Avocado Yogurt Dip

avocado and yogurt dipThis is a healthy dip I like to put together when company is coming over. It’s great with tortilla chips and vegetables. I keep this one mild (I do another one that has some heat for myself!) so that everyone including children can enjoy it. However, it’s still packed full of great fresh flavors.

avodip2Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados pitted and skin removed
3/4 cup plain Geek yogurt
3 tablespoons purple onions, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

avodip3In a medium bowl mix together the avocados, lime juice, and yogurt. An easy way to put and remove the avocado peel – Cut the avocado in half around the pit, stick the pit carefully with your knife to remove it, and use a spoon to scoop out all the avocado from the peel.

Fold in the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Serve with chips or veggies and enjoy! Makes 1 1/2 cups -2 cups.

Advertisements

10 Minute Greek Salad

10 minute greek saladAs much as I love to cook and be in the kitchen, there are days where I don’t have much time and need something healthy and filling. This is a simple salad with big flavor and everyone I’ve served it to has enjoyed it. Most of the time spent is cutting up the vegetables!

greeksalad1Ingredients:
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large cucumber, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, diced
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (more if you prefer)
pepper, to taste

10 minute greek saladDrain and rinse off the chickpeas well, then place in a large bowl. Chop up all the vegetables and add to the bowl. Add in the lemon juice, vinegar, and pepper, then stir well. Top off with feta cheese. Quick and easy lunch or side dish. Serves 3-4 as a meal, 4-6 as a side.

Greek Pastitsio

Greek PastitsioPastitsio is a common Greek dish. Pretty much every family has their version of it – the most important part of it is using real ingredients. Cinnamon and nutmeg with the beef give it such a warm and inviting flavor. It’s a perfect dish for potluck, and both children and adults enjoy it.

pastitsio2

Ingredients:
16 ounces gluten free ziti pasta noodles
1.5 pounds ground beef
16 oz tomato sauce
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups milk
1/4 cup brown rice flour
3 eggs
ground pepper, to taste

pastitsio3Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare the noodles per the package directions (Noodles should still be a bit firm to bite, but not chewy.)

While the pasta is cooking start the beef. In a large skillet brown the beef with the onions and salt. When the beef is browned, add the cinnamon, nutmeg and tomato sauce and mix together well.

In a medium sized pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in about 3-4 tablespoons of the rice flour and mix well. It should be thick. Add in the milk and rest of the flour whisk well, removing any lumps (If the sauce isn’t thick enough add a bit more flour). Bring to a light boil then reduce the heat to low. Mix in the parmesan cheese and ground pepper.

pastitsio4After you’ve drained the water from the noodles, add about 1/3 cup of the sauce to the noodles and mix well. Take half the noodles and cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Next add all the meat sauce. Then add the rest of the noodles, and top off with the rest of the sauce.

pastitsio5Place it in the oven for 40-45 minutes. The top will be starting to brown when it’s done. Serve hot – serves 6-8. Enjoy!

 

Brussels Sprouts and Black Bean Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Black Bean Salad

This is a delicious warm salad with a light lemon vinaigrette. Perfect for both a side dish, or as a lunch for a couple people. Brussels are packed full of vitamin K and C, and the black beans add some needed protein.

brusselsalad3

Ingredients:
1 lb of brussels sprouts, sliced in half
1/2 a medium red onion, chopped
16 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloved, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

brusselsalad2

Preheat the oven to 350F. On  a large baking sheet lay the sliced brussels sprouts. Dice the onion and add it, the garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper to the baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, flip the brussels over and cook for another 10-12 minutes, until the brussels are starting to brown.

While that’s cooking – Mix together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lemon, parsley, red pepper flakes and pepper together in a bowl. Whisk together and allow to sit until the vegetables are done cooking.

In a large bowl place the brussels, onions, and drained black beans. Add the dressing to them and mix well. Serve warm. Serves 2-3 as a meal and 4-6 as a side dish.

Lemon Garlic Pork Chops

lemon garlic pork chopsI made some pork chops for dinner with a delicious breaded crust for dinner. They made a nice gravy, so I paired them with some mashed potatoes (which my family loves) and a salad.

Ingredients:
2-4 pork chops
1 lemon, juiced and zested
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste

chops3Mix together the brown rice flour and the lemon zest.  Sprinkle the pork chops on each side with a bit of salt and pepper, then coat each side with the flour -shaking off any excess.

In a large skillet on medium heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the chops on each side 2-4 minutes (until browned, thinner chops will take closer to 2 minutes per side). If they don’t all fit into the pan at once, set them aside and cook the other ones.  Add the sliced onions to the skillet and cook until soft.

chops2Reduce the heat to medium low and add all the chops back to the pan along with the vegetable broth and lemon juice.  Allow the chops to simmer 5-8 minutes in the sauce and allow the sauce to thicken up a bit. Serve right away.

