Friday, October 24, 2014

Cilantro Chicken Enchiladas

These are really easy and really delicious. My husband said he would marry me all over for these enchiladas. :) Obviously, that means we will be adding them in to the rotation from time to time despite them not being quite as healthy as I prefer.

The cilantro makes these enchiladas have such a wonderful and distinctive flavor. Cilantro is one of those things that has grown on me over the years and now I really enjoy it. However, it's been my husband's favorite for a very long time and he is drawn to any menu item or recipe that includes it.

The first time I made these, I used some smoked turkey breast I had on hand (I do not mean deli meat) and they were a hit - think Thanksgiving leftovers! Chicken or turkey...whatever you choose will be great. You can also make these ahead and freeze them before baking.

Cilantro Chicken Enchiladas
Cilantro Chicken Enchiladas


CILANTRO CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

2 1/2 c. cooked chicken or turkey
(I roasted chicken breast in the oven at 350 degrees with a Southwest Seasoning on them)
1 c. sour cream
2 c. Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar or whatever you like), divided
1 bunch chopped green onions (I've used chives when I did not have them)
1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
12-14 small flour tortillas
1 can green enchilada sauce (you can use as much as you like - I used most of a large can OR you can make your own)

Combine chicken, sour cream, 1 c. cheese, onion, cilantro, salt, cumin, and oregano in a bowl. Warm tortillas until pliable and easy to roll (you can do this by frying them in a skillet or microwaving them. Place meat mixture in tortillas (1/4-1/3 c or so) and roll tightly. Place in a lightly greased 9x13 pan with the seam side down. Pour the enchilada sauce over all - making sure to spread with a spatula if needed. Top with 1 c. cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Birthday Dinners & Peach Tart

Birthday are kind of a big deal at our house...especially the meal. Throughout the year, different meals are deemed worthy of the "Birthday Dinner." I find it fascinating to see what each person chooses. My 3rd born is a complete foodie and ordered a 3-layer lemon cake with berries, grilled shrimp, and various other seldom-made foods. Burgers and homemade fries are frequently requested as well as spaghetti and meatballs. Sometimes we have cake, sometimes pie, and sometime ice cream only. Whatever the case, the honored family member can choose whatever they like for dinner and dessert and they nearly always want homemade.

This week my husband celebrates a rather significant birthday and the start of a new decade. We have many small celebrations planned with tonight being our family dinner. His request? Cilantro Chicken Enchiladas (insanely easy and delicious, but not the healthiest - I'll post the recipe another day soon), guacamole & chips, black beans, and a peach tart. (Do you think I can sneak a vegetable in there somewhere? :))

The latter can be made with peaches or pears - our favorite is peaches. I've been making it since we were first married, but it's been awhile since it has graced our table.  Peach (or pear) Tart is a simple but memorable dessert. Enjoy!


Peach Tart
Peach Tart

PEACH TART
3 Tb. butter, melted
3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. sugar, divided
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
1 package (8 oz.) regular cheese (you can use reduced fat)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1-2 large peaches, peeled and thinly sliced (I have also used canned when peaches are not in season)
Peach TartPreheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a tart pan with removable bottom (about an 8-9 inch tart pan). In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine melted butter, 1/2 c. of sugar, flour and nuts until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of the fluted tart pan.
In another mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 c. sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon; spread over the crust. Arrange peaches over cream cheese mixture. Combine the remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 Tb. of sugar; sprinkle over peaches.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 min. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 15-20 min. longer or until filling is set. Cool for 1 hr. on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs. before serving. Remove sides of pan and slice. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Curried Red Lentils

Curried Red Lentils are a healthy and easy dish for weeknight dinners!


What?! A post?! You probably thought we had forgotten what those were... :) In truth, we have been working on re-launch and are a couple of months behind where we hoped to be. Our lives have taken unexpected turns and have not allowed as much time as we would like for blogging. We do plan to be back on a semi-regular basis. We are excited to have a new look (still in progress). We have changed blog platforms, so please make sure to clear your past history (media cache) to make our site function for you (i.e. searching). Please know that we are still a work in progress and bear with us. We hope it will be worth it. On to the post for today...

