Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grilled Chicken and Sweet Onion Quesadillas

I LOVE quesadillas..and grilling (in case you have not noticed yet). These grilled quesadillas combine chicken, sweet onions and a cilantro paste that make for a delicious yet "quick and easy" meal. Give them a try!

Here is how:
1. To make the paste..combine in a food processor (and process until smooth):
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno pepper (stem removed)
- 1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. white vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sherry
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2. Coat 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz. each) with the paste. You can marinate them if you wish in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

3. Lightly brush 1 large sweet onion (vidalia or red)..that has been cut into 1/2 inch thick slices with some more of the olive oil.

4. Grill both the chicken and onions over direct medium heat until the chicken is opaque in the center and the onions are tender (about 8-12 minutes)...turning once.

5. Remove the chicken and onions from the grill and allow them to cool. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/8 inch slices and the onions into 1/4 inch pieces.

6. Evenly divide the chicken, onions and 2 cups of grated Monterey Jack cheese onto 8 corn tortillas..you want the food on half of the tortilla.

7. Fold the empty half of each tortilla over the filling, creating a half circle, and press down firmly.

8. Grill the quesadillas over direct medium heat until well marked and the cheese has melted..about 4-6 minutes..turning carefully once.

9. Allow the quesadillas to cool for a minute or two and then cut into wedges. I also sprinkled mine with some ground chipotle pepper for extra flavor.

10. Serve warm with sour cream and salsa.

Here is to creative, healthy grilling! xo

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Homemade Marinara

I love spaghetti and meatballs but struggled for awhile to find a recipe that was the standard I was looking for. This version turns out amazing. It can be made with marinara from a jar (Muir Glen Organic is gluten free and delicious) but the homemade marinara brings the recipe up to a new level. Try this recipe sometime...it is worth it.

Here is how:
1. The marinara:
     a. In a large pot heat up 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.

     b. Add 1 medium onion (finely chopped) and saute the onions until they are translucent.

     c. Add:
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 celery stalk finely chopped (I prefer organic celery)
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    d. Saute until all of the vegetables are soft..about 10 minutes.

    e. Add 2 (32 oz.) cans of crushed tomatoes and 3 dried bay leaves and simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens (about 1 hour).

    f. Remove the bay leaves and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

2. The spaghetti and meatballs (OMG so good!)
    a. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

    b. Heat up 3 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet of medium heat.

    c. Add:
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tbs. of chopped fresh Italian parsley

    d. Saute the vegetables until they are soft (about 10 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and let it cool.

    e.Take 4 slices of white gluten free bread (any brand will do) and remove the crusts and cube it.

    f. Place the cubes in a bowl and pour 1 cup of milk over the bread..letting it soak into the bread while the vegetables cool.

    g. Combine 1 pound each of ground pork and ground beef in a large bowl.

    h. Add to the meat:
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 tsp. each of salt and freshly ground black pepper

    i. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and then add the bread to the cooled onion mixture. Add the meat mixture and use your hands to combine the ingredients until just mixed.

    j. Shape the mixture into 10 meatballs and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    k. Heat 3 more Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown them all over.

    l. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and spoon a generous amount of marinara sauce over them. Top the meatballs with a generous amount of grated mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with dried or freshly chopped basil. Drizzle the meatballs with some extra virgin olive oil and bake the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes (until they are cooked through).
   m. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water (according to the pasta directions) until al dente (I used a corn based gluten free pasta),

   n. Drain the pasta and put it on a large serving platter. Ladle the marinara sauce onto it and toss the pasta to combine.

   o. Spoon the meatballs onto the spaghetti and garnish with some more basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Here is to gluten free comfort faves done right! xo

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grilled Ahi Tuna with Cilantro Ginger Sauce with Asian Peanut Slaw

This is one of my favorite meals. I love grilled Ahi Tuna and the peanut slaw paired with it packs in so much flavor while keeping the meal light and healthy. You also get a good dose healthy oils in the fish and dipping sauce. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Here is how:
1. The fish:
    a. Rinse 2 tuna steaks (about 6 oz. each) under cold water and pat them dry. Season the steaks all over with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

    b. Heat up your grill (my favorite part).

    c. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce: Heat up 2 Tbs. of canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.

    d. Add 2 Tbs. of peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute.

    e. Next add 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and stir fry another minute (until the cilantro is bright green).

    f.  Mix in:
-2 Tbs. of gluten free tamari sauce (I use San J)
-2 Tbs. of light brown sugar
-1/4 cup of water

    g. Cook the sauce for 1 minute over high heat. Remove the skillet from the heat.

    h. Grill the tuna steaks on direct high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side until mid-rare.

    i. Serve the sauce along with the fish.

