Category: Gluten Free

Meal Plan Monday & A Fun Frittata

Hey, dudes!! Happy Monday!! I can still say it’s happy because it’s early. Heh.

I hope you all had a nice weekend! Did you do anything exciting for Valentine’s Day?  Our cooking dinner plans didn’t work out as anticipated so we wound up going out to dinner instead, but we had a loveerly time. We also snagged this preggo some froyo!! (Peanut Butter and Coffee flavored froyo topped with peanut butter chips and peanut m&ms. I have a problem.) Then we rented Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters and We Are The Millers and snuggled. I would recommend both movies to anyone who hasn’t seen them. Sooooooooooooo good and HILARIOUS!!!

Anywho, I’ve finally jumped onto the Sunday Food Prep bandwagon a la The Lean Green Bean! It was great to actually have the time this weekend to get soooo much stuff ready for the week. I’m really looking forward to just grabbing stuff when I need it, having my veggies all chopped up for salads throughout the week, and even having parts of my dinners ready to go! It took me about 3 hours to get all of this done. I set my tablet up in the kitchen and put on a few episodes of Bones that I was behind on – so I probably could have gotten it done even faster had I not let myself get distracted by the show here and there. I just didn’t feel like hanging out in the kitchen in silence. Either way, Here is what I prepped:

Sunday food prep

 

  • One dozen turkey meatloaf muffins
  • 40 banana chocolate chip protein mini muffins
  • A frittata with Canadian bacon, bell peppers, scallions, and cheddar cheese (6 servings – recipe below)
  • 1 roasted spaghetti squash
  • 4 baked sweet potatoes
  • 1 cucumber, 1 yellow bell pepper
  • Oat flour

And hereeeeeeeeeeee is my meal plan for the week! We’re going to visit Bill and Susan and my Poppa Bear in New Jersey this weekend, so I only needed to worry about dinner Monday- Thursday and then when we’re home on Sunday night. Though I am SO looking forward to cooking up a storm Saturday night with my dear Susie! In addition to other tasty bites she has formally requested my kale salad – which I can’t wait to devour!

Monday
Meatless MondayMinestrone Soup with Garlic & Mozzarella English Muffin Melts

Tuesday
Tilapia Tacos with Southwest Slaw

Wednesday
Mini Turkey Meatloaf Muffins with Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Frozen Veggies ( I always have a stockpile of the Green Giant Healthy Weight Blend. It’s snap peas, carrots, black beans, and edamame. Johnny and I both love it!)

Thursday
Grilled Pesto Chicken with Tomatoes, Green Beans, and Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

Sunday
Shrimp Scampi
(My latest pregnancy craving, people. All I want to do is eat shrimp all the time!!)

And just for funsies – here’s the recipes for my super simple frittata! It’s packed with protein and surprisingly low in calories!! Perfect for mommies-to-be! *wink wink* I enjoyed mine with half of a whole wheat english muffin with a little smart balance to make it a complete breakfast! If you’re not a meat eater this would be just as delicious without the Canadian bacon, I was just in the mood for it this week!

Scallion & Bell Pepper Frittata

  •  6 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 scallions, diced
  • 5 slices Canadian bacon, diced
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Add the Canadian bacon to a small, dry skillet over high heat. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until the Canadian bacon starts to brown. Add the bell peppers and cook about 5 minutes more or until the peppers start to char. Remove from heat.

Spray an 11×7 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Add the Canadian bacon and pepper mixture to the bottom of the pan. Top with the egg mixture, scallions, and cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until set. Let cool before slicing into six servings.

frittata

Nutrition per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal):
186 calories
5 grams carbs
10 grams fat
18 grams protein
1 gram fiber
2 grams sugar

That’s all for today, folks!! But don’t forget to come back for What I Ate Wednesday and my grand link-up premier this Thursday for my Real Food Recipe Roundup!!

 

 

This Snow Sure is Chili

So how many of you East Coasters out there had a snow day today?!?

Lucky. You. 

