Siracha Honey Lime Chicken & Black Bean Pasta with Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce

Confession time….

I am writing this post just so I won’t forget this recipe. There are no frills and no pictures, and I’m okay with that. Whew! I’m glad I got that all out on the table. Now we can move on without pretense. 😉

A few days ago, I was given a few varieties of pastas to try made by Tolerant Foods. What makes their products unique is that their pastas are made from one ingredient, beans or legumes! Rich in protein and fiber, these appeared to be an excellent substitute for gluten and carbohydrate laden traditional pastas. Tolerant Foods pastas are also free of all of the major allergens, non-GMO, and organic. It all looked good on paper, but the proof would be in the taste and texture.

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First, I decided to try the Black Bean Rotini. Instead of approaching this rotini like I would a more traditional pasta, I decided to focus on what flavors were inherent compliments to black beans. After all, this rotini only had one ingredient, black beans. It was highly unlikely that it would taste like something else. So, what goes with black beans? How about lime, chicken, and Siracha? Yes, yes, and yes, please!

Packed with intense, rich flavor and staggering nutritional value, this recipe is one I plan on duplicating again and again. Winner!

Siracha Honey Lime Chicken & Black Bean Pasta with Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, cubed
  • 4 Tblsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or GF Soy Sauce)
  • 2 Tblsp Honey
  • 4 tsp Coconut Oil, melted, divided
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Siracha
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp chopped, fresh Cilantro, divided
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Limes
  • 1/2 yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1 small Green Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 1 large leaf Green Kale, chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small Avocado
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup warm Water
  • 6 oz Tolerant Foods Black Bean Rotini

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a shallow dish with a lid.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the Bragg’s, Honey, 1 Tblsp Coconut Oil, 2 Tblsp chopped Cilantro, Siracha, Red Pepper Flakes, and Garlic Powder. Pour evenly over the chicken.
  3. Squeeze the juice of two limes over the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
  4. Once chicken has marinated, begin by boiling water and preparing the pasta according to package instructions.
  5. Meanwhile, melt 1 tsp Coconut Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute’ the onions, peppers, and kale until onions are translucent and kale is wilted. Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
  6. Return the skillet to high heat and add the Chicken and Marinade. Bring to a low boil and cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until cooked through. After marinade is reduced by about half, add half of a chopped tomato.
  7. Once chicken is cooked through, remove to a dish and set aside.
  8. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to breakdown.
  9. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the creamy cilantro avocado sauce by placing 1/4 cup Cilantro, 1 Avocado (pitted), Salt & Pepper, and the juice of 1/2 a lime in a food processor. Process until roughly chopped. Slowly add 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot water until sauce is thick and smooth.
  10. Add roughly 1/2 of the Cilantro Avocado Sauce to the tomatoes in the skillet and cook until heated through.
  11. To serve, separate the cooked black bean pasta into two bowls and top with sauteed vegetables, chicken, and the warmed mixture of tomatoes and creamy Cilantro Avocado sauce. Bon Appetit!
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Product Review: Qrunch Burgers

You many have noticed, my faithful readers, that I have been on a blogging hiatus. Time has not been something I have had an excess of, and, as a result, my blogging time was pushed to the back burner.

It is during times like these that products that help build quick, healthy meals are the most valuable. Enter, Qrunch Burgers!

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I was given the opportunity to sample Qrunch Burgers made out of the high protein grain, quinoa, and boy was I impressed. These delicious and versatile patties are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, wheat free, corn free, nut free, low in sodium,  soy free, AND Non-GMO Project verified! Basically, they meet almost every dietary need. 20111015030444-589e94e00000a53

Qrunch Burgers come in a variety of flavors, including Sweet Curry and Spicy Italian, and I had a hard time deciding which flavor to try. Ultimately, GF Guy and I chose to start with the Original flavor in order to get the best idea of what the product was all about.

I heated the Original Qrunch Burgers in the oven, according to the package instructions, and served them along side sauteed spinach and baked sweet potato fries.

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The first bite was not what I was expecting. Qrunch Burgers are not heavily seasoned or processed tasting, like most of their vegan burger counterparts. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could actually taste the ingredients! The mild, nutty flavor of quinoa, lightly seasoned with spices was a perfect complement to our meal, especially once topped with Mango Salsa!