2. The Asian peanut slaw:
   a. In a small whisk together:
- 2 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 Tbs. sugar
- 2 Tbs. gluten free tamari
- 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

   b. In a large bowl combine:
- 2 cups of coleslaw mix
- 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

   c. Combine the sauce with the slaw and toss gently to combine.

Here is to grilling weather and good food! xo

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Turkey Burgers

I must admit that turkey burgers are not my top favorite but I found a recipe that is so delicious that you might want to try them. They are also super healthy with flavor..I hope you enjoy.

Here is how:
1. Mix in a medium bowl:
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 4 ounces button mushrooms minced
- 1 small onion minced
- 1 tsp. bbq sauce (Kraft original is gluten free)
- 1 tsp. chili powder (make sure it is a gluten free blend with no "binders")
- 1 tsp. cajun seasoning (again, watch the binders)
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

2. Blend everything evenly, making sure that the mushrooms and onions are evenly distributed.

3. Make 4 patties of equal size.

4. Spray the patties with cooking spray and grill over direct medium heat for about 7 minutes on each side until completely cooked through.

5. Warm a gluten free bun (I used a Canyon Ranch bun..by far the best) on the grill and top the bun with some mayo, a tomato slice and a piece of green leaf lettuce.

Here is to health and fitness! xo

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grilled Catfish Tacos with Guacamole and American Slaw

I have been running low on time this week and in "super busy mom mode"...so tacos have been the go to the past couple of days. These actually turned out quite delicious and did not take that long to make.

Here is how:
1. To make the slaw:
    a. Take 2 cups of coleslaw mix and add:
- 1/2 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2. To make the guacamole:
    a. In a medium bowl combine the following in a food processor:
- 2 ripe Hass avocados, mashed
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3. Lightly spray 1 pound of catfish fillets with cooking spray and season them with chili powder (make sure it is a gluten free blend), salt and pepper.

4. Grill the fish over direct high heat until the fish begins to flake with the tip of a knife (about 6-8 minutes), turning once. Remove from the grill.

5. Heat 8 corn tortillas over direct high heat for about 20 seconds per side. Wrap them in a kitchen towel to keep warm.

6. For each taco, layer a warm tortilla with fish, slaw and guacamole. I added a little Sriracha sauce for some heat as well.

Here is to nutrition with flavor! xo

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shrimp Tacos with Poblano-Avocado Salsa

I was craving shimp tacos tonight but wanted  a variation on the "baja taco" recipe posted earlier in the blog..this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Here is how:
1. To make the salsa:
     a. Coat 1 ear of corn and 1 medium poblano chili with some cooking spray (I used Pam grilling spray).

     b. Grill the corn until browned in spots and tender, and the chili until blackened and blistered in spots..over direct medium heat. This will take about 10-12 minutes.

     c. Cut the kernels off the corn and place them in a bowl.

     d. When cool enough to handle, peel the loosened bits of skin from the chili and discard them with the stem. Finely chop the remaining parts of the chili and add to the bowl.

     e. Add the remaining salsa ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly:
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes diced
- 1 Hass avocado diced into 1/4 inch
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

    f. Coat 1 pound of shrimp (peeled and deveined) with cooking spray and season a pinch of salt and pepper.

   g. Grill the shrimp over direct high heat until the shrimp are firm to the touch and just starting to turn opaque in the center (2-4 minutes)...turning occasionally.

   h. Grill 8 corn tortillas over direct medium heat until warm (30-60 seconds, flipping once).

   i. Fill the tortillas with the salsa and shrimp and serve warm. I added a touch of hot salsa for some additional heat.