These days, I need quick, healthy, and easy meals. Life with four kids - all with varying needs - leaves less time for meal planning and execution. These curried red lentils are always a hit, can be ready in 45 minutes or less, can be easily adapted, and are nutritionally great. This can also be made gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free. While I have changed this recipe a fair bit and generally double it for my family, the original inspiration came from one of my favorite cookbooks, More With Less. I serve this over brown rice - just put it in your rice cooker with plenty of time to fully cook.

Curried Red Lentils
Red Curried Lentils

CURRIED RED LENTILS

1 c. red lentils (you can use brown or french, but texture will be different & cooking time maybe longer)
2 1/2 c. chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt

Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a separate pan sauté together for 5-10 minutes:

1/4 c. butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Add:

1 1/2 - 2 Tb. curry powder

Combine the veggie mixture and the lentils.

Add:
2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
2-3 Tb. fresh cilantro (plus more for serving)

Cook on low for just a few minutes stirring frequently to allow flavors to combine. Remove bay leaf before serving. Top with fresh cilantro and serve over rice, quinoa, or couscous.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blog Business

Let's take care of some blog business!


Hello everyone! We are working on re-launching the blog! Please bear with us as we work hard to bring you new content. We are thrilled to be working on streamlining our look, sharing awesome new recipes, and planning great features. Thanks for all of your support through the years. Our kitchens are ready to roll!

From our kitchens to yours,
Alaina & Stephanie

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sushi Cake

Our youngest son turned 5 in August and he requested a "sushi cake." The child LOVES sushi and frequently requests it for special events. I share his love for sushi and was only too happy to oblige! I searched for ideas and then created my own version of a sushi cake using cake, candy, fruit roll-ups, rice krispies, marshmallows, chocolate, Swedish fish, and coconut. It was so fun and turned out better than I could have imagined! The only inedible part was the chopsticks. The base cake was mint chocolate as requested by the birthday boy and the sushi rolls were vanilla cake. Hope you enjoy!

Sushi Cake



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Friday, October 18, 2013

Sauteed Spaghetti Squash

I will readily admit that Spaghetti Squash has never been a favorite. That's probably an understatement - I couldn't stand it. So, I wasn't very excited to get two from our CSA - they hung out in my pantry for a few weeks as I pondered whether to try them or to give them away. Yes, yes, I know...shameful. In the end, I consulted with a few great cooks and decided to keep them and give them another try. I'm happy to report that this preparation changed my mind. This was a total hit with the family! I served it as a side dish alongside pork chops. You can change the herbs and the amounts for what you prefer but the sage was absolutely amazing.

Sautéed Spaghetti Squash



SAUTEED SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Print this Recipe


2 sm-med. Spaghetti Squash
4 Tb. butter (you could sub olive oil if you are vegan)
1 large clove garlic, minced
2-3 Tb. Fresh Sage
1-2 Tb. Fresh Parsley
1-2 tsp. Fresh Oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste


Cut Spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place cut side down on a shallow baking sheet (like a bar pan or jelly roll pan). Add water to 1/2 inch. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes, uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes (I actually turned mine over). Scrape out seeds. In a separate bowl, scrape out the squash.


In a skillet, melt butter. Add garlic and herbs. Cook for a few minutes until garlic is softened and the herbs are aromatic. Add the squash and sauté for 5 minutes until heated through and combined with butter and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chocolate Teff Brownies

My husband and I were invited to a cook-out recently. He knew the couple hosting the event; I didn't know anyone. I volunteered to bring a dessert so that there would be something gluten-free available for my husband. A look through my pantry and through my favorite cookbook (as you likely know by now!), Nourishing Meals, and I settled on some Chocolate Chip Teff Brownies with an added dairy-free ganache. They were absolutely delicious and received rave reviews from the party goers.

Chocolate Teff Brownies

CHOCOLATE TEFF BROWNIES
(from Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten)
Print This Recipe

Dry Ingredients
1 c. teff flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. dates, pitted
1/4 c. ground flaxseeds
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Mix-in
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 7 x 11 baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Place the dates and ground flaxseeds into a blender; pour the boiling water over them. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and quickly whisk together. Add the chocolate chips and continue to whisk until thoroughly combined.

