Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

homemade tortilla chipsWe had a taco night for dinner last night and I had some leftover corn tortillas from another night of Mexican food. I made tortilla chips from them – some baked and some fried to serve as an appetizer, and to get them used up.  The fried ones always disappear faster than the baked (fine by me, I like the baked!) even more so when I have some fresh guacamole on hand.

12 or more 4″ corn tortillas
juice of 1 lime
salt, to taste
grapeseed oil or other high heat oil (if frying only)

tortilla3You want the tortillas a bit stale, or dried to start. You can place them in the microwave for a minute or so, leave them out overnight or bake them in the oven for about 5 minutes at 350F single layered. I usually bake them since I eat them the baked way. Cut the tortillas up into 6 triangles.

If baking spread out onto 2 baking sheets, single layer. Bake at 350F for 5 minutes then flip the chips over and sprinkle with salt and bake another 5 minutes. Sprinkle lime juice over the top and serve warm.

tortilla4For frying the chips – Place a bit of grapeseed oil in a skillet, enough to cover the chips. Bring to high heat, however we don’t want it smoking!. 325F-350F is a good temp. Place chips in the pan, single layered and cook for 10-15 seconds both sides, letting them slightly brown. Work in small batches, they cook really fast. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil, toss with a bit of salt and lime and serve warm.

12 corn tortillas makes enough chips for 3-4 as an appetizer. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili


sweet potato and black bean chiliTo forget about the cold weather for a bit I made this warming chili in the slow cooker. It’s vegetarian, there’s no dairy – just full of delicious vegetables and spices. Black beans are  a staple in my pantry, they’re so versatile. The spices used give it a little heat, and some good flavor – enough to warm you up after being outside in the cold.

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 a white onion, diced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups vegetable broth (can substitute water)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

sweetchili2In a 5 quart or larger slow cooker set on high – place the broth and spices and stir together. Cut up the sweet potatoes, green pepper, and onion and add to the broth. Add in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, stir well. Cover and allow to cook for at least 3.5 – 4 hours. Serves 6. Enjoy!

*This can be done on the stovetop – but cook the potatoes and onions together in a skillet until they start to soften before adding to the rest of the chili.


Baked Apples with Pecans and Oats

baked apple with pecans and oatsThis weekend I made this wonderful dessert to enjoy with the family. Apples are so naturally sweet that they don’t need a whole lot to become a tasty treat. Without whipped cream or ice cream, I think they could border on being a breakfast! The house also smelled fantastic all day from the apples and cinnamon.

4 gala apples, cores and seeds removed from the top
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup gluten free oats
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
optional whipped cream or ice cream

bakedapple4Preheat oven to 375F. On a baking sheet spread out the pecans and roast them for 5 minutes.

Core the apples, I used a knife and made a bit of a square around the stem, then used a spoon to scoop out the seeds and core. Careful to not cut all the way through.

In a small bowl mix together the oats, butter, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Scoop it into the apples.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the apples are soft. Top off with some whipped cream, or a side of ice cream. Serves 4.



Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Salad

roasted red pepper and asparagus saladI’ve really been enjoying a lot of warm salads lately. Asparagus and red bell peppers are two of my favorite vegetables, so I wanted to try them in a salad like this together. It made for a nice light dinner that tasted great and left me full for the rest of the evening.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 “bunch” of asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces (about 2 cups)
2 large red bell peppers
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice up the asparagus into 1″ pieces and lay on a baking pan with a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes.

Set the oven to broil. Cut the bell peppers into 3-4 smaller pieces each, removing any stray seeds. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil (they get a bit messy.) and place them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and place back into the oven for another 5 minutes. They should have some char, but not be burnt. If they need a bit longer – keep a close eye on them.

Let them cool until you are able to handle them. (5-10 minutes.) Remove the black char off the peppers and thinly slice them.

roastedsalad3In a large bowl place the cooked quinoa with the olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir well. Add in the asparagus, red peppers, and tomatoes, then top off with feta cheese. Enjoy! Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side.



Beef With Snow Peas

Beef with Snow PeasThis is another Asian style dish that I’ve remade to be a bit healthier and of course, gluten free. The only time consuming part of the dish is allowing the meat to marinade before cooking otherwise the rest is done fast. This is fairy mild but you can make it hotter by adding more Sriracha or adding a bit of crushed red pepper. The peas are crunchy, the meat is delicious, and it has a light sauce.

1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
8 oz fresh snow peas
1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon gluten free Sriracha
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 teaspoons corn starch
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

beefwithsnowpeas3In advance, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, Sriracha, ginger and corn starch and whisk well. Divide the sauce in half, and cut up the flank steak against the grain. Keep the pieces thin and up to 2 inches long.  (Cutting the steak against the grain will keep the meat from getting “chewy.”) Place the meat in 1 portion of the sauce, mixing well and getting all the pieces covered with the sauce. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to an hour in advance.

