Monday, May 26, 2014

Red Beans and Rice

*I know my photography isn't very good, but my food is. Give this recipe a shot and let the food speak for itself.

I really like red beans and rice, but my husband isn't a big fan. I figure this is a dish I can make and freeze for future uses, and it will re-heat at my office for a hearty and healthy (ish) lunch. It's also pretty inexpensive, so that's another bonus.

2 ham hocks
1 lb Andoullie sausage
1 lb red beans
1 yellow onion, minced
1 green pepper, minced
4 stalks of celery, minced
5 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp dried parsley
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup water (I don't have anymore broth and it didn't quite cover everything.)
2 bay leaves

Start the night before by checking the beans for any stones, then put them in a large pot of water to soak over night. The next morning I boiled my beans for about ten minutes. Some people skip this step, but I've heard that kidney beans have to heat up to a certain temp to kill a toxin in them. Maybe I'm paranoid, but it's not worth it to me, so I boil them for a few minutes. Quick tip: DO NOT ADD SALT! It will make it so the beans will not get soft. You can add salt at the end, or do like I do and let people add their own to taste. I also like to serve this with extra pepper and hot sauce.

I put my ham hock in the slow cooker. Then the sausage. I cooked this sausage the day before simply because it was on clearance. Today was the sell by date, so I got them for half off. (My Momma taught me to bargain shop!)

When the beans have boiled for ten minutes drain them, then add them to the crock.

Now for the veggies. You need yellow onion , a green pepper, and about 4 stalks of celery, all minced. Each will yield about 1 cup. I also save the scraps from the onion and celery. I keep a gallon sized baggie in the freezer for these, and any carrot or parsley scraps from other dishes. When you have a whole baggie you can make veggie broth, or add a chicken carcass or two for chicken broth. I'll make each of these another day.

Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning, and parsley. Yes, I use the garlic in a jar. It's one of the few shortcuts I allow myself.

Add the broth and bay leaves. Now let the whole thing cook on low for about 9-10 hours.
I went out to a barbeque and when I got home the house smelled wonderful! Here's what it looked like at that point. Sorry, it's kind of blurry.
I took out the ham hocks and removed all the good meat from them. I discarded all the fat and bones and returned the meat to the crock.

It was a bit thin so I used some of the liquid from the crock as the liquid to cook the rice. I also used a large spoon to mush some of the beans. It thickens the broth and gives it a creaminess.

This yielded six very large portions. I'll eat some for lunch this week, but I'll also freeze some for later.

Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

Here I go again with another meatball recipe. I still have a bunch of ground turkey in the freezer from my big trip to Wegman's a couple of weeks ago, so I figured I'd make another batch of meatballs. I looked around the kitchen and here's what I've come up with.

1 lb ground turkey
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground pepper
1 cup gluten free panko
1 egg

Put the ground turkey into a mixing bowl.

Mince the onion. Put the coconut oil in a pan and melt it on medium heat, then add the onion. Sautee the onion until it starts to brown. Remove the onion from the pan using a slotted spoon and add it to the bowl with the ground turkey.Add the spinach to the sautee pan, and cook until no longer frozen. This will help cook off some of the moisture from being frozen.Add the ground pepper. This mixture is pretty wet which is why I add the panko at this point. If you can't find GF panko at your store, just use some crushed rice chex. Sometimes I have to use that, so I put it into the food processor until it gets to the desired consistency.
So it turns out I used too much panko. No problem. I grabbed an egg and whisked it up. Once I added that to the mixture it was perfect. Not too wet, not too dry. This is what happens when you write a recipe on the fly. Sometimes you just have to improvise. I think this actually turned out better anyway, because the added bulk of the panko meant the recipe yielded more meatballs.

Now form your meatballs. I use this awesome little 1 inch meatballer. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite kitchen tools.

Put the meatballs on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper so the don't stick. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time.

I got 29 meatballs from this recipe. The 29th one kind of pissed me off at first, ruining my nice, neat lines, bt then I realized it gave me one to taste when they are done. Man these things are good!
These will make great snacks, they'll be good over salad greens, and they'd also be great with some tzatiki sauce.

