Category Archives: Healthy Meals

Quinoa Tabbouleh and a Giveaway – Gluten-Free Made Simple

It seemed for a while there all I was blogging about was this gluten-free book and that gluten-free book, (and this one as well!) and giving away copies of them all. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped. Well, my dear readers, it’s time for another book review and giveaway! That’s right, St. Martin’s Press has graciously allowed me to review a copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom, as well as share a copy with one of my lucky readers!

When I received my copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple, my first impression was that it was a lovely, colorful book. There are photos for every recipe – something I know is a deal-maker for a lot of people. (When chatting with my sister-in-law a while back, she mentioned that is a key thing that sells her on cookbooks – she wants to see what it looks like, and that photo will help entice her to make the recipes!) This book definitely delivers beautiful photos. But what I noticed, as a gluten-free cook and baker, was how simple the recipes truly were. The ingredient lists were short, and most recipes could be made in a few quick steps. This book was written to not only appeal to me, but chiefly to appeal to a large audience of varying levels of kitchen expertise and time. Gluten-free cooking seems overwhelming to a lot of people (hence why Shirley has dedicated an entire blog to living gluten-free easily), especially those who have limited or no cooking skills. The transition from drive-thru to being comfortable with home-cooked meals is a difficult one for many. This book does an excellent job of assisting those new to gluten-free or looking for new gluten-free recipes make that transition.

There are many delicious recipes in this book I’m dying to try – from an easy meatloaf recipe, to cinnamon rolls (that you don’t have to roll out!), pineapple muffins, and strawberry pie. But as the temperatures have been creeping up around here lately, I opted for a simple, cool salad – the quinoa tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is traditionally a Lebanese bulgur salad with parsley, mint, tomato, cucumber, and spring onions, tossed in a simple lemon juice and oil dressing. However, bulgur is off-limits on a gluten-free diet. Quinoa makes a fine substitute (a superior one, in my opinion). It’s easy to make, and is something you can prepare ahead of time, making it a great side dish for company. It’s the perfect summer side dish (or even main dish!). I opted to use chives instead of the green onions in this recipe, vegetable broth instead of chicken, and I used some golden cherry tomatoes I picked up from Good Earth Organic Farm last weekend. This is one of those definite “go-to” recipes for this time of year.

Quinoa Tabbouleh, reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Made Simple

1/2 c quinoa

1 c gluten-free chicken broth such as Better Than Bouillon (I used vegetable broth)

3/4 c chopped fresh cucumber

1/2 c snipped fresh parsley

1/4 c thinly sliced green onions (I used chives)

1 T snipped fresh mint

1 recipe Tabbouleh Dressing (see below)

3/4 c chopped tomato

4 lettuce leaves (I didn’t use these)

Place quinoa in a colander and rinse with warm water for 2 minutes. (Note: quinoa must be rinsed very well to remove the bitterness on the grain.) (My note – Ancient Harvest quinoa is pre-rinsed.) In a saucepan, combine quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let cook until quinoa splits and absorbs most of the chicken broth, about 15 minutes. (The recipe doesn’t specify, but I covered my pan with a lid.) Drain and cool. (I needed no draining)

In a large bowl combine quinoa, cucumber, parsley, green onions and mint. Drizzle with Tabbouleh Dressing and toss to coat. (I didn’t use all of the dressing.) Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Stir tomato into quinoa mixture just before serving. Serve on lettuce leaves. Serves 4.

Tabbouleh Dressing

In a screw-top jar combine 3 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive), 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well.

Now, for the giveaway part!

I will be giving away 1 copy of Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom. The giveaway will end at midnight, Saturday, June 25, 2011. I will chose a winner via random.org.

To enter:

Leave me a comment telling me what dish you wish you could make gluten-free without a lot of fuss.

