Category: Gluten-Free

Gluten Free recipes on Decadently Fit

Crockpot Roast Chicken

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Hellooooooo!  Yes, it’s been a long time since my last post and I hope you can forgive me.   Priorities changed and I had to shift focus for a little while.  Actually, my focus has shifted profusely!  I went back to school in March.  I will be a bachelor degree toting nurse by 2020, God willing.  Why the shift in my passion?  It hasn’t really.  I’ve always had a desire to help people, that is why this blog was started in the first place.  Being a nurse I will be able to help people on an entirely different level.  God gives us all desires and passions, and I believe the desire to become a nurse came directly from him.  So with the strength instilled in me by him I have maintained straight A’s so far and my family hasn’t taken too big of a hit.

I actually LOVE school.  I am a much better student at this point in my life than I ever was.  I am getting much more out of it this time, even the classes I am not so into, like Philosophy.  Ugh, that class was interesting to say the least.

As of today I start my chemistry and Anatomy classes.  I am not a math person so chemistry is going to challenge me, but I’ve taken Anatomy before and am so looking forward to dissecting everything!  I promise not to post pics on the blog of dissections, although I can’t say the same about my instagram.  You have been warned!

So, needless to say life is busy in our household.  But, eating and being healthy is still a priority to all of us.  I do NOT want to put on the freshmen 15, and want to continue to feed my brood in a healthy manner, no excuses.  So instead of the recipes you are used to on Decadently Fit, the recipes will now be super easy and quick, lots of crock pot ideas.

The recipe below is tonight’s dinner, crock pot roast chicken. It took me a matter of 10 minutes to prepare this dish.  For those with limited culinary knowledge you don’t have to be afraid of this dish, it’s beginner friendly.  I will be serving it will frozen organic broccoli and frozen organic brown rice.  Quick, easy, healthy, minimal clean up.

Cheers to new adventures, creating new goals and maintaining a healthy family!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Crockpot Roast Chicken
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Crockpot Recipe
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Easy weeknight crockpot meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 5 lb. roasting whole chicken
  • 2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large onion, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl
  2. Remove the giblets from the chicken, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place chopped onion in the bottom of a 6 qt. crockpot
  4. Rub the chicken with the spices and set on top of the onion.
  5. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 4 - 8 hours or until a thermometer shows 165 degrees in the thigh.
  6. If you would like the skin crispier remove the chicken from the crockpot place on foil covered cookie sheet and broil the chicken for 2 to 5 minutes.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve.

 

Hatch Chili Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini – Plus a Giveaway!

Fresh Hatch Chiles_Fotor If you have been a reader of my blog for at least a year you know about the Hatch Chili.  If not, here is a quick history/biography of the only chili that can be purchased in three different heat scales, mild, medium and hot. a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Hatch Chili has a very short season, which starts in August and ends in September.  They are only grown in Hatch, New Mexico, where the climate is perfect for this species of chili.  The chilies resemble a poblano, but have a deeper flavor.  Whether used roasted, fresh or in powder form the chili goes well with so many flavor profiles. Hatch Chili Roasting IEFB_Fotor The smell of the roasted chills is pretty incredible though.  I should know that scent incredibly well after recently going to a Hatch Chili Roasting event at the Bristol Farms located in Palm Desert.  I was lucky enough to attend with my fellow IEFB friends, Sara from My Imperfect Kitchen and Natalie from The Devil Wears Parsley.  Sue from It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake was there in spirit with us! Hatch Chili Salsas I tried Hatch Chili everything that day!  From savory dishes like, pizza, sushi, grilled cheese, salsa, macaroni and cheese, guacamole, and chorizo.  My sweet tooth was invited to the party with the juices, smoothies and cupcakes spiked withe versatile chili. Hatch Chilis Roasted_Fotor   I had never been to a Hatch Chili Roasting or a Bristol Farms before.  Both were worth the drive to the desert!  The smell of the hatch chilis wafted through the parking lot when we pulled up and filled the car on our drive home.  We bought a case and split it amongst the four of us.  I would highly recommend doing this.  Since the season is so short it’s one of the only ways to have access to them in the off season.  If you would like to find a roasting near you click here. IMG_3727_Fotor After you have purchased your chills make sure you peel and freeze them within 24 hours of the roasting.  I separated my 1/4 case into smaller freezer bags, flattened them, and stacked them in the freezer.  I left a portion fresh and have been eating them in eggs, soups, meat loaf and then came up with the recipe below with items I already had on hand. Hatch Zucchi_Fotor Hatch Chili Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini is a quick protein filled meal that satisfies.  The mild bite from the mixture of hatch chills and curry powder gives the zucchini a flavorful punch.  Low carb, vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic friendly and tastes amazing.  (recipe below) Want your own Hatch Chili Cook Book from the produce experts at Melissa’s Produce?  Enter to win your own copy here!  You may even win one of the signed copies from the author!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are even more great hatch chili recipes from my friends:

