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Category Archives: Green Beans

The Tenth Day of Christmas – Fried Chicken

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I only make fried chicken twice a year.  Once after Pascha and once after Christmas, so it is a treat for everyone.  You see, there are no chicken nuggets in our house, not even the gluten free varieties from the store.  At the very least they all have some pepper in them, so Buster would be left out if I bought them.  Since he struggles with feeling left out of “special” things in general because of his allergies, I don’t like to do it inside the house unless it is unavoidable.

I originally planned to prepare this meal during the Christmas celebrations, but a rescheduled church party pushed it to Tuesday instead.  In lieu of this meal the children helped make sugar plums as our festive contribution.  Buster pitted dates; Snuggle Bunny measured the fruit; Little Man added the nuts; and I added the spices.  I substituted allspice for the cinnamon.  Then I only had ground fennel, so I didn’t bother with the toasting step.  Everyone helped roll the sugar plums in coconut, then we were off to the party before I thought to take a picture.  They were so good that there were no leftovers after the party; Little Man may have single handedly finished off a third of the batch himself, as I remember him having one in each hand most of the time.  The party was lovely, but as always we left right when the guitars came out with a sobbing two year old–the sign of having too much fun.

Fast forward a few days and I finally made the fried chicken.   While the oil was hot, I also whipped up a pepper free batch of Sev with the sev maker I received for Christmas.  It took less than ten minutes and was very tasty.  Much was eaten for snacks, but we did manage to get one breakfast of Poha out of this batch.

Moreover, I have a hard time throwing away good food.  So every time I make fried chicken, I make frybread out of the leftover flour and almond milk from chicken coating.  I have no actual recipe.  Each time I add about a half teaspoon of baking powder, mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk together until smooth.  The batter should be a little bit thicker than pancake batter.  Sometimes I have to adjust by adding a little water or additional flour depending on the given consistency.   Then I fry the mixture about a tablespoon at a time in the oil after the chicken is cooked.  I think this may be as close to Navajo Frybread as my family will ever be able to get.

Fried Chicken
Oh, those little potato looking things to the side are really taro root.  I got both taro and malanga when I was shopping for the pasteles.  I wasn’t sure which one was the correct choice, so I bought both determined to find a way to use the incorrect one.  I roasted them according to this recipe.  I left out the peppers and used the optional curry leaves, since I had some on hand.  They were very good and the children would have eaten twice as many.

I served honey mustard for dipping.  It’s nothing fancy–just half Dijon and half honey whisked together.

Fried Chicken

1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into nugget sized pieces
oil for frying

Dry Ingredients (more in similar proportions if necessary)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca  starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 cup water or nondairy milk of choice (I use almond milk)
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder

Whisk dry and wet ingredients into separate bowls.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot or skillet (this cast iron is my favorite).  You will know when it is hot enough because a drop or two of water sizzles gently in the pot; if the water causes the oil to spatter violently, decrease temperature.

Dip the nuggets into the flour and the milk and then the flour again until evenly coated.  When you have 8-10 nuggets ready, you may start the first round frying assuming that the oil is hot enough.  Cook for 5-8 minutes turning regularly.  You will know that the chicken is done when it is golden brown and cooked throughout if you cut through the middle of a nugget.  It’s always the chef’s prerogative to sample the first nugget for quality assurance.

Continue until all the chicken is cooked.

Make frybread if desired.

Serve with your favorite sides.


The Sixth Day of Christmas: Turkey with Trimmings

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I bought turkeys on sale in November, and they’ve been waiting in the freezer for the Christmas feast to come.  I defrosted one and roasted it for today’s meal.  I actually got everything ready for Monday’s lunch, which turned out to be a great impulse because my car’s battery died after an errand later in the day.  I’m so glad I had leftovers to feed everyone after we made it home.

Special thanks to my neighbors who helped John get my car running and back home again after work last night.  You really are the best neighbors ever!

Turkey with Trimmings

With the turkey I served:

mashed potatoes (mashed with broth)
sweet potatoes with marshmallows (I kept some plain for Little Man who can’t have the corn)
green beans
cranberry sauce (recipe on the bag)
gravy (turkey drippings, millet flour, broth, and salt… sorry I didn’t measure)

Adzuki Bean Stir Fry

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What is one to eat during the Nativity Fast if soy is off the menu?  Aside from whole grains and lots of vegetables, my answer includes a variety of beans and nuts.  I have a shelf in my pantry devoted to beans.  If I had more energy, I would go take pictures to include here.  However, I spent the day schooling, quilting, and cooking.