That’s it! Best of luck! And even if you don’t win, I encourage you to check out Gluten-Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dahlstrom, Elizabeth Dahlstrom Burnley, and Marcia Schultz Dahlstrom on Amazon.com. It’s a great “go-to” book when you’re looking for easy gluten-free recipes.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Daring Cooks: Dill and Caper Red Potato Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

Of course, I’ve made potato salad before. My mom has a straightforward recipe that I love (and have blogged about before – scroll down towards the bottom to view the recipe). But for this challenge, I wanted to make a bit of a different potato salad. Immediately, capers came to mind. Their briny, piquant flavor would compliment the creamy potatoes well. Of course, I’d still want to add some creamy texture, so a nice high-end mayonnaise would be needed. In the interest of keeping the salad lower in calories, though, I tried to keep the amount modest. Some fresh dill, dijon mustard, and smoked paprika helped round out what became a full-flavored, potato salad – a perfect accompaniment to any backyard barbecue.

Dill and Caper Red Potato Salad

1 lb small red potatoes

Salt

1 T lemon juice

3 T diced red onion

3 T olive oil mayonnaise (such as Spectrum)

1 t dijon mustard

1 t honey

1 T capers

1 t fresh dill, chopped

1/4 t smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan with a generous amount of salt and enough water to cover. Boil for 15 minutes or until pierced easily with a fork. Drain and allow to cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and red onion. Stir to coat, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, and honey. Add capers, dill, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add in the potatoes and eggs and toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Serve chilled. Makes 4 servings.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Southwestern Omelet and a Call for Recipe Testers

I love eggs. They’re not only healthy, a great source of inexpensive protein (even happy, free-range eggs don’t cost much), and one of the speediest things to cook, they also are SO tasty. One of my favorite ways to enjoy an egg is simply cooked sunny-side up, followed closely by poached. But sometimes, I want something with a little more flair, and more ability to incorporate the plethora of veggies in my kitchen. This is when an omelet is just the thing.

Omelets don’t need to be complicated. Of course, mine aren’t as delicately fancy and thin as some, but for my everyday breakfast, that’s fine by me. Just a single fold – enough to allow the filling inside to get all warm, melty, and mingled with the egg – works for my quick and healthy breakfast. I’ll save the fancier stuff for fancier occasions.

Another bonus about omelets – each one is customizable. That way, if you’re making omelets for other family members, everyone can pick out their favorite fillings. Today, I opted for a Southwestern style – a sauteed mix of shallots, diced tomato, serrano pepper, and spinach, topped with just a tiny bit of Daiya cheese. It was spicy, fresh, and packed with powerful flavors, but light enough so that I had energy to get on with my day. My kind of breakfast.

Southwestern Omelet (makes 1 omelet)

1 T olive oil

2 T sliced shallots

4-5 slices fresh serrano pepper (or more if you’re daring – my chile was HOT!)

1/4 c diced tomato

1 large handful of baby spinach

2 eggs, scrambled

2 T Daiya (or other non-dairy) cheese, or omit

1 T fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a small skillet (mine was about 8 inches) to medium heat and add half of the oil. Saute the shallots and serrano chile for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add tomato and spinach and continue to saute until spinach is wilted. Remove and set aside in a small bowl. Wipe out the skillet and add the rest of the oil. Swirl to coat well. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the eggs. Allow eggs to sit without stirring for a minute. Once eggs start to cook on the bottom, take a flexible spatula and carefully pull the edges of the eggs away from the skillet and allow the runny part to fill the space underneath. Do this all the way around the omelet. Repeat this once or twice more, or until the egg is starting to set up more. Once nearly set, add your veggie mixture on one side of the omelet and top with Daiya cheese. Top with a bit of cilantro. Then carefully flip the empty side of the omelet over onto the filling, holding the top in place for a moment or two, if necessary, until the egg stays folded. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds or so, and carefully remove from pan and put onto plate.

Enjoy.

Okay, by announcing it here, this makes it official, right? Are you ready? (Am I ready? Eeek!)