Hatch Chili Breakfast Sausage from Natalie at The Devil Wears Parsley

HatchChileChickenSausage-Natalie

Hatch Chili Pesto from Sue at It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake

Hatch Chile Pesto Sauce_Fotor

Hatch Chili & Chicken Pockets from Sara at My Imperfect Kitchen

HatchChile&ChickenPuffPastryPockets

4.8 from 4 reviews
Hatch Chili Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini - Plus a Giveaway!
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Ingredients
  • 4 zucchini, split in half
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 3 roasted hatch chilis, peeled, and diced
  • 8 tablespoons cheddar cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the insides of the zucchini, leaving an edge all the way around the zucchini to hold in the filling. Roughly chop the insides and set aside in a medium size mixing bowl
  3. Saute the red onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  4. Add the red onion to the mixing bowl, along with the quinoa, curry, yogurt, salt, and chills. Mix to combine.
  5. Place the zucchini on a cookie sheet, then scoop the quinoa filling into each zucchini boat.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then top with cheese if desired. Bake another 5 minutes to melt cheese.
  7. Serve immediately.

 Disclosures:  All opinions in this post are my own.  Bristol Farms did not sponsor this post.  Melissa’s Produce has generously supplied the cookbooks in the giveaway, and hatch chili ingredients.  

Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad

RebekahSpicyAsianZucchiniNoodleSalad-2
photo credit: Natalie Wiser-Orozco

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that make your day.  A smile from someone, a cat purring loudly in your face or even food.  I hate to admit it but food makes my day quit often.  Lately I have been on a tirade with Thai food.

I can not get enough Thai food.  Curry, coconut milk, tamarind, spicy everything.  If I was stranded on a desert island I could eat Thai food the rest of my life.  Oh wait, isn’t Thailand a ton of islands?  I want to be deserted on any one of them.  Now.

In the meantime, I will have to live with making my own at home.

Since the weather has gone from quadrapolar (yes I made that up),  can’t decide what season to be, to I live in an oven hot, cold food is a must.  Cold Thai inspired food equals perfection right now.

Recently my Inland Empire Food Blogger posse came over to share their newest salad creations with me.  I am incredibly lucky to have such talented friends that make to die for food.  I brought this Asian beauty to the table, literally.

My addition was quick, refreshing, spicy, salty and slightly sweet.  You can add grilled chicken to the salad to make it a complete meal.  Whatever you do to this salad just make it.  The dressing is to die for and will quench any Thai cravings you have.  Since it’s low in carbs you can have as much as you want!  Dive in fork first!

Here are the links to the other great salads my friends brought:

Natalie from The Devil Wears Parsley made a Cuban Sandwich inspired salad.

EnsaladaCubano-14

Sue’s Italian inspired Salad from It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake has home made pizza croutons!

Salad Overhead

Sara’s baja inspired Spicy Watermelon Salad made my mouth so happy, her recipe is posted on her blog My Imperfect Kitchen:

Sara Salad

 

Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 
  • Calories: 85
  • Fat: 3.5
  • Saturated fat: .6
  • Carbohydrates: 10
  • Sugar: 6.4
  • Sodium: 414
  • Fiber: 3.1
  • Protein: 3.9
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Ingredients
  • 3 zucchini, spiralized or julienned into long spaghetti like strips ( I used a mandolin)
  • ¼ head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup crushed roasted unsalted peanuts
  • grilled chicken (optional)
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. To assemble Salad:
  3. Layer the noodles on the bottom, then the cabbage, the carrots, the cilantro, and then the peanuts. Right before serving drizzle the dressing over the salad. For best results, mix dressing into the salad to coat evenly.

