Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cold Day Spicy Sausage and Lentil Comfort Soup

You may have realized by now that I love comfort foods. Their is just something to say for them-starting with the name "comfort" duh! Well we have been having a pretty rough winter here in Colorado, so with  what seems like an abundance of snow and cold days ahead of us, I've been thinking of a soup I can make in large quantities that will only get better over time. Sausage and lentil soup is a basic staple soup, almost as well known as chicken noodle. I put my own twist on a classic and have been enjoying it ever since. Ufurahie Chakula Chako! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Cold Day Spicy Sausage and Lentil Comfort Soup:
9 cups of organic chicken broth
3 cups of red, green and yellow lentils-mixed
1 cup of basmati rice
2 links of spicy precooked kielbasa-gluten free
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 large carrot
2 large tomatoes
1 stalk of celery
3 tbsp minced garlic
1  1/2 tbsp of dried oregano
1 tbsp of red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme 
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, add garlic, and olive oil and saute until browned. Then add lentils and rice and stir until slightly browned. Add 6 cups of your chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer until the majority of the chicken broth has been absorbed. In the mean time, dice your carrot, tomatoes, and celery into small pieces. Once broth is absorbed add your spicy kielbasa, and carrot, and celery. Keep the tomatoes out until the very end. Add the remaining broth and stir in your spices to taste. Once your lentils and rice are al dente, add your tomatoes and let them simmer in the soup for about 10 minutes while still on the heat, and then you are ready to enjoy. Also, you can always double this recipe and freeze the soup.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Allergy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I read about a competition that Beaver Creek (a local ski resort) has each year. It is called the worlds best chocolate chip cookies. I decided to enter, and put a twist on the normal cookie. I made mine allergy free. As someone who ski's a lot, it's always a bummer to come down from the mountain and have nothing available to snack on, so I'm hoping mine win! Please try the recipe and let me know what you think. Bom Apetite! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Allergy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 Cups of all purpose Gluten Free flour blend*
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of fine salt
3/4 cups of butter substitute or margarine**
1 cups of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of Gluten Free vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons of egg re-placer OR 3 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce+1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of dairy free chocolate chips

*Gluten Free flour can be found at any major grocery store. Look in the health food aisle.
**For your butter substitute-I use Earth Balance. This too can be found at major grocery stores in the dairy section.

Baking Instructions:

1.) Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
2.) Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. (Flour, Salt, Baking Soda)
3.) In a separate bowl melt butter, then add both sugars. Once thoroughly mixed, add in egg re-placer and vanilla.
4.) Once all wet ingredients are combined, add remaining dry ingredients.
5.) Dough should look sticky and not runny.
6.) Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula, and place dough in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
7.) Once removed from refrigerator, scoop desired amount onto sprayed cookie sheet.
8.) Bake for 13-15 minutes.
9.) ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BLT Rotini Pasta

This is another simple, but tasty meal. When I came up with this recipe I was living with a friend who always kept our refrigerator packed full of food containing gluten. Even though I knew I couldn't eat any of it, I would always stare in at our stocked refrigerator and just think about what all I was "missing". One day I opened our fridge and there it was. The half eaten BLT. I was all out of my gluten free bread and felt  a bad craving coming on, but instead of just staring at that sandwich, I decided to take the all of the ingredients that we had sans my gluten free bread, and see what I could come up with. So here it is, my BLT pasta. It's a great way to honor a classic sandwich and turn a laid back meal into a sit-down dinner that provides tons of protein from the quinoa pasta, not to mention great left overs. Dober Tek! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

BLT Rotini Pasta:
8oz rottini quinoa pasta
1/2 cup of olive oil
4 pieces of bacon (make sure it's gluten free)
1 1/2 packed cups of fresh spinach
1 large finely chopped tomato
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil and add a touch of salt, then pasta.
While pasta is cooking, in a separate saucepan fry bacon. Once crispy, take out and place on paper towels for excess fat to drip off.
In the same saucepan used for bacon, without draining grease, add olive oil, garlic, and tomato.
Saute until tomatoes become "mushy" and thicken a little.
Add spinach and saute until it is cooked.
By now your pasta should be done. Drain water, then add the sauce in the saucepan. Once noodles are completely coated, take your bacon and rip into small pieces over pasta mixture.
Mix together and serve.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Santa Monica Salmon

Cooking hasn't always been my passion. I was never a good cook because I didn't really have to be. I lived at home and I didn't take the time to develop my skill like I wish I would have. As high school neared an end, I was preparing my move to California to pursue my acting career. Who knew it would be so hard to live on your own!?! I in no way anticipated half of the hurdles I encountered. The stress of providing for myself and simply being away from home and my family for the first time, really took a toll on my health. I knew I had gluten intolerances, but while in California discovered I am also extremely sensitive to dairy and egg. I not only had to learn how to cook, but I had to learn how to cook gluten, dairy, and egg free meals and still somehow make them taste good enough so that my friends would eat them as well. On a college students budget salmon seemed to be quite the treat. After making it a few times and it being very bland, I finally came up with this marinade that seemed to be a hit with my friends. It was a meal that brought us all together and helped us create great memories, just like good food is supposed to. I wanted to share this and hope it's as special a meal for you as it is for me. Afiyet Olsun! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Santa Monica Salmon:
2 cuts of wild Alaskan salmon
1/2 cup of wheat free soy sauce
2 tsp sriracha chili sauce-
2 tbsp gluten free dijon mustard
1 tbsp wheat free hoison sauce
1 tbsp honey or agave

