Chicken Tetrazinni, With Dairy and Without

This delicious casserole can be prepared ahead of time and, with a few substitutions and omissions can be made dairy-free.For supper last week, I made chicken tetrazinni, a family favorite that can also be made with turkey, for the first time in a long time. After his first bite, the Man of Steel decided he wanted it made again for his birthday meal extravaganza to be held in a few weeks. Because the dish can 1) be prepared ahead of time, and 2) be made in dairy and non-dairy versions (at least 3 of those attending steer clear of dairy), I was thrilled. In honor of the upcoming celebratory event, here’s the recipe for chicken tetrazinni, with notes about how to make the non-dairy version, too.

Chicken Tetrazzini

2 – 3 cups cooked, deboned, cubed chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (omit this ingredient in the dairy-free version)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter (dairy-free version uses Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup green or sweet red pepper, chopped
12 ounces spaghetti
6 slices of bread, toasted and cubed
1/4 cup melted butter (dairy-free version uses Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put cubed chicken and cheese (omit for dairy-free version) in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Rinse with cold water and place in pan with turkey and cheese. Stir well.

While spaghetti is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of butter or Earth Balance in a sauce pan. Add onions and pepper. Saute until onions are transparent. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add broth, whisking and stirring constantly until it boils. Let it boil gently for one minute. Pour sauce over noodle/meat/cheese mixture and stir well.

Toast the bread and cut into cubes. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter or Earth Balance and stir well. Sprinkle croutons over the noodle mixture. Bake for 1/2 hour.

Dairy Free Coconut Chocolate Bars

These bars are a low carb, dairy free way to satisfy your chocolate cravings and your sweet tooth. Satisfying chocolate cravings is often a challenge for people with dairy allergies. So I was really excited to find a recipe for low-carb coconut chocolate bars that are dairy-free at The Nourished Caveman website. I didn’t alter the recipe at all for my first try, though I did discover some tricks to make the process easier which are included in the instructions below.

My daughter, son-in-law, and I were the taste testers as the Man of Steel does not like coconut. The three of us devoured them while the Man of Steel wrinkled his nose. We coconut lovers decided that when I make them again, I should substitute cocoa butter for coconut oil so the coating holds up better. I’m also going to add some chopped almonds to the mix and use a little sugar instead of only stevia.

Dairy-Free Coconut Chocolate Bars


1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 packet or 1 teaspoon stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut cream
4 tablespoons coconut oil or 2 ounces cocoa butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


Mix shredded coconut with coconut cream,1/2 of the vanilla extract and 1/2 packet or 1/2 teaspoon of stevia. Blend well with a spatula or a spoon.

Place the shredded coconut mixture on a small cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (I used a bread loaf pan.) Shape it into a flat rectangle about 4 inches by 6 inches and 1 inch thick.

These bars are a low carb, dairy free way to satisfy your chocolate cravings and your sweet tooth. Place in the freezer for 2 hours, until frozen solid. Remove from the freezer and cut into 5-6 bars.

These bars are a low carb, dairy free way to satisfy your chocolate cravings and your sweet tooth. While coconut is in the freezer, prepare the chocolate coating:

Melt coconut oil or cocoa butter in a small sauce pan. Add cocoa powder remaining stevia and vanilla extract to the coconut oil or cocoa butter. Mix well on low heat for about 2 minutes, until all ingredients are well blended.

Let cool to room temperature, but still liquid. (I put the pan in the fridge for about 10 minutes to speed the process.)

Now dip the bars in the cocoa mixture, and turn to all sides to coat evenly. It helps if the bars are frozen solid so they won’t break. (The frozen bars may cause the chocolate coating in the pan to solidify. If that happens, put the pan on a low burner for about a minute until the coating melts again.) Place bars back on the parchment paper.

These bars are a low carb, dairy free way to satisfy your chocolate cravings and your sweet tooth. When all bars are all coated put in the refrigerator to harden. The bars can be kept in the fridge for harder consistency or at room temperature for softer bars.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

These lemon poppy seed cookies taste great and will make your kitchen smell marvelous. Yum!A good while back, maybe even a year ago, a recipe for vegan lemon poppy seed cookies caught my eye. Not because of the vegan part. Because lemon and poppy seed are two ingredients I love. I got to thinking about that recipe on a recent, cold winter day that practically screamed for my kitchen to produce something warm, yummy, and fragrant in defiance of the weather.

