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!

 

 

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Shrimp-0051

I would grill all year-long if I could. This year we had so much crazy snow drifts that it was a bit impossible to do. I love my grill dearly…great flavors, you can grill pretty much anything, its outside with the sun and the fresh air, easy clean up, and less fats are used! We grill steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, hot sausages, shrimp, fish, pizza, and veggies…tons of veggies! Last year I bought one of those little grill baskets for I think $3.00 and it works like a charm, especially for mushrooms.

Last week we got the tank refilled and have used it quite a bit since. We are both trying to get in better shape and eat healthier (a follow-up post to my I’m on a mission…post will appear soon, I promise!). So the grill comes in very handy for this, because like I mentioned I use way less oils or fats when cooking. We have switched from eating red meat weekly (sometimes multiple times a week) to about monthly and started eating more chicken (breasts, no skin – which we have always done), shrimp, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Since starting to work out and now that I have gotten on a schedule with a program I really like I have been craving much healthier foods…funny how that works huh? Snacks include slices of yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, or carrot sticks with hummus and mandarins! Seriously I never ate peppers or any form of oranges, but loved orange juice. Now I can’t seem to get enough of them. For lunch I have been buying Boar’s Head low sodium meats and making little “roll-ups” with some low sodium cheese, and baby spinach. I’m really like this craving of healthy foods! More to come on all of this in my follow-up post mentioned above, but for now let’s get back to the Grilled Shrimp Tacos…

These are SO easy to make, light, and delicious – we are loving this little creation of mine. As with the majority of my recipes please feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your flavor likings!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa

IMG_5380_5585

Salsa

Ingredients

  • Lime Zest                                                                  1 lime
  • Lime Juice, Fresh                                                     2 limes
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                      ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                                             1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Corn, rinsed & drained                                             1 can (14oz)
  • Black beans, no salt added rinsed, & drained          1 can (15.5 oz)
  • Red Bell Pepper, small dice                                      ¼ cup
  • Orange Bell Pepper, small dice                                ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a medium bowl zest one lime. Zest the second lime used later for juicing and set aside zest for the shrimp marinade.
  3. Juice the two limes into the bowl
  4. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, mix until well combined. Set aside
  5. Open cans of corn and black beans. Drain and rinse corn first, and then add to a medium bowl.
  6. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl with the corn and lime juice mixture.
  7. Dice bell peppers and add to the corn, black beans, and lime juice mixture.
  8. Mix well, cover and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  9. Mix well before serving.
  10. Serve with grilled shrimp tacos and/or corn tortilla chips.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos – makes six tacos

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil                                                                      2 tablespoons
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                        ½ teaspoon
  • Lime Zest                                                                    1 lime
  • Salt, Kosher                                                                1/8 teaspoon
  • Jumbo Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cleaned                 10 each
  • Corn Tortilla, soft                                                          6 each
  • Avocado, halved and sliced                                        1 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a small bowl combine first four ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add shrimp and toss to evenly coat all shrimp.
  4. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat grill to medium high
  6. Either skewers your shrimp or use a grill basket to cook shrimp.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Shrimp should be opaque and cooked throughout.
  8. Remove shrimp from grill and cut up into large chunks or leave whole.
  9. On the cooler part of the grill add the soft corn tortilla shells.
  10. Grill until you see grill marks – about 3-4 minutes per side (this all depends on how hot your grill is, and how crispy you want them…at this stage they are still quite pliable).
  11. To assemble your tacos add 2-3 tablespoons of corn and black bean salsa on each grilled corn tortilla shell.
  12. Top with equal portions of diced or whole grilled shrimp and slices of avocado.
  13. Enjoy the extra salsa with some gluten-free corn tortilla chips.

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls {Take-out At Home}

IMG_4822

We both love Chipolte, Cilantros, and Pancheros (both similar to Chipolte) but eating out adds up and we don’t have the money to do that very often so I make as much as I can at home and call it “Take-out At Home”. When we do eat out at one of the places listed above we both tend to go for the vegetarian option – I always get a bowl because it is gluten-free (the corn tacos are as well, but I like the bowl better) and Bryan goes back and forth between a bowl and a burrito. We are not vegetarians, although we do try to eat several meals a week that are vegetarian, but we always order the vegetarian option at these places. Why? Because you get free guacamole (except for Pancheros)! Go ahead and laugh but I would rather save the extra $1.00 – $1.50 and get the guac instead of meat. It’s a much healthier fat anyway.

These are so simple to make at home and cost way less money! Below is a simple, quick, and delicious way to prepare the vegetarian bowls at home. This is also a great recipe for those on a budget because it utilizes what you have in your freezer and cupboards! You can however feel free to use non-instant brown rice, or dried beans (soaked, and cooked), and fresh corn on the cob (if in season).

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice, boil-in-the-bag                         1 bag
  • Cooking Spray                                             As needed
  • Corn, frozen – defrosted                               1 cup
  • Black beans, canned, no salt added            1 can
  • Cumin, ground                                              1/2 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper, ground                              1/2 teaspoon
  • Lime, juice and zest                                      1 zested then sliced into wedges
  • Avocado                                                        1 pit removed, and flesh scooped out
  • Cilantro                                                          2 tablespoons chopped
  • Salsa                                                             1/2 cup, divided
  • Lettuce, mixed greens                                   1/2 cup, divided
  • Cheese, shredded                                         1/2 cup, divided

Method of Preparation:

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the brown rice (boil-in-a-bag) and cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from water and drain slightly over the sink. Divide evenly between the two bowls.