 

 

Shepherd’s Pie – Kerrygold Cheese & Butter Giveaway

SP Shephards Pie 2_Fotor Top of the morning’ to ya!  Or afternoon, not sure what time of day you are reading this, but this is one recipe you will want to make.  I started making this a few years ago as a solution to a dinner time problem.  One of us wanted healthy, the other wanted hearty.

My gluten-free Shepherd’s Pie became the solution to that problem. Although it’s undergone many makeovers since first conception of the dish, I have settled on this version as my favorite.  The best part is the loaded cauliflower mash that adorns the gluten-free chicken and veggie filling.  The mash is filled with Kerrygold unsalted butter and their Dubliner with Irish Stout.  This Shepherd’s Pie is the perfect healthy St. Patty’s day dinner.

If you read my last post you know that today is the LAST day to enter the Kerrygold Cheese & Butter gift basket worth an estimated value of $175!  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I was not paid to develop this recipe or to express my opinion.  All opinions are my own.

Shepherd's Pie (gluten free)
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: ⅙th
  • Calories: 219
  • Fat: 11
  • Saturated fat: 6.3
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5
  • Sugar: 3.4
  • Sodium: 523
  • Fiber: 2.4
  • Protein: 15.8
  • Cholesterol: 50
Recipe type: Healthy Comfort Food
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Slimmed down version of Shepherd's Pie, full of chicken & vegetables, topped with a Dubliner Stout Cauliflower Mash.
Ingredients
  • Cauliflower Mash
  • 1 head of cauliflower, core removed and steamed
  • ⅓ c. crumbled Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted Kerrygold Butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • Filling
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cauliflower Mash
  2. In a food processor pulse the cheese until it crumbles into very small pieces
  3. add in the rest of the ingredients and puree till smooth. Set aside
  4. Filling
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  6. Melt the butter in a large pot.
  7. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt to the pot and cook on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the liquid from the mushrooms disappears.
  8. Add the shallots and garlic an sauté for another 2 - 3 minutes, or until shallots are softened.
  9. Add the peas and carrots, stir to combine.
  10. Stir in the chicken broth and worcestershire sauce
  11. In a small bowl stir together the 2 tablespoons of chicken broth and arrowroot till smooth.
  12. Reduce the heat to medium low and combine the arrowroot mixture with the veggie and chicken mixture stirring constantly, cooking for about 5 minutes on low heat until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
  13. Pour the veggie chicken mixture into a medium sized baking dish (9X9).
  14. Top the veggie chicken mixture with the cauliflower mash, cover the filling completely.
  15. Bake for 20 -30 minutes or until the mixture begins to bubble.
  16. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Buffalo Blue Cheese Stuffed Eggs – PLUS a Kerrygold Giveaway!

devil eggs4_Fotor 640 Deviled eggs are a pretty popular contribution to Easter celebrations.  Mostly because of the crazy tradition of hiding and finding hard boiled eggs in grass and dirt.  Who started this crazy tradition?  The germaphobe in me cringes. If your household is like mine there is an abundance of hard boiled eggs looking for new uses after the binge eating is over.  There is the obvious egg salad, or as an ingredient in a cobb salad.  My favorite use is the deviled egg. Usually I am a very simplistic lover of the deviled egg.  The less fuss and simpler the ingredients the better, but I love a challenge. I was recently asked to take part of an amazing giveaway with  Kerrygold cheese and butter.  If you have never have a KG product you need to remedy that situation ASAP.  Their products  are made from cows that graze on grass in the hills of Ireland.  Happy cows.  Grateful cows, that make their product with love that you can taste.

products_butter_salted-butter
photo courtesy of kerrygoldusa.com

I’m sure you are wondering if cows eating grass makes a difference.  I can say empathically that it does.  The old saying “You are what you eat”, not only applies to the cows, but to us as we eat the byproduct of what they eat.  The taste is cleaner than butter and cheese made from a grain fed cow. Not only is the taste better, but there are health benefits to eating the products of grassfed cows.  The butter is yellow in color due to the high levels of beta carotene and is hormone-free.  Did you know that there is a significant amount of Vitamin K2 in the butter made from grassed cows?  K2 is responsible for decalcifying our arteries.  Consuming grassfed butter can lower heart disease, (authority nutrition.com).  