Kale and Onion Quiche with Hash Brown Crust

I really love quiche. It's great for brunch, or an easy weeknight dinner. I also love that you can put just about anything in it. Today I happen to have a lot of kale that needs to be used up, and I always keep lots of yellow onions in my kitchen. Being gluten free means I can't do a traditional pie crust for my quiche, so instead I use hash browns. Another one of the few short cuts I take in the kitchen is buying frozen hash brown.

2 cups hash browns, defrosted
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil (This dish is pretty good for you, but fatty too with all the butter, and eggs. Coconut oil isn't quite as bad for you as some other oils.)
i medium onion, minced
2 cups kale, chopped finely
12 eggs
1 cup milk or cream. I'm using unsweetened almond milk.
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 450, then grease a 9 inch pie pan with either cooking spray or coconut oil. In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter to about 2 cups of defrosted hash browns.Press the hash browns into the bottom, and sides. (It doesn't really cover the whole thing, but I don't want to use a lot of potato.) Cook the crust at 450 for about 25 minutes. The edges will be brown, and the center will be starting to brown.

While the crust is cooking melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat, then add the onions. Allow them to cook until they start to brown, then add the kale. Sautee until the kale just begins to soften, then remove from the heat.

Whisk the eggs together, then add the milk, salt, and pepper. Add the kale and onion mixture to the browned potatoes in the pie dish.

Add the cheese.

Add the egg mixture.

Reduce the oven temp to 350.  When the oven has come down to 350 put the quiche in the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the egg is set and starting to brown just a little.
Let it cool for a bit before cutting it and serving it. I like to put it into containers and take it to work for breakfasts.

Update for weekly menu planning

I've decided to start posting the weekly menu plan at the end of each week instead of the beginning. The reason for this is that my plans sometimes change. Maybe I didn't cook something that was planned. Maybe I didn't feel like cooking one night, so we go out to eat. I also want to include some of the recipes I make on the weekly list, so I need to write those recipe posts before I can add them to the list. Right now I'm working on two new recipe posts, and I have a couple more in mind, so I really want to add links to the menu plan. Anyway, this week's plan will be posted next weekend, and then I do it that way from now on.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Apple-Bacon Coleslaw. Yes, you heard me right. And it's amazing!!! I saw a recipe for it, but the girl's blog was down when I actually went to put it together, so I improvised. Here you go...

The Slaw:
1 head of cabbage, sliced very thin, then sliced again the other way. You want to get it as small as possible.
1 lb bacon, cut into small pieces and fried
1 apple, skin on, sliced and diced
1/2 red onion, minced

The Dressing:
Juice from one lemon
1/2 cup of Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
1/2 cup mayo
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper

Mix all the slaw ingredients together, then in a separate bowl mix the dressing ingredients together. Whisk the dressing ingredients well, then add to the slaw. I made it a day before I wanted to eat it to let it marinate and think about just how awesome it wanted to be. I even got a non-slaw eater to try it and he liked it!

 This was a side for pulled BBQ pork. I grilled some corn tortillas and made BBQ pulled pork tostadas topped with this slaw and a homemade peach BBQ sauce. Yummy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gluten Free Menu Plan 05/18/14

I had a really busy, but really fun weekend spending time with people I love. This week's menu plan is a little haphazard. We have some people coming for a visit, but I'm not really sure what meals they will be around for, so I'm kind of winging it here.


Hard boiled eggs (I really like hard boiled eggs!)
Overnight oatmeal with apple, cinnamon, raisin, and pecan.


