Tag Archives: Paleo

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

Carrot Squash Ginger Muffins (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)

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When I first started on my journey in grain-free cooking (to accommodate my husband’s strict SCD diet) over 5 years ago, one of the first cookbooks I discovered that made me believe our restricted ingredients could actually still yield delicious results, was the Grain-Free Gourmet by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass.  Although I typically enjoy cookbooks with pictures on every page, here, the recipes for grain-free pies, tarts, muffins and cakes had me so excited and motivated that I didn’t even care what the foods looked like, but just the knowledge that these recipes existed gave me hope (and there are plenty of nice pictures, just not every page!). One of the first recipes I tried from Grain-Free Gourmet, all those years ago, was the recipe for carrot muffins, because we all need a good, easy carrot muffin recipe to fall back on…After trying several variations of the original recipe, my favorite has become my Carrot Squash Ginger muffins. I prefer the resulting texture of the carrot-squash combo, and I think the added ginger adds an interesting and unexpected kick.  Although the consistency of this muffin is a not as fluffy as a typical gluten-filled baked-good, this moist and delicious treat is a favorite side dish, breakfast food and snack, at my house.

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Carrot Squash Ginger Muffins

Ingredients:

2 medium or 3 small carrots, cut in chunksIMG_4362

approximately 1/2 butternut squash, cut in chunks

*total combined carrots and squash grated should be about 3 cups

sugar-cube sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled

2 eggs

1 tablespoon water

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2.5 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

IMG_4365Preheat the oven to 325 and line 30 mini muffins with parchment baking cups. Place carrots and butternut squash in food processor (I use S blade) until very finely shredded. Make sure the combined ingredients yield approximately 3 cups of grated vegetables (extra can be reserved for other recipes, soups, etc).  Add ginger, eggs, water, honey and lemon juice into food processor until well blended. If your machine has room, you can add in all other ingredients. If not, mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add the wet ingredients.

IMG_4375Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 high, and bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out dry. Try one right out of the oven, it tastes so good!

 

IMG_4414yield: 30 mini muffins or 12 regular size

Tip: high quality almond flour makes a major difference in the quality of grain-free baked goods. I buy mine from wellbees.com for great quality and better prices (especially when buying in bulk)

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

Strawberry Spinach Pear Shake

IMG_4279There is no better way to start the week than with a fresh shake loaded with fruits, vegetables and protein. In an ideal world, I would own a Vitamix (one day…) and be blending green drinks for my family every single morning, but life gets in the way, and mornings are usually VERY hectic, chaotic and rushed at my house. On those spectacular days when we can actually find two socks that match, shoes for the right season, and all other school/camp essentials without too many tantrums along the way…we are able to make shakes!  IMG_4262
Green drink “shakes” have been an amazing way for me to get my kids excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables, they love to help decide which ingredients we will be tossing in and to “help” me push the button (I am very careful to only let my girls help with the blender when supervised). My drinks always include a good amount of greens (usually spinach) some fruit, and many times a spoonful of almond butter for extra protein. Bananas are great for thickening the shakes and I like to keep a stash of ready-to-blend frozen ripe bananas in the freezer (for SCD, make sure that bananas are extra ripe, with brown spots).

IMG_4237On this particular morning, we also had some very ripe pears and strawberries that I was thrilled to use for added fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants.  The result was a sweet, hearty and delicious smoothie. A drink so clean, refreshing and satisfying is the perfect way to start the week off towards easy healthy kosher eating!

Strawberry Spinach Pear Shake

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Ingredients:

2 medium size overripe pears (approximately 2.5 cups cubed)

10 strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 overflowing cup baby spinachIMG_4250

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 banana (preferably frozen)

1 cup water

1/2 lemon squeezed

optional: 1/2 tablespoon fresh mint

Directions:

Chop strawberries and pear. Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth and enjoy!IMG_4259

yield: 6 cups

Tip: frozen fruits are a great way to keep prep-time down and to keep the shake cold without adding ice. Its fun to experiment with all types of fruits.

Cinnabon Bites (Gluten Free)

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Intrigued by the health benefits of coconut flour (high protein, high fiber, gluten-free…), I decided months ago to order a bag of coconut flour as a change from my usual baking flour of choice, almond flour. Being that all my go-to recipes are made with nut bases, the coconut flour had been sitting unopened for a little while. As I was recently preparing a meal for a family that I invited who have children with nut allergies, I finally remembered the forgotten coconut flour. For inspiration on how to use it, I flipped thru one of my favorite cookbooks, Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, by Erica Kerwien, and found an easy recipe for Cinnamon Bun Muffins to put my coconut flour to the test. The results were amazing, and within minutes the muffins were gone! Who can resist a hot cinnamon bun muffin fresh from the oven? Apparently not my husband… The good news was that the whole recipe takes about ten minutes to prepare, so I was able to make a new batch in no time!

IMG_4352My family and friends have become hooked to this dessert which I have modified slightly to make a little less sweet and a little more moist than the original, found at Kerwien’s website: comfybelly.com. I also changed the size to mini muffins to make sure that every bite is filled with the delicious cinnamon glaze topping–and also so that when my husband eats ten at a time, I don’t have to worry because I know there are at least 40 more….

Cinnabon Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 eggs

2/3 cup coconut milk

2/3 cup honey

Cinnamon Glaze Topping:
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4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

5 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line mini muffin trays with parchment paper liners. In a medium sized bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and salt until evenly blended. Add wet ingredients to the bowl — vanilla, eggs, coconut milk (if using coconut milk from a can, make sure to shake well before opening because the milk separates and will be thicker on top if not shaken) and honey, and mix well with electric mixer. In a separate small bowl, mix topping ingredients together–cinnamon, honey and coconut oil. Use a tablespoon to measure the muffin batter and fill each muffin liner. Then, using 1/2 a teaspoon of topping, swirl over each muffin.

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Bake 10 minutes and enjoy!

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yield: 50 Cinnabon Bites

Tip: I buy coconut flour, canned coconut milk without any additives, and refined coconut oil from: digestivewellness.com

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.