Gluten-Free Corn Dogs by Foster Farms {Review & Giveaway}

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Foster Farms, the producer of the nation’s number one selling corn dog product who has been in the chicken business since 1939 has released a certified gluten-free option! Yes, I said certified gluten-free (by the Gluten Intolerance Group/GIG). Their new gluten-free corn dog is made with a chicken hot dog that is dipped twice in a honey corn breading that has a delicious flavor and crunch. They come in boxes of 12 and make a great snack meal for you and your little ones. These would also be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday! My favorite way to enjoy them is baked in the oven (you can also cook them in the microwave, but the crunch is worth the oven baking!), and then dipped in some spicy brown mustard. These new corn dogs join the line of other gluten-free chicken products by Foster Farms including chicken breast nuggets and chicken breast strips. Want to know if these items can be found near you? Send the lovely folks over at Foster Farms an e-mail: questions@fosterfarms.com. Even though we do not have children – Bryan and I enjoyed these quite a bit!

Foster Farms wants to share with you! Read below on how to enter for your chance to win 1 of 5 coupons for a FREE box of their new Gluten-Free Honey Crunch Corn Dogs. While these are both gluten-free and dairy free they do however contain soy and egg.

How to Enter:

1. Like Foster Farms on Facebook – leave a comment below saying you did and your Facebook name

2. Tweet about the giveaway using #FFGlutenFree and @Creatively_GF – leave a comment below with the link

3. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook – leave a comment below saying you did and your Facebook name

4. Follow Creatively_GF on Twitter – leave a comment below saying you did so and your Twitter name

Giveaway is open to US residents only. Each winner will receive a coupon (sent directly from Foster Farms) for ONE FREE box of their new Gluten-Free Honey Crunch Corn Dogs. Giveaway begins on Monday December 29th and will end on Sunday January 4th at 11:59pm. Please leave a separate comment for each entry to ensure the maximum number of entries per person. The winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 24 hours to respond, if no response(s) is received another winner(s) will be chosen. Good luck to all who enter!

 

This is a sponsored post – all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you Foster Farms!

Stuffed Carnival Squash

I picked up a grapefruit sized carnival squash yesterday while at Trader Joe’s. I’ve never cooked or even had a carnival squash before but, it is a winter squash and similar shape and size to acorn squash so I figured it would be similar in texture and taste as well…and it is. I’m already crazy Thanksgiving food and knew I wanted to bake and stuff this little carnival squash (it was about the size of a very large grapefruit) so I picked up some ground turkey, dried cranberries, and a big bag of kale to go with ingredients I already had back at the Annex.

This is a really simple recipe that can be adapted to whatever your diet restriction might be – dairy free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, low sodium, etc. It is very customizable, you just have to be creative in your stuffing fillings. My stuffing was pretty simple, but so delicious. There was no added salt to this either (except what small amount is in the spice blend I used). The flavors are that of Thanksgiving and perfect to make with leftovers, or if you are just craving a little bit of Thanksgiving throughout the year.

IMG_3313

Stuffed Carnival Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carnival squash – cut in half and seeds removed/discarded (you can roast these as well!)
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium, or no sodium added)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons Spiceologist Greek Freak Seasoning, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cabot Cheese – Alpine Cheddar

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Place cut and cleaned squash face down in a baking dish, add about 1/4 inch of water and cover with aluminum foil
  3. Roast squash for 30-45 minutes until fork tender, remove from oven and drain water
  4. In a small pot, bring brown rice and chicken stock to a boil, and cook according to rice specifications
  5. In a saute pan, add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil, add kale and cover for five minutes until kale is tender.
  6. Drain water, and place kale on a paper towel to drain (you want to remove as much excess water that you can)
  7. In the same saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and heat pan to medium heat
  8. Add mushrooms, green onions, and 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mixture, saute until mushrooms are lightly browned and tender
  9. Add mushrooms and green onions to the kale that has been set aside
  10. In the same saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat pan to medium heat
  11. Add ground turkey and remaining 1 tablespoon of seasoning mixture
  12. Brown turkey and add in pine nuts to toast during the last few minutes of cooking
  13. Once the turkey is cooked throughout, add in the cooked brown rice, dried cranberries, kale, mushrooms, and green onions, stir to combine
  14. Remove from heat and stuff cooked squash halves (you may have a little extra filling, but you can use that for another meal or snack)
  15. Top stuffed squash halves with shredded cheese and return to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes
  16. Remove from oven, and enjoy!

 

Veggetti {Review & Giveaway}

VeggettiI know veggie noodles are all the rage right now…trust me I am 100% on board with this food trend. There are many gadgets that you can use to make veggie noodles, some more expensive than others, but they all pretty much achieve the same final product…veggie noodles! When I was contacted by Veggetti® to do a review, I jumped right on that.

Veggetti® is a handheld device that makes for a quick and easy way to turn your veggies into veggie noodles/pasta. Veggie noodles offers a healthier, lower-carb alternative to regular pasta. All you have to do is choose which veggie(s) you want to have and twist away. Some that I love are zucchini, summer squash, carrots, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes! You simply cut off the end of your chosen veg, insert it into either the thick or thin strand side of the Veggetti® and twist away to create strands of delicious veggie pasta or noodles. There are so many delicious recipes for you to make with veggie noodles…you could toss your noodles in a marinara sauce, bolognese sauce, some light salad dressing, or make your own vinaigrette. All you need is to be creative! As I mentioned veggie noodles are a great alternative to regular pasta, especially for those that are gluten-free and/or diabetic!

In addition to the Veggetti® I was also sent a $25 VISA gift card to buy ingredients to be used in the creation of a dish. I decided to create a Greek Salad, using cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, and summer squash. I really wanted to make an extremely colorful dish, as my food mantra is “eat the rainbow”. Below is my recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

This is a great little kitchen gadget to have…the size is perfect, it fits into your kitchen drawer without a problem, and you can easily take it with you (vacation, camping, etc.). I actually took mine with me to my younger cousin’s graduation party and made my own meal, everyone was a bit jealous and looking for more of it. Had I known that people would be so into it, I would have made a big dish of it.  The Veggetti® is sturdy and has two ends that you can choose from: thick and thin.

You can find the Veggetti® on Amazon or at many fine retailers nationwide including Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS, and more.

