Mushroom Pea Pasta

Yep, it’s the middle of January, and yep, I’m craving green things. This recipe is quick to put together, can be dressed up in a bunch of different ways, and keeps like a champ for leftovers.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian

Mushroom Pea Pasta

4 servings of your favorite pasta (I used a standard penne, but my favorite rice fusilli would be great here and chickpea or paleo pastas would also be great – shiritaki would even work, if you’re keto or low carb)

8-12 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

Neutral oil

Butter

2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped

1 Avocado

1/2 c. frozen peas

1 c. frozen spinach

500g. protein of choice

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Nutmeg

Salt & pepper

Nutritional yeast (optional but adds a bit of a cheesy taste)

Set your pasta water (generously salted) to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl if ready before the rest of your ingredients.

While the pasta is working, brown your protein in a bit of neutral oil – season with salt and pepper and set aside in the large bowl.

To the pan, add your chopped mushrooms, 2 tsp. neutral oil and 2 tsp. butter. Sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and a bit browned. Season with 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, salt & pepper.

While the mushrooms are going, defrost your peas & spinach.

Chop your herbs and avocado – chuck into the big bowl.

When the mushrooms are ready, add to the big bowl.

Add the peas & 1 tsp. neutral oil to the pan. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Add the spinach. Season with 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, salt & pepper. Sauté until the spinach is cooked through and the water has evaporated.

Add the green veg to the bowl.

Brown 2 Tbsp. butter in the pan and pour over the top of the pasta and veggies. Toss with 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast.

Serve topped with more nutritional yeast if desired.

Serves 4

Vegemite Chicken & Rice

I know … Vegemite (and it’s British cousin, Marmite, are weird.

But … they’re good. Especially when paired with a little fat. I’ve had a little smeared on toast with some butter (sometimes with a little apple butter), on a burger with some bacon (freakin delicious), on toast with cheddar cheese (also yum), and now tossed with chicken – surprisingly good.

I’m curious to taste it with apple pie and macaroni & cheese. Stay tuned for that one; I have plans to revamp one of my old Mac & cheese recipes to include it. I have a feeling it will be fantastic. EDIT: Happy to report that in a test run of both that beloved recipe + a dash of Vegemite was fantastic. Still needs either a dollop more, or more salt …

This dish is really good. It doesn’t scream Vegemite – more like really good chicken. Not sure exactly how to describe the taste. Vegemite tastes salty, kinda yeasty, and kinda like miso. This chicken doesn’t really taste like that – but the chicken ness feels somehow elevated(?)

I don’t know. You tell me. If you try this dish, let me know in the comments what you think it tastes like. I’m curious to see!

gluten-free (check your labels – a gluten free variety of Vegemite is available, made with bakers instead of brewers yeast, paleo if you go for the GF Vegemite

Vegemite Chicken & Rice

1 lb. chicken thighs

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. honey

2 tsp. Vegemite (or Marmite, if you lean toward that continent)

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp. white pepper

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces

Sushi rice

Neutral oil

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or tinfoil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the chili powder, honey, Vegemite, soy sauce, egg white, neutral oil and sesame oil.

In a shallow dish, combine the baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder and pepper.

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Toss to combine.

Take small batches of the sauced chicken and coat with the dry batter. Lay on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 10 minutes, add the broccolini drizzled with a little neutral oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve over sushi rice.

Serves 2 for dinner

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

It seems our Lockdown staple of ramen noodles isn’t going anywhere any time soon. DH and I are both still craving comfort, and I’m still on the war path when it comes to wasting ingredients and clearing the pantry – so we are having some mish-mashed meals as of late.

Which is all fine, provided I can continue to find ways to add at least a little nutritional value to dinner. Some sort of vegetable.

This dish elevates some pantry staples admirably, adding two sources of protein (if you add meat), and a veggie that can also serve as a freezer cleaner.

A note on ramen: I used pot noodles (aka cup o’ noodles) for this recipe. We are loving the Korean brand Budok lately – the base flavoring I went with was chicken cheese, but this would be great with pretty much any base flavor. Mushroom, chicken, chili chicken, shrimp, curry – all would be delicious.

vegetarian and vegan if you don’t add meat, gluten-free with substitutions

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

1 pot instant ramen per person (any flavor will do, or sub rice noodles for gluten free – a little chicken or veggie bouillon would add some nice flavor if you are not using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used a low sugar variety)

1/4 c. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. honey (sub agave for vegan)

2 small scallions, sliced thinly

Frozen spinach

Optional: leftover ground chicken or beef, soft boiled egg, fish cakes, leftover fried tofu, or other additional protein source

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil and honey in a small pot over low heat. Simmer, stirring, until well combined and beginning to thicken. If your heat is too high and this mixture dries out too much like mine did, add a Tablespoon or two of water, stir quickly to combine, and move off the heat for a second or so to cool down a bit.

