Tag Archives: dinner

Jon’s Pizza Crust

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After a few months away from the computer, and a few weeks away from the kitchen, I was planning a big re-entry into cooking with some fancy (but still easy of course) recipes from several of the most amazing and beautiful new cookbooks I acquired over my extended winter break. 

I was so excited to get back into my kitchen and try something new to really impress my crowd.  As luck would have it though, the weather outside yesterday was literally -6 (fahrenheit), or as the locals here say, -21 (it’s been 6 years and I am still adjusting to celsius!), so I decided to pass on a grocery store outing, and put those fancy new recipes on hold for a few days… Instead, I was able to work with what we had at home, and make my family’s favorite, and fortunately my easiest recipe that I have been making for years.

Adapted from an SCD recipe I found on-line years ago called John’s pizza (maybe that is why my husband loves it so much) this grain-free, almond flour crust pizza is perfect for a thin-crust lover who can’t live without pizza, but wants to say goodbye to carbs.

Jon’s Pizza

(Adapted from John’s Pizza)IMG_2084

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

optional: dried basil/oregano

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in bowl.IMG_2081
Spread over parchment paper lined pizza pan or any baking sheet. The spreading can be tricky because the dough is sticky, For me, using the back of a spoon gently works best. Turn on oven to 350 and place pizza pan inside.  IMG_2083The crust will typically be ready by the time the oven is pre-heated (10-12 minutes) when slightly brown around the edges.  Add toppings and place back in the oven for about another 20 minutes until desired browning. 

IMG_2088yield: 12 inch pizza

Baked Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

IMG_0912 One of my favorite features of Fall is the abundance of winter squash available. Butternut, Kabocha, Spaghetti Squash…these are all major staples in my household year round, but during this time of year the flavors are truly at their peak (not to mention the savings are about half-price).  In my experience, these squash can last for months in a cool, dark area.  When prices are low, I buy in bulk and keep mine in the garage.  Being that there aren’t too many other perks I feel from the weather starting to turn cold, I am thrilled that I have at least this one aspect of the season to look forward to.

When cooking for a gluten-free and grain-free household, as specified by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), finding starchy filler options can definitely be challenging.  Typically, 4-5 days a week, my menus include a winter squash, whether in a soup, as a side, or part of the main dish.

Last night, I made for my family Baked Chicken with Spaghetti Squash from A Taste of Wellness by Rochel Weiss (a special thank you to my aunt Linda for getting me my copy so many months ago).  What attracted me to this particular recipe was the minimal ingredients required (no need for a grocery store run), and ease of preparation.  The whole recipe, besides for cooking time, took a total of 20 minutes. The result was delicious, filling but still light, and for added bonus, a breeze to clean up:)

Baked Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

(recipe taken from A Taste of Wellness by Rochel Weiss)

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoon mayonnaise  (for SCD, a quick and easy homemade version can be found at comfybelly.com)

Salt and paprika to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 medium spaghetti squash

3 tablespoon oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

IMG_0908In a small dish, mix mayonnaise with salt and paprika.  Spread evenly on both sides of chicken breasts.  Arrange chicken in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until juices run clear.  Do not overcook or chicken will be dry.

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Meanwhile, cut spaghetti squash in half; scrape out and discard seeds with a large spoon.  Place squash cut-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at the same time as the chicken for 35-45 minutes, until tender. (Do not overbake, keep strands crispy).

 

With a fork, gently separate cooked spaghetti squash into spaghetti-like strands.

Shortly before serving, heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add squash strands and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cut baked chicken into 1 inch cubes and add to skillet, mix well.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice until piping hot.  Serve immediately.IMG_0920

Yield: 4 servings

Salad Bar Night!

IMG_0229Challah, chocolate, potato chips, lollipops, more lollipops… that was the primary diet of my children over Rosh Hashanah.  Although at home I am careful with what I make and feed my kids, when they are at shul, the rules change.  My daughters have been basically adopted by wonderful members of our shul who each feel it is their responsibility to fill their sugar quota for the week (sometimes the month).  Once a week, I am happy for my kids to indulge and to understand that shabbos is the special day when we get these goodies, a three day yuntif however gets to be a little much in the sugar department.

This week it has been my goal to teach my kids what vegetables are again. Especially my three year old who somehow manages to hide bags of cookies from her Zaidy in her closet.  After studying one of my favorite new cookbooks,michael smith Family Meals by Michael Smith, it hit me, a salad bar dinner night!  My girls, who beg me to let them help in the kitchen, love being the mixers and the ones to decide which ingredient goes next. A salad bar is a perfect way to let my kids get involved and to feel ownership over their healthy choices. Our first attempt at salad bar dinner was a huge success, everyone was so excited about the colorful creations they were making. We made a game to see how many colors everyone could put on their plate, and taste! In addition to how great our dinner tasted, I love the fact that the only part of dinner that required cooking was the simple salmon I baked to go along with the salad.

