Warm Millet Salad w/ Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage {37 Cooks & Bilinski’s}

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It’s a new year which means 37 Cooks is back in action! Even though the past few months have been extremely busy with moving to NYC and starting my Dietetic Internship I have missed these fun recipe challenges, and I am happy that this first event is sponsored by one of my favorite brands, Bilinski’s.

If you aren’t familiar with Biliniski’s they are a family owned and operated company that specializes in chicken sausages (with no pork casings!) since 1929. Their products are made from every day ingredients, gluten-free, preservative-free, antibiotic-free, nitrate and nitrite free, all meat is raised in clean, comfortable conditions, no animal by-products in their feeds, and no hormones…but are full of flavor! These sausages are fully cooked and are also low in fat, so you need to be careful to not over cook them.

I wanted to create a healthy and hearty dish that incorporated ingredients that would compliment the flavors in the new  Kale Balsamic chicken sausage! Since moving here and not having an income I have tried to stretch my food dollar even further than before. One way I’ve found to do this is to create dishes that incorporate a lot of delicious and healthy ingredients that are filling and re-heat well…you could serve this dish to a family of four or if you are in a similar situation as myself, have leftovers for a few days (I promise it re-heats very well). Feel free to change-up the ingredients as you see fit. The Kale Balsamic Sausage and all vegetables used in my recipe were organic (I have strangely found that the organic items are cheaper than non-organic in the stores around me).

I know many of you are looking for healthier recipes to get this year started. Sometimes the word “healthy” is translated into “unsatisfying” or “bland”, but it doesn’t have to! Healthy can be (and should be) delicious, flavorful, hearty, filling, and all those other good things that you are craving. Try using a new ingredient each week to expand your horizons in the “healthy” department: try millet instead of rice one week. Using seasonal vegetables and fruits in dishes also means additional flavor.

Warm Millet Salad with Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Millet
  • 2 Cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil divided
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Package of Bilinski’s Organic Kale Balsamic Chicken Sausage, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 1 1/2 Cups Diced Organic Sweet Potato
  • 1 Cup Diced Organic Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1 5oz Container of Organic Baby Kale
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts

Method of Preparation

  1. In a small pot bring the chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add millet, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until all water has been absorbed
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a large skillet and brown the sausage on both sides
  4. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside in a large bowl
  5. In the same large skillet, add 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil
  6. Add in sweet potatoes and cook until tender or until water has evaporated
  7. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan
  8. Add in mushrooms and cook until browned
  9. Next, add in the pine nuts, and brown lightly
  10. In a bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  11. Add 1/2 of the mixture to the pan with the sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes
  12. Once the vegetables have been coated with the olive oil and vinegar, add in the dried cranberries and kale
  13. Cook until kale has begun to wilt (about 1-2 minutes), remove from heat
  14. Once the millet has finished cooking, add it to the bowl with the sausage
  15. Add the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture to the bowl with the warm millet and sausage, toss to coat well
  16. To the same bowl add the cooked vegetables, toss to incorporate all ingredients and serve

IMG_4017Thank you to the awesome folks over at Bilinski’s for sharing this new product with all of us at 37 Cooks! This post is sponsored, however the recipe and opinions are 100% my own.

Want more information on Bilinski’s? Find them here:

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Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

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Below is a recipe that I created a few weeks ago while in my vegetarian cuisine lab at school. Each week we are all assigned a component of the meal and we need to create a recipe based on that and what our lecture and demo are on that day. Right before break our lecture and demo were on fruits and nuts and I was assigned the entrée portion of the meal. One thing I really love about this class is that we have the freedom to create recipes each week instead of being handed a recipe and asked to make it, or our twist on it. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to make that I could incorporate fruits and nuts in it.

I decided to start with my favorite “blank canvas”…a risotto! The idea just grew from there. I looked around the kitchen saw some golden raisins, pine nuts (one of my favorite nuts), baby spinach, and sweet potatoes (another favorite of mine!). I didn’t want the risotto to turn out sweet (because of the raisins), so I added a bit of cinnamon and grated Gruyere cheese instead of the traditional Parmesan cheese.

