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Roasted Veggie Pasta

Delicious roasted and caramelized veggies mixed with basil drenched pasta make an amazingly warm, delicious, filling family meal.  Tonight’s meal started as one of those where I sort of went, “uh oh”.  It just didn’t seem like it was coming together as I was cooking it but once all the parts were tossed together, this was an outstanding dinner that brought us to have thirds or maybe even fourths.  I lost track of how many helpings I took and eventually had to take the bowl off the table so we didn’t keep eating.

 

Roasted Veggie Pasta

Recipe adapted from http://www.glutenfreegoddess.com

1 lb. chicken breast
6-10 medium sized mushrooms, halved
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 crown broccoli, cut into florets
2 zucchinis, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
a handful of cherry tomatoes (10-15 maybe?)
6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt, black pepper
dried oregano, basil, and parsley
8 oz. gluten-free pasta
olive oil, balsamic vinegar,
several bunches fresh basil
fresh grated parmesan

Arrange all the veggies and garlic on a baking sheet. I like to put parchment paper down first. Drizzle them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar (be generous with the balsamic), salt and pepper. Give them a good stir to combine. Spread them so they are in an even single layer. I ended up using two baking sheets for mine. Sprinkle all of them with oregano, basil, and parsley.

Tenderize the chicken breast and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and parsley. Place on the side of one of the baking sheets.

Bake in an oven at 400 degrees until chicken is cooked (about 20-30 minutes). Remove chicken and set aside. COntinue cooking veggies until caramelized (about 45- 55 minutes total).

Meanwhile, heavily salt pot of water to boil pasta. Cook until al dente. Reserve 1 c. pasta water. Drain. Put pasta back in pot. Generously pour olive oil over, add pasta water about 1/2 c. at a time and fresh basil chopped. Mix together. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Add veggies and stir it all together. Serve with fresh grated parmesan on top.

 

Chicken Pot Pie (Sugar-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free)

Ok, this one cracks me up… I made a completely sugar free chicken pot pie last night as I am doing a bit of a sugar fast before the holidays. My husband takes a bite of it and says it’s not his favorite, that it had too any sweet vegetables in it. I used cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash, nothing overly sweet there. I am guessing it was the squash he didn’t like but the last thing I would have thought he would complain about was this being too sweet! I thought it was delicious and plan to make it again!

Chicken Pot Pie

Filling:
3 parsnips, sliced
3 carrots, slices
1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 whole chicken
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. Chicken broth
2 Tbsp. Arrowroot powder

Crust: (Recipe from http://www.primallyinspired.com)
1 c. Arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/3 c. Avocado or olive oil
1/3 c. Water
1 egg
1/3 c. Coconut flour

Instructions:

In a large crock pot, place whole chicken. Put veggies and garlic around the chicken. Pour broth on. Reserve arrowroot powder for later.

Set crock pot to low and cook for 6-8 Hours or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and take meat off the bones. (Save the carcass for making broth!) Return the meat to the veggies and broth.

Scoop out about 1 c. of the liquid in the crock pot. Whisk in arrowroot powder into the liquid. Return to the mixture.

In a large 2 qt. casserole dish, put chicken and veggie mixture. I had a bit extra that didn’t fit in my casserole dish. I just set it aside to eat for lunch the next day.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make the crust.

In a medium bowl, mix together arrowroot powder, salt, onion powder and garlic powder.

In a small saucepan, combine water and oil. Bring to just barely a boil. Add to the arrowroot powder mixture and mix well. Let cool for a minute or until you can touch it. Add the egg and coconut oil. Mix with your hands until well combined and forms a ball. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Place on top of the casserole dish.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden and crispy on top and bubbly hot inside.

Enjoy!

