Cabbage Roll Casserole

Cabbage Roll CasseroleI love cabbage rolls but they can be really time consuming for me to make. When I’m wanting to have them for dinner and I’m low on time I make it as a casserole instead so I can have the flavors I want without all the work. I also add sauerkraut to the casserole for an added kick.

1 pound ground beef
1 white medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce (make sure gluten free)
1 tablespoon paprika
14 oz tomato sauce
14 oz diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked rice
1 small head of green cabbage, chopped
2 cups sauerkraut
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated

cabbagecasserole4Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat with the onion and garlic. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until it’s fully browned.

Add the worcestershire sauce and paprika and blend well. Then add in the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Mix well then cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the rice.

In another large skillet over medium high heat, add the cabbage and sauerkraut. Cook together for 5 minutes, just enough to soften to the cabbage a bit.

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large 9×13 pan spread half the cabbage and kraut mixture. Then add a layer of the beef and rice. Do 1 more layer of the cabbage and another of the beef and rice. Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the tin foil, add the cheese and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

cabbagecasserole3Serves 6-8. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Pickled Onions

Quinoa Salad with Pickled OnionsThis salad can be enjoyed both warm or cold. It’s full of fresh vegetables with a light dressing, and is bursting with color. Great for a light lunch or a side dish at dinner time, and doesn’t take long to prepare.

salad greens of choice
2 cups prepared quinoa to package directions
1 cucumber seeded and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lime juiced
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cilantro, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
pickled onions
quinoapickledonionsCook quinoa to package directions. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes and cilantro. Mix together the lime juice, zest, olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir the dressing into the salad. Place 1/2 cup of mixed greens on a plate, top with another 1/2 cup of the quinoa salad. Top off with pickled onions. Serves 4. Enjoy!


Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red OnionThese pickled onions are fantastic. They go great on sandwiches, tacos, and salads. I’m preparing this batch for a salad I’ll be making tomorrow. Their crispy texture and taste will add great flavor to anything you add them to.

1 large red onion, sliced
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
6 allspice berries
2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 cups boiling water


Bring 3-4 cups to a boil. Place a colander in the sink and place the sliced onions inside. Once the water is boiling pour it over the onions. Allow the water to completely drain.


In a large jar, combine the rice wine vinegar, mirin, allspice berries, and garlic. Place the onions inside and tightly cover with a lid.  Allow them to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, however overnight is best. Stores for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!



Eggplant Marinara with Goat’s Cheese

Eggplant Marinara with Goat's Cheese

I haven’t had eggplant in awhile and was craving it and goat’s cheese, so I combined them together and added some fresh red bell pepper to make a great Italian dinner. The eggplant was firm, the sauce was delicious with hints of basil and garlic, and the goat’s cheese added this wonderful creaminess to the sauce.

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 ounces goat’s cheese
1.5 cups tomato sauce
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 tablespoons parmesan cheese


Preheat the broiler on the oven to high and lightly cover each side of the eggplant pieces with oil and a bit of salt. Place the pan in the oven, for 3 minutes – then flip the eggplant and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl mix together the tomato sauce, garlic, and basil. Crumble up the goat’s cheese and carefully stir in in with the diced red pepper. Take about half of the mixture and cover the bottom of a 9×9 pan. Place half the eggplant slices down, cover them with the sauce mixture. Place another eggplant piece on top of that and cover with the remaining sauce. Top off with some parmesan cheese and place into the oven for 12 minutes.  Serves 2-3.  Enjoy!



Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

sweet potato shepherd's pieShepherd’s pie is a family favorite here. It’s full of vegetables and doesn’t take long for me to put together. It also makes fantastic leftovers – so I don’t have to worry about lunch the next day.

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound ground beef
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
14 oz tomato sauce
1/2 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons milk
salt and pepper, to tastespsheperdpie2

Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and place in a pot of water over high heat with a pinch of salt. Allow to cook 10-15, until softened. Drain the water, add the milk and cinnamon and mash until smooth.

In a large skillet add the ground beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until the beef is no longer pink. Add in the tomato sauce and vegetables and allow the vegetables to cook for 5 minutes.

Place the beef and vegetable mixture in a 9″ pan, add a bit of salt and pepper to the top. Scoop and spread the sweet potatoes over the top, then place in the oven for 35 minutes. Feeds 4-6. Enjoy!

