Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nutty Granola


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup cashews (feel free to substitute nuts and seeds as desired)
  • 1 c shredded coconut
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1/3 c real maple syrup
  • 1/4 c olive oil or coconut oil (if you use coconut oil, heat until it's in liquid form)
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit you prefer)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar (or sucanat).
  3. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.  
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the oats mixture and combine well.  
  5. Lay out granola onto 2 sheet pans and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every half an hour.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to large bowl.  Add in the raisins and mix well.
This gluten-free recipe is great because you can obviously add any kind of nut, seed, or dry fruit that you'd like or have in your pantry. It's very simple in terms of hands-on time, but you definitely have to plan for the bake time.  Granola also makes a great gift! For Christmas this year, we made some and put it in jars tied with a ribbon. Simple, thoughtful, and tasty too!  It would also be a great gift to accompany a get well meal or a meal being delivered for new parents. My whole family helped in the process, although I'm not sure Owen's participation always counts as "help" ;). Yes, those cashews tripled the value of his airplane!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

World’s Best Roasted Butternut Squash Soup- this soup is my favorite! Perfect for a cold day.
Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (about 5 lb squash peeled and cut or 4 lbs pre-cut)
1 large green apple, peeled, sliced and cored
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken broth
Directions:
1. First things first. How do I take a store-bought squash and transform it into something I can cook? To prepare a butternut squash, first cut a thin slice off the bottom of the squash so that it can stand flat on the counter and is easier to handle. Next, peel off the outer layer off the squash. Then, using a sharp large knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. You can either discard of the seeds or rinse them and roast in the oven. Lastly, dice the peeled and seeded squash into cubes. Of course, you could also buy pre-cubed squash from the grocery store to make life a little easier.
soup ingredients

peeling the squash
For this recipe you don’t need to worry about making the cubes uniform, because they will be blended eventually. The same goes for the shapes of the sliced apple, onion and carrots. Everything is roasted in the oven after being tossed with some spices, and then combined in a large pot with some chicken stock to simmer. The more chicken broth that you add, the soupier it will be
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, olive oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cumin. Mix together, coating the squash well. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Next, in the same bowl that the butternut squash was in, toss the apple slices, onion, and carrots to coat with the remnants. Place on a second rimmed baking sheet and add both baking sheets to the oven. Roast for 50 minutes until soft, stirring once.

roasted butternut squash

4. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot on the stove. Add the roasted ingredients and then the chicken broth. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
5. Using an immersion blender, combine the ingredients until smooth, or transfer to a blender to puree. Serve warm.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honey-Lime Quinoa Sweet Potato Burritos

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled if desired and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5) oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Diced avocados 
  • Feta cheese

Directions
  • Cook quinoa according to package directions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil then place sweet potatoes on foil. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp olive oil and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle evenly with cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste then toss to evenly coat. Bake in preheated oven 15 - 20 minutes until tender, removing from oven and tossing once halfway through baking.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add onion and saute until caramelized (golden brown on edges and tender), about 5 - 6 minutes, adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sautéing. Reduce heat to medium-low, add in drained black beans, corn, honey and lime juice. Heat until warmed through. Toss in roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and cilantro. Serve over warm tortillas with desired toppings.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Southwest Roasted Pumpkin Seeds



Ingredients:
  • 2 c pumpkin seeds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet or baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Remove seeds from pumpkin. I try to get most of the gunk off of them, but I don't wash or rinse them because I think they're more flavorful that way.
  3. Combine spices and mix well. Mix pumpkin seeds with olive oil and then spread spices over evenly.  I thought the easiest way to do this was to use a baking pan rather than a cookie sheet (easier for turning seeds with bigger edges on the sides).  I dumped the oiled seeds and then sprinkled the spices over the top.  Then stirred with spatula before putting in oven.
  4. Bake for 25-20 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
These are a bit time consuming for the amount of seeds that you get, but it is one of our favorite traditions and the seeds are always devoured.  I really should buy some pumpkin seeds and roast them, we would get a lot more and it wouldn't take near as much time as carefully picking them out of the pumpkin guts, ha ha ha! Emma LOVES taking them in her lunch on Halloween.  There are a ton of great recipes to season pumpkin seeds with, but this one is our favorite. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gluten-free Banana Protein Pancakes



