Tag Archives: Gluten-free

How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash

Have you ever looked at a spaghetti squash at the store and thought how great it would be to get one if only you knew how to cook it? Well, I don’t want that to happen anymore to you! Go buy that squash, and then follow these tips!

1. Wash and dry your squash (even if you’re not eating the skin, your knife touches it on its way through! Whatever bacteria are living on the outside go right into the part you eat.)


2. Slice off the stem.


3. Stand the squash upright on the now-flat stem side, and slice it in half lengthwise. I’m not great at cutting things exactly in half, but you get the idea. 🙂


4. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Save to roast (just like pumpkin seeds!) of discard if you want.


5. Brush the rims with a little oil and place flesh side down on a parchment or baking mat lined baking sheet.


6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the flesh is soft; about an hour depending on size. Allow to cool. Scrape out the flesh and fluff with a fork. Enjoy it as is or with your favorite marinara sauce!


Yum!

Healthy, happy eating!

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Zucchini Fettuccini

Zucchini Fettuccini

Wow, it’s been a long time since my last recipe!  Since our son was born, things have been pretty crazy, so I took some much needed time off, just to figure out my new life.  Now that things are settling down a bit, I hope to be posting much more regularly again.  Dear Son is now 4 months old, and just getting ready to be eating food, so don’t be surprised if some homemade baby food and kid-friendly fare pop up here and there!  🙂

Today’s recipe, though should appeal to both young and old (and everyone in between) I think!  This is more of technique than a recipe.  Zucchini fettuccini makes a great light side dish, or add some meatballs or a sauce with beans or tofu for a full meal!  My garden is bursting with zucchini, as zucchini has a tendency to do, so I decided to try to make some “pasta” with it for something a little different.  I quartered the zucchini lengthwise, and removed the seeds.  They get really mushy, and I just didn’t want that.  Then I just used a vegetable peeler and sliced the zucchini lengthwise so it was really thin like fettuccini noodles.  From there, it’s just a matter of cooking it in your favorite sauce, and adding your toppings of choice.  Easy and fun!

This is what it looked like after using the vegetable peeler:

Zucchini Fettuccini Raw

The dish turned out great!  The skin on the zucchini adds awesome fiber and nutrition, and it keeps it from falling apart.  And because it’s so thin, it’s not tough at all.  Zucchini has a great mild flavor, so it works perfectly as a pasta with tomato sauce.  I can really imagine it being great with any sauce you like, though.

Zucchini Fettuccini

Zucchini Fettuccini 2

Serves:  4

Ingredients

1 Zucchini, large
3 cups Pasta Sauce of choice

Directions

  1. Quarter zucchini lengthwise and remove seeds.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to cut zucchini, lengthwise, into thin strips.
  3. Heat pasta sauce in a large pot.
  4. Add zucchini strips to pasta sauce, and cook until tender.
  5. Serve with meatballs and/or parmesan cheese if desired.

Zucchini Fettuccini Nutrition Facts

Happy, healthy eating!

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Raspberry Mint Chia Pudding

Raspberry Mint Chia Pudding

We have officially entered the dog days of summer here in Pittsburgh!  I’m not complaining at all; in fact, I love this weather!  But I try to institute a “plant shut down” in my kitchen when it’s so hot.  I like fast, easy to prepare foods that don’t need cooking for days like this.  Chia pudding is just that.  I’ve been wanting to try chia pudding for quite sometime now, and it really couldn’t have come at a better time!

Chia seeds are the new “it” food.  You remember those commercials from the 80’s: “Ch-ch-ch-chia!”  That’s what these are!  Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala and were cultivated by the ancient Aztecs.  They are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and, unlike flax seeds, do not need to be ground for your body to digest them!  Just one ounce of chia contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of your daily value of calcium, and 30% of your daily value of manganese.  Talk about a powerhouse!

It’s so refreshing, and it really couldn’t be easier to make!  Besides being easy and delicious, it’s healthy and versatile, too!  I had just picked some raspberries from the bushes in my backyard and had some leftover mint from another recipe, so that’s what went in it.  Get creative with this one!

