Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Corn Chowder {Dairy, Gluten, Egg & Soy Free}



I never thought I'd say it but dairy free is getting easier. Most of the battle of dairy free is figuring out what you CAN eat. There are so many can'ts. Basically everything prepackaged is out. Especially since I'm soy free too. The good thing I was already used to cooking meals from scratch. I can't imagine what people do that don't cook from scratch.

The hardest part for me was finding recipes that didn't taste like "dairy free". You know, comfort food. The real deal.

Well I'm excited to report that this chowder is comfort food at its finest. And it doesn't taste like anything free (but it happens to be Dairy, Gluten, Egg, and Soy Free). I wouldn't change a thing even when I can have dairy again. And that's saying something (since I'm a huge whiner about missing certain things...um butter, yes you know who you are).

Creamy chowder, packed with healthy vegetables with a rich hearty flavor. Serve it up with a slice of fresh bread or rolls. Delicious.

Corn Chowder {Dairy, Gluten, Egg & Soy Free}

INGREDIENTS:
12 to 16 oz. bacon, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 lbs. potatoes, chopped
8 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1-14oz. can full-fat coconut milk
2 Cups frozen corn
2 Tbsp. freshly parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Heat a soup pot on medium heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook until bacon is starting to brown and crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, leaving about 1/4 cup of bacon fat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and red bell pepper and saute on medium heat until the onions start to turn clear. Add potatoes and chicken broth and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until potatoes are fork tender (about 15 minutes). Remove about a third of the soup and blend in a blender before returning to the pot. This will help to thicken the soup. Mix 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1/3 of the can of coconut milk. Add to the soup along with the rest of the coconut milk, the corn, cooked bacon, and parsley. Heat until warm and then add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Tia's Kitchen

Friday, November 27, 2015

Coconut Cream Pie {Dairy Free}



I'm not even going to start into the apologies for not posting for five (six?) months. I'll just give you a quick update and then get right onto sharing the goodness of this amazing recipe.

We welcomed our baby girl who was born almost five months ago. She's a sweetie and so much fun. After not having a baby for 7-1/2 years it's kind of culture shock to have one again. But it's been so much fun. I've wanted to cherish every moment with her.

On top of that, I am homeschooling my younger son this year. Long story. But we are enjoying it. It takes a lot of time. But it's been a wonderful experience.

Also, we had some food allergy issues with the baby. I am nursing her and we found out she is allergic to the dairy protein found in my milk (plus soy we think). We had to eliminate all sorts of foods to figure things out (eggs, nuts, soy, diary). And we are still in the process of figuring that all out.

As a result of all of this, I've discovered a whole new world of cooking allergy friendly and finding amazing and delicious recipes to share. I made this coconut cream pie yesterday for Thanksgiving and it was so astoundingly delicious (whether you are dairy free or not) that I couldn't wait to share it even though I have a backlog of a million recipes I haven't shared with you yet. In case you are interested it is also soy, nut, and egg white free. Enjoy!

Coconut Cream Pie {Dairy Free}
Printable Recipe

*Makes one 10" Pie

INGREDIENTS:

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 Tbsp. water

Pie Filling:
3 Cups full fat canned coconut milk
3 egg yolks
¾ Cup white sugar
1/3 Cup cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract

Garnish:
1 Cup flaked coconut or coconut chips, toasted (*See Note below)

DIRECTIONS:

For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 200 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients for the crust. Add oil and stir. Add water as needed until it just sticks together but is not gummy. Press evenly into a 10-inch pie pan. Put the crust in the oven and immediately increase the temperature to 350 F. Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown. Let cool completely.

For the Pie:
In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut extract and the vanilla extract. Strain through a fine mesh strainer for a smoother consistency, if desired. Let mixture cool to the touch. Then pour the custard into the baked and cooled pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, top each individual piece with the toasted coconut.