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Ultimate Trail Mix

Trail mix has become a staple snack at our house.  I love it as a pre-run snack and the boys love it when they need a little afternoon snack as well. We love taking it along on road trips and camping trips.  I have played with many combinations but this combination is our favorite.  I have to admit that sometimes my husband even calls it the devil’s mix because it is so tempting that he can’t resist it even when he isn’t hungry.  🙂

For any of the nuts and seeds in this recipe, I use only raw and unsalted.  That is the healthiest form to eat them in.  It would be better if I had soaked them but I don’t always have time to do that.  Soaked almonds that are dehydrated are delicious, by the way.  So, when I take the time to do that, it makes this mix even better.

 

Ultimate Trail Mix

2 c. goji berries
2 c. mulberries
1 c. craisins (better if you can find ones that are juice sweetened as opposed to sugar sweetened – I can find that at our local co-op)
3 c. almonds (raw, unsalted, and soaked is best)
1 c. pumpkin seeds (raw, unsalted)
1 c. sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)
2 c. cashews (raw – I have only seen these at Trader Joe’s or the co-op)
3/4 – 1 c. dark chocolate chunks (I use a 80% cacao chocolate bar and hit it with a rolling pin while it is in it’s wrapper until it is broken into bite sized chunks. You could also use chocolate chips – we prefer Enjoy Life brand).

Mix all ingredients together. Best if stored in the refrigerator.

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Fresh Veggie Penne Saute

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.

 

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Fresh Veggie Penne Saute

Recipe adapted from The Nourishing Home

Ingredients

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

Simple Stir Fry

So, prior to the New Year, I did some food intolerance testing. In addition to gluten/wheat (which I already suspected after such dramatic health changes when going gluten free) I learned I am also intolerant of dairy and corn.

I have always suspected dairy but until now have been unwilling to make the switch to dairy-free. A corn intolerance was a new one for me… Never thought about it or knew it was really something people have intolerance of. Plus, corn is in many of the gluten-free alternatives to pasta, chips, and tortillas that I enjoy. Bummer, right!

But, the doctor who did the tests recommended I do weeks of a strict gluten-free, corn-free, and dairy-free diet and there is no time like the new year to start it.

I am 5 days in of being strict about my diet and I miss several things… Corn tortillas and cheese for veggie quesadillas at lunch, chips, and the fact that a slice of cheese or a piece of string cheese was my go-to quick snack. I am also completely intimidated to go out to a restaurant right now. Like with making the change to gluten-free, it just took a whole for me to adjust and know my options. This too will happen with corn and dairy, I hope.

My plan is to give it the 9 weeks and then try easing a few things into my diet again to see how I react. Butter and a nice hard cheddar might be the first ones I try to get back in my diet!!

But until then, I am going to do my best to remain dairy-free, corn-free, and gluten-free.

So, we already do a lot of meals that fit this criteria and this one fits too. I love a good healthy stir fry and the sauce for this was super easy. I also love the versatility of a stir fry… Any veggies you have on hand generally work and any meat you want to try.

In lieu of traditional rice, I did cauliflower rice. It is so easy and tasty and leaves you not feeling weighed down by a heavy carb. I describe how to make it below the recipe if you are new to cauliflower rice. Definitely try it!

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Simple Stir Fry

*All measurements for the veggies are approximate as I just started tossing them in until it looked like a big enough meal for our family.

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 c. broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used yellow)
3 large carrots, sliced
Handful sugar snap peas, halved
1/4 c. Cashews
* 1 head cauliflower (only if doing cauliflower rice)
Salt/pepper/garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Sesame oil, divided

Sauce ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbsp. Arrowroot powder
1 heaping Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. Gluten-free soy sauce
1 c. Chicken broth

Instructions:

In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and season lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook chicken until no longer pink in the middle. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add remaining sesame oil and ginger. Sauté 30 seconds or so and then add veggies. Cover and cook until tender-crisp stirring occasionally.

Add chicken and sauce in and heat until sauce simmers and thickens. Toss with cashews and serve over rice.

Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower
1 Tbsp. grape seed or coconut oil

Cut cauliflower into florets and toss into a food processor. Process until cauliflower takes on rice like consistency.

Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until “rice” is tender. Eat immediately.

