Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza CrustI’d seen these pizza crusts in several blogs and on Pintrest – but I’d been skeptical on how good could it really be. I’ve had some really good gluten free pizzas, but they’re fairly expensive for the size. I used a large head of cauliflower, and it made a HUGE pizza. I was also really happy with the taste – it’s not the same thing but I didn’t feel guilty at all eating this, and the whole family liked it. It also took about an hour total time to make – which doesn’t have the convenience factor of delivery or frozen pizza. Years ago before I found out about my gluten problem,  I loved to make homemade pizza. I’ll make this again and try out more toppings soon.

For the crust:
1 large head of cauliflower
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced

For my pizza:
1 large roma tomato, sliced
1/4 cup black olives, chopped
3 large button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 large green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
2 ounces of goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

001Preheat the oven to 375F. Rinse and and place cauliflower florets into a food processor. (Mine isn’t very good, so I did this in 4 rounds.) Process until it has a rice texture. Place onto a baking sheet and allow to roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place into a cheesecloth. I double layered mine, and made it into 4 smaller balls to wring out all the excess water. You’d be surprised how much water you’ll get out of it. Increase the oven heat to 450F.

In a mixing bowl place the cauliflower, eggs, salt, basil, and parsley and mix together. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread out the mixture on top evenly. Flatten it until it’s your desired thickness. Place into the oven and bake for 15-20  minutes, until it’s slightly browning.

caulicrust2Remove from the oven and place your desired topping on. I baked mine for about 8 minutes, but if you’re using a lot of cheese consider going to 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!





Greek Salad with Asparagus

Greek Salad with AsparagusGreek salad with all of the fresh olives and tomatoes is always a favorite of mine. I wanted to make it a bit more seasonal and use some of the wonderful asparagus that we can get locally here this time of year. Cooking and blanching the asparagus for a few minutes keeps it crunchy, but gives it a bit more mild flavor. I’ve topped it with a light vinaigrette dressing and some goat’s cheese in place of the more traditional feta.

2 medium heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 medium red onion, sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup crumbled goat’s cheese
ground pepper, to taste

For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 a medium lemon
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

greeksalad1Start a pot of water over high heat and allow the water to come to a medium boil. Place the asparagus in and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain water from the pot and place the asparagus in a water and ice bath and allow to cool.

While the water is starting, chop up and arrange the vegetables in a large bowl. When the asparagus is cooled, chop into 1/4″ pieces and add to the bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Sprinkle the dried basil on top.  Mix the dressing into the salad and top off with some goat’s cheese and fresh ground pepper. Serves 4-6.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean SoupThis is a great summertime soup. It’s lighter and fills you up without wanting to take a nap after. I kept this a bit mild, since I was serving this to pickier pallets, so feel free to double the jalapenos to spice it up a bit more. There’s so many different topping that go well on this soup, I’ve chosen a little sour cream and cheddar cheese today, but slices of avocado, or sliced green onions go great with it as well.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 medium shallots, finely diced
2 large jalapenos, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
5 cups vegetable broth
6 14.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed

blackbeansoup3In a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, onions, jalapenos, shallot, and garlic. Cook until the onion is turning translucent. Then add in the cumin, pepper, oregano, chili pepper and nutmeg and stir well.

Add the broth and beans and bring to a simmer, then allow the soup to simmer for 45 minutes. Then blend about 3/4 of the soup until smooth using either an immersion blender, or by transferring the soup to a blender, a cup or so at a time. (be very careful if using this method to not burn yourself!).  Serve with toppings of choice. Serves 4-6 large bowls.

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus RisottoThere are so many ways to prepare risotto. The two things that I find is key to it, is giving the rice enough time to absorb all the liquid and to cook properly – and using a good quality shorter grain rice.  I used Arborio rice for this dish, which is pretty easy to find.  Asparagus is in season and even though it died in my garden this year, it’s all over the farmer’s market.

asparagus risottoIngredients:
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (this can be replaced with another short grain white rice)
4 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
asparagus risottoIn a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add in the rice and 1/2 a cup of the broth. Allow the rice to soak up all the broth and keep adding in 1/2 a cup of the broth at a time, allowing the rice to soak it up after each addition. Slowly keep stirring the rice every minute or two as you add in all the liquid.

After the rice has absorbed all the broth and is at your desired firmness, add in the asparagus and a little bit of salt and pepper.  Stir well and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cover for another 5 minutes. Top off with parsley and fresh parmesan and serve hot. Serves 4.

Parmesan and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Parmesan and Rosemary Roasted PotaotesThis side dish works well with so many different meals. I’d kept the whole dinner vegetarian for this occasion and these complimented the rest of the meal well. The rosemary and garlic work well with the potatoes and compliment the fresh Parmesan cheese.

