Cooking everything from scratch can be quite time consuming. If you plan ahead its much more manageable. But what if your plan falls through and you need something quick? Well this is one option I’ve found that takes only 20-25 minutes from freezer to plate. Cube steak and round steak usually need to be slow cooked or they get tough. We’re going to slice them into ribbons so they can be fried really quickly to get around that. Another staple in my freezer is pre-chopped onions, they come in handy to add flavor to almost any dish. If you haven’t done that ahead of time add it to step one.
2 lbs frozen cubed steak, or round steak could probably work too
2 lbs spinach, or other greens
1/2-1 cup frozen chopped onion or 3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
5 tbs coconut oil, split into 2 and 3
salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning
Step 1: Take the steak out of the freezer and put it in warm water for ten minutes. While its thawing wash, and prep your greens. If you don’t have pre-chopped onion on hand, prep it or the garlic now too.
Step 2: Put 3 tbs of oil in a large skillet on high heat. Start slicing your meat into ribbons about 1/3 inch wide. Its ok if its still a little frozen in the middle, its easier to slice that way. Halfway through this your pan will be hot. Turn it down to medium high and toss in your onion or garlic. Finish cutting the steak and season it to taste.
Step 3: Add your steak to the hot pan, watch out for spitting oil. Turn the heat up just a touch because the cold meat will cool down the pan and you want this to cook FAST. Flip/stir frequently. Add the remaining 2 tbs of oil to another pan on medium high heat. As soon as it’s warm toss in your spinach and reduce heat to medium to get it wilted down. Stir this frequently as well. As soon as your steak is no longer pink turn off the heat.
Step 4: Your greens should be done after about 5 minutes of cooking time. Put some greens on a plate and top them with some steak strips. This makes about 4 adult portions. Enjoy your quick and easy dinner.
My mother’s birthday was coming up and she had recently started a mostly gluten and dairy free diet. Because I had experience cooking for this lifestyle I was in charge of the menu for her surprise party. She was craving a dish we used to make by slowly cooking a cheaper cut of steak in cream of mushroom soup. Obviously Campbell’s version was no longer an option, so I decided to try to replicate it myself. After looking at a variety of recipes online I came up with a plan. I used mimicreme, a nut based cream substitute, and potato starch as my thickener. And what do you know, it worked first try!
Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
8 tbs coconut oil or ghee
8 tbs potato starch
1 tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups mimicreme
4 cups finely chopped mushrooms (I used a combo of baby bella and button)
1. Melt coconut oil/ghee in large skillet on medium high heat. Saute mushrooms until they darken and shrink a bit.
2. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add starch gradually, stirring until fully mixed with coconut oil/ghee.
3. Add mimicreme gradually, stirring constantly until smoothly combined with starch mixture.
One can of condensed cream of mushroom soup is about 1 1/4 cups. I got about 5 cups worth from this recipe. It froze well for future use.
We buy a lot of whole chickens. I can get a lot of servings out of it. For the first 2 servings we have roast chicken with a vegetable side and salad. Then I shred the rest of the meat and make other recipes out of it, getting an average of 6 more servings. (Italian Chicken Quinoa is an example) The bones I use to make broth. Roasting a chicken is pretty easy and doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time. Just season your bird, put it in a pan, and put it in the oven for a while. One of our favorite ways to season our chicken is using garlic and dried herbs. Here’s our recipe.
Garlic Herb Paste
3 tbs ghee, coconut oil, or butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp each dried parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tbs olive oil
Add all ingredients to food processor. Pulse until combined.
Pre-heat your oven to 375. Rub the paste under the skin of the chicken. Just rubbing it on top doesn’t get the flavor into the meat as well, but you’d still get a flavorful skin that way if you are in a rush. Roast your bird 20 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes. Check its temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the thigh. It should be 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy your beautiful bird!
Pancakes are a traditional food for Fat Tuesday. People used up the eggs, flour, and sugars that they wouldn’t be eating during the Lenten Season. I love pancakes for any meal. They can be so versatile. I’ve used leftover pancakes to make sandwiches for lunch, or you could do breakfast for dinner. This gluten free dairy free pancake recipe is pretty basic, but below the recipe I’ll have some suggested additions you could use to fancy them up a bit.