Here is to grilling with flavor! xo

Sunday, May 22, 2011

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is one of my favorite meals and I have yet to find a gluten free version in a restaurant. With hints of wine, thyme and chives...this is delicious enough for a light meal on it's own or the start of a dinner party with friends.

Here is how:
1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large pot over medium- high heat.

2. Add:
- 4 medium sweet onions sliced (I used vidalia onions)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste (I used a freshly ground pink Himalayan salt)

3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are caramelized (about 20 minutes).

4. Add 1 cup of red wine and raise the heat up a bit to bring it to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are nearly dry...about 5 minutes.

6. Discard the bay leaves.

7. Add 2 heaping Tbs. of all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill) to the onions and whisk it to blend it well.

8. Turn the heat down to medium-low cook it for 10 minutes (stirring frequently).

9. Add 2 quarts of beef broth (make sure it is gluten free..I used Pacific brand). Whisk the soup to blend it well and bring it back up to a simmer.

10. Cook for 10 minutes and season the soup with more salt and pepper to taste.

11. Preheat the boiler and arrange about 4-6 pieces of gluten free bread on a baking dish (I used a multigrain gluten free bread). Brush the bread with melted butter and toast the bread for about 3 minutes.

12. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls and top with the toast slices and 2 cups of grated gruyere cheese.

13. Sprinkle the tops with some finely chopped chives and broil for about 3 more minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Here is to comfort food with style! xo

Shrimp Omelet with a Cream Sherry Sauce

I was hungry for an omelet this morning and wanted something with a touch of elegance..this recipe came to mind.  The sherry sauce adds  wonderful flavor with the seafood and with some gluten free toast and a cup of coffee it is a beautiful start to the day.

Here is how:
1. In a large skillet melt 1 Tbs. of butter and saute 1/2 medium onion (minced), 2 Tbs. of minced chives and 1 clove of minced garlic. Saute until the onion and garlic are tender. Remove and set aside.

2. Melt 2 more Tbs. of butter in another medium saucepan and stir in 2 Tbs. of gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour) and whisk continuously until thick.

3. Slowly add 1/3 cup of milk and 1/3 cup of cream and stir constantly until smooth.

4. Season with 1/4 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

5. Next, add the onion mixture, 2 Tbs. sherry, and 1 cup of cooked shrimp to the sauce and cook it over low heat until just heated through.

6. In a small bowl, beat 4 eggs, 2 Tbs. of cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

7. Melt 2 more Tbs. of butter in a large skillet (that has been heated up well over medium heat) and pour in the eggs.

8. Cook over low heat (lifting up the edges occasionally to allow the uncooked egg to move under).

9. Add 1/2 cup of shredded swiss cheese (fontina would work great too)..let the cheese melt and fold the omelet in half.

10. Top the omelet with the sherry and seafood sauce and garnish with some chopped chives.

Here is to breakfasts with elegance and style! xo

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gluten Free Pancakes

With the various recipes I have tried...I find that corn-based gluten free pancakes taste best. These pancakes turn out delicious and topped with fresh berries you get your anti-oxidants too.

Here is how:
1. In a medium size bowl place the following ingredients and mix very well.
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2. Heat up a skillet to medium heat and melt 2 Tbs. of butter.

3. Our the batter into the pan to your desired size of pancakes.

4. Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom becomes lightly browned.

5. Flip and continue to cook until lightly browned on both sides.
Note: This recipe makes 8-10 4 inch pancakes.

Here is to healthy breakfasts! xo

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce and Potato Salad with Bacon

I was really hungry after a long Celiac attack and decided that ribs and potato salad with bacon is what sounded good. The ribs are actually not that hard to make and the homemade sauce brings them up a level. I also think that bacon paired with everything is delicious so...

Here is how:
1. The Ribs:
a. To make the sauce: in a medium saucepan over medium heat warm up 1 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil.

b. Add:
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup cola
- 2 Tbs. gluten free soy sauce (I used San J)
- 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

c. Whisk the ingredients together and allow the sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

d. Next, make a rub for the ribs.

e. In a small bowl mix:
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

f. Season 2 racks of baby back ribs (1 1/2 to 2 pounds each) with the rub, pressing the spices into the meat.

g. Grill the ribs over indirect low heat (grill temp should be about 300 degrees) until the meat is very tender and has shrunk back from the ends of the bones (1 1/2 to 2 hours).

h. About 15 minutes before the ribs are done, start brushing them occasionally with the sauce on both sides. Serve warm.

