Tagged: gluten free

Real Food Recipe Roundup #3 – Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs with Baked Spaghetti Squash

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!!

Lolz.

I know it’s not St. Patty’s yet – but I figured it’s close enough that I could greet you all like an enthusiastic leprechaun without too much judgement.

Anywho – I’m going to keep this short and sweet today because I’ve got not one but TWO recipes (ya know…that are particularly delicious when served together) and they’re kind of lengthy. I made these for the fam last weekend and everyone loveeeeedddddd it!!! Even the men were happy with the spaghetti squash, which really made me happy!!

If you’ve got a real food recipe that you’d like to share, don’t forget to grab a badge and link up at the bottom of the post!!!

Twenty-Something & Starving

<a href=”http://twentysomethingandstarving.com” target=”_self”><img src=”http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h130/Jennifer_Yoder/46133fa4-d3da-44aa-bd3a-92bd35349c37_zps9dc148ce.jpg” alt=”Twenty-Something & Starving” width=”250″ height=”150″ /></a>


 

 

 

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs with Baked Spaghetti Squash

For the Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs (makes about 30 meatballs)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
    (or about 1.5 lbs lean ground chicken)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto + More to taste
    (you can make your own or use store bought! I use Wegmans brand when I’m in a pinch. It’s delicious AND check out the ingredients)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb of part skim mozzarella cheese, cut into little cubes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the bell pepper, garlic, and basil to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Add about half of the chicken breasts and pulse until ground. Remove the chicken mixture and place in a large bowl. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Once all of the chicken is ground and in the bowl, add the pesto, Parmesan, panko, salt, pepper, and eggs. Mix well until thoroughly combined.

To prepare the meatballs, grab a small handful (about the size of a golf ball) of the chicken mixture and flatten it in the palm of your hand. Add a mozzeralla cube to the center and form the meatball around it, being careful not to expose the cheese.  Repeat until all of the meatballs are formed.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add meatballs to the pan (fill it up, but make sure they aren’t touching) and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until brown. Remove meatballs from the skillet as they are done and place them on a large baking sheet, adding more meatballs to the skillet as you go, until all of the meatballs are brown.

Place the cookie sheet in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove, and brush the meatballs with some more prepared pesto. Return the pan to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more or until the meatballs are cooked through to a safe 165 degrees.

Serve on top of Baked Spaghetti Squash!

For the Baked Spaghetti Squash

  • 2 spaghetti squash, roasted, cooled, and spaghettified
    (Yup, that’s the technical term. Directions for spaghettifying here!)
  • 1 can of no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except mozzarella cheese.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray and add the spaghetti squash mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown and the squash is warm through.

Serve topped with Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs!

chicken pesto meatballs with baked spaghetti squash

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

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.

A Little Bit Sweet & A Little Bit Spicy

No, no, no.

We’re not talking about me…though my husband might beg to differ…(HEYO!)

What we are talking about are these deliciously, fantastically, awesomely, wonderfully (I could do this all day) spectacular recipes I’m about to share with you. (YES! I did say RECIPES – You’ve got a twofer today!)

Personally, I LOVE sweet and spicy things! I also love that according to  Women’s Health that makes me trendy (at least my food anyway…). Give me a nice fruit salsa with an extra dose of  jalapeños or some chocolate and chili peppers, like this old gem of mine – White Chocolate, Cranberry, and Chile De Arbol Bread Pudding – and I’ll be happy as a clam.

(Note to self…make that bread pudding again ASAP! )

I’ve even tried Tabasco Ice Cream, and let me tell you, it was awesome!  I just find something so pleasurable about indulging in flavors that compliment and contrast each other at the same time. I can never say no to something sweet and spicy. Can you?

(Second note to self…you gave up bread for Lent, fool, make it for Easter!)

You can enjoy this recipe hot or cold, and with or without the Spicy Lime Tilapia (below) I served it with!

Sweet & Spicy Pineapple
& Black Bean Quinoa

  •  1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water/chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed (I use the canned stuff  until summer time. Still super delicious!)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Cilantro, chopped, to taste (I use SO MUCH! Because I love it. But if you’re not a fan go ahead and leave it out or sub in parsley.)
  • 1 juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Season with cumin, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer – covered – for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the black beans, pineapple, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir gently to combine and cover five minute more until the beans and pineapple are heated through. Serve topped with more cilantro if you’re a freak, like me!

sweetandspicypineapplequinoa

 

Spicy Lime Tilapia

  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime

Combine the spices and lime zest in a small dish. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of the tilapia filets.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the seasoned tilapia filets and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Carefully flip with a spatula and continue cooking for about 2 minutes more.

