Pizza Night Hack

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For those nights when I get home from work late, I often crave a comfort food but have little energy to make the whole thing from scratch. My Italian blood is crazy about pizza, but my body isn’t crazy about the gluten. So, how does one make fast food gluten-free pizza without the over processed food-like substances that line the frozen aisle of your grocery story? You make fast food pizza at home. The most time consuming part of the pizza process is the dough. So, a short cut I’ve found is using your favorite gluten free bread for the crust. I’ve found the best one for this is some sort of denser bread like a gluten-free focaccia loaf. I typically will get the Mountain House herb focaccia at Whole Foods on nights like these. It works really well when you cut it in half into two flat pieces and top it with sauce, raw cheese and veggies. It seriously is a meal hack for lazy evenings. Because let’s face it, sometimes we need a break!

 

Pizza Night Hack
 
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Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf dense gluten free bread (Mountain House focaccia works well)
  • 1 small block raw cheese (combo of monterrey jack and cheddar is nice)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups tomatoes sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Shred cheese and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  4. Finely slice both red onion and bell pepper. Cut broccoli into small florets.
  5. Cut gluten free focaccia loaf horizontally in half to create two flat halves which we will use as the two pizza crusts.
  6. Spread half of the sauce onto each pizza to desired sauce to crust ratio.
  7. Top with shredded cheese and veggies.
  8. Place loaded pizza crusts on baking sheet and put in oven at 450 degrees for 10 min. Then change oven setting to broil and cook for 2-5 additional minutes or until cheese is bubbling and golden.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup

On a cold, winter’s night when the moon is high in the sky and the owls are hoo-ing in the trees, seems a perfect night for this creamy, hearty, comfort soup. Its sure to warm up your tummy and squash the shivers right out of your sock-covered tootsies. Hover around the fire and enjoy this smashing soup!

ButternutSquashSoup
 

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup
 
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Serves: 6 Servings
Ingredients
  • Choose organic and local at farmers market whenever possible!
  • ⅛ cup cold pressed, unfiltered olive oil
  • 1 three lb butternut squash
  • 1 lb parsnips
  • 1 organic yellow onion
  • 3 Tbsp fresh thyme (substitute 1.5 Tbsp dried thyme)
  • 1 32 oz box of organic, free range chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 3-4 turns of ground black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating, peel and core butternut squash. Peel Parsnips. Dice both squash and parsnips into bite size pieces. This will require two baking sheets. Divide squash and parsnips evenly onto the two baking sheets and sprinkle with the olive oil. Grind salt and pepper as well as sprinkle with 1 Tbsp fresh thyme. Make sure olive oil and spice mixture evenly coats all veggies.
  3. Put the veggies in the oven and bake at 475 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and starting to caramelize.
  4. This is the part where you get to have fun with your vitamix! Put that powerful blender to use!
  5. Make sure you have an empty large pot on the ready.
  6. In two separate batches, place half of the butternut squash, parsnips, chicken stock an thyme in the blender and blend until pureed. Repeat with second half of ingredients. Pour each batch into the reserve empty pot on the stove.
  7. Turn burner to medium heat and stir the puree until both batches from blender fully incorporated into each other. Sprinkle with a grinding of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. I add about two Tbsp of grass fed butter to make it a bit more of a creamy consistency. Cook pureed soup for about 5-10 more minutes on medium heat. Then you’re ready to eat this warm treat!
  8. Enjoy!

 

Nona’s Gluten Free Pasta Carbonara

Spend two minutes around me and you’ll begin to understand that I’m Italian to my core. As if my hand gestures, loud voice, and spicy attitude weren’t enough to clue you in, my love of Italian cuisine is limitless. So, when I’m feeling like I need a comfort food dinner that’s an ode to my family heritage I bring out the show-stopping, crowd-pleasing, Nona’s Pasta Carbonara. It’s my version of bacon and eggs for dinner! Salty, smoky, creamy, and indulgent all in the same bite. This recipe is like stepping into my grandmother’s kitchen, and it’s even gluten free. So take a bite out of this pasta next time your’e wanting a sense of old world nostalgia or simply to try something new.