Lightly spray a small sautee pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You are looking for a nice roasted color on the corn, you may need a little more or little less time depending on your stove. Be careful not to burn them.

In a small sauce pan add the canned beans (no salt added or low sodium is best). Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, a pinch of lime zest (1/4 teaspoon), and the juice of 1/4 of the lime. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

In a small bowl add the flesh of the avocado and mash it up with 1/8 teaspoon cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Squeeze 1/4 of the lime into the bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1/2 of the lime juice, cilantro and lime zest evenly into the bowls with rice and mix well.

Top the rice with roasted corn, black beans, guacamole, lettuce, and shredded cheese. Serve with additional lime wedges if desired. Also great served with tortilla chips.

Looking for other Take-out At Home dishes? Check out these delicious recipes below:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Starbucks)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Blackened Shrimp Nachos

“Wendy’s” Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Mozzarella Sticks

Szechuan Beef (P.F. Chang’s)

Gluten-Free Frito-Lay Recipes

Don’t you just love when a favorite item or brand of yours is actually gluten free, and provides the information on their website! I know I do. I get abnormally excited over something that most would consider small, but to me its all about the small things in life. I’ve always been a fan of Frito-Lay’s products however, I never realized how many of them are gluten-free! Check out their recently updated list here. I think you will be presently surprised. This was brought to my attention by the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness (NFCA) when they asked if I would like to be a recipe tester for some of the new products.

I was assigned the Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote. I had the option of changing up the recipe if I so desired to, however I rather liked it just as it was. The waffles were more on the savory side, but topped with the Mascarpone and Strawberry Compote made them a sweet-savory treat. I made these for my neighbor and myself whose respective other halves are away for the summer and she was recently told from her doctor that she needs to avoid gluten and wheat. They not only would be great for dinner but they made a mighty delicious dinner:)

In addition to my recipe and post check out the NFCA’s page for additional recipes and bloggers:  http://www.celiaccentral.org/frito-lay/recipes/

Keep reading to learn how you can win your own Frito-Lay products!!

Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote

175 grams (about 1 1/4 cups millet flour)
50 grams (3/4 cup) crushed Fritos® Original corn chips
1 tablespoon golden flaxmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 large egg whites

Strawberry Compote
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mascarpone cheese

Combine flour, corn chips, flaxmeal, baking powder, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, butter and honey
in a blender container. Blend until smooth. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until they form
soft peaks. Fold flour mixture into beaten egg whites until incorporated, being careful not to
deflate egg whites.

Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto greased, heated griddle and cook until waffle is done,
according to manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat with remaining batter.

Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium
heat until juicy and thickened, stirring often.

Serve waffles with mascarpone cheese and warm strawberries.

Yield: about 9 waffles.

Notes:

To make these a little sweeter – maybe add a tablespoon of sugar

This recipe was pretty easy and quick to make. Again this is great for breakfast or dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? I know I do!

I ended up eight large waffles

My waffle maker is old (very old) so they came out a bit darker than I had hoped.

The strawberries and Mascarpone are fantastic on this – don’t add anything to the cheese, just add a dollop on top of the waffles and then top with the strawberry compote.

Head on over here to enter for your chance to win a prize package from Frito-Lay!

 

 

One Vinaigrette – Two Dishes {O Olive Oil}

In my last post about O Olive Oil, I mentioned that I was one of the lucky bloggers who was chosen to participate in the O Olive Oil challenge over at erecipecards.com. Each blogger was asked to do two posts – one a tasting and the second a recipe. Please take a second to read my fist post – A Naked Tasting. I was generously provided a bottle of the O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar to taste and create a recipe with.

As I mentioned in my last post these have a higher sugar content and in turn a lower burn temperature which make them great for finishing oils and vinaigrettes. I decided to do just that – make a vinaigrette and then create two dishes to use it with, both of course are gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian by simply omitting the chicken in one and the fish in the other – you can also add in some delicious tofu!

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette (adjust this to meet your needs)

3 parts O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

1 part Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar

Small Shallot – minced

Kosher Salt – to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper – to taste

Pinch of sugar

I know you are probably wondering where the exact measurements are but I think vinaigrettes are a personal judgement call.  Taste as you go, adjust as needed based on your likes and needs. This oil and vinegar make such a delicious vinaigrette – its sweet and tangy all at once.