I wish I could say the same. I was up extraaaaa early to make sure Johnny and I had enough time to scrape all of the ice and snow off the car and get to work on time. The roads weren’t too shabby this morning, though. Especially compared to last night! Yikes! Our usual 40 minutes commute took an additional hour. It was insane. I’ve been living in Central PA for almost four years now and they just never seem prepared for snow.

Oh well, ya know what I do when it snows?

Make cozy foods.

Like chili! And oatmeal!!

I don’t know how you feel about chili, but I effing love it.

Beef Chili. Chicken Chili. Turkey Chili. Green Chili. White Chili. Bean Chili. On a train. In the rain. You name it, I love it. It’s definitely up there as one of my most favorite foods of all time. One of the many delicious reasons I love chili so much is all of the fun ways you can serve it!! You can top it with cheese, cilantro, red onions, green onions, tortilla chips, sour cream (if you’re into that sort of thing), with cornbread, over rice, over spaghetti (Cincinnati style), on a baked potato, on french fries – the options are endless!! I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I just love any food that I can customize and play with! On any given day I can mix up whatever pot of chili I’m feeling like and I can top it with whatever I have on hand and it’s like a party! But ya know…with just me…and chili….which sounds kind of lame but I swear is actually really exciting!

Johnny enjoys chili…but not the same way I do.  He thinks that I make too many “southwestern” inspired dishes. Boooooooo!! Chili powder, garlic, cumin, cayenne, chipotle. I go through these spices faster than anything else in my pantry. I can’t help myself. I’m so drawn to the smokey/spicy/sweet combination that so many southwestern dishes offer and chili is no exception and the best by far! I have tried many-a-different version of chili. This, of all my recipes, is my favorite. It’s not too complicated to make and the it’s the perfect combination of lean ground beef and beans with a hearty portion of peppers and onions, too. It’s even more appropriate for me these days (meaning “being pregnant” days) since it’s super important to make sure I’m getting enough iron and fiber – which this recipe is chock full of thanks to the beef and bean combo!! Johnny describes my chili as “weird – it’s spicy and sweet all at the same time!” Well, my love, that’s exactly what I was going for!  Here is the recipe!!

My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced (plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo the chipotles come in)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional Garnishes: Cilantro, Scallions, Avocado, Lime, Cheese, Sour Cream, Red Onion, Tortilla Chips

Begin by heating 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the peppers and onion and let them cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. They will start to char in some places from the high heat and this is exactly what you want!! Add the beef and garlic and continue to cook until the beef is brown. (If your using a less lean beef, you may want to stop and drain off some of the fat).

When the beef is brown,  lower the heat and add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan with your spoon or spatula to get up all of the good stuff from the bottom! Fill the crushed tomato can halfway with water, swirl it around to get out any extra tomato hanging out on the sides of the can, and add it to the pot. Add all off the spices and stir well to combine. Add the beans, stir, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or as long as you can patiently wait before digging in!).

Serve with whatever topping you like!

This time around I had cheese, avocado, red onion, and some tortilla chips for scooping….and it was perfection.

chili!Now did I mention something about oatmeal up there before? I seem to have gotten particularly excited about chili. Oh well! I love to enjoy a cozy bowl of oatmeal from time to time. Sometimes, though, I just don’t feel like standing over a pot in the morning to make myself a cozy bowl. The instant stuff just doesn’t do it for me anymore these days. I had some suuuuper ripe (like I had to use them up before the turned to mush) pears on hand this week and I whipped up a quick, healthy, and easy baked pear oatmeal for breakfast! If your New Year’s resolution is to watch you waistline this is a hearty recipe that will definitely tide you over until lunch (unless, maybe, you’re pregnant and find you’re eating everything in site…then you may want to have some clementines on hand to munch on the side…or maybe that’s just me…) Here is the recipe!

Baked Pear Oatmeal

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced fat vanilla soy milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 4 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, eggs, extracts, brown sugar, and maple syrup. When the mixture is combined, add the pears and whisk gently to combine.