1 pound russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste

parmpotatoes2Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the potatoes into 1/8″ pieces. (No need to peel them.) Place the potatoes in a large bowl along with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Stir and coat all the potatoes with the oil and spices. Lay out the slices onto a baking sheet or two and top with the Parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, they’ll be golden brown and easy to pierce with a fork. Serve warm. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Pancetta over Polenta

Shrimp and Pancetta PolentaPolenta is very popular in the American south and Italy. It makes a great naturally gluten free base to many meals – or as I had it as a child, for breakfast with a bit of honey and milk made by my grandmother. I added a bit of goat’s cheese and basil to the polenta for a bit more taste and creaminess.

For my personal bowl I added just a bit of Sriricha – which I kept out of the main dish since I was feeding family that doesn’t like food as spicy as mine. It really gave it some punch and I really enjoyed the extra heat.

Shrimp and Pancetta PolentaIngredients:
For the polenta
3 cups water
1 cup polenta (corn grits)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces plain goat’s cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

For the main dish:
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon parsley
sea salt and pepper, to taste

shrimppolenta1Bring 3 cups of water and salt to a boil and add the polenta. Reduce heat and allow to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add the goat’s cheese and basil and stir well. Remove from heat and cover.

In a large saucepan over medium low heat, add the oil, garlic, and pancetta. Allow to cook until the pancetta is starting to become crisp. Add the tomatoes, basil, shrimp, salt, pepper, and parsley. Cook until the shrimp are cooked all the way through, and the sauce is hot. Serve over the polenta. Serves 4. Enjoy!

*Topping with a bit of sriracha or green onions adds a bit more punch.

Curry with Chickpea Dumplings

Chickpea Dumplings with CurryThis is another favorite curry dish of mine that I’ve been wanting to share for awhile. These dumplings are wonderful and easy to make. I’ve tried to keep the dish as healthy as possible and the dumplings steam themselves in the curry – which allows them to soak up some of that wonderful flavor, and is much healthier than frying. I’ve served this on a jasmine rice today, however I’ve served it on quinoa or other grains that I’ve had leftover.

1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided into 2
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

rice, or other grain of choice

chickpeadumplings2In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, and half of the onion. Saute for 5 minutes,  then add the turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, coriander and curry powder. Stir together for a couple of minutes and add in the crushed tomatoes and fresh ginger. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook and allow to thicken for 10-12 minutes.

While the curry is cooking, mix together the chickpea flour,  Greek yogurt, the other half of the onion, paprika, salt, and the other 2 tablespoons of oil. Scoop out 8 equal portions and carefully place them in the curry. Cover and allow them to steam for 10 minutes. Turn them over and allow them to steam for another 5 minutes.  Serve on top of your gluten free grain and enjoy! Serves 4.


*By substituting the Greek yogurt for soy yogurt, this easily becomes a vegan dish.

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Avocado Salad

avocado saladThis avocado based salad is a great side dish for dinner. It’s fresh, light, and easy to make – and a great way to spruce up leftovers. I’ve kept it with just a handful of ingredients, to let the vegetables shine for how great they are.

3 medium avocados
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 2 small limes
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1 medium red pepper, diced
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

avosalad3In a small bowl combine the olive oil, lime juice, zest, and a bit of salt and pepper. Whisk together and place the diced red pepper and sliced onions in it. Allow to sit and marinade for at least a half hour, closer to an hour if possible.

When the peppers and onions are nearly done marinading, scoop out the avocado flesh and carefully slice them. Arrange the avocado slices with the pepper and onions on two plates. Serves 2. Enjoy!


jambalayaI haven’t gotten to have a spicy dinner for awhile and I’ve always enjoyed jambalaya. I’ve tried it several different ways, and this is my favorite way of having this dish. I do include tomatoes in my dish, along with three types of bell peppers. I also include okra, which is a vegetable that I don’t get to have very often and wasn’t able to get fresh today (frozen works just as well!).

1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large stalks of celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup okra, sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups long white rice
2 tablespoons creole or cajun seasonings
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon thyme
2 green onions, sliced

jambalaya2In a large saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil, onions, celery, peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften. Add the chicken and sausage and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. (If using frozen chicken, cook in a separate pan first.)

Next add in the rice, tomatoes, chicken stock, creole seasonings, worcestershire,  Sriracha, thyme, bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Stir together and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until the rice cooked, about 90 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf, and add in the shrimp and okra. Allow it to simmer until the shrimp are no longer pink. Top off with some green onions (and more Sriracha if you like) and serve warm. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!


Watermelon and Pomegranate Salad

Watermelon and Pomegranate SaladFor Mother’s Day we decided to grill out in the backyard and relax. I didn’t have the bulk of the cooking duties today, which I really enjoyed – but I did contribute this salad. My mom loves watermelon and pomegranate so this was made with her in mind. It’s simple and easy to put together – and allows the fruit to really shine. The bit of onion adds a little bit of bite to the salad, and just rounds it out. It was a hit with everyone that came over!

6 oz baby spinach
4 cups diced watermelon
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup diced red onion

1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar (regular works as well)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 small lime, juiced


watersalad1Place the spinach, watermelon, pomegranate seeds, and onion into a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and drizzle over top the salad. Stir the salad a few times to allow the dressing to cover all the fruit and vegetables. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!