Carbinara

 

Nona’s Gluten Free Pasta Carbonara
 
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Serves: 6 Hearty Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s brown rice/quinoa gluten free spaghetti (any spaghetti you like will do)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 eggs, organic and free range
  • ¾ cup grated real parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • a few turns of ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. There are three things going on at once. Quite the quick meal however does require multi-tasking...
  2. Bring a big pot of water, salted to a boil.
  3. Place dried gluten free pasta into boiling water in pot and cook for about 8 minutes, or until al dente.
  4. While pasta is cooking...In a separate large saucepan (big enough to eventually toss all of pasta in), place diced bacon slices. Render bacon until cooked then place pressed garlic into pan in addition to frozen peas. Cook down for a few minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together parmigiano reggiano cheese with two eggs until mixed thoroughly. set aside.
  6. Once pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving about ½ cup of pasta water for later.
  7. Throw drained pasta into saucepan with bacon, garlic, and peas. Toss until coated with mixture.
  8. Take pasta and sauce off burner for the next step.
  9. Once pasta is off the burner but still warm, slowly pour to egg and cheese mixture over the pasta, turning the pasta until it is fully coated. The reason the cheese and egg mixture is poured while pan is off the burner is to avoid scrambling the eggs. The residual heat will cook the eggs this way without scrambling them, thus creating a beautiful creamy sauce. Add some of the reserved pasta water too to perfect this sauce!
  10. Sprinkle with a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley!
  11. Bon Appetito e Bon Provecho!

Kung “Pow” Chicken

Feeling spicy? Move over Panda Express and you local Chinese takeout! Look no further than your kitchen wok to create this Asian classic with a kick. It’s sure to get your week started off right. This definitely spiced up our Monday evening! Pow!

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Kung “Pow” Chicken
 
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Serves: 6 Servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup cold pressed, unfiltered olive oil
  • 1 pound organic, free range chicken tenders
  • ¼ cup coconut flour for dredging chicken
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ cup dry roasted cashews
  • ½ cup liquid coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 inch hunk of ginger, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Dice chicken tenders into bite-size cubes.
  2. Place the ¼ cup coconut flour in a shallow bowl.
  3. Dredge chicken pieces in coconut flour, enough to coat evenly, no more than that. Set chicken aside.
  4. Preheat wok on stove burner to medium to medium-high heat.
  5. While wok is preheating, dice up all veggies into same size pieces as chicken- bite size.
  6. Set veggies aside.
  7. Pour ¼ cup of olive oil into wok and place chicken pieces into sizzling oil. Cook in wok until chicken is fully cooked and golden, about 10-15 minutes, depending on heat setting. Once chicken is golden, remove from wok and set aside on a plate.
  8. With wok still hot, pour in liquid coconut aminos, ginger minced, garlic pressed, and pepper flakes. Let coconut aminos cook down a bit. Once this sauce mixture has thickened a bit, add diced veggies and cashews into the wok. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on high heat, then add in the already cooked chicken. Cook full mixture of sauce, veggies, cashews, and chicken for 3-5 more minutes allowing the flavors to marry!
  9. Take off heat and serve over a bed of jasmine rice and Enjoy!!

Fresh Mango Salsa

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Fresh Mango Salsa
 
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Serves: Serving size: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 mango
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and ribs removed
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 1 lime
  • small palm full of cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Dice Mango into small pieces. I’ve found the easiest way to dice a mango is to hold the mango oblong and cut along each side of the mango pit in the middle until you have two sides cut away. Then score each side with hatch marks all the way across in cubes. Then, hold each side and cut close to the skin to remove the hatched cuttings. Voila! You now have diced mango.
  2. De-seed and remove ribbing from jalapeno. Mince jalapeno.
  3. Dice red onion and red bell pepper into even size pieces.
  4. Mince cilantro finely.
  5. Combine all the chopped ingredients into a bowl and pour over the juice of a lime.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy with macadamia crusted fish or as a dip for tortilla chips!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

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Here’s where I get on my soap box and start rambling. I don’t buy corn tortilla chips at the store unless they are organic and Non-GMO (Non-genetically modified). I like to know my food is indeed unmodified, the way nature intended it. The majority of corn on the market and corn additives in processed foods are genetically modified and there aren’t laws regulating whether the company is required to tell the consumer if the product is or is not GMO. As a consumer, I like to be in the know as to if I’m eating franken-food or not. There are times when for whatever reason, I just cannot make it to the select stores that do have Non-GMO corn tortilla chips; so, on those days I go down to my local grocery store and pick up the only package of organic/non-gmo corn tortillas they have and bring them home to make my own freshly baked chips in my trusty oven. Okay, now that I’ve hopped down off my soap box, here’s how simple making corn tortilla chips is…