My chef and class really enjoyed the flavor combination and I can’t wait to make this again. Hope you all enjoy it.

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

A hearty risotto with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, golden raisins, and spinach, a savory dish with a hint of sweetness.

Yield: 3 cups      Serving Size:  ½ cup     Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Stock                                                                4 cups
  • Sweet Potato, brunoise                                                     4 ounces
  • Shallot, fine brunoise                                                         2 teaspoons
  • Garlic, fine brunoise                                                           2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil, divided                                                                4 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                             1/8 teaspoon
  • Ginger, grated                                                                     ¼ teaspoon
  • Arborio Rice                                                                        1 cup
  • Pine Nuts, toasted                                                               ¼ cup
  • Golden Raisins                                                                    ¼ cup
  • Spinach, fresh                                                                      ½ cup
  • Wine, white                                                                           ¼ cup
  • Pepper, white                                                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Gruyere cheese, grated                                                        ¼ – ½ cup
  • Parsley, chopped                                                                  1 tablespoon

Method of Preparation

  • Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  • Heat vegetable stock in a medium pot to a simmer, then lower heat to keep warm.
  • Wash and peel the sweet potato, then wash again.
  • Brunoise the sweet potato and set aside.
  • Peel the shallot and garlic. Cut brunoise and set aside.
  • In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add brunoise sweet potatoes and cook until lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and toss to coat. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  • In the same skillet add the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add shallots and cook for two minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add rice and stir to evenly coat with oil. Cook for one minute, until there is a slight nutty aroma, you do not want the rice to brown.
  • Add 1 cup of stock to rice and stir constantly until almost absorbed.
  • When the stock is almost absorbed, add an additional cup of stock. Repeat until the grains of rice are tender with a slight bite to them. About 20 minutes.
  • Add pine nuts, raisins, spinach, sweet potatoes, and wine. Stir until evenly incorporated and spinach has wilted.
  • Season with pepper and stir to incorporate evenly.
  • Remove from heat and add in cheese. Stir well.
  • Add parsley, and stir to incorporate.
  • Serve immediately.

POM Wonderful Dinner Party (Recap)

About a month ago I entered a contest to host a POM Wonderful dinner party.  POM would pick 100 people to host a dinner party inspired by, Pomegranates (of course).  I entered at first because Bryan and I love pomegranates, and I really wanted to try to incorporate them into some recipes other than just drinking the juice and eating the seeds.  To my surprise I got an e-mail back saying I was one of the 100 picked and I would be receiving two cases of pomegranates and some goodie bags for my guests.  After getting this e-mail I had about 9 million thoughts running through my head of what to make, how many people to invite and oh I can’t forget the decorations! After sitting back and relaxing for a little bit I decided that simple was the best way to go.

Bryan and I will hopefully be in New Jersey for Thanksgiving this year and my dad, stepmom and stepsister will all be in upstate New York, so I figured we would do a pre-Thanksgiving inspired dinner together yesterday, just the five of us. Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme our menu was as follows:

Starter:

Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and a Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing

Main:

Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce

Biscuits

Drink:

Hard Pomegranate – Apple Cider

Dessert:

Brownie Cupcakes topped Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

Pomegranate Sorbet

Over all our dinner was great- with a few minor setbacks of having a small kitchen, sink and not being happy with my frosting!  It was nice to have my family here for a relaxing afternoon filled with football and a very tasty dinner (If I do say so myself).  Our decorations were simple – some small pumpkins in the center and on each plate was a pomegranate and an instruction card on “how to open a pomegranate”. Most of the recipes used were ones that we make often, simple yet very tasty and all 100% Gluten Free! Below are some of the recipes with photos.  (I must note that I got caught up in feeding everyone that I forgot to take a few photos, such as the roasted chicken when it came out of the oven-sorry!)

Salad with Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing

(We usually have mixed greens and what ever else we can throw into the salad, it is completely up to you)

One -two large romaine lettuce heads, chopped (Or mixed greens)

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cucumber sliced

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup of good olive oil

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1/8-1/4 cup balsamic dressing

Add all ingredients to a covered jar or salad dressing mixer.  Shake well and enjoy (you can adjust the measurements to your flavor liking)

Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

1 Whole Chicken (about 9 pounds)

1/4 cup room temp butter

1 1/2 tablespoons of Seasoning of your choice – I use a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage.