Add the lime juice to the pan and cover. Reduce heat to low and let cook 2 to 4 minutes more or until the fish is cooked through.

Serve with sweet & spicy pineapple & black bean quinoa!!

spicylimetilapia

This is one BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY, SWEET & SPICY  meal you don’t want to miss out on.

Feeding My Addiction

Let me tell you a little something about myself. It’s something some of you may already know about me. Some of you may not. Some people think it’s an addiction, though many of you may even share this addiction and not even know it. I’ve known some folks that have it much worse than I do. I’ve known people who couldn’t even leave the house without having some sort of backup on hand.

I’m talking… about FRANKS RED HOT!!

Seriously…what else would I be talking about?

I LOVE this stuff. I’ll put it on eggs. I’ll put it on pizza. And I cannot say no to anything with “Buffalo Chicken” in the name!

Sadly, though, most “Buffalo Chicken” recipes – dips, pastas, and pizzas – are LOADED with fat and calories that my thighs and I just don’t feel like dealing with. Loads of butter and blue cheese (Note: I NEVER use blue cheese…or ranch…with my buffalo anything.  I want to experience the heat – I don’t want to tame it with yucky, fatty dressing. Also note…I hate blue cheese. It helps. ) or globs of ranch dressing just aren’t appealing to me.

So what’s a girl to do??

Healthify it! (Obviously.)

I recently stumbled across what appears to be a spectacularly popular food blog you may or may not have heard of – Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin’s philosophy is fantastic “Eat Well, Run Often, Travel Far.” That’s something I can totally relate to. I can also totally relate to her post – Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese. And by relate to her post – I mean use it for inspiration and make my own deliciously, outstandingly, amazingly, life changing recipe you will find below.

Anyone out there never have quinoa before? It’s really quite delightful. Contrary to what some may say, quinoa is not “technically” a grain. It’s actually a seed! Whodathunkit?! It’s also the only “whole grain” that is a complete protein – which means it has all 9 essential amino acids the human body cannot produce but needs to function. *KNOWLEDGE* It has a subtle, nutty flavor when it’s plain but it’s super versatile! You can cook it up just like rice (if you’re like me that means really carefully while staring at the covered pot praying it doesn’t stick to the bottom…hopefully you’re not like me) and use it in recipes from breakfast, to salad, to THIS:

Buffalo Chicken Mac Quinoa and Cheese

·         1 ½ cups dry, uncooked quinoa
·         2 cups water or chicken stock
·         2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
·         2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite sized pieces
·         2 tablespoons flour (or gf flour of your choice)
·         2 tablespoons granulated garlic
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
·         4 tablespoons Franks Red Hot
·         ¼ cup nonfat milk
·         ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
·         2-3 scallions, chopped
Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.
(This is what ever other basic quinoa preparation recipes  says – I don’t have a fine mesh strainer, so I lined my pasta strainer with a few paper towels so the quinoa wouldn’t fall through and rinsed it that way. )
Add  1 teaspoon of olive oil to a small pot and add the quinoa. Sauté over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes until the quinoa becomes fragrant.  Add your water or chicken stock. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand about  10 minute with the lid on before fluffing with a fork.
While your quinoa is cooking, season your chicken with garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss with flour (or gf flour) to coat. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook on medium high heat until the chicken is golden brown on all sides.  Reduce the heat to low and add the hot sauce. Stir to coat and add the milk to the pan. Stir everything well to combine and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. (If you boil the nonfat milk, it may start to separate. It may even look a little funky when you first add it to the pan but it’ll all smooth out once you mix in the cheese.) Add ½ cup shredded cheese and half of the scallions to the pan. Stir everything to combine. Add  the cooked quinoa and stir everything  until the quinoa is incorporated.
Transfer to a greased oven safe baking dish (or if you’re lucky like I am and have an oven safe skillet ignore that statement completely) top with remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheese and scallions. Pop the pan under the broiler until the cheese is melted and brown.
IN THEORY this recipe makes four substantial dinner portions…unless you’re like me and hover over the pan with a fork before it’s even cool enough to eat and shovel half of it down your throat immediately. (Note – this will be hot and you will burn your mouth if you use this technique!)

Serve and rejoice in cheesy,  HEALTHY, buffalo chicken glory!

buffalo chicken quinoa