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Archive for the ‘Meat and Poultry’ Category

It is very easy to make great burger patties without eggs or breadcrumbs.  I have tried buying allergy free, ready to eat , frozen burger patties of all kinds from fancy stores—they are so tasteless! So I added onions, green chili and cilantro to mine, in proportions that create a subtly gentle flavor, reminiscent of Indian cooking, to make the patties really tasty.  For me , garlic is an essential in all meat and poultry recipes—remember it is anti bacterial and does not allow pathogens to form. so in goes some garlic as well.

Good gluten and egg free burger buns / breads are available in stores, so you can assemble each patty and create a burger.  In the absence of gluten free bread, serve patties with mashed / baked potatoes and roasted veggies.  You can serve a complete meal with very little effort!

Ingredients

1 pound ground chicken

1 cup packed, coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

2 Tablespoons finely chopped onions

1 heaped teaspoon minced, fresh garlic

1/2 teaspoon, minced green chili, or to taste (Small size serrano peppers are crazily hot and pungent, so I prefer the longer, larger size mild flavored ones).

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed

Salt to taste

Fresh, coarsely ground pepper to taste.

1 loosely packed cup of grated cheese (optional).

1 beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4-6 slices, about half an inch thick.  Use an extra tomato if you like.

4-6 gluten free buns, split.

Sour cream, green leaf lettuce and mustard (optional) for serving.

Method

Heat grill to medium high.  Alternately, place a cast iron grill on stove top, on medium high heat.

Combine chicken with onions, cilantro, garlic, cumin, coriander and green chilies along with salt and pepper and the grated cheese. Divide mixture into 4-6 patties.

Brush grates / cast iron pan,with oil and place burgers.

Flip after 6-7 minutes, until the burgers are golden brown. If cooking on cast iron pan, loosely cover with foil, after flipping.

Allow burgers to cook for 6-7 minutes more.  It is best to insert a cooking thermometer into the thickest part, and make sure it registers at 165 degrees F.(approx. 75 degrees C).

Remove from grill / pan.

Lightly brush tomato slices with oil, grill, flipping once, until slightly charred, about one and a half minutes or so.  Season with salt.  Brush cut side of buns with olive oil. Grill buns, cut side down, just until toasted.

Serve burgers on grilled buns with tomato slices, sour cream, lettuce and mustard.

Roasted veggies on the side will complete the meal

Enjoy!

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This is an easy-to- prepare meal.  It combines the nutrition of chicken with the goodness of veggies and the comfort carbs of rice.  Add a simple green leafy salad to enhance wholesomeness.  What can be better than something so healthy and perfectly delicious?

Chicken Risotto

Ingredients

4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (use leg, thigh and breast pieces if you like)

1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, preferably basmati

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup water

1 cup tomato puree

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 cup frozen peas (or shelled fresh peas)

1 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup sliced olives

1/2 cup tightly packed grated cheese (optional)

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried chopped basil

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Salt to taste

Method

Apply garlic, salt and pepper to chicken pieces

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan, swirl it around, and gently place chicken pieces

Cook covered on medium heat for about 5 minutes

Turn over and cook for a further 5 minutes or until both sides are lightly browned

Turn off heat.

Wash and drain rice

In another saucepan heat the remaining olive oil and add sliced onions

When onions are soft and translucent, add rice

Saute rice for about 2 minutes or until slightly brown

Add vegetables, saute for a minute more, remove from heat

Transfer sauted rice and veggies onto chicken pieces in saucepan.

Heat broth and water in microwave, or heat in small saucepan while preparing rice and veggie mixture

Pour hot liquid over chicken and rice.

Add paprika, basil and cayenne pepper

Cook uncovered on medium heat for 5-7 minutes

When rice is partly fluffy and most of the water has been absorbed, add tomato puree and half the cheese

Turn heat to low, and cook covered for about 3-4 minutes, top with remaining cheese, cover again and cook for 2 minutes more, or until all liquid has been absorbed.

Turn off heat.  Wait for about 5 minutes before removing lid.

