“What are the five recipes that you’ve created that brought you the most satisfaction/joy and why?”
I’m gonna give myself permission here to miss some and just say that these were the first five that popped into my mind when I thought about this question. There are certainly others that I enjoy equally.
Honey Baked Chicken was a family favorite growing up, served with white rice and peas or green beans. Not only was it a hit with me and my brothers, it was also enjoyed regularly by company. A bit of a “can’t fail” dish and easy to cook to boot. An entertainer’s and foodie’s dream.
So pretty early on in our little food experiment, I set about making a version of Honey Baked Chicken that Charlie could enjoy. Which felt like a bit of an insurmountable goal given that honey is on Charlie’s “NO” list.
Well. I never said I wasn’t stubborn as a mule. It took some mental gymnastics, but I figured out that if I swapped the honey for sliced, dried apricots and dates, I could cook the fruit with the chicken and remove it before serving to provide the fruity sweetness that the dish required without the sugar content of so much honey. A real treat.
Another favorite from my childhood which I adjusted for Charlie. Traditionally, Pakistani Kima (or Keema, or Qeema) is a hamburger curry with potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans. Since Charlie can’t have beef or potatoes, I subbed in chicken and sweet potatoes. Every bit as delicious, and the spice blend still takes me back to my childhood. Delicious comfort food.
Specifically tiny pork meatballs. Every time I make these, I have a blast. I’ve swapped out the flavor profile every time I’ve made them depending on if they were going on a Bánh mì inspired salad or in a pasta sauce with turnip noodles. They’re tasty, oh yes, but also super fun to make and to eat.
This one makes the list because of how meaningful it was to Charlie. It always helps to increase the satisfaction of nailing a recipe adaptation. Charlie and Drew are Irish and look forward to their corned beef and cabbage with carrots and potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day all year round.
Alas for Charlie while cabbage is totally fine and carrots can be enjoyed in moderation, beef and potatoes are on the “NO” list. So the delightful leftover hash that is Colcannon was going to be missed out on. …and we couldn’t let that stand.
The process itself proved surprisingly simple: we were already making mashed potato stand-ins with cauliflower, and nothing needed to change about the cabbage and the carrots (except moderation).
So I started by switching out the meat from beef to pork roast. I cooked it in the crockpot with all the traditional corned beef spices (and prolly 1/10th of the salt)–it came out delicious, evoking the traditional corned beef beautifully.
Mixing everything together is all about balance and took Drew’s tastebuds to get just right, but the ingredients were all there and the result brought Charlie to tears. Solid success!
Lemon Chicken Salad
I’m not a big mayo person when it gets down to it. At least not the typical store-bought stuff. I love mustard, and I can totally get behind things like aioli, but when I come across mayo in things like chicken salads, I always lose a little bit of enthusiasm.
Which is why when I decided to make a mayo-free chicken salad to suit Charlie’s new diet, I actually got a little bit excited. And to be honest, I think this is better than your standard chicken salad. It’s certainly more flavorful!
If you can have bread, it’d be smashing on a sandwich. It’d also be great with chips of the corn or potato varieties. But since it was developed for the AND Plan (which is to say, the Accidental Nutritionist Destress meal plan, AKA Charlie’s first four-month doc-prescribed diet), it was mostly enjoyed (thoroughly) with cucumber slices and on salads.
A great, tart, filling, and refreshing option for summer!