Gluten-Free Turkey Meatball Sandwiches

Updated recipes for these turkey meatballs and white bread!

The Weekly Menu

Turkey Meatball Sandwich

March 7, 2015: I’m updating this blog because I’ve tweaked both the bread and meatball recipe over the years and wanted to blog the cleaner updated versions. The picture above is so old and it’s funny because I could never eat that much for dinner today, but it’s nice to see how far we’ve come in our food journey (we used to eat these all the time and now it’s a treat we have only once in a while).

I usually have about 6 ounces of marinara sauce leftover from a 24-oz jar.  I’ll add it to a small saucepan with a little water used to wash the residual sauce out of the jar. Add a little wine and Italian seasoning and heat for about 5-10 minutes over medium low heat.  I make my own bread and keep it in the freezer (recipe below) then toast it in the oven…

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Spicy Chicken Red Sauce & Pasta #glutenfree #caseinfree

Spicy Chicken Red Sauce with Penne

I originally tasted spicy chicken spaghetti at a friend’s house many, many years ago. Her father, the Judge, made it for us while I was staying at their house for the weekend. I couldn’t stop raving about it and he revealed the secret was adding jalapeños. I love that heat! I’ve tried to recreate the dish and over time got it just they way we like it. But of course, the original version was the best ever (he probably made the red sauce from scratch)! Mmmm.

This version is super tasty and really easy. You can adjust the heat by adding more or less of the jalapeños and pickling liquid. We pickle jalapeños at home (scroll down below the white bean dip recipe for the jalapeño pickling recipe). And remember that a jalapeño’s heat can vary greatly. If you cut a fresh jalapeño and it makes you cough, then chill the slices in ice water for about 30 minutes to kill some of the heat before pickling.

Spicy Chicken Red Sauce
1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
18 oz GF marinara sauce (or tomato sauce)
1 tsp pickled jalapeño juice
10-15 quick pickled jalapeño slices
1 tsp light agave
2 tbsp red wine
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
6 oz GF penne pasta (or your favorite GF pasta)
Cold filtered water

Bring some filtered water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the chicken and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat, let cool, and shred.

Alternatively, if you have the time you could roast a bone-in chicken breast but it will take an hour to do so. Place the breast in a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then bake it at 350 degrees F for an hour. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit then cut the chicken off the bone with a knife and shred.

In a small saucepan, heat the marinara sauce with jalapeños and the pickled jalapeño juice over medium low heat. Most store bought marinara sauce comes in a 24 oz jar and I usually don’t use all of it for one dish because I’m only cooking for two people. So we’ll use the remaining marinara with another dish. If you have a larger family, then use it all and add some more chicken and adjust the heat to your preference.

If emptying the jar, rinse the residual sauce out with about 1/3 cup of filtered water and add to the red sauce. If not, then add 1/3 cup water to the saucepan with the agave, red wine and fresh basil. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the shredded chicken and cook uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.

Rinse out the medium saucepan if you used it to boil the chicken. Bring filtered water to a boil. Add the GF pasta and cook according to directions. Drain the pasta and distribute between 2 large bowls. Top with the jalapeño red sauce chicken mixture.  Enjoy!

Cilantro Lime Rice #glutenfree #caseinfree #realfood


This is a super simple recipe for very tasty cilantro lime rice made from scratch.

Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup homemade chicken stock
3/4 cup filtered water
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp light agave
5 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Himalayan pink salt

Tip: If using a frozen cube of cilantro in oil add it to the rice in the first step and don’t add the teaspoon of olive oil.

In a small saucepan, combine the rice, olive oil, garlic, chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Mix together the lime juice and agave. Remove the rice from the heat and add the agave, lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. Stir with a fork until well combined.

Tonight we are going to have some of the cilantro lime rice with Ancho chili and lime roasted chicken and roasted pineapple and mango salsa. And tomorrow we are having leftover rice with refried black beans in taco bowls. Yum!