Serve immediately while hot.

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Served hot on a cold day, this is the ideal comfort food for the whole family.  Great tasting and easy to make, this is a wonderful way of getting the family to enjoy vegetables! Omit the chicken if you want this to be a purely vegetarian dish, and add a few extra veggies of your choice.

Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients

Potato Topping:

  • 2 cups boiled and mashed potato
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Mix all ingredients and set aside

Vegetable and Poultry base

  1. 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
  2. 1/2 cup diced carrots
  3. 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onions
  4. 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken or turkey breast, diced into small cubes
  5. 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
  6. 1/4 cup cream
  7. 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  8. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  9. 1/2 teaspoon minced, fresh garlic
  10. 1/4 teaspoon finely cut green jalapeno pepper (green chilli)

Method

  1. Heat oil, add garlic and green jalapeno pepper
  2. Add chopped onions
  3. Saute till soft, then add the other veggies
  4. Drizzle a little water if needed, cover and cook for 3-5 minutes
  5. Add milk and cream, simmer for a minute or two
  6. Mix cornstarch into the extra milk (2 Tablespoons), and pour into simmering mixture.
  7. Stir till sauce thickens and remove from heat
  8. Place into a 9” baking dish
  9. After mixture has cooled and set a little, spread mashed potato mixture on top, as evenly as possible
  10. Sprinkle grated cheese.
  11. Place in pre heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes or till sides of the potato topping turn golden brown.

Variations

Use varied vegetables—broccoli and red and yellow peppers, mushrooms (if they are safe to use), peas and corn, and make your own great tasting combinations. A little fresh basil or a sprinkling of Italian herbs will make it really flavorful.

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This is a satisfying comfort food.  Serve a favourite hot soup with this cold salad, and you have a wholesome meal for everyone at the table.

If wild rice is not available use brown rice, preferably the basmati variety.

To know more about wild rice, read my note on RICE, in the BASICS category

wild rice salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked wild and brown rice blend. (one cup uncooked rice will yield almost 3 cups cooked rice).
  • 2 cups cooked turkey breast cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  (Use chicken if you like)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped.
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons orange zest (grated orange rind)
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper(red chilly powder), or to taste
  • Salt to taste.

Method

  1. Gently stir in 1 cup washed and rinsed wild and brown rice blend in 3 cups boiling water, using a large saucepan.
  2. Reduce heat, cover and allow rice to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover and check to see if rice is well cooked, or needs a little more water.  Cover and cook for a few more minutes if required.
  4. (I pressure cook for 10-12 minutes).
  5. Fluff cooked rice with a fork, and allow it to cool.
  6. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, cooked and diced turkey breast,
  7. chopped onion, bell pepper and parsley.
  8. In a smaller bowl, whisk together orange juice, rice vinegar, olive oil, orange zest, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  9. Pour and mix gently into the rice and turkey mixture.

Make a few hours ahead and refrigerate before serving.

 

Did You Know–

A quarter cup of cranberries yields just 90 calories.

Cranberries are a good source of Vitamin C, a quarter cup serving gives us about 20% of our daily requirement.

Cranberries also contain potassium and phytochemicals

They do not have any fat or sodium, and are high in fiber

Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin E.

Parsley is a good digestive aid, and is full of goodness—Vitamins C and A, iron, copper and manganese. 

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Meat and poultry are excellent sources of protein, fat soluble vitamins such as A,D. E and K. calcium, iron, Vitamin B12 which comes only from animal sources, and many other nutrients.  The iron in the meat can be used more efficiently by the body than the iron in plants and supplements.  Meat and poultry, however, do not contain fibre and phytochemicals, the protective factors in food.

Lamb is considered the most hypoallergenic of all meats.  Allergies to beef, pork chicken and turkey are rare.  Fish, with all its wonderful health benefits is an established allergenic food.  I have, therefore, stayed away from fish and shellfish recipes.

