“Busy Day” Asian Veggie Noodle Soup (Gluten & Grain-Free Options)

Busy Day Asian Veggie Noodle Soup - AnAppetiteForJoy.com

By Natalia Gill from An Appetite For Joy

This asian-inspired broth is rich, savory, and loaded with perfectly cooked veggies and gluten-free rice noodles (or grain-free kelp noodles). The best part? It comes together in a flash! And it’s high on nutrition, particularly if you have homemade broth on hand.

I typically use chicken broth I have in the freezer, made in one of two ways – either a budget-friendly bone broth or a time-saving gelatin rich drumstick broth.

I’ve always looked for ways to spend less time cooking without sacrificing nutrition. But now, simple cooking is a must since earlier in the summer, we got a big surprise that our family is expanding! I’m on a mission to get my meal rotation pared down to simple meals, many of them using the slow-cooker or prepped ahead in the freezer (Check out Kimi’s great list of gluten-free freezer meals!)

My favorite simple meal is chicken soup and all the quick variations that can be made with it – from enchilada to Thai red curry to this Asian veggie noodle. I notice that my kids eat this variation with more gusto than plain chicken noodle, so I make it often.

I omitted the chicken this time for a lighter, veggie-focused soup. But feel free to add a few boneless, skinless thighs in at the beginning of cooking. When they are done, take them out, shred them and add back into the soup.

ADDITIONAL SIMPLE MEALS ON MY ROTATION:

Busy Day Asian Veggie Noodle Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Asian-Inspired
Serves: Serves 6-8
 
This Asian inspired veggie noodle soup is so comforting and full of flavor, but requires very little time and effort! See the recipe notes for additional shortcuts or ways to further enhance it.
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces thin rice or 24 ounces kelp noodles (kelp noodles are hydrated in the package and weigh more), freshly prepared according to package instructions and set aside in individual serving bowls
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 cups snow peas (ends removed, halved)
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (less if full sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring the broth to a simmer and add the diced carrots. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the snow peas and tamari. Simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the broccoli florets and scallions. Simmer until the broccoli and carrots are fork tender but still have life in them.
  4. Stir in the sesame oil and, if using, fish sauce. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Add salt and pepper if needed.)
  5. Add the soup to the individual bowls you have set aside with the noodles. Enjoy!
Notes
When you have less time: Swap out the snow peas for frozen peas and put them in with the broccoli (step 3). Buy pre-chopped broccoli florets (Trader Joe's sells a bag of organic ones).

When you have more time: Add 2 cloves of crushed or minced garlic, a small knob of fresh peeled ginger (removed at the end), and/or 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro to the soup with the carrots (step 1).

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Salt Roasted Turkey with Herbs and Garlic (AIP-friendly)

salt-roasted-turkey-dry-brine

Salt roasted turkey is also sometimes called “dry-brining, ” and it gives you moist turkey meat and crisp skin and beautiful flavor. Plus, I love that this method is so simple!

You will mix kosher salt with dried herbs, lemon and orange zest, and garlic and gently massage into the turkey. Left to saturate overnight, the turkey ends up being well flavored as well as moist, and the turkey skin is browned nicely and crisp. What more can you ask for?

Wet Brine Vs. Dry Brine

The first turkey I made that I felt was a big success was a wet brine. It was plump, flavorful, and was finally a turkey that didn’t dry out. The biggest disadvantages we saw were the following.
1: It’s a bit of a pain to do, and you either need a giant stock pot or a brining bag.
2: The skin doesn’t get as browned and crisp as other methods because it never drys out as much.
3: It does dilute the turkey flavor. Harsher critics of the method say it waters it down. I still like wet brining turkeys, but I have to say that dry brining may be my new favorite.

Benefits of dry brining

1. Dry brining will give you beautiful turkey skin that is very delicious.
2. It’s incredibly easy to do, and you don’t need a brining bag.
3. While wet brining can dilute, dry brining concentrates flavors.
4. Dry brining creates its own brine as it draws moisture out of the bird, which the salt then melts into, and then the salty brine reabsorbs into the turkey.

A Couple More Thoughts on Dry brining

Be aware that this is a well-salted bird. We dislike meats that are under-salted, so this was a wonderful method for us. However, if you like dishes barely or lightly salted, this isn’t the method for you. A few people will rinse the turkey before cooking to cut down on saltiness, but this will make your turkey skin wet, cut down on the flavor a bit, and isn’t considered a safe practice unless you sterilize well afterward.