The original recipe can be found at the Craftsy website. If you want the vegan version, you’ll want to check it out. While this version is dairy-free, it includes animal and gluten products. The cookies were quite tasty, but a little tough. Next time I make them (maybe later today), I’ll increase the amount of baking powder and use a lighter touch while mixing them. This is a recipe worth perfecting.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies


  • 1/4 cup natural plain almond butter (stir well if oily and separated)
  • 3 tablespoons softened unrefined coconut oil
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon lemon zest, loosely packed
  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Crack egg into medium mixing bowl and lightly beat the egg.
  3. Whisk in the almond butter, coconut oil, agave, vanilla, and lemon zest until fully combined and smooth. Use a spoon if it gets too thick.
  4. Add the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt on top of the wet ingredients.
  5. Stir well until a large ball of dough starts to form.
  6. Knead a few time until it holds together
  7. Roll the dough into about 1-inch balls and place with 2 inches of space in between each on a large baking sheet.
  8. Tear a small square of parchment or wax paper and place on top of one dough ball. Gently flatten to 1/4-inch thickness with a flat-bottomed glass or bowl.
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes. The bottom edges should be golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
  10. Once fully cooled, store in a sealed container for 4-5 days.

Non-Dairy Hot Chocolate Mix

This non-dairy hot chocolate means you can make a cup of cocoa and snuggle under a blanket while watching the snow fall.What’s better on a cold winter day than snuggling in a chair with a cup of hot chocolate while watching the snow fall? This version of an instant hot chocolate mix from the Live Simply website is dairy-free and delicious. It’s also very easy to make and keeps well.

Non-Dairy Hot Chocolate Mix

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Kirkland chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 vanilla bean, scraped


Put the brown sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and vanilla scrapings in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the chocolate chips have been ground into a fine powder.

This non-dairy hot chocolate means you can make a cup of cocoa and snuggle under a blanket while watching the snow fall.Pour into a glass jar (place the vanilla bean husk in the jar first), cover, and store in the refrigerator.

This non-dairy hot chocolate means you can make a cup of cocoa and snuggle under a blanket while watching the snow fall.To use, warm 1 cup of milk or nut milk.* Add 3 tablespoons** of hot chocolate mix to the warm milk and stir.

* I prefer half nut milk and half strong coffee so it’s not quite so rich.
**3 tablespoons makes a very thick drink. Start with less and add more to taste.

Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops with a Brine Twist

This recipe is easy, delicious, dairy free, and quick. It even works with lean, boneless pork chops if you brine them first.Today’s recipe adds a slight twist to a tasty pork chop recipe that first appeared on the Gravel Road in October of 2014. A year ago, the pork chops used were bone-in, as you can see in the picture above. This time I wanted to clear out a few boneless pork loin chops from the freezer, but was worried that quick frying would make them to dry and tough.

So I placed the frozen chops in a brine of 2 cups water and 1/4 cup of pickling salt and let them sit all day–on the kitchen counter until they were thawed and then in the fridge until a 1/2 hour before supper. Then I poured off the brine, rinsed the chops several times, patted them dry, and followed the recipe below from then on.

The chops were as tender and moist as I’d hoped and as delicious as ever. This recipe is way too fast and easy for the taste punch it delivers. It’ll show up on our table several more times until grilling season arrives again!

Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops

2 cubes of frozen cilantro pesto, thawed  1/4 cup fresh pesto
4 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick each
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the brown sugar and chili powder together. Sprinkle on pork chops and rub mixture in with fingers. Flip chops over and do the same on the other side.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork. Cook for 5–7 minutes on each side, turning once, until they are no longer pink. Serve chops with cilantro mixture.

Dairy Free Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

This non-dairy version of scalloped potatoes and ham is just as tasty as the dairy version. Even better with a serving of broccoli on the side.Scalloped potatoes and ham is winter comfort food and a favorite at our house. After discovering my dairy allergy, I assumed it wouldn’t grace our table ever again. I am happy to say my assumption was very, very wrong. With a few simple substitutions, the dairy free version of this dish is very tasty, especially served with broccoli. The Man of Steel sprinkled his servings with some Parmesan cheese since he can. Here’s the recipe.

Creamy Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes (about six medium)
3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups milk substitute (almond, soy, coconut, rice, cashew, etc.)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 1/2 – 2 cups cubed ham

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash potatoes, pare thinly and remove eyes. Cut potatoes into thin slices. Set aside.