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the softened butter and herbs until well combined. Set aside

Make sure the giblets and neck are removed from the chicken cavity.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper – also season the cavity. Place your chicken in the roasting pan and gently lift the skin using your fingers – be sure not to tear any of it.  Once the skin  has been lifted, take  half of the butter and herb mixture and spread evenly under the skin.  Take the remaining butter and herb mixture and do the same over the top of the chicken.  Place chicken in oven.  About thirty minutes into cooking add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the roasting pan and baste the chicken.  Continue to baste the chicken every 30 minutes.  (please be sure to check the size of your chicken to determine how long it should roast for).  For a 9 pound chicken, cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.

During the last thirty minutes of the chicken brush it with the pomegranate glaze (see recipe below) every ten minutes, do this again when your chicken has been removed from the oven. This sauce can also be drizzled over the meat on your plate (which I did)

Pomegranate Glaze

(Very concentrated flavor, and very good)

1 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

In a small sauce pan heat the pomegranate juice over medium heat.  Simmer until juice has reduced about half, about 10-12 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

(We love mashed sweet potatoes, especially with the cinnamon added.  We tend to eat more sweet potatoes than regular ones)

1 – 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2  – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup soy milk

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan add sweet potatoes and cover with water.  Boil for ten minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain well.  Either by using a potato masher or using a stand mixer add your potatoes to a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), add butter and soy milk and begin mashing (or whisking), until smooth.  Season with cinnamon and mix again until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic Green Beans

(one of our favorite side dishes, quick, easy and very flavorful.  This replaces the green bean casserole on our table)

1-2 pounds of fresh green beans

3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lightly steam the green beans until bright green yet still crispy.  Drain well.  In a medium-large pan melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir in the green beans.  Toss the green beans so they are all coated in the garlic and butter/oil sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce

(I usually make this a day in advance)

1 Bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries

1 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 cup sugar – you can use either with sugar or packed brown sugar (I used the brown sugar this time)

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

salt and pepper

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a medium saucepan – over medium/high heat add the pomegranate juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.  Add the fresh cranberries, once the berries start to pop open reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook until most of the cranberries have burst open and the sauce has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in the pomegranate seeds.  Cool  to room temp before serving (or if you are making this in advance like I do (I think it tastes better the next day) cool completely and transfer to an air tight container.

Biscuits

I used the recipe on the back of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick box.

2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick mix

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup milk (I use soy)

3 eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Cut shortening into mix, using fork, until particles are size of small peas.  Stir in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms.  Drop by spoonfulls onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 10 biscuits.

Hard Pomegranate-Apple Cider

(We used a local hard apple cider from Newport Vineyards, which is right down the road from us)

Serves four

3 parts hard apple cider

1 part pomegranate juice

In wine glasses (or any fun glasses you might have) add three parts hard apple cider and one part pomegranate juice and stir lightly.  Serve chilled.

Brownie Cupcakes with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

12 Brownie Cupcakes (I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix and made them in a cupcake pan – you can use which ever brand you like).  Make these the night before so they can cool and that is one less thing to bake the day of.

Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

(sadly below isn’t the recipe that I used, I made my own but it didn’t have much pomegranate flavor so I suggest using this one instead)

8 oz cream cheese softened (room temp)

4 oz butter softened

3 oz of pomegranate juice (juice from 3-4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 1-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice)

14 oz Powdered sugar

1 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful

Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water, break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs), the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top, sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside, (refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use), reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes, turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined, remove icing from the mixer and place into a piping bag with a round or star tip.

Pomegranate Sorbet

(I have never made sorbet before so I asked my stepmom to use her ice cream maker so I could attempt making pomegranate sorbet.  I found the following recipe online at Saveur and it is very flavorful and refreshing!)