Burrito bowls (Chicken, cilantro-lime rice, black beans, peppers, onions, avocado, romaine)
Tuna salad over roma tomato slices
Spinach salad with mushrooms, red onion, and grape tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette


Burrito bowls
Beef hard tacos
Citrus grilled pork chops with a fennel and apple salad
Roast whole chicken with roasted red potatoes and sauteed kale
Smoked pork butt with apple-bacon-coleslaw with corn tostadas
Italian meatballs with spaghetti squash and Caesar salads

For snacks I have lots of fruit: bananas, cantaloupe, grapes, pears, peaches, and apples.
There's also avocado and rice cakes, and I was bad this weekend and I bought some ice cream. You've got to live a little, right? :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Turkey-Apple-Bacon Sliders

A few weeks ago I made these chicken-apple-bacon-sliders. The recipe was good, but I found the mixture to be really wet. The original recipe is for a paleo diet, but since I'm not paleo, I added some GF panko and flax meal to help with the wetness. I also didn't have celery, so I just omitted that. This week I realized that Wegman's sells 3 lb containers of ground turkey for $2.99 per pound, so I bought 2 packages. I made some of these for dinner this evening, and made a bunch more to put in the freezer for DizzyFest. :)

Here's my version...

1 lb ground turkey
2 cups apple, peeled and shredded (about 2 medium size apples will do)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup flax meal (this adds a really nutty flavor)
1/2 cup GF panko
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until well everything is well incorporated. I used my meatball scoop, but did 2 scoops for each slider. Form a large meatball, then squish it into a flat slider. I like to let mine sit in the fridge for about an hour before cooking to help then firm up a bit. Get your grill going to a steady 350 degrees. Grill the patties for about 4 minutes per side.

For lunches I like to serve these on a bed of mixed greens with some balsamic dressing. For dinner this evening I served them with baked sweet potatoes with honey-cinnamon-butter and some sauteed kale.

Here they are going on the grill...
And after a flip...
Ready for serving...

And plated...
If you've been paying attention you may notice the definitive lack of sweet potatoes on this plate. I had purchased the sweet potatoes that you can just steam in the bag, in the microwave, then my microwave decided to die. Hence, no sweet potatoes. Eh, it was still really tasty, even without the sweet potatoes. I'll do something with them next week. Anyway, I'm happy to say that I have leftovers, so I'll be eating these for lunch this week, in addition to the Mediterranean meatballs.

Gluten Free Menu Plan 05/11/14

Last week some of our plans got changed around. Things happen, you know? So as a result I have some things in the fridge that didn't get used last week, and need to be used asap. I'm also on a meatball kick lately. I love how versatile ground turkey can be, so I've made a couple of different things with that.  I haven't really changed up my breakfasts much this week, because I'm happy with what I've been eating.


-Hard boiled eggs
-BLAT wraps: Romaine leaves stuffed with bacon, tomato, and avocado slices


-Turkey-apple-bacon sliders with mixed greens and balsamic dressing
-Mediterranean turkey meatballs over mixed greens with roasted garlic dressing


-Grilled turkey-apple-bacon sliders with baked sweet potatoes and sauteed kale
-Chinese Crispy Beef with roasted broccoli and steamed rice
-Braised chicken and mushrooms with peas and mashed cauliflower
-Bunless burgers topped with fried egg and avocado, French fries, and salads
-Grilled chicken with a smokey tomato marinade, grilled zucchini, and roasted baby red potatoes
-Grilled steaks with broccoli-cheddar quinoa cakes, and a salad of Brussels sprouts, bacon, apple, fennel, Parmesan cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and a lemony vinaigrette.

-Fruit: Bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, grapes, apples
-Cheese sticks
-Celery and peanut butter
-Hard boiled eggs

Mediterranean Turkey Meatballs

I found a recipe for sundried tomato and feta meatballs the other day that sounded good, but I had to give it my own tweaks. I used more tomatoes and feta than the recipe called for, but I also added kalamata olives, and since I don't have almond flour I used some GF panko. I also baked mine instead of frying them. Here's what you need...

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup minced sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup GF panko
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp minced garlic

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then form your meatballs. I have a one inch meatball scoop that makes this so easy. I baked them for about 10 minutes, then turned them over to brown the other side for about 5 minutes more. This recipe made 25 meatballs. They are great as a snack, or over a salad of mixed greens with some roasted garlic dressing. You could also serve them over spaghetti squash with your favorite red sauce.