Quinoa Salad with Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup red quinoa

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small zucchini diced (1/4 inch)

1 small summer squash diced (1/4 inch)

1 1/2 cups roasted chicken (omit or sub with tofu for vegetarian option)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir  Vinaigrette – to taste

Lemon Zest

Directions

  1. I roasted mine with a lemon pepper compound butter that had a light drizzle of the olive oil in it and placed it under the skin. When done – let the chicken rest and cool – shred and set aside.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  3. In a small non stick pan over ow-medium heat add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and gently cook the mushrooms, zucchini, and summer squash – just to warm them up a bit.
  4. In a large bowl add the vinaigrette, shredded chicken, and veggie mixture – toss to coat.
  5. When quinoa is finished cooking add directly into the bowl with the chicken, veggies, and vinaigrette – toss to combine and let sit for at least 20 minutes so everything soaks up the awesome vinaigrette.
  6. Toss in the tomatoes and zest lemon over the top before serving.
  7. This makes for a great entree or as a side dish. You can add anything you really wanted to this dish as quinoa to me is like a blank canvas just waiting to be jazzed up a bit. This dish can be served warm or chilled, which makes it great for the summer and a picnic or BBQ!

Grilled Tilapia Pasta with Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

Penne pasta (gluten-free)

Broccoli florets and pieces

1 – per person, Tilapia Fillet

1 slice of lemon per piece of Tilapia

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette – reserve 1-2 table spoons

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Create foil packets – in each packet place lemon slices, and two fillets of fish, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with just a little bit of the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, and seal the packet.
  3. Grill the packets lemon size side down first for 3-4 minutes, flip and repeat.
  4. Remove fish packets and set aside for one minute.
  5. Open fish packets and flake the fish into chunks. Set aside until pasta is complete.
  6. Cook pasta according to package.
  7. During the last 4 minutes of cooking add in broccoli florets and pieces.
  8. Strain pasta and broccoli, place in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette – the warm pasta is going to soak up all of this beautiful vinaigrette.
  9. Place pasta on individual plates or bowls – top each plate/bowl with grilled Tilapia fillets and drizzle with reserved vinaigrette.
  10. Another dish perfect for the summer, especially on a week night – quick, easy, delicious, and full of flavor from just a few ingredients!

 

 

 

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

This recipe is actually from my dad.  So all the credit for this delicious dish goes to him. Last weekend I spent it up at my dads house planting our garden and doing some fly fishing. He found a great spot in Connecticut for catch and release fly fishing only. It was beautiful and peaceful and the best part I could to finally test out my beautiful custom 9 foot 4 weight green fly rod that he built for me (I’m in the process of setting up a blog for him to showcase his beautiful work. Check it out HERE it is a work in progress.)

I love being able to spend time with my dad, something that I missed for the five years that I lived in California. He is one of my best friends and we always have a great time together. Last year we got into canning and this summer we plan to put up as many jars of pickles that we possibly can (no pun intended!), and also try our hand at canning sauce. Another thing we love to do together is cook…we are self-proclaimed foodies. Last Saturday we had his boss Bobby over who helped till our garden for us, so in return dad and I cooked up a pretty scrumptious dinner of molasses brined pork chops, salt potatoes, and Cesar salad = yummm (recipe to follow soon). The next day we headed to the river for some fly fishing and after a long day on the river we decided on a light, quick, and delicious dinner of Grilled Tilapia with Oranges.

This recipe uses two…maybe three ingredients, no lie. I even asked my dad several times to make sure because the flavor was so good. It is perfect for a summer day, light and refreshing. For sides you could serve just about anything you wanted; steamed or grilled vegetables, rice, quinoa, etc. I’m actually making this tonight and serving it with some steamed edamame.

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

4 oz of Tilapia per person

1 large orange sliced about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt – to taste if desired

Aluminum foil

Heat grill to medium heat.

Place each fillet of Tilapia in aluminum foil, place two – three slices of orange on the fish and if you would like to add salt, be sure to season the fish and the oranges a little – this is optional, Dad made it with no salt and it was quite flavorful.

Seal foil package tightly and grill with the orange side down first. This helps release the juices from the orange, steam the fish and infused the flavor into the fish.

Cook for three minutes, flip carefully and repeat on the other side. This time may differ based on the thickness of your fillets.

Remove from grill, let packets sit for two minutes, cut open and serve with side(s) of you choice.

Thanks dad for this delicious dinner and for letting me share it on here.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

As you have probably gathered from reading my blog, we love Asian food. We often say to each other that we could live on Asian, Mexican, and Italian food…but mostly Asian. Bryan said the other day, I could eat Chinese food for breakfast lunch and dinner…I have and it was awesome. I lived in China for a little while in 2003, while I was a Program Liaison between two colleges/universities – one located in Worcester, MA where I was employed and our partner Beijing Geely University located in the Changping District.

My time spent there was right in the middle of the SARS epidemic so traveling outside of Beijing was out of the question. I did however get to spend quite a bit of time doing the “tourist” thing by visiting places such as The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more.

While I didn’t get to travel much, I ate some of the most amazing food. Most of my meals in the beginning of my stay were supplied by the on campus dining rooms – all of which were really great. We (my Chinese colleagues and I) would venture out to local restaurants to try some more delicious and local dishes. My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng) (I am working on a gluten-free recipe for these, stay tuned), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it. Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou) which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

So I have lived solely on Chinese food and would do it again in a heart beat. Thankfully Bryan loves the same styles of food that I do. Many of our meals are Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. We venture out but always come back to our love of Asian food.