*NOTE: To toast coconut, spread coconut on baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 325 degrees, tossing often, until lightly toasted, about 12-15 minutes.

*Pie filling adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, converted to be dairy free. Pie Crust adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Easy Lasagna




If you haven't guessed by now posting may a bit sporadic in the next month or two. I mentioned in my last post that we are expecting a new daughter in a month. Like always, I have lots of recipes waiting in the wings to be shared, but just not enough time in the day to share them. This is one that's been waiting for a while that I decided I wouldn't let wait any longer. It's so easy and so good and that makes it definitely one our family's favorites. I'm all about taking recipes that are already easy and making them healthier and easier. That's how this recipe was born and it's now my go-to recipe for a quick lasagna. Hope you enjoy!

Easy Lasagna
Printable Recipe

*Serves 8-10

*Note: To make this recipe even easier, I like to make the homemade spaghetti sauce with quinoa ahead of time in a large batch and freeze a recipes worth in quart bags. I will also sometimes precook and freeze the ground beef so you can skip the browning step. These shortcuts make it really easy to whip up this lasagna in just a few minutes.

INGREDIENTS:
15 lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 recipe Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Quinoa or 3 to 4 Cups Spaghetti Sauce
16 oz. cottage or ricotta cheese
4 Cups cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large pan of boiling water add the lasagna noodles and cook only for about 4 to 5 minutes until very al dente. This is the secret to lasagna without soggy noodles. Meanwhile brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, draining of the excess grease. Return the skillet to the heat and add the spaghetti sauce and cottage or ricotta cheese. Once the noodles are done, remove from heat and drain to stop the cooking process. You may want to retain just a little bit of hot water in the bottom of the pan to keep them from going stiff or you can lay them out flat. In a 9x13 pan, add a little sauce to the bottom of the pan and then layer 3 noodles followed by sauce and then sprinkle with cheese. Repeat this pattern of layers until all the noodles are used, making sure to reserve enough sauce and cheese for the top layers. Bake 350 F for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

*Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Salmon



It's been ages since I've posted and I apologize for my negligence. It's been a crazy last month or so. To give you a quick update, I'm about six weeks away from delivering our third child. We've been busy getting things ready for this new little girl. (Yes, that's right! Our first girl. We couldn't be more thrilled.) On top of that we're finishing out the last couple of weeks of school with all the chaos that that brings. On top of that we've had lots of other family emergencies crop up and it's been quite the adventure trying to navigate all those.

But here I am. For the time being. And happy to be posting a wonderful and amazing recipe with you that will save you big time if you're experiencing anything like the chaos that we are right now. This recipe is quick (less than 30 minutes from start to finish), light (perfect for spring or summer), and totally taste-bud-stunning delicious. It's fancy enough for a weekend, but easy enough for everyday. Not too spicy, but enough flavor to let those taste buds rise to heaven. And I won't even go into how healthy Salmon is except to say it's really good for you! We like to serve this with brown rice and a green salad (the salad pictured is fresh from our spring garden). Enjoy.



Sweet and Spicy Salmon
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 4-oz. salmon fillets
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
In a shallow dish, combine honey and 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Lightly brush onto each salmon fillet, flesh side up. In another shallow dish, combine brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to make a dry rub. Using your hands, rub mixture onto the flesh sides of each salmon fillet. Heat large skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. When hot, add seasoned salmon fillets skin side down and immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with a splatter guard (a large lid or flat pizza pan works great in a pinch). Pan-sear salmon fillets for 7 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in fillet reads 145 degrees F. Remove from heat and serve immediately. We like to serve this salmon with brown rice and a fresh garden salad.

Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from Skinnymom.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grilled or Broiled Honey Chipotle Chicken Kebabs



The weather is warming up and that means a perfect chance for grilling outside. Food always seems to taste better when cooked outside. We have a charcoal grill and a open flame barbecue pit that both take a little extra planning for a meal. But they make grilling a fun family affair. If I'm in a hurry, but still want to enjoy this recipe I sometimes make them under the broiler. I've included the broiling instructions below, It's wonderfully delicious. I've made this recipe several times since it's initial discovery and it's been delightful every time. We've cooked these over an open fire, on the grill and under a broiler. Each time with wonderful success and I'm completely in love with the flavors. Chipotle is a great flavor, not to mention how fun it is to say. Last time I made these I served them with this Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice made using Basmati rice. Oh my. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Comfort, soul food. So good. Enjoy.


Grilled or Broiled Honey Chipotle Chicken Kebabs
Printable Recipe

*Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:
Honey and Chipotle Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2" cubes
1 medium onion, cut into 1-1/2" pieces
2 colored bell peppers (I like red, orange or yellow), cut into 1-1/2" pieces
Mushroom Slices, optional
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Prepare the Honey and Chipotle Vinaigrette (see recipe below). Reserve 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and place in refrigerator. Add the chicken cubes to a large, shallow container or seal-able gallon freezer bag. Pour the remain vinaigrette over the chicken cubes and cover or seal container. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight (the longer the better) in the refrigerator.

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for an hour before grilling. I used about 8 metal skewers (12" long). Heat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Or if cooking under a broiler, preheat the broiler and spray broiler pan with cooking spray.

Place onions and peppers in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto skewers. Discard remaining marinade. Sprinkle kebabs with salt and pepper, if desired. Place kebabs on hot grill pan or under a broiler (on the top oven rack) with the oven door open. Watch the kebabs closely and turn them as each side gets charred, about 4-6 minutes per side. I rotated three times for a total of about 12-18 minutes. When the kebabs are almost done cooking (after the third side has been cooking for a few minutes) brush them with the remaining 1/4 Cup of marinade and then finish cooking them until done. Serve immediately warm. These are amazing with this Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice.

*Recipe Source: Adapted from A Farm Girl's Dabbles

Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette
Printable Recipe

*Makes about 1-1/4 Cup

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 Cup honey
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
In a blender, combine all ingredients except the oil. Blend on low for 20 seconds. Add olive oil, a little at a time and blend until mixed well. Use immediately or chill for an hour or two to blend the flavors. Use as a salad dressing or grilling marinade.

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from A Farm Girl's Dabbles



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

One Hour French Bread

I've been on the lookout for a quick and easy (and healthy of course) French Bread recipe for many many years and I'm excited to tell you that I've found my dream recipe and it's fabulously easy and delicious. It comes together in just over an hour! That's right, I can hardly believe it myself. Most French Bread recipes I've tried take babying for several hours and frankly I just don't have that kind of time. I needed a recipe that was straight forward and easy and tasted amazing. Well here it is folks. Happy to share it with ya.


One Hour French Bread
Printable Recipe

*Makes 3 loaves

INGREDIENTS:
2-1/3 Cup water, heated until quite warm ( >110° F) *I put mine in the microwave for 2-3 minutes to heat it
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. real salt
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2-3 Cups freshly ground whole white wheat flour
1 Tbsp. SAF instant yeast
3-4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg

DIRECTIONS:
In a Bosch mixer with the dough hook add the heated water, sugar, salt, and coconut oil. Next add 2-3 Cups of freshly ground white whole-wheat flour and put the yeast on top of the flour. Turn on the mixer and mix on low speed. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the 3-4 Cups of unbleached flour, 1 Cup at a time. You will know you've added enough when the dough starts to pull away from the sides as well as the center of the mixer. Since these loaves are free standing you want the dough to be slightly firmer than you would for loaves you place in bread pans. Once you've added the correct amount of flour, let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be very elastic, but not stiff. 

Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.

Grease a large cookie sheet. After the dough has rested in the bowl, place it on the cookie sheet. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Then let it rest again for 5 minutes. (Make sure to not skip over the resting periods. These are important to the final product.) While the dough is resting preheat the oven to 170 F. 