To make our experience even better, clean up was a snap! I will definitely purchase Qrunch Burgers again for a quick, week night meal. Next up will be the Curry flavor!

You can find Qrunch Burgers in your local natural food store, Whole Foods, King Soopers, and even Safeway!

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Nut Bread

Guess who is going to visit GF Guy tomorrow?

…. THIS KID!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven’t seen him in over two months! …Too long, if you ask either of us. I have been bustling about all weekend doing laundry, packing, and baking GF Guy’s favorite treat, banana bread.

I have developed countless versions of my mom’s classic recipe, rarely making the same one twice. Today’s version features a new product by Earth Balance, makers of my favorite non-dairy buttery spread. Earth Balance recently released two Organic Culinary Spreads, Sweet Cinnamon and Roasted Garlic & Herbs.

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Both are delish, and transform any dish they are added to. I have used the Roasted Garlic & Herbs Spread to saute’ vegetables, make homemade GF/DF garlic bread, pan-fry tofu, and countless other recipes. The Sweet Cinnamon, I had only spread on toast. Well, with today’s recipe, I have discovered a whole new world of uses for this spread! I can’t wait to keep exploring it’s many uses.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the Earth Balance Sweet Cinnamon Spread. You can substitute any butter or butter substitute. However, if you are able to find the Culinary Spreads in your local grocery store, I highly recommend you give them a try!

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Nut Bread

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 over-ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance Organic Sweet Cinnamon Culinary Spread
  • 2 Tblsp Unsweetened Original Almond-Coconut Milk
  • 2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, & tapioca flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together one cup of the flour mixture, the sugar, xanthum gum, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.
  4. Add the mashed banana, Earth Balance Sweet Cinnamon Culinary Spread, & almond-coconut milk.
  5. Beat on low speed until just blended, & then on high speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs & the remaining flour and beat until blended.
  7. Fold in the chopped walnuts by hand.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased 8x4x2 loaf pan. (or 3 mini-loaf pans)
  9. Bake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, until done. (35-40 minutes for mini-loaves)
  10. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before turning onto a cooling rack.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.

Gluten-Free Travel Essentials

Normally, I don’t post much during the week. You see, I travel for my job, which makes cooking near on impossible.

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I live out of a suitcase 4 out of 7 days a week. I can pack for a week in 5 minutes flat. (Yes, I timed myself!) AND, I know how to get through airport security faster than the TSA do themselves!

My meals are rather boring. Usually dinner consists of a bed of lettuce with steam in the bag veggies, salsa, and either tofu or tuna. Lunch is eaten on the go. Think, a Larabar, or something similar, baby carrots, or dry-roasted Edamame. I’m not particularly married to either of these meals, but they do the trick. My hunger is satisfied, and my stomach is not upset.

BUT… there are two creature comforts of which I can not do without. When you can’t have your own bed you are entitled to find your comfort wherever possible. For me? My two travel essentials are (and don’t laugh)

The Light My Fire Spork is a fork, knife, and spoon all in one! It has saved me on countless occasions. It sounds dorky, but this is seriously the best travel tool I have ever bought.

Vega One Protein Powder is a nutritious AND delicious way to start any morning! It powers me through the work day without weighing me down. Since I am both gluten-free and diary-free, a protein powder that tastes good mixed with only water is essential. This protein fits the bill! This week, I wasn’t able to find the protein for 2 mornings. I bought a different brand and nearly gagged both mornings! I will NEVER cheat on my Vega ever again!

Do you have any products that you can’t live without? What are your tips and tricks for successful gluten-free travel?

I Definitely "Enjoy Life"….

Guess what…
I STARTED A NEW JOB LAST WEEK AND I LOVE IT!
I arrived home from a week of training in Denver to discover a delightful gift waiting in my living room.
It was a box of goodies from Enjoy Life!



Enjoy Life is a Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly company based out of Illinois. Their products are completely gluten-free and free of all the top 8 allergens:

  • wheat
  • dairy
  • peanuts
  • treenuts
  • egg
  • soy
  • fish
  • shellfish

I have long been a fan of the Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips.

They taste delicious, and their miniature size allows them to spread out more in baked goods ensuring more chocolate per bite! I am also a huge fan of the Enjoy Life Perky’s Crunch Flax Cereal.