2. The Potato Salad:
a. Prepare the potatoes: in a large saucepan of boiling water, add 4 large russet potatoes peeled and cut into quarters.

b. Lower the heat and simmer the potatoes until tender..about 25 minutes.

c. Drain in a colander and let cool in a large bowl.

d. Add to the bowl:
- 6 strips of crumbled bacon
- 2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
- 2 Tbs. chopped chives
- 1 tsp. salt

e. Mix gently and serve.

Here is to warm weather and grilling! xo

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food and fortunately most of it is gluten free. Chicken tikka masala is a popular curry dish that people often want to make at home and do not know how. I hope this recipe helps.

Here is how:

1. Finely grate 4 cloves of garlic and 3 inches of fresh ginger (both peeled) with a cheese grater and place in  bowl.

2. Add 1 tsp. of dried chilis to the garlic and ginger.

3. Heat up 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and add 1 Tbs. of mustard seeds.

4. When the mustard seeds start to pop and them to the garlic mixture (in the bowl) along with:
- 1 Tbs. paprika
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 Tbs. of garam masala

5. Put half of this spice mixture in a large bowl along with 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into large chunks.

6. Mix well and allow the chicken to marinade for a half hour or so.

7. Next melt 1 Tbs. of butter in the same skillet along with 2 medium onions (peeled and finely sliced). Also, add the rest of the spice mixture.

8. Cook over medium- low heat for 15 minutes or so without browning too much.

9. Add:
- 2 Tbs. of tomato puree
- a small handful of ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 1/2 cups of water

10. Stir well and simmer gently for a few minutes.

11. Let the sauce reduce until it thickens slightly. Take of the heat and set aside.

12. Put the marinaded chicken in another hot skillet with 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil and sear until cooked through.

13. Warm the sauce over medium-low heat and add 1/2 cup of cream and 1 Tbs. garam masala.

14. As soon as it boils take it off the heat and add the chicken. Top it with chopped fresh cilantro.

15. Serve it over steaming basmati rice with some cold gluten free beer.

Here is to flavor and fun! xo

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken- Bacon Foil Packets

Camping style chicken packets are one of my weeknight "go to" quick and easy meals. This was a recipe I created today that turned out delicious. I paired it with my "grilled corn on the cob with paired with parmesan- basil butter" (recipe is in the blog) and the meal was complete. The recipe is for 2 packets.

Here is how:
1. Cut 1 large, boneless chicken breast into chunks approximately 1 1/2 inches.

2. Combine the chicken in a bowl with:
- 2 medium russet potatoes thinly sliced
- 4 strips of bacon sliced into approximately 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 medium vidalia onion diced
- 1/2 medium orange bell pepper diced
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. fresh chives chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

3. Place the ingredients on the center of the shiny side of 2 pieces of tin foil. You want to the tin foil to be the size of a large square.

4. Flatten the pile of ingredients slightly so that the food cooks more evenly.

5. Bring up the sides of the foil and make a triple fold to seal the packet. Roll the other ends of the foil into and make sure each end has at least 2 folds. Also, leave a bit of room in the packet when you fold it to allow some room for steam.

6. Place the packets on the grill (seam- side down) over direct medium heat.

7. Grill for about 12 minutes turning the packets over after 5 minutes.

8. To serve, unroll 1 end of the packet carefully to avoid the steam and then open the top and spoon the contents out.

Here is to camping food and outdoor cooking! xo

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries

I was really hungry for chicken and sweet potato fries plus I wanted some spice...this is what came to mind. The chicken actually turned out sweet with just a hint of spice and the sweet potato fries went down well. I paired them both with some cucumber slices dressed with some ranch and dill and a tall glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. I hope you enjoy the recipes.