Keep reading for your chance to win a Veggetti® and a $25 VISA Gift Card!

Veggetti® Greek Salad

photoServes:  2 as an entrée or 4 as a side dish

Salad Ingredients

  • Cucumber                                      1 small
  • Zucchini                                         1 small
  • Carrot                                            1 large
  • Summer Squash                             1 small
  • Cherry Tomatoes, quartered             1/2 cup
  • Red Onion                                      1/2 cup (1 small onion)
  • Olives, Kalamata, halved                  1/4 cup
  • Feta Cheese                                   2 tablespoons

Dressing Ingredients

  • Lemon Juice, fresh                          1/4 cup
  • Vinegar, white                                 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, grated                                  2 cloves
  • Basil, fresh                                     1/2 tablespoon
  • Mint, fresh                                      1/2 tablespoon
  • Oregano, fresh                                1/2 tablespoon
  • Black Pepper, fresh                         1/4 teaspoon
  • Feta Cheese                                   2 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil                                         3 1/2 tablespoons

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash all vegetables well
  2. One at a time, twist each vegetable at time into a bowl
  3. Quarter the tomatoes and set aside
  4. Thinly slice the red onions and set aside
  5. Halve the kalamata olives and set aside
  6. In a food processor or blender add all of the dressing ingredients blend until smooth
  7. Taste dressing for seasoning and adjust accordingly
  8. Add 3/4 of the dressing to the bowl of veggie noodles, and toss to coat
  9. Top the salad with the cherry tomatoes, onions, and olives, toss well
  10. Sprinkle with feta cheese
  11. Serve with remaining dressing on the side

*Optional – top with grilled chicken breast if serving as an entrée.

GIVEAWAY!

Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Cutter        

The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel – Thank you for this opportunity!

Entry is really simple…

Leave a comment below telling me what you would make first if you won this.

That’s it…one simple entry, is required but if you would like additional entries please leave a separate comment for each of the following:

  1. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook
  2. Share this post and giveaway on social media and be sure to share the link below (you can do this daily)!

Entry is open to US residents only…no P.O. boxes. Giveaway ends on Wednesday August 20th, 201 at 11:59pm EST. Good luck to all who enter!

Becoming a Consious Shopper

photo(14)I have claimed this year to be MY YEAR. The year that I take back my health, wellness, and fitness, to shed those unwanted pounds, and practice what I preach! There are several things that I am utilizing to achieve these goals which include portion control eating (post will follow shortly on that!), daily exercise (another post to follow, so stay tuned), and choosing the right foods to eat.

This sounds like a simple concept, and frankly it is, however, if you are anything like me sometimes you get overwhelmed or distracted and buy items that you don’t need. Below are some simple tips to keep in mind when heading to the grocery store…

1. Outer Limits: AKA stay on the perimeter of the store! This is where you will find many of the healthy food items that you should be adding to your shopping cart or basket. Thank about what is in the outer limits: vegetables, meats, seafood, and dairy. Now, NOT all items in the middle of the store is off limits…there are plenty of great options such as legumes, canned beans, whole grains, and vegetables (no salt added, rinse very well). However, the majority of the center aisles are filled with processed foods, chips, candy, and if you look at many of these items you will find ingredient lists that would rival a great novel!

When buying your fresh produce – remember the old skittles saying, “eat the rainbow”…think of that! Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables daily!

2. Buy Fresh: Buying fresh and making treats at home will help reduce the amount of additives and preservatives in your food. It is nice to know exactly what goes into your food and your body.

3. Do Not Shop When Hungry: Hunger can be your biggest enemy because that is where you tend to pick up the foods that you do not normally purchase or shouldn’t be purchasing. You will end up spending more money than you anticipated by putting these impulse items into your shopping cart or basket. Think with your brain…not your stomach!

4. Ripe vs. Unripe: Ripe is best, right? Not always…if you plan to use that ingredient that day then Yes! However, if you make a weekly meal plan and shopping list and you shop on Monday but won’t be making guacamole until Wednesday, purchase avocados that are not quite ripe (you can ripen them by putting them in a brown paper bag), but if you buy ripe avocados on Monday, come Wednesday they won’t be looking so pretty. You will end up spending money and then just throwing away these items…not worth it.

5. Plan Ahead: Each week try to create a rough weekly menu and then create a shopping list off of that. I say rough, because you may think that you want a specific dish on a certain day but when that day rolls around, you want anything but what you have listed. I like to create a general menu that cross-utilizes ingredients so if one night I am craving another item on the menu, I can simply make that and not waste ingredients. Be flexible, but have a plan. When you shop with a list, this helps you stay on track and not purchase foods you do not need.

When writing your weekly menu and shopping list, take a look at what you already have on hand…check those cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer. Start by working with ingredients that you already have on hand and go from there. Again, this is another tip that will help you save money, time, and sanity during your busy week.

6. Step Away: Avoid the snack aisle – this will help you avoid purchasing items you do not need. Find healthier alternatives to these items or make them at home with healthier ingredients!

7. Spice It Up: Spices and herbs are your best friend. They help add tons of flavor to your dishes without adding unhealthy ingredients. Look for single ingredient spices and create your own blends to avoid an additives/preservatives that are not needed. If you do find a blend that you like, check to see the sodium level in it…is this something that you can recreate and reduce the amount of sodium? Probably! Get creative and experiment with different homemade blends.

Fresh herbs are also wonderful ingredients to use and can last a while if stored properly. You can also plant little window plants with herbs that you use often like cilantro, chives, rosemary, basil, etc. Both spices and herbs can take any old boring dish to something extremely delicious that your family and friends will want to eat!

8. Certified: If something claims to be organic, all natural, etc…look for the USDA certification! Do not believe everything you read.

9. Labels: Read these carefully – if you pick up a bag of pasta for example and there are 10+ ingredients in it, I would probably put it back and look for something else. I mean let’s be real, pasta should only consist of 3-4 ingredients!

10. Claims: Be on the look out for these – if something says “as much protein as…” and it is something claiming to have as much protein as an egg, why not just eat the egg? Understandable if you have an egg allergy etc., but for the masses…just eat the egg.

11. Samples: Trying new products can be awesome! Trust me I have the privilege to do this quite often, but I have become particular of the items I sample and review. Do not be sidetracked by trying something that is not good for you or something you just do not need.