Check out other great recipes and dinner ideas in my eCookbooks!

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PF Chang-y Lettuce Wraps #glutenfree #caseinfree

PF Chang-y Lettuce WrapsThere are a lot of recipes for PF Chang’s lettuce wraps floating around the internet, but this one is gluten-free and casein-free. Most of the recipes required hoisin sauce, which is not gluten-free. So I looked through a few homemade recipes for hoisin and came up with my own version using gluten-free soy sauce and whole sesame seed tahini (for the calcium and flavor) instead of peanut butter. And of course, my favorite new ingredient Thai red curry paste.

Red Curry Paste and Tahini

They were so easy to make, too!  We used lean ground turkey and added some mushrooms and green cabbage to the filling as well. Served with a little white rice on butter lettuce leaves – they were so delicious!  My husband absolutely LOVED them!

PF Chang-y Lettuce Wraps

Homemade Hoisin
4 tbsp GF soy sauce
2 tbsp GF whole sesame seed tahini
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp GF Thai red curry paste
1/8 tsp black pepper

PF Chang-y Lettuce Wraps
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 lb lean ground turkey meat
1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Pink Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1 head butter lettuce

Wash and rinse the lettuce. Set aside. Rinse the mushrooms then use a cloth to wipe off the surface dirt. Prep the vegetables.

Mix together the ingredients for the homemade hoisin sauce.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large skillet. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook for about 7-10 minutes so the turkey is browned and cooked through. Drain off any excess fat (I tilt the Dutch oven and use a ladle to scoop out the fat). Stir in homemade hoisin sauce and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the chestnuts, cabbage and green onions. Stir until combined then cover the pot for another 3-4 minutes. Taste test the meat mixture and add a little salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with a spoonful of rice on the prepared lettuce leaves and enjoy!

PF Chang-y Lettuce Wraps



Buffalo Chicken Salad #glutenfree #caseinfree


We love a good salad loaded with veggies and often a lean protein so I’m always looking for new homemade dressings or vinaigrettes to try out. Lately, we’ve been turning some of our favorites sauces, like teriyaki or Buffalo sauce, into salad dressings. I was super pleased with this how this one for a gluten-free, casein-free Buffalo sauce salad dressing turned out. Yum!

The Salad
1 large bone-in split chicken breast
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
2 large organic carrots, peeled and sliced
2 organic celery stalks, sliced
10 yellow cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup watercress
1 avocado, flesh cubed
3 green onions, finely sliced
3/4 cup chopped green cabbage

Buffalo Sauce Salad Dressing
4 tbsp GF hot sauce
4 tbsp ghee
1 pinch GF unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 tbsp GF white vinegar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon GF Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp GFCF mayonnaise
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Tip: I used Frank’s RedHot sauce, Heinz Pickle Perfect white vinegar (derived from corn), McCormick’s spices, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, Hellman’s light mayonnaise and Trader Joe’s EVOO.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breast in an oven-safe baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. When cooked through, remove from the oven and let cool. Cut the breast meat off the bone into bite sized pieces.

In a 1-quart saucepan, mix together all the ingredients for the Buffalo Sauce except the mayonnaise and EVOO. Over low heat bring to a simmer, whisking often until emulsified (the coconut flakes help with this). Remove from heat and whisk in the mayonnaise and EVOO to make the salad dressing.

Meanwhile, wash and prep the veggies and divide between two large bowls. Drizzle with the Buffalo sauce dressing reserving a few tablespoons in the saucepan. Toss the bite size chicken pieces in the remaining sauce then add to the salad. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Roasted Vegetable, Kale, White Bean & Chicken Soup #glutenfree #caseinfree

Roasted Veg, Kale and Chicken Soup

This soup is so delicious, nutritious and naturally gluten and casein free because it is made with whole real food and yummy spices! Someone suggested adding white beans to my original version and I love it with the beans (plus white beans are another way to add calcium to my diet).