* I felt like a whole head of cauliflower was a bit too much rice for our family. So, I froze half of it uncooked to use later for either rice or in a cauliflower pizza crust.

New Favorite Grain-Free Pizza Crust Recipe

I was looking for a new pizza crust recipe and came to the one on a blog called The Unrefined Kitchen.  Great blog!  Even better pizza crust recipe!!!  We have made it several times – though I haven’t gotten around to publishing it yet.  It mixes up totally differently than any other pizza recipe, with the dough being more batter-like than dough like.  But, it is so tasty!  We made it with some delicious veggie toppings shown below – grilled zucchini and red pepper slices, onions, and fresh mozzarella cheese (no sauce, just a drizzle of olive oil on the crust). If you eat grain-free or gluten-free, this is a great pizza crust to try!

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Pizza Crust (Grain-free)

Recipe from http://www.unrefinedkitchen.com/2012/04/14/pizza-crust-primalpaleo/

Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup arrowroot powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk to blend together.
Add eggs and almond milk to the dry ingredients. Mix well. (The batter will be runny–not like typical pizza dough.)

Use a spatula to spread batter onto greased pan.

Bake crust in preheated oven 8-12 minutes.

Remove crust from oven and top with sauce and desired toppings.

Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs (No Mayo)

I have been way behind on getting posts up so please excuse the fact that I am still going back to the 4th of July for my recipes this week…

For the 4th of July, we hosted a BBQ with some good friends.  My husband wanted to do “traditional, all-American” food for the BBQ.  We served BBQ Chicken breasts, Jo-Jo potato wedges, a veggie salad, and these delicious deviled eggs.  But, of course, for me it isn’t that simple; I had to give all the recipes a healthy, gluten-free twist.

My mother-in-law always told me that deviled eggs were really simple to make but I just have never done it – it just doesn’t look that simple to me. But, when we went with the traditional food theme, I went for it and made my first deviled eggs.  I wanted them to have no mayonnaise because I just don’t like using it.  So, instead this recipe uses plain Greek yogurt along with a few other ingredients.

My husband couldn’t tell the difference and ate MANY of them that day.  I loved them too and definitely will be making them again.  Oh, and my mother-in-law is right – they really are easy to make.

 

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Deviled Eggs (No mayo)

6 eggs
2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. olive oil
splash lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. chili powder
sea salt/fresh cracked pepper to taste
paprika to sprinkle on top

Instructions:

Hard boil eggs. My method is to place eggs in an empty pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Boil for one minute before covering and removing from heat. Set time for 12 minutes and leave eggs in hot water for 12 minutes. When time is up, place eggs in a bowl filled with cold water and ice. Allow to fully cook before peeling.

Peel the eggs. Slice eggs in half and reserve yolks in a small bowl.

Combine all ingredients except paprika with yolks. If it seems to dry, add a splash of olive oil or lemon juice. Adjust to your taste preferences. Scoop a small amount of yolk mixture into each egg white. Sprinkle with paprika on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A different kind of recipe – Homemade Dishwasher Pellets

I don’t know about you but I am finding that now that we are on this natural food kick, the whole concept of natural around our house has snowballed.  I want to reduce the number of toxic things in our house as much as possible!  So, I have been doing a lot of dabbling lately with natural, homemade recipes for cleaning products.

What initially inspired the desire to make dishwasher detergent specifically is the yucky film that was being left on our dishes no matter what I tried to do.  Seeing that film, made me a) want to wash the dishes again by hand, and b) wonder what was touching our food when I didn’t wash the film off.  I was concerned that the dishwashing detergent we were using was leaving something on our dishes that could be harmful and then put into our bodies via the food we eat!  Yuck!

So, I did many searches on various methods of making dishwasher detergent and came to the recipe below.  There are some people who are concerned about Borax being a natural ingredient. I did a bunch of research on it and found that for me, I am comfortable using it. One helpful article that gives information both ways is here.

It was very easy to make – taking less than 20 minutes.  It costs so little – far cheaper than buying dishwasher pellets.  I bought several of the ingredients in bulk and used very little.  My batch made 48 pellets.

