Mar 6, 2014
Although the weather outside still feels like winter, I'm excited to see signs of Spring all around. One of those signs is asparagus. Asparagus is one of my favorite Spring vegetables, and this quick stir-fry made with chicken, lemon, garlic and ginger is a great way to make it a weeknight meal.
I used a reduced-sodium Japanese soy sauce called Shoyu which is similar to Chinese soy sauce, but has a more full bodied flavored and a touch of sweetness that I'm really in love with. I like Eden, which is organic and non-GMO. You can use either one, or even Tamari if you're gluten free. We served this over brown rice to complete the meal.
Mar 4, 2014
Slow cooked Latin beef stew with baby red potatoes and Latin seasonings. Serve this topped with fresh aji picante – it's is a must and really brightens the flavors and rounds out the dish!
Last week I was on a cruise to the Bahamas from New York having fun in the sun. I was hoping to return to Spring weather but so far March is starting off really cold in New York. This Latin beef stew is the perfect way to warm up and it's a favorite in my home. A bit different than traditional beef stew because the meat and potatoes simmer with light beer, scallions, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, achiote (also known as annato) and spices. If you can't find achiote which is traditionally used in Latin cuisine and can be purchased at any Latin market or on Amazon, no worries, you can use Badia Sazon or even sweet paprika instead. If you prefer to make this without beer, you can replace it with water, it will still taste great.
I usually make it on the stove, but with some minor adjustments I was able to make this in the slow cooker. If you don't have a slow cooker you can see the stove top recipe here. Pictured here I served this over brown rice with some avocado on the side. Enjoy!
Mar 3, 2014
A healthier twist on a Cajun classic, the addition of shrimp turns this into a fabulous main dish. I'd like to think of this as a Cajun shrimp fried rice. With Mardi Gras ends tomorrow, I thought this would be the perfect timing to share this recipe from the archives because I LOVE this dish!
Dirty rice is a classic Cajun dish made "dirty" by cooking the rice with minced livers or gizzards. I created a healthier version using brown rice and lean ground beef in place of the chicken livers that normally make dirty rice "dirty".
But don't worry, this healthier version does not skimp on flavor! It has plenty of spices and a bit of kick, you can adjust the heat to your taste but don't be shy with the cayenne if you can handle it!
Normally a rice dish like this if made with white rice would be cooked all in one pot, but after several attempts to perfect this I found that cooking the brown rice all together created an unpleasant mushy texture. By cooking the brown rice separate, the texture of the rice was perfect when mixed with the beef and shrimp and made a delicious main dish even my "non-brown rice eating" husband enjoyed.
Feb 24, 2014
A lighter take on Chicken Scarpariello that's delicious,and also happens to be gluten-free, low-carb and paleo-friendly. I'm thrilled to share this recipe from my friend Jackie Ourman of CAFE (Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean). I met her last summer at the Big Summer Potluck after tasting her gluten-free coconut cake that was unforgettable! After she shared this chicken recipe with me, I tested it myself and thought it was great – I think you will too!
I recently graduated from culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and completed an internship in the test kitchen at Bon Appétit Magazine. So now, I suppose I can officially say I am a trained chef. Pretty exciting!
However, my most important job is being a mom of 3 incredible young boys. Two of my sons have life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, most tree nuts and sesame. One also has celiac disease and I was recently diagnosed with the same. These issues were overwhelming at first, especially when it came to thinking about what I could feed our family. You see, I had always been a big food lover but, I began to fear food and mostly the potential it had to harm my children.
I decided to go to culinary school, regain my passion for food and help my children learn to love it despite all of our dietary restrictions. Once I replaced fear of food with enjoyment again, I decided to share it with others.
Gluten-Free is not a fad for the many people out there who need it for celiac disease or other medical issues. The biggest misconception is it helps you lose weight. As in, “that gluten-free chocolate chip cookie must be healthy, right”? No way! It’s a treat and loaded with sugar, butter and carbs just like any other dessert.
I really appreciate the effort Gina makes to share naturally gluten-free and healthy recipes here on her site. It’s important for all of us to be mindful of the little decisions we make when preparing a meal that can lead to unnecessary calories.
Chicken Scarpariello is one of my favorite Italian dishes. It’s spicy, rich and truly a comfort food. The skinny version is absolutely delicious. I kept the chicken breast on the bone and just pulled off the skin in order to reduce the fat but keep the meat nice and tender. Traditional potatoes were replaced with cauliflower florets. They are strong enough in texture to stand up to the braising process and really enhanced by the seasonings in the dish.
I like things really spicy and this version packs a lot of heat. However, the spice level can easily be modified by reducing the number of cherry peppers, leaving out the extra liquid or even just subbing in red bell peppers and using the light heat from the sausage. Either way, it will still be a very flavorful and rustic dish, which also just happens to be healthy, gluten-free and very allergy friendly. Enjoy!
Feb 23, 2014
These Asian inspired meatballs are out of this world! Made with ground turkey, ginger, scallions, cilantro and sesame oil with a wonderful tangy sesame-lime dipping sauce. You can make them for dinner or serve them as an appetizer by making them half their size and setting out toothpicks for dipping into that delicious sauce.
I first posted these meatballs back in 2010 and the quickly became a fan favorite! Often I served them with brown rice or Asian "fried" brown rice, but lately I've been on a zoodle (zucchini noodle) kick and made them for dinner this week served over these zucchini noodles for a low-carb meal and they were fantastic!
To make the zucchini noodles, you'll need a spiralizer (I love my Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer) or a mandolin fitted with a julienne blade. You can see my Italian Zoodles and Meatball recipe here for more detailed instructions if you wish to make this as a side, the only difference was here I used sesame oil to cook the zucchini.
Feb 22, 2014
Sunday mornings are a little better when I make these deliciously moist muffins. These muffins make a regular appearance in my home whenever I have ripe bananas I need to use up. Everyone loves them around here – if you try them you'll know why!
I resurrected this recipe from the archives for those of you who haven't tried these yet. They are so good, and quite popular here. When I first created this recipe, I found the best way to get the peanut butter taste without the added fat was to use use Better'n Peanut Butter which I find at Trader Joe's. You could also use PB2 if you wish. I put a little extra peanut butter in the center of each muffin to give you the extra peanut butter flavor with every bite. Of course, if you wish to use regular peanut butter that's fine too, only you'll have to adjust the nutritional info.