I am working on my first e-book! This book will be filled with gluten and dairy-free recipes that are tasty and healthy for the whole family, made from whole foods and real ingredients. But I need your help to make this happen. I will be furiously working on recipes here at home, but I need testers! If you’re interested in testing out recipes, please send me an email at alta2924 (at) hotmail (dot) com. I hope to be able to have recipe testing start in the next month or so. Thank you in advance for all of your help! This is a huge step for me, and I have so many dreams for this book – I certainly hope it’s as exciting for you as it will be for me!

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Filed under breakfast, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Gluten-Free Goodness

This month for Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger I chose to adopt Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness. Cheryl’s a relatively new bloggy friend of mine; I “met” her through Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl. Cheryl is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist, as well as a health and wellness coach. She helps a lot of people enjoy a healthy, gluten-free diet. Cheryl has several food allergies, and while that might frustrate some in the kitchen, Cheryl handles it with grace and innovation. She is always coming up with something delicious, healthy, and allergen-free. It definitely makes choosing just a few recipes to try that much more difficult!

Somehow, I managed. I had to choose one of her dessert recipes, and came across these amazing Brazil Nut Chip Cookies. Brazil nuts, however, are not something I adore, so I improvised a bit. (Okay, more than a little bit…but I wanted to use what was on hand.)I used almond butter instead of the brazil nut butter, substituted raisins for the chocolate chips, and used 1 whole banana instead of the avocado. My gluten-free flour blend was 1 part teff flour, 1 part millet flour, and 1 part coconut flour. These came out of the oven tasting like banana-y oatmeal raisin cookies – one of my favorite cookies of all time. I’m definitely making these again and again. They were superb.

Another recipe I have tried (more than once) from Cheryl is her coconut curried greens recipe. I opted to use canned coconut milk, and did not add chicken, as I made this a side dish. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients here – these greens are craveably delicious. I had to make them twice – after the first time, the flavors haunted me. It’s a good thing collard greens are arriving in my CSA box in large amounts lately!

While this is all I’ve made so far, I definitely found more recipes I want to make in the future. Cheryl has a Nana Skillet Bread that looks comforting and delicious. I can imagine it as tasty breakfast treat. Her Sniffle Stew looks like a go-to recipe, especially in the winter. (I don’t think you need the sniffles in order to eat it – I can imagine it’s the perfect lunchtime soup as well!) And who could pass up her Chocolate Raspberry Pie? That looks killer.

Need some healthy, easy recipe inspiration? Check out more of Cheryl’s recipes here. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole and Meal Plan May 30-June 3

Hope those of you here in the United States enjoyed a wonderful long weekend. I know we did…but it goes by so fast!

Here is another version of the squash casserole I made the other day. I can’t decide, honestly, whether I like this one better than the previous one – but they were both satisfying and delicious. This one had a lovely combination of sweetness from the sun-dried tomatoes and freshness from the herbs. It took some considerable self-control not to eat the entire casserole in one sitting. I even enjoyed some of the leftovers for breakfast. (Of course, I’m a big fan of just about any tasty leftovers for breakfast!)

This week’s meal plan is somewhat short, and not quite as organized as usual. We’re eating a lot of what’s already on hand – we have some meat in the freezer, a lot of swiss chard that I pulled from the garden today, and the pantry holds quite a few goodies. In addition, we have activities that aren’t allowing for much in the way of dinner preparation time. So while I’ve written down a few things, it’s mostly a chance for me to wing it a bit.