The quilt is almost done!  Sadly I ran out of quilting thread in the proper color, so I will wrap what is completed for the baby shower tomorrow and swing by the craft store on the way home.  Soon, I’ll post pictures of the finished product.  I would share it now, but I want my friend to see the quilt in person first.  Kathryn chose the fabrics but hasn’t seen anything since the day we visited the store.  I can’t wait!

All that to say, I’m saving my energy and keeping tonight’s sharing short, so John and I can read our chosen book for the fast.

I like to stir fry adzuki beans in the place of meat or tofu.  Tonight’s stir fry really was a hodgepodge.  Normally I would pick either green beans or snow peas, but I had just a few of each from my CSA.  Toss all of those with a few other neglected items from the refrigerator, and you have a stir fry.  Besides tonight’s options, I’ve been known to toss in thinly sliced celery, radishes, greens, and just about anything else that might chop small enough to hide in a stir fry.

Adzuki Bean Stir Fry
Dinner is sometimes a casualty of everyday life.  I couldn’t get a good picture of dinner tonight.  I got a little distracted by the juvenile members of my household during the last steps and slightly overcooked dinner.  The green beans were no longer bright green, and the adzuki beans were getting a bit mushy.  Nothing was burnt, so we ate it anyway.  It tasted better than it looks.

Adzuki Bean Stir Fry
3 cups uncooked brown jasmine rice
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1/2 lb long beans, green beans, or snow peas, trimmed into 2 inch lengths
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, cut on the bias in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 small can bamboo shoots, drained
1 Tbsp dulse flakes (optional)
3-4 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (optional, sometimes I’m out and don’t worry about this ingredient)
Salt to taste

Cook the rice according to package instructions.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in your wok or deepest skillet.  Stir fry the onion, ginger, garlic, and carrots with a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes until almost tender.

Then add the green beans and another pinch of salt.  Stir fry for one minute and add the mushrooms.

After another two minutes add the green onions, bamboo shoots, adzuki beans, and dulse flakes.  Stir fry for 1-2 more minutes.

Drizzle with coconut aminos.  Cover with the lid for 1-2 minutes.  Don’t get distracted by small children.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Sausage and Sauerkraut with Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes and Plenty of Vegetables

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I have some homemade sauerkraut at the the back of my fridge that needs to be used. It is very easy to make and tastes so much better when you make it yourself.  Little Man loves kraut and will eat it before the other vegetables on his plate.  He is particularly fond of purple kraut, and I agree with his assessment.  Besides serving it with sausage or pork chops, we like to sprinkle some over our stir fry meals as well.

Sausage and Kraut

Tonight’s dinner served as a chance to use up some stray vegetables at the back of the refrigerator.  I have to say, though I like fennel, I’m glad we used the last of it tonight.

Sausage and Kraut (with all the fixin’s)

2 lbs potatoes, large dice
1 package Gluten Free sausage of your choice
1 jar sauerkraut
1/2 lb fresh green beans, snapped into 2 inch sections
2 bunches green onions, chopped into 2 inch sections
1/4 lb radishes, optional
oil and salt, to taste
Pear-Fennel Salad (A friend suggested adding mustard and walnuts to the salad and dressing.  It was wonderful with these additions!)

How I Make Mashed Potatoes: First, start the potatoes, covered with water, boiling in a large pot.  Cook until fork tender.  Reserve the cooking water.  Mash in your electric mixer with 1/2 tsp salt, about 3 tbsp olive oil, and enough cooking water from the potato pot as you need to achieve a fluffy mash (about 1/2-3/4 cup potato water. Really it’s enough to make you happy, so use more if you need it).

Prepare the pear-fennel salad or any other salad you prefer.

Then brown the sausage on medium heat in a cast iron skillet, and use the kraut and its juices to deglaze the pan.  Put the lid on the pan to poach the sausages until they finished cooking in the middle.  Empty the skillet to free it for the next step.

Next add a little oil and salt to the pan with the green beans.  Saute them for about five minutes.  Then add green onions and saute them until everything is tender crisp.  This way all of the last bits of sausage flavor will incorporate into the green beans.

Finally toss some diced radishes into the again empty skillet with a tiny bit of salt.  These saute for just a few minutes until they are browning on the sides.

Honey-Mustard Chicken Tenders with Pear-Fennel Salad

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Today has been a day full of roasting and pureeing pumpkins for the freezer.  I freeze the puree into two cup portions, chill them in the fridge, then freeze them for the next year.  I make soups, muffins, pies, smoothies, sauces, and now pancakes with the spoils of cooking all our fall decorations.  Between now and the Nativity fast, I will be processing the rest of the squashes that have been decorating my house for the last month.   I even got a great deal on some hail damaged butternut squash from a nearby chemical free farmer.  Buster has requested that we try butternut pancakes, and I think it’s a great idea.