We have used them a few times so far and I am definitely noticing that my dishes look great and am not seeing the film that previous was on our dishes.

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Homemade Dishwasher Pellets

2 c. Borax (natural cleaner and disinfectant)
2 c. baking soda or washing soda (cuts grease, great all-purpose cleaner)
1/2 c. Epsom salts (reduces effects of hard water)
1/2 c. white vinegar (added cleaning power, binds ingredients together)
1/4 c. lemon juice (antibacterial properties, great smell! – lemon essential oil would be more powerful as an antibacterial but I didn’t have any on hand. If you do, use 15-20 drops.)

Stir ingredients together in a bowl.  The lemon juice and vinegar will make the soda bubble a bit but it will subside quickly.  Once well combined, press into ice-cube trays.

Allow to dry for a full 48 hours before popping out of the tray.  (If you pop them out too soon, you will have dishwasher detergent chunks instead of pellets… trust me.  I speak from experience!!!)  Store in an air-tight container.

To use, place one pellet in your dishwasher where you would normally put the detergent (or if they don’t fit, just simply toss in the bottom of the dishwasher.)  One little tip I have learned is that instead of using a rinse agent (i.e. Jet Dry), you can simply fill that compartment with white vinegar.  It works great and I have never had any residual vinegar-y smell on my dishes.

Taco Bake

So, today I am officially done with my sugar detox.  It went better than I thought and I am surprised at how even though I am “free” to eat whatever I choose, I don’t really find myself seeking sugar-containing foods.  I did have grapes today in my chicken salad and a few crackers on the side. I loved having a bit of fruit but really, the crackers were just filler… I didn’t need them and almost wished I hadn’t had them.  I really think I need to take reintroducing “sugar” foods into my diet slowly.  Perhaps stick with just fruit for a while, and even that at a moderate pace.

So, this dinner is also a sugar-free meal.  It was satisfying – at least three of our four ate it and relatively easy to toss together.  There is a great variety of veggies in it, which I like as well.  And, it is one of those meals that you could really add just about any veggies from your fridge that needed using up.  I served it with a side of fresh guacamole.

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Taco Bake

Recipe adapted from  http://www.justenjoyfood.com/taco-bake/

1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 zucchini, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 c. cauliflower rice (directions for cauliflower rice here)
1/2 each red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, finely diced
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cumin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt/pepper to taste
2 c. diced tomato
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil

Instructions:

In a large skillet, melt coconut oil.  Add turkey and break up.  Once turkey is cooked about halfway though, add onion and bell peppers.  Continue cooking until the turkey is completely cooked through. Add zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, and seasonings.  Continue to cook until carrots begin to turn tender.

Remove from heat and spread in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Top turkey mixture with diced tomatoes and add cheddar cheese to the top of that.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Husband Rating: 7 out of 10

Food for thought: I think another tasty addition to this meal would be olives or red onion.  It would also probably be a tasty combination to serve as filling for tacos, rather than a stand alone dish.

I also think this has potential to be a freezer dish – simply assemble and freeze prior to baking.  You could easily make a double batch and then split it into two pans before baking.  For our family, one and a half batches would suffice to make two meals, based on the leftovers we had.

What Wilfords’ Are Eating 4/15 – 4/19

Well, vacation is over! Back to real life and cooking every day… and with that, I am launching into my 21 Day Sugar Detox. Puerto Rico had great food but I think they used something sweet with every meal! So, I think that I am in for a bit of a harder time with giving up sugar but am also completely ready to make that move! This weeks meals will all be sugar-free (with the exception of today because I allowed myself one day to get everything shopped for and prepared. I will keep you posted as to how it is going and how I feel!

What Wilfords’ Are Eating

Monday: Shredded BBQ Chicken with Carrot and Parsnip Fries and a salad

Tuesday: Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Wednesday: Shredded Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

Thursday: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Friday: Spaghetti Bolognese over Roasted Spaghetti Squash, fresh kale salad

 

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