Before I share my recipe, quick update on my garden!  I have definitely learned a lesson in vining plants:

Garden Update

This summer, I will have squash and lemon cucumbers.  That’s it.  No more lettuce.  No beets, onions, peppers, and probably no tomatoes.  Next summer, the squash are not going in this particular bed.  Only non-vining plants!  Whoops!  Oh well.  Stay tuned for a million recipes for squash!

On to the yumminess!

RASPBERRY MINT CHIA PUDDING

Raspberry Mint Chia Pudding

Serves 4 (trust me; it’s filling!)

Ingredients

1 cup Milk of choice (I used Almond Coconut Milk Blend)

½ cup Red Raspberries

¼ cup Chia Seeds

1-2 Tbsp 100% Pure Maple Syrup

8-10 Mint leaves

Directions

1.  Add all ingredients to blender, and blend well until combined.  (Alternatively, blend all ingredients except chia seeds.  Stir in chia seeds to milk mixture.)  If it seems thick, add a little more milk.  It will only become thicker as it chills!

2.  Chill for at least 3 hours until firm.

Nutrition Information (per serving – 1/4 of recipe)

Calories:  64

Fat:  3 grams

Saturated Fat:  0 grams

Trans Fat:  0 grams

MUFA:  0.5 grams

PUFA:  2 grams

Cholesterol:  0 mg

Sodium:  39 mg

Carbohydrate:  8.5 grams

Dietary Fiber:  4 grams

Protein:  1.5 grams

Vitamin A:  2%

Vitamin C:  5%

Calcium:  17%

Iron:  2%

Happy, healthy eating!

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Spicy Chicken on a Stick

Spicy Chicken on a Stick

Today is bittersweet for me.  We were off work all last week, and this is our last staycation day.  Mostly, we did a lot of work around the house.  But we did venture out to Pittsburgh’s Strip District for some shopping one morning!  I love going down to the Strip.  I never know what goodies I am going to find!

Farmer @ the Firehouse

This is a seasonal farmer’s market, called Farmers @ the Firehouse (that building on the left is an old firehouse).  We were there pretty early in the morning, so there weren’t a lot of people there yet, and some of the vendors hadn’t set up.  Lot of fresh produce though, and local meats, bread, and cheese!

Steelers!

Here in Pittsburgh, we’re all black and gold!

Stamoolis Brothers

Stamoolis Brothers is a little Greek shop and deli.  Go there.  Really.  Here is the inside:

Stamoolis Inside

In the back of the shop you can buy spices in bulk.  And they’re priced well!  I bought a pound of granulated garlic for under $6!  In the deli part, they were selling olives in large buckets.  I love olives!  And I was tempted.  I might have to go back for them!

Wholey's

What trip to the Strip would be complete without a stop in Wholey’s?!

Catfish

There’s a catfish under that ice!

Heads and Bones

Anyone up for making homemade fish stock?  Hmmm, maybe that will make an appearance at All Spice and Yum one day!

Fresh Fish

Look at all the fresh fish Wholey’s has!

Live Fish

It’s so fresh, they’ll even let you pick it out of a tank and fillet it right there for you!  It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Public Market

And this is the reason I go to the Strip.  Pittsburgh Public Market!  It’s a farmer’s market, sure, but also a market of all things Pittsburgh.  Local vendors selling everything from produce, olive oils, vinegars, pastries, homemade marshmallows, soaps, wine, beer, meats, and ready to eat food.  You get to meet all kinds of people, and many are giving samples of their products!  The market is currently in the process of moving to a new location in the Strip, so there were fewer vendors than usual, but still worth the trip.

Pgh Public Market Inside

Love this place!

Strip Dist Haul

Here’s my haul!  For less than $60 I got all this stuff; 1 lb granulated garlic, 1/4 lb turmeric, Magnolia scented bar of soap, 3 liters of olive oil (for only $20!!!), Coconut Mango Balsamic Vinegar, and a loaf of fresh baked Ciabatta bread!