Add the soy milk mixture to the oat mixture and mix well until everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish sprayed with a little nonstick spray. Bake at 375 for thirty minutes or until golden.

Serve immediately! (Or, let cool completely before slicing and placing the squares into individual baggies and freeze! Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or until warm through!)

bakedoatmeal

Three Bean Tamale Bake

Greetings, ya’ll! As promised, I have returned with a delightful new recipe to share with you.

Now, I mentioned in my post Monday that with this baby on board, I’ve started to be a bit less fond of chicken. It’s so weird!! I can still eat a little bit once in a while, but I’ve started seeking alternatives for my quick post-workout meals.

This particular recipe is one I’ve had in my arsenal for a while and just kind of forgot about. Do you have any recipes like that in your repertoire?  I used to make this all the time with ground turkey or shredded chicken, but I decided tonight that would make it meatless! If your husband is anything like mine…the idea of a meatless dinner (unless it’s Mac & Cheese) may not be his favorite thing. Lucky for me, top anything with Jiffy Corn Bread and he’ll manage through with a smile on his face.

Starring a hearty combination of black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans…all you really need to make this recipe is a can opener and a skillet! This recipe is fantastic for any mom-to-be who is experiencing any meat aversions or anyone looking for a meatless, high protein recipe! Future mommies should make it a point to try and incorporate beans and whole grains into their diet daily… your baby (and digestive system) will thank you later!

 Three Bean Tamale Bake

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa verde
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 box prepared corn bread mix (like Jiffy or Bob’s Red Mill), prepared to box directions
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Optional Garnishes: avocado, lime, cilantro, scallions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in an oven safe skillet. Add the onion, peppers, and tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the remaining ingredients (except the cornbread) to the skillet and stir well until combined.

Pour prepared corn bread mix on top of the bean mixture. Top with cheese and place it in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let sit 5 minutes before serving (You don’t realllllllllllly have to wait if you’re impatient like me… it just will stay a bit more together this way and you are less likely to burn your tongue!!)

Here it is fresh from the oven….gosh I can’t wait to have a camera again (instead of my camera phone!)

20131203_193642

Annnnd heeeeeeeeere it is all delicious and served up with some shredded cheese, fresh slices of avocado, scallions, cilantro, and a little squeeze of lime. It’s not the prettiest meal I’ve ever made, but boy is it delicious!

IMG_20131203_195013

Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp

Seriously, I love shrimp so much. They’re delicious AND good for you – two of my favorite things. 🙂 So finally, here’s shrimp recipe I promised you on Monday. I hope you love it (but don’t devour it as fast as I did…you’ll be sad when it’s all gone)!

Garlic Shrimp with Parmesan Spaghetti Squash and Simple Arugula Salad

nomshrimp

serves two

For Shrimp

  • 1/2 lb shrimp of your choice, peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used smart balance)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

For Arugula Salad

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

To start, slice the spaghetti squash in half and scrape out any seeds and guts (just like you would a pumpkin for Halloween!). Place the squash cut side down in a microwave safe dish. Fill the dish with water so it’s about 1/4 of the way up the sides of the squash. Microwave in 6 minute intervals until the squash interior is tender and the outside can be pierced with a knife with little resistance. (I’ll typically do 3 rounds of 6 minutes for perfect squash!)

While the squash is cooking, in a small dish combine all of the salad ingredients except the arugula. Whisk well to combine. Set aside. Toss with arugula just before serving.

When the squash is cooked, scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to remove the flesh from the skin. This is how you’ll get your “spaghetti” strands from it. Combine the squash with butter, garlic, oregano, and parmesan.

For the shrimp, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let heat for 2 or 3 minutes until fragrant. Turn the heat to high and add the shrimp. Let cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Add the wine and lemon juice and let cook for about 3 minutes more until the liquid reduced to coat the shrimp lightly. Add the lemon zest at the last moment when the shrimp are opaque and pink and gorgeous.

Serve the shrimp over the squash with the arugula salad (though really you could serve it with the shrimp on the salad and the squash on the side…or you could mix it all together… or serve it on a boat….or with a goat….or on a train…okay I’m done now, but you get the picture…the choice is yours!) and enjoy.