12. Code Words: Know the code words for certain ingredients like sugar. If you have a food allergies or Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity know where gluten is hidden, know the other names of these allergens. Educate yourself!

The two images in this post are what typical grocery shopping trips look like for me…loaded with fresh fruits and veggies, proteins, dairy, with whole grains. Each week I create a menu and shopping list and check the items off as I add them to my cart. If it is not on the list, I do not buy it – being on such a tight budget this has been extremely helpful. I have found alternatives to “sweet treats” like buying a large thing of plain Greek yogurt, and freezing a small amount of it with a bit of honey swirled in, then when it is partially frozen I mix in some fresh fruit and have that instead of ice cream!

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Spices & Seasons (Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors) {Cookbook Review}

SpicesandSeasonsIf you are looking to experiment with Indian flavors, this is your book. The author, Rinku Bhattacharya provides the general population with delicious and easy to prepare dishes packed with flavor and sustainable ingredients. In Spices & Seasons each recipe is carefully labeled as vegan/vegetarian and/or gluten-free. The index in the back of the book is also separated as such; gluten-free index, vegan/vegetarian index, vegetarian index, and recipe index! I found this to be extremely helpful when trying to pick my dish to make.

It was very difficult to pick a recipe to make, due to the large selection of recipes included in the book and how many of them were gluten-free. I finally decided on the Saffron Pistachio Rice Pudding on page 333. With a few minor changes/substitutions. I am in the process of packing up my life and putting most of my belongings in storage for a year and I start my next adventure in NYC, so I wanted to use what I had on hand instead of going out to buy things. Bread pudding can be a fairly simple recipe, but this one was packed with flavor! Oh my goodness…it is delicious and I promise you, you will want to make this. Here are my substitutions: instead of half and half, I used unsweetened coconut milk, for the white rice I used short grain brown rice, and I did not have pistachios around (trust me those do not last long around me), so instead I diced up some granny smith apple instead (it added such a delicious, fresh crispness to it), and yes…I do have saffron lying around:)

I’ve seen rice pudding be super creamy and I’ve also seen it where there is some creamy liquid remaining…which is how I prefer to enjoy it (as you can see by the picture below…), but if you like more of the liquid, then just cook it a bit less time or simply add additional liquid.

37-Cooks-Saffron-Rice-Pudding-Spices-and-Seasons-Challenge-Jenny-ManseauSaffron and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Adapted from Spices & Seasons Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya page 333

Method of Preparation

  1. In a medium pot add coconut milk, whole cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, rice, and sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, and stir frequently until it begins to thicken, about 35 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard the whole cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.
  4. Stir in the saffron threads and granny smith apples, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with sliced of granny smith apple on top – enjoy!

This is a great cookbook to have in your collection, especially if you or someone you know is either gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan! So many delicious recipes and flavors to experiment with.

The cookbook was provided to me from the publisher for this review. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

Roasted Beet & Nectarine Salad {Cookbook Chat: Silk Road Vegetarian}

silk-road-vegetarian-9780804843379_lgCreative Cooking Gluten Free is now six years old! I can’t even believe it!! Over these last six years I have had the pleasure of sharing with all of you my creations, adaptations, giveaways, product and cookbook reviews. Thank you for allowing me to share with love of food with all of you. During this time it has been a privilege to work with so many great companies, organizations, and cookbook authors. Last year I was invited to join an online group called 37Cooks, you have heard me mention them a time or two on here for various cooking challenges I have participated in. However, recently a new type of challenge has been offered up to the 37Cooks called “Cookbook Chat”, where there are a limited number of certain cookbooks available to the bloggers and it is a first come first serve basis. The blogger receives a copy of the book and is asked to pick a recipe or two (depending on the challenge), then recreates the recipe, putting their own twist on it, and reviews it. The first cookbook offered up was one called “Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free Recipes for the Mindful Cook” by Dahlia Abraham-Klein. Of course I signed up..it was gluten-free! Lately I have been eating quite a bit of plant-based dishes so this book seemed right up my alley.

The book is beautiful and filled with recipes from Central Asia, covering from China to India. It includes bases & condiments, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, rice dishes, and desserts. In addition Abraham-Klein also includes a spice pantry section and information regarding basic preparation. As I flipped through this book I quickly realized it was going to be very difficult to pick one recipe to make. I finally decided on two recipes, a salad and a dessert. The salad I adapted per the 37Cooks Challenge and the dessert I followed the recipe exactly. I decided on two because I was having dinner with some dear friends and wanted to bring something to share. I chose the Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad, which is perfect for the summer. Both the beets and nectarines are available this time of year, and it required few ingredients. Then I decided to make the Peach Cobbler, one because peaches are in season and readily available at a good price, and I had never had a peach cobbler before. Actually I don’t really eat peaches because I can’t get past the fuzz on the outside…I always opt for nectarines instead. Again, like the roasted beet and nectarine salad, this recipe also called for few ingredients. I sadly didn’t take a picture of it because we pretty much just dove right in and served it with some vanilla bean ice cream…needless to say this dessert was a HUGE hit. It asked for very little sugar, but it has the perfect sweetness with the fresh peaches. I will make this again for sure. Now on to the salad…get ready its beautiful and delicious!

I’m a huge believe in the “you eat with your eyes first” theory…its true. My photo did not quite capture the beauty of this salad as I had hoped that it would but I promise you if you were to serve this to guests, it will be a conversation piece. We talked about this salad quite a bit last night for several reasons, one none of us thought to ever put nectarines and beets together, and two its just stunning to look at – it is so vibrant and equally delicious. I followed the recipe quite closely but changed a thing or two up from her cooking methods and then added a few toppings myself. Below is my adaptation of DahliaAbraham-Klein’s beautiful salad.