Pour better into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

3 oz chocolate chips
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Place all ingredients into a small pan and heat over low. Stir continuously until melted and thickened, just about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Do not chill. Drizzle over brownies.

Or, if you would like a thick, creamy, spreadable frosting then let the ganache thicken at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spinach Pesto Pasta

I love a good pesto during the summer. In the past I have not had particularly great success with making my own pesto. I just never felt like I got the flavor and texture correct. And now, since going dairy-free, I have to consider pesto without the Parmesan cheese. I decided to mesh a couple of recipes together to create this dairy-free pesto to go over a roasted tomato and white bean pasta dish. It was delicious! And the leftover pesto is great for topping homemade pizza or using for a pita bread dip.

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SPINACH PESTO
Print This Recipe


2 1/2 c. baby spinach
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. walnut pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Add the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is broken down into small pieces. Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whirl until the pesto is smooth.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Whole-Grain Freezer Waffles

I recently started a full-time job. With an hour of commute time each day, I knew my meal prep time was going to be disappearing. So, the week before work began I spent time making some muffins, granola bars, pita breads, and waffles for the freezer. I intended to get a lot more frozen than that, but it was a start.

The waffles are delicious and work from freezer to toaster. And this week when I didn't know what I was going to fix for supper, we enjoyed breakfast for dinner. These are gluten-free, whole-grain, and egg-free!

For the waffles, I used a recipe from my go-to cookbook, Nourishing Meals. First make a batch of dry mix (which keeps in the pantry for up to 4 months, so make as many batches you want!). Then make the waffles. I made a triple batch, which made 26 waffles in my rather small waffle maker.

Gluten-free Waffles

WHOLE-GRAIN FREEZER WAFFLES
(from Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten)
Print This Recipe

DRY MIX
1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1 c. teff flour
1 c. millet flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. quinoa flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon (opt.)
1 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Using a wire whisk, mix well. Place into an airtight container. Makes 5 cups or 5 batches of waffles.

WAFFLES
2 Tbsp waffles
2 Tbsp very hot water
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 c. milk (I used almond milk)
1 c. Waffle mix

Place the ground flax seeds and hot water into a medium-sized mixing bowl; quickly whisk together until the flax forms a thick gel. Sometimes this doesn't happen right away so keep whisking until the gel forms. Add the applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup, and milk and whisk together well. Then add the waffle mix. Whisk together until the batter is smooth.

Heat waffle maker and cook according to waffle make directions.

If you plan to freeze them, cool completely and then layer between pieces of waxed paper and place in freezer bags.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Red Lentil Balls

I love the versatility of meatballs and in my quest to cook meals that don't rely on meat, I've had to use my imagination a bit. I recently picked up Vegetarian Everyday from the library and was pleased to discover a bean based "meatball" recipe, perfect for the gluten-free vegetarian. The couple that created this cookbook is from Sweden (they have a lovely blog I follow called Green Kitchen Stories) and they call these tasty legume-balls, polpette (which is a fancy word for meatballs, as far as my research can tell me). But anyway, the words flows off the tongue in such a beautiful way.

The photo does not do justice to the deliciousness of this meal, in fact it makes it look rather unappealing, but we loved these! I served them over a bed of zucchini and carrot noodles (long julienned veggie that I blanched in salted water) and we topped them with a little marinara sauce and a little arugula pesto.

Red Lentil Polpettes

RED LENTIL BALLS
(from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl)
Print This Recipe


1 c. red lentils
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free, if needed)
1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste

Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan with 2 1/4 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool slightly.

Mash the lentils with a fork. The consistency you want is mashed but still with some lentils left whole. Place in a mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon until everything is combined. Place int he fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form balls and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 17-22 minutes. If you want, turn balls halfway through to get a more even shape and color.

Prepare pasta or veggie noodles and whatever sauce you want.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Here's a delicious treat for your weekend! This is a recipe that I posted a long while back, but it is buried in a post with another recipe. And since it is quick and fairly healthy, I decided to re-post. Plus, it's summer, so who doesn't love some ice cream?!

I should note that the original recipe is  not mine; however, I do not remember where I found it. This time around I did add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, which was a nice twist.

