BLT Spring Rolls

Gluten-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, Dairy-free, Egg-Free

Cost of Ingredients: $

Time: 10 minutes

On some nights, the last thing you want to do is dirty  a pot or pan for dinner. I love to cook but I’m not always up to causing a scene in our kitchen and making a mess. Spring Rolls were always on my bucket list but I never made the effort to find the right wraps and make it happen.

While I was in Whole Foods a few weeks back, I made it my mission to find Spring Roll wrappers and make this effortless dish for dinner. We received delicious bacon from Wild Harmony Farm so I thought it would be fun to make a BLT Spring Roll. I did have to dirty one pan to make the bacon but like we all know…bacon is always worth the trouble.

The Spring Rolls were super easy to put together and it was a fresh, not overly filling meal. I would recommend getting the bigger wrappers so it’s easier to roll everything in without ripping. Feel free to modify the vegetables in this recipe to fit what you already have in your home or garden.

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Ingredients for 8-10 Spring Rolls:

  • 1.5 cups of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 house tomato
  • 1/4 cup of radishes
  • 1/4 cup of cucumber slices
  • Half an avocado, sliced
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • Spring Roll wrappers (for those with food allergies, ingredients are n the image above)
  • Cooked Shrimp – I bought pre-cooked cocktail shrimp from Whole Foods but these would have been good without the shrimp too.

Here’s how to make the BLT spring Rolls:

  1. Dice up all the vegetables and lay them out so it’s easy to prepare the Spring Rolls.

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2. Cook your bacon in a skillet. Add the bacon bits next to your vegetables for Spring Roll assembling. IMG_5227

3. One at a time, dip the wrappers in luke warm water until they soften. If you bought the smaller ones (like I did), you may want to use two at a time so they don’t rip easily. Just note that these wrappers are not calorie-free and the amount can add up. IMG_5230

4. Add your ingredients to each softened rap and roll them so they are sealed.

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5. Enjoy!IMG_5233

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How-to-Make Ethopian Injera Bread

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Cost: $

Time for Fermentation: 24-28 hours

Time to Cook: 3-5 minutes (EASY)

Last year, we went to this incredible Ethiopian restaurant in Boston called Addis. We heard so much about this place and it lived up to all our expectations of delicious, authentic Ethiopian dishes. Traditionally, Ethiopians use their hands to eat by using pieces of injera, a large sourdough flatbread, to gather the food. At Addis, you eat communal style by sitting around one large basket tray covered with injera bread and then wat is placed on top of the flatbread. Wat is typically a thick stew that includes a mix of vegetables, spicy meat and legumes (lentils). You use the injera bread to gather up the wat so we were able to practice using our hands to eat.  I have to say, I think we were all naturals after the first few trys!

Now that I am experimenting with different gluten-free grains and flours, I just came across Teff Flour at Whole Foods. It’s actually not very easy to find but Whole Foods is probably your best bet. Be careful, you don’t accidentally grab Teff grains because it’s not easy to convert that into flour like other grains.

After doing some online digging, I learned that Teff Flour is what makes Injera Bread. This flatbread  is traditionally about 20 centimeters in diameter and you ferment teff flour to give it that sour taste. I also had no idea that the bread was gluten-free because if you taste the bread, you would never know it. I clearly found my next project!

I used this Yumuniverse recipe as my guide and I have to say the process was super easy and the end-product was absolutely delicious. My husband brought the leftovers to work the next day and microwaved the bread with a damp paper towel to keep in the moisture. He said it was perfect even when he reheated it the next day.

Care to give it a try? Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients to Make Injera Bread:

  1. 1 1/2 cups Teff Flour
  2. 2 Cups Filtered Water
  3. 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  4. Coconut Oil for Pan
  5. Salt to Taste

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Steps to Make Injera Bread: Note it takes 24-48 hours for the bread to ferment so plan accordingly.

Place Teff flour in a large glass bowl, add the water and stir well. Cover with a light dish towel and leave it in your kitchen for 24-28 hours. Make sure you find a place where it won’t be moved so you don’t disturb the fermentation process.