Monday:

Breakfast: Teff and Millet Pancakes (I thought they were pretty tasty, but the family didn’t agree. Still trying to come up with a whole grain pancake recipe that everyone else likes!), fruit smoothies

Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie (made with slow-cooked shredded lamb shoulder), Sauteed Swiss Chard (without onion, but with a bit of carrot and celery)

Also making hard-boiled eggs and beef jerky for the coming week

Tuesday:

Breakfast: leftover pancakes with nut butter, 1/2 banana, and maple syrup

Lunch: leftover shepherd’s pie, swiss chard

Dinner: grilled chicken on salad

Wednesday:

Breakfast: gluten-free cornflakes with almond milk, raspberries, hard-boiled egg

Lunch: grilled chicken with salad

Dinner: Quinoa pizza with spinach or swiss chard

Thursday:

Breakfast: green smoothie with spinach, pineapple, and mint

Lunch: leftover pizza

Dinner: Lettuce wraps (made with turkey, and omitting oyster sauce, using gluten-free soy sauce)

Friday:

Breakfast: gluten-free cornflakes with almond milk, banana, hard-boiled egg

Lunch: leftovers or egg or tuna salad sandwich with gluten-free bread, baby carrots, celery sticks

Dinner: the husband might be in charge of this one for the kids, as I have a soccer game during dinner time

Snacks include baby carrots, oranges, Tanka bars, and brown rice cakes

 

Alright, I’ve kept you long enough. Here’s the zucchini and sun-dried tomato casserole!

Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole

2 T olive oil

4 c sliced zucchini

1 t chopped fresh sage

1 T chopped fresh parsley

½ t chopped fresh thyme leaves

½ c soaked and chopped sun-dried tomatoes

½ t smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T ghee or olive oil

¼ c almond flour

½ c cheddar cheese alternative (I used Daiya)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish and set aside.

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Saute zucchini for about 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add herbs and sun-dried tomatoes and continue to sauté for another minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess juice from the vegetables (otherwise, you’ll end up with a wetter casserole than you desire) Transfer the vegetables to the casserole dish. Top with Daiya cheese.

Melt the ghee in a small microwaveable bowl for 30-45 seconds. Combine ghee and almond flour along with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Blend together with a spoon until crumbly. Spread over the Daiya evenly.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

This meal plan post is linked to Gluten-Free Menu Swap over at Celiacs In The House.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Meal Plans, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Cucumber Herb Salad

Salads are an area where I tend to have a “kitchen sink” mentality. The more vegetables, the better – I tend to throw in anything and everything that looks fresh and tastes good. More than one type of greens? Check. Radishes? Check. Tomatoes? Check. Cucumbers? Why not? Sometimes, even squash, olives, pumpkin seeds, picked peppers, and pickled okra all show up in the salad. And with some source of protein, such as grilled chicken, steak, or beans, these are good salads for meals (I’m enjoying such a version today for lunch, in fact), but they’re not really composed. There’s something to be said for a lovely salad that is restrained and highlights just a few fresh ingredients.

That’s precisely what this salad does. It’s not fancy, and it takes practically no time. Just some fresh cucumber, chopped fresh herbs, a bit of vinegar and salt, and what arises is a refreshing, light accompaniment to a meal. I loved how bright it was (we enjoyed this alongside a creamy pasta dish with sausage, which was heavy), and it didn’t hurt that it was a very low-calorie way to add some interest. I definitely need to remind myself how enjoyable a salad like this can be, especially as the temperatures start rising in the next few months!

Cucumber Herb Salad

5-6 Kirby cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 T chopped fresh mint leaves

1 t chopped fresh tarragon

1 T rice wine vinegar

Pinch or two of salt

Toss the cucumber slices with the herbs, vinegar, and salt. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Appetizers, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Squash and Chard Casserole

Do you remember squash casserole? If you’re from the South, it’s likely you’ve had it before (or quite often) – a cheesy, buttery, creamy casserole filled with squash that has been cooked within an inch of its life, topped with buttery crumbs. I didn’t grow up eating such a casserole (my parents aren’t from the South), but I definitely enjoyed it a time or two, typically in local diners that also served other Southern favorites, such as fried okra, chicken-fried steak, collard greens (with lots of ham or bacon), grits, and lots of biscuits and gravy. While tasty, it’s definitely not something that is friendly on the waistline or to those of us with gluten and dairy issues.