tortillachips2

Homemade Tortilla Chips
 
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Serves: Serving size 6
Ingredients
  • 10 Organic/Non-GMO corn tortillas (I like Non-GMO project verified brands the best)
  • 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt (or any salt you care for will do)
  • ⅛ cup Organic, cold pressed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cut round corn tortillas into either quarters or sixths depending on size of tortillas. You want them to ultimately come out looking like cute little triangles.
  2. In a bowl combine corn tortilla triangles, salt and olive oil. Toss until tortilla triangles are completely coated.
  3. Place on cookie sheet. You may need more than one cookie sheet. Make sure all triangles are spread out on sheet in single layer.
  4. Place in oven on broil. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side. Remove from oven. Turn triangles over to other side. Put back in oven and cook for additional 3-4 minutes. The goal is to get a golden brown crunch to each side. From my experience, it is a good idea whenever broiling anything to stay close to the oven. Food quickly can escalate from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds. This will help avoid any oven mishaps. This has been your public service announcement for today:) Thank you for listening! Now , go on with your rad self and enjoy these crunchy chips!

Macadamia Crusted Fish

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Macadamia Crusted Fish
 
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Serves: 6 filets
Ingredients
  • About six filets of any wild caught white fish you like (we used sole)
  • 1 cup organic raw macadamia nuts (crushed)
  • 1 Tablespoon grass fed butter (cut into tiny pieces)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. We used frozen sole that we had defrosted overnight in the fridge. Make sure fish is skinned and deboned. We bought it that way!
  3. Rinse each piece of fish off and pat dry.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  5. Place each filet of fish on the baking sheet
  6. On a cutting board, chop up macadamia nuts until mostly finely chopped with a larger pieces still visible. You can do this in a food processor also if you prefer.
  7. Coat the top of each filet with a thin layer of crushed macadamia nuts
  8. Break up the tablespoon of butter into little pieces. Place three or four tiny pieces of butter on the top of each filet. This will help the fish to reach a gold brown color in the oven.
  9. Put fish in the oven for approximately 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Broil for an additional minute or two if you want a light golden finish to top of fish. The sole filets we used were extremely thin. If the fish you choose is thicker, it may take longer in the oven. You want to make sure the fish is no longer opaque, but has turned white instead.
  10. Serve with a side of mango salsa, homemade tortilla chips and sliced avocado.

“Peanut-less” Dipping Sauce

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“Peanut-less” dipping sauce
 
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I made this dinner for Chris on a whim. It was my attempt at bringing some warm flavors to our plates in the middle of December. Its sweet, spicy and tart simultaneously. It’s sure to warm up even the chilliest of winter evenings. In case your taste buds didn’t get the memo yet, this recipe is about to give them a nice little exotic vacation. The full dinner includes Grass Fed Ginger Sirloin Tip, Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir Fry, Jasmine Rice, Fresh Spring Rolls and “Peanut-less” dipping sauce
Serves: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp liquid coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in bowl or blend together in food processor.
  2. Serve with fresh vegetable spring rolls.

 

Fresh Spring Rolls

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I made this dinner for Chris on a whim. It was my attempt at bringing some warm flavors to our plates in the middle of December. Its sweet, spicy and tart simultaneously. It’s sure to warm up even the chilliest of winter evenings. In case your taste buds didn’t get the memo yet, this recipe is about to give them a nice little exotic vacation. The full dinner includes Grass Fed Ginger Sirloin Tip, Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir Fry, Jasmine Rice, Fresh Spring Rolls and “Peanut-less” dipping sauce.

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Fresh Spring Rolls
 
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Serves: 4 Servings (About 12 Spring Rolls)
Ingredients
  • Rice wrappers (Dried)
  • 2 cups warm water for soaking rice wrappers
  • ½ Red bell pepper
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 spear of pineapple
  • a few sprigs of mint
Instructions
  1. Julien bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, green onions and pineapple. Make sure all vegetables are cut into even sizes to create cohesive filling for rice wrapper.
  2. Make sure warm water is poured into baking dish and set nearby slicing station.
  3. Take out one individual dried rice wrapper and place in dish of warm water and move back and forth gently to rehydrate wrapper.
  4. Place rehydrated rice paper carefully on cutting board (making sure not to tear it).
  5. fill with a few pieces of each vegetable, along with one mint leaf.
  6. Wrap like a burrito...sides in and roll up to close.
  7. Garnish with mint leaf on top.
  8. Enjoy with our “Peanut-less” dipping sauce

 

Jasmine Rice

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Jasmine Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup organic jasmine rice
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp pad of grass fed butter
Instructions
  1. Place water, rice, and pad of butter (ratio always of 2:1 water to rice) in a covered pot and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 16-18 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes.
  4. Fluff rice with a fork.
  5. Enjoy!
  6. PS: If you want to jazz up the rice, you can grate a teaspoon of lime zest and a couple Tablespoons cilantro finely chopped