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
Directions:
  1. Put oats in blender for about 15 seconds to create oat flour.
  2. Add in eggs and banana and continue blending for another 15-20 seconds
  3. Cook on skillet as normal pancakes, flipping about half way through (these pancakes won't "bubble" the same way regular ones do, so don't wait too long to try to flip).
  4. Serve warm topped with pure maple syrup, nut butter, honey, yogurt, berries... or whatever you like!
This idea was shared with my by my friend, Carla, and has been a favorite for our family!  The kids LOVE them and I can't get over how filling they are.  I use this batch to make 12 small pancakes, it could easily be cut in half or doubled depending on the number of folks you are feeding.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

J-LEGS (Jessi's Limited Edition Granola Squares) Gluten Free and Vegan



Ingredients:
  • 1 c peanut or almond butter (or any nut butter you prefer)
  • 2/3 c honey (you could certainly sub the honey and maple syrup for agave, rice syrup, etc.)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 2t vanilla
  • 2 c puffed rice cereal
  • 1 c rolled oats, ground (I used my blender for this)
  • 1 c shredded coconut
  • 5 c nuts, seeds and dried berries/fruit (I used about 3 1/2 c nuts/seeds, and 1 1/2 c dried fruit)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, combine wet ingredients.  In a seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine together and spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 20 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.
My husband gave these bars their name and called them "limited edition" because I really have no idea what exactly I threw in to make these, only how much total. Since I won't be able to replicate these exact bars... the name was born.  I seriously emptied out a ton of random little bags that have just a bit of nuts and seeds left in them along with pecans, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, raisins... some mixed nuts that were in a little baggy in my cupboard.  I really have no clue.  The good news is that you could add anything you like and it will be delicious. Thanks to Laurie for the recipe inspiration!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Super Easy All Natural Gluten Free Banana Bread


Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (can substitute butter)
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup (can sub rice malt syrup, agave, honey, etc.)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 overly ripe bananas, mashed
  • Optional: 1 c walnuts, blueberries, or chocolate chips 

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Add in the rest of the wet ingredients (oil, syrup, vanilla, and mashed bananas) and stir. 
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in optional nuts/berries/chocolate chips.
  6. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until it passes the skewer test.
  7. Let cool before removing from pan.  Slice and enjoy!  Delicious served warm!
This recipe was passed along to me from my sweet friend, Carla, and originally comes from the blog The Natural Nutritionist.  It freezes really well.  I love the almond flour at Costco because it is extra fine as well as a great deal in comparison to buying it elsewhere.  One SUPER EASY modification I made was to make the whole thing in the blender - no bowls, no mess!  I started with the wet ingredients, blended, and then added the dry ingredients, folding in the optional berries at the end.  I cannot get over how easy it was!  I've made it several times, so it's definitely a keeper!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Caprese Quinoa & Ground Turkey Bake



Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups steamed quinoa/wild rice (from Costco - so good)
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon each: oregano leaves, minced garlic, thyme, onion salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup non-fat milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
1 cup heirloom or grape tomatoes, halved (I used heirloom)
4-6 large basil leaves, chopped into tiny bits
1 cup spinach, also chopped into bits
1/2 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
  1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Steam quinoa accordingly.
  3. Brown ground turkey with salt and pepper, in a fry pan, set aside.
  4. Over low heat, warm tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the herbs/spices.  When slow simmering, add milk, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese.
  5. Remove from heat and fold in ground turkey, steamed quinoa, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, chopped spinach, and 2/3 the tomatoes.
  6. Coat a 9x9 cooking pan with non-stick spray and pour the quinoa mixture into the pan.  Top with remaining tomatoes and mozzarella, and cover with foil.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake until cheese is melted on top.  Remove from oven and top with fresh basil ribbons.
This was majorly adapted from an original recipe on Half Baked Harvest.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Spicy Thai Turkey Basil Lettuce Wraps



Ingredients:

  • 4 t olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 c minced shallots (you could use onions as well)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 4 t minced fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 2 t chili garlic paste (add more or less to taste)
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1 c fresh basil leaves (thai basil is the best!)
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 4 lime wedges
  • Large lettuce leaves
  • Optional: cooked rice
Directions:
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add bell pepper; sauté 1 minute. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Remove shallot mixture from pan.
  2. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add turkey; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Return chicken to pan over medium heat. Add chile paste; cook 1 minute. Add shallot mixture to pan. Stir in fish sauce and next 3 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat; stir in basil and juice. Spoon turkey mixture into lettuce leaves.  You can also add rice to the lettuce leaves or leave out lettuce and serve over rice.  Also, good served in a tortilla as a wrap. Serve with lime wedges.
I quadrupled this recipe to serve to 3 families for dinner club.  My family, including kids, all loved this dish.  We will repeat for sure! The chile garlic paste and fish sauce are located in the asian section of the grocery store.  Fresh basil is a must and I highly recommend the Thai basil.  The 2 t of chili garlic paste makes this minimally spicy - kid friendly.  If it were just my husband and I eating it, we would definitely add more.  This recipe is inspired and adapted from Cooking Light, enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Meatless Summer Tacos

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup white onion, diced
4 oz. diced jalapeno peppers
1/4 teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper
dash of salt & pepper
2 cups black beans (in liquid)
1 avocado
juice and zest from 1 lime
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup goat cheese (I used feta)
2 cups fresh coleslaw cabbage mix
20 small corn tortillas
1 cup pico de gallo salsa

Directions:
1.   Stir together the first 8 ingredients (through black beans) in a medium saucepan.  Simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.  Set aside.
2.  Prepare honey-lime sauce: whisk together lime juice, lime rind, and honey.  Set aside.
3.  Heat corn tortillas in a small saute pan, after coating with non-fat cooking spray or olive oil.
4.  Layer tacos from bottom up: goat cheese, black beans, avocado, coleslaw mix, drizzle of honey/lime sauce, pico de gallo salsa.  Voila!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thai Style Chicken with Mango Rice Salad

Source
Ingredients:

2 & 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups Jasmine or other white rice
Peanut or olive oil, for stir frying
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
Finely ground white or black pepper
2 mangoes, peeled, trimmed, and sliced into thin, bite-size pieces (1 cup)
1 bell pepper, seeded, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 red Fresno (milder) or Thai (hotter) chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
3-4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2-2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup basil leaves (about 20-24 leaves), chopped
1 lime, 1/2 juiced and 1/2 cut into wedges, plus 1 teaspoon zest
Serves 4

Preparation:

1.  Steam Jasmine rice according to your steamer's instructions, using chicken stock as the liquid.

2.  When the rice is about ready, heat a thin layer of oil, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Pat the chicken dry and season with pepper. Add the meat to the pan in a single layer and do not touch for 2 minutes; stir fry until golden, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

3.  Add a little more oil to the skillet and heat up, then add the mango, bell pepper, chili pepper, ginger and garlic, stir fry until crisp-tender and the mango pieces are light golden at the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

4.  Turn off the heat and add half the basil leaves to wilt. Stir in the lime juice and zest and toss again to combine. Serve the rice and garnish with the lime wedges and remaining basil.  I also toasted sweet coconut, and topped the dish with the coconut and red pepper flakes.  

This is an original recipe based on traditional fried rice recipes.

Fresh Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Salad

Source
Ingredients:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of Balsamic vinaigrette 
Trader Joe's South African Smoke seasoning
salt and pepper
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1-inch thick rings
8 cups baby spinach /power greens mix
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
quarter of a red onion, thinly sliced
Pear & Gorgonzola vinaigrette

Directions:
1.  Marinate chicken breasts overnight in balsamic vinaigrette in a covered/sealed container in the refrigerator.
2.  Prepare pineapple for grilling.
3.  Slice red onion, wash and drain blueberries, and chop avocado.  Place onion, blueberries, avocado, and crumbled feta on top of spinach/power greens mixture.
4.  Place marinated chicken breasts on grill, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and South African Smoke seasoning.
5.  Grill chicken on medium for approximately 10 minutes per side.  Remove from grill to cool for 10 minutes.
6.  Grill pineapple slices approximately 5 minutes per side.  Cut into 1 inch chunks.
7.  Chop grilled chicken into bite-sized pieces.
8.  Top spinach salad mixture with chicken and pineapple.  Add your favorite amount of pear & Gorgonzola vinaigrette!  