Here is how:
1. The chicken:
     a. To make a paste..in a food processor combine and process until smooth:
     - 1 tsp. dried chili flakes
     - 4 chopped scallions (white and light green parts only)
     - 1/4 cup vegetable oil
     - 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
     - 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
     - 1 Tbs. gluten free soy sauce (I use San J brand)
     - 1 Tbs. brown sugar
     - 1 tsp. salt
     - 1/2 tsp. black pepper
     - 1/2 tsp. allspice (make sure it is a gluten free blend with no "binders")
     - 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (I used freshly ground nutmeg)
     - 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
     - 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

     b. Take a family pack of chicken legs and coat them with the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.

    c. Remove the chicken from the marinade/ paste and grill the legs over indirect medium heat until fully cooked (about 40 minutes). During the last 10 minutes of grilling time, move the chicken over direct medium heat until well browned all over (turning several times). Serve warm.

2. The sweet potato fries:
    a. Mix together:
    - 1 tsp. salt
    - 1/4 tsp. black pepper
    - 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

    b. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

    c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    d. In a large bowl toss 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips with just enough oil to coat.

    e. Sprinkle with the salt blend and  some paprika for color.

    f.  Spread the sweet potatoes in single layer on the baking sheet.

   g. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.

   h.  Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. They are really yummy served with honey.

Here is to weekend grilling fun! xo

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"PF Changs" Mongolian Beef

Mongolian beef is one of my favorite entrees at PF Changs. This is an easy recipe to replicate at home and paired with some rice (I made a sweet Thai chili rice) it works.....

Here is how:

1. Heat 2 Tbs. of oil (I used wok oil) in a hot skillet.

2. Add 1 pound of sliced beef (I used sirloin) and cook for 30-60 seconds or until browned around the edges and slightly pink in the middle (medium-well).

3. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and toss it around.

4. Add and then bring to a boil:
- 2 Tbs. of gluten free soy sauce (I use San J)
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. rice wine (mirin)

5.  Cook until the sauce caramelizes or thickens around the beef 

6. Add about a cup of green onion "sticks"..cut to about 1- 1 1/2 inches and saute it to mix.
Note: you do not want the onions to wilt so a few tosses is all it takes.

7. Top it off with 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil.

Here is to restaurant faves redone!! xo

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pork and Mushroom Skewers with Basil Sauce

This is the recipe I came up with tonight to think of a new way to grill pork. The skewers turned out really yummy and along with some grilled potatoes the meal was quick and easy to clean up. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Here is how:
1. Take a 1 pound pork tenderloin and trim any excess fat and skin from the meat.

2. Cut the tenderloin in half lengthwise and then cut each half into bite size pieces.

3. In a large bowl, whisk:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of salt (I used pink Himalayan salt for extra flavor)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. celery salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4. Add the pork and about 18 cremini mushrooms to the bowl and toss to evenly coat them with the oil mixture.

5. Thread the pork and mushrooms onto skewers, alternating them.

6. Allow the skewers to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before grilling.

7. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk:
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

8. Grill the skewers of direct high heat until the pork is barely pink in the center and the mushrooms are tender (about 5-6 minutes)..turning occasionally.

9. Spoon some sauce over the skewers and serve warm.

Here is to warm weather and grilling fun! xo

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Argentine Beef Tenderloin Sandwich

I was craving a beef sandwich tonight but wanted something different..this is what I came up with. Hopefully you like it too. The recipe is enough for 4 generous sandwiches.

Here is how:

1. Grill 2 red bell peppers (sliced) over direct medium heat until the skins are starting to char and blister (about 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally).

2. Next, in a bowl, mix the peppers with 2 cloves of minced garlic.

3. Lightly spray 2 medium yellow onions (sliced) with oil. Grill the onion over direct medium heat until marked (about 15 minutes, turning occasionally).

4. Add the onion slices to the pepper and garlic.

5. Brush 1 pound of beef tenderloin with some extra virgin olive oil and rub the meat with some salt and pepper to season it well.

6. Sear the beef over direct medium-high heat until well  marked (about 15 minutes). Turn the meat a quarter turn every 3-4 minutes.