In a bowl, whisk all the ingredients together. Place salmon in a baking dish. Slice salmon horizontally to allow marinade to soak in, then brush on a generous amount of sauce. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until flaky-depending on the thickness of the cut. I recommend keeping extra sauce as well to spoon over once fish it's finished baking.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Green Beans with Bacon and Cinnamon Carmelized Onions

Green beans have always been one of my favorite vegetables. They are simple and classic and seem to be one of the few vegetables that appeal to all ages. One of the few memories I have of my great grandmother was from eating out with her at The Black Eyed Pea. It was the only restaurant in town we would go to with her, and she would always get green beans as one of her sides. Now these are nothing like the green beans she would get, but still bring back good memories. A new twist on a personal comfort food :-) Prijatnogo Appetita! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Green Beans with Bacon and Cinnamon Caramelized Onions: 
1 red onion
1 pound fresh string beans
5 slices of bacon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Pinch of sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

In a pan begin frying your bacon. In a separate pan add olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, and saute. Slice onions extremely thin, and add to olive oil mixture. Toss occasionally making sure they are coated. Once bacon is crispy, remove from pan onto a paper towel allowing excess grease to be absorbed. Add string beans into the pan the bacon was just removed from. Combine onion mixture and saute for 5-8 minutes or until green beans are al dente. Cut bacon into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the vegetables. Toss together and serve.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flaky Coconut Macaroons

If I asked my mom what her favorite dessert is, she probably wouldn't be able to make up her mind, but it would most definitely be something containing coconut. She always seems to be on the go and busy with something, so I came up with this recipe for her. They are easy to take with you and are a sweet but simple snack that seems to be just enough. Guten Appetit! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Flaky Coconut Macaroons:
2  1/2 cups of sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups of regular coconut milk (not lite)
2 egg whites (can use Ener-G egg replacer as well-will make macaroon flakier.)
1/4 cup agave
1 tsp gluten free vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. While your oven is preheating beat your egg whites. Once beaten, slowly mix in agave, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt. Once evenly mixed, fold in coconut. Spoon dollops of mixture onto parchment paper to desired size. Bake for 10-13 minutes* or until the tips are brown.

*I came up with this recipe while I was living in California, and have yet to make them at high altitude, so baking time may need to be a little longer. Keep an eye on them, and once they begin to brown they are done. I am still working on a high altitude version so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Emily's Mediterranean Shrimp Scampi

My cousin Emily just turned 13 and got her first job helping my mom out in her office. My mom is a jewelry rep and is able to work from home. So every Wednesday Emily comes out to the house after school and works for an hour or two while I cook, and then we all eat. Emily along with the rest of my family has been kind enough to let me test all my recipes on them. She is not only a trooper but brutally honest, so when she said "This is definitely one for your blog!" I trusted her. So here it is, very simple, but still tasty. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as Emily and I did. Kalí Óreksi! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Emily's Mediterranean Shrimp Scampi:
1/2 cup sliced and pitted kalamata olives
1 large lemon
4 large heirloom tomatoes diced

1 garlic clove minced
1 1/2 cups organic virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 pound uncooked peeled shrimp

12 oz angel hair rice pasta

In two separate pots, each holding two quarts of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. In a separate saucepan add olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and saute on low. As the oil browns, add basil, tomatoes, and kalamata olives, stirring occasionally. Place a square of cheesecloth over your lemon to avoid seeds and pulp, and squeeze each side until all the juice is out into the saucepan. Cover and let the sauce simmer on low. 

Add pasta and shrimp to separate pots of water. When pasta is al dente drain and wash in cool water. Once shrimp turns pink remove and drain as well. Add boiled shrimp to sauce and allow to sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce over pasta, zest a small amount of lemon on top, and enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maple Walnut Sour Cream Muffins

I'll admit it. I am normally not a muffin person. I much rather prefer a good piece of pie or a croissant. So I'm not exactly sure what motivated me to come up with this recipe, but boy am I glad I did. These are a must try. The mixture between the tangy moist bottom and buttery crunch of the topping is amazing. They are not overwhelmingly sweet which makes them great as a warm breakfast muffin or a yummy dessert crumbled over vanilla "ice cream". ¡Buen Apetito! (Enjoy your meal) and stay healthy.

Maple Walnut Sour Cream Muffins:
For the batter:
1/2 cup earth balance or butter substitute, room temperature
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream substitute (I use Tofutti "Sour Supreme")
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
3 Tbs earth balance or butter substitute, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped small

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice (optional)

Combine room temperature butter with maple syrup in electric mixer. Slowly beating the mixture add the eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla extract and sour cream. Combine all the dry ingredients (except nuts) to butter mixture and mix. Once mixture is evenly beat, stir in walnuts. Fill muffin cups approximately half full with batter.

In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients for the topping. Make sure the butter is room temperature so it clumps correctly. Pinch butter into dime sized pieces and add until the mixture is evenly combined. Spoon desired amount onto top of batter in muffin cups.

Bake at 350 degree's for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.