Original recipe taken from Gimme Some Oven

Toasted Coconut Bread

Source
Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (your choice)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
5 ounces (140 grams) sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
Nonstick cooking spray for baking pan

Directions:
1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
3.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix.
4.  Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add yogurt, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.
5.  Coat with cooking spray and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
6.  Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
7.  Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

This recipe is adapted from smittenkitchen.com

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mexican Shrimp Cobb Salad with Baja Ranch Dressing



Ingredients:
  • For the shrimp:
    • 16 oz. shrimp, cooked large
    • chipotle chili powder to taste
    • 1 T lime juice
    • salt to taste
  • For the salad:
    • 6 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
    • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, or frozen are all good options)
    • 1/2 c red onion, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
    • juice of 1/2 lime
    • 1 english cucumber diced
    • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
    • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
    • 1 c shredded cheese
  • For the Baja ranch dressing:
    • Equal parts ranch dressing and salsa, mixed (for healthier version, you can just use salsa)

Directions:
  1. In a frying pan, put about a T of olive oil and then cook onion, pepper, and corn stirring and waiting (a couple minutes) until the veggies are cooked and "blackened".  The key part of these directions are the "waiting" part.  That's how they get that roasted feel.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in black beans.  When cooled off a bit, stir in fresh cilantro and lime juice.
  3. Rinse shrimp and cut into large chunks (cutting is optional).  Toss with a little salt, chipotle chili pepper, and fresh lime juice.
  4. In stripes over the bed of lettuce, lay down shrimp, shredded cheese, chopped tomato, chopped avocado, chopped cucumber, and bean/onion/pepper/corn mixture.
  5. Serve with the baja ranch dressing.
This recipe was inspired by one I found on skinnytaste.com as well as my Baja fish taco bowl recipe.  It was fresh and delicious... hearty enough to be dinner!  I also served some tortilla chips on the side.  It was a big hit for the whole family! Definite repeater!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Skinny Chicken Fettucini Alfredo



Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
2 cups roasted broccoli florets
2 cups chopped yellow squash
8 ounces fettuccine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tbsp oregano
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in the flour until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, Greek yogurt, milk, pepper, and oregano. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan.
Add cooked chicken, broccoli, and squash to sauce mixture, followed by the cooked pasta. Toss to combine and serve with more Parmesan, if desired.

As a chicken fettucini lover, I give this recipe two thumbs up! I don't think I'll ever make it with butter and cream again!


Original recipe and picture from Celebrations

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Southwest Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing



Ingredients
Large head of romaine

2 chicken breasts
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large orange bell pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups corn 
5 green onions

cumin, salt, and pepper to tast
Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing (Recipe below)

Directions
Season chicken breasts with cumin, salt, and pepper.
Grill chicken breasts and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Finely chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Toss with desired dressing.

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing 

 Ingredients
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar

1/8 tsp. salt
*The original recipe calls for 1-2 garlic cloves, but I thought it was WAY too much garlic and it               completely overtook the dressing. Next time, I will omit it completely.

Directions
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.



Recipe and picture from The Garden Grazer

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos


Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
juice from 2 limes
1/2 cup of cilantro
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 t dried onions
1/2 cup of water
shredded cheese
sour cream
salsa
chopped tomatoes

Directions:
1. Put all ingredients into crock-pot. Cook on low all day, or set crock-pot to high and cook for four(ish) hours. 
2. Shred, stir well.
3. Spoon into soft taco tortillas.

4. Top with cheese, sour cream, salsa, and tomatoes.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust



This recipe will make 1 12" pizza crust. If you are feeding more than 2 people, I recommend doubling it.

1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower - should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg
optional 1 tablespoon almond meal

Desired amount of sauce, cheese for topping, and other toppings. 

Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil. 

Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don't get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don't need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups cauliflower "snow". Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and ring the heck out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess. 

Dumped ringed out cauliflower into a bowl. Now add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt), and a dash of red pepper if you want.  Now add your egg and mix away. Hands tend to work best. 

Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don't make it too thick, you are making a thin crust pizza.

Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake anywhere from 11-20 minutes depending on your oven, until it starts to turn golden brown. Really make sure it is a nice golden color. Remove from oven.

Add however much sauce, cheese, and toppings you want. Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden.

Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula serve up your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza!

*Our pizza slices were pretty floppy, and we had to eat them with a fork. I think if I would have left the crust in the oven longer before topping it, it may have held together better. 

This was surprisingly good! It's even hubby approved, and for something that is gluten free, that's a pretty big deal!