While the sauce is working, add frozen spinach to the noodle pots and fill with boiling water. Let sit 3 minutes and drain.

Add the noodles to the pot with the sauce, along with scallions, any additional protein sources, and the seasoning packet. Stir well to combine and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This dish takes the goodness that is buffalo chicken dip and brings it to the dinner table. It’s creamy, satisfying, and just a bit spicy. Yum.

gluten-free

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

4 servings your favorite pasta (I used rice fusilli)

Shredded chicken (I used rotisserie, about half a chicken)

3 ounces buffalo sauce (Franks Red Hot is the best IMHO; I used half garlic flavored and half regular)

5.5 ounces cream cheese (vegan or otherwise)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 tsp. celery seed (if you’re using celery salt, make sure to taste before adding more salt)

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

Cook your pasta according to directions. Drain and add to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine.

Serves 4 for dinner

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

This is a healthy little snack or light main that’s high in nutrients and can really help to stretch a pound of ground meat further. A win-win in my book.

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

1.5 cups grated sweet potato

2 Tbsp. flour (as a binder – potato starch or tapioca flour would work well)

2 scallions, minced

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. light oil – I used turmeric olive oil; coconut or nut oil would be fine

2 Tbsp. cornstarch (arrowroot powder is fine)

2 tsp. ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and mix until incorporated. Parcel out into golf ball sized meatballs and bake at 200C/375F 10 minutes; flip, bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main and more as a snack

Enchilada Chicken & Rice Bake

This is a nice little dairy-free use of enchilada sauce. Would work well in a burrito.

A couple notes: I was wanting a little more fat with mine – the addition of a little butter before baking would work, and if you eat cheese – that would work as well.

Also watch your chicken. Mine turned out a touch rubbery – I may go for pre-sliced chicken strips next time.

Enchilada Chicken & Rice Bake

Gluten-free

1 small onion

1 Tbsp. neutral oil

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 bell peppers

1 jar enchilada sauce (375g)

3-4 chicken thighs

Optional: Avocado, cilantro, scallions, cheese

Slice the onion thinly and add to a large pan with 1 Tbsp. neutral oil over medium/medium-high heat. Sautée until beginning to soften.

Add the rice and toss until coated. Sautee until the rice smells nutty and is beginning to pop and brown a bit. Add to the bowl of a rice cooker or pot with 2 cups water, some salt and the spices. Cook how you cook brown rice.

While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 200C/375F and very lightly grease a casserole dish.

When the rice is done, add to the casserole. Thinly slice the peppers and arrange on top of the rice. Nestle the chicken on top. Top with enchilada sauce. Add a jar of water.

Cover tightly with tinfoil and bake 30 – 35 mins or until the chicken is cooked through.

Top with the optional add-ons and serve.

Serves 4

Ginger Scallion Chicken

This recipe sounds simple but omfg it’s like comfort in a bowl. If you’re thinking about skipping out on the browning stage for your chicken because you’re lazy: don’t. I often do (see previous excuse) and I’m beyond glad I didn’t for this recipe. It absolutely made the rice.

gluten-free, FODMAP friendly

Ginger Scallion Chicken

4 boneless chicken thighs

2 inches ginger, peeled

1 cup rice (I used sushi rice because that’s my family’s favorite)

2 cups water

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, divided

1 tsp. salt + sprinkling salt

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

6 scallions

Black pepper

Fat of choice

Note: Other versions of this recipe call for onion and garlic; if you’re not FODMAPping, these would be lovely additions, I’m sure

Sprinkle your chicken with salt & pepper. Chuck into a pan over medium-high with a little fat (I used garlic oil) and cook until browned on both sides.

While the chicken is working, add the rice (wash if you wash rice; I can never be bothered and really liked the way it was kind of pasty in this dish – reminded me of a casserole), water, 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, soy sauce, and the chunk of ginger.