This recipe is actually my husband’s but he said I could post it. He can follow a recipe with the best of them, but this is the first he’s adapted himself. It was fun watching him learn by trial and error on it. He will occasionally spoil me and make me breakfast, as he is a morning person and I am not. I love those mornings! He likes a classic pancake with some real maple syrup. Here’s his recipe.
1 1/3 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of dairy free milk (we use coconut)
2 tbs coconut oil, melted, plus more to grease the pan
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Combine the dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in separate bowl, until fully combined and some air incorporated (this will make the pancakes fluffier). Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. After this is when you would gently stir in any additions from below. Grease a large pan, on medium heat. When the pan is hot use about ⅓ cup of batter per pancake. Flip when dry around the edges and bubbles are throughout the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Cook another 4-5 minutes on second side. Serve with real maple syrup.
Blueberry: 1 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen
Apple Cinnamon: 1 cup diced apple and 1 1/2 Tbs of cinnamon
Cherry Pie: 1 cup cherries and 1 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
chocolate chip: 1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips
Orange Cranberry: 2 Tbs orange zest, 1 cup of dried cranberries that have been soaked in water for 15 minutes
The possibilities are endless!
A while back I tried Kelly Bejelly’s salmon cake recipe and really enjoyed it. It has become one of our staples. I’ve tried playing with it and have come up with my own version using a favorite flavor combination. Lemon and garlic are like peanut butter and jelly in my book, they were made for each other. Since my family follows the Catholic tradition of no meat except fish on Fridays, this is going to come in handy a lot. Using my handy Kitchen Aide stand mixer makes this quick to whip up, but you could easily do it by hand as well.
2 cans of Salmon
3 cloves of garlic
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
1 Tbs dried parsley
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried lemon granules
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbs coconut flour
3 Tbs lemon juice
3-4 tbs coconut oil for frying
In a large bowl combine salmon, celery, garlic, and spices.
Add in the coconut flour and mix until fully incorporated.
Stir in the eggs and lemon juice.
At this point your mixture should be about the moisture level of ground beef. If it’s too wet add some coconut flour, if too dry add a little water. Be careful because it doesn’t take much.
Melt your coconut oil on medium high heat in a large frying pan.
Form your salmon mixture into patties about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.
Fry until browned, about 3 minutes a side.
Makes about 16 small patties, which is approximately 4 servings. We enjoy this with lacto-fermented pickles and a large salad.
It has been bitter cold this winter and I wanted a creamy soup. This recipe contains spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves that make you feel warm and comfy, as well as cayenne and ginger which are said to help with circulation. Put those spices in a rich, soothing base of sweet pumpkin and savory broth and you have the perfect winter soup. I’ve also made it using butternut squash. You can use it as a main course served with crackers for a lighter meal, or as a side dish. It would go great with a roasted chicken.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Soup
3 cups broth
4 cups pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs ghee
1 1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1/8 to 1/2 tsp cayenne, to taste
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
Blend all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or using a immersion blender until smooth. Heat on medium in large pot until simmering, stirring occasionally.
My husband, like many, loves bacon. We limit our pork consumption, so we do beef bacon. I personally prefer it anyway. It is delicious. I didn’t like pork bacon much growing up, but this stuff is great. We get ours from Creswick Farms. Since we are on a tight budget lately we only get it once a month, but boy is it worth every cent. This month husband wanted it in an egg based dish, so I put it in a scrambled egg skillet with tomato and some fresh herbs that were surplus from my Mother-in-law’s garden. It was a very easy and low maintenance meal. If you add a side salad this could serve three, or 4 if two of them were small children. The measurements are approximate, as I just threw stuff together and eye-balled it. I don’t have those handy looking herb scissors, so I just ripped up the herbs by hand. Make sure you pre-cook the bacon!
1/2 pound beef bacon, cooked and chopped
7-8 pastured eggs
1/3-1/2 cup snipped fresh herbs (I used a combo of basil, parsley, and oregano)
1 medium sized tomato, diced
1 tbs coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet on medium heat warm your coconut oil to grease your pan. Break your eggs in a bowl and beat them until the yolks and whites are fully combined. Pour your eggs into your skillet. After about 4 minutes or so stir your eggs with a spatula scraping the bottom of the pan and breaking the cooked egg up into chunks. When the eggs are half-cooked add your bacon and tomato. Continue to cook until the eggs are at your desired done-ness, stirring and scraping occasionally. (My husband likes his eggs runnier than I do, so this is a point of debate for us.) Remove the skillet from the heat. Mix in your herbs and serve immediately.
