This is one of my current favorite meals! I am not one to repeat meals very often as I love variety but this one we have made half a dozen times in the last few months! It’s easy, fresh, healthy, and there is something in it that everyone in the house likes. One of my boys likes the sausage, another the penne, and I love the veggies! With all the farmer’s markets and gardens growing, this meal will be even tastier with those fresh picked vegetables.
One thing we have discovered about this meal is that it is delicious as cold leftovers. So, it makes me think that it could also be a great cold salad for a potluck or picnic. I would think that you could do the veggies either cooked or raw in that case and maybe would leave the meat out. Just a thought. I will let you know if we do it that way.
Fresh Veggie Penne Saute
Recipe adapted from The Nourishing Home
1 lb. Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)
12 oz. gluten-free penne (I use the brown rice penne from Trader Joe’s)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1/2 c. yellow onion diced
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, reserve 1-2 Tbsp. oil from tomatoes
1/2 c. artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/3 c. kalamata olives, halved
salt/pepper to taste
In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Cook penne until al dente. Drain and rinse and set aside.
*To make my clean-up easier, I use the same pot for cooking the noodles as is the bottom to my steamer. I make the pasta first; then refill with fresh water and steam the broccoli on top.
Chop all veggies and slice the sausage. Steam broccoli until just tender.
In a large pan, cook sausages until hot through and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to the pan and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is tender. Add the zucchini and continue to saute until zucchini is just tender. Add remaining ingredients, including the cooked sausage, noodles, and broccoli and toss together. If the dish needs a bit more flavor, add a bit more of the reserved oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold!
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
All this snow and cold weather has me craving soups. On top of it, my little 3 year old has croup and a fever which always inspires me to make a good healthy soup.
Since soup was not originally on my menu plan for the week, I tossed together a bunch of random things to make it, hence using the phrase “Once Around the Kitchen” in the name. I ended up tossing in a bunch of veggies that I had in the fridge. I was feeling doubtful about how this soup would turn out because it seemed like such a random collection of good from around the kitchen but my husband agreed that it was one of the better soups I have made lately. So, as we ate, I grabbed a notebook and jotted down all I remember adding in. Hopefully, I got it all. And if not, no big deal – this is the kind of soup that you can just grab whatever veggies you have on hand, chop them up and toss them in making your own “Once Around the Kitchen Soup”.
Once Around the Kitchen Soup
Cooked meat of one chicken, shredded*
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
6 c. chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 parsnips, sliced
4-5 small red potatoes, cubed
1 c. sliced zucchini (I had mini ones on hand, perfect size for soup)
1/2 c. green beans, cut into 1 in. pieces
1/4 c. chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
salt/pepper to taste
*Cook the chicken however you prefer. I cooked a whole chicken as a starter for a new batch of chicken broth. Instructions for how I do that follow the recipe.
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, onion, and celery. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except parsley) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I simmered mine for about 3 hours because I started it during nap time. About 15 minutes before you serve it, add parsley and taste to see if it needs more pepper/salt. Serve hot. Pretty easy! My kind of meal!
Chicken Bone Broth Instructions
In a large stock pot, place whole chicken, one onion (roughly chopped), 2 carrots (roughly chopped), 1 stalk celery (roughly chopped), 1-2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs), and water to cover all. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer.
During the first 30-45 minutes, watch the pot to skim off any scum that floats to the top. Keep heat at a medium to medium low so that it just barely simmers.
After 1 1/2 hours, check the chicken to see if it is cooked through. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the water and turn off the heat. Pull the meat off the chicken putting the meat into a bowl and putting the bones and skin back into the cooking water. Set meat aside for whatever you want to use it for.
After the chicken is cleaned and carcass is back in the water, pour the entire contents of the pot into a crock pot. Set to high and allow to cook for 8-24 hours. I usually alternate between high and low on my crock pot because it seems like the high simmers too high and the low isn’t hot enough to get a good simmer going. Over night I usually leave it at low though.