Below is a recipe that is inspired by the P.F. Chang’s Gluten Free Lettuce Wraps – it is not a copycat recipe like my Beef a la Sichuan is but just inspired by it. We were at P.F. Chang’s last night to celebrate Bryan’s birthday (a little early, but we wanted to go before school started up for the both of us again). Since I was making lettuce wraps tonight we opted for our other favorite appetizer, their Shanghai Cucumbers.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

3 large chicken breasts* – diced into small pieces

3 large celery stalks – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 8oz can water chestnuts – chopped (divided)

1 8oz can bamboo shoots – chopped

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/2 inch piece ginger – peeled and grated (I use a microplane)

1 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili garlic paste

1 tbs sesame oil

1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J low sodium if you have it)

2 tbs hoisin sauce (I use the Dynasty brand)

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients according to the above directions.
  2. In a crockpot (mine is 7qts…you can use a smaller size too) add the Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Brown Sugar, Garlic Paste, Ginger, Garlic, Bamboo Shoots, 1/2 of the Water Chestnuts, Celery, and Mushrooms.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Add the chopped chicken and mix until evenly coated.
  5. Cover the crockpot and turn it on low.
  6. Cook for 5 1/2 hours.
  7. Stir about half way through to incorporate everything and break up some of the larger pieces of chicken.
  8. Add the remaining water chestnuts, mix well, cover, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
  9. To serve: Peel the leaves off of a head of iceberg lettuce, butter/boston lettuce, or use romaine hearts. Scoop about 1/4 -1/2 cup into each leave, “roll up” and enjoy. You can top these with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts. We’ll be serving ours with a side of steamed edamame.

Notes: Many recipes out there call for ground chicken, which is completely acceptable, however I wanted a more hearty version so I choose to use chicken breasts and dice them instead.

You can also add all the water chestnuts at once, they will retain their crunch, but I wanted a bit more crunch so I added half of the can in the beginning and half towards the end.

Vegetarian version – instead of chicken increase the amount of mushrooms and celery, add zucchini, yellow summer squash, baby bok choy, etc.

Non-Onion Free version – replace the celery with 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced white onion.

Hope you enjoy this crockpot dish – I dished out a little bit to take a photo and then I couldn’t put it back sooo I ate it…its delicious!

(The chopsticks in the photo were sent to me from a dear friend, Shiho whose family runs one of my favorite little sushi places, Ocean Sushi in Monterey and Pacific Grove, CA. If you are in the area stop on by – they have gluten-free soy sauce!! Thanks Shiho, these get quite a bit of use!)

Lobster and Risotto

We both love lobster but never really eat it because let’s be honest, it can be rather expensive.  We are two college students and just can’t afford that kind of stuff on a regular basis.  Since moving here almost a year ago now we’ve had lobster once and that is because my dad bought it for us when we went to visit him one weekend.  We always say “if it goes on sale for a good price we’ll pick one or two up”.  The only problem with that idea is we NEVER remember to actually do it.  So when I got this weeks grocery ad’s in the mail I noticed that Shaw’s had the chicken lobsters (up to 1.5 lbs) on sale for $5.99 a pound.  We decided to break down and get two of them.

Lobster is one of those food items that can be enjoyed in many different ways: steamed or boiled then served with butter, baked, grilled, mac-n-cheese, lobster ravioli’s etc.  I tend to be a purist when it comes to lobster – I like mine steamed and served with a little butter on the side (usually garlic butter).  I prefer the steaming method for two reasons, one it’s a little harder to over cook them that way and two because it leaves more of their natural ocean fresh taste. Today however, I broke from away from that purist side of me and steamed my lobsters then removed all the meat, cut it in to large chunks, sautéed quickly with olive oil, butter and a clove of minced fresh garlic then served it atop a nice plate of Parmesan Risotto=delicousness.

In my post “Light and Delicious” I posted a quick recipe costing breakdown at the end showing how inexpensive meals made at home can be.  The recipe was for Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Shrimp – the recipe yield was for two portions.  The total recipe cost was $5.34 (yes including the shrimp and store-bought pesto!) which made each serving just $2.67.  A good number of my recipes on here are for two portions because, we are just two people.  However, if you look at my soup recipes that is for a larger quantity because we love soup leftovers. I also posted a survey yesterday asking my you, the lovely readers of my blog if this kind of information is useful to you because I received a few comments and e-mails asking for more of this.  With all the positive responses to the survey, the e-mails and comments I decided to keep doing this…so below the recipe you will see the recipe cost breakdown with a little explanation.

Please note that I am a HUGE sales/coupon person.  I really don’t like to pay full price for just about anything so I only buy certain items such as shrimp and lobster when there is a good sale going on.  If you’ve noticed this is the first lobster recipe I’ve posted on here.

Lobster and Risotto

2 Chicken Lobsters (about 1-1.5 pounds each)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove – Minced

2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (I used Pacific Natural Food’s)

2 Tablespoons of Butter

3/4 Cup of Arborio Rice

1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (I used Gewurztraminer because it is what we had)

1/4 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Lobsters – start these first so they have time to cool down

In a large stock pot place either a steaming basket or upside down colendar at the bottom and fill with water until it just barely comes over the top of the basket or colendar.  Bring to a boil and add lobsters.  Make sure your pan has a very tight-fitting lid to keep the steam inside.  Lobsters that are about 1.5 pounds should be steamed between 7-8 minutes (do not over cook!).  You will know they are done when they turn a very vibrant red color.