I avoid canned goods (BPA and salt), especially beans because they are so easy to make, but it does add an extra prep step including soaking the beans overnight. I cooked the beans separately (I didn’t want to puree them) and added them to the soup at the end. Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable, Kale, White Bean & Chicken Soup
4 oz dried Navy beans
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 large organic carrots, peeled and cubed
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
5 cups homemade chicken stock
1 large skinless boneless chicken breast (cut into 4 pieces)
1/2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (or a cube from freezer)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-2 cups kale
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash white pepper
GF hot sauce, to taste (optional)

Tip: I’ve been freezing ice cube trays of chopped parsley covered with olive oil and storing them in the freezer. It makes prep so much easier to just pull out a cube and use it when cooking soup.

Rinse the white beans and discard any rocks or bad beans. Soak in filtered water overnight in the fridge.

Roasted Vegetable, Kale, White Bean and Chicken Soup Prep

When ready to make the soup wash the kale, pull of the fringe and tear into small pieces. Prep the vegetables and set aside.

Drain and rinse the beans, then fill a small saucepan with the beans and about 4 cups cold filtered water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes. The beans should be tender to the fork. Drain then add to the soup at the end.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the carrots, sweet potatoes, onion and garlic in olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet for about 25-30 minutes.

Add the chicken broth to a 3.5-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then add the chicken pieces, herbs, measured salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes so that the chicken is cooked. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and set aside in a small bowl. Add the roasted onions, garlic and sweet potatoes (but not the carrots). Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to emulsify the vegetables (or let cool and puree in a blender – the immersion blender saves time, effort and clean up).

Return the pot to the stove and add the roasted carrots, wine, kale, cooked white beans and chicken. Bring to a boil and cook for another 5-10 minutes so that the kale is tender. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and white pepper and adjust the salt, if necessary. I love spice so I often shake a little Frank’s RedHot or Tabasco sauce into the soup before serving it, too.

You can find other gluten-free, casein-free, delicious and nourishing soup and stew recipes in my eCookbook. All recipes are made without canned goods using natural whole food ingredients:

– wild mushroom soup
– chicken tortilla soup
– artichoke soup
– Mexican gazpacho
– lentil & brown rice soup
black bean soup
leek cauliflower & potato soup
– chicken andouille sausage gumbo
turkey & veggie chili
– green bean beef stew
chicken stew with mashies
Persian herb stew (Ghormeh Sabzi)

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Taco Bowls #glutenfree #caseinfree

Taco Bowls

We have been making our own taco shells and tostada shells from corn tortillas for a long time (make sure to use gluten-free, wheat-free corn tortillas) – but this is the first time we tried taco bowls and I love them!  Why didn’t we make these before?  They are easier to eat than a tostada and holds more stuff than a taco. They were so easy to make, too.

Taco BowlsI used some oven-safe ramekins from Crate and Barrel as the base (any oven-safe ramekins or small bowls about this size should work). I took this picture during the first attempt. The tortillas stuck to the ramekins so we had to try again and I didn’t get the picture, but covering the ramekins with foil preventing the sticking.  I just folded a square piece of foil over the ramekin and sprayed it with a little olive oil.

Wet a paper towel and place it on a small plate.  Spray the corn tortillas with a little water and olive oil and stack them on top of the wet paper towel.  Wrap the paper towel around the tortillas and place the plate in the microwave.  Steam them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  When they are flexible drape them over the foiled ramekins and spray generously with olive oil.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until the are hard and crispy.  Remove from the foil and fill with turkey taco meat (recipe follows) and other goodies.

Taco Bowls

We started with the taco meat and added sweet corn, cooked black beans, chopped green onions, roasted red bell peppers and chopped black olives.

Taco Bowls

Then we added avocados, lettuce and GF salsa.  Yum!

