but will seem bulky beforehand. Use: > 6 oz. spinach

4. These “stuffed” chicken breasts are actually more of a “sandwich”, which makes them easier to deal with. Dip the top and bottoms of each “sandwich” into the fine bread crumbs (or seasoned oat flour mix, as mentioned at end of recipe). Use: > 1/2 c. bread crumbs (or oat flour mix)

5. In a hot skillet, add a splash of oil and the layered chicken-goat-spinach pieces. Grill until golden brown on one side; flip to brown other side. Depending on size and thickness of the chicken breasts, they will take 15 minutes (or more) to cook through. Remove the browned, “stuffed” chicken to a Pyrex (or other) casserole dish and finish cooking in a 350-degree oven until cooked through.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the easy tomato sauce. In a hot saucepan, add the oil and garlic, turning pan off to let the garlic “steep”. The garlic should only get “transparent”, or to a light golden color. If the pan’s too hot and the garlic starts to darken, add some of the canned tomato to cool it down a little. In the pre-heated saucepan, add: > 2 TBS. olive Oil > 1/2 TBS. chopped garlic

7. After a few minutes of steeping, add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil: > 28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped > 1/3 c. or so Greek olives, pitted and quartered > 2 tsp. anchovy paste (or chopped anchovy)

8. To serve, top with cooked stuffed chicken with the tomato sauce, and a sprinkling of parsley. A side of vegetables and a favorite pasta or rice rounds out the meal.

* Substitute for bread crumbs: Use a seasoned mixture of “oat flour” (oatmeal is processed until fine in a food processor or blender). Favorite herbs and a dash of salt can be added, for a whole-grain, non-gluten substitute for those bread crumbs. (Non-gluten if you buy the right oatmeal!)

Beef Stroganoff: Budget Recipe w/ Chuck Roast- Delicious!

This classic recipe is sped up by using a pressure cooker to simmer the beef, which also seals in flavor. A crock pot, left on low all day, can also be used (or cooked in a low-heat oven). With a few extra ingredients, like carrot, red wine and tomato paste, a simple Beef Bourguignon can be made for variety. Serves 6.

Grateful-Table-Beef-StroganoffINGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. beef, boneless chuck roast or similar cut
  • Oil or butter, as needed, for browning (coconut or olive oil)
  • 3 c. beef broth (or substitute chicken broth)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 3 TBS. flour
  • 1 lb. mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. salt (less if using salted broth)
  • 1/2 c. sour cream or yogurt
  • 12 oz. wide egg noodles

PREPARATION

1. Cut into 2″ cubes: > 2 lb. chuck roast

2. Get a large iron skillet quite hot. Brown beef cubes in a little olive oil in the skillet—don’t crowd the pan or the beef won’t brown. As pieces get browned, add to oven-proof pot, crock pot, or pressure cooker, if available. Set skillet aside to use for cooking the onions.

3. Microwave (or heat on stove) until hot: > 3 c. beef or chicken broth > 2 bay leaves

4. Add hot broth to the pot/pressure cooker. Cover the pot; let beef cook until tender. This will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a 375 degree oven, or 8 hours or so in a crock pot on low heat, or 40 minutes at medium pressure in a pressure cooker. While beef is cooking, sauté onions in the skillet used to brown the beef. To hot skillet, add: > Olive oil as needed > 1 lg. onion, chopped

5. Turn heat down, cooking onions slowly, until sweet and tender. At this point, the pan of onions can be refrigerated until beef’s done cooking, if using the oven or crock pot. When ready to assemble the dish, continue with remaining steps. To the cooked onions, add: > 3 garlic cloves, minced > 3 TBS. flour > 1 tsp. thyme

6. Mix garlic, flour and thyme into the onion until smooth. Set aside. In separate pan, sauté mushrooms. Don’t crowd the pan or they won’t brown. Do batches, adding browned mushrooms to the onion/garlic/flour pan. Use: > 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

7. When meat is done, pour some of the liquid into the onion/mushroom/garlic/flour pan. Mix until smooth, then add remaining liquid. Turn pan on and bring almost to a boil, so that the flour will thicken it. Cook for 2 minutes. Mixture should look saucy (boil it longer to reduce liquid if it’s too thin). Add last: > salt to taste (1 tsp. or so) > 1/2 c. sour cream or yogurt

8. Serve over cooked pasta, garnish with chopped parsley.