After the dough has rested for the second time you will shape it into the loaves. Take one section of dough and spread it with your fingers out into a rectangle. Fold one long end up over half of the dough, then fold the other half over that one. Then fold each side up over each other. Turn the loaf so it is seam down and press in the sides to make it look nice and smooth. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough. With a sharp knife, cut 3 angled 1/2" deep slits in the top of the dough.

Crack the egg in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Spread the egg over the tops of each loaf, making sure to get inside the slits. Place the loaves in the oven and let them rise for 15 minutes (while the oven is at 170 F). The turn the oven up to 400 F (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and allow them to cool before slicing them.

*Note: We like to use the leftover French bread for french toast the next day

*Recipe Source: Adapted from a recipe found at Life in the Lofthouse, simplified mixing method, adapted to be partially whole-wheat

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My New Favorite Popcorn (that's healthy...)

Sometimes it's the simplest things that can change your life. Like popcorn. Seriously, who knew that popcorn could be so life changing, right? But believe me, it can be! Just finish reading this post and you'll find out how.

I've posted about popcorn before. And even taught you a quick microwave method of cooking it that I use a lot...well used to use a lot. I honestly don't think I'll use it very often in the future because this new method of cooking popped in my life (hahaha) the other day. It's easy and wonderful and delicious.

Wow. Hold on to your hats folks. Here it comes. The life changing method of cooking healthy popcorn.


All you need is a large, heavy bottom pan with a good lid (mine is 5 quart). Make sure the lid fits tightly - you'll thank me for this later.


Some coconut oil.



Popcorn (of course).



And salt (I use Real Salt or Himalayan salt). This one is Himalayan, that's why it's pink.



Place the pan on a burner over medium high heat (this is about an 8 out of 10 on my stove). Put in 1/3 cup coconut oil and 2 kernels of unpopped popcorn. And put the lid on.


The coconut oil will melt and heat up. While you are waiting, place 1/2 Cup of popcorn and 1 scant tsp. Real or Himalayan salt in a bowl together and mix it.



After about 6 minutes of heating up. Surprise! A kernel will pop. I always jump a bit when this happens. Then a few seconds later the second one will pop.


At this point you will pour the mixture of popcorn and salt in the pan and shake it a little to distribute the kernels around the hot oil.


Then carefully replace the lid and watch the magic happen. This is when you are thanking me I told you to get a tight fitting lid.

video

During this process you want to pick up the pan carefully and shake it around a couple of times to redistribute the kernels evenly. The crazy popping lasts less than 2 minutes. When the popping has slowed considerably, carefully remove the pan from the burner, but don't remove the lid yet. It always surprises me with a few more pops. Finally when you're feeling brave, remove the lid and stir around the popcorn to mix it evenly.


And enjoy your healthy treat! Yum.

Popcorn
Printable Recipe

*Makes about 4-1/2 to 5 Quarts popped corn

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 Cup popcorn +2 kernels, divided
1/3 Cup Coconut oil
1 scant tsp. Real or Himalayan salt

DIRECTIONS:
Place a large, heavy bottom pan with a good tight fitting lid (at least 5 quart) over medium high heat. Place 1/3 cup coconut oil in pan along with 2 kernels of unpopped popcorn. Replace the lid. Then place 1/2 Cup of popcorn and 1 scant tsp. Real or Himalayan salt in a bowl together and mix. Once both kernels have popped in the pan (takes about 6 minutes), add the popcorn and salt mixture to the pan. Carefully replace the lid and shake the pan a couple of times to redistribute the kernels evenly. As the kernels are popping, shake the pan a few more times. The popping should last less than 2 minutes. When the popping has slowed considerably, carefully remove the pan from the burner, but don't remove the lid yet. Finally when the popping has stopped completely, remove the lid and stir the popcorn to mix it well. Eat and enjoy.

Recipe Source: Adapted from the method shared by a good friend Marlou

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