Warm Golden Beet Salad with Beet Green Pesto

I love beets, like really LOVE them.

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I also have an unexplainable fear of cooking them. (I also have a strange fear of artichokes, but that is another post entirely…) Maybe it is the chance that they will bleed their red dye all over my counter tops, hands, outfit… you get the picture. Maybe, I’m just scared of the unknown. Either way, I took another step toward conquering my “beet fear” once and for all with the creation of this dish.

Organic beets were on sale at my local grocery store this week. What better time to experiment?! I slung two bunches into my basket and strutted determinedly to the register. Once I got home, however, I wasn’t feeling quite so stoic. What in heavens name was I going to make? I settled on an easy, steamed beet. Wanting to incorporate the beet greens into my recipe (waste not, want not), I used them to make a garlic-y pesto & a warm salad.

For the sauce, I soft boiled an egg, which, once broken, lent a rich, creamy texture & flavor to the dish that beautifully tied in all of the sweet and savory notes of the other components.

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Beet Green Pesto

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small Golden Beets
  • 2-3 Tblsp Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 Yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Beet Greens, chopped
  • 2 Tblsp dry White Wine
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 large, Organic Egg

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Beet Greens
  • 3 Tblsp fresh Basil
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scrub beets and place in a foil lined square baking dish. Top with 2-3 Tblsp Vegetable broth and tightly cover with another piece of foil. Place in preheated oven and cook until fork tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to sweat. Add onions, and saute until translucent.
  4. Toss in the chopped beet greens, and cook until wilted., deglazing the pan with the white wine, if needed.
  5. Meanwhile, make a soft boiled egg. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the egg and boil for five minutes. Remove promptly and allow to cool slightly before gently removing the shell.
  6. Pesto: Place garlic, greens, basil, oil, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse to combine. Slowly drizzle in vegetable stock until desired smoothness and consistency is reached. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
  7. To serve, place sauteed beet greens and mushrooms in a bowl. Top with sliced golden beets, soft boiled egg, and a drizzle of beet green pesto.

Maple Dijon Chicken

This recipe was inspired by Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess, and her Maple Vinaigrette recipe.

I was clicking through my Google Reader when I came across her recipe featuring a mouth watering Maple Vinaigrette. Instantly, a marinade idea popped into my head, and this recipe was born.

Marinating chicken infuses it with flavor and moisture. It makes me wonder why I don’t marinate chicken more often. Probably because I rarely think that far in advance…..

But seriously, plan a little bit ahead and make this recipe for your loved ones, or just as a special treat for yourself. Enjoy!

Maple Dijon Chicken

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 3 Tblsp pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tblsp Dijon Mustard (check ingredients to make sure yours is gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp dried Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a shallow dish, combine the chicken broth, syrup, mustard, thyme, rosemary, salt, & pepper. Place the chicken in the shallow dish, cover, and marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (375 degrees F if cooking at a high altitude)
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Sear the marinated chicken in the preheated skillet, 3 minutes per side.
  5. Place the skillet in a casserole dish and place in the preheated oven. Cook 12-15 minutes until no longer pink.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients.
  7. Pour the sauce into the skillet used to sear the chicken and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced.
  8. Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken to serve.

Miniature Spinach Souffle

The strangest thing just happened…

I accidentally made a mini souffle!

I really don’t know how it happened. I just started layering random ingredients, like I always do, and voila, a souffle! I used a jumbo muffin tin to make 2 individual sized souffles, though I consider two of them to be one serving. It’s another simple, healthy meal I will be happy to add to my arsenal. It will also be fun to play with the flavors to make different varieties.

What ingredients would you add to your dream souffle?

Individual Spinach Souffles

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg plus 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened, Original Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Vegan Gourmet Non-Dairy Sour Cream
  • Herbamare (or Sea Salt) and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz frozen, chopped Spinach, thawed and drained, divided
  • 2 slices Tomato, each about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (400 for high altitude)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, vegan sour cream, herbamare, and pepper until smooth and frothy.
  3. Now it is time to assemble the two souffles. Using a Jumbo Muffin Tin, spray two muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Place one tomato slice in the bottom of each jumbo muffin cup.
  5. Top each tomato slice with half of the spinach.
  6. Pour half of the egg mixture into each of the muffin cups.
  7. Sprinkle 1 tsp of nutritional yeast over each of the souffles.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until puffed, golden, and eggs are set, about 30-40 minutes.
  9. Run a knife around the edge of each souffle to release them from the pan.

“Seeing Green” Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

With summer on the horizon, Smoothies and Shakes are reentering my life. 

And, in typical “me” fashion, these icy treats are full of flavor AND nutrition.

The surprising combination of bananas, cocoa, and spinach produces a thick, creamy vegan milkshake healthy enough for breakfast, but tasty enough for dessert!

If we are being honest. I totally drank one for lunch on Sunday and felt utterly naughty the entire time, mostly because it tasted so decadent!

Go ahead! Pull out your blender and give this shake a try. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert… Anytime is a perfect time for a treat that will make you smile!