I am also on the lookout these next few weeks for a couple of well priced turkeys for the freezer.  I cook one and shred it for quick meals after Christmas.  The other goes straight into the freezer and waits until the first round is cooked.  “Why so much turkey”” you ask.  I like variety and this time of the year is the best time to get well priced turkey.  My mom and sister are also both allergic to chicken and beef.  This method of stocking up allows me to cost effectively cook for them.  Other cuts of turkey any other time of they year are out of my price range.

Tonight’s dinner is a favorite around here.  It is fast and easy, but and is made with things around the house instead of a bottled marinade.  It is based off a meal we were served once at a friend’s house.  My very talented friend Anita, is also a wonderful cook.  Anita grilled these on skewers, but I’ve modified the recipe for the oven.  I change up the sides based on what is in the house, but oven roasted potatoes are always on the side.  It’s the green stuff that varies.  Normally I don’t make quite so many sides, but I had a little of a lot of different things and hungry tummies to fill.

Today I served the chicken over sauteed purple and white cabbage.  That cabbage was left over from last week’s spring rolls and the borscht I made yesterday.  I’m still working on the borscht post, so you haven’t missed anything.  Then I sauteed up the long beans from last week’s CSA with a little onion in the same hot pan.

This week from Bountiful Baskets, we got lots of fennel and some pears, so I tried a fennel salad for the first time.  That fennel salad outshone the chicken!  Every kid ate it quickly, and the pickiest of them said, “It was mostly good.”

Honey Mustard Chicken
Tomorrow I promise to post what we always prepare with the rest of the package bacon.  This dinner is always prepared when the next morning is not a fast day.  The kids are always excited when we have this meal, because they know what is coming for breakfast.

Honey-Mustard Chicken Tenders

1.25-1.5 lbs chicken tenders
1/3 pkg of bacon strips cut in half, 1/2 slice per chicken tender (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Mine is usually already cooking the oven fries at this temperature, so it’s ready to go.

In a large (9X13) glass baking pan or casserole dish, whisk the dijon and honey with the spices and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Place the chicken tenders in a single layer in the pan.  Evenly coat both sides in the honey mustard.

Put a half strip of bacon on each chicken tender if desired.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked throughout and still juicy.  Serve with a generous slathering of the honey-mustard drippings.  Sometimes when I’ve only got lettuce for a salad I drizzle the cooled drippings as dressing.

Pear-Fennel Salad

1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (everything, bulb, stalks, and fronds)
3 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
3 pears, diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste

Toss everything together in a large bowl.  Enjoy!


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We made it to our family reunion this weekend.  There was beautiful weather and lots wonderful food. Cousins I’d never met; the young and the young at heart!  Cousins I hadn’t seen in decades with their families in tow.  Throw in a few aunts, uncles, and grandparents and we had a nice crowd.   Meet at a nice park with lots of shade and great play equipment.  It was exactly what a family reunion should be.  We are looking forward to next year and doing this more often.  Hopefully more of the out of state family can make it in future years, too.

Our branch of the family.

Our branch of the family.



Petting the wildlife.

Petting the wildlife.



Lola, my aunt, and my adorable youngest first cousin.

Lola, my aunt, and my adorable youngest first cousin.

That brings me to tonight’s recipe.  It is a family recipe.  My step-grandmother, Myrna, is from the Philippines.  Sometimes she is called Lola, other times Mamaw, but never Great-Grandma.  That means I grew up learning to cook some of her traditional dishes.  Boy is she a good cook, too!  Pancit is the one recipe I have been able to modify to fit our diet easily.  However, if you are ever fortunate enough to try Lumpia, don’t pass up that Filipino take on the egg roll.  You won’t be disappointed.

Pancit is Filipino fast food.  These fried rice noodles have as many variations as you have imagination.  The common thread is the stir fried vegetables mixed with quick fried rice noodles.  Chicken, pork, and shrimp are all acceptable meats to use together or separately as you wish.  You could make this vegan with only vegetables and you would still love the outcome, but you might get a funny look from Lola on that choice.
Yesterday, there were celery and green onions in the pancit.  Tonight I made mine with long beans, carrots, and mushrooms.   All of the vegetables in this dish are negotiable.  I even use about twice the vegetables that Lola uses.   The one vegetable I think you must use is cabbage.  White cabbage is normally what is used, but today I only had purple.  Cut it thin so it will blend into the texture of the noodles.  Make it fifty times and it will turn out differently each time.  Try to find your favorite combination, and enjoy it very bite of the way.