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh for a weekend, don’t leave without experiencing the Strip District!  There are a ton of vendors selling amazing looking food on the sidewalks, and awesome little shops specializing in things like kitchen items, chocolate, jewelry, coffee, and food.  So.  Much.  Food.  Seafood, Asian food, Polish food, Italian food, Greek food, Mexican food.  FOOD!

With that, I will leave you with this recipe.  Because what’s not better on a stick?  This recipe is a little higher in sodium than what I typically like to make, but it’s delicious!  And, hey, it’s ok to go a little overboard sometimes.  This chicken is marinated in a spicy soy-ginger sauce before being threaded onto the skewers and grilled to juicy perfection.  Since the marinade is a little higher in sodium, it helps protect the juices in the chicken, so it’s a little more forgiving when you grill it.  Mine turned out moist and delicious.  The spice level was just enough for us without being overpowering, and the ginger was the perfect compliment.  I served mine with roasted blue potatoes, because that’s what I had that needed used up, but brown rice would probably be the most authentic choice.  Whatever you pair with it will be great!

If you are sensitive to sodium, look for the lowest sodium soy sauce you can find, and try decreasing the amount you use in the recipe by 1/3 or so.  It should still turn out amazing!  Also be careful with what chicken you get – frozen chicken is usually injected with a sodium broth, meaning the chicken may have 200 mg or more sodium per serving.  Look at those labels!  And, if you’re sensitive to gluten, make sure to look for gluten-free soy sauce.

Also by special request: nutrition information!  I’ll be working to get the information up on past recipes also, so stay tuned!

SPICY CHICKEN-ON-A-STICK

Spicy Chicken on a Stick

Serves 4 (2 sticks per person)

Ingredients

16 oz Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips

½ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce

½ cup Water

2 Tbsp fresh, grated Ginger

1 tsp crushed Red Pepper (or more if you want it spicier)

8 wooden skewers, soaked for 1 hr in water to avoid burning

Directions

1.  To make marinade, combine soy sauce, water, ginger, and red pepper, and whisk well.  Pour into large zipper seal bag, and add chicken.

2.  Marinate for at least 1 hour.

3.  Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade.

4.  Grill on preheated grill, on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes per side, until completed cooked through.

Nutrition Information (per serving – 2 skewers)

Calories:  238

Fat:  9 grams

Saturated Fat:  2.5 grams

Trans Fat:  0 grams

MUFA:  3.5 grams

PUFA:  1.9 grams

Cholesterol:  95 mg

Sodium:  1512 mg

Carbohydrate:  4 grams

Dietary Fiber:  0 grams

Sugar:  0 grams

Protein:  35 grams

Vitamin A:  4%

Vitamin C:  0%

Calcium:  2%

Iron:  10%

Happy, healthy eating!

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Feta and Rosemary Polenta with Crimini Mushroom Reduction

I’ve been thinking about this for the better part of a week now.  The ingredients and recipe elements have been floating around in my head, and I finally had the chance to get them out in the form of a dish!  This past weekend, we started to install our fence in the backyard, so that has been keeping me rather busy.  What that means is a lot of delivery and take out.  After having pizza for both lunch and dinner one day (see, I told you dietitians live in the same world you do!), we decided some real food was in order!

Enter: CSA delivery items!  This dish contains the cheese, rosemary, cornmeal, and mushrooms (and it’s garnished with the chives) from our boxes!  What a great assortment!  I decided polenta would be the perfect use for the cornmeal and everything else just kind of fell into place.  Fun fact:  When treated with UV light, mushrooms are the only vegetable source of vitamin D!

Full disclosure:  I am not from the South, nor am I trained in the culinary traditions of the South.  I only know how to cook polenta from my own research.  I can’t say if this dish is traditional or not (I’m sure it’s not), but I can tell you that my taste buds (and Handsome Husband’s taste buds) approve, and I hope yours will too!