Melt Earth Balance in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour and salt until smooth and bubbly. Add pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in milk substitute. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Layer half of the potatoes in a greased 2 quart casserole (or 9 x 13 pan). Sprinkle with 1/2 the ham, half the onion, and half the white sauce mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes, ham, onion, and white sauce.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 60 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

These chai spice oatmeal cookies are perfect for dipping into coffee, tea, or a chai latte. But not in milk since this recipe is dairy-free.The minute I saw this recipe for Chai spice oatmeal cookies, I knew I would someday concoct a dairy-free version of them. Getting to someday took longer than expected, but the results were worth the wait. They are perfect dunking into coffee or tea or a Chai latte.

The original recipe appeared at The Mountain Rose Blog, and called for all organic, all free-range ingredients. You can find it here if you want to go completely natural, but it won’t be dairy-free like the one below is.

Dairy-Free Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (I like to replace part of the buttery sticks with lard)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 (scant) salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 350°. Put baking stones in oven to heat.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Cream egg, shortening, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Add oatmeal and stir well.

Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts. Place on heated baking stones and press down slightly. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from oven. Place them on waxed paper lined newspaper to cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Zippy Deviled Eggs

These zippy deviled eggs are the perfect dish for gluten and dairy-free diners to take to a potluck.What to do when you’re invited to a potluck where dairy will likely be an ingredient in many of the dishes…and you can’t eat dairy? That was my conundrum recently, and the perfect answer was…drum roll please….deviled eggs!

In my case, this simple, protein-filled, gluten-free, and dairy-free offering has an added bonus. I love them. The Man of Steel hates them. So taking them to a potluck means I get to chow down on something tasty without making Mr. Steel feel bad.

Here’s the recipe I use for deviled eggs with some zip in their doodah.

Zippy Deviled Eggs

8 eggs
1/4–1/2 cup mayonaise
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
salt and pepper to taste

Put 8 eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place on burner and bring to a boil. Turn off burner, put lid on saucepan, and let sit for 20 minutes. Place saucepan under faucet and turn on cold water until the water in the pan is cool.

Peel eggs while still warm. Slice in half lengthwise. Put yolks in a small bowl. Place white halves in a shallow pan.

Mash the yolks with a fork until lumps are gone. Stir in mustard and horseradish. Stir in mayonnaise, a couple tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop yolk mixture into egg white halves. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve them.

That Fabulous Franklin Chex Mix

Getting ready for Thanksgiving with the recipe for Mom's famous Chex Mix. There's plenty of time to shop for groceries and render the secret ingredient, too.Just in time for the big Thanksgiving grocery shopping trip, here’s the recipe for the Fabulous Franklin Chex Mix. The recipe traces its roots back to Zoe Hemmingson, one of Mom’s fellow teachers at Franklin School in Le Mars, Iowa.

It’s been a family favorite at Thanksgiving and Christmas since the late 1960s Mom used to make a batch in November and another in December. She’s abandoned the shopping and cooking duties, though she still pays for the ingredients, but sends one her kids to shop. These days she enjoys watching her children or grandchildren do the measuring, mixing, and cooking…and performing her quality control, taste-testing duties. Rock on, Mom!

Franklin Teachers’ Chex Mix

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 box Crispex (17 ounce)
5 cups Cheerios
4 – 5 cups pretzels and mixed nuts (proportion as you like)

Mix together in a small bowl:
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup melted bacon grease*
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Divide mixed, dry ingredients amongst three or four large cake pans. Pour wet ingredients over cereal mix and stir well. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Stir and turn off the oven. Leave mix in oven until the oven cools. Cool Chex Mix. Store in airtight containers.

*This secret ingredient is essential for the mix’s unique taste. Please ignore recent research that shows the secret ingredient may cause cancer.

Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

This easy and delicious recipe is low-sugar, gluten-fee, and dairy free. Plus it will set your taste buds dancing.This post is the culmination of a three part series that began with DIY adobo seasoning, which was an ingredient in the raspberry chipotle sauce used in today’s delicious chicken recipe. I first tasted this dish at a church potluck and made it for my daughter and her family a few weeks later. We all loved it, and I’m looking forward to making it again soon, and the Man of Steel is looking forward to eating it.

Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

2 grilled chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
1 batch low sugar raspberry chipotle sauce
1 red, yellow, or orange sweet bell pepper cut into thin strips
1 large onion, sliced into thick strips

Place grilled chicken strips in the bottom of a crock pot. Place peppers and onions on top of the chicken. Pour the raspberry chipotle sauce over all. Put lid on crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours.

Serve in tortillas or over rice. Feeds 4.