Recipe and picture from The Lucky Penny Blog

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fresh Veggie & Turkey Tostadas

Ingredients:
1.25 lb. fresh ground turkey
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/3 cup taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
2 cups fresh baby greens
1/2 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1 avocado, sliced
10-12 flat corn tortilla shells
1 small can sliced black olives
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 cup green salsa (salsa verde)
14.5 oz. can black or pinto beans
1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used feta and/or colby-jack)

Directions:
1.  Saute chopped bell pepper and onion in small saucepan, set aside.
2.  Brown ground turkey in medium saucepan, draining any fat.  Add sauteed bell pepper and onion, taco seasoning, and water.  Bring to quick boil, lower heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
3.  Heat corn tortillas on your grill, or on the stove in a small saucepan, just until very lightly browned.
4.  Lay corn tortilla on a dinner plate, layer with any/all of the ingredients from above and devour, several if you like! 

These tostadas are like mini taco salads on top of a tortilla, inspired by the Costa Vida-style salads.

BBQ Shredded Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Ingredients for BBQ shredded chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 teaspoon grill seasoning
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
14. 5 oz. diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon Worchestshire sauce

For everything else:
8 clean-scrubbed white sweet potatoes
Pam cooking spray
dash of salt per sweet potato
1 cup shredded colby/jack cheese
1 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
dash salt & black pepper
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
fresh off cobb or frozen sweet yellow corn

Directions:
1.  Mix together all ingredients for BBQ shredded chicken, except the raw chicken.  Pour BBQ sauce into crock pot, add chicken breasts and slow cook for 6-8 hours on low setting.
2.  Stir together the Greek yogurt, salt & pepper, chopped green onions and chopped cilantro.  Chill.
3.  With about 2 hours to go on the BBQ chicken, scrub and clean sweet potatoes. Coat lightly with cooking spray and dash of salt.  Wrap in foil and place in heated 375 degree oven to bake for 1.5 hours.
4.  When the chicken is finished, remove from crock pot and shred with a fork, and stir back into BBQ sauce.
5.  Once sweet potatoes are baked, slice open in the center, fluff with fork, and stuff with BBQ shredded chicken, Greek yogurt concoction, shredded cheese and sweet corn.

NOTE:  I also gave an option of making this a BBQ shredded chicken sandwich and sweet potato meal by providing whole wheat hoagie rolls, baby greens, and fresh pineapple.



Summer Chili with Turkey

Ingredients:
1.25 lbs. fresh ground turkey
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon grill seasoning blend
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 Tablespoon Worchestire sauce
2 Tablespoons hot sauce
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (I used yellow & orange), chopped
14.5 oz. tomato sauce
14.5 oz. beans (black, pinto, and/or small kidney - I used all three)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (optional, I did NOT use)
1/2 cup fresh off cobb or frozen, thawed yellow sweet corn
1/4 cup diced jalapenos

Toppings:
1/2 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced

Directions:
1.  Brown ground turkey in skillet, add chopped peppers and onion.  Add chili powder, grill seasoning, and cumin and saute until onions are translucent.
2.  In a large saucepan or crock pot, add and stir together tomato sauce, beans, (optional) BBQ sauce, Worchestire sauce, hot sauce, corn, and jalapenos.
3.  Transfer ground turkey mixture into the crock pot.  Slow cook for 6-8 hours, or quick cook for 4 hours.
4.  Serve chili hot with any/all toppings and enjoy!
5.  Another option for a heartier, but still healthy meal is to steam quinoa and top with cooked summer chili.

Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad




Ingredients: 

For the dressing and marinade:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup ground ginger (I buy this in the jar next to the minced garlic in the jar at the grocery store or 6T fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce (asian cooking section in the grocery store)
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 T sriracha sauce (can use more or less to taste)
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 4 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar*
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (white and green parts)*
For the salad:
  • 3 lb cabbage, very thinly sliced (for a time saver you can buy this pre-shredded)
  • 4-6 carrots, grated 
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted (if you don't have these, you can just double the white sesame seeds)
Directions:
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, olive oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, and salt.  Add 1/2 cup marinade to a gallon sized ziploc bag along with the chicken breasts.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. *To the remainder of the marinade, add the red wine vinegar and chopped green onions.  Now you have the dressing for the salad.
  3. Grill or fully cook chicken, thinly slice.
  4. In a large salad bowl, combine the cabbage, grated carrot, additional sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, almonds and half of the sesame seeds.
  5. Add the chicken and just enough dressing to lightly coat the salad.  Mix thoroughly.
  6. Top with remainder of sesame seeds and serve immediately.
  7. Makes enough for 4-6 people.
If you don't plan to serve the salad immediately, reserve the toasted almonds, grilled chicken, salad dressing, and remaining sesame seeds until just before serving. The inspiration for this dish along with the photo, come from menumusings.com