About 15 minutes before you are ready to finish your broth, add 1 bunch parsley roughly chopped. This step isn’t necessary but I have read that the parsley helps to draw out additional minerals so can be very good for you.
When you are done simmering, strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Be sure to press down a little on those veggies to squish out any liquids remaining. Allow broth to cool. A good broth will become gelatinous when cooled. Mine doesn’t always. I haven’t figured out why yet… To store it, I put mine in 2 cup increments in quart sized freezer bags. I then lay them flat in the freezer to freeze. It makes for easy use later on. If you don’t want to freeze it, it can be in the fridge for about a week.
Best broth you can have! I love it and even try to drink it plain once or twice a week for all it’s good health benefits. Enjoy!
It has been almost a month now of having added in dairy-free and corn-free to my diet status. I still have those moments of mourning for food I used to eat… like when my family has pizza, or when we go to a restaurant and there are only like 1 or 2 items on the menu I can order. It really makes me sad because I loved eating out and being able to try adventurous foods that way. But, I am hoping that with time I can either:
A) add some dairy back into my diet occasionally thus giving me a few more options when we eat out, or
B) become more confident in my ability to order food at restaurants that won’t make me sick.
In general though, this who restricted diet thing seems to be getting easier. I have more ideas now of what we can eat at home and of some simple substitutes or omissions to make in meals to make them gluten-free, dairy-free, and corn-free.
As far as any significant change in my health since doing this, I haven’t really noticed any. I am wondering though how I might feel once I try some dairy again and if then I will realize what “symptoms” of my intolerance that have gone away. I have about a month and a half to go until I try.
For dinner tonight, we had a delicious chicken pot pie. It is the second time I have made this recipe and I am really pleased with how it turned out! It is the perfect meal on a day like today when temperatures never get above -6 degrees. I found the recipe on a paleo food blog and adapted it a bit for our tastes. Hope you like it like we did!
By the way, my photos were terrible of this so I will have to add one later.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe adapted from http://mrspaleo.blogspot.com/2012/05/chicken-pot-pie-sequel.html
3 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. green beans
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 c. tapioca flour
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
3 Tbsp. coconut oil or organic coconut spread (butter alternative)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. boiling water
In a large pot, fry bacon until crisp. Add in carrots, onion, garlic, and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock, coconut milk, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, beans, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in arrowroot powder 1 Tbsp. at a time. Continue simmering until thickened.
Remove from heat, stir chicken in and pour into a 2-qt. casserole dish. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine dry crust ingredients. Cut the coconut oil in to the dry ingredients. When fully cut in, the oil and flours should mix together in pea sized chunks. Add in hot water and mix together into a ball.
Place dough ball on a sheet of parchment paper. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to approximate size of baking dish.
Using the bottom sheet of parchment paper, lift crust onto top of filling. Peel parchment paper away.
If cooking immediately, place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes uncovered If you are like me and make it during nap time and bake later, place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Keep covered until it starts to get hot in the middle and then remove cover to allow crust to brown up.
Husband Rating 8 out of 10
Food for Thought: This is easy to adapt in that you can really add any different vegetables you have. I like to add red potatoes, or maybe peas. Just keep it somewhat similar in proportion to make sure there is enough sauce.
After the successful Spanish “Rice” recipe using cauliflower, I decided to tackle using cauliflower as rice again. This time I did a fried rice. I have made it a few times but tonight finally hit on the combination we really like!
I have to say, for the skeptics out there, I didn’t tell my husband that I was using cauliflower in lieu of rice. When he took his first bite, he said it was the best fried rice I have ever made. After I told him it wasn’t actually rice, he said that he didn’t see why we would ever do actual rice again. It was that good!
So, needless to say, don’t be afraid to try it like I was. You really should try making cauli-rice. (BTW, Terrible picture… I know… sorry! But, really, this is a delicious meal you need to try!!!)
Recipe adapted from http://www.lexiscleankitchen.com
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 c. spinach
5 carrots, sliced
1/2 c. peas
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 head cauliflower
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 c. chives
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or coconut oil, divided
Place cauliflower in food processor and pulse until rice consistency.
