Make a rich, fudgy cake that is amazingly easy and totally guilt free without gluten, dairy or eggs. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at or 504-0545.

As I sat with my weekly planner, grocery list and a hot cup of tea this morning, I realized the next several days are going to be especially busy. It’s all fun stuff, but I realized that I didn’t have room in the schedule to spend much time in the kitchen.

When this happens, I often rely on easy sheet-pan and one-pot meals, and one of my favorites is chicken and rice. So here we have an easy one-pot main dish that features bold flavors and a quick cleanup.

I do love a meal eaten from a bowl, especially one as savory as this is. Every single ingredient works together in this recipe to warm your very soul – it’s that comforting. Serve some pickled vegetables on the side and you’ll be all set.

For dessert, in my quest for a rich, flourless chocolate cake, I discovered this gem of a fudgy, decadent treat made with a secret ingredient – sweet potato. (Canned pumpkin can be substituted.)

I use a 6-inch springform pan or loaf pan for this recipe. You can double it if you want and bake it in a 9-inch square or round baking pan. The cake can be sliced, cut into wedges, or even into bite-size pieces. Although it tastes very rich, it is gluten free, dairy free and egg free.

Sweetened with maple syrup and chocolate chips (I chose Bake Believe brand sweetened with stevia; Lily’s is another brand option), this dense, satisfying chunk of chocolate, no matter how you slice it, is guilt free.


One-pot chile ginger chicken and rice

3 cups chicken stock

6 large slices ginger, cut lengthwise

4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

1 long green chile, such as Anaheim or Hatch, sliced

1½ cups jasmine rice, rinsed

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs


1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 bunch scallions, sliced

1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Coconut aminos or soy sauce, to serve

Stir chicken stock, ginger, garlic and chile together in a 3½-quart Dutch oven or another deep, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then add rice and stir. Bring to a boil again, then add chicken and season with salt and pepper.


Cover, turn heat to low, and cook 20 minutes. At this point, the rice should have absorbed all the liquid and the chicken should be tender. Top with scallions and cilantro. Serve with coconut aminos or soy sauce on the side.

Yield: 4 servings

Fudgy flourless chocolate cake

1 cup sweet potato, cubed and cooked

1/3 cup nut butter

1/3 cup cocoa or cacao

1/4 cup maple syrup or sweetener of your choice


1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder or 2 tablespoons strong coffee, optional

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, divided

Flaky sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 6-inch springform pan or loaf pan with parchment paper or brush thoroughly with olive or avocado oil.


In a medium bowl, mash cooled sweet potatoes. Stir in nut butter, cocoa or cacao, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and cinnamon or espresso until well combined. Stir in 1/3 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon (very thick) batter into the pan and spread to level out. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Test with a knife or skewer in the middle of the cake. It should come out clean.

Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top of the cake and spread with a knife as they melt. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if using. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove from the pan and continue to cool on a rack before cutting.

Yield: 4 servings

Comments are not available on this story.