37-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine-Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau-337-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine-Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau_1(Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad – to serve top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese)

Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad

Adapted from: Silk Road Vegetarian {Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten Free Recipes for the Mindful Cook} by Dahlia Abraham-Klein page 99

Salad

  • Beets               2 Bunches with the greens attached (about 4-6 beets, depending on their size), Red, Gold, or a mixture of them
  • Nectarines     4, peeled, pitted and then sliced thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch)
  • Red Onion     1/4 cup, finely diced
  • Olive Oil         1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic              2 cloves, minced or grated
  • Pine Nuts       1/4 cup toasted
  • Nutmeg          1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt                  To taste, kosher
  • Pepper            To taste, black – freshly ground
  • Feta Cheese  1/4 cup, crumbled

Dressing

  • Oil                   3 Tablespoons. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil or other neutral flavored oil
  • Garlic             2 cloves grated
  • Lime              1 Juice and zest
  • Sugar            3/4 Tablespoon Organic, Unrefined
  • Salt                1/2 teaspoon, kosher
  • Pepper         1/4 teaspoon, black – freshly ground

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Rinse beets and beet greens very well to remove any dirt (you may need to do this several times, especially for the greens).
  3. Cut the beet greens from the stems and rinse in a colander, let drain
  4. Cut the stems from the beets and discard the stems.
  5. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place directly onto the oven rack.
  6. Roast for 1 hour, remove from oven and let cool
  7. Peel, pit and slice nectarines, place in a medium bowl and set aside.
  8. Peel and dice onion, place into bowl with nectarine slices and toss, set aside.
  9. While the beets are cooling, chiffonade the beet greens by placing them neatly on top of each other, then rolling them up tightly (into a cigar shape), next using a sharp knife cut across the “cigar” into 1/4 inch slices (you can go larger or smaller, depending on your preference)
  10. In a medium sauteé pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauteé garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beet greens – these will cook down similar to spinach. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  11. Once the beet greens have wilted, let them cool. Once cooled toss them into the bowl with the nectarine slices and red onion, toss to combine.
  12. When the beets have cooled, unwrap them one at a time, and peel the outer layer from the beet (I recommend wearing some plastic gloves!) and discard the foil and outer layer of the beets.
  13. Slice each beet in half, and then into 8 slices.
  14. Toss the beets in to the bowl with the nectarines, red onions, and beet greens.
  15. Next, prepare the dressing: simply add all ingredients in the order listed above to a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
  16. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to evenly coat.
  17. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  18. Prior to serving, in a small sauteé pan add the pine nuts, and nutmeg, and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  19. To serve, place salad into a serving bowl, top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese.
  20. Enjoy!

Last night we served this alongside some baked salmon that had delicious herbs on it, brown rice with crumbled dulse, and of course the delicious peach cobbler for dessert. A light and delicious meal perfect for the summer time.

37-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine_Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau-2

The cookbook was provided to me from the publisher for this review. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.

 

Coconut Thai Shrimp w/ Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0058This time of year is perfect for fresh seafood – especially in New England. Lately I have been consuming about a 75/35 diet…the 75 being vegetable/plant-based meals and the 35 being meat based meals. I am working towards consuming the recommended 8-12oz of fish/seafood per week according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, however my budget does not always allow it, especially when trying to consume wild caught fish/seafood. Living below the poverty line, trying to make ends meet, and living on a tight budget can make things a difficult and frustrating when trying to eat healthy and buy fresh ingredients all the time. I have been living this way for quite a while now, and for the next year, that tight budget of mine just got even tighter! So here are a few little tips and tricks that I have found helpful and put to use:

  • When I find a good deal on wild caught seafood, I buy a little extra and freeze it into appropriate portion sizes.
  • Search the frozen section – some times you can find wild caught pre-frozen shrimp, tuna, or salmon – pick up a piece or two and save it for a raining day.
  • Shop local – small independent grocery stores and farmers markets usually have some great deals.
  • Eat Seasonally – the best prices for items are when they are in season, that should be no surprise.
  • Coupon Clipping – I kid you not, this has helped me so much. I do not clip coupons for items that I can not eat or that I do not use, that would be a waste of money and time. Sign up for coupons from Mambo Sprouts – usually they have lots of great gluten-free related coupons.
  • Frozen Veggies and Canned Goods – I know it is not “gourmet” but you can make one heck of a meal with these items…if buying canned goods, buy them with no or low sodium, and be sure to rinse them well. I buy my beans canned because it is quick and easy and they are full of nutrients.
  • Think of side of the box – instead of spending loads of money on meat proteins, I use a lot of alternative proteins like tofu, tempeh, and beans
  • Whole grains – they fill you up and are very versatile.

Below is a simple, yet flavorful shrimp recipe that can be prepared inside or on the grill and is perfect for this beautiful weather. You can serve it with our without the rice, in taco shells, or however you choose.

I found the Coconut Thai Seasoning at The Spice and Tea Exchange in Newport…I have no idea how I never realized this little gem was so close to me, but it was probably a good thing for me (not them) that I didn’t! I walked into the shop and instantly was in heaven. It’s a small shop, packed with spices, teas, salts, etc. The staff was very helpful and friendly as well, especially when helping me with gluten-free blend options. I picked up a few different spice blends but had to try the Coconut Thai one first.

Coconut Thai Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0061Coconut Thai Shrimp – Ingredients

  • Shrimp                                                         1/2 pound
  • Coconut Thai Seasoning                         2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil                                                       1 teaspoon

Mango Salsa – Ingredients

  • Lime Juice                                                  2 tablespoons
  • Lime Zest                                                    1 teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                               1/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Mango                                                         1 – fine dice
  • Red Onion                                                  2-3 tablespoons, fine dice
  • Avocado                                                      1 – fine dice
  • Bell Pepper, Orange,Yellow, etc.            1/4 cup, fine dice

Spinach Lime Rice – Ingredients

  • Basmati or Jasmine Rice                        1 cup – uncooked
  • Water or stock                                             2 cups
  • Spinach, Baby                                             1 1/2 cups
  • Lime Zest                                                     1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro                                                         1 tablespoon, fine chop

Method of Preparation

  1. Peel and devein shrimp
  2. Mango Avocado Salsa – In a medium bowl add lime juice, lime zest, salt, and cayenne pepper – mix well.
  3. Add diced mango, red onion, avocado, and bell pepper, mix well.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. Coconut Thai Shrimp – In a medium bowl add, Coconut Thai Seasoning and Olive oil, mix well
  6. Add shrimp and toss to coat evenly, set aside in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
  7. Spinach Lime Rice – In a small stock pot bring two cups of water or stock to a boil and add rice. Stir and cook until done (usually about 15-20 minutes depending on rice)
  8. During the last two minutes of cooking, stir in spinach and stir to wilt the spinach leaves. Set aside.
  9. Right before serving add lime zest and freshly chopped cilantro into the spinach rice and toss to evenly incorporate.
  10. To cook the shrimp – either heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook 2-4 minutes per side or place on a hot grill for the same amount of time.
  11. Serve with spinach lime rice, and mango salsa – top with fresh cilantro and lime wedges if desired.

