Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chicken Pesto Pizza with Sun Dried Tomatoes {Gluten Free}

Remember when I mentioned that we got a goodie box from Udi's with products to try?  Well there were some pizza crusts in there {tip: we froze them until we were ready to use them} and this week we put them to good use.  The Udi's gluten free pizza crust are so easy to work with, no prep needed just pile on your sauce and toppings.  They cooked up quickly and had a great toasty flavor and crispy thin crust!  We topped ours with our Basil-Kale Pesto sauce, grilled chicken slices, sauteed mushrooms and a sprinkling of tender sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese.  Bake per package directions until piping hot and fragrant.  It was out of control deelicious and the colors; so festive for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas festivities, here are a few recipe ideas; things to make or take when celebrating with family and friends.

Turkey "party" meatballs *substitute gluten free breadcrumbs
Bruschetta *use Udi's white sandwich bread, sliced in half
Chicken Satay Skewers with dipping sauce
Homemade Salsa
Spinach and Edamame Hummas Dip
Gluten Free Mushroom Fennel Stuffing

Sweet Treats:
Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake {Gluten Free}
Raspberry Sconies {Gluten Free}
Lemon Yogurt Cake {Gluten Free}
Black Bean Brownies {Gluten Free}
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Millet Cookies {Gluten Free}

Merry Christmas to you sweet readers!  
May all your family gatherings be special 
and filled with tasty eats.  Enjoy!

I'm linking up with Jo-Lynne's, Gluten Free Weekly Meal Plan over at Musings of a Housewife

 Menu Plan Monday at

Check out all Our Weekly Menu posts for more ideas and inspiration.
Follow Wholesome Dinner Tonight on Pinterest where you can eat with your eyes! here for the recipe!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dinner For New Parents; Blessing A Family After The Birth Of A Baby.... {Taco Kit, Homemade Salsa, Brownies, Banana Bread, Gluten Free}

It's hard to believe it's been five and a half years since our first baby was born, now we have three beautiful sons.  With each new baby we have been hugely blessed by friends and family who step up to help us transition as we add a new member to our family.

I personally go into a baby fog for those first few weeks and meal planning is not even on my radar.  It's a combo of lack of sleep and just being completely absorbed with falling in love with a new tiny person.  My hubby is left with keeping everything else going {which he does wonderfully} so a dinner meal dropped off by friends is a huge blessing.  Having experienced this blessing first hand I love to bring meals to friends to give them a break too.

This Taco Kit Dinner is one I've made several times this year and all the families seemed to really like it.  It's simple to prepare and package and it's one that the receiving family can really customize to their liking.

Taco Kit Recipe: {serves a family of 4}
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 Tablespoons of your favorite taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning)
1/4 cup water
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
romaine lettuce, chopped
garden fresh tomatoes, diced
fresh cilantro, chopped
red onion, finely diced
1 fresh lime, sliced into wedges
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 avocado, perfectly ripe {keep this whole so they can slice it just before eating}
1 package tortillas

1. Brown the turkey in a large saute pan over medium high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through and no longer pink.  Add the taco seasoning and water and stir until well combined.
2. Add the black beans and stir to combine.  Let cool slightly then transfer meat mixture into a container suitable for transport, I like to use a disposable loaf tin with lid.

3. In a separate container, {I use a pie plate-size disposable tin} arrange the lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, red onions and lime wedges.  Place shredded cheese in a plastic zip top bag.

Now a taco kit is a great dinner all on it's own but I like to add some extras for the new family!  I include some of our Homemade Salsa in a mason jar along with a big bag of tasty tortilla chips.

And what's dinner without dessert?  I usually fix up an easy box brownie mix {I add applesauce instead of oil}.  For a gluten free option I make our Black Bean Brownies.  I also like to add in some banana bread for a quick breakfast the next day or a tasty snack.  I bake the bread in mini loaf pans and once cooled, I wrap them in parchment paper and tie with some baker's twine.  I will make our tasty gluten-free, dairy-free banana bread if a family has allergies.

