Mexican Millet Casserole


Mexican Millet Casserole Maybe it’s the cold and snow here that’s making me crave a spicy dinner. I’ve used millet and tomatoes for the base – millet is a great source of magnesium and iron and is very versatile. The peppers, jalapenos and onion bring great flavor and some crunch,  and the olives bring a bit of that salty taste it needed. While eating this – I’ve been thinking of making this over a bit at some point to bring as a pot luck appetizer. How great would that be to have something so healthy and tasty at a pot luck?

2 1/2 cups cooked millet
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons diced chives
3 tablespoons diced black olives
mexicanmillet3Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil, onion, garlic, cumin, and cayenne. Cook for about 5 minutes and add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. In a separate skillet add the bell peppers and jalapenos and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the cooked millet and peppers to the skillet of tomato sauce and combine. Next add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and combine well.

Place the mixture in a 9×9 pan and spread evenly. Top off with the 3/4 cups cheddar, chives, and black olives. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 4-6, can serve it with corn tortillas or sour cream.

mexicanmillet4*Notes – this is quite spicy and I personally enjoy it. If you’re serving for more sensitive pallets you may want to reduce the cayenne or omit it.


Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Goat’s Cheese

macandcheeseFor this macaroni and cheese, I’m using a combination of goat’s cheese, cream cheese and parmesan cheese to make a warming and creamy dinner. The garlic and basil work well together to give it a bit more flavor without taking away from the cheese. I’d been craving goat’s cheese again and this gave me my fix.

2 1/2 cups cooked small gluten free elbow pasta
1/2 medium white onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces plain goat’s cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 garic clove, minced
3 tablespoons gluten free bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

macandcheese3In a medium stock pan cook the pasta with a bit of salt for about 2 minutes less than cooking time says – or until its just about el dente.

Preheat the oven to 350F and in a large skillet over medium heat cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes until starting to turn transparent. Add the milk, goat’s cheese and cream cheese (cubing the cream cheese will help it melt faster).  Next turn the heat to low and add the basil and a bit of pepper. Drain the water from the noodles and stir them in the cheese mixture just enough to cover them.

macandcheese2Place the noodles and cheese into a 9×9 pan and top with the bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Serves 4. Enjoy!

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Caprese Meatloaf

caprese meatloafI’ve talked about my love of caprese before. Salads, appetizers, and I’ve made it as a grilled cheese. I love how fresh it is, and the combination of flavors just makes me smile. I wanted to make comfort food of sorts for dinner tonight – it’s so cold out, the area schools and public buildings will be closed again tomorrow. I put this together and served it with a salad for a wonderful dinner. The fresh basil smell warmed the whole house,  and this filled our hungry bellies.

2 lbs lean beef
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1/2 cup dry white cooking wine
8 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 large bunch fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried oregano
sea salt and pepper, to taste

capresemeatloaf4Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large bowl mix together the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, white wine, onion,  garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Place it on a baking sheet covered with a piece of parchment paper. Carefully flatten the meat mixture into a large square.

Lay the fresh basil on top of the meat, followed by the sliced mozzarella (save 1-2 ounces to top off the meatloaf!) and sun dried tomatoes.

capresemeatloaf3Start on one side of the parchment paper and carefully roll the meat using the parchment to help. capresemeatloaf8Place it seam side down on the baking sheet and dispose of the parchment paper. Coat the top of the meatloaf with the 1/2 cup of tomato sauce letting it cover the sides, and the 1-2 ounces of leftover mozzarella (give it a quick dice first). Place it in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serves 6. Enjoy!

Beef Enchiladas

beef enchaladasFor the weekend I put together some enchaladas for some guests that were over. With using corn tortillas and in this recipe I used salsa – it stayed gluten free with no one knowing that I’ve prepared something this way. I have found premade enchalada sauce before that is gluten free, and I also have made my own (I’ll share my recipe next time!) but when I’m in a hurry and want something delicious that will please many I chose to go with salsa. I really enjoyed the extra bit of flavor the salsa gave to the dish.

12 4″ corn tortillas, warmed
2 cups fresh salsa of choice
10 ounces ground beef, browned
1/4 cup (4.5oz) green chiles, diced
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup corn (fresh and frozen both work)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized tomato, seeded and diced
salt and pepper, to taste
beefenchalada3In a large skillet over medium heat place the olive oil, beef, and salt and pepper. Cook until browned, and drain excess fat when done. Add the chiles to the beef and stir well. Preheat the oven to 375F. Take a 13×9 pan and lightly cover the bottom with a layer of salsa.

In a large bowl add the beef and chile mixture, the black beans, corn and 1/2 cup of each type of cheese. Stir together well.  Warm the tortillas (Lightly wetting 2 paper towels and placing 4 tortillas between and microwaving for about 15 seconds works very well) and then using a spoon, place about 2 heaping spoonfuls into each tortilla. Carefully wrap and place seam side down into the pan. Make 1 long row of 8 and 2 rows of 2 each. Top off with the remaining salsa, then the cheese and finally the diced tomato. Place into the oven for about 15 minutes – when all the cheese has melted.

Serves 6. Enjoy!


Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Soup

sweet potato and quinoa soupHere’s a creamy and delicious vegetarian soup that will warm you up on a cold winter day. I’ve added a bit of quinoa to make it more of a meal and to give it some protein, and topped it with just a bit of fresh grated parmesan cheese. I don’t peel my carrots because the outside has lots of nutrients – however I do buy organic and give them a good wash first.