Enjoy!

 

 

One-Pot Meal: Spring Time Mushroom Risotto {Good Cook Kitchen Drawer Contest}

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I have really enjoyed working with Good Cook and getting to participate in their challenges and using their products. If you are anything like me, you get rather excited about kitchen gadgets, and trust me, Good Cook has some great ones. Starting on June 1, you will be able to build your kitchen drawer with 15 Good Cook tools and gadgets from goodcook.com, all you have to do is choose up to 15 items from the official list of products, and you might just win what you choose! If you are a bit suck on what to choose, you can always choose the same tools and gadgets that I did or any of the other participating bloggers…more info will be provided when the contest begins.

From June 2 – June 7th, Good Cook is hosting a 5-day product giveaway on their Facebook page, plus there will be instant winners. For each drawer that you build, you have a chance to be an instant winner and you can enter once daily for more chances!Read more:

Wondering which products are available? Look for the “ADD ME” icon below on the Good Cook website! Additionally, during this contest, all items on GoodCook.com are 25% off – there is no code needed…just head on over and start shopping. The “Build Your Kitchen Drawer” Contest will run from June 2nd – July 14th.

To begin this awesome “Build Your Kitchen Drawer” event bloggers were given five tools/gadgets to work with and create a one-pot meal with. We had to use at least two of the five tools provided us and create a delicious dish…not too hard right? Ha, I beg to differ…I got stuck on “one-pot meal”, thinking to myself “I could make a soup”, “Nah, its spring time”, or “chili…that’s always a one-pot meal”, “No, I don’t really want chili right now either”. So my next thought was fried rice, because, you know me, I LOVE Asian food, but when walking through the grocery store I came across this mix of mushrooms; it had baby bellas, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, and decided to make a spring risotto with mushrooms and green onions, and of course some white wine. There are so many “one-pot” meals, and this one can be used as an entrée or as a side dish…you can even bake it, or roll them into balls and make fried risotto balls – endless possibilities!

The five items that we were provided are  SMART Ice Cream Scoop, Flip Measuring Spoon, Safe-Cut Can Opener, Egg Separator, and the Pot Clip Holder. All of these products are great – I did not use all of them to make this dish but I did try to test them out at least once so I could share them with you. The only item I did not use for this recipe was the Safe-cut Can Opener, but let’s start with the items I used…

  • SMART Ice Cream Scoop – LOVE this ice cream scoop…it has a split back to help release the contents, and can be used for many different things such as scooping the risotto out of the pan into my bowl, mashed potatoes, and obviously ice cream, you can read more about the SMART Scoop here – (hand wash only).
  • Flip Measuring Spoon – this is perfect for people who do not want a cluttered drawer, or are just starting out, it is four measuring spoons in 1, it doesn’t get much better than that. I used this to measure out the red pepper flakes and salt for the recipe below, you can read more about it here.
  • Egg Separator – is a pretty handy tool especially if you need only to use the egg whites or yolks in a recipe – I did not NEED to use that for this recipe, but I tested it out anyway…it just makes life a little easier, read more about it here.
  • Pot Clip Holder – How I have lived with out this, I’m not sure just yet. This is the perfect little kitchen gadget that I think everyone should own, maybe even several of them. This helps keep your stove top and counters nice and clean. It clips on to the side of the pot and holds your spoon when you aren’t using it. Read more about it here.
  • Safe-cut Can Opener – The one and only item I did not use, only because I had no can to open, but this can opener, as its name states is a “safe-cut” which means it leaves no sharp edges to get injured on! So this tool is perfect for having your younger ones help out in the kitchen, you can read more about it here.

 

photo 1(9)Here is what I made…

Spring Time Mushroom Risotto

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Ingredients

  • Olive Oil                                               1 tablespoon
  • Butter                                                   1 tablespoon
  • Scallions, sliced                               1/4 cup
  • Mushrooms, sliced                           1 cup
  • Red Pepper Flakes                          1/4-1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                        1/4 teaspoon
  • Arborio Rice                                       1 cup
  • White Wine                                         1/2 cup
  • Chicken Stock, low sodium            4 cups
  • Egg, whole                                         1 large
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated            1/4 cup

Method of Preparation:

  1. Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  2. In a small stock pot add four cups of chicken stock and heat over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer
  3.  In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  4.  Add sliced scallions and saute for 1 minute.
  5. Add mushrooms, and cook for an addition 2 minutes.
  6. Add white wine and cook for an additional minute.
  7. Season with salt and pepper
  8. If the pan is a little dry add an additional teaspoon of either oil or butter, then add the rice and stir to evenly coat.
  9. Stir in 1 cup of stock – just enough to cover the rice.
  10. Stir well and continue to stir until the rice has almost completely absorbed the stock.
  11. Continue this process until all stock has been added to rice and absorbed. This should take about 20-30 minutes.
  12. Push the risotto to the outer edges of the pan and add the egg.
  13. Fry egg, and carefully flip over to not break the yolk – you want it to be runny over the risotto when plating.
  14. Gently remove the egg and set aside.
  15. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
  16. To serve top with fried egg and sliced scallions.

Chef Notes:You can use any short grain rice instead of the arborio rice, as risotto is a style of cooking, not a type of rice.

 Be sure to check out more delicious recipes from the other Good Cook Bloggers and Kitchen Experts at the link below!


This post was sponsored by Good Cook as part of the Blogger and Kitchen Experts programs.

#goodcookcom #kitchendrawercontest #goodcookblogger

Beef & Broccoli {Take-Out-At-Home}

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I need a wok. Seriously. With the amount of Asian food that I make it amazes me that I do not own one. Someday.

My dad however has one, so we put it to use one night and made some gluten-free beef and broccoli. My dad is awesome for many reasons, but I love how good he is about gluten-free awareness and cross contamination. He even has a separate peanut butter jar just for me so I don’t get sick when I am there. He keeps gluten-free bread and goodies in his freezer for me as well. Like I said, he is pretty awesome.

