Pizza Night Hack

GFFocaccia BreadPizza

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!

 

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…

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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!

“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

 

My Favorite Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

 

My Favorite Green Smoothie
 
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Serves: 2 Cups
Ingredients
  • 1 Banana
  • ½ Cup Frozen Mangos
  • 2 Cups of Greens - Whatever is in season (Spinach, Kale, Dandelion)
  • 1 Cup Liquid - Water, Coconut Water, Orange Juice
Instructions
  1. Put the Fruit in the blender first
  2. Then add the water and blend
  3. Add the greens a handful at a time, blending until smooth
  4. Enjoy!