Dry Brining Method

  • Start with a fresh turkey, not a frozen and defrosted one (most frozen turkey’s have already been injected with a salty mixture)
  • Mix kosher salt with whatever extra flavors you’d like – dried or fresh herbs, citrus zest, garlic.
  • Rub all over turkey (back and front) and sprinkle in the turkey cavity.
  • Cover, and refrigerate for 12-18 hours. Uncover for the last couple of hours to allow the skin to start drying out for extra crispy skin.
  • Stuff turkey, and baste with melted butter or avocado oil.
  • Roast according to directions, and serve!

Things you’ll need:

  • You can use regular kosher salt, but I used and recommend this unrefined kosher salt that hasn’t been bleached or processed but still has the natural minerals in it.
  • I got a great stainless steel turkey pan from Ikea a couple of years ago. If you aren’t ready to fork over a couple hundred, there are more frugal ones to be had.
  • A meat thermometer
  • A zester or fine grater

I picked out the smallest turkey I could find (about 10 ½ pounds) for the above picture (I was just making it for our small family). The dry brine works for 10-13 pound turkey. (For a ten pounder, you don’t have to use quite all of the salt mixture) For a 14- 15 pound turkey, use a 1/3 a cup of kosher salt and heaping measurements of flavor proponents. For a twenty pound turkey, double the mixture.

Salt Roasted Turkey with Herbs and Garlic

PDF File for Recipe Printing

Recipe for dry salt brine for turkey

Dry Brine Recipe

Take note that you can widely change this recipe up as long as you keep the salt the same. The salt will permeate furthest, the herbs and garlic will flavor just the skin and first layer of the meat.

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons each of dried thyme and oregano (or 2 tablespoons each of fresh)
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed through a garlic press of finely minced
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • Zest from 1 large orange

Other possible additions or substitutions: ground pepper (not AIP), rubbed sage, basil, rosemary

Directions:

  1. Mix in a small bowl. Save lemon and orange for stuffing the turkey.

Dry Brined turkey creates moist turkey meat and crisp , beautiful turkey skin. Plus, it's so beautiful!

Preparing the Turkey.

Ingredient:

1 10-14 pound fresh turkey (I used organic, a free range organic would be even better), Notice notes above and below for bigger turkeys

Directions:

  1. Remove any gizzards and the neck bone (check both sides of the turkey). Set aside for broth making (or put in the freezer for later use). Remove metal or plastic insert that holds turkey legs. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of the salt mixture inside the turkey cavity, and then rub the rest of the mixture on the turkey, front and back (you can also gently push some under the skin of the turkey).
  3. Place turkey on rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and cover with plastic wrap. Or place in a brining bag and place on sheet.
  4. Refrigerate for 12-18 hours. Remove plastic wrap or brining bag for the last couple of hours to dry out skin, if desired.

Preparing Turkey To Roast

(Simply double all of the below ingredients if using a large turkey)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ -1/2 cup of melted butter or avocado oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • The lemon and orange leftover from the dry brine
  • 3 cups of water

Directions:

  1. Place oven rack at lowest position and pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  2. If not already, place turkey, breast side up, in middle of roasting pan on roasting rack. Slice the leftover orange and lemon, and stuff them, along with the sliced onion, into the turkey.
  3. Gently tie legs together (confession – I couldn’t find my kitchen twine when I was testing this recipe, and it still turned out okay) by crossing the legs and then tying. Drizzle liberally with melted butter or avocado oil. Pour water underneath the roasting rack in the turkey pan.
  4. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Turn down heat to 325F and cook until a meat thermometer gets to 165F when stuck in the thickest part of the turkey thigh and the juices run clear. You may want to turn the turkey pan around half way through the cooking time. (Basting unnecessary) . Cover with foil if the skin is getting too dark.
  5. Approximate total cooking time: 8-12 pounds, 2 ¾ -3 hours; 12-14 pounds – 3 to 3 ¾ hours; 14 -18 pounds, 3 ¾ to 4 ¼; 18-20 pounds, 4 ¼ – 4 ½ hours; 20-24 pounds, 4 ½ -5 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and cover loosely with foil to keep warm, and let rest for about 15-30 minutes. (This gives you time to make the gravy). Carve and serve.

P.S. I’m planning on walking you through making a gravy with the drippings, but in case I don’t get to it, you need to dilute the drippings significantly as they will be very salty before turning it into gravy.