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee


In the past, I have made iced coffee by simply brewing coffee, chilling it, and then adding milk/sweetener, etc.  WHAT AN IDIOT I HAVE BEEN!  In search of a more "fun" beverage to serve at an afternoon birthday party, I came across this recipe for cold brewed coffee.  Game changer.  I will never ever, ever go back.

The recipe was published back in the NY Times in June of 2007 and obviously is a winner!  It's pretty darn simple, the only disadvantage is that it requires time to "brew" so you have to plan ahead.  The actual hands on time is pretty minimal.

Ingredients:
  • 1 c ground coffee, the darker roast the better (I used Trader Joe's Wintry Blend)
  • 4 1/2 c water
  • Milk/Cream
  • Sweetner/Flavor of your choice

Directions:

1. Pour ground coffee and water into container and stir.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.


2. Pour brewed coffee through paper coffee filter or strainer lined with cheese cloth. French press might also work here?!


3. The cold-brewed coffee concentrate is now ready.  Mix coffee concentrate with equal parts water or milk. Sweeten as desired.  Serve over ice.  Serves 6. *You can refrigerate concentrate for up to two weeks.

I have a batch brewing on my counter as I am typing this blog.  I am completely craving it.  I loved the spices in the Wintry Blend coffee from Trader Joe's, but I am sure any coffee would be delicious. Just to point out the obvious, the more fat in the milk the more creamy your iced coffee will be. At the party, I pre-mixed with milk and 1/2 c sugar (served in a pitcher) and let people add their own additional milk, sugar, chocolate syrup, etc. 





Monday, May 13, 2013

Lemon Chicken Turkey Burgers with Spiced Yogurt Sauce


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Moroccan or Greek seasoning blend**
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 (6-inch) pitas, cut in half
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
**If you don't have Greek seasoning on hand, you can make it yourself. Here is the recipe I followed:
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation

  • Combine first 6 ingredients; add 1 teaspoon rind, stirring well. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into 1/4-inch-thick oval patties.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes.
  • Combine remaining 1 teaspoon rind, yogurt, and oregano, stirring well. Fill each pita half with 1 patty, 1 tablespoon yogurt mixture, 1/4 cup lettuce, and 1 tablespoon tomato.
These burgers are a fun escape from the "norm" and are bursting with flavor!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Curried Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils - gluten free, vegan


Ingredients:

  • 1 c lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups broth, you could use *vegetable or chicken (*vegan)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced/shredded
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (remove ribs and seeds)
  • 2 t fresh grated ginger (I love the stuff already pre-ground in the tube or jar)
  • 1 can (14.5oz) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • salt to taste (I used 1 t)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Red pepper chili flakes optional for added spice
  • Optional: 2 small chicken breasts, baked and cubed (not vegan)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring lentils, broth, and sweet potatoes to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and lentils are barely done cooking. 
  2. Add in the tumeric, curry, salt, fire-roasted tomatoes, and ginger to the same pot and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute onions, garlic, and jalapenos for 2-3 minutes.  Then add in the sliced cabbage and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sauteed mixture to the large pot and stir in the coconut milk.  Top with fresh cilantro.
I went ahead and included some baked chicken in this dish for some added protein, but that is optional for sure.  I used 2 chicken smaller chicken breasts, (baked and cubed) and added them in with the coconut milk.  Without adding in extra heat, this is about a 1 star recipe and great for the not -too-spicy curry lovers.  For the adults, we added in a couple shakes of red pepper flakes for some extra kick.  Absolutely delicious both ways! Sometimes it's nice to keep it mild and let everyone add in the spice factor that they prefer.  This was a very healthy, hearty, and flavorful dish.  Really delicious!!! Photo credit and recipe inspiration goes to Pinch of Yum.