Sprinkled on top of a bowl of pumpkin puree… heaven, my friends… pure heaven! But, I digress….
Enjoy Life recently released a line of Crunchy Cookies (Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Sugar Crisp, & Vanilla Honey Graham),  

Semi-sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks (for baking)
and Double Chocolate Crunch Granola
I was lucky enough to receive samples of the Mega Chunks and Granola!!!!

I tore into the Double Chocolate Granola within moments of walking in the door. Whether enjoyed by the handful, mixed with Perky’s Crunchy Flax Cereal and topped with Almond Milk, or sprinkled atop pumpkin puree, Enjoy Life’s new Double Chocolate Granola is HEAVEN!!!!!!!!! Seriously, it is the most amazing blend of whole grains and chocolate balanced with subtle sweetness and packed with flavor!
Then, it was on to the Semi-sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks! Right off the bat, I noticed Enjoy Life was not joking around when they called them “mega chunks”. 
These suckers are huge, especially when compared with their mini-chips. The flavor is really the best part. Once again, they weren’t too sweet or too rich. They were just right. Enjoy the following recipe and get our there and try Enjoy Life’s wonderful new products!

Chocolate Chunk Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Glaze
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a Bundt cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, melted Earth Balance, & water.
  4. Slowly stir in cake mix and chocolate mega chunks until just combined. Do NOT over mix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake 45 minutes, until done.
  6. Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth.
  8. Turn cake out of pan onto a cooling rack and drizzle with chocolate hazelnut glaze.
  9. Cool completely before serving.

Comfort in a Cookbook….

Oh me oh my…. I am one happy girl. GF Guy is home visiting for the week. I just picked him up from the airport, and he is currently fast asleep on the sofa across from me. Dickens is curled up on the rug at my feet. The windows are open because it is a perfect 72 degrees outside…. really, could life get any better right now?
My life has become so mundane. You know what? I kind of like it. It’s the simple day-to-day joys that make each day wonderful. Things like doing a crossword puzzle, curling up with a freshly bathed puppy, and cooking a recipe directly from a cookbook.
I must admit, I rarely cook from a book. If I’m not making a meal off the cuff, the Internet is generally my giant cookbook. Last week though, I decided to “kick it old school” and pull out a gift from my Fairy Blog-mother, 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer
It was like reading an actual book versus a Kindle; comforting, nostalgic, and beautiful simplicity. The recipe was for Wok-Seared Chicken with Mustard Greens & Spicy Soy Sauce found on page 657
This contemporary curry fused Indian ingredients and a Chinese cooking method to develop a spicy symphony of flavors. 
Having never eaten Mustard Greens, I was excited to try them.
I ate a few pieces raw and was astounded to be smacked in the face by a “Wasabi-like” after effect! I LOVED IT! Has anyone else experienced this? Vegetables are so cool! (big dork)
Anywho….
Next time, I will probably double the sauce. Served over Brown Rice with a little extra GF Soy Sauce, this was an excellent, simple supper. So cheers to you Raghavan Iyer! (sorry, I took a sip first)
I can’t wait until we play in the kitchen again!   
 Oh, and Mr. Iyer, should you ever come to Tampa, I want you to teach a cooking class at my store! You are wonderful!

Hey Rudi, You’re So Fine You Blow My Mind….

About 2 weeks ago, I arrived home with grilled cheese sandwiches on my mind. I had Daiya Vegan Cheese, but not a crust of bread was to be found. Not one to give up that easily, I was literally pulling my bread machine off the shelf when the doorbell rang. 
Dickens went crazy, GF Guy jumped, and my poor bread machine almost lost it’s life then and there!
I answered the door to find a gift from the heavens…..
a Rudi’s Gluten-Free sample pack!!!!!!
 I couldn’t believe the timing! It was uncanny!
Grilled cheese it was! 
You know how most gluten-free breads are better doorstops than sandwich vehicles? Not Rudi’s!
The Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread was soft, pliable, and moist. Perfection!

Just look at that “cheeze” oozing out of that perfectly grilled bread!

We feasted on Grilled Cheese like a couple of 2nd graders!
A few days later, toast was back on my mind, but this time with eggs.
Again, the Rudi’s Bread was whole grain perfection! 
I am a rather harsh critic when it comes to bread, but Rudi’s passed with flying colors! Check out their website for a $1 OFF coupon and get yourself a loaf!
Even better….
For every dollar coupon downloaded, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery will give a dollar to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, up to $20,000, to help in its efforts to better educate physicians in the diagnosis of celiac disease. Coupons are available on the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery website and Facebook page.