products_landing-intro
photo courtesy of kerrygoldusa.com

A better question begs to be asked.  Why in the world would you consume anything else?  Especially when you can buy Kerrygold products almost anywhere these days, even Costco. They have some amazing flavors in their cheese line.  From their infamous Dubliner to different types of cheddars, swiss, or the more complex Dubliner with Irish Stout, or Aged-Cheddar with Irish Whiskey and the Irish Cashel Blue Cheese.  Click here to learn more about each cheese.

products_cheese_cashel-blue
photo courtesy of kerrygoldusa.com

After receiving a rather large assortment of happy cow cheeses and butters I was challenged to make an appetizer for our monthly Inland Empire Food Bloggers Meeting.  As a group we are giving away a gift basket of KG cheese and butter valued at $175!  Each of us was asked to come up with a recipe show casing the cheeses. Since Easter is on it’s way, and like I discussed earlier I am always looking for a way to use hard boiled eggs, I came up with this version of deviled eggs.  I guess they should be called buffalowed eggs though.  The eggs are stuffed full of Kerrygold Irish Cashel Blue Cheese.  There is zero mayo in this recipe, using protein packed, tangy greek yogurt instead.  The addition of buffalo sauce in the eggs leaves a spicy finish on the back end.  Diced celery gives the eggs a lovely crunchy texture.  My favorite part of these spicy, cheese filled eggs?  There are only 84 calories for two of these babies. This is what the other members of our IEFB group made with their cheese and butter:

From Sue at It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake A Dubliner Cream Scone

Single Scone _Fotor

Cottage Pies from Sara at My Imperfect Kitchen

cottage pies_Fotor

Kerrygold Beer & Cheese Pairing from Natalie at The Devil Wears Parsley

KerrygoldCheeseBeerPairing-19_Fotor

Dubliner Judge made by Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva

dubliner judge_Fotor

The recipe for the eggs is below, but before I get to that I want to share what is in the Kerrygold gift basket!

2 wedges Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese

2 wedges Kerrygold Swiss Cheese

2 wedges Kerrygold Blarney Castle Cheese

2 wedges Kerrygold Aged Cheddar

2 wedges Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar

2 wedges Kerrygold Red Leicester

2 wedges of Kerrygold Skellig

2 packs Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter

2 packs Kerrygold Unsalted Butter

2 packs of Kerrygold Garlic and Herb Butter

2 packs of Kerrygold Softer Butter

A $175 estimated retail value!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5.0 from 2 reviews
Buffalo Blue Cheese Stuffed Eggs
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 8
  • Serving size: 8
  • Calories: 84
  • Fat: 4.2
  • Saturated fat: 1.4
  • Carbohydrates: .8
  • Sugar: .6
  • Sodium: 241
  • Fiber: .1
  • Protein: 6.5
  • Cholesterol: 164
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A playful, twist on deviled eggs. Cashel Irish Blue Cheese is paired with spicy buffalo sauce and topped with crunchy celery.
Ingredients
  • 8 eggs, hard boiled, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons plain 0% greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • ¼ cup Kerrygold Irish Cashel Blue Cheese
  • 5 tablespoons finely diced celery, reserve one for garnish
  • ⅛ teaspoon celery salt
  • cayenne or chili powder for garnish
Instructions
  1. Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks to a medium size bowl, mashing yolks with a fork.
  2. Add in the yogurt, hot sauce, blue cheese, salt, and 4 tablespoons of celery into the mashed yolks. Combine ingredients till smooth, adding more greek yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture reaches desired consistency. It should not be too dry, but easy to pipe out of plastic bag.
  3. Scoop the blue cheese mixture into a piping bag or ziploc bag. Pipe about a half tablespoon of the mixture into each egg white half.
  4. Garnish the eggs with remaining celery, and sprinkle cayenne or chili powder on top of each.
  5. Refrigerate till ready to serve. Can be made up to a day before.

Short Rib Ragu over Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

caulifower ragu 6_Fotor 640

Everyone has a signature dish on stand by that they make for the people they love.  A dish that comes from their heart and warms their loved one’s soul.  It’s usually a dish that gave the chef a happy or joyous feeling that they wanted to share.  A silver lining on a bad day.

My silver lining dish of choice is a hearty beef ragu.  The first time I had it I was out for a girls night at a local Italian restaurant.  From my first bite I was in love.  That dinner was such a wonderful memory that I have forever tied the luscious flavor with that happy time.  Thus, my love dish was born.