In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil and 2 cloves garlic. Add cauliflower and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile in another pan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil and 2 cloves garlic. Add onion and carrots. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Add spinach, peas and zucchini. Saute until chicken is cooked through.
In cauliflower pan, make a well. Crack eggs into middle and scramble. Once eggs are scrambled, add chicken and veggies and remaining ingredients. Stir and cook until heated through.
Husband Rating: 8 out of 10
Food for Thought: Any protein and really any combination of veggies could work in this recipe. This is the combination we liked best. But, you could use beef, pork, shrimp, or no meat at all. You could add broccoli, pea pods, etc. for veggies. The possibilities are endless.
I know I haven’t posted in FOREVER here and I apologize! It has been a crazy busy start to the fall. With training for the half-marathon, working to help coordinate fundraising efforts for aforementioned half-marathon, starting in a new leadership role with my Bible Study Fellowship class, and just your typical adjustments to the new fall routine, I had to let some things go.
But, this meal was too good to not blog about! Seriously… so good. Like, it was one of those meals where as I was cooking it, I kept thinking, “This has the potential to be amazing. I really hope it is.” And, then it really was so good. My husband and I agreed that we would take this meal over going out for dinner any time. That good!
Making gnocchi has been high on my “to-do” cooking list since going gluten-free. I love gnocchi, ever since my husband and I tried it in Venice seven years ago. But, of course, all store bough gnocchi has gluten in it. I had been eying this recipe and even putting it on the menu for several weeks now but just not finding the time or energy to make it. Today, finally I had the time and energy to make it.
Three things I discovered in making this gnocchi:
1) it wasn’t really as hard as I thought even though it was a bit time-consuming
2) it makes a crazy huge batch so I have gnocchi by the tons in my freezer (yay!!!)
3) I was able to include my 2 and 4 year old in the process. Once the dough is made, you need to roll it into long ropes and cut it. Since the dough is much like the texture of play dough, I was able to roll the ropes out and then the boys happily cut the gnocchi up with butter knives. It was so novel for them to be able to CUT that they happily went along with the tediousness of making it.
The rest of the meal was a conglomeration of a few different recipes I looked up. So, without further ado, the recipe for the amazing Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Gouda White Sauce.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Gouda White Sauce
(Recipe adapted from www.realsustenancecom/grain-free-sweet-potato-gnocchi-glutendairycornsoy-free/)
3 1/2 c. mashed sweet potatoes (about 3 large sweet potatoes)
1 tsp. Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 large eggs
5-6 c. almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand today)
4 1/2 c. Arrowroot powder
*additional flour and arrowroot powder for dusting counter
(Recipe adapted from www.thenoshery.com/2010/11/09/sweet-potato-gnocchi-with-gouda-cheese-sauce/ )
2 c. milk (I used 2%)
1/4 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. dried sage
salt/pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill G/F all-purpose flour)
1 1/4 c. shredded Gouda cheese
1 lb. chicken breasts
garlic powder/salt/pepper to taste on chicken
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. sweet peas
To make the gnocchi:
In a preheated 425 degree oven, bake sweet potatoes in their skin until soft (about 45min – 1 hour). It helps to line your baking sheet with tin foil. Make clean up a snap!
Remove sweet potatoes from oven, cut open and scoop out the middle into a bowl. Mash and let sit until cools to room temperature. To cooled sweet potatoes, add xanthan gum, salt, and eggs. Mix well.
Add one cup of arrowroot powder and one cup of almond flour. Mix well to combine. Continue adding powder and flour one cup at a time. When the dough is ready, it will be firm, not sticky (able to be rolled by hand) and yet not overly dry, much like the texture of play dough. 🙂
Sprinkle the counter with almond flour and arrowroot powder. Begin rolling dough out in sections. Roll dough into rope-like lengths about finger thick. Cut into sections about 1 in. in length. Here is where you can decide how much work you want to do. I started out pressing each square with a fork and rolling it but then shortly gave that up for just making rectangular gnocchi without the fork marks. Totally your decision here. Here is a picture of it both ways.