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It could look something like this after the fermentation process is complete but every batch looks different. Some could be more puffed up and porous.IMG_5152

Stir in salt and baking powder. Simultaneously, add the coconut oil to a hot large skillet pan to prepare it for cooking. IMG_5162

Pour a little bit of the batter into the pan and move the pan around so the batter completely covers the bottom and hits all the sides. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes. You don’t need to flip the bread beacuse it will cook both sides this way. Here’s how the finished product looks. So easy, right?IMG_5172IMG_5173

Yumuniverse also shared this great wat recipe which we made with our bread. Thanks for all the inspiration and help, YumuniverseIMG_5181IMG_5187

Cauliflower Soup

Cost: $

Time for Prep and Cooking: 30 minutes

I’m on a soup kick these days. The main reason behind this is the Northeast weather refuses to accept spring is here so I am keeping warm and trying to survive in these frigid April temperatures.  I also love that when you make soup, you always have leftovers and it’s always a tasty lunch or dinner option.

Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile vegetable and has been saving me every since I gave up so many things in my diet. You can use cauliflower as a healthy and allergen-friendly alternative for  pizza crust, rice, “fake buffalo wings,” etc. Cauliflower is also high in Vitamin C and provides tons of potassium, fiber and folic acid (helps prevent disease).

This recipe is super easy to make and unlike some soups, it doesn’t take hours to make and a 100 ingredients to whip up. What other recipes do you swap out ingredients for cauliflower?

Ingredients (If you want a ton of leftovers, I would double the recipe):

  •  1 White Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • Fresh Thyme
  • 4 cups of Chicken Stock (Check labels for any hidden ingredients that could upset your stomach!)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (+ another tsp for garnish
  • Chickpeas
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How to Make Cauliflower Soup:

  1. Heat up a pan with the olive oil. Dice the onion and garlic cloves and then sautee in the pan until both start to brown. (About 4-5 minutes)

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2. Add the cauliflower and fresh thyme to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Keep stirring the mixture together so the garlic doesn’t burn. IMG_5128

3. Cover the mixture with the chicken stock and cook for about 15 minutes. If the stock doesn’t cover all the ingredients, you may need to add more stock. The cauliflower must be fully submerged so you ensure all the cauliflower gets cooked. IMG_5135

4. While the cauliflower is cooking, sprinkle a few chickpeas on to a roasting pan and  coat with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

IMG_51305. Once the cauliflower is soft and you can stick a fork right through the  florets, pour the whole mixture into a food processor or blender. Turn on and mix until it’s the consistency you prefer for your soup. IMG_5137

5. Pour soup into a bowl and add the roasted chickpeas to the top. Pour a little olive oil on top for taste. IMG_5139

Minor note: As someone who is studying nutrition, I want to give you a heads up that cauliflower consists of non-digestible carbohydrates which in short terms, could leave you bloated. If you already have issues with that, you may want to skip out on this one.

Meatballs

Egg-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Soy-free, Corn-free

Cost of Ingredients: $          Time: 30-40 minutes

I am a fan of quick and simple, yet still delicious meals, the less prep, the better. So I used to buy frozen meatballs in the grocery store, such an easy way to add protein to a meal with pasta, or potatoes and gravy. Since switching to a gluten-free diet, however, many of these pre-made purchases have become impossible. But it turns out what I thought was a laborious process, is actually a really simple meal made from scratch! (I did not grow up in an Italian family, meatballs are not a staple where I come from, so this is not an old recipe from my grandmother, but rather my own simple interpretation).

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Add all ingredients to a big bowl and knead with your hands. This is a bit messy, but surprisingly satisfying! I like adding some leafy green to my meatballs, a bit of added nutrition is always good!

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This should only take a few minutes, the whole things comes together pretty quickly. Once it looks fairly cohesive, pinch off tablespoon sized chunks and roll into balls. Place them on a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper (for easy clean-up!).

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My constant companion, Watson, was especially interested in this dish, but he didn’t get to help as much as he had hoped!