The problem with my love/silver lining dish is that it’s not the healthiest in its original form.  There is a lot of fat laced into and on the outside of boneless beef ribs.  When you braise them the fat melds into every fiber of the meat and sauce.  Yes, it’s to die for, but to make it healthier I pull the outside fat completely off the ribs, leaving only the internal fat.  This cuts down the fat factor immensely.

cauliflower roasted 2_Fotor 640

Adding to the unhealthy factor, the original dish was served on a bed of orrechiette (ear shaped pasta).  Although the dish was perfection in this combination, the carbs and gluten aren’t always welcome at my dinner table.  Since cauliflower is one of my favorite cruciferous veggies, I chose to pair the chunky sauce with it.  I roasted olive oil spritzed cauliflower steaks on a pizza stone covered in a garlic herb seasoning.  I didn’t even miss the pasta.  The cauliflower had more flavor and the crunchy texture was a nice contrast to the luscious sauce.

The total meal comes in at only 283 calories.  I have no idea what the original meal nutrition stats are, but I can guarantee they would not be pretty.

Whatever your go to love dish is I hope your Valentines day is filled with love.  Not just on the 14th, but everyday.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Short Rib Ragu over Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: ⅙th
  • Calories: 283
  • Fat: 11
  • Saturated fat: 5
  • Unsaturated fat: .5
  • Trans fat: .4
  • Carbohydrates: 14.1
  • Sugar: 7
  • Sodium: 855
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 7.4
  • Cholesterol: 22
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Healthy
Slow Cooked Short Rib Ragu is ladled over roasted cauliflower.
Ingredients
  • For Caulifower Steaks
  • 1 head of cauliflower, washed and patted dry, outer leaves removed
  • Melissa's Produce "My Grinder" Organic Garlic & Herb Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • For Short Rib Ragu
  • 1½ lbs of boneless beef ribs, visible fat removed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ cup red wine (I used a cabernet)
  • 1 28 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons organic tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. For Short Ribs
  2. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
  3. Pat the ribs to remove any moisture. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper on all sides.
  4. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat, then add olive oil when hot.
  5. In 2 batches sear all sides of the ribs. Sear each side for about 2 minutes or until brown. If the meat sticks to the pan when you try to flip it, leave it on for another minute. Remove ribs to a nearby plate after all sides are seared.
  6. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, salt, red pepper and basil to the same pan the ribs were in. Saute for 5 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
  7. Pour in the red wine and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (a.k.a. degalze the pan). Reduce the wine by half, about 2 - 4 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, combine well.
  9. Return the meat and the juices to the dutch oven submerging them in the tomato wine sauce.
  10. Put the lid on the dutch oven and cook in the oven for 2½ hours.
  11. Remove the meat from the sauce to a cutting board. Set aside.
  12. Using a hand blender or use a regular blender, pulse the sauce so that the veggies are coarsely pureed. There should be some texture left in the sauce.
  13. Return the meat back to the sauce and stir to combine.
  14. For the Caluiflower
  15. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  16. Cut the head in 2 inch thick slices. The ends will not come off looking like steaks but you should get at least 2 steaks from one head.
  17. Spray each side of the cauliflower steaks and pieces with olive oil, and then spring both sides with Garlic and Herb Sea Salt.
  18. Place on a pizza stone or baking sheet.
  19. Roast for 20 minutes.
  20. Serve with ragu on top.

 

Spicy Basil Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato

spagetti squash basil oil3_Fotor There are times when cooking dinner is seriously the last thing I want to do at the end of a busy day.  I would rather order a pizza and call it a day.  Ultimately I always regret that decision for many reasons.  First, because of the greasy s@#t storm it creates in my stomach.  Second, because my body just does not do well with that amount of dairy consumed at one time.  It’s a recipe for disaster.  Pun intended. Last night I was scrambling for a dinner idea.  I always keep whole wheat pasta and a jar of organic marinara sauce on hand for emergencies like this.  Only problem is that whole wheat pasta, although great for the boys is not what I want at the end of the day.  I prefer not to eat carbs at a time of day that I can’t burn them. After a quick scan I found a lonely spaghetti squash that was pleading for me to use it.  Normally I would just prepare the spaghetti squash for me, the whole wheat noodles for the kids and use the same sauce for both.  Only problem was that my back up jar had been partially used on tortilla pizzas a couple nights ago.  There was only enough for my two crazies.  So of course I gave them the sauce, the hangrys (hungry+angry=hangry) had already set in. spaghetti squash_Fotor What to do for me?  Fortunately for myself and now beneficial to all of you, I am an advanced pantry recipe developer.  Did you just raise your eye brows and wonder what the heck I was talking about? Basically, I can make something from nothing like nobody’s business.  I attribute it to living on tight budgets for most of my life.  It’s a great skill to possess.

