Sun Dried Tomato and Ricotta Dip

Sun Dried Tomato and Ricotta DipThis is a dip that’s simple to put together but big on flavor. It goes great with fresh cut veggies and all kinds of crackers and chips. I made it for something a bit different for snacks at home this week – but it’s also been a hit at parties and potlucks.

ricottadip3Ingredients:
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 fresh basil, finely diced
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (cut the larger pieces)

In a large bowl with a mixer, blend the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses together with the salt and basil until blended. Use a spatula and stir in the sun dried tomatoes. Serve chilled. Makes about 2 cups. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Casserole

caulidishRoasted cauliflower is delicious – and I can eat it right off the pan. However, adding a few more vegetables, some spice – and topping it off this this goat cheese – yum! This made a great complete meal and reheated for lunch the next day nicely. This is one of those dishes as well where I don’t feel bad if I end up eating a lot of it either!

caulidish2Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head cauliflower
salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 large green pepper, diced
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 large eggs
2 oz plain goat cheese

caulidish1Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut the cauliflower into 1/2 inch bite sized pieces and lay them on a baking sheet. Toss with 2 of the tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and place into the oven. After 10 minutes, flip with a spatula and roast another 10 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks – in a medium sized pot on the stove, combine the other tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic and onion over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the diced tomatoes, diced pepper, and basil. Allow it to come to a simmer, then bring the heat to low.

When the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and reduce the oven heat to 375F. Take the cauliflower and place into the pot with the tomato mixture, and combine. Place into a 9×9 baking pan. Take the 2 eggs, and whisk together into a small bowl. Add the goat cheese to the eggs and stir to combine. Pour over top the cauliflower. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes.

 

Curried Potatoes

Curried Potatoes

These potatoes make a great side dish for many different types of dishes. I served them with a pork dish tonight – but they can bring a real nice kick of flavor to the table with a variety of different styles of dishes.

Ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

currypotatoes2Boil the potatoes in a pot of water with some salt until they are softened,  remove drain them from the water and allow them to cool until you’re able to safely handle them. Slice them up into bite sized pieces.

In a skillet over medium heat add the olive oil and allow it to heat up. Place the cumin and mustard seeds in the skillet and cook them for a minute or two – then add the rest of the spices and lemon juice. Stir the potatoes in and cover them in the spices. Turn the heat down to low and allow to cook for 7-10 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 3-4 as a side. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins I’ve been waiting for all the fall flavors for weeks now. I’ve missed pumpkin, squash, pomegranates, persimmons… the list is big and I’m excited to have them back in my kitchen. So here are some delicious muffins to welcome fall. The recipe will make a dozen larger muffins, and I only use a half cup of dark chocolate chocolate chips – if you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll want to add a bit more.

pumpkinmuffins1Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend *
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons ground flax
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the flour blend: you can use a store bought flour blend. If it doesn’t have xanthan gum, add a teaspoon to the mix. If so follow the recipe as is. I make a blend here at home using:  2 cups brown rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Mix well and store the leftovers.

pumpkinmuffins2Preheat the oven to 400F. In a small bowl combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and flax. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, butter, buttermilk, and pumpkin puree until combined. Then add the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and scoop into a prepared muffin pan.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out from the middle of a muffin clean. Makes 12 muffins. Enjoy!

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Asian Salmon Salad

Asian Salmon SaladI’d been hungry for fish lately, and instead of just grilling or broiling it – I decided to serve it on top of a bed of salad greens and a spicy Asian style dressing. I really enjoyed the spiciness along with the tomatoes and fresh greens, and a fresh piece of salmon that was baked and lightly seasoned. My mom however, did find the dressing to be a bit spicy – so if you don’t like spicy food you may want to leave out the red pepper flakes and jalapenos off the salad.

salmonsalad2

Ingredients:
2 6 oz salmon filets
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 oz mixed greens of choice
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 green onion, diced
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced

For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons gluten free fish sauce (do double check the label, some do have gluten)
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the salmon filets skin side down on it. Sprinkle the salt and chili powder on top of the salmon and allow it to bake for 20 minutes.

While the fish is baking, mix together the dressing and prep the salad and vegetables. When the salmon is done, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes then lay it on top of the salad greens on each plate and split the dressing between the two salads. Serve hot. Serves 2. Enjoy!

Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna

I wanted to try a lighter lasagna – that would still be filling and make great leftovers, but be a bit lighter on the calories and fat and I wanted to try meatless. I picked some fresh zucchini, mushrooms, green bell peppers, and onions to place between the layers of gluten free noodles and the traditional tomato sauce and cheeses. I’m very pleased with the results – the different vegetables give a lot more texture than the traditional lasagna and there’s a lot more flavor.

veggielasagna3

Ingredients:
10 oz gluten free lasagna noodles
2 large zucchini, chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large green pepper, diced
1 small white onion, diced
22 oz tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese

veggielasagna2Preheat the oven to 375F. If you have the no boil noodles go ahead and start your bottom layer in the pan (I tried the no boil this time) – if not cook the noodles and prepare the vegetables.

Starting with a layer of noodles on the bottom,  then a layer of sauce and the garlic at the bottom, then ricotta, then vegetables, then cheeses. repeat, and top off with the fresh basil. I like to keep a spatula handy to help smooth out the ricotta as I go. After your final layer of cheese and herbs, cover carefully with tinfoil and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil then place back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Serves 6. Enjoy!

 

Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Black Bean Vegetable Soup  With the cooler weather settling in, I wanted to make a delicious hearty soup. This soup really hit the spot with it’s black beans and subtle spices. I topped it off with a bit of sour cream and fresh cilantro. It’s a soup that’s easy to put together and makes for great leftovers the next day.

blackbeansoup3Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 large carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes

Optional toppings:  sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese.

blackbeansoup2In a large stock pot over medium heat place the olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. In a blender or food processor place the stewed tomatoes and 2 of the 3 cans of black beans and puree until smooth. Add the 1 can of black beans, and the mix from the blender or food processor to the stock pot along with the vegetable stock, chili powder, and ground cumin. Stir well, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for a minimum of 45 minutes, up to 2 hours. Top with any toppings of choice. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!

Coconut Ginger Chicken and Veggies

Ginger ChickenFor dinner tonight I made a creamy coconut curry with fresh snow pea pods, baby bok choy, baby corn, fresh ginger, and chicken. It was warm and comforting and hit the spot after a hard day at work. I did use light coconut milk – however you can use regular if you prefer.

vegcurry1Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1″ pieces
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 cans light coconut milk
1 15 oz can baby corn, drained
2 small baby bok choy, chopped
2 cups snow pea pods

Gluten free grain of choice if desired.
gingerchicken2

In a large skillet or wok over medium heat place the olive oil, garlic, curry powder and onions and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken, and sea salt and cook until no longer pink on the outside.  Add the cinnamon, bok choy, baby corn, coconut milk, and snow pea pods. Cook for 10 minutes.  Can serve as is, or over top a gluten free grain of choice. Serves 4. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese and Bacon Egg Skillet

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Bacon Egg SkilletCooking eggs under the broiler is a really great way ensure they’ll be cooked evenly – and they cook really fast. I made this to serve two (a larger brunch) – however this can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a hungry family or group of people. I also like my eggs slightly over easy, and as a kid I was so picky I wouldn’t eat the egg whites – only the runny yolks. Broiling the eggs I’ve found cooks the egg whites more consistently – and cook within minutes.

sweetpotatoskillet2Ingredients:
4-5 large eggs
4 pieces bacon, cooked
1 large sweet potato, peeled
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 ounce goat’s cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

Peel the sweet potato and place it in a microwave and cook for 5 minutes. For the bacon, if it’s not precooked I like to bake mine at 350F for about 8-10 minutes, this eliminates the splatter and mess that it tends to make on the stove.

Preheat the broiler on your oven to high.

Allow the sweet potato to cool a bit till you’re able to safely handle it, then slice it into about 1/8″ pieces and lay them across the bottom of a cast iron or large skillet. Crack your eggs and place them around the sweet potatoes, then top with the peppers, cheese, salt, pepper, and bacon.

Place the skillet in the oven under the broiler and cook for about 4 minutes. Check after 4 minutes and if the eggs are done to your liking, remove. If you want the eggs to be more done, cook for another minute or 2. Enjoy!

sweetpotatoskillet3

Chickpea Feta and Cucumber Salad

Chickpea Feta and Cucumber SaladThis salad is bursting with fresh and healthy ingredients. Fresh cucumbers and cilantro straight from the garden, celery, and chickpeas. I’ve tossed it in a light dressing of fresh lime juice, pepper, and bit of ground cumin. I wanted a great salad to enjoy outside with dinner on a warmer evening, and this can go perfectly with so many meals, or by itself for a lighter lunch.

cukesalad3Ingredients:
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
ground black pepper, to taste

cukesalad2

Slice the cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Dice into bite sized pieces and place into a medium sized bowl. Dice up the celery and cilantro and add to the bowl along with the feta cheese. Next add the lime juice, ground pepper and cumin and combine.  Makes 4 servings as a side. Enjoy!