Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tamale Pie with Turkey, Black Beans and Corn {Gluten Free}

I have been craving chili and cornbread lately but it doesn't really fit into our whole gluten free, dairy free, tomato free way of eating that we've adopted in recent months for my hubby's sensitive tum.  I used to make this killer chili cornbread casserole that is! If you're interested...make up my turkey chili recipe in an oven safe pot then mix up a box of cornbread mix and pour the cornbread batter all over the top of the chili. Put the whole thing in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cornbread is set and golden brown then sprinkle with cheese and cilantro. Every scoop has some chili and some warm crusty cornbread.  Yummo.

Anyway, I digress. This post is an ode to my chili cornbread casserole and is quite tasty in it's own right. If you don't have a stovetop-to-oven-safe pot you can do the first step on the stove then transfer the mixture to a baking dish to finish in the oven. I hope you try it and enjoy this hearty, warm, one pot wonder perfect for fall.

Recipe: (serve 4-6)
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 (14oz) can cream style corn
1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
cheddar cheese, shredded for garnish (I cheesed up just half)
red onion, diced, for garnish

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups finely ground corn meal or polenta
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 400'F. In a large oven safe pot over medium high heat, brown the ground turkey breaking it up as it cooks, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper to the turkey and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add in the creamed corn, black beans and spices and stir to combine. Season with 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, simmer over low heat while you prepare the cornmeal topping.

2. Bring chicken broth to a simmer and slowly add in the corn meal whisking constantly so it doesn't clump. Stir and mix for 3-4 minutes until the cornmeal thickens but is still pour-able. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.

3. Pour the cornmeal "batter" right on top of the turkey mixture and gently smooth with a spatula. *If you don't have an oven safe pot, transfer the turkey to a baking dish before topping with cornmeal. Bake in a 400'F oven for 10 minutes then turn the oven to BROIL, add cheese if you're using it and broil for 5 minutes more until cornmeal is set, golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes. Top with cilantro and diced red onion, enjoy. here for the recipe!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Berry Agave Smoothie {Dairy Free, Low Fat}

My hubby makes the best smoothies! I think they taste better than anything you can buy and how great to know exactly what you are drinking. Here's his latest creation, it's completely dairy free, gluten free and packed with protein and fiber. This is calorie dense so if you are watching your intake of liquid calories you may want to cut the recipe portion in half. Here's what my super creative hubby has to say...

A while back I set out trying to find a healthy late evening snack. I needed something low in fat and low acid forming with a good amount of protein, making smoothies is now a nightly ritual for me. They are much easier to make than I originally thought. It is also a great way to get some healthy calories with lots of vitamin C and much much more! Smoothies taste awesome too!

This smoothie has been perfected by a long process of trial and error. The agave nectar gives it a unique flavor that makes a good smoothie - amazing - It is a flavor that you can't get from a smoothie shop. What's with the hemp? I have a thing against dairy products (more personal than physiological) so the traditional smoothie proteins such as whey or yogurt don't make the cut. I used to try flax meal but it was too fatty and soy is mostly GMO (genetically modified). So now I use Hemp protein which is a super food, packing in lots of healthy stuff. And no, this is not the same hemp as you may be thinking of - you can't get high from this stuff. All the ingredients are easy to find organic and inexpensively at many markets..

Recipe: (22-oz smoothie)
1 1/2 cups of frozen organic berry mix (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
1 1/2 cups of frozen organic strawberries
1/3 cup of frozen mango (small handful)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp organic hemp protein powder
2-1/2 to 3 cups of cold water or fill with water to about 1-2 inches below the fruit [I like my smoothies thick]
Blend in a blender until fully combined. I usually have to assist the blender a couple of times with a spoon because of how thick it is. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts:
22 ounce serving contains: ~465 calories, 14 g protein, 23 g fiber, 100 g total carbs, 3 g fat here for the recipe!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mushroom and Kale Quinoa with Chicken {Gluten Free}