“Seeing Green” Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small Frozen Banana
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 large handful Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at the Gluten Free Homemaker, and to Allergy Free Wednesdays at Tessa the Domestic Diva.

BBQ Sweet Potato & Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich (aka Grilled Cheese Nirvana)

It happened! I achieved grilled cheese nirvana!

A few of you may be scratching your heads, wondering how this is so since I don’t eat gluten or dairy. Well, my friends, Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread & Daiya Vegan Mozzarella make fantastic substitutes! They are so delicious, in fact, that GF Guy eats them and actually enjoys them! How’s that for an endorsement?

This month is National Grilled Cheese Month. What better time to introduce this beauty to the world? Originally inspired by a recipe on Pinterest that I made and was not 100% pleased with, my version is the perfect blend of sweet and savory with a decided POW! of BBQ tang.

Admittedly, BBQ sauce is my condiment version of kryptonite. I add it to meatballs… use it as a dip for celery and cucumber slices… I have even been known to drizzle BBQ sauce on a salad in place of dressing! But adding BBQ sauce to a grilled cheese? The idea seemed crazy, until now.

Sit back and prepare for cheesy heaven on a plate!

BBQ Sweet Potato & Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking tray with foil.
  2. Put sweet potato rounds in a medium bowl and drizzle with oil, cinnamon, paprika, salt, sugar, and maple syrup. Toss until evenly coated.
  3. Place sweet potato rounds in an even layer on the foil lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until soft.
  4. Once sweet potato rounds are finished cooking, begin assembling your sandwich.
  5. Start by lightly buttering the outside of the 2 slices of Udi’s bread with Earth Balance.
  6. Next, evenly sprinkle the shredded Daiya cheese on the inside of one slice of bread.
  7. Top cheese with 3-4 sweet potato rounds, 4 thin slices of avocado, 2 slices of tomato, and 1/4 cup baby spinach. Spread BBQ sauce on the inside of the second slice of bread, and place on top of the spinach.
  8. Heat a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over medium-low heat.
  9. Place sandwich in the skillet and cook until desired level of char is achieved and cheese begins to melt.
  10. Using a spatula, carefully flip the sandwich and continue cooking on the other side until done.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

A Picnic in the Park

Life can be so hectic that it becomes easy to forget to enjoy its simple pleasures.

This past Sunday, Easter Sunday, my good friend “G” and I took a moment to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. We packed up a picnic lunch and set off for a leisurely afternoon in the park.

On Saturday, in preparation for our picnic, I roasted a chicken with a balsamic glaze. The day of, all that was left to do was pack a salad and various salad toppings, carve the chicken, and wash a pint of fresh, organic strawberries.

The weather was gorgeous! The entire city must have been outside. We lounged lakeside, ate, chatted, and strolled around the park for the better part of 2 hours. It is wonderful to have a friend in the city!

Balsamic Roasted Chicken

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3.5 – 4 lb) Chicken, neck and giblets removed and discarded
  • Herbamare
  • Black Pepper
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • 1 large Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 8 sprigs fresh Rosemary
  • 1/3 cup Water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place chicken in a 9×13 glass casserole dish, and season inside and out with Herbamare, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  4. Stuff the chicken cavity with half of the chopped onion, and scatter the remaining onion around the chicken.
  5. In a measuring cup, mix together the vinegar, oil, and maple syrup. Pour over the chicken.
  6. Place 3 sprigs of rosemary in the chicken cavity, and the remaining rosemary sprigs tucked around the outside of the chicken.
  7. Pour the water in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  8. Place the chicken in the preheated oven and cook at 475 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  9. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and cook for an hour and a half.
  10. Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile in Texas….

This is how GF Guy spent Easter.

Backstage with one of the young cast members. She made his Easter outfit!

The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich….

Sometimes, “happiness” is a perfect sandwich. 
I’m not really a “sandwich person”… anymore….
Before Celiacs, I had a sandwich for lunch every. single. day. In elementary school, it was Salami & Mustard. In middle school & high school, it was Turkey & Mustard. In college, it was a hot, pressed sandwich of Turkey & Swiss. 
It’s funny how things change, isn’t it? Now, I only crave sandwiches when I’m in desperate need of comfort food, only hot, & only served with soup for dipping. The Grilled Cheese is the perfect vehicle for dipping. Thanks to Udi’s & Daiya, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich is, once again, an option for dinner. Hooray!!!

The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium, to medium-high heat. (depending on preferred done-ness)
  2. Spread a thin layer of Earth Balance on one side of each slice of Udi’s Bread.
  3. Taking one slice of bread, on the un-buttered side, layer the mixed greens, chopped basil, sliced cherry tomatoes, & Daiya vegan cheese.
  4. Top with the remaining slice of bread, butter side up.
  5. Place the sandwich in the preheated pan & lightly press down with a spatula. Cook until browned (or burned if you prefer), & carefully flip.
  6. Press sandwich together with the spatula & cook to desired doneness.
Question:
  1. What makes your perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Are you a purist, or do you get creative?
  2. Did you eat sandwiches every day as child? What is the combo you are most embarrassed about? (For me, it’s definitely the Salami & Mustard!)