Other possible add ins are chives, onion, or spinach. However it was great just the way it was. There’s something appealing about a simple dish with just a few flavors that intermingle well. I hope you enjoy!
Lately I’ve been playing around with some Indian spices. They make you feel nice and warm, so they’re great for this time of year. I had a craving for some classic comfort food, but I wanted something a bit different too. So I made this Indian inspired shepherd’s pie. My husband decided it would be called sherpa’s pie, he’s better at naming things than I am. Feel free to play with the ingredients. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. In the pictures you’ll see a carrot, I took it out of the recipe because I decided it didn’t another sweet orange ingredient. You could substitute ground beef if you don’t like, or just don’t have, the lamb. If you’re a vegetarian go ahead and use tofu or chickpeas for your protein.
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound pea pods
1 head of broccoli
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 lb ground lamb
2 tbs curry powder
1 tsp ginger
3/4 tbs marjoram
Salt pepper to taste
4 1/2 cup mashed butternut squash
1/8 -1/4 tsp ginger depending how much kick you want
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Your first step is to roast the squash. This can be done the day before. For this recipe then mash with a potato masher with the 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
Cut vegetables into diced size pieces. Pictured is a double amount of vegetables. When I’m chopping anyway I like to do extra and freeze them for later.
Fry ground lamb at medium heat until browned and cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste while frying. Stir frequently and break up large clumps. Place lamb and vegetables in 9×13 pan. Mix in spices and the diced tomatoes. Spread it out nice and level so you can later easily smooth on the squash topping.
In separate bowl mix together the mashed squash, ginger, coconut milk, and salt and pepper. Spread topping on the filling in the pan.
Put in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Makes 6 generous servings, unless you ask my husband over.
I was spoiled growing up. My mom always used fresh pumpkin in her holiday baking. It makes such a difference in the flavor. Roasting a pumpkin, or squash, isn’t difficult. I had a big butternut squash i needed to cook up for preparation for another recipe. First, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Then cut the squash in half.
Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. To keep the squash from sticking tothe pan smear some coconut oil, butter, or ghee on the cut side of the flesh. Place the squash on a large sheet pan with lips, or roasting pan.It’s better if you can fit them both in laying flat,but if you need to lean one on the other a bit like in the picture below it’s ok. They just might not cook as evenly.
Put them in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the squash. These I did for an hour. They are done when you can stick the tines of the fork through the skin of the squash with almost no force. Take the out and let them cool.
The one on the left is done, if they get as dark as the one on the right, they are a little bit overcooked.
The skin will peel right off, just watch out for pockets of heat. At this point prep it for whatever recipe you are using. Or you can mash it up with a little of your favorite milk/milk substitute and enjoy as a yummy side dish.
Shortly after I went non-dairy, a craving struck. I needed something creamy, but not necessarily sweet, and I needed it right away. Okay, so what foods are creamy? I had recently been introduced to avocados, and they are kind of creamy, but I needed REALLY creamy. So, I decided to add some mayonnaise. Right. So then I had this messy green goo, that’s kind of bland and, well, green. I needed to add some kick to it somehow. I opened the fridge, and my eyes fell on the jar of salsa. Just the thing. So I stir in some of that, and now I have a messy green goo with red in it. Well, at least it didn’t look boring anymore, but I didn’t really want to just eat this stuff with a spoon…. so… lets pretend its a dip. I grabbed some crackers and dug in. And WOW this stuff actually tasted really good…. not sure how that happened. Out of a craving a recipe was born.
1 medium avocado
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use Spectrum brand)
2 tablespoons salsa
lime or lemon juice (optional)
- Chop up an avocado and toss it in a bowl. Not sure how? Check out this video.
- Add 2 tbs of mayonnaise. Using a fork, mush the avocado and mayonnaise together against the side of the bowl
- Mix in 2 tbs of salsa
Serve with your favorite gluten free cracker. I like using Sesmark’s original rice thins for this, though I love Mary’s Gone Crackers. If you’re not going to be eating this right away, add a splash of lime juice (if you don’t have that lemon works too) to keep the avocado from turning brown. Feel free to add more salsa if you like more kick. I’m not big into spicy.