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 Cup water

Place sugar, 1 cup water, and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve garnished with pomegranate seeds. (This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #9)

 

Our table setting

Our POM Wonderful inspired meal

To make our Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider we used a local hard cider from Newport Vineyards (It’s the best we’ve had)

A light refreshment – Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider

“How To Open A Pomegranate”

A simple yet flavor packed and refreshing dessert – Pomegranate Sorbet

Each guest got a POM Swag-Bag which included a POM bracelet, POM recipe cards, POM pamphlet, a free coupon for a bottle of POM wonderful juice and an awesome reusable POM wonderful tote.  They also got to take home a few pomegranates.

 

Chicken Tenders (W/ Betty Crocker GF Bisquick)

I’ve heard some mixed reviews over Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick mix and have been on the look out for it since it hit the stores.  However, I’m not exactly sure if it is the state of Rhode Island or just the part we live in that seems to have extremely limited gluten-free options.  I’m not just talking about restaurants either…our grocery stores are weird.  At the main chain stores (Shaws, Stop & Shop) they see to not carry the Betty Crocker mixes, or if they do it is very hit or miss. Then you go to Ocean State Job Lot (which is kind of a last chance type of store) and they have the largest selection of Bob’s Red Mill products I’ve ever seen in a store – its HUGE!! (I know I just said this place is kind of like a last chance store, but the expiration dates on the packages are for 2011 and so on!!!) and they also carry my favorite gluten-free pasta for cheap (I think I’ll do a give away soon of that pasta – so stay tuned).

In Portsmouth we have four grocery stores, the two I mentioned above; Shaws and Stop & Shop, and we also have a local store called Clements which carries a bit more gluten-free (or as they call it “natural”) foods and then there is The Green Grocer.  The Green Grocer has the largest selection of gluten-free products in the area however they are so expensive I can’t bring myself to shop there…more than Whole Foods!  With having no job and Bryan being in school full-time, it just isn’t realistic.  It drives me crazy how expensive some of these gluten-free products are.  I do my best to make things at home, but right now what I really want is some bread…a nice loaf of bread! The recipe I had used in the past just keeps failing on my and I don’t own a bread machine so I have been searching for a gluten-free bread recipe that doesn’t require a bread machine (If anyone has one please o please pass it along).

A few weeks ago my dad came down for the day to hang out with Bryan and I and we went to Clements to pick up a few things for lunch.  While there I finally found the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Bisquick mix!  I picked it up and then put it right back down.  Here’s why:  It is right next to the regular Bisquick mixes which are about double in size – this box is all of 16oz and cost more than double the regular mix.  I always do this in grocery stores, I find something GF and get all excited then debate over it for a few minutes and it drives Bryan crazy so he usually just throws in the our basket which is exactly what happened with the Bisquick mix.  I have put off trying this for a few weeks because I was annoyed to spend that much money on something that I feared I would only get one maybe two uses out of (depending on the recipe).  I gave in tonight and used it to make the “Ultimate Chicken Fingers” recipe that is on the box.  Overall the recipe turned out great and I would make it again for sure.  Even Bryan really liked it. I think next time I will try a different recipe, maybe the pizza crust or even the biscuits…hmmmm

Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chicken Fingers (W/ Gluten-Free Bisquick)

3/4 cup Bisquick Gluten Free mix

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt or garlic salt (I did 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 tbsp butter or margarine, melted (I used some olive oil)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray (I used parchment paper with no spray)

Stir Bisquick mix, cheese, paprika, salt and garlic in shallow baking dish.  Dip chicken strips into eggs then Bisquick mixture; repeat dipping in eggs and Bisquick mixture.  Place chicken on cookie sheet. Drizzle butter over chicken (Or olive oil).

Bake 12-14 minutes turning after 6 minutes, until no longer pink in center

These chicken tenders came out moist and crispy.  We served them with some home-made sweet potato fries and dipped them in honey (kind of like McDonald’s – but WAY better)

Sweet Potato Fries

1-2 lbs of sweet potatoes

1/2 tspn salt (Kosher)

1/2 tspn Hungarian paprika

12 tspn ground cinnamon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/8 tspn black pepper (optional)

Peel sweet potatoes and cut off the pointy ends (the pointy ends burn quicker when they are baking and the burnt parts don’t taste very well).  Slice potatoes in 1/2 inch strips so your pieces are as close to even as possible.