Red Cabbage and Fennel Slaw

Red Cabbage and Fennel SlawI’ve been wanting to make more dishes with fennel. It has this taste that I’ve always been fond of – and it’s full of vitamin C, fiber, folate and many other vitamins. I’d love to see it used more in North America cuisine. I kept the dressing for the slaw light with no added sugars, and kept it simple. It went great with dinner tonight and I’m hoping you like it as much as I did.

cabbageslaw3Ingredients:
2 cups purple cabbage, sliced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 medium scallion, diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used an olive oil based one)
4 tablespoons fennel fronds, diced
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
sea salt and pepper, to taste

cabbageslaw2In a large bowl combine the red cabbage, fennel and shallot. In a smaller bowl mix together the mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. Then add the fennel fronds, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add to the slaw and toss well to coat. Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

*I choose an olive oil based mayonnaise to cut back on calories and fat, which is quite easy to make.

Vegetarian Egg Foo Young

Vegetarian Egg Foo Young   Egg Foo Young has always been a comforting dish to me. I loved it as a small child and it’s something I eat from time to time still as an adult. I’ve kept this simple and filled it with bean sprouts and carrots and made the sauce light. In some areas of the world they don’t put any sauce on this dish – but I opted to have a little bit.

eggfooyoung3Ingredients (makes 2 large or 3-4 smaller):
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 medium shallot, diced
2 scallions, sliced
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 teaspoons  gluten free soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
eggfooyoung4In a large skillet over medium heat place the vegetable broth, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat and add the cornstarch. Blend well then keep on low heat stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
eggfooyoung2

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs with the sesame oil. Stir in the bean sprouts, scallions and carrots. In skillet or wok on medium-high heat, add a bit of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons). Enough to cover the pan and then some. Once the oil is hot add half the egg mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes, you’ll see the sides start to lightly brown and the egg should move easily in the pan. Flip over and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat for the second half of the mixture. Spoon some sauce over top and add the sliced scallions.  I made 2 large egg patties, but you can make 3-4 smaller ones. Enjoy!

Blueberry Pancakes for Two (Gluten Free)

 

gluten free blueberry pancakesI woke up craving pancakes today. This doesn’t happen often – breakfast for me is usually leftovers, salad of sorts, or eggs. Eating these put a smile on my face. They’re fluffy with good texture and a bit sweet from the blueberries. They’re thicker pancakes, with the recipe making 6-8 medium sized. I topped them off with just a bit of maple syrup and a cup of tea. What a great way to start a Saturday.

blueberrypcancakes2Ingredients:
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cups fresh blueberries
1 large egg
2 teaspoons xantham gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (with more for cooking)

blueberrypancakes3In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

In a large skillet over medium heat add a bit of olive oil. Allow the pan to heat up for 4-5 minutes. Spoon the batter into the pan, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Cook each side 2-3 minutes – they’ll easily come up from the pan when they’re ready and will be a golden brown. Cook on each side. Add more oil to the pan if needed. Serve hot with toppings of choice. Makes 2 larger servings.

blueberrypancakes1

 

Bratwurst, Cabbage and Potato Soup

bratwurst cabbage potato soupI had a craving for bratwurst last week. Instead of doing the norm – I decided to make it into a soup. I imagine this is a much healthier way to eat them as well – I loaded the soup full of fresh vegetables and was happy to add more cabbage into my diet.

bratsoup2Ingredients:
16 oz bratwurst, castings removed
4 cups shredded cabbage (about 1 smaller head)
1/2 white onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 in” pieces
4 cups water
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried parsley
salt and pepper – to taste

bratsoup3Remove the bratwursts from their castings and chop them up a bit. Place them in a skillet over medium high heat and cook until no longer pink and slightly browned. While that’s cooking – place a large stock pot on medium heat and add the water, potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions. Bring to a low boil. When the meat is done cooking add it and the cabbage to the pot. Slowly add in the milk, 1/2 a cup at a time.  Cook on medium low heat for 20-25 minutes – stirring occasionally. Add the cheeses, parsley and some salt and pepper into the soup and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes and serve hot! Serves 4-6.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola BarsGluten free granola bars with simple good ingredients. These disappear fast around here – they’re so delicious! You wouldn’t know that there is ground flax and chia in them, with honey as a sweetener. Besides being able to control what’s in your granola bars – they’re much cheaper than buying at the store.

pbchocgranolabar1Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups gluten free rolled oats
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil

pbchocgranolabar2Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl combine the oats, peanut butter, honey, flax, chia and cinnamon. Combine well. In a 9×13 pan lay a piece of parchment paper.

Take the oat mixture and place it on top the parchment paper and spread it out. Grab another piece of parchment paper and lay it over the top, and press down hard on the oats and smooth it out to all edges and corners. Be firm with it so that it holds together. Remove the top layer of parchment – and place the pan in the oven for 14 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and place the 2nd piece of parchment back on top. With oven mitts on or using a pot holder – smooth and press down firmly across the pan.  Remove the top piece of parchment and discard. Place the pan in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until cool.

Take the chocolate chips and coconut oil and combine in a small bowl. Cook on low heat on the stove until melted – or in the microwave for 2 minutes,  stirring every 30 seconds. Using a spatula cover the granola bars with the chocolate and place back into the fridge for at least 15 minutes, or until cool. Cut into strips or squares. Makes 14 bars. Store in the fridge.

pbchocgranolabar3*Feel free to add raisins or other goodies to your bars!