Tip: cut vegetables can be prepared in advance, most last at least 3-4 days in fridge 

Salad Bar Dinner Night

(Obviously it depends on ingredients you prefer or have in stock, but this was our version)

large bowl lettuce

cooked broccoli

chopped avocado (with lemon juice sprinkled on top)

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Made by a 4.5 year old!

cut cucumbers

shredded purple cabbage

roasted beets

raisins

sunflower seeds

grated carrots

grape tomatoes

corn niblets

sliced mushrooms

chia seeds

ground flax

Dressings:

choice of Honey Mustard (honey, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic) or basic Vinaigrette (olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper).

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What my 3 year old voluntarily served herself and ate!

Tip: I like to buy organic vegetables when possible and cut them at home, but if you are short on time, most great salad bar toppings are available pre-cut and can make salad bar night even easier!

Tip: cut vegetables can be prepared in advance, most last at least 3-4 days in fridge 

Eggplant Parmesan Vegetable Lasagna

IMG_0047At first, I honestly had no idea what to call this delicious dinner creation.  On the one hand, it has all the components of eggplant parmesan, the eggplant, the breading (gluten-free), the sauce and cheese. On the other hand, it has the textures, and overflowing vegetable inside of a saucy lasagna.

It all started with a pretty bare looking fridge and a strong will to avoid going grocery shopping. With an eggplant, sauce and cheese in stock, eggplant parmesan was an obvious choice but just didn’t seem to offer enough nutritious value. Luckily, I found one very large zucchini to use, and, inspired by the recipe for “Veggie Eggplant Parmesan” from A Taste of Wellness by Rochel Weiss, I decided to turn the parmesan concept into a vegetable loaded lasagna casserole.

My favorite memories of lasagna are of my mom’s saucy lasagna where every bite was exploding with vegetables and saucy goodness.  My mom has always been great at spontaneously adding vegetables into meals and is a constant inspiration for my healthy cooking.

IMG_0034Another valuable lasagna lesson that I learnt from my mom was that if you use enough sauce, you don’t need to boil the lasagna noodles before baking.  I applied that rule to the eggplant here, and decided to forgo the frying or baking that is typically done as a separate step before layering the eggplant (also a good way to cut unnecessary calories).  Fortunately, breaded eggplant and noodles are more similar than one may think, it totally worked! The resulting combination of breaded eggplant, vegetables, sauce and cheese was an amazing blend of tastes and textures and, in my opinion, can only be known as an Eggplant Parmesan Vegetable Lasagna!

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Eggplant Parmesan Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant

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1 large zucchini, chopped small

1 small red onion, chopped small

2 tablespoon oil, divided

2 eggs

2 cups tomato sauce

2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (with extra for sprinkling on eggplant

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or preferred cheese)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice eggplant into pieces 1/2 inch thick.  Lay eggplant slices flat on paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.

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Sautée onion in oil on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add zucchini, reduce temperature to low, and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While vegetables are cooking, beat eggs well and place in large shallow dish. In another large, shallow dish, mix together flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Prepare baking dish (I used an oval casserole dish, but a rectangular 9 by 13 or square 8 by 8 pan also would work) by spreading one tablespoon of oil and 5-7 tablespoons tomato sauce on the bottom, enough to cover pan.  Dry off excess moisture on eggplant, then dip slices in egg, shake gently and coat in flour mixture.

IMG_0026 Place one layer of battered eggplant on the bottom of the pan (over sauce) to cover as much space as possible (I sometimes cut the battered eggplant to fill gaps, but it’s fine of there are some empty spots…)

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Cover eggplant with sautéed veggies and then top vegetable layer thinly with tomato sauce (4-5 tablespoons). Add another layer of breaded eggplant and top with remaining sauce and cheese.

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Cover tightly and bake 1.5 hours, uncover and bake 10-15 more minutes, until lightly browned.

IMG_0059Enjoy!

Yield: 4 servings

5 Minute Honey Mustard Roasted Chicken

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I have always found honey and dijon mustard to be a delicious, no-fail duo. Whether for a chicken, salmon or london broil marinade, salad dressing or dip, the sweet and tangy combination always provides great flavor. A few years ago, I was hoping to take my predictable honey roasted chicken recipe up a notch, so I did what I always do when searching for cooking inspiration, I headed on-line.  I somehow came across the recipe for Honey Baked Chicken at allrecipes.com which intrigued me because of the addition of curry powder to the honey mustard dressing.  Not having any curry powder, I tried it with turmeric and the result was AMAZING! I served it one Friday night for dinner, and for the first time ever, I barely had enough chicken because everyone kept taking more. I was so excited to have found such an easy recipe (it only took me 5 minutes to prepare) that was so full of flavor.  Besides for switching turmeric for curry, I have adapted the original recipe a few ways, including substituting olive oil for butter to make it kosher and healthier (I also cut the amount of fat in half), and by slightly reducing the honey to save some calories.  This unbelievably easy and delicious dish has come to be a regular at my Friday night table

 5 Minute Honey Mustard Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken cut into 10

IMG_42821 large onion sliced in rings

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

3 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of baking pan with onion rings and garlic cloves.IMG_4299
Lay chicken pieces, skin side up, over onions and garlic. Mix together all remaining ingredients (salt, turmeric, honey, olive oil and mustard) and “paint” over chicken. Bake uncovered about an hour and 15 minutes. Baste with juices at least once during cooking, best after first 30 minutes of baking.

