So GoodFeb/Mar 2011 Issue

Allergy-Friendly One-Pot Meals

Savor great-tasting, allergy-friendly comfort foods

This is not your mother’s casserole. The days of condensed soup and bread crumbs are over. Welcome to the world of new and improved one-dish meals.

These fresh, flavorful casseroles are allergy friendly and brimming with healthy nutrients. Prepared with little effort and minimal cost, one-pot meals are a simple, convenient way to satisfy special dietary needs while satiating hefty appetites. Less-expensive cuts of meat become tender and delicious when cooked over low heat for stew or pot roast. Economical beans and lentils transform into hearty protein powerhouses.

Simmered on the stove or baked in the oven, these delicious gluten-free, dairy-free meals are guaranteed not only to nourish, but also to delight.

Tender and Delicious

Braised Lamb Shanks

SERVES 4

Lamb shanks, a less expensive cut of lamb, are easy to prepare in the oven or crock pot. Lamb is high in B vitamins and zinc, good for the immune system. Choose grass-fed lamb whenever possible.

2 teaspoons grape seed oil, olive oil or coconut oil
2 (1-pound) lamb shanks
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cups coarsely chopped assorted vegetables (carrots,
    celery, fennel, potatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon oregano or marjoram
1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup liquid (white wine, gluten-free chicken broth, tomato
    juice, water)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees or use a 3½ to 4-quart crock pot.

2. Pat lamb shanks dry with a paper towel.

3. In a large oven-proof skillet with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté lamb, onion and vegetables in skillet until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.

4. If cooking in the oven, add seasonings and liquid and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover skillet and place in preheated oven. Bake for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender. If using a crock pot, place sautéed lamb and vegetables in the crock pot. Add seasonings and liquid. Stir until seasonings are distributed and all ingredients are well coated with liquid. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Each serving contains 217 calories, 8g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 73mg cholesterol, 117mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 24g protein.

TIP For thicker gravy, strain the cooking liquid and thicken with arrowroot: Dissolve 2 tablespoons arrowroot in ¼ cup cold water. Stir mixture into hot liquid and cook until clear. Add more arrowroot mixture until desired consistency is achieved.


Rich, Buttery Flavor

Chickpea Stew

SERVES 4 TO 6

Stew is the ultimate comfort food on a chilly day. High in protein and fiber, chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) add a nutty taste and provide beneficial nutrients.

2 tablespoons coconut oil, grape seed oil or ghee
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes or to taste
1 onion, minced, about 1 cup
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
½ teaspoon ground cloves, more to taste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Ceylon cinnamon)
3 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas or 2 (16- ounce) bags frozen chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups boiling water

1. Heat oil in a large, non-aluminum pot (4 to 6 quarts) over medium heat. Sauté mustard seed, cumin, turmeric and chili flakes for 1 minute or until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add onion and sprinkle with salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened but not browned. Add tomato paste and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

2. Add pepper, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, chickpeas and water. Simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Each serving contains 241 calories, 6g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 535mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 8g protein.

Ultimate Comfort Food

Beef Pot Roast

SERVES 6 TO 8

Inexpensive cuts of beef make pot roast an affordable family meal. If chuck roast isn’t available, try blade, arm, rump or round roast. Add an assortment of your favorite vegetables—carrots, fennel, parsnips, beets, rutabaga, winter squash, turnips, potatoes or sweet potatoes—to balance the nutrition and increase antioxidants.

1 tablespoon coconut oil, grape seed oil or oil of choice, for browning
3-4 pound chuck roast
1 onion, cut in quarters
1 bay leaf
½ cup liquid (combination water, broth or wine*)
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes, undrained
2 cups assorted vegetables, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a large oven-proof skillet with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat.

3. Pat meat dry with paper towel and sprinkle with Spice Rub. Cook meat on all sides until brown crust forms. Do not burn.

4. Add onion, bay leaf and liquid and bring to a boil.

5. Remove from heat and cover pan. Place in preheated oven and bake covered for 3½ to 4 hours.

6. Add assorted vegetables of choice after 2 hours.

7. Test meat for doneness. It should be tender and easily come off bone when stuck with a fork.

8. Add coconut milk to pot and stir before serving.

Spice Rub

1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper

1. Combine ingredients together. Sprinkle on all sides of meat.

Each serving contains 605 calories, 40g total fat, 20g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 160mg cholesterol, 447mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 50g protein.