Place cut gnocchi onto a baking sheet. At this point you can either freeze and store in freezer bags or cook immediate. To cook, simply bring a pot of water to boil. Place desired amount of gnocchi in the water. When gnocchi starts to float, it is ready to remove from the water. It takes about 30 seconds from fresh and 2 minutes from frozen. You can eat it with a sauce as is or take it to the next level and do the following:
Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a pan. Place gnocchi in a single layer in the pan. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes before turning. Cook on other side for about the same amount of time until golden and crispy. Ooh, that is a delicious treat and my favorite way to make gnocchi. From there, top with any sauce or eat plain!
In a small sauce pan, combine milk, onion (roughly chopped), garlic (smashed), and sage. Heat over medium heat until just bubbling around the edge, not boiling. Let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Tip: Rinse out the small sauce pan while the milk is sitting to save yourself from having to get out another pan (or in my case, I didn’t have another pan to use and needed this one again).
Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk consistently for 1 minute. Gradually add warmed milk while whisking continuously. Cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Add shredded gouda and continue cooking over low heat until cheese is melted.
To make the meal as we did:
Prior to making the cheese sauce, cut up the chicken breasts into strips. In a pan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter and add chicken. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Set aside. Cook sweet peas according to package directions (steam or microwave).
Assemble your meal. Place gnocchi on the bottom. Add chicken and peas. Drizzle with white sauce. ENJOY!!!!!
Husband Rating: 9 1/2 out of 10
This one-dish supper was light and summery with several tasty veggies. I made a realization that six months ago, I probably would have thought this dish would be best served on pasta. Tonight, however, we just had it as is and it was tasty and satisfying. The kids ate the sausage and the one or two requisite ‘no-thank you’ bites of zucchini but my husband and I both enjoyed it!
Quick and Easy Summer Squash Skillet
6 links mild Italian sausage (I used an all natural chicken sausage)
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 c. bell pepper, diced (I used a mix of yellow, red, and orange – what was left in the fridge!) 🙂
3 medium zucchinis, halved and sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped
Cook sausage according to package directions. Set aside. Slice.
In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and oregano and sauté about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and zucchini and sauté another 3-5 minutes.
Add sliced sausage, cherry tomatoes, basil, and salt/pepper. Cook for another minute or two until the tomatoes are just tender. Serve immediately.
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
Tonight, a rare occurrence… TWO 10 out of 10 husband ratings for our meal!!! I made this delicious salad but knew that there was a pretty good chance that the little guys in my house would probably not eat much of it. So, I decided to make a nutritious green smoothie to go with the meal. Both the smoothie and the salad were AMAZING and in my humble opinion you need to make both!!! 🙂 They are so good for you.
I also love that the vegetables in this meal were all raw. Did you know that raw vegetables provide more nutrients, will keep you fuller longer, and will provide you with more energy? It takes 30% of our energy to digest a raw food meal but 60% of our energy to digest a cooked meal! A meal like this will provide all kinds of great energy, protein, nutrients, and keep you full! Awesome!
Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad
4 Tbsp. gluten-free organic soy sauce or tamari, divided
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 Napa cabbage, cut into thin slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin slices
1 c. shredded carrot (or about 1-2 large carrots, shredded)
2 chicken breasts
3-4 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, and fresh ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Pour remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce on top and let sit for about 15 minutes. In a medium skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Do not let the pan get to hot or the oil will smoke and become rancid. Place chicken in pan and cook until no longer pink. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, bell pepper, and carrots. Add chicken, dressing, and hemp seeds. Toss well to combine and enjoy cold!
(I put all of mine together minus the chicken at nap time today and didn’t cook/toss the chicken in until right before dinner so the salad sat for probably 3-4 hours before we ate it and it tasted great. I am sure it would be tasty freshly tossed as well but it is nice to have something you can make ahead of time.)