Can easily be made vegetarian by subbing in more veggies for the meat.



Red Coconut Chicken Curry

Red Chicken CurryComfort food. It’s warm, full of vegetables and coconut milk. It’s got great taste, however it’s mild. I also love the way it fills up the kitchen with this wonderful aroma. It also only took about 30 minutes in total to prepare – which is good because the smell was making me hungry! redcurry3Ingredients:
1 pound of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
2 baby bok choy, shredded
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cups light coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
rice or gluten free grain of choice

* I used Thai Kitchen brand Red Curry Paste. It’s gluten/dairy free and vegan

redcurry2In a large skillet over medium heat melt the coconut oil. Then add the chicken and ginger. When the chicken is nearly done cooking, add the red curry paste. Next add in the coconut milk and the vegetables. Cook over medium heat allowing it to come to a slow boil stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat, add in the lime and salt and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with gluten free grains of choice. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!

Grilled Pistachio Crusted Pineapple with Ice Cream

pistachio crusted pineappleWith the warmer weather finally here, we’re starting to grill outside more for meals. I wanted to make a fun dessert to celebrate spring – and wanted to grill the dessert with the rest of the food! The recipe itself is two ingredients, three if you count the ice cream.

1 pineapple, cored and outside removed
1 1/4 cups finely ground pistachios
ice cream of choice

Grind up the pistachios with a mortar and pestle. I had to deshell my pistachios first, but you can buy without the shells. Place them on a flat surface. Slice up the pineapple, removing the core and the outsides. Roll each piece of pineapple into the nuts until covered. Grill on each side for 4 minutes. Carefully remove from the grill and serve with a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy! Serves 6.


Flourless Cashew Cookies

cashewcookie   It’s been a bit since I’ve done some baking and it’s something I really enjoy doing. These cookies are simple to make and really hit that spot when you’re craving that something sweet. Cashews are one of my favorite snacks – and making them into a sweet and salty treat puts a smile on my face. I did use sugar in these – which I often shy away from. I was unable to create the texture I wanted with substitutes.

1 cup creamy cashew butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews, chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon sea salt

cashewcookie3Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium sized bowl whisk the egg, then add in the cashew butter, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and sea salt. Mix together well and then fold in the cashew pieces. Make small balls from the dough and lay out on a baking sheet, 12 cookies to a pan. (I use parchment paper for less mess)Give them a light press with the back of a spoon to flatten them just a bit. Place into the oven for 10-12 minutes.

cashewcookie2Makes 18-24 cookies. I went with smaller cookies and got 22 out of a batch. Enjoy!

Green Bean and Red Potato Salad

green bean and red potato saladI made this fresh warm salad for dinner and it was a hit! Fresh green beans and red potatoes with a bit of crispy bacon and onions tossed in a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. As much as we enjoyed it warm, it was great the next day for lunch cold.

1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 pound red potatoes
4 slices cooked bacon
1/4 cup red onions, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons gluten free worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
beansalad1Slice up the potatoes into quarters and place into a large pot with water and a bit of salt. Bring the water to a steady boil and allow them to cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the beans and allow them to cook for 5 minutes , enough to cook them but to keep them crisp. Drain them and place them into a large bowl. Add the bacon, onions and parsley.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, worcestershire, salt and pepper. Mix it into the vegetables, coating all the potatoes and beans. Serve warm. Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side. Enjoy!

Avocado Yogurt Dip

avocado and yogurt dipThis is a healthy dip I like to put together when company is coming over. It’s great with tortilla chips and vegetables. I keep this one mild (I do another one that has some heat for myself!) so that everyone including children can enjoy it. However, it’s still packed full of great fresh flavors.

2 ripe avocados pitted and skin removed
3/4 cup plain Geek yogurt
3 tablespoons purple onions, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

avodip3In a medium bowl mix together the avocados, lime juice, and yogurt. An easy way to put and remove the avocado peel – Cut the avocado in half around the pit, stick the pit carefully with your knife to remove it, and use a spoon to scoop out all the avocado from the peel.

Fold in the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Serve with chips or veggies and enjoy! Makes 1 1/2 cups -2 cups.