Don’t worry though, as fancy as this recipe sounds, it sooooo simple to make.  Keeping it inline with my new simpler philosophy.  Either bake or microwave the divided squash, then pull the ‘noodles’ out.  Heat the Luna Olivo Basil Olive Oil till shimmering and add a clove of garlic.  Infuse the oil (just let the garlic sit in the hot oil) for a few minutes.  Remove the garlic, add the tomatoes, squash, and red pepper.  Add mozzarella on top.  Done.

You can add chicken or italian sausage for more protein, at that moment I was fine with the mozzarella.  It was quick, tasty, and healthy.  When I made it I served it in the empty spaghetti squash shell, saving me any extra dishes.  Serious bonus, considering I hate dishes. Simple.  Healthy.  Easy Clean up.  Delicious.  All good reasons to have this on standby for your next busy week night.

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for any portion of this post.  Luno Olivo sent me their delicious Basil infused Olive Oil.  I would absolutely suggest purchasing any of their products.  Superb quality, amazing flavor!  Click here to purchase their products.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Basil Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Serving size: ½ of meal
  • Calories: 319
  • Fat: 17.6
  • Saturated fat: 7.1
  • Carbohydrates: 27.5
  • Sugar: 11.8
  • Sodium: 246
  • Fiber: 6.3
  • Protein: 13.1
  • Cholesterol: 40
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Simple weeknight healthy dish everyone should add into their rotation.
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • ½ tablespoon Luna Olivo Basil Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz. of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash, one of two ways. 1. For microwave method: Split in half with a sharp knife. Place face down on a microwave safe plate. Pour ¼ cup of water on the bottom of the place and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 8 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave with hot pads. With a fork pull the 'noodles' out of the squash. set aside. 2. For oven method: Split in half with sharp knife. Place face down on a foil covered baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 -40 minutes until flesh can be pierced with a fork easily. Remove from oven and let cool till it is easy to handle. Remove 'noodles' from squash, set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil into a hot large sauté pan. Put the clove of garlic in the pan and let the garlic infuse the oil by swirling it around the oil for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the garlic.
  3. Add the tomatoes and the red pepper flakes to the oil and sauté for 1 - 2 minutes.
  4. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan. Saute for 2 minutes and add salt. Toss the squash with the ingredients, then remove to two separate plates.
  5. Top each plate with half of mozzarella. Serve immediately.

 

Simple Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce 2_FotorSigns are everywhere.  It’s all over our radios, every mall, every store and even our children’s art work. It’s coming like an earthquake in southern California.  The holidays are sneaking up on us and shaking our worlds with reckless abandon.

For some reason 2014 has gone by faster than any other in history.  Wasn’t Thanksgiving a month ago?!  If another person tells me how many days there are till Christmas I think I’ll scream.  I want to live in ignorant bliss.  Although, thanks to my obsessive compulsive tendencies I am fully aware that there are only 35 days till ‘C’ day.  Crap.

But first we have Thanksgiving to deal with.  The first of the over load our belly holidays.  The beginning of the winter weight season.

I know a lot of people go with the theory that everything is ok in moderation.  I personally do not believe in that theory.  Holiday food is a gateway ‘drug’ to, “Oh one of these buckeyes won’t hurt. I never eat like this so it’s o.k”.  At least in my experience it is.  Once I open that can of worms it’s so hard for me to close it.

So I prefer to make versions of holiday food that are healthier and cleaner than their original versions.  Over the next week I am going to try to post as many of them as possible.  We shall see how that goes.  No promises people.

First, I would like to introduce you to the simplest recipe on the face of the earth.  Simple ingredients, simple instructions, simple beauty.  One container of ruby-red cranberries is simmered together with fresh orange juice, ginger and honey.  No high fructose corn syrup here.  The mixture is reduced, and that is it.  Simple cranberry sauce, no fluff.

cranberry sauce simmer_Fotor 2

This sauce should be shown in all its simplistic glory on your Thanksgiving table.  But, should also be slathered on your post Black Friday shopping turkey and stuffing sandwich.  The tart, slightly sweet and tangy condiment will become a new holiday tradition.