7. Next, move the beef to indirect medium heat and grill until you get the "doneness" you desire (15-20 minutes).

8. Remove the tenderloin from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

9. Slice the beef thinly.

10. Grill a gluten free hot dog roll (I used Glutino) over direct medium heat until lightly toasted (about 1 minute).

11. Assemble the sandwiches with the beef, peppers, onions, sliced hard boiled eggs, lettuce and mayonnaise.
Note: I also added a little fresh horseradish for some kick.

Here is to adventures in grilling! xo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Whitefish Fritters with Lemon Aioli

These are inspired by a trip I took to New Zealand. They are perfect for an elegant, light lunch and are memorable with the blend of bright flavors.

Here is how:

1. Mix the following ingredients well:
- 1 pound of shredded white fish (I used Halibut)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste

2. In a skillet place 4 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.

3. Shape the mixture into patties (or you can drop by spoonfuls) and fry for a couple of minutes on each side.

4. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

5. Serve with the lemon aioli:

a. In a food processor place:
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried mustard
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon

b . Process until pale and foamy.

c. With the motor running add 1/2 cup each of olive and vegetable oil in a thin, steady stream, until combined. Note: You can add extra lemon juice to get the consistency you want.

Here is to brightness and lightness! xo

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tarragon Chicken Salad with Potato Croutons

This was a a salad that I created yesterday when I was really craving something that said "Spring". I naturally start turning towards fresher produce in the Spring as my body starts wanting lighter and fresher foods. The potato croutons are a treat and give the salad some "crunch" without the gluten. The vinaigrette is also delicious with a sweet and sour flavor that accompanies the varied flavours perfectly. The recipe makes enough for one large "family style" salad to share.

Here is how:
1. The Potato Croutons:

a. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a baking sheet with 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil.

b. Mix in a medium bowl:
- 1 Tbs. of balsamic vinaigrette
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. paprika (I used a Hungarian paprika)
- pinch of cayenne pepper

c. Slice 2 large Idaho potatoes very thin by hand or with a slicer/ food processor.

d. Add the potatoes to the seasoning mixture and toss to coat the potatoes well.

e. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn them over and bake for about 10 minutes more (until the potatoes become crisp and the edges are browned).

2. The Salad:

a. With the oven still at 400 degrees take a 4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast and place it in a baking dish.

b. Over the chicken pour 1/4 cup of white wine and 1 tsp. of dried or fresh tarragon.

c. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

d. Remove from the oven and cool the chicken. When cool, cube the chicken.

e. In a large salad bowl place a base of mixed baby salad greens (endive, red leaf, green leaf , bibb, Boston..whatever you have on hand). Use a few different varieties to taste the variety of flavors.

f. Next, add to the salad (in "sections")
- the tarragon chicken
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup sliced canned beets
- 1/2 cup sliced artichoke hearts (in water and drained)
- 2 diced hard boiled eggs
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- the potato croutons

3. The Dressing:

1. Whisk together in a bowl:
- 2. Tbs. minced shallots
- 1 tsp. honey
- juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper to taste

2. Drizzle some of the dressing on the salad and serve.

Note: This salad pairs well with a glass of well-chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Here is to salads that pack in nutrition, elegance and flavor! xo

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Immune Boosting Foods

I had the privilege of attending a training yesterday that also included a segment taught by a holistic, integrative doctor. He really emphaszied the role of nutrition when dealing with an auto-immune disease. I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of foods that help bolster and heal the immune system as we all continually search to manage our disease better each day.

- Beans- act as a brain protective, balancing food that regulates neurological imbalances.
- Blueberries- contain 36% of our daily vitamin K and they are high in vitamin C.
  Note that all dark berries contain strong anti-oxidants .
- Cruciferous Vegetables- (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) detoxify the body.
- Celery- inhibits cancer.
- Curry- may help combat certain forms of cancer.
- Fermented Foods- help keep the brain regulated and protected.
- Garlic- combats bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses due to it containing polysulfides.
- Ginger- warms the body, eases nausea and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Green Tea- protects the body against cancer.
- Kiwis- awesome for vitamin C which defends the body against disease and keeps the defenses strong.
- Leafy Greens- also aid as a brain protective food due to the phytonutrients.
- Omega- 3 oils (olive oil, nuts, seeds and fish) are incredibly important with reducing inflammation. The WHOLE body becomes inflamed after an auto-immune response and the healthy fats are needed by the neurons in the brain to function. Neurons are mostly fatty cells.
- Oysters- six of them contain 32 mg. of Zinc (4 times the daily needed dose).
- Pomegranate juice is a mild astringent, used to treat diarrhoea. Also has tons of anti-oxidants
- Probiotics- in yogurt and kefir for example, restore balance in the digestive tract.
- Shitake Mushrooms- they contain an immune-boosting carbohydrate called "beta-glucans" which act as a booster of the immune system.
- Sunflower Seeds- boosts T cells (a type of white blood cell) that fights infection. Some other great seeds are pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
- Sweet Potatoes- contain beta-carotene which is utilized in the front lines of the infection war in the digestive system.
- Thyme- loaded with antibacterial compounds (fresh or dried).