In a zip lock bag combine the salt, paprika, cinnamon, oil and pepper (if you choose to add it), mix at the bottom of the bag then add the potato sticks.  Mix well so each piece is evenly coated with the mixture.

Bake in a single layer (this should take up on complete large baking sheet) on a baking sheet that has been lined with either parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for 30 minutes (or until there is a light crisp to the fries) turning twice (after ten minutes and then again after twenty minutes).

Ellie’s Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

One of my favorite chefs on the Food Network (and now The Cooking Channel) is Ellie Krieger.  She is fantastic and her food is healthy!  If you don’t know who Ellie is you should try to catch one of her shows on the previous mentioned channels.  Here is a small blurb about her from Wikipedia:

Ellie Krieger is the host of a show on the Food Network called Healthy Appetite. She is also an author and has written several books on healthy eating.

Krieger was a fashion model during her late teens and early 20s for the Wilhelmina Models agency.[1] As a model she became conscientious of what she was eating, so during this time, she changed her eating habits to be healthier.[2].

Krieger has a bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition from Cornell University,[3] and has a master’s in nutrition from Columbia University.[4]Krieger is a registered dietitian and nutritionist[5] and was an adjunct professor at New York University in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health.[1]

Krieger contributes to magazines such as Cooking LightFood Network Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine.[6] Additionally she maintains her own blog.

Back in November a really good friend of mine who works at a Barnes and Noble in New Jersey met Ellie at her store and had one of her cookbooks, So Easy signed for me!  It was such a surprise when I got it in the mail…I use this cookbook very often and have loved every single dish I have made from it.  All I have to say is healthy food and be extremely tasty!  What is even better is I have had no problems making any of her dishes gluten free:)

I also have an edition of Fine Cooking from June 2009 – Eat Smart with Ellie Krieger (Featuring recipes from her best seller, The Food You Crave).  This magazine is jam packed with her amazing recipes and the other night I made her Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  Normally I boil my sweet potatoes and mash/whip them up with a bit of cinnamon but I wanted to try something new, and I am happy I did.  (You can also watch a video on this super simple, yet extremely tasty recipe here)

Ellie’s Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

– Roasting sweet potatoes concentrates their flavor and leaves them caramelized outside and tender inside.  Coating them with a touch of lemon and honey before cooking makes them all the more flavorful.

3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the potatoes in a 9×13-inch baking dish.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, and lemon juice.  Pour the mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with the salt and bake, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.  Season with more salt to taste and serve.

(Also these are great re-heated).  I think these will be on our table for Thanksgiving this year. Not to sweet but perfectly flavored and tender.

San-J’s Gluten Free Szechuan Sauce (Review)


My favorite gluten-free soy sauce is San-J’s.  You seriously can’t tell the difference from regular soy sauce and this one, but the best part is they also have a low sodium option.  Here is what their website has to say about their gluten-free reduced sodium tamari sauce:

Enjoy all the benefits of Organic Gluten Free Tamari with 25% less sodium. Organic Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Tamari is certified by Quality Assurance International (QAI). It is made with 100% soybeans and no wheat. Organic Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Tamari is naturally fermented for up to 6 months. We add no MSG or artificial preservatives. Organic Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Tamari’s fermentation process is different than ordinary soy sauce, giving it unique flavor enhancing properties. Add Tamari to gravies, sauces and casseroles. Use it as a marinade and in stir-fry dishes. Certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.

We came across a few of their other gluten-free selections at a store in New Jersey and we picked up the Gluten-Free Szecuan Sauce because we both really enjoy spicy things.  Here is what their website has to say about this Szecuan sauce:

This hot and spicy sauce will tingle your palate. The complex combination of wheat-free Tamari, spices, ginger, plum and sesame gives San-J’s Szechuan Sauce a balanced heat. This certified gluten-free sauce is perfect for putting a new twist on your favorite chili recipe or stir-fry. For a tasty party snack, coat Buffalo wings with Szechuan Sauce and bake or grill. Even morning meals can be more exciting – add a drizzle of Szechuan to your scrambled eggs for a spicy kick. Look for the Certified Gluten Free logo on the label.

