Baked Meatballs (easy to make)

Baked Meatballs

Baked Meatballs & Onion Rings

I haven’t made meatballs in the past; for some reason I thought they would be really tricky to make. I found these to be super easy and have now made them both in passata and oven baked. The two cooking styles create different textures – if you cook in oven they will be drier and denser (good to dip in an accompanying sauce) whereas meatballs cooked in passata they will have a softer, moister mouthfeel. Both ways are great!

This recipe will make a big batch of meatballs so feel free to halve it if desired (or to cook half in oven and half in passata to enjoy both styles!)

Tip: Baked meatballs are really just little round sausages (a great way to market them to toddlers) so they are easy to play around with flavours. Why not try Lamb & Cumin, Chicken & Cranberry, or Pork & Apple instead of the traditional Beef & Onion!

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 150g breadcrumbs / gluten-free breadcrumbs / cooked quinoa
  • 3/4c milk / almond or rice milk
  • 600g beef mince (ground beef)
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • Optional: 1/2c parmesan cheese (powder or finely grated)
  • 1T ground chia seeds
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parsley (dried or finely chopped fresh)
  • Chives (dried or finely chopped fresh)
  • Garlic (dried granules or crushed fresh garlic)

Allergies: gluten free*, dairy free*, egg free, soy free, nut free.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C.
  2. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until the liquid has been absorbed.
    • If you’re using cooked quinoa instead: put the quinoa in the mixing bowl for the next step and add the milk after the other ingredients are roughly combined (you may not need to add all the milk).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients (including the soaked breadcrumbs). Mix until combined. The mixture will be a little sticky but should be thick and not overly wet.
  4. Lightly oil your hands and roll meatballs; I like to do lots of small ones (approx. 2T of meat mix). Sit the rolled meatballs on a sheet of baking paper (on an oven tray).
  5. Bake for 18-25 minutes (or until no longer pink in the middle).
  6. Serve as a snack with a dipping sauce, or serve with pasta sauce and spaghetti, gluten-free pasta, or rice noodles.

Tender and delicious Italian American meatballs in tomato passata

Gluten Free Italian American Meatballs in Pasta Sauce

Gluten Free Italian American Meatballs in Pasta Sauce

I haven’t made meatballs in the past; for some reason I thought they would be really tricky to make. I found these to be super easy and have now made them both in passata and oven baked. The two cooking styles create different textures – if you cook in passata they will have a softer, moister mouthfeel whereas oven baked meatballs will be drier and denser (good to dip in an accompanying sauce). Both ways are great!

This recipe will make a big batch of meatballs so feel free to halve it if desired (or to cook half in passata and half in the oven to enjoy both styles!)

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 150g breadcrumbs / gluten-free breadcrumbs / cooked quinoa
  • 3/4c milk / almond or rice milk
  • 600g beef mince (ground beef)
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • Optional: 1/2c parmesan cheese (powder or finely grated)
  • 1T ground chia seeds
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parsley (dried or finely chopped fresh)
  • Chives (dried or finely chopped fresh)
  • Garlic (dried granules or crushed fresh garlic)

Tomato Passata

  • 2x 700g jar tomato passata
  • Fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Allergies: gluten free*, dairy free*, egg free, soy free, nut free.

Directions

  1. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until the liquid has been absorbed.
    • If you’re using cooked quinoa instead: put the quinoa in the mixing bowl for the next step and add the milk after the other ingredients are roughly combined (you may not need to add all the milk).
    • You can do Steps 2 & 3 while the breadcrumbs are soaking. The pasta sauce will then simmer while you carry on making the meatballs.
  2. In a large pot (or electric wok), mix the tomato passata, basil, sugar, salt, pepper to your taste.
  3. Bring the sauce to a boil over a medium heat and then reduce to simmer.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients (including the soaked breadcrumbs). Mix until combined. The mixture will be a little sticky but should be thick and not overly wet.
  5. Lightly oil your hands and roll meatballs; I like to do lots of small ones (approx. 2T of meat mix). You can sit the rolled meatballs on a sheet of baking paper or a lightly oiled plate until you’re ready to cook them.
  6. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce.
  7. Give a gentle stir after 5 minutes. Cover and simmer for another 35 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve with spaghetti, gluten-free pasta, or rice noodles.

 

Pan fried fish, coconut rice, seared mango, and stir fried green beans

Pan fried fish, coconut rice, seared mango, and stir fried green beans

Pan fried fish, coconut rice, seared mango, and stir fried green beans

This is the best coconut rice I’ve made and it turns out the secret was unrefined raw coconut sugar. I cooked basmati rice (in the rice cooker) with 200ml coconut milk + water, approx. 1T coconut sugar, and salt. This gave the rice a beautiful light brown colour and a lightly sweet coconut taste that paired well with the chilli.

I stir fried the fresh green runner beans in rice bran oil, garlic, and chilli. The slices of firm mango were next (picking up the rest of the chilli), followed by the ruby (fish) fillets.