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While the meatballs bake in the oven I prepare the rest of the meal. On this day I made a simple tomato and vegetable sauce with spaghetti. The sauce recipe will follow in another post soon!

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Ingredients:

1 – 1.5 pounds ground beef (I usually buy 80% lean, but really any ground meat should work!)

1 medium onion, chopped finely

1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs*

1 cup chopped leafy green (kale or spinach works well)

1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbsp warm water until frothy

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp dried parsley **

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Form meatballs by hand and place on parchment-lined sheet tray.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until beginning to brown (depending on where your heat source is in the oven, they may brown at the bottom edges, or at the top).
  5. Enjoy with: tomato sauce and spaghetti, mashed potatoes and gravy, or on a sandwich!

*I found one brand of gluten-free breadcrumbs that is also yeast-free. I used the last of it in this recipe and forgot to write down the name before recycling the container. I’ll update here when I figure out what it was!

**Feel free to experiment with the spices. I am not a huge fan of oregano, but if you are, it would be delicious in these. Also feel free to add spice, a little sriracha sauce, some fresh ground chilis, or garlic. Let me know what you come up with!

 

 

 

Lentil Soup with Moroccan Spices

Ingredients: $          Time: 10 minutes to prep, 35 minutes cookingIMG_3430

On our Honeymoon, we were fortunate enough to stop in Essaouria, Morocco to visit our two good friends Liv and Kabir who are there for the Peace Corps. As we hopped from Barcelona to Morocco, we had such an unforgettable experience in Essaouria. As expected, Liv and Kabir were the perfect tour guides and hosts and allowed us to see the beautiful sights of their new city. They took us through the city streets, medina and helped us taste us wonderful North-African cuisine. Their host parents Khadija and Hosine were so hospitable and Khadija fed us tagines filled to the brim; all filled with unforgettable spices and ingredients. Khadija even gave us cooking lessons as we made some of her signature dishes. If you are ever near Essaouria, please make it a priority to take a cooking class with Khadija.

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When we returned home after an incredible journey abroad, we missed the endless flavor of Moroccan food. We wanted to sit in a salon all day, drink Moroccan teas and we just missed being around both our friends and their incredible new family. Since then, we have tried to recreate some Moroccan dishes at home and each time, the aroma of all the spices reminded us of our Moroccan adventures and all our great memories.

Recently, I made it my mission to make a Lentil Soup. To spice things up, I tried to incorporate spices that are used in many Moroccan dishes to give this soup a little kick, color and overall taste. It came out SO great and there was plenty for leftovers.

Khadija, we are planning to make some of your tagines very soon! I know they won’t come close to what you served us but if they are half as good, we will take it.

(How gorgeous are these dishes below?)

Lentil Soup with Moroccan SpicesIMG_4819

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinse before using until water runs clear (red lentils work best for this soup so try not to substitute)
  • 1 diced tomato (you can use a can if that works for you)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I look at ingredients to make sure there are no hidden ingredients)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice and crushed red pepper to garnish

Note: I love paprika but I was told I can’t have it. If you can, I would add some smoked paprika to this dish.

How to Make Lentil Soup with Moroccan Spices:

  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic until brown and then add all the spices from above (about 5-6 minutes in the pot). This may seem weird to throw the spices in an empty pot but it all comes together in the end. I promise.
  2. Add the carrots to the pot and sauté until carrots are tender about 10-12 minutes. They are the most beautiful color mixed in with all the spices.IMG_4813
  3. Add the vegetable broth to your pot, diced tomatoes and lentils and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Taste away to make sure they are the right texture.IMG_4817
  4. You have the choice of leaving the soup as is with the lentils and carrots full-size. You can also use a blender or an immersion blender to puree the soup. It’s up to you!IMG_4820
  5. Serve soup with crushed red pepper and lemon juice. I also found a great Gluten-Free sprouted grain bread that was free of all my allergens and tasted delicious with the soup.IMG_4825

Butternut Squash Cakes

Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Corn-Free

Cost of Ingredients: $          Time: 15 minutes

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Cooking for only two people often leads to lots of leftovers. I happen to love this, and regularly cook more than I need to make sure I have food for lunch the next day. One of our favorite vegetable sides is butternut squash puree, especially when it’s cold outside. I steam the squash, add a little brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt and pepper and mash with a fork, potato masher, or immersion blender, depending on how much time I have.