Thank you Rudi’s!

A Triumph…(dining guide)…

Before the holidays, Triumph Dining sent me a copy of their latest and greatest Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide
I have been a long time fan of Triumph Dining Cards, and recommend them to everyone I know. 
Chefs has come out to my table in restaurants to personally thank me for bringing such a comprehensive guide to my specific dietary needs and asked where they could purchase a set for their kitchens! They are available in 10 languages and tailored to each specific cuisine. Invaluable!
Despite my love of their Dining Cards, I had never even seen a Triumph Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide. It was such a treat to receive one in the mail. 
Having traveled rather extensively, I enjoyed comparing my own experiences with those in the book. I am happy to report they were spot on! 
The book was organized by city and state and was very quick and easy to navigate.
But, do you want to know the best part?
In the back, there is an allergen breakdown of every major fast food restaurant in the U.S.! WHAT?! Sometimes, there is nothing but a Burger King around for hundreds of miles. Wouldn’t this guide make your life a ton easier?
I couldn’t keep this gem to myself! A friend of mine at work is seeing someone who travels for a living. He is completely new to a GF diet and has been having a tough time. (understatement of the year!) I was able pass along my copy of the Triumph Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide to him as a Christmas present. It made his year! 
To get your very own copy, go to www.TriumphDining.com
Thank you, Triumph, for creating such a wonderful, helpful tool for gluten-free diners everywhere!

Double Down….

Sunday I did something I have never done before. 
This something has always intimidated me. In hindsight, it was a silly thing to be scared of. It turned out to be rather simple and fun!
Okay, okay… enough suspense! I made……..
A TWO LAYER CAKE!!!!!!!!!
This was the most moist, delicious cake on the planet! The occasion was my Pop’s birthday. He is 80-some-odd years old and cuter than ever! Look at him enjoying all the attention on his big day!
I used the King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix. The cake was springy, light, and sheer perfection!
For the frosting, I was inspired by GF Guy, and every male member of his family, to make a Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting. The men on his side of the family are obsessed with everything Peanut Butter!
Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
(Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Non-Dairy Buttery Sticks, softened
  • 1 cup organic Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 5-7 Tblsp Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 cups organic Confectioners Sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the Earth Balance and Peanut Butter in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  2. Gradually mix in the sugar.
  3. When mixture becomes thick begin adding the Almond Milk, one tablespoon at a time, until all sugar is incorporated and frosting is thick and spreadable.
  4. Beat at least 3 minutes for frosting to become thick and fluffy.
This was a remarkably light combination. Not too sweet or rich, it did not sit in your stomach after being eaten, as many frosted cakes do. 
Everyone raved about it. In fact, I’ve already had a request for my cousin’s birthday!

What was is your favorite cake/frosting flavor combination? 

– I have a thing for German Chocolate Cake, probably because it is my mom’s favorite! (Love you Mom!)

"Carol Style"….

My last post, I promised to reveal my newest Vegan Drop Biscuit recipe. 
GF Guy always loved when I made these biscuits, a fact that I am VERY proud of! They are packed with Omega 3 & 6 fats and fiber, and are, overall, a healthy gluten-free bread option. …PLUS, they can be whipped together in less than 20 minutes
Normally, I create my own flour blend. But, I was getting bored with that. I decided to play with something new! 
Hey, I’m a single girl now! Why not? 
Behold….
Carol Kicinski is an amazingly talented cook and an inspired blogger. I have had the pleasure of scheduling her to teach 2 cooking classes, so far (HINT, HINT!), at the store which received RAVE reviews. In addition to her wonderful recipes, Carol has now developed her own Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, which can be purchased through her blog, Simply… Gluten Free. She also has a gluten free desserts cookbook set to come out in the near future. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait! It is sure to be brilliantly drool-worthy!
Okay… back to the biscuits!
I kicked my normal drop biscuit flour mix to the curb and tried things “Carol Style”. They turned out delicious, even leftover! 
Give this recipe a try and support another gluten-free blogger!

Vegan Herb & Feta Drop Biscuits

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonful onto prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake 11-13 minutes, until done. (These do not brown very much.)
Have a wonderful week, everyone!