There is a close connection between allergy and protein.  The immune system looks at protein chemistry when it decides whether certain foods are acceptable to the body or not. It is the protein in peanuts, soybeans and other foods which provokes allergic reaction.  We need to note here, that commercially raised animals are given growth hormones (synthetic proteins).  Hence it might be safer to use organically produced meat and poultry, from animals raised without hormones and antibiotics.  This could minimize the risk of allergy to artificially made protein and other substances like antibiotics.  Nutritionists tell us that Omega 3 fatty acid is present only in the milk of grass fed animals.  Grain fed animals do not yield any Omega 3 fatty acid.

Red meat is highly nutritious, but it also has a significant amount of fat.  Forty to fifty per cent of fatty acids in meat are saturated.  It is better to eat red meat in moderation, and to use mostly lean meat.  Fat in poultry is external to muscle and can be trimmed.  The skin which is rich in fat can be removed.  Poultry fat has a healthier composition than the fat in most other meats.  In the case of pork too, most of the fat can be cut off from the edges—a piece of lean pork is about the same as a piece of chicken in terms of calories.

The USDA has give some very useful guidelines for cooking and handling meat.  Harmful bacteria like E.coli and salmonella are often present in raw meat.  Raw meat and poultry must not come into contact with other foods like salads and vegetables on cutting boards and kitchen surfaces.  It is best to use separate boards and knives for meat and poultry and wash them thoroughly after use.

Cooking destroys the bacteria in meat and poultry once we follow safe cooking practices.  The USDA suggests using a cooking thermometer to ensure that–

1.  Steaks and roasts are cooked to at least 145 degrees F.

2.  All cuts of pork are cooked to 160 degrees F.

3.  All poultry is cooked to 165 degrees F.

4.  All ground beef, veal or lamb is cooked to 160 degrees F.

Ground meat, especially, needs to be well cooked because of its porous nature.  Living bacteria can make their way into the center of a patty, but not that of a steak.  The USDA considers steak to be an intact meat, where bacteria are on the surface and are easily killed by heat.

Leftovers must be immediately refrigerated.  When removed from the fridge for consumption, leftovers must be heated through and through before serving.

Commonly used ingredients/ herbs and spices, with meat and poultry

Garlic, onion, ginger, and spices like turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, thyme, basil can kill bacteria. 

Scientists claim that over 75% bacteria in food are killed by spices.  When a Kansas State University microbiologist cooked a pound of hamburger with 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, he found that it had 90% fewer pathogens than meat cooked without spices.

Garlic is the most protective of all root vegetables and is particularly known for its healing properties.  It is a powerful immune system booster, and is an anti oxidant , which has the rare mineral, selenium.

Onions are great antioxidants, and have anti allergy, anti viral and anti histamine properties.  The sulphur compounds in onions help to detoxify the body, clear congestion and reduce excess mucus.

Ginger has great digestive, anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It helps to clear coughs and colds and is a mild natural alternative to antihistamines.

Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, thyme, basil and others have great antioxidant, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties.  They are rich in vitamins and minerals. They help to cleanse the blood, build tissues, prevent disease, and aid in digestion.  They contain valuable micro nutrients which are easily assimilated in the body.

Kids with food allergies and sensitivities could react to artificial preservatives and flavor enhancers. What can be better than using herbs and spices, nature’s fantastically flavorful preservatives, which are beneficial in so many ways? 

When cooking with meat and poultry, remember to Spice It Up! .

Note I will add much more on herbs and spices in the GOOD TO KNOW section of this blog—soon!   

 

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Nothing from the stores can match these homemade chicken nuggets.  You can be sure of the quality of poultry, and when you use boneless chunks of your choice, you know that they are not a mix of various chicken parts with skin and preservatives and what have you.  In fact, the list of ingredients is short and consists of nothing but real, safe-to-use foods.

 

chicken nugget

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless chicken, cubed into 1” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed.
  • 2 heaped Tablespoons sour cream (use 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, if dairy cannot be used)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt, or to taste.