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CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
Print This Recipe


2-14 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
2/3 c. sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 c.  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract (feel free to replace 1/2 tsp of vanilla with 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 4.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Caprese Salad

One of my all time favorite summer flavor combinations is tomato & basil! There is nothing quite like a garden fresh, homegrown tomato and gorgeous, fresh basil leaves - add some fresh mozzarella and you have an amazing salad! We have had the nicest basil I have ever seen through our CSA and we have been thoroughly enjoying it.

I generally make my caprese salad fairly structured on a plate but you can make it however you like! The amount of ingredients are completely up to you - I used 4 small tomatoes and 3-4 ounces of cheese with about 12 large basil leaves on the salad below.

You can serve this with some sliced and toasted Italian bread rubbed with fresh garlic for a nod to bruschetta. Totally delicious!
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CAPRESE SALAD

Tomato
Basil
Fresh Mozzarella (usually available in the deli area)
Salt & Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar

Thinly slice the tomato(es) and fresh mozzarella. Chiffonade the basil (to do this: stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them together from the long side to the other long side and then thinly slice). Arrange the tomato and cheese in an alternating pattern on a plate. Sprinkle with the basil chiffonade. Freshly grind Salt & Pepper to taste. Drizzle with a good quality Balsamic Vinegar (I have some general use vinegar and then I have  some amazing vinegar that I reserve for uses such as this). Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Enjoy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I found this recipe in The Happy Herbivore cookbook. But as I didn't notate that information, I'm not for sure. :) I certainly cannot take credit for these. While these aren't your typical melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies, they are good and a great healthy treat, with no added fat and not too much sugar. Plus, the are gluten-free! They have become our go-to dessert when we need a little sweet fix. Within 30 minutes you can enjoy warm cookies from the oven!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Print This Recipe


1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. non-dairy milk
1 c. gluten-free all purpose flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and milk. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Pour dry ingredients into wet in three batches, stirring to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Makes 15 cookies.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Asian Broccoli Bowls

We love ethnic food in our house and since transitioning to a predominately vegetarian diet, we love it even more! So many ethnic dishes are already tailored towards plant-based eating. This dish was inspired by the Peas and Thank You recipe Szechuan Broccoli and Quinoa. I made a few minor adjustments to the sauce and added several ingredients to make this a main-dish meal for us. It's so tasty that I've made it twice in the last week! And the leftovers are delicious too!

Feel free to substitute your veggies of choice, just adjust cooking times as needed.

Don't let the long list of ingredients and instructions deter you from trying this. Once you get your veggies prepped, this meal comes together quite quickly.

Asian Broccoli Bowls

ASIAN BROCCOLI BOWLS
(adapted from peasandthankyou.com)
Print This Recipe

Cooked Quinoa or Brown Rice (use half broth for the cooking liquid)

1-1/2 lbs broccoli florets
1/2 lb mushrooms, cut into chunks
1-2 onions, cut into chunks
sesame oil and/or olive oil for drizzling
season to taste

1/2 lb extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
sesame oil and tamari sauce for drizzling
season to taste

Sauce
1/4 c. tamari
1/4 c. vegetable broth
1 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 Tbsp sweet red chili sauce, such as Thai Kitchen Brand (opt.)
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Cook the quinoa or brown rice according to package instructions.

Cut the tofu into cubes. Lay a clean towel on a cutting board and place the tofu on top. Either fold over that towel to cover or lay a second towel on top. Place another cutting board or baking sheet on top and stack a few heavy items to create a tofu "press." (Cookbooks work well.) Leave the tofu to press for 30-60 minutes.

Cut up veggies.

Preheat the broiler.

Arrange mushrooms and onions on a medium baking sheet and drizzle with a little sesame oil or olive oil; if desired, sprinkle with a little salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder, if desired. Arrange pressed tofu cubes onto another medium baking sheet, drizzle with a little sesame oil and tamari sauce; if desired, season with a little salt, ginger powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Arrange broccoli florets on a large baking sheet and drizzle with a little sesame oil.

If your oven size allows, broil the mushrooms and onions alongside the tofu for 10-15 minutes, stirring once. Then place on the bottom rack to keep warm while you broil the broccoli for 6-9 minutes, stirring once and making sure not to burn.