Taco Bowls

Turkey Taco Meat (serves 2)
Olive oil
0.5 lb GF lean ground turkey meat
1 small jalapeño, deseeded and minced
1 small red or green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp McCormick Original Taco Seasoning
Kosher salt (optional)

Wash, rinse and dry the jalapeño and bell pepper before prepping.

Add a little olive oil to a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeño and cook for about 10 minutes until tender. Add the ground turkey and taco seasoning to the skillet. Cook for about 10-15 minutes more until the turkey is cooked through and browned. Add a little salt if necessary.

Asian Noodle Soup #glutenfree #caseinfree

Asian Noodle Soup

My new favorite GF ingredient is Thai red curry paste and I’ve been experimenting with it a lot (using it in turkey burgers, soups, salads, pastas…).  It contains red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, Thai ginger, salt, shallot, spices and kaffir lime.  Yummy!

So I’ve been making a scaled down version of this Asian noodle soup for lunch for quite some time (depending on what veggies I have on hand in the fridge) and thought maybe my husband and you all might like it, too. There are a lot of flavors going on and sometimes it gets a little muddled. But here is my favorite version of the recipe so far.

It can definitely be adapted to your favorite flavors, too (especially if you prefer Sriracha sauce instead of the red curry paste). Taste test it as you go to see how much of the seasonings you like. Since I use homemade chicken stock/broth, it’s never exactly the same from batch to batch so I may add a little more poultry seasoning or salt.  I really liked the addition of the watercress, because it’s so nutritionally dense and pretty flavorless so it worked!  And of course, it’s all naturally gluten-free and casein-free, too (make sure your spices are gluten-free).

Asian Noodle Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh Italian Parsley, minced (or 2 cubes from freezer and only 1 tbsp olive oil)
1 1/2 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup diced organic carrots
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 cups homemade GF chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4-1/2 tsp GF poultry seasoning
2 tsp GF Thai red curry paste
5 oz pad thai rice noodles
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
3 eggs
GF soy sauce, to taste
Chipotle olive oil (optional)
Fresh watercress (or your favorite fresh greens)

Asian Noodle Soup Prep

I’ve been freezing chopped fresh Italian parsley covered in olive oil in an ice cube tray and storing the cubes in the freezer. It’s perfect for soups like this.

Rinse the mushrooms then use a cloth to wipe off the surface dirt. Peel the carrots and prep all the vegetables. Wash the watercress and set aside. Take the eggs out of the refrigerator and crack into a small bowl then set aside.

Add the olive oil, parsley, mushrooms, carrots, salt and pepper to a large saucepan or 3.5-quart Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes or until the mushrooms have browned.  Add the garlic, onion flakes and red pepper flakes and stir continuously for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, poultry seasoning and white wine. Slightly raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat back to medium/medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste test to adjust the salt and pepper. Then add the red curry paste, rice noodles and cabbage. Cook for 4-5 minutes, adding the eggs during the last 2 minutes. Add a few splashes of soy sauce to taste.

Asian Noodle Soup

Divide between two large soup bowls.  I use a pasta server to pull out the noodles and veggies, then ladle the broth on top.

Asian Noodle Soup

Drizzle with chipotle olive oil (optional) and add fresh watercress or your favorite greens.  I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!

Meat Sauce with Mini Lasagna Noodles #glutenfree

Mini Lasagna Noodles & Meat Sauce

This is one of our favorite easy dinners. The recipe makes enough meat sauce for two meals for us (two people) so we freeze half for another meal. Since I can’t eat ricotta or mozzarella anymore wiping out one of our old favorites – lasagna – this “deconstructed” version fills that void. I do use a little Parmesan cheese because my body can tolerate it (not casein-free) and it is naturally gluten-free as well.