Remove from the pan and cool by placing them under cold running water.  You just want to cool them enough to be able to get the meat out.  Remove meat, cut into chunks and set aside.

When the risotto is almost finished heat medium/large sautée pan over medium heat and add olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of butter and garlic.  Cook for 1 minute, add lobster and toss until lobster is coated and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until lobster is heated throughout, again be careful to over cook.

For the Risotto

In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer.  Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Add the rice and stir to coat, add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 ladle (or 1/2 cup) of the simmering broth and stir until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking the rice, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time.  Stir constantly and allow each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next.  Continue this until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy, about 10-15 minutes total.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

To plate the dish spoon half of the risotto on each plate, top with sautéed lobster, serve with a lemon slice/wedge and chives as a garnish. Enjoy with a glass of Gewurztraminer.

Below is the costing breakdown including all of the ingredients used (remember that the prices might be different depending on where you shop, your local specials etc.).  For each of us to have risotto and a chicken lobster for $10.87 I would say that isn’t too shabby of a price, especially since you would probably pay between $19.00-$24.00 and not have the same amount of lobster if you were to order this at a restaurant.  Cooking delicious (and gluten-free) meals at home isn’t just a way to control what you are eating but choosing the ingredients yourself it is also a great way to save money.  Many of the ingredients of these recipes you already have in your pantry so it is just buying a few of the key ingredients.  For example, the only ingredient we had to buy today was the lobsters themselves.

Chicken Parmesan

One of my favorite dishes when I was younger was Chicken Parmesan. I love the crunch chicken but yet still tender and juicy inside with some bubbly mozzarella cheese on the top.  It is a very simple dish, however I never make it.  I don’t know if it was because I feared how it would actually come out with using gluten-free flour instead.  It has just been one of those dishes that kind of made me nervous to “re-create”. While flipping through my favorite cooking magazine (Everyday Food by Martha Stewart) I saw a recipe for chicken parm and asked Bryan if he likes it.  When he said yes I figure, why not give it a shot and see how it comes out.

I opened up my flour cabinet (yes I have a small pantry with all of my gluten-free flours stored in my favorite containers by Snapware) and looked around to see what I had left (I’m running extremely low or I’m completely out of the majority of my flours) and saw that I had some Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour, Gluten Free Bisquick and also some Orgran Rice Crumbs.  I decided to use a mixture of the Bisquick and Rice Crumbs and see how that would turn out, and if we didn’t like it I would try another combination the next time around.  We both really liked it – which I was surprised because I kind of just threw this recipe together quickly one night. The recipe is very simple and quick, you can feel free to change the measurements of the seasoning and cheese to your taste level.

Chicken Parmesan

1/4 Cup Gluten Free Bisquick (You could also sub in your favorite GF All Purpose Flour mix)

1/8 Cup Rice Crumbs (You could also sub in GF Bread Crumbs)

1/8 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning

2 Medium Chicken Breasts – pounded to 1/4 inch thickness

1 Egg – beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water

Cooked Gluten Free Pasta – We use Sam Mill’s GF Corn Penne Pasta (It is our favorite GF pasta that we’ve tried)

1/2-1 Cup Pasta Sauce (You can make your own or used a jarred sauce)

1/3 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

In a shallow baking dish beat one egg with 1 tablespoon of water, set aside.

In a second shallow baking dish mix the Bisquick, Rice Crumbs, Cheese, Salt and Italian Seasoning – mix well, set aside.

Between two pieces of plasticwrap or parchment paper pound the chicken until it is about 1/4 inch thick (for even and quick cooking).

Dredge each piece of chicken in the Bisquick/Rice Crumb mixture, shake off any excess and then in the egg mixture.  Again shake off any excess and then dredge it back in the Bisquick/Rice Crumb mixture.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet add one tablespoon of oil and heat over medium heat.  Once oil is hot enough (I always test by running cold water over my hand and then flicking a little in the pan, if it sizzles then I know my meat will sizzle – this is by no means scientific but it works well for me).  Add the two pieces of chicken breast.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden brown and juices run clear.

If you do not have pans that can go into the oven, place the pieces of chicken either on a baking sheet or baking dish for this next step.

Turn your oven to broil and top each piece of chicken with half of the mozzarella cheese.  Place the chicken under the broiler just until the cheese starts to bubble and turn lightly golden brown.

Serve atop your favorite gluten-free pasta and top with your favorite sauce.

Roast Beef, Peppers and Potatoes

If you have been following my blog you’ll notice my love for Martha Stewart’s magazine, Everyday Food.  It is by far my favorite magazine because the recipes are easy, not overly complicated, if they aren’t naturally gluten-free, they are easily adaptable and there are so many great tips in them.  My mom bought me a subscription when it was first published and over the years I have tried my best to keep up with it.  If you don’t have a subscription you can find all the recipes online, however I suggest getting one of the magazines and checking it out for yourself.

Each time a new one comes in the mail I start flipping through it right away and marking all the recipes I want to try.  I don’t always make them right away but I eventually get around to trying my hand at them.  The recipe I made tonight comes from January/February 2007 Light edition.  The recipe was 100% gluten-free (even if it doesn’t say so in the magazine, just read the ingredients).  The only modification I made on this one was I omitted the onions.  Such a simple meal and all in one pan!  Quick, easy, great tasty and easy clean up! Bryan really liked this meal and said he wouldn’t mind having it again!