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I made these cakes from some leftover puree, to change it up for lunch the next day. Add some gluten free flour, Sriracha sauce, and whatever spices you enjoy. Spoon into a lightly oiled non-stick pan and cook for a few minutes on each side.

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I made a little spicy mayo to go along with them, but they are also delicious with some apple sauce or next to a salad.

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Since this is a dish made from leftovers, the ingredient amounts are approximate.

Ingredients:

1-2 cups squash puree

1/2 – 1 cup of gluten free flour

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 – 2 tsp Sriracha sauce

1 tsp spices (chili powder, ground coriander)*

  1. Mix all ingredients together. The dough should be quite sticky and soft, but more substantial than the squash puree alone. The amount of flour will vary depending on how much liquid is in your squash puree.
  2. Cook in non-stick pan at medium heat for a few minutes on each side until browned and slightly crispy.
  3. Enjoy with spicy mayo, apple sauce, or as a side dish with dinner.

*Feel free to experiment with spices and let me know what combinations you come up with!

Mac N’ Cheese (without the REAL mac or the REAL cheese)

When you start to cook a lot more with food limitations, you get the hang of substituting ingredients and creating great meal options for yourself. However, once you find your stride it’s really hard to stop making food. So now that I’ve moved past step 1 which is finding options and now I am moving on to step 2 which is understanding moderation.  Life is a constant work-in-progress!

For this recipe, I found a great way to make Mac N’ Cheese without the real macaroni or real cheese and it’s delicious. Nevertheless, this dish still consists of  pasta and it’s really filling. I had to control my portions here which allowed us to eat this dish for dinner and finish it over several lunches after that night. With that said, the “cheese sauce” is made from butternut squash and tomatoes, so go ahead and pour some extra sauce on your plate.

I’m currently taking a Nutrition Class at the University of Rhode Island so I am fascinated about the foods I eat and the health benefits behind each dish.  Butternut Squash is low in fat and a great source of Vitamin A (great for vision, immune function and helps many vital organs work properly), dietary fiber, potassium and no surprise but like most vegetables it’s sodium and cholesterol free. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this recipe is a lot better for you than Kraft Mac N’ Cheese.  (Source: WebMD)

Ingredients for “Mac N’ Cheese”: 

  1. 1 butternut squash (cubed)
  2. ½ cup chopped tomatoes (I check the ingredients because some are loaded with random additives and allergen triggers)
  3. 1½ cups water
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  6. Fresh rosemary (about 2-3 sprigs)
  7. ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  8. ¾ cup coconut milk (I use SO Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk)
  9. 1½ cups gluten-free pasta (I used Tinyada brown rice noodles but I would recommend Jovial brown rice pasta since it doesn’t stay as al dente, which I prefer)
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste; red pepper flakes also give it a nice kick!

How to Make Allergen Friendly Mac N’ Cheese:

Note: This recipe takes 7+ hours to cook, so I recommend making it on the weekend or starting it earlier in the day.

  1. Add ingredients 1-6 in a slow cooker and put it on low for 7-8 hour

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  1. About 45 minutes before serving, put the contents of the slow cooker into a food processor with the nutritional yeast flakes and coconut milk. Blend until everything is mixed. I like leaving some bigger pieces of butternut squash in there for a mix of consistency.
  2. For Al Dente Pasta – Add everything back into the slow cooker, turn it on high and add in the uncooked gluten-free macaroni. Cook for 10-15 minutes.                             For Softer, More Cooked Pasta – Cook pasta first, add everything back into the slow cooker, add in the cooked gluten-free macaroni and let it sit for about 5 minutes on low. (I prefer more cooked but when you reheat the next day al dente pasta does prolong the dish). 

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4. Serve IMG_4789