I’ll be honest though, there is one thing I will miss about not using canned cranberry sauce.  You guessed it, the darn can lines.  Why are those so appealing?  I guess I should start working on a healthy version of jellied cranberry next.  Then nothing will be missing!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  There are so many things to be thankful for, especially the little things.  Even can lines on the cranberry.  Those lines mean I can afford to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Simple Cranberry Sauce
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 cup
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 27
  • Carbohydrates: 5.7
  • Sugar: 3.4
  • Sodium: .7
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: .3
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A simple, clean cranberry sauce sweetened with agave and orange juice.
Ingredients
  • 7.5 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne (optional for the adventurous foodie)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small heavy sauce pan
  2. Bring to a gentle boil over medium low heat. Cranberries will begin to pop.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer till reduced for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Sauce is done when all cranberries are cooked and resembles a jam like consistency.
Notes
Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Soft Batch Cookies

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My favorite cookies growing up were the Keebler Soft Batch Chocolate Chip cookies.  My mom didn’t buy them often but when she did, lunch took on a whole new meaning.  Well let’s be honest, I totally ate them before any of my other lunch box items.  But, lunch was just happier when they were amongst my bologna sandwich and fruit punch.

About a year ago I bought some for old times sake.  I’m not sure what happened but they were not the same.  They were smaller and had an unpleasant after taste.  AKA, they ruined them.  Or I just grew up and my tastes changed.  Not sure which of the two it is, but I do not love them like I did.

Recently I have had a ton of requests for something pumpkin. Mostly for a clean version of any pumpkin comfort food/dessert.  It’s fall so it’s only fair to start receiving these requests, but there is one problem.  I am not a lover of all things pumpkin.  I do not get a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) the day they come out.  I can’t stand pumpkin pie.  The only form of pumpkin I love is my pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and crumb topping.  They are to die for.  But, I am sure if I calculate the calories one would be in the 750 range.

I have a favorite clean cookie that a fellow blogger, Texan Erin conjured up.  They are amazing.  There is no butter, eggs, or grain.  They knocked my socks off the first time I had one.  Not because they were just a good chocolate chip cookie, but because the main ingredient was chick peas.  Yes, beans.  They make having dessert a less guilty experience when there is that much fiber present.

I had a crazy idea of playing with her recipe, making it into a pumpkin cookie.  Instead of the peanut butter I used organic pumpkin puree.  Since pure maple syrup and pumpkin go together like peanut butter and jelly I used it to sweeten the batter.  Plus, the cookies could be labeled purely vegan without the honey.

I used traditional pumpkin spices; cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, to give the cookie a fall type feel.  My favorite part of Erin’s cookie is the melted chocolate strewn throughout.  So instead of a chemical laden chocolate chips I gave Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips a try.  I was extremely hesitant.  I figured it would be obvious they were vegan.  Maybe a weird after taste?  Nothing.  The chips tasted exactly like their GMO filled rivals.

pumpkin cookies 4_Fotor resized

Fingers crossed I scooped mounds of chocolate chip pumpkin batter on a silpat and popped them into a 350 degree oven.  They had to stay in much longer than the original version, but what emerged from the oven at 25 minutes was firm outside and pillowy soft inside.  It was reminiscent of the soft batch cookies from my childhood, but with a blast of fall goodness.

I had all of the usual picky taste testers try them.  I am happy to announce that even though none of us are pumpkin fans, the cookies were given 4 thumbs up.  2 kids, 2 adults liked them.  The boys had no idea what the ingredients were, but they liked them, and that is all that mattered to me.  Who doesn’t like a good chocolate chip cookie?

The only fair warning I will give you is that 2 out of the 4 of us wanted them crisper on the outside.  That part is up to you.  Flatten them a little after scooping them out and leave them in longer if you want a crispy outside.

Nutritionally these babies are a great choice for an afternoon snack or dessert.  There is only 136 calories, and a high fiber content for two cookies, coming in at 4.2 grams.

For all of you pumpkin lovers I hope this recipe helps kick off the beginning of pumpkin season, I mean fall.  Don’t forget to share this post with your friends.  Hey, they might even make them for you!

