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!

Cobb Dip

Cobb DipSince I’ve always been a fan of Cobb salad, and I wanted to make a healthier snack for us on Mother’s day, I made this delicious dip. We always have some kind of chips and dip – and I did put out a guacamole as well, but this stole the show. It’s quite flexible as well, if you want to add something or omit something, it’s forgiving. You could easily add some olives or onions if you like them, or leave out the avocado.

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1- 1/2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup corn, grilled or cooked – then cooled
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup bacon, crumbled
1 avocado, pitted and diced

cobbsalad2In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and all the spices. When combined, take a 9″ pie pan and spread the mixture on the bottom. Then place the chopped romaine lettuce on top. Place the rest of the toppings over the romaine lettuce. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, or other gluten free snacks. Enjoy!

*Using either grilled corn, or frozen corn and cooking and draining, and cooling it will both work. Full fat or reduced fat sour cream and cream cheese are fine as well.

Caprese Quinoa Salad

capraisequinoasalad22This salad is great for enjoying outside during the warmer months and is fast and easy to prepare. The quinoa can be prepared a day or two ahead of time even. Fresh basil and cherry tomatoes along with a bit of rice wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil make this a light and fresh salad. I’ve served this as both a main dish, and as a side dish – it can compliment a lot of dishes well, and it makes for great leftovers for your next day’s lunch!

capraisequinoasalad2

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked quinoa to package directions (1 cup dry)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz fresh mozzarella pearls (or cut into 1/2″ pieces)
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

capraisequinoasalad3In a large bowl place the cooked quinoa with the rice wine vinegar and olive oil, stirring until the quinoa is coated. Add in the tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, then add a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together well. Serve chilled. Serves 4 as a main dish 6-8 as a side dish.

Chicken and Mushrooms over Rice

Chicken and MushroomsThis is more of a comfort food dish – full of boneless chicken, baby bella mushrooms, some delicious spices, with a nice creamy sauce that I’ve served over a bit of rice. I love baby bella mushrooms, they taste so great in dishes like this – but you can substitute in any mushrooms that you enjoy.

chickenandmush5

Ingredients:
1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken thighs
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth (I use low sodium)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesean cheese
1/2 cup cream

*Cooked rice to package directions or other gluten free grain of choice for serving over.

chickenandmush4

In a small bowl combine the sweet rice flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge each piece of chicken on through the flour mix on both sides until lightly covered.

In a large skillet over medium high heat cook the chicken in the olive oil and butter. for 6-7 minutes on each side, until it’s becoming a golden brown.

Reduce the heat to medium and either remove the chicken from the pan or move the chicken to one side of the pan. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Sautee for about 2 minutes, then add in the chicken broth and rosemary. Free free to give a little bit of salt and pepper here again if you like. Add the chicken back to the pan or spread it evenly across the pan if you’ve left it in. Allow the chicken and mushrooms to simmer in the broth for about 10 minutes. If the chicken pieces aren’t fully covered you may want to flip them after 5 minutes.

Move a bit of the chicken and mushrooms to the side once again, and add in the cream and cheese. Carefully stir in well – and then move the chicken back to allow it to soak in the delicious cream and cheese. Allow to just heat the cream at this point – a couple of minutes will do.

Serve hot, over top rice in a bowl or another favorite gluten free grain. Makes 4 larger servings. Enjoy! Makes great leftovers for lunch the next day too.

chickenandmush2

Slow Cooker Chicken Thai Soup

Chicken Thai SoupSince I love to use the slow cooker so much, I wanted to make another delicious soup. This one is a mild Thai style soup, however you can easily make it hot and spicy if you prefer. It’s full of vegetables and a delicious coconut milk base – and quite easy to put together. I served a bit of rice on the bottom of the bowls, and with a side salad it made for a filling meal. This is another meal that reheats perfectly the next day (which is always a plus for me!).

chickenthaisoup2Ingredients:
1 13 oz can coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (most are gluten free, double check)
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup peas
juice of 1 lime
3-4 tablespoons fresh cilantro

cooked rice for serving

*note if the peas are frozen, place them in the fridge to thaw while the soup is cooking

chickenthaisoup3Place the coconut milk, chicken stock, red curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic into the slow cooker and whisk it gently together until blended. Then add the chicken, onions, peppers, and carrots. Turn the slow cooker on low and allow to cook for 5 – 5 1/2 hours. About a 1/2 before serving add the peas (adding them at the start is going to turn them into mush, so I add them when I start cooking the rice) Right before serving add the lime juice and top off with cilantro. Serve over hot rice. Makes a great main dish for 4, or side for 6-8. Enjoy!

Southwest Chicken Skillet Tacos

fajita1I wanted to keep these tacos simple. 1 pan – not much to clean up. I wanted them healthy, but still with some cheese and delicious flavors and toppings, and of course they’re still gluten free with using some some gluten free soft tortillas. Fresh bell peppers with chicken and black beans are quite delicious and filling – and I topped it off with a bit of fresh salsa. This also reheated perfectly, and made a great lunch the next day. I love leftovers.

fajita3Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound (about 2 chicken breasts) cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of salt
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
Monterey Jack cheese
gluten free tortillas

additional toppings: salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro

fajita2In a large skillet over medium heat start the onions and garlic in the olive oil. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes and soften, then add the chicken and all the spices. Once the chicken has fully cooked, drain any excess liquid – then add the bell pepper, beans, Cook for a few minutes, then lower the heat to low. Top off with a handful of cheese and cover the pan with a lid until the cheese has melted. Place into tortillas, top with any additional toppings of choice and enjoy.