Who doesn’t love a quick easy version of one of your take-out favorites?! I know not all of the ingredients below are traditionally what is found in beef & broccoli but it tastes pretty darn good. There are a bunch of other beef & broccoli recipes out there on the web, and I really wanted to make something simple yet flavorful. Hope you all give it a shot and enjoy it.

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Beef & Broccoli

  • 1 pound beef – tenderloin cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1-2 medium heads of broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 inches of ginger peeled and sliced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or oil of your choice)
  • Boiling Water (for broccoli)
  • Bowl of ice water

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce (San-J reduced sodium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (Marukan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons potato starch (you can use corn or tapioca)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (San-J reduced sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (Dynasty Brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (white or brown)
  • 2 teaspoons of potato starch (you can use corn or tapioca)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust as needed or omit)

Method of Preparation

  • Slice beef and set aside
  • In a medium bowl combine all ingredients in the marinade and add beef. Marinade for 30 minutes.
  • In a large stock pot bring water to boil, and blanch the broccoli florets – about 10-15 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Immediately place blanched broccoli in ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Repeat with remaining broccoli. Once all broccoli is blanched and then placed in an ice bath, strain and pat dry. Set aside.
  • In a wok or large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add half o the beef and cooking until about 75-80% cooked throughout (this will be quick at high heat).
  • Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and steak.
  • Add ginger and red pepper flakes, stir-fry for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  • Return the beef to the pan to finish cooking. Add broccoli and stir fry for 1 minute
  • Add sauce and toss to coat – as soon as the sauce begins to thicken remove from the heat.
  • Serve with steamed rice – white or brown.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

Southwestern Chicken Pizza

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Every once in a while I crave pizza, but it isn’t very often. To me pizza has always been kind of a snack food, not a meal. It needs to have a lot of amazing toppings on it or at least have a salad with it for it to be a meal. I know this sounds weird, but it just is not a meal in my world. However, I think I have come up with a substantial enough of a pizza to make it a meal with. Below is my Southwestern Chicken Pizza loaded with chicken breast, black beans, corn, and lots of delicious veggies. You can feel free to customize the toppings and spice level to your likings. If you are vegetarian omit the chicken and load up on some extra veggies and beans.

I don’t know how busy you all are, but if you are anything like myself, you are pretty darn busy. Most days I’m up at 4:00am and I’m home anywhere between 2:30pm – 10:00pm, all depending on that day’s schedule. Some nights are loaded up with homework and I don’t always have the time to make myself a fancy dinner so this comes in very handy. It is loaded up protein and nutrients. If you use a pre-made crust, this makes for a very quick and easy weeknight meal.

Southwestern Chicken Pizza

Crust

Topping

  • Sauce: Homemade or Jarred (all depends on how much and how big your pizza is
  • 1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken breast (boneless/skinless), cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup peppers: red, yellow, and orange, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1/2 cup corn: fresh, frozen, canned (unsalted and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup black beans: rinsed and drained well
  • 1/4 cup red onion: sliced thin
  • 1 cup baby spinach: packed and rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method of Preparation

  1. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add peppers and corn and cook for 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. Add black beans and red onions, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add the baby spinach to the pan and cook until wilted.
  5. After the spinach has wilted, add diced chicken and season with cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, and salt.
  6. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Top pizza crush with sauce, cheese, and chicken and vegetable mixture…top with a little additional cheese if you so desire.
  8. Bake according to directions of the pizza crust you are using.
  9. Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp and Chicken

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I just completed my winter term of school and about to begin my spring term which also happens to be my last term of academics before graduating! I can’t believe that in 78 days (yes I am counting) I will walk across the stage at graduation and receive my degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University. This is a dream come true. All of the hard work, sacrifices, and dedication during these last three years will be worth that moment. This is a day I never thought I would see, especially at the age of 32! Even though this journey has been difficult and I have missed out on many things, I know it is all worth it. Without the support of my family and friends I know I wouldn’t be here and to them, I am truly thankful.

In my last post I mentioned that I have been MIA from here for a while because I have been applying to Dietetic Internship programs. This is a pretty competitive process and I have given my all in these applications and the three years leading up to them. I will be notified on April 6th if I have been selected or not. Until then, it is a waiting game that is completely out of my control. I am hoping for the best and if selected I will give this program my all. If I am not selected, I will continue to work hard and apply again next year.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and for being faithful followers and readers of Creative Cooking Gluten Free over these last six years. Thank you for understanding that I am only one person and cannot post daily on here. Between school, work, homework, and volunteering, I just do not always have the time. I hope to be better about it this term however, and provide you all with some new delicious gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes.

Below is a recipe I created this past term at school – it is originally designed for an athlete on a heavy training day so I had to adjust the amounts to work for everyone. Please feel free to adjust the spice level to your liking and you can always switch out the shrimp and chicken for more veggies if you prefer.

Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp and Chicken

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Ingredients:

Amount                                   Ingredient

  • 1 pound                                     Shrimp, large, cleaned, deveined, shells removed and set aside
  • 6 cups                                       Stock, seafood, chicken, or vegetable
  • 1 pound                                     Chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1/3 cup                                      Mushrooms, crimini, shitake, etc., sliced
  • 1/4 cup                                     Carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup                                     Zucchini, julienned
  • 2 cans                                      Coconut Milk, full fat
  • 1/2 cup                                     Rice, White or Basmati, uncooked
  • 2 inches                                   Ginger, cut in half
  • 3 cloves                                    Garlic, smashed
  • 2 small                                     Lime, juice and zest (save one lime for garnish)
  • 6  medium                                Thai Chili Peppers, cut 3-4 in half (for less spice remove seeds)
  • 2-3 tablespoons                        Cilantro, chopped or torn
  • 2 tablespoons                           Scallions, sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 teaspoons                             Salt, Kosher (more to taste if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons                          Oil of your choice (Olive, Canola, etc.)

