Bacon and Cheese Dip

I went away for the weekend and wanted to take along a few great snacks. This dip was one of them. I served it with some good corn tortilla chips. It’s not a heavy dip, and you get hints of all the great flavors in each bite. I made this portion size for two people to snack on over a weekend, however you can easily double the recipe.

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Ingredients:
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon paprika
a pinch of cayenne pepper
3-4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 green onions, chopped

Start by cooking your bacon. Once it is cooling off, place the sour cream and mayonnaise in a bowl and stir together. Add in the paprika and cayenne, and stir. Finally add the bacon, cheddar cheese, and parsley. Top off with the green onions.

Easy and delicious!

Over the weekend I also served this watermelon and pomegranate salad. It’s fresh, fun, and anywhere I bring it, the bowl ends up empty! Outings are so much more fun when there is delicious gluten free food available. Just bring plenty to share!

Kale and Quinoa Soup

Kale and Quinoa Soup

Today I made a pot of soup. I wanted to use some of the delicious fresh vegetables that I had available. I wanted it to be hearty and filling. I also wanted it to be healthy, and I wanted something that make good leftovers. It’s not a difficult soup to make, there’s time involved in preparing the vegetables and then you just allow it to cook.

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Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 zucchini quartered and sliced
2 cups green beans
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
3 cups kale
salt and pepper, to taste

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Over medium high heat put the olive oil in a dutch oven or larger pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Allow them to sweat for 3-4 minutes. Add in the green beans, zucchini, rosemary and paprika. Next, add the vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce. Add in the rinsed quinoa and black beans. Lower the heat to a medium low and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes. Finally add in the salt, pepper, and kale. Allow to cook another 5-7 minutes stirring all the kale in and allowing it to wilt.

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This will serve 6-8. Serve hot, and enjoy.

A few notes: You can use fresh or frozen beans. The quinoa is uncooked and just rinsed before going into the soup. I do remove the ribs from the kale, and shred it a bit with my hands. I added a bit of cheese on top of mine since I love cheese. I’m looking forward to enjoying it again for lunch tomorrow.

I Tried It. Baking your Hard Boiled Eggs

When I was on Facebook the other day I saw a video in my feed from the Food Network. They were showing how to cook your hard boiled eggs in the oven. I cook my bacon in the oven (less mess, no splatter), so I figured I’d give this a try. I rarely post anything that isn’t a recipe, but I found this interesting.

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I make hard boiled eggs a couple times a month. I have days where I am in such a rush that I don’t have time for much of a breakfast, or I want them for a salad. They’re fairly portable, and then I won’t have a growling tummy or the cravings for junk food.

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So what did I think about baking the eggs? Well you cook them at 350F for 30 minutes in a cupcake pan, instead of the 12-ish minutes in boiling water. If you’re my mom, you let the water boil over. I put the oven timer, placed the muffin tin in, and went about my business while they did theirs. They tasted the same, as I had to test one with a bit of pepper right away. I thought it worked out well. Have you ever tried it?

Chicken stuffed with Prosciutto, Spinach and Cheese

We’ve had to change how we eat a bit here at home. Not only do we have to be careful with the gluten, my mother is diabetic, so we watch the carbs. Tonight I made this flavorful chicken along with a salad. This made 4 servings, and I’ll have leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. The actual prep does not take long, and I was able to do other things around the house while it was in the oven.

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Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup cream cheese (whipped works best for spreading)
1 handful fresh spinach with ends cut off
dried basil (sprinkle on top of the cheese)
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat a skillet on medium high heat with the olive oil while you prepare the chicken, and preheat the oven to 350F.

Flatten out the chicken breasts with a meat mallet. 1/4 inch works well. Lay the prosciutto on top (I had to cut the pieces in half.) Spread the cream cheese on top of the chicken breasts and prosciutto, and sprinkle the basil on top. Lay out the fresh spinach on top of that. Carefully roll them from one end to the other. I use toothpicks to hold them together.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them.

stuffedchicken3Place the chicken rolls in the hot pan with the oil and brown them on the top and bottom. Brown the seam side first. If you need to adjust the toothpicks, feel free. This will just take a couple of minutes. Then, if you have a oven safe pan, you can place it right in the oven. Otherwise you will need to transfer them to a baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until they are fully cooked. Remove from the oven, remove the toothpicks and serve.

stuffedchicken2Serve hot, and enjoy!

 

Gluten Free Coffee Brownies

coffeebrownies1 I’ve been refining my cooking skills a bit lately, and not only cooking gluten free, but making my food friendly for a family member who is a type 2 diabetic. Since we generally ate pretty healthy, there weren’t a lot of major changes going on, but there’s been a lot of education, and me playing around in the kitchen to make things that taste great and that everyone can eat. I’m not a short order cook.

Treats have been a harder thing for me to tackle, Gluten free baking is it’s own beast and measurements need to be precise. My stomach is very finicky about a lot of the diabetic approved sugar substitutes, and in the end, a treat needs to taste like a treat.

This turned out very good. My picky stomach was happy, the Diabetic enjoyed it and blood sugar was happy. Ingredients:
For the brownies:
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1-2 tablespoons stevia (this is optional depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled

For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup strong coffee, cooled
3-4 tablespoons powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

coffeebrownies3Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 pan, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, stevia if desired, salt, and cocoa power, and baking powder. Melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter together in a small pan on the stove, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Add to the flour, then add in the coffee, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until fully combined, then carefully pour into your greased pan.