Husband Rating: 10 out of 10
Food for thought: Some nice additions to this might be some red cabbage or some raw almond slivers. But, that is my musings… my husband thought I was crazy to suggest changing any part of it when I told him my thoughts. 🙂
This could easily stand alone as a vegetarian dish if you were looking for a nice side salad for a picnic. Just leave out the chicken! It would be yummy either way!
This was originally a recipe for a sandwich. But, I am really not eating much bread now that I am g/f and have found this recipe is still DELICIOUS just as a chicken breast and not on the bread! So, I decided to repost the recipe for all of you to enjoy with us! It’s super easy as well. We had it with a caprese salad and some grilled broccolini (grilled with butter, sea salt, and pepper in tinfoil packets).
*The only ingredient you really need to check out is the prepared pesto – just read the label to make sure the ingredients are all ‘safe’. Not all have desirable ingredients in them. Or, to be really safe, make it yourself. I never have but I understand it is not too hard to do.
Pesto Chicken with Havarti and Caramelized Onions
4 chicken breasts
4-6 Tbsp. basil pesto
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. grapeseed or coconut oil
sliced sliced havarti cheese
Place chicken breasts in a large freezer bag and seal. Pound with a kitchen mallet (or in my case because I don’t have one, I use my rolling pin) until thin. Add the pesto to your bag and marinate for 4-6 hours.
In a small skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and a little bit of salt and saute for about 15 minutes or until caramelized.
Heat a grill to medium high heat. Remove chicken breasts from the bag and grill for about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve chicken topped with a slice of Havarti and some caramelized onions.
Husband Rating: 9 out of 10
It’s May and thus it is supposed to be Summer-like weather, right? Well, in Minnesota, it seems like that kind of weather is taking its sweet time getting here. I normally wouldn’t imagine making soup for dinner at the end of May but on this cool, rainy day it just hit the spot.
I originally wanted to make my Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup but didn’t have any white beans. I only had black beans. So, things got inventive in the kitchen and this is what I came up with. It was warm, delicious, and filling.
Tip: I used Aidells Manchego Cheese with Fire Roasted Onions Smoked Chicken Sausage (Phew… what a mouthful!). It has a nice smoky adobo pepper taste to it that went really well with the soup. If you can get it, I would recommend it; mine came from Costco. It is nitrate free with no hormones or antibiotics in the chicken, so a relatively natural option.
Black Bean and Kale Soup
1 lb. spicy chicken sausage, sliced (see tip above)
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. chili powder
1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
3-4 c. greens, chopped (I used a combination of kale, spinach, and swiss chard)
6 c. chicken broth
1-2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or coconut oil
Optional toppings: avocado, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream (or use plain greek yogurt in its place – you can’t tell the difference!)
In a large pot, heat oil. Add onion and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are tender. Add the garlic. Saute for another 30 seconds before adding the chicken sausage. Cook for another 5 minutes or until everything is hot and aromatic. Stir in the greens and cook until just starting to wilt. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring the entire mixture to a boil. REduce heat and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot with optional toppings.
Husband Rating: 6 out of 10
Spaghetti is a staple to what we eat on a regular basis. But, I like to create variety within that framework. Tonight I wanted a sauce that really packed a veggie punch! Enter the eggplant, zucchini, and spinach! I have been looking for something new to try with the boys and they have never had eggplant. One of them was willing to eat it… the other did not. Can’t win them all! I served the boys sauce on some brown rice pasta and ate mine on some baked spaghetti squash. I thought it was very good either way!
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small zucchini, finely diced
2 c. spinach, chopped
1 jar organic tomato basil marinara (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
1 pk. sun dried tomato and basil chicken sausage, casing removed (Again, got it at Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil. Add eggplant cubes, dried oregano, dried basil, and salt/pepper. Saute eggplant until it starts to turn golden on all sides (about 7-9 minutes). Remove from the pan.
Cook chicken sausage in same pan until no longer pink. Add spinach and zucchini and cook until the spinach wilts. Add the tomato sauce, basil, and eggplant into the sauce. Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes or until hot through.
Serve on pasta or spaghetti squash.
Husband Rating: 6 out of 10