Method of Preparation:

  1.  Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  2.  Clean, devein shrimp, and save shells. Set aside cleaned shrimp
  3.  Slice chicken breast into thin strips and set aside.
  4.  Clean mushrooms, and slice thin and set aside.
  5.  Wash carrots and zucchini, julienne, and set aside.
  6.  In a high sided sauté pan heat oil over medium heat.
  7.  Add shrimp shells and cook for five minutes.
  8. Add in ginger, garlic, lime, and Thai chili pepper(s) and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  9. Add stock and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
  10. Strain stock and discard any solids.
  11. Return stock to pan and bring to a boil.
  12. Add mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini and cook for one minute, remove and set aside
  13. Add rice, cover pan and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
  14. Stir in coconut milk and mix until incorporated and all solids have dissolved.
  15. Turn heat to medium low, add in chicken, and shrimp. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until proteins are cooked throughout.
  16. Return the vegetables to the pan and stir well.
  17. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  18. Serve in a bowl with a slice of lime fresh Thai chili pepper(s), and chopped cilantro.
  19. Hold at 135° or warmer.

Strawberry Chia Scones {Product Spotlight}

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I’m going to attempt a new feature on CCGF – I’m not 100% set on the details just yet but here is what I am thinking.

  • Either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly I am going to do a product spotlight.
  • I do a bunch of reviews on the blog already but I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite thing.
  • These products are not necessarily going to be a food item, they may be kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, etc.
  • I plant to talk about the item, the pros, cons, how to utilize it, etc.
  • I just want to have fun with this and share with all of you my favorite items.
  • I started working at a natural foods store with tons of gluten-free options, many of which I have never tried so I thought I would incorporate some of those items as well.

What do you all think?

Below is my first product spotlight…

Pamela’s Biscuit & Scone Mix

By: Pamela’s Products

I love Pamela’s Products – it is one of my favorite packaged gluten-free goods. Lately I have been making my own flour blend to use but this is one that I would definitely go out and buy, especially her pancake mix (I’ll be taking that with me next week when we are fly fishing in Maine for a week). Below is a little bit of information about Pamela’s Products:

Here are some of the reasons why Pamela’s stands out from the crowd:

  • High quality sugars including, fruit juice, agave, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup and molasses create better tasting, decadent food.
  • The palm shortening is made from the most healthful part of the palm and is sourced from companies with fair trade and environmental stewardship track records.
  • Our nuts are from American suppliers to ensure freshness and quality.
  • Minimally processed grains like certified gluten-free oats, brown rice, millet and sorghum are used whenever possible to provide the benefits of whole grains they offer.
  • Sweet creamery butter (non-rBGH of course) and the highest quality monounsaturated safflower oil are used. Pamela’s does not use low quality oils.
  • The cardboard used in our packaging is made from recycled materials and are recyclable. Soy ink is used in all cardboard printing. We continue to seek additional sources of recycled materials.
  • We are in the process of changing our plastic trays to 100% recycled material.

What we leave out is as important as what we put in:

  • We never use any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives.
  • We never use high fructose corn syrup.
  • We have statements from all suppliers verifying our ingredients are non-GMO.  We are currently preparing to join the non-GMO Project, and are working closely with our vendors to assure the quality and source of all our ingredients

Biscuit and Scone Mix Ingredients: Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Sorghum Flour, White Rice Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, Grainless & Aluminum-Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch), Natural Evaporated Sugar, Sea Salt, Guar Gum, Baking Soda.

Allergy Information: Free of gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy*, nuts*, soy*, corn,

*=depends on if you use butter or a butter alternative, and if you use almond or soy milk.

Pros: easy to follow directions with several recipes listed on the package itself. No sugar in the mix so you can add as much or as little as you want (I didn’t use much). You can use whatever ingredients you wish making your biscuits or scones either savory or sweet.

Cons: Can’t find it in a store near me but will contacting them to carry it.

How I used it: After reading the recipe options on the packaged (which all sounded delicious) I wanted to try my own thing. B went to the store yesterday and picked up two packages of strawberries that were out of this world delicious. So I thought of making a fresh strawberry and chia seed drop scone.

Strawberries are a good source of folate and potassium, and very good sources of dietary fiber, Vitamin C and manganese. Chia seeds are amazing little things. In just one tablespoon they pack 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids! These are also great in smoothies, yogurt, and other baked goods.

These are delicious! I can however see why they say to use dried fruits in the recipe on the package…the fresh fruit makes it a bit sticky and uneasy to cut so I just made them into drop scones…don’t know if that is a real thing but it is now!

Strawberry Chia Scones

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1 Package of Pamela’s Products Biscuit & Scone Mix

8 Tablespoons of Butter or Butter Alternative (Earth Balance), Cold

1/3 Cup Wholesome Sweetener Organic Sugar

1 Cup Almond Milk

3/4 Cup Fresh Strawberries, Diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds

Follow directions on package – however when mixing in the fresh fruit mix by hand to prevent the fruit from becoming over mixed.

Place rack in top third of oven and pre-heat oven to 375°.

Combine dry mix and sugar. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or pastry blender, cut in butter until pea-sized crumbs are formed. Add milk. Add strawberries and chia seeds, mix until well incorporated. Take two large spoons and scoop scones onto a prepared baking sheet (either greased or parchment lined.You can sprinkle the top with a little bit of sugar before baking if you wish. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool slightly and enjoy.

These came out moist and delicious! Hope you enjoy this recipes and give this mix a try. So versatile…you can make savory scones or biscuits as well!

*I was sent this mix from Pamela’s Products for a review – I was not compensated in any way and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Crust-less Quiche {37 Cooks}

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The second entry into the 37 Cooks and Sciabica Olive Oil challenge is a crust-less and veggie filled quiche. This can easily be made in a large baking dish, pie dish, or individual ramekins. Quiche is another one of those “blank canvases” that I love because you can add any ingredient that you want.  Quiche is perfect for large groups of people especially for brunch or a “make you own” quiche breakfast with your family. Just have prep bowls of different ingredients (mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, cheese, ham, spinach, kale, zucchini, etc.) and let each person make their own with their favorite ingredients.