Place the chicken and any pan drippings on top of the rice, hit the rice button and cook until done. If you’re not using a slow cooker with a rice function, cook rice however you cook rice with the chicken on top – the little bits of chicken fat and the juices from the meat run into the rice creating yummy goodness.

While the chicken and rice are going, chop the green onions (if you’re FODMAPping, green parts only) and add to a small bowl with the 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, sugar and red pepper flakes. Mash as best you can with a spoon – or, if you have one, mash in a mortar with a pestle. That would be great. Mine didn’t mush up as much as I wanted with a spoon but the onion still broke up enough to release some good flavor. Taste yours and if you want another tiny bit of sugar add that in. I was on the fence about adding more sugar to mine, but left it out because I like a nice acerbic bite.

To serve, fish the ginger chunk out of the chicken & rice and top with the scallion dressing. I mixed mine together for leftovers and that worked even better for subsequent meals.

Serves 2 for dinner and 2 for lunch

Sumac Chicken

This is a nicely spiced little weeknight chicken that goes perfectly with a side of roasted or fried potatoes.

gluten-free, paleo

Oops. I had no idea my Hipstamatic phone app was set to moody black & white when snapping the leftovers – picture a nice spice crust on a chicken breast with a dusting of lemon zest

Sumac Chicken

3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp. sumac or lemon powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. coriander

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper

Pat the chicken dry and dust liberally with the spices. Pat the spices in and hit with salt and pepper. Cook using your favorite method – I baked mine at 220C/375F for 15 minutes; this would be an awesome addition to flour for fried chicken.

I served mine alongside a semi-failed potato rosti (my potatoes didn’t form a cake, but who’s kidding – fried potatoes are always awesome).

Serves 3 – 4

BBQ Chicken Meatball Bowl

I’m calling this BBQ sauce for lack of a better descriptor. This sauce is actually a riff on the burger sauce I made a few nights prior involving spicy mustard, chipotle Choula and Kewpie mayo.

It also works well as the base for a meatball dressing.

gluten-free, paleo

BBQ Chicken Meatball Bowl

Carrots:

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 375F/220C. Toss the carrots with the rest of the ingredients and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet that’s been lined with silicone or tinfoil. Bake about 25 minutes or until desired brownness has been reached.

While the carrots are working, make the meatballs and sauce.

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground chicken

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos

1.5 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 Tbsp. onion powder

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. baking powder mixed with 1 tsp. water

Mix all meatball ingredients together by hand – warning: the mix will feel a little wet if you’re not used to making meatballs by this method. Shape into ping pong ball sized meatballs and drop into a large pan where you’ve brought a few good glugs neutral oil up to medium high heat.

Fry until browned on all sides, being sure to turn gently as the balls will be a bit delicate until 2 sides are cooked.

Sauce:

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. brown mustard

4 Tbsp. coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 cup water

Salt & pepper

Whisk sauce ingredients together and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half.

Serve alone or over a side of rice, shirataki noodles, spaghetti or spaghetti squash. Serves 3 – 4

Chicken Katsu Curry

Ooh, this is a good one. Not *quite* like the katsu from my regular takeout spot, but not far off. Add a dash of pumpkin purée and some white pepper, and it’s there. Delicious.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Chicken Katsu

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

40 grinds salt

Generous amount black pepper

1/4 cup flour

2 eggs

2 cups panko

Curry

1/4 cup neutral oil

1 yellow onion

1 medium carrot

1 inch ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

Katsu Sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. oyster sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Add a silicone liner or tinfoil to a baking tray and set aside.

Lay your chicken breasts in a single layer between 2 sheets of baking paper and pound to 1/2 inch thick.

Set up a breading station by placing shallow bowls or plates of flour seasoned with salt & pepper, beaten egg, and panko in a row. Coat the chicken with the flour mix, then dunk in the egg, and dredge in panko. Put on the prepared baking sheet and let stand 10 mins to rest.

Bake 10 mins, flip and bake an additional 10 mins.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the onion and carrot. Add the oil to a large pan and set over medium-high. When the oil comes up to temperature, add the onion and carrot and sautée, stirring frequently, until softened.

While that is working, chop the ginger and garlic. Add to the pan and sautée another few minutes.

Whisk in the flour and curry powder to combine.

Whisk in the chicken stock, soy sauce and honey.

Simmer, stirring frequently, 15 – 20 minutes or until reduced by about half.

Let cool and blend.

For the Katsu sauce, whisk together the ketchup, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbsp. honey.

Serve with a bowl of sushi rice. Makes enough for 4.