FETA AND ROSEMARY POLENTA WITH CRIMINI MUSHROOM REDUCTION

Feta and Rosemary Polenta with Crimini Mushroom Reduction

Makes: 9 polenta cakes

Ingredients

For Polenta

3 cups Water

1 cup Cornmeal

½ cup Boltonfeta Cheese (or Feta Cheese)

1 Tbsp minced Fresh Rosemary

For Mushroom Reduction

1 lb Crimini Mushrooms, sliced

2 cups Vegetable Stock

½ cup White Wine

2 Tbsp minced Garlic

1 Tbsp Butter

Directions

For Polenta (can be done a day ahead)

1.  Pour water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil.  Add cornmeal, whisking constantly.

2.  Reduce to simmer and continue to stir until very thick; about 10-20 minutes.

3.  Stir in rosemary and cheese.

4.  Pour into well-greased muffin tin, cover, and refrigerate at least one hour to overnight.

5.  When ready to serve, pop muffin tin in a 350⁰ oven until heated through, or microwave individual cakes for about a minute and a half each.

For Mushroom Reduction

1.  Over medium heat, melt butter in a skillet and sauté mushrooms and garlic until all liquid evaporates.  Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

2.  Deglaze pan with white wine, and simmer until wine is almost completed evaporated.  Add vegetable stock.

3.  Simmer until 1 cup of liquid remains; about 15 minutes.

4.  Add mushrooms to liquid and heat through.

To Assemble

Place polenta cake on plate, and spoon about ¼ cup of the mushroom mixture over the polenta.  Garnish as desired; here I used fresh chives.

 

Normally, I don’t recommend cooking with a lot of butter, but in this instance, I thinks it’s really needed to add some richness to the mushrooms.  However, if you don’t want to use butter for whatever reason, feel free to substitute whatever oil you like!

Happy, healthy eating!

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Basil Parmesan Almond Crackers

Dare I say that summer made it? Today, driving home from work, my car registered 90 (although I’m sure it was really somewhere between 80-85 degrees)! It was so nice that my supervisor suggested we have our afternoon meeting outside, and that was just what we all needed today! A little sun, a little wind, a little vitamin D, and a little happiness! I planted my “garden” this passed weekend, which really consists of a bunch of recyclable containers and coffee mugs filled with dirt lining my window sill, and the sugar snap peas are already sprouting. I can’t wait to plant them! For those that don’t know, we just bought our house in October last year, and we weren’t able to do much with the yard before the ground froze. So we will soon be leveling the landscaping, installing a fence (for the giant pooch!), and then and only then will I be able to actually plant a garden. So it will be sparse this year. I’ll post some pictures after all this is complete. It’s going to be a huge undertaking, but we’re so excited!

Yesterday, our CSA box contained all kinds of goodies! Boltonfeta cheese, organic black beans, 3 lbs of potatoes, fresh chives, cornmeal, 1 lb crimini mushrooms, and 3 lbs of apples. I’ll be creating a dish with some of these items soon. But in the meantime, these crackers are an awesome snack! Some of you know that I make my own almond milk (sometimes – sometimes I buy Blue Diamond’s Almond Coconut blend milk).  You can find my recipe here. I am always left with almond meal afterward, and I hate throwing food away that I can use! So the almond meal serves as the base for these crackers. Regular almond flour or ground almonds could be used instead, but you will want to add some liquid – I’d start with 2-3 Tbsp of water or olive oil and adjust as needed. You don’t want this to be really wet, or it will take forever to bake!

BASIL PARMESAN ALMOND CRACKERS

Basil Parmesan Almond Crackers

Makes: About 24 crackers

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal (or ground almonds)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2-3 Tbsp dried basil

2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil, as needed

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients.

2. Roll out thin on baking sheet – about 1/8 inch. Score with pizza roller or knife.

3. Bake at 250° F for an hour and a half.

4. Allow crackers to cool before breaking apart.

These crackers are tasty by themselves but would also be pretty great with hummus or salsa!

Happy, healthy eating!

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