This list is just a start...I will continue to add and expand upon it.

I wish you health, healing, light and love. Namaste

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grilled Shrimp with Mexican Salsa

This is a fun recipe that I did for Cinco de Mayo. The fresh salsa "makes" the recipe in my opinion and goes really well with some steamed rice.

Here is how:
1. For the salsa:

a. Grill 2 large tomatoes (halved) over direct high heat until they are well marked and beginning to collapse (about 4-6 minutes).

b. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

c. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and add:
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 tsp. dried red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper

2. For the shrimp:

a. Brush 1 pound of raw shrimp (peeled) with extra virgin olive oil.

b. Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and paprika (I used smoked paprika in this recipe).

c. Grill the shrimp over direct high heat until the shrimp are firm and opaque...about 2 to 4 minutes. Toss the shrimp around occasionally while grilling.

d. Serve warm with the salsa and rice...maybe have a margarita too..virgin or not.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! Salud!! xo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mahi Mahi Burgers and Thai Cucumber Salad

I have grilled these burgers a couple of times in the past week..they are SO good. Incredible flavor and super healthy..paired with the Thai cucumber salad this meal screams "fresh and bright".

Here is how:
1. The Mahi Mahi Burgers
a. Combine:
-  1 pound of mahi mahi
-   2  Tbs. of gluten free hoisin (Kame brand is gluten free)
-   2 Tbs.  mayonnaisee
-  1/4 cup minced white onion
-  2 Tbs. fresh minced ginger
-  1  garlic clove minced
-  salt and pepper to taste 

b. Place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

c. Shape into 4 patties and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.

d. Grill over medium-high direct heat for 3-4 minutes on each side (each side should be golden and toasted).

e. Serve on a gluten free bun (I used Canyon Bakehouse buns..the BEST I have ever tried (www.canyonbakehouse.com).

f. Top with mayonnaise, lettuce, chopped green onions and chopped cilantro.

2. The Thai Cucumber Salad

a. Combine: 2 peeled, de-seeded and chopped cucumbers with 1 tsp. salt in a colander, and leave in the sink to drain for 30 minutes.

b. Rinse with cold water, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

c. Whisk together in a bowl (until the sugar dissolves):
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar 

d.  Add the cucumbers with:
- 2 chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts 

e. Toss to combine.

Here is to fresh and healthy flavor! xo

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizzas with Smoked Gouda and Chives

I was looking for something new to grill tonight..that would not take too much time and I decided to do some grilled flatbread pizzas. The sauce on this pizza turned out so delicious and combines really well with the flavor of the smoked gouda cheese. A fun spin on the regular"old boring" pizza. This recipe is enough for 2 pizzas.

Here is how:
1. Take 2 gluten free flatbread pizza crusts (I used Udi and they taste fantastic) and brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil (you can do this on frozen crusts). Set the pizza crusts aside.

2. To make the sauce..in a saucepan combine:
- 2 Tbs. of butter (melt first)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins classic is gluten free)
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder (make sure it is gluten free..I used McCormick)
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper.

3. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, season 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

5. Lightly coat the chicken with some of the sauce and grill it over direct medium heat until the meat is firm and no longer pink in the middle..about 8-12 minutes. Turn the chicken breast over midway.

6. After grilling the chicken, finely chop or shred the chicken and moisten it with some more of the sauce (you may not need all of the sauce).