Finally, I see this as the perfect opportunity to slip in a little gift for the new baby.  Perhaps a handmade bib, burp cloth or receiving blanket, which I wrap simply with brown postal wrap and baker's twine and add a hand stamped label.  I always try to include a small gift for the older siblings, they're going through big changes too.  Something they can do QUIETLY and on their own, my go-to is fun new coloring or sticker books.  Place everything snugly in an open top box and deliver a "night off from cooking" to the new parents! here for the recipe!

Mushroom Fennel Stuffing {Gluten Free}

This is a tasty stuffing I made to go along side some roasted turkey, perfect for any holiday meal.  I received some products from Udi's to try and the sandwich bread is perfect for this recipe.  We already use and love the Udi's sandwich bread for you know, sandwiches but this was a fun way to use it to recreate a favorite holiday side dish we could all enjoy.  I added savory mushrooms and fennel in addition to the traditional celery, as well as some fresh herbs, which gives it a great depth of flavor.  Enjoy!

I got these goodies in the mail from Udi's along with some great coupons!

I didn't waste any time cracking open those snicker doodle cookies and they did not disappoint.  They are just as I hoped, perfectly dense and chewy, with that classic snicker doodle cinnamon and sugar sprinkle, dee-licious!  The Pizza Crust is next on my list to try, I bet it will be amazing with our Kale-Basil Pesto on top!

Mushroom Fennel Stuffing Recipe: (serves 8-10)
2 loaves Udi's Gluten Free Sandwich bread (either white or whole grain)
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
16 ounces baby bella or portabello mushrooms, sliced
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 celery stalks, sliced
1 small fennel bulb, diced, green stems and fronds removed & saved for another use
4 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
5-7 fresh sage leaves, julienne
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
3 cups Organic Low Sodium chicken broth
3 eggs, well whisked
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450'F.  Lightly butter your bread slices, place them on a baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes until just golden, flip over and bake an additional 2-3 minutes staying close to the oven to avoid burning.  Let cool.

2. Turn oven down to 350'F.  Cut each bread slice into about 9-12 cubes or break into small pieces with your hands and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. In a large pan saute mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add celery and fennel and saute another 3-4 minutes until all veggies are softened and fragrant.  Add in 3-4 Tablespoons of butter and melt into the vegetables.  The butter is optional but I like the huge flavor it gives the dish.  Pour warm vegetables over the bread cubes.
4. To the bowl with the bread cubes and sauteed vegetables add the parsley, sage, thyme, chicken broth and eggs (be sure you whisk them beforehand).  Add salt and pepper and stir to combine.
5. Pour mixture into a large baking dish (13" x 9" dish or a large, oven safe, Dutch oven) coated with non-stick cooking spray, cover with lid or foil and bake at 350'F for 45 minutes, removing the foil or pot lid for the last 15 minutes of cooking to get a nice crispy top. here for the recipe!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kale-Basil Pesto {Gluten Free, Vegan}

This is a vegan twist on our Fresh Basil Pesto with the addition of some nutrient packed, flavorful and earthy kale.  Who doesn't love pesto?  Our boys were licking their plates and asking for more.  Tonight we poured it over some tasty radiatori shaped quinoa pasta with chicken (sub in some more veggies if eating vegan/vegetarian) and broccoli.  We've also enjoyed it as a topping for our gluten free pizzas with chicken and grilled mushrooms sprinkled on top.  Enjoy!

Recipe: Makes about 1.5 - 2 cups of pesto; enough for pasta for 6-8 servings or two pizzas
2 cups basil leaves, about two handfuls
4-5 cups of kale leaves (stems removed and discarded)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic (optional)
2 teaspoons salt 

1. Add basil, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt to food processor and pulse for 30 seconds scraping down the sides as needed.
2. Add in the kale leaves 2 cups at a time and pulse until smooth.
Serving Ideas: cut defrosted chicken breast into strips and coat with pesto and bake in a 425'F oven for 15 minutes or until 160'F internal temp. Put on sandwiches, toss with pasta or use as a delicious pizza sauce topped with chicken and mushrooms.

*Edited to Add: We also love using raw cashews and lime juice as a substitute for the pine nuts and lemon juice.  Give it a try! here for the recipe!

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