Miss 2 loved this dish so much that she asked for more rice and ate it all up! An easy and tasty gluten free dish!

Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free.

Crispy Asian Pork Belly

Crispy Asian Pork Belly

Crispy Asian Pork Belly

One of the treats I miss giving up is the crispy salted pork belly at the hole-in-the-wall cookery inside the Chinese supermarket. Like all Asian takeaways, it’s not safe since the soy allergy was diagnosed. Instead. I made my own and it is both delicious and free of all major allergens.

Ingredients

Liquid marinade

  • 3/4c Chinese cooking rice wine
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2T coconut amino acids
  • 1T lemon juice (or 1 lime)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 1 sliced red chilli
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 ml water

Everything else

  • 1-2 brown onions (cut into wedges)
  • Pork Belly
  • Neutral Oil (i.e. Rice Bran Oil)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water (added at intervals during cooking)

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220’C.
  2. In a big roasting pan, mix up the liquid marinade.
  3. Cut the onion(s) into wedges and place in a line in the pan. There needs to be enough onion to cut as a support for the pork belly. It will help to moisten the meat and also act as a structural support to keep the crackling raised up out of the jus.
  4. Prepare the pork belly. You will need a very sharp knife in order to score it; I like doing a diamond pattern. This is important not only for helping it to cook but also for cutting it up later in order to serve! Dry the pork belly, apply a little oil over the top, then rub in salt. Crack some pepper over the top as well (if desired).
  5. Place the pork belly onto the foundation of onions (with the fat on top).
  6. Cook at 220’c for 30-40 minutes or until the rind has crackled.
  7. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Reduce oven heat to 160’C and cook for another hour.
  8. Add 1/2c water to the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking at 160’C for approximately another 60 minutes or until the pork is very tender.
  9. Reserve some of the juices to drizzle over the pork when serving. Consider serving with Asian greens and steamed rice. (I chopped up bitter leafy Asian greens and lightly braised them in the marinade before serving as a side dish with the onion, chilli, garlic etc.).

 

 

Mu Shu Pork – Chow Mein – Chop Suey all from one basic recipe!

Mu Shu Pork.jpg

Mu Shu Pork

I came across this recipe by Cybele Pascal  in a chapter of her allergy friendly cookbook about making takeaways at home. I haven’t heard of Mu Shu Pork before but apparently it’s a popular takeaway in the United States and based on a stir-fry dish made in northern China and eaten rolled in small pancakes rather than over rice. This recipe has a few adjustments (such as not including soy sauce or egg) in order to make it free of the top 8 allergies. The recipe is also very similar to how we make Chow Mein in New Zealand, it’s all about what you serve it with!

Mu Shu Pork: Serve with Chinese pancakes (delicious scallion pancakes can be picked up from the freezer section of most Asian supermarkets) OR use rice paper wraps OR use gluten free wraps or corn tortillas. *Food allergies mean getting a little inventive! I’ve used both rice paper (like making summer rolls) and gluten free wraps; both are delicious.

Chop Suey: Serve over rice. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Chow Mein: Serve with noodles. You can cook with glass noodles (mungbean or rice vermicelli) or with thick egg noodles. Consider garnishing with crunchy crispy Chinese noodles (from the snack section of the supermarket).

Ingredients:

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2T coconut amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 2T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 1T rice vinegar
  • 1T cornstarch, or tapioca starch, or superfine white rice flour
  • 1 tsp honey

Stir Fry

  • 1T neutral oil (i.e, rice bran oil)
  • 400-500g pork mince (ground pork)
  • 1c red onion, finely diced
  • 2T minced or grated ginger (or 2tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1c thinly chopped shiitake mushrooms
    • Can also use wood-ear mushroom or substitute in a local mushroom. Note: you can often buy dried shiitake mushrooms more cheaply than fresh; they’ll need 30 mins or so to soak in water before using.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3c shredded cabbage
  • 100g snow peas, sliced into thin vertical slivers
    • I subbed green runner beans.
  • 1c grated carrot
  • 1-2 green onions (spring onion), white and green parts, chopped.

Plum sauce (optional dipping sauce)

  • 1c plum jam
  • 1/2tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1T Sriracha or other chile-garlic sauce

Allergies: gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free.

Directions – Mu Shu Pork

  1. Mix up the stir fry sauce.
    • Tip: Put into a jar or small sealed container; put on the lid and shake until the honey and tapioca starch have dissolved.
  2. Heat the oil over high heat in a non-stick wok or frying pan.
  3. Add the pork, onion, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the pork is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Break up the pork with a spoon so that the mince is nicely crumbled.Add the garlic, mushrooms, and salt; cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown.
  4. Add the cabbage, snow peas, carrot, and spring onions. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with chinese pancakes / rice paper wrappers / tortillas.

 

Directions – Plum Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer over a high heat. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in a blender.
  3. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored covered in the fridge for several weeks.