7. Next, take your pizza crusts and grill them for 2-3 minutes over direct medium heat (turning several times) to get some grate marks on them.
Note: do not worry if the crusts bubble a little..they will deflate when turned over.

8. Take the crusts off the grill and place 1/2 cup of shredded smoked gouda cheese on each crust (1 cup total.
Note: Leave about a 1/2 inch border around the edges of the pizza.

9. Next, arrange the chicken and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh chives over the cheese.

10. Place the pizzas back on the grill  under low direct heat for 4-5 minutes, rotating them for even cooking.
Note: the nature of gluten free grains is that they are more delicate. If the crusts start to char place the pizzas under broiler to melt the cheese completely.

11. Transfer the pizzas to a designated. gluten free cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Here is to interesting twists on old staples! xo

Monday, May 2, 2011

Grilled Ahi Tuna Salad on Gluten Free Bread

This is one of my quick, easy and delicious weeknight options for dinner. The grilled Ahi tuna is fantastic and when turned into a salad, over toasted bread, that makes this dish filling enough for dinner..and a complete and balanced meal. This recipe is enough for 1-2 salads.

Here is how:
1. Get a skillet very hot (I used a cast iron skillet) and add 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil.

2. Take an approximately 7 oz. Ahi tuna steak and season it with some more of the olive oil (rubbed all over), salt (I used freshly ground pink Himalayan salt for the amazing flavor and mineral properties) and freshly ground coarse black pepper.
Note: in a simpler dish such as this, the quality of your ingredients make a difference.

3. Sear the tuna in the skillet for about 1  minute on each side (to cook it rare) and remove it from the pan.

4. Add another Tbs. of olive oil and take 2 pieces of gluten free bread (Udi makes some good bread).

5. Place the bread in the pan and toast it in the olive oil on each side (gluten free bread in general tastes much better toasted and the olive oil gives it great flavor).

6. In a bowl place and mix together:
- 1/2 bell pepper chopped (I used an orange one for some color)
- 1/4 purple onion chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- more salt and pepper to taste

7. Place the bread on a plate. Top with the seared tuna and then the vegetables.

8. Top with some gluten free balsamic vinaigrette (I used Annie's organic balsamic vinaigrette).

Here is to weeknight meals with style! xo

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

This is Jamie Oliver's recipe that I re-did gluten free for some pre-racing carb loading. It is a twist on plain macaroni and cheese and takes it up a notch for a delicious "pasta bake" dish. I hope you enjoy.

Here is how:
1.Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and get a big pan of salted water boiling.

2. Cook a pound of gluten free pasta according to the directions. I used Tinkyada tri-color brown rice rotini pasta.

3. Meanwhile, take 7 slices of  "almost stale" gluten free bread and use your food processor to make bread crumbs.Take them out of the food processor and set them aside.

4. Next take about a pound of tomatoes (I used Roma) and place them in the food processor with:
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 handfuls of fresh basil
- 2 oz. of sundried tomatoes (chopped)
- large pinch of salt and coarse ground pepper

5. Process this for 30 seconds and then add:
- 3 handfuls of parmesan cheese
- 2 1/2 cups of cream
- 1 Tbs. of red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. of nutmeg (I really like the difference freshly ground nutmeg makes).

6. Process it all until smooth and taste it to see if you need to season it more with salt and pepper.

7. Drain your pasta in a colander and save some of the cooking water in a separate bowl.

8. Place the pasta back in the pan and and pour the tomato-cheese sauce over it.
Jamie"s note: "You want the pasta to be quite loose because you will be surprised at how quickly the sauce will disappear inside the pasta".

9. So..add a few spoonfuls of the cooking water to the pasta.

10. Get a baking dish about 3-4 inches deep and pour the pasta in it.

11. Break up 14 oz. of mozzarella into little pieces and place it over the top.

12. Mix:
- the breadcrumbs
- a handful of chopped fresh thyme (Or 1 Tbs. of dried).
- a handful of parmesan

13. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the dish.

14. Drizzle the top generously with extra virgin olive oil.

15. Bake for 15 minutes and top with a little extra parmesan.

16. Serve it with a nice green salad.

Here is to good gluten free pasta! xo