You can do so much with this sauce.  You can marinade chicken, steak or even some shrimp to grill, saute, stir-fry or even broil.  Yesterday I marinade two good size steaks in this sauce for about five hours or so.  You don’t have to marinade it that long, you can always baste the meat while you are cooking or grilling it.  My dad has let us borrow one of his old hunting grills so I cleaned it all up, washed and scraped the grates (just to be on the safe side!) and decided that we should put it to use.  I am the type of person who will grill in the snow.  I love grilled food, meat, veggies, seafood – you name it!

Grilled Steak with San-J Szechuan Sauce

2 medium-sized steaks

1/2 cup of San-J Szechuan Sauce

Marinade steaks in the Szechuan sauce either in large zip lock back or in a shallow baking dish (make sure to cover it if you do the second option). Marinade as long as you like.  I prefer to marinade my meats for several hours, or over night for a more intense flavor.  Be sure to turn meat several times during the marinade process to make sure both sides get covered equally.

Grill depending on thickness and how you prefer your meat to be done (well, medium well etc.).  I prefer mine to be medium rare so I grilled my steaks for about four minutes on the first side and about three to four on the second side because they were quite thick.

We also had two ears of corn and two sweet potatoes to use up so I grilled the corn (the husks were already off but I would normally have kept the husks on for grilling). I boiled the sweet potatoes up with a half a stick of cinnamon (Bryan loves his sweet potatoes mashed with ground cinnamon) then whipped them up with a little bit of butter, soy milk and some freshly grated cinnamon.

The best part of this sauce is you really don’t need to add anything to it.  It is perfect just as it is!  Great flavor and spice…we even put some in a little bowl to dip our steak in we loved it that much.  I look forward to trying some of their other gluten-free sauces, marinades and dressings.

Balsamic Steak

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine (issue  #43 – June 2007)  This recipe is so simple and is already gluten free!  The original recipe calls for skirt steak, however I had a little bit of a hard time finding that so I used flank steak the first time and the next time I made it I filleted a piece of tri-tip (a cut that is native to California)  in thirds and used that.  I also had the meat sit in the marinade over night.  Again, another really simple recipe yet very tasty!!  Its great for those busy nights, you are going to love it, I promise.

Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak (see note above)

1/2 Cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak

oil for grates

– In a resealable plastic bag or shallow dish, combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Pierce meat all over with a  fork; add to marinade and turn to coat.  Let marinate at room temperature at least 15 minutes (or over night in the refrigerator and then let sit out for 20 minutes or so before grilling).

– Heat grill to high; oil grates.  Remove steak from marinade, allow excess to drip off.  Grill steaks 2-4 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 minutes.  Slice against the grain and serve.

– A nice side for this is mashed or bakes sweet potatoes.

(The Whole Gang – Friday Foodie Fix, Secret Ingredient – Balsamic Vinegar)

Sweet Potato Fries

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You know those nights where all you want is a cheese burger and fries?? Well tonight was one of them…minus the cheese burger. At last weeks farmer’s market I picked up two sweet potatoes and figured, why not make fries out of them tonight.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium – large sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

enough olive oil to coat the fries

Peel and cut sweet potatoes in 1/4 inch pieces (try to get them as even in size as possible so they cook evenly) In a small bowl combine the garlic, salt, pepper and paprika. In a large bowl coat them with oil, season with the seasoning mixture. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the coated “fries” on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a 450 degree oven, turning once.

Let cool and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce or ketchup.

I’ve had sweet potato fries before with different kinds of dipping sauces, all different and all very tasty. I’ve had a few may based sauces, and normally I wouldn’t even think to dip a fry in mayo. I actually don’t eat much mayo anymore but happened to have some in the fridge so I thought I would try and make one myself:

Sweet Potato Fry Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup fat free mayo

1 tbl spoon fresh lemon juice

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

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