Roast Beef, Peppers and Potatoes (Martha Stewart – Everyday Food Magazine, 2007)

Serves 4

  • 3 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 1-inch-wide strips – We had red so that is all we used
  • 2 yellow bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 1-inch-wide strips – We had red so that is all we used
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and cut into 1-inch wedges – We omitted these
  • 3/4 pound white new potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled (3 left whole and 2 cut into 12 slivers)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds eye-of-round beef roast
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place peppers, onions, potatoes, and whole garlic cloves on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with half the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  2. Using a paring knife, make 12 small slits in top and sides of roast; push in garlic slivers. Move vegetables to sides of sheet. Place beef in center, and coat with remaining oil; rub all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme.
  3. Roast 40 to 50 minutes, tossing vegetables occasionally, until tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of beef registers 130 degrees for medium-rare. Let meat stand 10 minutes, loosely tented with aluminum foil to keep warm. Cut half into very thin slices (reserve remaining half for leftovers). Serve with vegetables.
  4. Cool remaining beef to room temperature; place in an airtight container, or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Roast Beef with Peppers, Onions, and Potatoes – Martha Stewart Recipes



Weekly Menu Planning

I’m determined to get back into planning out a weekly menu and base our grocery shopping on that menu.  I hope that this will save us money but also the frustration of what to eat each night.  This week is a very Asian inspired week as you’ll see below.  I really miss my favorite little Chinese restaurant in Monterey, Full Moon.  They were so great to me, I would bring them a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce and they would make my food with that. We have both been craving Chinese food lately and Bryan could go out and get some but I can’t so I figured I would make a few Asian inspired recipes this week that will hopefully hit the spot.

When planning weekly menus I usually look at my cookbooks, blogs etc and search for dishes that are tasty, easy and that the ingredients can be used in more than one dish during the week.  This weeks menu inspiration comes from: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, Everyday Food-Fresh Flavor Fast and a few recipes I found online.

November 29-December 5

Monday

Grilled Steaks, mashed sweet potatoes and corn (these were our last steaks from Omaha Steaks -a gift from Bry’s parents)

Tuesday

P.F. Chang’s inspired Beef A La Sichuan (Bryan’s favorite dish to order there, even off of the gluten-free menu)

Wednesday

Asian Inspired Noodle Bowl (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 30)

Thursday

Beef Stir Fry (Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast pg. 190)

Friday

Penne A La Broccoli (Light dish with red pepper flakes from DrWeil.com)

Saturday

General Chang’s Chicken (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 163) I’ll be making this for my birthday dinner along with some cupcakes, or maybe even a cheesecake…I have yet to decided which one I really want.

Sunday

Not 100% sure what to make just yet for sunday, maybe some beef stew or pot roast.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking cookbook by Kelli and Peter Bronski you really should – this cookbook is fantastic.  I’ve made several of their recipes and have enjoyed every one of them.

What are you cooking this week?

Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger – Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

This is my fist time participating in Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger, which was hosted by Sea of Book Of Yum .  I’ve seen other gluten-free bloggers posting about Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger each month, but never really knew what it was.  However, this month I got really excited about it because I had been adopted!! Shirley from Gluten Free Easily adopted me – I was so excited (I’m a dork I know), but this was my first adoption. Seeing as I was adopted, I decided I needed to adopt someone too so I picked Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. I absolutely adore and admire Heidi and hope to meet her in person someday.  She has been a fantastic help, resource and encouragement to me in my own journey of being Gluten-Free.  Every time I have tried her recipes I have never been disappointed.  I can e-mail her anytime to ask silly questions – like today I had to ask her if I needed to add xanthan gum or not to the recipe and then realized that the all purpose flour mixture I was using already had it in there -duh, Jenny!  Heidi is always willing to help, share ideas and make suggestions.

I think I found Heidi’s blog about a year a go and instantly fell in love with her blog and recipes and I continually go to her blog for ideas.  For my fist time participating I really wanted to look at all of her recipes and try something new.  I was so torn by several of her recipes, especially her new Allergy Free Pasta Dough, but instead I decided on a soup and a dessert.  It is getting a bit chilly here and fall is here in full force.  The leaves are starting to change color, pumpkins and apples are in abundance and it is time to take out the sweaters, scarves and start having fires at night.  I truly love this time of year and I love the food that goes along with it.

Soups have always been big in my family.  My dad is a hunter and carpenter so he was always outside either working or trying to hunt for our dinners.  (I just want to clarify my dad and other family members do not hunt for sport, it was a means of survival). During this time of year he would come home from work or hunting and my mom would have a huge got of soup or stew going. Even my first cooking memory is learning to make chicken soup with my grandmother. So I decided to choose one of Heidi’s soups and the recipe that I kept going back to is her Sausage and Bean Ragout and the only two substitution I made to the recipe was I left out the onions because Bryan is allergic to them and I used a different gluten-free pasta.  And I have to be honest, I was so caught up in football that I read the recipe wrong and instead of adding one cup of the gluten-free pasta I added the whole bag of it! Whoops – so I just added a bit more chicken stock, basil and some garlic powder and it tasted great (it tasted the same as it tasted before my whole mess up).  This soup is fantastic!! Bryan loved it and we now have plenty of left overs – enough to share with our neighbors! I’ll defiantly be making this again.