Who doesn't love a simple supper?  This is an easy and delicious one pot meal for dinner tonight. Have you tried quinoa yet?  Quinoa is a nutritious, protein packed, gluten-free grain that we love and it's a great addition to this dish. You could also try millet or even a pasta such as couscous if you prefer.  Kale is a great fall veggie that really stands up well and offers a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals. I used Lacinato Kale also known as "dinosaur" kale, which is a fitting name as it looks a bit prehistoric.  Swiss Chard or spinach would be yummy also, just reduce the cook time a bit.  Go ahead, try a few new ingredients for dinner tonight. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or about 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
salt and pepper
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 slice bacon, chopped (optional)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or you can use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or Italian Seasoning
1 bunch Lacinato Kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped (after washing kale try holding the stem end in one hand and running your fingers down the stalk removing the leaves from the stem as you go, this is a bit faster than trying the cut the stems out)

1. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper cook, turning occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes until they have some nice color on them. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat and to the same pan add the mushrooms and garlic and an additional drizzle of olive oil, saute 2-3 minutes. Add the bacon and continue sauteing until bacon is cooked and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add dry quinoa to the pan to lightly toast for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add lemon juice, chicken broth, herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces back to the pan, placing them down into the quinoa, bring to a gentle boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through to an internal temperature of 165'F.
4. Add in the chopped kale with stems removed, stir gently. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Serve hot and enjoy! here for the recipe!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Here is another yummy winter squash dish, this time with acorn squash. Acorn Squash is so delicious and has a wonderful sweetness to it. It would be great baked with a little butter and brown sugar and nothing else! Tonight though, I thought some wild rice and vegetables would make a tasty stuffing. My hubby and I always chat on the phone as he drives home from work and when I told him what I was fixing, he suggested I add some chicken sausage to the filling. Great idea! It was delicious. Enjoy!

Recipe: (Serves 4 - one half squash per person)
2 small acorn squash
2/3 cup long grain wild rice
2/3 cup brown rice
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 chicken sausage links, chopped
salt & pepper

1. Carefully cut acorn squash in half length-wise and scoop out all the seeds (you can discard the seeds or roast them for a snack later). Place cut side down on a dry baking sheet and bake at 350'F for 40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile prepare your rice. Add wild rice, brown rice and chicken broth to a small pot over medium high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
3. In a large saucepan add olive oil, garlic, zucchini, bell pepper and celery (mushrooms would be tasty here too) and saute over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes until veggies begin to soften. Add chicken sausage and let brown.
*I used chicken sausage that is already full cooked so I just needed to heat it through and brown it. If you're using raw sausage be sure to cook it thoroughly!
4. Once the veggie and sausage mixture is heated through and the rice is cooked, combine the two in a large bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the acorn squash from the oven and, using tongs, carefully turn each half over. Using a spoon stuff the rice filling mixture into each squash half, mounding it as much as possible. You may have extra filling left but this makes a tasty side dish all on it's own or can serve as seconds!
5. Once your squash halves are stuffed, place them back into the oven and bake at 350'F for 20-25 minutes until the flesh of the squash is very tender and the tops are golden. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Here is a shot of the inside (cut in half) Mmmm. here for the recipe!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Turkey and White Bean Ragu over Spaghetti Squash

As we are on the verge of fall we're starting to see some tasty fall and winter squash in the market. My four year old asked if we could "puh-leeease" get some spaghetti squash. I'm not sure he remembered what it was exactly but both kids loved it and gobbled it up! You can serve the spaghetti squash up solo as a side dish with a little salt & pepper or Parmesan cheese, or like we did, serve it as a base for a yummy sauce or ragu filled with vegetables. I prefer to cook the squash in the oven but you can also microwave it for a faster prep time. Here's an article on Spaghetti Squash that may be helpful. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
1 medium Spaghetti squash
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms (or your favorite mushrooms)
1 (14oz) can Cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
salt & pepper
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1. Get your squash cooking first. Preheat oven to 375'F. Slice squash in half lengthwise, careful not to cut yourself the skin is thick and tough. Scoop out the seeds just as you would with a pumpkin. Place in a large glass baking dish cut side down, fill dish with water to about 1 inch deep. Bake at 375'F for 40 minutes until outer flesh is slightly tender to the touch or the tip of a knife can easily pierce.

2. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, brown your ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. When the turkey is just about cooked through, add the garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute for about 10 minutes until meat is completely cooked (no longer pink) and veggies are just tender.
3. Add Italian Seasoning, a few twists of fresh ground black pepper and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste), saute 2 minutes more. Finally, add your chicken broth, spinach and rinsed beans. Cover the pan and steam about 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted down and the beans are warmed. Season to taste.
4. Once your squash is cooked through, remove from pan of water and allow to cool slightly. Using a fork, scrap down the inside of the squash, which will naturally form long strings like spaghetti. Transfer all the squash "strings" to a bowl and lightly season with salt and pepper. Serve as a side dish or top with your favorite pasta sauce or ragu. here for the recipe!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Chicken {Crock Pot}

I made this lemon, rosemary chicken a few days ago and it turned out great! I modified the recipe I found on the A Year of Slow Cooking site since I didn't have a whole chicken on hand that night. I love the way the lemon subtly infused into the meat!  The beauty of the slow cooker is the delicious, flavorful results you get from cooking meats low and slow.  It was great that night with rice and vegetables and equally delicious the next day chunked up in a tasty green salad. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4-6)
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen is okay too
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, wash well & leave whole*
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker, top with chicken broth, rosemary, garlic, salt and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Arrange lemon slices on top.
2. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. *(I suggest leaving the rosemary on the stems to make it easier to fish out when the chicken is done, I just added the leaves and it was a bit tedious to remove at the end) here for the recipe!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chicken Vegetable Stew {Crock Pot}

I've been on a bit of a slow cooker kick this week and this chicken veggie stew did not disappoint. I'll admit it was alittle odd to be eating stew and warm bread when it was 95 degrees outside but we sat in the cool house and pretended it was fall. Add whatever vegetables you have on hand or family favorites and make it your own.  We all loved the addition of cabbage to this and my hubby actually commented that there could have been even more since it cooks down quite a bit.  One unusual addition I tried was some balsamic vinegar, which gave it a great subtle zip.  This was a great one pot dinner with the addition of some warm crusty gluten free bread on the side. Give it a try or tuck it away for a cooler day. Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 6)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen is okay here too)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
3+ cups of cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
10-12 small dutch baby potatoes or similar, cut in half or leave the tiny ones whole
1 medium zucchini squash, chopped
1 crooked neck summer squash, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups Low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1. Start layering in the Crock; add chicken breasts first, top them with the garlic, bell pepper, squashes, cabbage and potatoes.
2. Add in the dried herbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few twists of pepper.  Gently toss vegetables to incorporate the seasonings.
3. Finally, pour in the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth and arrange lemon slices on top.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.  Add more chicken broth as needed to achieve the consistency you prefer. here for the recipe!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shiitake Mushroom Rice

My whole family loves mushrooms! They add such great depth of flavor to any dish. Shiitakes are a favorite around here. I used a combination of Shiitake and baby bella (small portabello) mushrooms for this dish, white button mushrooms would work too although they have a less intense flavor. This made a great side dish for our turkey and spinach with white beans entree. This is a fun way to jazz up your rice, Enjoy!

Recipe: (serves 4)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel, sliced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups white rice (I used jasmine) *You can also use brown rice for added fiber, just lengthen the cooking time to 30-35 minutes and add another 1/2 cup of broth
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt & pepper

1. Over medium high heat melt the butter in a medium saucepan that has a tight fitting lid. Add the mushrooms to the melted butter and saute until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir frequently until it's slightly toasted, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Check it for doneness at 15 minutes to avoid burning. Remove from heat and serve hot. here for the recipe!

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