While the veggies and tofu are broiling, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer for a minute or two, until thickened. Remove from heat.

Scoop quinoa or rice into each bowl, top with the roasted veggies and tofu, drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CSA

Our family is participating in a Community Supported Agriculture share this summer/fall. We had our first share this week and I am so excited! It is wonderfully fresh and beautiful produce that will stretch my creativity. This week, we are enjoying fresh herbs, peas (2 kinds!), onions, swiss chard, strawberries, garlic scapes, asparagus, and lettuce. I made creamed peas & potatoes last night and topped it with fresh chives and just had to make strawberry shortcake. We LOVED both (I'll post the recipes in coming posts). Anyway, check out CSAs in your area - buying local is awesome!

Organic Fruit & Vegetables


Here's to a summer full of fresh, local, and delicious produce and all of the recipes that will follow!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Molasses Syrup

Our family LOVES pancakes and it's my husband's specialty! Last week I made some (mostly forgettable) banana nut pancakes and was searching for a quick syrup to make to serve with them. We try to make our own most of the time since I'm not crazy about all the additives in store bought syrup. We do use pure maple syrup (but sometimes at an alarming and therefore expensive rate), however, we usually top pancakes with yogurt, fruit syrups, and/or homemade syrups. So, while I can't take credit for coming up with this yummy syrup recipe, I was very excited to find it! I doubled Simple Bites Recipe because if I'm going to the trouble I want some leftover for other meals.

In short, this was DELICIOUS! We love molasses cookies and the flavor was very reminiscent of the warm, spicy flavors of a fresh cookie. A few notes - 1) a little goes a long way, 2) this was amazing on hot cereal like oatmeal and cream of wheat, and 3) it stores well and would probably be quite good on vanilla ice cream or gingerbread.

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MOLASSES SYRUP
Print This Recipe


1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. water
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tb. salted butter

In a small pot, whisk together sugar, molasses, water, and cinnamon over medium heat. Bring to a slow boil and continue stirring until ingredients are fully incorporated and syrup thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Cool slightly. Transfer to a pitcher for serving or a glass jar for storing.

Yields: 1 1/2 cups syrup

**Of note, Simple Bites has 4 other great-looking syrups in this post!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dairy-free Queso

I cannot in the least take credit for this recipe. When it comes to homemade, vegan cheese alternatives, I am still very much in the learning stage. But, as I explore the dairy-free world, I'm always happy to find a good recipe. And maybe before too long I'll be adept enough to create my own dairy-free "cheese" recipes.

I made a batch of this cashew queso recipe, with two notable alterations: I did not add the miso because I didn't have it on hand and I added a 1/2 tsp of chipotle chile powder for a smoky undertone. Additionally, I made sure to include the optional nutritional yeast. While the recipe is a little labor intensive, I felt like it was worth the effort. Plus the queso keeps and re-heats well. (Note: if you do use the miso, check to make sure it is gluten-free if you need that. As I understand it, not all miso is gluten-free.)

Cashew Queso Nachos

For a quick weeknight meal I made nachos (something we rarely eat, but certainly enjoy) by topping tortilla chips with a spiced pepper, onion, and bean mixture and some queso. I broiled it all for a couple of minutes and then added some guacamole (makes any Mexican dish tastier!) and green onions. It was delicious!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Collard Green Wrap

Today's post is not really a recipe, but rather a concept. :) Overall, being gluten-free isn't altogether difficult, but there are times when I miss the ease of everyday breads, tortillas, and other baked goods. It takes more effort to make or more financial investment to purchase adequate alternatives.

My pantry typically includes corn tortillas for soft tacos or enchiladas, rice cakes for snacks, and Rudi's Multigrain GF Bread for toast, garlic bread, and pb&j sandwiches.  Occasionally I splurge on gluten-free tortillas (other than the corn variety) so I can make hummus veggie wraps or bean and grain wraps.

Recently I tried using blanched collard greens for wraps and it worked out quite well. Once blanched the greens do not have a strong flavor, so you're able to enjoy the filling. Not only does it save some money to use collard greens, but it also facilitates eating more leafy green veggies, which is excellent for all of us. I've seen this idea on a few healthy eating oriented blogs, but I followed the directions in the Nourishing Meals cookbook (are you getting the idea that I used this cookbook all of the time?!).