For the batter

  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup corn-starch
  • 3/4 cup water (approximate quantity)
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes (quantity may vary depending on how coarse or finely crushed the cornflakes are)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Mix garlic, salt, ground black pepper and ground coriander seed into the sour cream / lemon juice to create a marinade paste.
  2. Apply marinade to chicken.
  3. Keep in refrigerator for at least two hours.
  4. If you wish to freeze some marinated chicken, follow method given at the end of the recipe.
  5. Adjust quantity of batter according to the amount of chicken you wish to use immediately for frying.
  6. Prepare batter by combining rice flour, corn-starch, salt and pepper and adding  enough water to create a thin, pancake batter-like consistency.
  7. Pour batter over marinated chicken pieces.
  8. On medium heat, place fryer / small wok with sufficient oil for frying
  9. Meanwhile, place crushed cornflakes on a platter in small quantities.
  10. Roll each piece of marinated chicken in the cornflakes, so that it is coated all over.
  11. Repeat process with each piece, adding more crushed cornflakes when required.
  12. Test  readiness of the oil by dropping 1/4 teaspoon of batter into the oil.
  13. If the batter sizzles and comes to the top the oil is ready.
  14. Remove fried batter, and gently drop chicken pieces one by one—as many as will get into the fryer without touching one another.
  15. Turn each piece over when edges begin to get golden, and fry for 2-3 minutes more till each nugget is of a rich golden brown color.
  16. Repeat process till all nuggets have been fried.

Serve warm with tomato ketchup or any dipping sauce of your choice, and watch the nuggets disappear!

To Freeze:

If you do not want to use the entire quantity,  you can freeze as much marinated chicken as you wish.  I put one or two pieces in ice cube trays and place trays in freezer.

When completely frozen, remove chicken pieces, place in Ziploc freezer bags, and return to freezer.

This way you can take out just as much as you need when hungry kids return from school.  Microwave 4-6 pieces for 15-20 seconds for an instant thaw.  (Time differs for different microwave ovens.),.

Prepare fresh batter, roll in required quantity of crushed cornflakes and fry.

Tastes fresh and delicious even out of the freezer!

Did You Know?

  • That garlic prevents bacteria formation, and is especially good to use with meat and poultry?
  • That herbs and spices are nature’s best preservatives?

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When its time for a Chinese’ Take-out’ dinner, there has to be a yummy alternative for anyone with allergies.  The oriental sauce in this recipe is delicious, easy to make and can be combined with chicken, beef, pork lamb,, veggies—whatever you have in your freezer.  Before the dinner order reaches your doorstep, you can have this tasty dish ready for the child who cannot have Chinese restaurant food.

Note  Wheat is usually used in the fermentation of soy sauce.  Gluten free soy sauce is available in some specialty stores, and can be used safely.  If soy itself is an issue, skip using it.  The sauce in this recipe tastes just as yummy without it.

 

oriental chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound boneless chicken, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 large green pepper roughly cut into large pieces
  • 2/3 cup diced, canned pineapple.
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste.

For the Oriental Sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (red chilly powder), or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Gluten Free soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root (optional)

Method

To prepare chicken

  1. Rub salt and garlic onto chicken pieces, and set aside
  2. Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet on low heat and stir in sugar till it caramelizes.
  3. Add chicken pieces and saute till coated.
  4. Drizzle a little water, cover and cook on medium heat, for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove cover, add cut green pepper, and ground black pepper.
  6. Drizzle a little more water if chicken is too dry
  7. Cover and cook for 3 – 5 minutes or till chicken is cooked.
  8. Uncover, add diced pineapple and remove from heat

To prepare sauce.

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except chopped cilantro leaves and grated ginger.
  2. Place saucepan on stovetop, and using medium heat, keep stirring ingredients until sauce comes to a boil and thickens,
  3. Lower heat, and stir in chopped cilantro.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Place prepared chicken in serving bowl, and pour sauce over it.
  6. Garnish with grated fresh ginger root if desired.

Chef’s tip:  

Freeze leftovers to pull out when time is short.  Double the recipe and prepare for the whole family, as they will love it too!

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