 

Tip: Chicken can be prepared in marinade the night before to really intensify the flavor (and also to save 5 minutes of preparation on a busy Friday)!IMG_4320

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

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Last week, my family, along with my parents, siblings, and all of our children (for the first time ever all-together) had a fun-filled trip to Ohio in honor of my parent’s anniversary.  We had an amazing week of camping, hiking, and barbecuing.  Anyone who knows my family understands that although we referred to our beautiful accommodations as “camping” and we called our short walks that ended in 15 minutes of scenic picture taking as “hiking” the only part of that statement that was really true was the BBQ component. Basically we grilled and ate and grilled and ate…Although the food was all delicious, I definitely reached my quota on chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers for a good while and I was actually looking forward to a break from meat this week.  Not wanting to make fish and heavy cheesy dishes all week long, I found a few recipes for vegetarian chili that I combined and tweeked to fit my own requirements  for a wholesome meal that is natural, kosher, and a perfect healthy meatless dinner option. I served my chili with a recipe for vegan sour cream, from ohsheglows.com, but if you can tolerate dairy, any sour cream or melted cheese would make for a tasty topping

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients:

2 cups red kidney beans (soaked, prepared and cooked according to SCD guidelines) ***OR, if not following SCD, 2 cans of kidney beans drained and rinsed would be a quicker option

2 tablespoon oilIMG_4675

1/2 sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 tomato, chopped small

7 oz (200 g) shitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped small

1 cup frozen peas

1 1/2 cup strained tomatoes

1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/4 cup waterIMG_4680

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Optional add-ins to make it hot:

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder extra

1/2 teaspoon cayanne pepper

to make it really hot:

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Directions:

On medium heat, add oil and sauté onion, garlic, and celery for 5 minutes.IMG_4686 Add red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, frozen peas, sauté another 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add tomatoes, kidney beans, strained tomatoes, marinara, water and seasonings and bring to a simmer. Reduce to low until flavors are melded together and sauce has thickened, about 10 more minutes.

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I served my kids this dish, without the spicy seasonings, on top of gluten-free rice noodles. For my husband and myself, I made a cauliflower rice as a SCD friendly and lower carb side dish.

Salmon Vegetable Loaf

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My typical Monday morning starts like this. After 30 minutes of negotiating with my girls about what they can wear to school (they are only 2 and 4…I think I’m in trouble!), we have ten minutes of negotiating breakfast options.  After everyone is satisfied, I sit down with my coffee, my pen and paper, and together, my “team” helps me think up a dinner plan for the week.  The one requirement for Monday night dinner is that it has to be something I can make from the ingredients that I already have.  If I’m lucky, I can stretch out weekend leftovers to get me thru Monday, but some weeks there is no such luck and all I have is a few random vegetables to work with.

Today is one of those days…Luckily I keep my pantry stocked with canned pink salmon because it is loaded with calcium, Omega -3 fatty acids, and tons of potential for easy, healthy and delicious dinner options.  A favorite dinner of mine growing up was my mom’s salmon loaf.  I have changed around some of my mom’s original ingredients to create a healthier version that is gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, SCD friendly and includes more vegetables.  An oldie but a goodie, salmon loaf is so moist, so flavorful, so satisfying, and the best part is it only takes a handful of ingredients and about ten minutes to prepare.

Salmon Vegetable Loaf

Ingredients:

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3 small carrots or two medium carrots grated (approximately one cup)

1 small zucchini grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 eggs

1 (213 gram) can salmon (I use Clover Leaf Red Pacific Salmon)

1/4 cup almond flour (or gluten free bread-crumb substitute of your choice)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

For the Topping:IMG_4225

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking dish with parchment paper or oil (I use a pyrex casserole dish). Grate carrots and zucchini–either with a hand grater or the food processor. Drain excess liquid from zucchini.
Remove large bone and any unappealing skin from canned salmon and mix together with vegetables, eggs, gluten-free flour of choice, salt, pepper and mustard. Top with mixture of tomato sauce, honey and vinegar.IMG_4179
Optional: surround loaf with any vegetables that you have in stock. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes and enjoy!

yield: 4 servings

Tip: small canned salmon bones don’t need to be removed, they will soften during cooking and are a great source of calcium.