Bake for 27-30 minutes, which will give them a more cake-like texture. If you prefer them more soft and fudgey, cook them a bit less. (This would work and can always skip the frosting, they are delicious on their own.)

For the frosting beat the butter and the confectioner’s sugar together until combined and slowly add in the coffee. Keep mixing as you add the coffee, and let it soak in.

Frost when the brownies have cooled off, and enjoy having a delicious treat!

Creamy Asparagus Soup

asparagus soupDo you have a garden full of asparagus? This recipe is great if you do, and still great if you need to make a run over to the local farmer’s market or to the store. It’s creamy, healthy, and delicious! I’m a soup fan and enjoy it year round, so a wonderful vegetarian and gluten free lunch like this is perfect. It goes great with a salad or sandwich, it’s very versatile.

asparagussoup2Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, chopped
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2″ pieces
pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
juice from 1 medium lemon
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups milk

-Optional toppings: cheese, gluten free crackers or croutons.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, start the shallot and garlic in the olive oil. Allow the shallot to soften up for a couple of minutes, then add the asparagus. Season with the salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and milk, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – bringing the soup to a low simmer. If you have an immersion blender carefully puree until the soup is completely smooth. If not, you can use a blender by scooping out a few cups at a time, blending and pouring back into the pot. If so, allow the soup to cool a bit, and be careful to not burn yourself.

Serve hot, and add any topping of choice. Enjoy.

I will note, that the asparagus got a bit “stringy” around the blades of my immersion blender, and was a bit difficult to clean. However – it was quite worth it!

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

glutenfree apple crispThis gluten free apple crisp is the perfect dessert for any summer day. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a bit of whipped cream and it’s heavenly. It’s also simple to make – which is another reason I like it. Baking can be very picky, especially when it comes to gluten free. It’s not healthy, and I won’t claim it to be so, but not everything we eat has to be healthy. Sometimes we need a little bit of dessert, right?

applecrisp2Ingredients:
6 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (I used pink lady)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon and 1/8 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The topping
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
* 3-4 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional but adds great crunch!)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a 9″ pan prepare the first set of ingredients together, and toss until the apples are fully coated in the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the topping ingredients together and mix well with a spoon. (make sure to get any clumps out of the brown sugar). Cover the apples with the topping and place into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is starting to slightly brown.

Allow to cool a bit before serving.  Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Kielbasa and Potatoes with Cheese

kielbasa2This is a delicious and easy to make comfort dish. We ate a lot of kielbasa and potato type meals growing up (often with sourkraut) and it’s something I crave from time to time, so I made a spin off on that. It’s a 1 dish meal that you can toss in the oven and only need to check on once or twice while it’s cooking. There’s nights where that’s something I need! I ate some of the leftovers the next day with some eggs, and it fantastic then as well.

Ingredients:
14 oz polish kielbasa, sliced (other sausage of choice works as well)
2 lbs red potatoes, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated (add more if needed)

kielbasaPreheat the oven to 375F. In a large baking dish lined with aluminum foil, place the sliced kielbasa, potatoes, green peppers, and onions – then toss them with the olive oil. Once they are evenly coated, add the spices stir well, then place into the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, allowing the potatoes to brown, checking every 15 minutes and giving a bit of a stir. At the end of the 45 minutes, turn the oven off and cover with the cheese, set the pan back in the oven and allow the cheese to melt before serving.

Serves 3-4, enjoy!

Grape, Avocado, and Chopped Walnut Salad

grape saladWho doesn’t like a fresh and light summertime salad. This has fresh grapes, diced avocado, roasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese, and a light vinaigrette. It’s perfect for an outside meal, or served along at a cookout.

Ingredients:
6 cups lightly packed mixed greens of choice
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and roasted
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, diced

For the Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt and ground black pepper, to taste

grapesalad2Start by roasting the walnuts. Place a skillet on the stove and turn it to medium high. While allowing it to warm up, you can start preparing the greens and other items.

Keep an eye while roasting the nuts, they can burn quickly and only take 5-10 minutes. They’ll start to brown and smell toasted when ready, stir frequently.

Slice the grapes in half, Dice the onion, chop the avocado and add it to a large bowl with the greens.

Mix all the items in the vinaigrette together. When the walnuts have cooled off a bit, add them and the blue cheese to the salad and carefully pour the vinaigrette on top.

Serves 3-4. Enjoy!

Tuna Zucchini Cakes

tuna zucchini cakesThese can be an served for lunch, as a snack, an appetizer, or for a light dinner. I love the combination of tuna and fresh vegetables. I’ve used spices that don’t overwhelm, but add just a bit of flavor. So I made them for dinner and served them with a fresh salad for a lighter and fun meal. I used a gluten free panko for the breading, but any gluten free breadcrumbs will work for the recipe, I just prefer the panko myself.

tunacakesIngredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 a white onion, finely diced
1 cup gluten free panko, divided
8 oz tuna in water
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

tunacakes2In a skillet over medium low heat, use 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the diced onions until soft. While they’re starting to cook, in a large bowl start mixing together 1/2 cup of the panko (set aside the other half cup) the zucchini, the eggs, and all the spices and tuna. add in the onions after they’ve softened and then cooled enough to handle.

Turn up the heat to medium and add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. make the mixture into 6-8 patties, and flatten them out a bit. Roll them in the panko that was set aside and then place in the skillet. cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and they’re cooked throughout the middle. Makes 6-8 tuna cakes. Enjoy!