The very tasty finished product

Ground beef and hot sausage

Ground beef and hot sausage, browned

Next, add the garlic – and lots of it!

Add the broth, tomatoes, beans and basil

Simmer (and sneak a taste or two, it’s so good)

Add the 1 CUP of pasta not 1 BAG of pasta😉

Next up, lots of fresh baby spinach leaves

Wilt the spinach and serve!

The second recipe I decided to make was Heidi’s Old Fashioned Raspberry Bars– Bryan loves raspberries so when I saw this recipe I knew automatically that these had to be made.  This recipe is extremely easy and super yummy.  However I wish I had some home-made raspberry preserves to use, but instead I had store-bought.  It still tasted great…Heidi also suggested using other fruit preserves such as apricot or marmalade.  I think next time I might try maybe strawberry preserve but again, these will be made again.  These bars are super yummy

Half of the crumb mixture pressed into the bottom of the pan

Add the raspberry preserves

Add the second half on top, press lightly and bake

Thanks to Heidi for all sharing all of her wonderful recipes, stories, knowledge and wisdom to all of us – you truly are an inspiration! .  If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you really should, she is a wonderful lady and as I like to call her Wonder Woman!  Check out some other Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger posts at Book Of Yum.

Tacos w/ McCormick’s Seasoning

After living in California for the past five years I have become a little spoiled with Mexican food…good Mexican food that is.  None of this taco bell junk.  Now living in Rhode Island I am beyond limited for gluten-free options not just in grocery stores but also in restaurants!  Granted this is because we don’t live in Providence but still it can be frustrating some days, but a blessing because it makes me cook and bake at home more.  Every once in a while I just don’t want to cook or bake I want to just go out and grab something (I would LOVE some Chinese food!!).

We found a “Mexican” place not far from us so we decided to try some tacos…how bad can tacos be, seriously?? The place is called Tito’s Cantina Mexican Grill, and this is what their website says “In the summer of 1989, Two Amigos with big dreams put their sombreros together to bring you the authentic taste of Old Mexico. From that, Tito’s was born!”  Okay I know I’m not from Mexico and I’m not Mexican…not even a drop but these were the worst tasting tacos ever.  The taco bell (Yes I know I just called it junk earlier) would have been better than these.  I opted for the shredded beef tacos instead of the ground beef…I was trying to go for that “authentic Mexican” they were talking about.  I’m surprised I got them down…even Bryan agreed with me, these tasted like beef stew.  I am not joking, it was seriously like eating beef stew in a taco shell, ummm grossness in my mouth.  Bryan’s ground beef tacos were out of this world compared to my shredded beef.  I don’t think we’ll be back there.  So to make up for that horrible mess of a lunch I decided that ground beef tacos at home are way better:)

The other day I spent about ten or fifteen minutes reading labels in the grocery store.  Labels on vanilla extract, hot dogs and taco seasonings.  I know I could make my own but that would require me to buy several different seasonings instead of just a small packet.  After being a little frustrated both Bryan and I took out our phones and started searching that way we found out that McCormick’s had both gluten-free seasoning and vanilla extract.  Actually this is what it says on their website

Do your products contain gluten?

None of our single ingredient spices and herbs contain gluten. In addition, all of our extracts, including Pure Vanilla, are gluten-free. Some of our products do contain gluten. When WHEAT is the source, it will always be called out within the ingredient statement, and listed in bold.

We do not maintain a list of gluten-free products, as our formulas change from time to time

After finding this information we re-read the back of the package and sure enough it was gluten-free!  We also found some great crunch corn taco shells by Ortega that say gluten-free right on the front of the box! Sadly we couldn’t tell in the store or even now if their seasoning mix was gluten-free or not, so we decided to go with what we knew was safe to consume. We tried the Spicy Taco seasoning and loved it…jut the right amount of spice!  The taco shells were awesome, they actually had some great flavor to them and held up well to the stuffed tacos!

Getting Setteled with some Spicy Orange Chicken

Well we are here….finally!  At some points I wasn’t sure if it was ever really going to happen.  I move out of my apartment in Monterey on June 1st, moved in with some great friends, flew to New Jersey on July 9th and we moved into our condo in Rhode Island on July 31st.  I have been living out of suitcases for two months and was beyond ready to be here and unpack.  The move went very smoothly thanks to all of the help that we had! The unpacking wasn’t so bad either.  It was so much fun combining our things and styles, finding places for everything and getting to hang our artwork up (we are both Photographers).  My favorite part of our new place is the built-in bookshelves that house our camera collection. See Photos at the end of this post:)

We are starting to find our way around Portsmouth, Newport and Bristol.  We live between two vineyards (that we hope to try really soon).  One a mile East and one a mile South of our condo!  Today we visited the farmer’s market that is held at one of the vineyards every Saturday.  It’s a bit small compared to the one in Monterey but it’s awesome!  I found a few stands that had some gluten-free items, not many but it’s a start at least.  We even found a stand that had fresh edamame right on the stalk/branch still!!