Breaded Fried Chicken Nuggets (gluten free)

Gluten free breading mix.jpg

Gluten free breaded kumara chips & fried chicken

This is a quick and easy meal to use up leftovers from a roast chicken! It’s easy to make kumara fries or zucchini chips at the same time as the chicken nuggets; serve with salad.

Tip: Remember that you can also use the juices from the chicken to make a beautiful pumpkin soup!

Ingredients

  • Emulsifier (choose one of the following)
    • Egg (whisked)
    • 1/3c coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/3c rice milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Neutral oil.
    • I like rice bran oil personally and it has the advantage of a high smoke point.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free*, nut free.

Directions

  1. Whisk up your choice of emulsifier in one bowl.
  2. Pour your breading mix into a second bowl.
  3. Dip each piece of chicken into the wet mix and then coat it in the dry mix.
  4. Cook in batches in a neutral oil until golden and crisp. This took about 8-10 mins.
    • Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep fryer; I did a shallow/medium fry in the electric wok! Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven, @ 180’C, until golden and crisp. Turn once during baking.

Making 3 meals out of one roast chicken

 

I  love this rotisserie style chicken recipe and that there’s the option to either simply slow-cook it (for a soft skin, beautifully flavoured, almost Hainanese style result) or to follow up the slow-cooker by placing the chicken under the grill to crisp up the skin.

The other wonderful thing about cooking the chicken in the slow cooker is that the chicken juices + the dry rub marinade create a beautiful chicken broth that you can then use to create yummy slow cooked corn on the cob to go with the roast. You can put whole carrots in the broth to cook as well (as opposed to roasting them with the other root vegetables).

That chicken broth can then stay in the slow cooker to form the basis of Meal #2 Hearty Chicken Pumpkin Soup. You can create a hearty pumpkin soup using more of the vegetables that you stocked up on to make the roast meal. The soup can largely vegetable based or you can include shredded chicken from the roast.

More of that roast chicken can be used to make Meal #3 Breaded Chicken Nuggets (gluten free). The same breading mix can also be used to fry up vegetables to accompany, like Kumara Fries or Zucchini Chips.

Flavourful Black Beans

Flavoursome Black Beans.jpg

Flavoursome Black Beans on Rice

This is such a wonderful recipe free of all the top 8 allergens that is cheap, quick, and easy to make. It’s fantastic to have as a base recipe that can then be served with rice, tortillas, wraps, empanadas, quesadillas, or to make lunchbox pies.

Ingredients

  • 400g tin of black beans (rinsed)
  • Ham or bacon or pancetta (finely chopped)
    • Check ingredients carefully if you have food allergies, such as soy.
  • 1 diced brown onion
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 1T coconut amino acids (or soy sauce).

This is the base recipe; it’s delicious as is or you can vary it as desired by adding mince, diced chicken, chilli, peas & corn, celery, etc.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, egg free, gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Brown the onion and garlic in a frying pan.
  2. Add ham, balsamic vinegar, and coconut amino acids.
  3. Add black beans.
  4. Cook until hot. Can be served immediately.
    • If you have the time, lower the heat to minimum and slow cook for 20 minutes. This allows the flavours to simmer and the onion to caramelize.

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How to make Teriyaki sauce (soy & gluten free)

Teriyaki Pork stir fry.jpg

Teriyaki Pork stir fry

I posted recently about discovering Coconut Amino Acids as a soy replacement and they are the secret for making Teriyaki Sauce that is soy free. Miss 2 LOVED it 🙂

There are two recipes below, one for a small amount (i.e. for a stirfry) and one for a larger amount (i.e. for marinating chicken thighs).

Allergies: soy free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Ingredients (stir fry)

  • 2T coconut amino acids
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1T rice vinegar

Ingredients (marinade)

  • 6T coconut amino acids
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 T liquid honey
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 3 T dry sherry

 

Source: “Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking. 30-minute meals without gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame.” by Cybele Pascal

Quick & Easy Breaded Kumara Fries (Gluten Free!)

Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries.jpg

Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries

 

Ingredients

  • All purpose Gluten Free Breading mix
    • Remember this stores in the fridge for several months! Alternatively, you can halve all the ingredients if you’d prefer to make up a smaller amount.
  • Kumara (sweet potato)
  • Emulsifier (choose one of the following)
    • Egg (whisked)
    • 1/3c coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/3c rice milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Neutral oil.
    • I like rice bran oil personally and it has the advantage of a high smoke point.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free*, nut free.

Directions

  1. Whisk up your choice of emulsifier in one bowl.
  2. Pour your breading mix into a second bowl.
  3. Slice up the kumara into fries.
  4. Dip each piece of kumara into the wet mix and then coat it in the dry mix.
  5. Cook in batches in a neutral oil until golden and crisp. This took about 8-10 mins.
    • Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep fryer; I did a shallow/medium fry in the electric wok! Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven, @ 180’C, until golden and crisp. Turn once during baking. Generally this will take about 20-25 mins.