These are the noodles Lola uses.  Hers have corn in them, so I use simple rice sticks in mine for Little Man.  The noodles Lola uses hold together during cooking a little better than mine do, but they both taste great.  Add a pinch of salt with every addition to the wok to ensure a good distribution of flavor throughout the dish.


8 oz rice noodles, softened in hot water and drained well
safflower oil (or other mild flavored oil, I amend mine with a dash of sesame oil)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, minced (optional)
1 1/2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 lb chicken breast, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, cut in matchsticks
8 oz long beans, cut in 2 inch pieces (cut on the bias if they are thicker standard green beans)
4 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup to 1 cup chicken broth, warmed before use
2-4 Tbsp coconut aminos or tamari (to taste, add additional salt if you leave this out)
Salt to taste

Heat water to soften the noodles.

Heat oil in wok over medium-high.  Add the onions, garlic, and ginger.  Add a pinch of salt.  Stir fry for 3 minutes.

Add the cabbage to the wok and another small pinch of salt.  Stir fry another 3 minutes.

Add the chicken, salt, and stir fry until cooked through.  Pour chicken and cabbage mixture into a bowl and reserve for later.

Pour hot water over the noodles, soak 5-8 minutes until soft, but still al dente.  You want them to finish cooking when fried in the wok.  Drain in a colander, and set aside for the last step.

Add a little more oil to the wok, heat, and stir fry the carrots, green beans, and a pinch of salt until the green beans are tender-crisp and bright green, 3-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cover with the lid for a minute or two.  Just don’t walk away, or everything will overcook in an instant at this step.  There is nothing worse than soggy green beans at this stage.  Pour into the bowl with the chicken mixture and reserve for later.

With the wok empty once again, heat 2-3 Tbsp oil over the heat.  With tongs quickly fry the noodles continually moving them.  At this stage you want to fry the noodles, not burn them.  If the noodles start sticking, add a tablespoon or two of broth at a time to the wok to loosen those noodles from the bottom.  Keep tossing and add in the coconut aminos or tamari to taste.

Add the meat and vegetables back to the wok.  Toss to mix well, but don’t cook too long.  Keep adding broth a little at a time as needed.  It usually takes me 1/2 cup to a whole cup of broth depending on how long I soaked the noodles earlier.  Be careful not to add too much broth or your noodles will turn soggy.  Remove from heat.

Salt to taste and serve.

Green Bean-Beef Stir Fry

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Today, everyone in my house was feeling better except me.  When the topic of lunch came up there rang a resounding chorus of, “Not more soup!”  While soup still sounded good to me, I bit the bullet and used most of my remaining energy to throw together a quick stir fry.  Those long beans that I though might become a snack became lunch.  Then I tossed in a few other vegetables that were waiting for inspiration in the fridge and pantry.  Buster did most of the stirring.  This probably wouldn’t have happened without his help.

I am always on the lookout for cheap steaks from the reduced bins at the grocery store to keep in the freezer for a stir fry or fajitas.  Today the one I had was a little bigger than I normally use.  I also like to put more green beans in this recipe than I had on hand, but that really is just my preference.  You might think it was perfect just the way it turned out.

Beef Stir Fry

The trick to a good stir fry is to cook quickly at a hot enough temperature in small batches.  If you get the pan too full, the juices from the vegetables will accumulate and boil instead of fry.

Green Bean-Beef Stir Fry
3 cups uncooked brown jasmine rice
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, cut in matchsticks
1 to 1/2 lbs cheap steak of your choosing, thinly sliced
1/2 lb long beans or green beans trimmed into 2 inch lengths
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, cut on the bias in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 small can bamboo shoots, drained
1 Tbsp dulse flakes (optional)
3-4 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (optional, sometimes I’m out and don’t worry about this ingredient)
Salt to taste

Cook the rice according to package instructions.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in your wok or deepest skillet.  Stir fry the ginger, garlic, and carrots with a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes until beginning to be tender.  Add the beef and another pinch of salt to the pan and fry 3-4 more minutes until the beef is cooked.  Remove the beef mixture to a plate and set aside.

Drzzle a little more oil into the pan, then add the green beans and another pinch of salt.  Stir fry for one minute and add the mushrooms.

After another 2 minutes add the green onions, bamboo shoots, and dulse flakes.  Stir fry for 1-2 more minutes.

Return the meat to the pan and drizzle with coconut aminos.  Cover with the lid for 1-2 minutes.

Serve over rice and enjoy!