Collard Green Wraps

BLANCHED COLLARD GREEN WRAPS

To prepare the collard greens for wrapping: Wash the greens and cut the stem off the bottom of each leaf. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the collard greens by submerging them in the boiling water for about a minutes. Gently remove them with tongs and place them on a plate to cool.

To assemble your collard green wrap: Place a collard green on a cutting board. Spoon your desired filling near the stem end of the the green. Fold in the long ends of the collard green about 1 inch on each side and then tightly roll.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gluten-Free Pita Bread

These pita pockets can be made in about 25 minutes. They are dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free, and gluten-free. And despite all that "free-ness" they are delicious. We enjoy them dipped in hummus, as mini pizza crusts, or as pockets to stuff with veggies for a sandwich.

I have found that these don't create their own "pockets" very well, which just means I have to cut them open myself, not a big deal to me. I also love that these freeze well, so I often make a double batch and freeze half. I like to freeze some in pocket form and some just whole.

The original recipe calls for using just sorghum flour and sweet rice flour. I have successfully replaced up to a 1/4 cup of the sorghum flour with teff flour or brown rice flour. I also sometimes add some herbs or spices depending on what I plan to use the pitas for (ie adding Italian seasonings when I use them for pizza crusts).

Gluten-Free Pita Bread

GLUTEN-FREE PITA BREAD
(from Nourishing Meals)
Print This Recipe

1 1/4 c. warm water
6 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 -- 3/4 c. sweet rice flour (in the mountains here I always have to add the larger amount of flour, but start with the lesser amount first)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Herbs or spices, opt.

Preheat the oven to broil/550°F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven, not right underneath the broiler.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the warm water and ground flax seed. Let rest for about 5 minutes to thicken. Then whisk in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a fork to mix together. You should be able to form a ball of dough that is not too sticky or too dry. If the dough is sticky add in extra sweet rice flour (up to the additional 1/4 cup). If the dough is dry, add a little water.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces (I've done 6 smaller pitas or 4 larger pitas too, depending on what I'm using them for). Using wet hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten with your hands until they are 5-6 inch circles. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. If you're using a large baking sheet, you should be able to fit all the pitas on there (they don't spread much). Otherwise use two baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping each pita after 6 minutes. The pitas bubble slightly and get golden around the edges when done. After they are cooled, slice them in half and cut the bread to form a pocket.

If not using right away, layer these between waxed paper and store in a sealed container. Or freeze.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Baked Pasta Chee

This recipe hearkens back to my childhood. My mom used to make this and we all loved it. It's a healthy, tasty, baked, non-dairy mac-n-cheese-type recipe. And it has become a staple dinner at our house. I make it every couple of weeks and we enjoy the leftovers for lunches.

The original recipe comes from an unusual cookbook called Ten Talents. To add extra healthful benefits I've altered the recipe to include veggies. Any chance I can get to add more veggies to a dish, I'll take. I've listed the veggies I most often use, but feel free to substitute with your favorites, or what you have on hand.

One note, the sauce includes an uncommon ingredient, nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast flakes are often used to add a "cheesy" taste to non-dairy "cheese" recipes. It can be found at a health food store and there really isn't any substitute for it. (Active dry yeast and brewer's yeast are not anything like nutritional yeast.) I hope you might consider trying this dish despite the ingredient list, it's worth the effort.


(Finally, I realize this is not the prettiest of pictures. But I promise it tastes delicious!)

Baked Pasta Chee

BAKED PASTA CHEE
(adapted from Ten Talents)
Print This Recipe

1 lb pasta of choice (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
1 c. raw cashew pieces
1 c. water
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (opt.)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
4 mushrooms
1/2-1 bell pepper
1 big handful baby kale
1 c. diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a blender add cashews, water, lemon juice, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, and spices. Blend until smooth while slowly adding the olive oil through the top. Then add the veggies and canned tomatoes and blend again.

Mix the drained pasta and sauce together and pour into greased baking dish. If desired, top with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes to heat through.

Serve with a salad for a satisfying meal.