        Disclosure:  I was not compensated for any portion of this post.  All opinion are my own.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Soft Batch Cookies
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 20 cookies
  • Serving size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 136
  • Fat: 5.1
  • Saturated fat: 2.4
  • Carbohydrates: 17.8
  • Sugar: 10
  • Sodium: 60.1
  • Fiber: 4.2
  • Protein: 4
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Crisp on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside. A clean, fall version of soft batch cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups chick peas, rinsed and patted dry
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put all the ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and puree till smooth.
  3. Remove blade from the food processor and stir in chocolate chips. Batter will be moist but should be able to be formed.
  4. Using a melon baller scoop out batter onto a silpat baking sheet, pressing down each mound of dough slightly to form a circle.
  5. Bake for 20 -30 minutes depending on how crisp you prefer the outside.
  6. Let cool on the silpat.
  7. Can be store up to a week in the refrigerator. Or 1 day in a tupperware in a cool dry place.

 

 

Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip

 

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It’s that time of year again.  Football season has made its way into almost every American home.  That means it’s also the time of year where winter weight starts appearing.  Game day food is the culprit for much of the winter weight football lovers and haters gain.  I added ‘haters’ or shall I say I ‘could not care lessers’.  Unless it is USC, I could care less.  So how is it that I can still gain weight during this ‘football widow’ season?  I would rather eat than watch the game.

Before everyone starts giving me a hard time, I have tried to get into football for my husband’s sake.  He’s tried teaching me.  We even did our own Fantasy Football League one year.  I lost interest half way through and admitted defeat.  It’s just not my thing.  Trying to figure out who is injured, who is good/bad, and ugly is a lot of work.

So what is a girl to do that doesn’t want a fatty winter coat?  Bring healthier options.  Lets face it, most people don’t care or think about healthier options when football is involved.  So you are going to have to do it yourself.  Or not.  There is a quote that I love, “Summer bodies are made in the winter”.  Keep that in mind as you attend a multitude of game day parties.

strawberry hot wings

Options, they are plenty.  You can always go with a standard crudite platter (veggies and dip) but I like to fancy up my apps.  You can’t go wrong with my baked Strawberry Hot wings.  Or my Assyrian family recipe for Jajic dip.  But I’d like to introduce you to an upscale, lightened version of the artichoke dip.  I call her Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip.

This spicy, creamy, yet chunky dip is everything I look for in a crowd pleasing appetizer.  I combined lightly caramelized shallots, with garlic, red pepper flakes and a touch of sea salt. Then added the savory combination to goat cheese and 0% greek yogurt.  As if the mixture wasn’t already to do for, I added in chopped artichoke hearts.

I feel compelled to share with you my newest find in the realm of already steamed artichokes.  Raise your hand if you hate veggies in a can.  I raised both, because I hate them that much.  Canned veggies contain added salt, BPA, and sulfites.  Nothing you want in your body if you are trying to eat clean.

artichoke dip8

Melissa’s Produce has recently come out with a new way to buy cooked artichokes.  No cans!  The artichokes are steamed then vacuumed sealed and packaged in a cute little box. No nasty chemicals to rinse off.  What I loved the most about the product is there is no chemical after taste, just pure artichoke goodness.  I measured out over a cup of artichoke hearts in the package.  Due to the lack of liquid in the packaging the weight is all artichokes!

I only used half the package in the dip.  I have scrumptious plans for the other half.  Stay tuned.

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.  Artichokes were provided by Melissa’s Produce.  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 32
  • Fat: 2.1
  • Saturated fat: 1.2
  • Carbohydrates: .8
  • Sugar: .5
  • Sodium: 106
  • Protein: 2.5
  • Cholesterol: 3.3
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The perfect solution to your unhealthy game day options. A lightened up, upscale version of traditional artichoke dip.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance Butter or Olive Oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (I used the bottom of a glass)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz plain goat cheese
  • ⅓ cup 0% plain greek yogurt (I like Fage)
  • 1 cup Melissa's Steamed Artichoke Hearts, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan heat the butter or oil
  2. Over medium-low heat sauté the shallots, garlic cloves, salt, and red pepper till the shallots turn a golden brown color. About 10 -15 minutes. Do not over cook them. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, using a fork, smash the goat cheese with the yogurt till combined. Fold in the artichoke hearts.
  4. Add the cooled shallot mixture into the goat cheese mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  5. Serve with sliced cucumbers or Fig and Olive Crackers from Trader Joe's. They are delicious!