1 cup cooked quinoa
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
optional – grated parmesan cheese

sweetquinoa2Preheat the oven to 375F. On a large baking sheet use 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place the diced sweet potatoes on it. Sprinkle the cinnamon and paprika on top and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the potatoes and bake another 15 minutes.

In a large stock pot, use the other tablespoon of olive oil and place the onions and carrots inside. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook together for about 10 minutes, letting the vegetables soften. The onion you don’t need to cut as fine – but try to get the carrots smaller to help them soften faster.

sweetquinoa4When the potatoes are done, add them to the stock pot along with the vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 10 minutes (all the vegetables with be soft at this point.) Transfer all the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. I used my blender and did it in two batches. Place the soup back into the pot, turn the heat to low and add the cooked quinoa. Stir in well and let it cook for about 5 minutes, just to warm the quinoa. Serve warm, add parmsean cheese if you like. Makes 4 larger servings.


Lemon Cucumber Water

lemon cucumber waterI drink mostly water with the occasional cup of tea. I get a bit bored with it and I need to make it a bit more flavorful from time to time and this is one of my favorites. It’s fresh and easy to make – however I do like to let it sit overnight.

1 large cucumber, sliced
1 large lemon sliced
2 liters of water
ice, optional

Thinly slice the cucumber and lemon and place in a 2 liter container. Pour water over the top, add ice if desired. Allow to sit overnight in the fridge for the best results.


Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

chicken and broccoli stirfryI’ve been craving Chinese food lately, however it’s hard to get it gluten free from a restaurant – and it’s often got sugar in it. This has all the flavor and it’s light – the fresh broccoli stays firm and it has a wonderful aroma of ginger. My mom said it reminded her of egg foo young – however there is no egg. It’s simple and fresh.

1 lb of skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
3 cups fresh broccoli chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

chickenandbroc3In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the chicken, garlic and fresh ginger and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Add the chicken broth and cornstarch and mix the cornstarch in well, until the broth is thickened. Add the broccoli and soy sauce and cook for 8-10 minutes, keeping the broccoli firm. Serve with rice or gluten free grain of choice – serves 4.

chickenandbroc2* There are several gluten free brands of soy sauce – double check the labels. Conventional soy sauce has wheat in it.

Gluten Free Corn and Zucchini Pasta Salad

Zucchini and Corn Pasta Salad with AvocadoI was talking to my doctor this morning and she asks “Carrie did you eat a salad yet today?” I mumbled no, as I hadn’t actually eaten anything yet and as much as I like breakfast I don’t eat right away in the morning. She always tells me she wants me to eat a salad a day – which since she’s started to tell me that I’ve been eating more salads, but it’s not a daily thing. I’d say four or five days a week I eat salad of sorts. They can’t be just a handful of lettuce with some dressing or I get bored, so I try to make fun salads like this which will be lunch and dinner for me today.

2 medium zucchini
2 cups corn
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 lb gluten free pasta (penne or spirals)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 avocado pitted and sliced


Cook the pasta following package directions. While that’s starting – take the zucchini and slice them length wise, and then again making them into four long slices. Dice those up into bite sized pieces. If using frozen corn, de-thaw it. For canned just give it a good rinse. Place the zucchini and corn into a large bowl.  Give the spinach a rinse and add it to the bowl.

In a small bowl add together the olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and set aside. Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit and carefully scoop out the avocado. Slice into thin slices.

When the noodles are done cooking, drain the water and give them a quick rinse in cold water. Leave them still warm and add to the large bowl and stir well with the corn, zucchini, and spinach. It will wilt the spinach slightly. Take the small bowl of dressing and stir into the pasta and vegetable mix. Add the sliced avocado on top and enjoy!

cornsalad4This makes a lot – enough for 6-8. Serve either right away or chilled.

*Notes – I’d wanted to use penne pasta, however I used quinoa pasta and had not-so stellar results and it turned to mush. I cooked up some pasta that is a corn/rice flour blend and I’ve had real good results with it and the texture is good.  Use whichever gluten free pasta you enjoy best.

Lentil Stew with Quinoa and Chickpeas

lentil stew with chickpeas and quinoaHere’s a tasty and warm stew to fill your belly on a cold day. It’s packed full of red lentils and quinoa with some chickpeas and spices. The lentils are full of fiber and very little fat. I’d originally had plans to make this a soup, but I turned it into a stew – and I’m very happy with the results.

1 15 oz can of chickpeas
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup red lentils
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper, to taste

lentilstew3In a large stock pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions. The onions don’t need to be diced fine – we’re going to blend them later. Let them cook 2-3 minutes and add all the spices. Add in all the spices, including a little salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant – about 5 minutes. Stir in the red lentils, and add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.


Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender, or use an immersion blender. Mix well and return back to the pot. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them and the cooked quinoa to the pot. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Serve warm, serves 4-6.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Honey

sweet potatoes with cinnamon honey and maple syrupThis is a sweeter side dish I make from time to time when I’m craving some sweet potatoes. This is also good when I have guests over because both adults and kids seem to really like it. Sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamin A and C, and are in abundance right now.

2 large sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure maple sugar

sweetpotatoesandhoney3Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place onto a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil, honey, and maple syrup on top. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top and take a spatula and stir the potatoes around a bit, making sure all are covered. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, flip over the potatoes and roast another 10 minutes.

Serves 2-3, however this doubles very easily.