*TIP Try using dry vermouth or sherry.


Tasty Vegetarian Stew

Sunshine Citrus Lentils

SERVES 4 TO 6

Lentils, particularly the yellow variety, are fast cooking and mild flavored, making them an ideal way to introduce legumes to children or picky eaters. This recipe is rich in fiber, protein, B vitamins and minerals. Add additional vegetables, such as spinach, greens, peas or zucchini, for extra nutrients and antioxidants. For added flavor, replace water with vegetable or chicken broth. Enjoy as a stew or serve over brown rice.

1 teaspoon coconut oil, ghee or oil of choice
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon red chili powder, to taste, optional
1½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes (1-2 large tomatoes) or drained canned tomatoes
1 cup additional vegetables, optional
1 cup whole yellow lentils or moong dal*, rinsed
1¾ cups water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; avoid reaching smoke point. Add cumin, turmeric and chili powder, if using. Add tomatoes and other vegetables, if desired. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables soften.

2. Add rinsed lentils or moong dal. Stir mixture until lentils are coated with oil and spices. Add water and salt.

3. Simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are cooked al dente. Add lemon juice at the end. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more water for a thinner consistency, if desired.

Each serving contains 130 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 201mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 9g protein.

*TIP Moong dal are yellow, skinned and split mung beans, available at Indian markets.


Gluten-Free Andouille and Shrimp Jambalaya

SERVES 4 TO 6

Cajun food can easily be made gluten free. High-fiber okra, which contains vitamin K and other antioxidants, can become “slimy” when cooked. To prevent this, sauté the okra without other ingredients, adding a fresh lime cut into eighths. Then add the cooked okra to the jambalaya just before serving. If shrimp isn't tolerated, make this dish with chicken*

1 tablespoon grape seed oil, olive oil or coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces gluten-free Andouille sausage, sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice, rinsed
2 cups gluten-free chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined, or chicken thighs*
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup chopped okra, optional

1. Heat olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add onions, garlic and sausage and sauté for 5 minutes. Add uncooked rice and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes with liquid and tomato sauce and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Add shrimp, spices and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in cooked okra, if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Each serving contains Each serving contains 330 calories, 9g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 138mg cholesterol, 571mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 24g protein.

*TIP For Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya, substitute 4 to 6 bone-in chicken thighs for the shrimp. Follow recipe directions up to step 2 when temperature is reduced to a simmer. Place chicken pieces on top of rice mixture. Then cover and simmer mixture for 25 minutes. Add spices and stir in cooked okra, if desired. Taste and adjust seasoning.


Made with Gluten-Free Beer

Gluten-Free Corned Beef and Cabbage

SERVES 6

St. Patrick’s Day is not the same without corned beef and cabbage, despite the fact that it’s not a traditional meal in Ireland. This recipe is made more flavorful with the additional of gluten-free beer. Check with your grocery’s meat department to be certain your corned beef is gluten free. (Whole Foods Market carries corned beef that is free of additives, MSG, nitrates and artificial colors.)

1 (3-pound) corned beef brisket
3 (11-12 ounce) bottles gluten-free beer
10-12 cups cold water, to cover
1 onion, quartered
8 carrots, cut in quarters
4 stalks celery, cut in quarters
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 whole allspice berries
2 whole cloves
1 large head green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut into 8 thick wedges
6 small new potatoes (about 2 pounds), skin left on, halved
- Fresh horseradish, optional

1. Place corned beef in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Add gluten-free beer, water, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and cloves. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to barely a simmer and cook until tender, about 3 to 4 hours.

2. Remove corned beef from liquid and cover with parchment or foil to keep moist and warm.

3. Add cabbage and potatoes to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage and potatoes to a large platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain of the meat into thin slices. Ladle some of the hot cooking liquid over the corned beef. Serve immediately with fresh horseradish, if desired.

Each serving contains 708 calories, 35g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 122mg cholesterol, 2874mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 39g protein.

Chef and food coach Sueson Vess, specialeats.com, is author of Special Eats: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cooking. For more information or to order this cookbook, click here.

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