Confessions of an Omnivore

When you break it down to its most simple and basic definition, an omnivore is an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin.

I am an omnivore and I am proud.

I love kale and blueberries. I love bacon and lobster. I love eggs and cheese.  I have no desire to omit any of these foods from my diet.

When it comes down to it, there are loads of other omnivorous creatures out there and I’m pleased as punch to be a part of the crew.

Turtles, Skunks, Chimpanzees, Hedgehogs, Sloths, Pigs, Red Pandas, and Piranhas are all omnivores!

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There have been times in my life where I’ve seriously considered vegetarianism – like after I watched Food Inc. for the first time or when I first started studying nutrition my freshman year of college.

Could I give up red meat, pork, and poultry? Probably. I’ve considered becoming a lacto-ovo-vegatarian or pesco-vegetarian before. Ultimately, though, I’ve always found both of those terms to be dripping in pretentiousness. “Hi. I’m Jen and I’m a pesco-vegetarian.” Ugh, I’d sound like such a douche! Particularly to friends and family who aren’t familiar with the terminology. I can just imagine someone saying “Why doesn’t she just say I only eat seafood?

Although I undoubtedly respect people who can adhere to a vegan lifestyle, I can openly admit that veganism is not something I’d ever be interested in. Now, don’t get me wrong,  I do love animals and  I certainly don’t support their “exploitation” or many parts of  American food and agribusiness industry, but it’s just not a lifestyle I want to live. The most “vegan” thing about me is probably the fact that I don’t eat veal or foi gras – though I tried both in culinary school.  I don’t think either of them are tasty enough to support the processes by which they are obtained.  Also,  I’ve never quite understood the vegan stance on honey. I’m not sure they all do either. Not hating…just saying.

It’s taken me  until very recently to realize that I think every food has its place in my life in one way or another.

Every food, of course, except for those few things I don’t eat. Aside from veal and foi gras, the list of things I don’t eat includes:

  • mayonnaise
  • dill (so also pickles)
  • anise flavored things (like black liquorice)
  • caraway seeds (rye bread)
  • sauerkraut
  • essentially anything containing these ingredients

Just so you know, and don’t judge me as hard, I have tried all of these things many ways on numerous occasions and I really just can’t stomach any of them. My Polish ancestors would be so disappointed in me.

The best part, in my opinion, about being an omnivore is that when I’m preparing food for myself or, ya know, whoever else happens to be around that day, I can use whatever I want! I love cheeseburgers, but I also love a great black bean burger, too! Usually at least two days a week I don’t eat any meat at all, but it’s quite rare that’s ever my intention. I just eat things that I enjoy! If what I make happens to be meatless, awesome! If it’s gluten free – spectacular! I think it’s such a blessing to have the ability so consume so many different things, as it assures my body has the best chance of obtaining all of the nutrients it needs from all of the necessary sources.

What brought on this omnivores rant?

Ha. I’m glad you asked…

Last night when I was preparing my breakfast for today I was just looking for something that would be tasty and good for me, which OBVIOUSLY is my favorite way to start the day. I threw some ingredients into a pot and before I knew it I realized it was vegan!

*Self Five*

I may not be a vegan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some tofu from time to time. I may not live a gluten free lifestyle, but I can’t stop eating quinoa! I think it’s so important to realize that you can do so much with food.

An omnivore’s options are only limited by their taste-buds.

Today’s recipe (I know, we’re finally here! Woot!) is so delicious and healthful that even the most carnivorous folks out there could enjoy this vegan and gluten free recipe… for breakfast OR dessert!!

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding

makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • Splenda, Stevia, or Whatever Sweetener You Like – to taste (I used 2 packets of Splenda)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped, for topping

Combine all of the ingredients except the almonds in a small pot over medium-low heat.

Cover partially with a lid to allow some steam to escape.

Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Serve warm, topped with almonds and more cinnamon, and enjoy!

coconutbrownricepudding