Crust-less Quiche – Serves 4-8

Ingredients:

  • Manzanillo Variety Fall Harvest Olive Oil               2 Tablespoons
  • Garlic, minced                                                        1 Tablespoon
  • Baby Spinach, Chiffonade                                      1 Cup
  • Zucchini, 1/4 inch dice                                            1/2 Cup
  • Onion, White 1/4 inch dice                                      1/4 Cup
  • Bell Pepper, Orange, 1/4 inch dice                          1/4 Cup
  • Salt, Kosher                                                             1/2 Teaspoon
  • Pepper, freshly ground                                             1/4 Teaspoon
  • Cilantro, fine chop                                                    1 Tablespoon
  • Low-fat Mozzarella Cheese                                     1 Cup
  • Egg Beaters                                                             2 Cups

Method of Preparation:

  1. Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.
  4. Add garlic and spinach and sautee until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini, onion, and bell pepper. Continue to sautee for an additional 2 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Either divide vegetable mixture evenly into 4 ramekins or into a large 9 inch round baking dish (pie dish, cake pan, etc.)
  8. In a medium bowl add eggs and remaining salt and pepper, mix well (if using whole eggs, if not proceed to step 9)
  9. Top vegetables evenly with cilantro, mozzarella cheese and egg beaters. Season with remaining salt and pepper if desired.
  10. Bake  until eggs have set in the center (about 25-30 minutes for the ramekins depending on their size or 45-60 minutes for a 9 inch pan).
  11. Remove from oven and drizzle lightly with Manzanillo Variety Fall Harvest Olive Oil

Chef Notes:

  1. You can add this to a crust as well and you can use whatever fillings you choose: mushrooms, ham, kale, etc.
  2. You can substitute the egg beaters for whole eggs and use 6-8 eggs.

Check out 37 Cooks on Facebook and Twitter

Check out Sciabica Olive Oil on Facebook

Ratatouille

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The second 37 Cooks challenged that I participated in was for Sciabica Olive Oil. Sciabica Olive Oil is a family run business which prepares their olive oil in the Italian tradition of old-world quality and they say that their oils are “California Sunshine in A Bottle”. Sciabica proves that you do not need to go to Italy or Spain to get good quality and fantastic tasting olive oil. Sciabica generously provided each of the 37 Cooks with two bottles of their choice. I chose the Manzanillo Variety Fall Harvest and the Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Both of which were simply delicious. I always like to taste my olive oils by themselves before using them in either cooking or baking – this helps me get an idea of what I want to use them for and what flavors I think would go well together.

For this challenge we were asked to again prepare two dishes with the olive oils that we choose. Below is my first recipe and I can’t even count how many recipes I made after this which made it difficult to choose my second one (will be posted soon). This olive oil was so delicious and I’m happy but surprised I have any left!

Please check out 37 Cooks (here is a link to my bio) and Sciabica Olive Oil.

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Ratatouille – Serves 4
Ingredients:

Sciabica Garlic Olive Oil*                       3 tablespoons, divided

Eggplant, 3/4 inch dice                           1 cup

Onion*, White, 3/4 inch dice                     1/2 cup

Garlic, Minced                                         2-3 large cloves (1-2 tablespoons)

Red Pepper Flakes                                 1/4-1/2 teaspoons

Baby Bella Mushrooms, quartered         1 cup

Bell Pepper, Yellow, 3/4 inch dice           1/2 cup

Bell Pepper, Orange, 3/4 inch dice         1/2 cup

Zucchini, 3/4 inch dice                           1/2 Cup

Tomatoes, Roma, 1/2 inch dice             4-6 each

      or pasta sauce of your choice         1/2 – 1 cup

Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated        To taste

Salt, Kosher                                          To taste

Pepper                                                  To taste

Gluten-free pasta – we use corn or brown rice pasta.

Method of Preparation:
  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Trim ends from eggplant. Cut eggplant into  ¾ inch dice. Sprinkle with kosher salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Cut mushrooms in halves or quarters and set aside
  4. Cut onions, peppers and zucchini in to ¾ inch dice and set aside.
  5. Cut Roma tomatoes into 1/2 inch dice, remove seeds and set aside.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until translucent.
  7. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil the eggplant and sauté until lightly browned.
  8. Add all other vegetables.  Season generously and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in basil chiffonade.
  9. Stir in tomatoes or tomato sauce and cook for additional 10 minutes.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve as is or over pasta.
  12. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

*B was out-of-town so that is why there are onions in this dish, but if you are cooking for someone who suffers from onion allergy like B does then just omit those and add some additional vegetables. You can also use regular olive oil if you can not find the garlic olive oil.

What Is A Serving Size?

Image from: blturlock.blogspot.com

I am on a mission this year to get in shape and to become healthier. I’m doing this for several reasons but one in particular is that if I plan to become an RD I need to be healthy – no one, including myself wants to take advice about health and wellness from someone who is not healthy and practicing what they are preaching.

One of the biggest things that I have found is really being conscious of the serving sizes. I don’t know about you but I don’t tend to carry around my food scale and measuring cups with me everywhere I go to measure everything I eat. So below is a list of examples for you to keep in mind. You can find more information about healthy eating on my Healthy Eating page , Choose My Plate. There are also many more examples and references along with various images out there for serving sizes, but these are a few that I have found to be helpful.

Confused about portions sizes? Try relating them to everyday items to help you out!

  • A rounded handful – one 1/2 cup vegetables or fruit, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, or a snack serving of crisps or pretzels
  • Woman’s fist – another way of visualising a serving of vegetables, or one piece of whole fruit
  • Small handful or golf ball – 1/4 cup of dried fruit or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • A matchbox – a 1 oz serving of meat, or a serving of cheese
  • Deck of cards, – a 3 oz serving (recommended serving = 3-4 oz) of meat, fish or poultry, or ten chips/french fries
  • Check book – a serving of fish (approximately 3 oz)
  • Tennis ball – 1/2 cup of pasta, or a serving of ice cream
  • Computer mouse – a medium baked potato
  • Compact disc – one serving of pancake or small waffle
  • Thumb tip or one dice – one teaspoon of margarine
  • A ping-pong ball – two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Small milk carton – 8 fl oz glass of milk
  • A baseball – 8 fl oz cup of yogurt, one cup of beans, or one cup of dry cereal

Are you wondering how much you should be consuming of each food group on a daily basis? Visit this great resource, Personalized Daily Food Plans from Choose My Plate.

For more resources be sure to visit:

WebMD.com  – Portion Size Plate

MIT – Serving Sizes

Spark People – The Portion Distortion Guide