Sadly though I haven’t had a chance to do too much baking/cooking but I’m getting there.  I need to find a job still so much of my free time has been spent searching for a job in this not so great economy!  I’m very used to working in higher education but at this point I will take any job that comes my way, including working at a grocery store, bookstore etc…you name it and I’ll pretty much do it as long as we have money coming in.  This whole gluten-free lifestyle, food, flours etc. are just so expensive.  So once I get a job and have some money coming in I’ll be able to stock up on all my gluten-free flours but until them I am searching for recipes to make with the little that I have. Growing up money was tight very often so my mom was great at making meals that would go the distance and either last a while or you could make those leftovers into a completely different meal.

My first big meal was my grandmother’s gravy and meatballs, which I froze a good amount of it for later use and we ate that for about three nights in a row!  We stocked up on gluten-free sandwich meat, chicken breast, hot Italian sausage and a few other things at B.J.’s.  Of course we had Bryan’s favorite – Sweet and Spicy Chicken one night too.  Yesterday I realized I had about a half a cup of brown rice flour left so I decided to make Bryan a little treat, some yummy gluten-free brownies.  I was getting a bit frustrated today because every time I thought of a recipe to make tonight for dinner or something to bake I was short by either one or two (simple) ingredients.  I’m not used to not having certain things in my house anymore, like yeast, rice vinegar, ginger, vanilla extract etc…really simple things but we just haven’t had a chance to buy them just yet.  So we broke down today and picked them up.  I’m very excited to be able to make some bread next week!!

Tonight I decided to make another meal that is great to freeze, has lots of flavor and makes great leftovers.  Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-fry from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine (Issue #50, March 2008 pages 80-81).  My only suggestion would to be use a little less orange juice than it calls for, but that is just me…

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-fry

1/3 Cup Cornstarch

2 Cups Orange Juice (see above…I would use about 1 1/2 cups instead)

1/2 Cup Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (recipe calls for regular)

1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 Cup Honey

4 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 to 2 Teaspoons Red-Pepper Flakes (I used 2)

Coarse Salt

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

3 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Crosswise  into 1/2 Inch-Wide Strips

1 Head Broccoli, Cut Into Florets, Stalks Peeled and Thinly Sliced

1 Pound Carrots (about 5), Peeled and Thinly Sliced on the Diagonal

Cooked Rice for serving

  • Place cornstarch in a medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in orange juice until smooth.  Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic and red-pepper flakes; season with salt. Set mixture aside.
  • In a 5-quart nonstick Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, cook chicken on the one side until slightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate, and set aside (chicken will cook more later).
  • Add broccoli, carrots, and 1/2 cup water to pot.  Cook, partially covered, until water has evaporated and broccoli is bright green, 3 minutes.  Add reserved chicken and cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil.  Cook until chicken is opaque throughout and sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Serve stir-fry over rice.

Additional Suggestions:

Add any of the following vegetables: edamame, snap peas, cauliflower

To Freeze:

Prepare through step 3, omitting rice; cool to room temperature.  Freeze 1 1/2 cup servings in airtight containers.

To Cook From Frozen:

Run container(s) under hot water to release frozen stir-fry.  Place in a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water per serving.  Cover and heat over medium high, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

To see more photos of our place please check out my Flickr Page: Mia Cara Photography

Brown Sugar Crusted Ham

In my second “make it stretch” meal I made Brown Sugar Crusted Ham steak with a baked potato with garlicy green beans.  When I was first diagnosed I was told that pork products are one of those products that you had to be careful about because many times it’s a source of hidden gluten.  Thankfully now many companies are labeling their products better with “gluten free” right on them!  I’m very happy and thankful that companies started doing this.  It makes life so much easier.

Trader Joe’s has gotten really good about labeling their products now.  When I was shopping there last week I noticed that their ham steaks have gluten free written right on the package so I grabbed one.  I figured this one little ham steak could stretch for two-three meals.  I used only a third of the ham for the first meal and plan to make a ham and cheese quice or frittata and use the remaining third to make “breakfast for dinner” one night this week.

Brown Sugar Crusted Ham

1 ham steak

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Coat one side of the ham steak with the tablespoon of brown sugar.  In a medium non stick skillet place ham steak brown sugar side down and cook over medium high heat for about five minutes or until it starts to caramelize – do not burn.  Turn and repeat on the other side.  (The good thing with these steaks is they are pre-cooked, you just need to heat them through out). This meal was made for one person so adjust the amounts depending on how many people.

Baked Potato

1 large russet potato

1 teaspoon canola oil

kosher salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Clean and lightly scrub potato and try off.  Poke several times with a fork.  In a medium bowl coat the potato with the oil and season with salt.  Place potato directly on the middle rack and place a baking sheet below to catch any drippings.  Bake for about 1 hour or until the skin is crispy and the flesh is soft.

Garlicy Green Beans

1/4 pound of green beans

1 small garlic clove minced

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small/medium pan steam the green beans until they are a vibrant green color and still have a little crunch to them.  Strain.  In the same pan teat oil, garlic and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute and return green beans to the pan, sautee for an additional two minutes.