If any of your snow peas are large, cut them in half. Otherwise just trim off the ends. When it’s time to cook get a large skillet and place 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil in it.  Turn the heat to high and let the pan get really hot. (Olive oil doesn’t do well at high temps, can use safflower or sunflower as well!) Then place the snow peas in. Cook them for 2-3 minutes – stirring them every 10-20 seconds. We want them to stay crisp, but not burn. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.

Place another tablespoon of the oil in the pan and bring it back up to a high heat. Add the meat. I had to do mine in two sessions. Cook the meat for 3-4 minutes, flipping as needed till it’s cooked through. Remove from heat and do the same for the second half of the meat. Once the meat is all cooked, add back the first portion of meat and the snow peas. Turn the heat down to medium low and pour in the reserved half of the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or grain of choice – serves 4.



Beet and Carrot Salad with Goat Cheese

beet and carrot salad with whipped goat cheeseI’ve been trying to do more of the salad thing and been wanting to cook with beets again, so I came up with this. It’s got layers of flavor with a light vinaigrette and some whipped goat cheese on top.

3 large beets, cooked and peeled, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
3 oz plain goat cheese
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon dried parsleybeetsalad1

Place  the beets in a medium sized sauce pan with enough water to cover them and the lemon juice.  Cover and cook over medium high heat for about 40-45 minutes, until tender. Drain the water and rinse the beets with cool water, until cool enough to handle. The skins will come off very easily now. Remove the skin and thinly slice. (Cooking them with some lemon juice helps reduce the beet bleeding.)

Slice up the carrots -a mandoline slicer works great if you have one. Arrange the beets and carrots on a plate.

beetsalad2In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, chives and a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle over top the vegetables.

In another small bowl, whip together the goat cheese, milk, and parsley until it’s fluffy. Place on top the salad.  Serve immediately. Serves 4.



Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

gluten free blueberry muffinsI woke up today craving blueberry muffins. It’s been months since I’ve had a muffin of sorts, and I really haven’t baked much lately so I decided to make a batch. I got over to the store before the snow started again to get some fresh blueberries, came back and put these together. I’ve gone with no sugar – and brought in some honey to sweeten them up a bit. I’ve added in a bit of flax for some extra fiber and omega-3. They were so good that I ate three of these today!

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

blueberrymuffin3Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a small bowl place the flour, xantham, salt, flax seed, and baking powder and mix together.

In a large bowl cream together the eggs, vanilla, and butter – then mix in the yogurt, maple syrup and honey. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing well. Stir in the blueberries carefully to not break them.  Scoop the batter into a pre-greased muffin tin (or into 12 paper cups if you use those). Bake for 25-30 minutes – until a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.  Makes 12 medium sized muffins. Serve warm or cooled.


Greek Yogurt and Warm Berry Sauce

Yogurt with Warm Berries SauceI wanted to have a healthier dessert for Valentine’s day. I haven’t had berries much lately due to them being out of season and quite expensive so I bought some frozen berries to make this delicious dessert that won’t make me feel guilty eating.

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blackberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon blue agave
1 tablespoon corn starch

yogurtandberries4In a small sauce pan over medium heat place the berries, water, lemon juice, ginger, and agave. Bring to a slow boil, add the cornstarch and mix well. Remove from heat let the sauce cool for 10-15 minutes before serving on top of the yogurt. Makes 2 large or 4 smaller desserts. Enjoy!


Baked Portobello Parmesan

Baked Portobello ParmesanI enjoy Italian food – but I try to not eat pasta very often. These mushrooms give me a healthier alternative and they’re really easy to make. They have a light breading on the bottom and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. They can be made as a meal, or an appetizer with smaller mushrooms.

4 large Portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup tomato sauce
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons dried basil
portoparm2Preheat the oven to 400F. Gently wipe down the mushrooms and clean out the gills with a spoon. Place them stem side down on a baking sheet. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg. Add the bread crumbs, parmesan, milk, parsley and garlic and combine well. Brush this on top of the mushroom tops and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

While they cook – in a small bowl add together the tomato sauce and basil. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and carefully flip them over so they’re stem side up. Carefully divide the tomato sauce between the mushrooms and top with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle a bit more parsley on top and place back into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Serves 4, serve warm.


White Chicken Chili

chickenchili1I made this delightful chili in the slow cooker. It doesn’t take much preparation and after a few hours will give you a delicious (and nutritious!) meal. Packed full of beans and corn, with a bit of chicken and spices this is a great way to warm up in the winter.

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 15 oz cans great northern beans -rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can pinto beans -rinsed and drained
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
4-5 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
whitechili2Cook the chicken with the garlic, salt, and pepper until it’s no longer pink and place it into the slow cooker. Take the pinto beans and 1 cup of chicken broth and place it into a blender and blend until smooth – then add it to the slow cooker. Place the rest of the beans and chicken broth into the slow cooker and stir well. Next add the cumin, onions, sour cream and cheese mix well and cover. Allow it to cook 3-4 hours on low heat. Add cilantro before serving.  I added a bit of cheddar as well before serving. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!