GF Lasagna Corte Pasta

We use this GF corn pasta from our local grocery store chain but any type of GF pasta works with meat sauce. I use different amounts of ground turkey depending on whether I buy Jennie-O turkey in the 1.25 lb container or 3 lb container (dividing it into 1.5 lb for the meat sauce and I freeze two 0.75 lb portions for other meals). We usually have an open bottle of vegan pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon around so that is the wine we use. And if I’ve got a lot of fresh basil on hand, I’ll chop some up and throw it in there, too.

Meat Sauce with Mini Lasagna Noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.25 – 1.5 lb lean ground turkey meat
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
24 oz jar of GF marinara sauce (or tomato sauce)
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 – 2/3 cup red wine
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Fresh basil, for garnish
5 oz GF pasta

Heat the olive oil in a 3.5-quart Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the ground turkey, salt and pepper. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain off the fat (I usually tilt the Dutch oven and ladle out the excess fat). Add the marinara sauce (or tomato sauce), wine and spices. Fill the jar with the water and shake – add it to the pot, too. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook your favorite GF pasta according to directions. Drain and divide between 2 large bowls. Spoon the meat sauce onto the pasta and garnish with fresh basil. Serve with a side salad splashed with a little EVOO and Balsamic vinegar.

Let the meat sauce you are saving cool before freezing.

White Bean Hummus-y Dip #glutenfree #caseinfree

White Bean Hummus-y Dip

Since I have to avoid casein and dairy, I’m always looking for ways to increase my natural calcium intake. Some non-dairy foods high in calcium are dark leafy greens, okra, white beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sesame seeds, figs and almonds. My fig pistachio almond cookies/granola bars are a good source as well as this white bean dip made with whole sesame seed tahini.  It’s delicious and nutritious! 😉

White Bean Hummus-y Dip
10 oz dry white beans (navy or northern)
2 oz dry garbanzo beans
2 tbsp lemon juice (or two frozen lemon juice ice cubes)
2+ tbsp whole sesame seed tahini
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12-15 homemade pickled jalapeños (recipe below)
2 tbsp pickled jalapeño juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Mexican oregano
1/8 tsp Ancho chili powder

Tip: I’ve been freezing ice cube trays of lemon juice, lime juice, chopped parsley and chopped cilantro with olive oil and storing them in the freezer. It makes prep so much easier to just pull out a cube and use it when cooking.

Rinse the dry white beans and garbanzo beans and pick out any rocks or bad beans. Soak in cold filtered water overnight in the fridge (about 6-8 cups so that the beans are covered by 2 inches of water).

Drain and rinse the beans. Fill a large saucepan with the beans and about 10 cups cold filtered water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 1 hour. The beans should be tender to the fork. Drain then add to a large food processor with the blade attachment. Add the lemon juice ice cubes, tahini, olive oil and water. Process until well blended. Add the salt and pepper, jalapeños, jalapeño juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Mexican oregano and chili powder. Blend well. Test for spice level and adjust according to your taste (this recipe is pretty mild heat wise depending on how strong the jalapeños are).

Quick Pickled JalapeñosQuick Pickled Jalapeños
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup GF distilled white vinegar
3 tbsp raw cane sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp oregano
2-3 large jalapeños, sliced into rings
8 oz canning jar

Tip: It’s really easy to pickle jalapeños. Most store bought versions either contain yellow dye or distilled grain vinegar.  Heinz makes distilled vinegar from corn called Pickle Perfect, which is gluten-free, but you can use cider vinegar instead.

Before prepping the jalapeños, wash, rinse and dry them. Slice the jalapeños into rings. If the jalapeños are strong enough to make you choke a little when slicing, soak in ice water for about 30 minutes to kill some of the heat. Drain and set aside.

To sterilize the canning jar, bring water to a boil and put the jar in the boiling water for a few minutes. Carefully remove and let cool.

In a 1-quart saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic and oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the jalapeño slices and remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.  Using sterile tongs, pack the pickled jalapeños into the sterilized canning jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the jalapeño slices. Seal the jar and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

I found the original recipe from Chef Jon on