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Vegetable Pork Skillet Dinner

Serve over rice, baked sweet or white potatoes, or use as a burrito filling. Yum! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Why cook up plain pork when you can add so much rich flavor with onions, garlic, mushrooms, and dried herbs? If desired, you can serve this over rice, quinoa, or sweet or white potatoes. I also think this would make a delicious burrito stuffing – just add salsa, avocado, or whatever you desire for toppings! Or eat it as is for a simple skillet dinner.

While I have to say I didn’t give this recipe a very snazzy name, the combinations of flavor are just lovely! I’ve been working on increasing my intake of vegetables, and it’s been a delicious choice as well as a healthy one.

Yes, delicious!

This simple skillet dinner is an example of how you can make a flavorful dish simply by combining a variety of vegetables and your choice of meat with a few spices and some garlic. The meat flavors the vegetables and vice versa for a more rounded flavor.

The other thing I love about skillet dinners is that they are very easy and fast to make, so they make perfect dinners for busy nights. Right now we have three evenings with soccer practice! Yup, it’s a busy time! To see why I am making vegetables a priority right now, read my post. Why We Should Eat More Vegetables. While you are there, sign up for the 10 Day Vegetable Challenge! I’m super excited about it! It will start on the 12th.

I’ve been trying to get in more sulfur containing vegetables. In The Wahls Protocol, Dr. Wahls has you eat 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables every day. She says, “Finally, I want you to eat 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, which in addition to antioxidants, also have health-promoting sulfur compounds in them. Sulfur may not get the media attention that antioxidants do, but it is an incredibly important compound for health.” She goes on in her book to explain why sulfur is important for your connective tissue, joints, skin, hair, nails, skin disorders, arthritis, and blood vessel health, as well as being important for anyone with an autoimmune disease.

Sulfur containing vegetables include the cabbage family (such as broccoli and cauliflower), the onion family and the mushroom family. This dish has two of the three. But if you wanted all three, why not slice some cabbage to add to the dish!

Notes on the Recipe:

  • If desired, add a diced sweet bell pepper
  • The bacon is optional. We make it without just as often.
  • This is also delicious with a couple of thinly sliced zucchini cooked into the mixture. Yum!
  • This is the type of recipe that makes me LOVE owning a large saucepan. I personally favor my large cast iron.
  • AIP note: Leave out the pepper, and don’t use the bacon unless it’s AIP safe.

Vegetable Pork Skillet Dinner

PDF file for printing

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bacon, or 2 tablespoons of fat/oil of choice (avocado oil, coconut oil, etc).
  • 1 large onion, peeled, cut in half, and thinly sliced
  • ½ to 1 pound of mushroom, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound of ground pork (pastured, organic is best, if possible)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and put through a garlic press
  • A generous pinch of dried oregano and dried thyme
  • Unrefined Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper.

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan or cast iron over medium heat cook the bacon, if using, until crisp and done. Flip to cook evenly. Remove from pan and set aside. There should be about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan. If you had leaner bacon, you can add fat of choice to the pan to make up two tablespoons.
  2. 2. Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and cook over medium heat if using cast iron, or medium-high, if using stainless steel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir as needed to cook evenly and prevent sticking. After five to seven minutes, when the vegetables are soft, add the pork, garlic, and oregano and thyme. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the pork is thoroughly cooked through and the vegetables soft.
  3. Crumble the bacon on top, season to taste, and serve as desired.

Flourless Plantain Cake (Nut-free and Paleo)

Flourless Plantain Cake - It only takes a couple of ingredients! Nut-free, paleo friendly

This delicious recipe only takes a couple of ingredients, and it whirls up in your blender for a fast clean up. The end result tastes like a sweet egg-y banana bread, or perhaps banana bread pudding. It makes a lovely simple dessert or a sweet breakfast treat.

The plantains provide the starch instead of flour and they also sweeten the cake. The eggs help hold the cake together and add protein and nutrition (as well as flavor).

We’ve been trying out eggs again after years of avoiding them after finding out my daughter and I had a high intolerance to them. So far so good! Unfortunately this recipe is not AIP (Autoimmune Protocol diet) friendly because of the eggs, but once you’ve added eggs back in, make sure you try this out!

A couple of notes on the recipe (created by my friend, Lauren at Empowered Sustenance):

  • I used a full teaspoon of both vanilla and cinnamon in this recipe.
  •  I think a tablespoon of pure maple syrup would add not only a little more sweetness, but also a lovely maple hint in flavor.
  • My husband preferred this cold, I hot, so it’s a matter of preference.

Get the recipe here: Flourless Plantain Cake

If you try it out, let me know what you think!