I’d forgotten about squash casserole, truth be told, until Sunday evening, when I was staring down some fresh yellow squash I’d picked up at the farmer’s market. I had unimaginative plans for it as a side dish for roasted chicken, figuring I’d saute it just until tender, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and call it good. But then, out of nowhere, squash casserole popped into my head. Also faced with an overabundance of swiss chard from my garden, the wheels started turning. I could make a squash casserole that would be tasty, but not a guilty pleasure. Something that could still be considered a vegetable. It could be possible to make something gluten-free, casein-free, and even low FODMAP-friendly.

And so this dish was born. It was still creamy from the Daiya cheese I used to top it, but not overly so. The vegetables were tender, but not overcooked. There was still a buttery flavor from the “crumb” topping. The chipotle chile powder added a lovely boost of flavor, so you really felt like you had a treat without a bunch of heaviness. I even enjoyed some leftovers for breakfast. As squash season hasn’t even really begun yet, I’m sure this won’t be the last time this dish graces our dinner table.

Squash and Chard Casserole (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free)

1 bunch swiss chard

2 T olive oil

3 c sliced yellow squash

½ t chipotle chile powder

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c Daiya cheddar cheese (or other vegan cheese alternative)

1 T ghee or olive oil (if you can’t tolerate ghee or prefer to make this vegan)

¼ c almond flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish (mine was an oval one about 9″X6″) and set aside.

Cut the swiss chard leaves from the stalks. Thinly slice the stalks and set aside, and chop the leaves.

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Saute yellow squash and the swiss chard stalks for about 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add swiss chard leaves and sauté until wilted, another 2-3 minutes. Season with chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper to taste. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess juice from the vegetables (otherwise, you’ll end up with a wetter casserole than you desire.) Transfer the vegetables to the casserole dish. Top with Daiya cheese.

Melt the ghee in a small microwaveable bowl for 30-45 seconds. Combine ghee and almond flour along with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Blend together with a spoon until crumbly. Spread over the Daiya evenly.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

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Giveaway: Good Morning! Breakfasts without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs or Dairy

This giveaway has ended. For an opportunity to purchase a copy of this book and other great ebooks by Ricki Heller, visit her blog here. She has many wonderful sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan recipes on her blog as well!

When someone has food restrictions (one or several) and those restrictions include gluten, sugar, eggs, and/or dairy, breakfast tends to be the most difficult meal to adjust. After all, typical American breakfast fare includes cereal, donuts, muffins, milk, eggs, pancakes, and the list goes on. All of these items are off of the table when you throw in food restrictions such as those mentioned above. So what DO you eat?

If you have a copy of Ricki Heller’s (of the Diet, Dessert and Dogs blog) new ebook, Good Morning! Breakfasts without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs or Dairy, suddenly there are more options out there than one can comprehend. This ebook isn’t Ricki’s first, and it seems her talents in the kitchen just continue to improve with each book she publishes. This book gives back those items we all miss when on a restricted diet. Cereal? Yes! Muffins? Of course. Pancakes? She has two different recipes, plus a recipe for waffles! Ricki has even figured out how to make delicious egg alternative dishes, and shares these recipes in her Good Morning! ebook.

When she asked me to review a copy, I was excited. In an effort to lower my sugar intake, in combination with my avoidance of gluten and dairy, her recipes seemed like a blessing to me. She is endlessly creative, making “syrups” from almond butter and carob (she has a recipe for a sweet almond sauce that’s to die for) for topping pancakes (or sweet potatoes – she suggested it, and I happily followed her instructions.), or making vegan breakfast sausages using rice and walnuts. Ricki adheres to the Anti-Candida Diet, and all of her recipes are ACD-friendly. What I love is that they’re friendly to my tummy as well.

