Clean Chicken Salad

Clean Chicken Salad is made with avocado mayonnaise and does not contain the factory refined oils found in most chicken salad. | QueenofMyKitchen.com

This chicken salad tastes so clean and fresh. It doesn’t have the heavy, mayonnaise-laden texture that is characteristic of most chicken salads, especially the store bought varieties. Clean Chicken Salad is “clean” because it’s made with homemade avocado mayonnaise instead of store bought mayonnaise, which usually contains factory refined oils such as soybean oil or canola oil. If you’re a fan of clean eating then you know that it’s all about eating whole foods, or “real” foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. This means steering clear of highly processed and refined foods. Most people don’t think of mayonnaise as a “processed food”, but, in fact, the oil in almost all commercial mayonnaise is the result of a highly intensive refining process whereby chemicals are used to extract the oil from various seeds. Factory refined oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil are thought to cause widespread inflammation in the body and have been linked to diabetes, cancer and heart disease in multiple studies. So make you own mayonnaise! It’s SO much healthier and it tastes better too. Just be sure to use unrefined oil such as avocado oil or olive oil. (more…)

Easter Peeps in a Nest

If you have no time for decorating Easter eggs make Easter Peeps in a Nest instead. Super quick and easy and much less messy than egg decorating. | QueenofMyKitchen.com

If you have no time for decorating Easter eggs this year then try making Easter Peeps in a Nest instead. The whole process (excluding the time needed for them to set) takes no more than 15 or 20 minutes. I had plans to decorate eggs and cookies this year but got so busy with work that I couldn’t fit it in. It left me feeling nostalgic for the times when my girls were little and we devoted an entire afternoon to decorating eggs and cookies. When I saw the idea for these Easter Peeps in a Nest on The Today Show the other morning, I thought they looked simple and quick and that making them would fill the little hole I had in my heart for days gone by. I searched and searched on-line for the recipe but couldn’t find it so I decided to just wing it. I think they came out pretty cute! (more…)

Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade

Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade. Serve with jasmine rice or sautéed snow peas for a complete Asian inspired meal.| QueenofMyKitchen.com

Looking for an Asian inspired dish with a twist? Look no further. These roasted shrimp have the classic Asian flavors of soy and ginger with the unique addition of agave nectar. This is a fast and versatile seafood entrée – the shrimp can be roasted in the oven or grilled, with equally delicious results, and they are cooked to perfection in less than 10 minutes. Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade has been in my cooking repertoire since I first saw the recipe in a 1998 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. The original recipe calls for honey instead of agave but several years back, when agave nectar was all the rage, I started substituting agave for honey and I have been making this dish that way ever since.

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Valentine Red Lentil, Beet, and Flax Crackers

Valentine Red Lentil, Beet, and Flax Crackers - healthy, gluten free crackers made with red lentil flour, beets, coconut oil and ground flaxseed. | QueenofMyKitchen.com

Valentine’s Day is coming up so I thought it would be fun to make gluten free heart-shaped crackers. Before making these crackers I had never used red lentils but I’d heard about them and thought they might produce a cracker in honor of Valentine’s Day that was some shade of red.  Well, it turns out red lentils are not red at all, but more orange in color.  I thought I could fix this by adding some beets and was encouraged when the dough mixed up to a beautiful deep, ruby-red color – perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately the crackers lose that beautiful deep red color when baked.  I was going to rework the recipe to omit the beets but they give the crackers an earthy quality that would be lacking without them and, more importantly, everyone that tried the crackers said they were delicious as is and that I shouldn’t change a thing.

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Raspberry Filled Christmas Tree Cookies

Skip the mess involved in decoSkip the mess involved in decorating Christmas cookies with icing. These Raspberry Filled Christmas Tree cookies are just as beautiful as iced Christmas cookies but require less time and skill and don't make nearly the mess. | QueenofMyKitchen.com #christmas #christmascookies #christmascookieideas #christmascookieexchange

I love Christmas cookies decorated with royal icing but they’re an absolute pain to make.   You have to mix up several batches of icing for all the different colors you want, fit multiple pastry bags with tips, and then carefully fill each bag with icing.  All that before you even start decorating!  It’s very time consuming and the clean up is no fun either.  These stunning Christmas cookies are much less work but no less beautiful.  The idea for these cookies comes from the The New York Times. Their recipe calls for a linzer cookie dough but I opted for a classic sugar cookie dough because I thought the paler color of the dough would highlight the red raspberry jam better. Plus, I already had a batch of sugar cookie dough in my freezer just waiting to be transformed into Yuletide goodness! (more…)

1 Easy Cranberry Sauce

1 Easy Cranberry Sauce is the easiest ever homemade cranberry sauce. Just 3 ingredients, 1 measurement, and 0 cleanup. The perfect complement to your Thanksgiving Turkey. | QueenofMyKitchen.com

The operative word here, or in this case number, is 1.  The recipe for 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce calls for 1 bag (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of orange juice. That’s all it takes to make a delicious homemade cranberry sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and tart to complement your Thanksgiving turkey. If there was a contest for the simplest recipe ever this one would surely be in the running. Just put 3 ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on high, and cook for 4 hours. (more…)

Thanksgiving Cookie Votives

These Thanksgiving Cookie Votives are a unique and memorable decoration for your Thanksgiving dinner table and they double as dessert. | QueenofMyKitchen.comWith Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, many of you who are hosting dinners have undoubtedly begun planning the meal. Getting as much done ahead of time will allow you to spend more time with family and friends. Things like pie crusts, cranberry sauce, and even gravy can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen.  You can also start thinking about your table decorations. Some people get so overwhelmed with the thought of preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner that they put very little effort into decorating the table. I think this is such a shame! If you’re going to spend all that time cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t it make sense to put some extra thought into the table decorations? After all, this is the stage for the beautiful meal you’ll spend hours preparing. Floral arrangements are lovely, but oh so boring. Why not create something truly unique and memorable – like Thanksgiving Cookie Votives! These charming cookie votives are a little labor intensive but so worth the effort. They’ll dress up your table and are sure to be a conversation starter. Plus, you can serve them for dessert. Below are some tips for making Thanksgiving Cookie Votives. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)

Witches’ Fingers

Shortbread cookies that looks like witches' fingers. So creepy and perfect for Halloween! | QueenofMyKitchen.comThese witch’s finger Halloween cookies are SO creepy.  A shortbread type dough is molded into the shape of a finger and adorned with a blanched almond, painted red to look like a finger nail.  The end result is a cookie that looks amazingly realistic.  It’s fun to greet trick-or-treaters at the door with a tray of these cookies.  The reactions are priceless! (more…)

mr. Good(for you)bar – peanuts in healthier chocolate

mr. Good(for you)bar

Calling all chocoholics!  Peanuts in healthier chocolate couldn’t be more delicious! This is a chocolate bar you can feel a little less guilty about eating.  mr. Good(for you)bars are made with only five ingredients and unlike regular chocolate bars they contain no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, and no emulsifiers or other food additives.  They’re a healthier alternative to store bought chocolate and are so simple to make.  Below are a few tips for making this chocolate.  For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)

Gluten Free Blueberry Cashew Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten Free Blueberry Cashew Oatmeal Cookies

It’s the beginning of September and this time of year has me thinking about all the things school related. I’m pretty sure that’s what prompted me to make these cookies. Milk and cookies is the quintessential after school snack – the ideal kid comfort food. Even though I try to eat healthy most of the time I’ve never outgrown my love for cookies. Every now and then I crave a good cookie – one that is golden brown, a little crisp at the edges, and soft and chewy at the center. (more…)

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