I wasn’t sure what to make from her ebook first. I browsed through the entire thing more than once. I finally settled on making some of her “sausage” patties. I had some leftover brown rice from dinner, and so I set to work, blitzing the ingredients in my food processor and baking the little patties. It was a wonderfully relaxed recipe, and the result was more than I’d bargained for. They weren’t nearly as greasy or over-the-top salty as store-bought breakfast sausage. (This was welcome, as far as I was concerned.) They were filling, satisfying, and had a lovely hearty texture. They were at home with sauteed vegetables, her “veggie-full” breakfast hash (recipe in the ebook) or with gluten-free pancakes. I was hooked.

What next, I wondered, as I looked through this ebook yet again? I decided I was dying to make her grain-free granola. The recipe enticed me – I love granola anyway, and I loved that this version was very low on sweeteners and full of good healthy fats from nuts and seeds. It also included root vegetables, which piqued my interest. So I made it.

And this past weekend, I had to make it again. It was that good. I stored this jar in my pantry, and it was so addictive that every time I ventured into the pantry, I’d end up with my hand in that jar. It also made a great breakfast with homemade almond milk or as a snack.

I would have to say that Ricki’s Good Morning! ebook has passed my “test” with flying colors. It’s definitely a reference that I’ll use over and over again.

And so should you. That’s why I was glad Ricki was gracious enough to give one of you lucky readers a copy! Yes, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Good Morning! Breakfasts without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs or Dairy by Ricki Heller. Just leave me a comment below and you’ll be entered! A winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Of course, if you want extra credit (a.k.a. extra entries), you can do the following:

“Like” Diet, Dessert and Dogs on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

“Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Subscribe to Diet, Dessert and Dogs and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

That’s it! I wish you all the best of luck! Again, this giveaway ends May 14, so hurry!

There are still a few days left to enter into my giveaway for a copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski! Check it out and enter for your chance to win! Giveaway ends May 7, 2011.

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Filed under breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Vegetarian

Simple Quinoa Pizza Crust

This pizza crust recipe has changed my life. No more frozen pizza crusts. No more “going without” pizza. No more complicated recipes, complete with yeast and rise times and multiple gluten-free flours. As long as I remember to soak my quinoa ahead of time, I can have fresh pizza crust in a manner of minutes. And not “so-so” pizza. Good pizza. Chewy and slightly crispy on the edges, but soft in the center. It reminds me of a good New York style crust. Which, you can assume by my opening sentence in this post, is a good thing indeed.

I can’t take credit for the idea or the recipe, however. That credit goes to Charity Dasenbrock of For Life Personal Chef. She posted this recipe. Iris of The Daily Dietribe mentioned it a while back, and that’s where it caught my eye. It is supposed to be akin to socca, a chickpea flatbread that is also simple to make. (There’s a recipe in Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free by Amy Green – I happen to be giving away four copies of her book here – hurry! The giveaway ends April 23.) I’ve discovered I have a lot of trouble digesting chickpeas, so I have never had the opportunity to enjoy socca. This crust recipe, however, gave me hope. It was so easy, I just had to try it.

So the following morning, I soaked what quinoa I had left in the house (which turned out to be about a cup).  I came home, drained and rinsed it, and threw it in the blender along with a bit of water, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. I blended, and heated up my cast iron skillet in the oven with a bit of oil. When the oven came to temperature, I poured my batter, spread it out, put it back in the oven, and hoped for the best.

In a little over 10 minutes, I checked it. It was ready to flip, and was a lovely color of brown and crisp on the bottom. It flipped easily. I baked it for about 10 more minutes, and then placed some toppings on top and baked for another 5. The house filled with the aroma of pizza parlor. When it was ready, I was so ready to cut and sink my teeth into that slice. When I did, I just about swooned. Another bite, and another, and I’m suddenly blabbing and carrying on to my husband about how absolutely wonderful this pizza was. I declared that we would now have pizza every week. That’s probably not going to happen in actuality, but I did make more the following week. It was just as delicious as the first time. And the leftovers? They make a pretty great breakfast.

Another bonus about this pizza crust, versus so many other gluten-free recipes, is that it is 100% whole grain. No starches, no gums. It’s vegan, and it’s allergy-friendly. You can top it with whatever you like. You could even leave it plain and enjoy it as a delicious flatbread, perfect for tearing and dipping into curries, soups, or hummus. The possibilities are endless. But whatever you do, make it.

Quinoa Pizza Crust, adapted from For Life Personal Chef

1 c quinoa plus enough water to cover for soaking

1/4 c grapeseed oil or olive oil

about 1/2 c filtered water

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 t Italian seasoning

Place the quinoa in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover the quinoa. Let it sit for about 8 hours to soak (I do this in the morning before I head to work, and then it’s ready when I get home).

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Use a large, 12-inch cast iron skillet, and brush with oil. Place in oven to preheat.

Drain the quinoa, rinse thoroughly, and place the quinoa in a blender. Add most of the water and the seasonings and blend. Add more water as needed, until the batter resembles a thick pancake-style batter.

Once the oven is heated to temperature, pour the batter into the skillet and quickly spread it out evenly across the bottom. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the underside is well-browned and starting to crisp. Use a large spatula and carefully flip the crust. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and top with desired toppings. (In the picture above, I used a homemade tomato-based pizza sauce, a bit of nacho cheese sauce from Go Dairy Free, sauteed crimini mushrooms, onions, a bit of organic pork sausage, and radish greens.) As with any pizza, be careful not to overload on toppings or the crust will get a bit soggy. Return to oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is well-browned on the bottom and crisp. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a cutting board or plate. Slice and serve!

Makes one pizza – 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry your crowd is and whether a salad or other dish is served with the pizza.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw

I love spring. While I’m really not fond of knowing that our unrelenting Texas heat is just around the corner, I feel like the bounty of fresh produce that starts arriving in the farmers markets makes up for it. As I mentioned before, it just seems like I become inspired with fresh, quality food. Like kohlrabi. I picked some up from Good Earth Organic Farm (this makes twice now, actually, and I plan on getting more tomorrow morning!), and used the greens in smoothies (the greens are mild on these kohlrabi, so they work well in smoothies!). But I wanted to do something special with the kohlrabi themselves. I love it raw – it’s crunchy and relatively mild, kind of like jicama and broccoli stems rolled into one. (If you can imagine that…) I poked around for some ideas on how to highlight that crunchy flavor, and came across a slaw over at A Veggie Venture. (A hint – if you ever are at a loss for vegetable ideas, check out her blog. She has so many wonderful ways to cook countless numbers of vegetables.) Of course, I’d have to make it dairy-free, but that came easily enough, with the help of a bit of coconut milk.  I had some Fuji apples lying around, so I brought out my mandolin slicer (which makes quick work of the kohlrabi and apple, but you can use the shredder on your food processor or cut it by hand if you’d prefer) and went to town.

Within a few minutes, I tossed everything together, and stuck it in the fridge to cool for a bit, but I already knew the verdict: it was delicious. Cool, creamy, crunchy, and sweet – this was definitely a different slaw than those vinegar-heavy or mayonnaise-laden varieties, and I loved it. The parsley and mint heightened the freshness of the slaw. I enjoyed a generous helping as a side dish, and also loved it atop some mizuna as a salad, where the spiciness of the greens could contrast the cool and sweet slaw. I’ve made this twice already in two weeks – and fully intend to make it a third time, for Easter dinner, alongside a ham.

Dairy-Free Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw, adapted from A Veggie Venture

1/4 c coconut milk

1 T tahini

3 T lemon juice

1/2 T dijon mustard

1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 T chopped mint

1/2 t honey (you can use agave nectar to make it vegan)

Salt and pepper to taste

3 kohlrabi (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into batons (or shredded)

2 Fuji apples (Granny Smith would also be good here), cut into batons (or shredded)

Combine everything except the kohlrabi and apples in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Cut the kohlrabi and apples and toss immediately in the dressing (if you wait, the apples will start to brown). Adjust seasoning as needed, and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian