Monday, April 29, 2013

Walnut Crusted Salmon with Warm Arugula Salad

I could not wait to get back into my kitchen to cook.  I was at a woman's club state convention this past weekend which is why I was away from my kitchen.  The food at the hotel was good but I couldn't wait to cook and have what I call "real food".

I desperately wanted fish and so we chose salmon for tonight's dinner.

Walnut Crusted Salmon
1/2 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Place walnuts into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Place walnuts onto a dish (you will need this to press the salmon onto the walnuts).  Preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.  Spray a baking sheet with a little but of olive oil.  Mix together honey, mustard, salt and pepper.  Mix until incorporated and smooth.  Brush top and sides of salmon with mixture (using all of it), place salmon upside down onto the chopped walnuts, pressing to place walnuts onto top of salmon.  Place salmon onto cookie sheet and bake.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  You can turn the broiler on for a short time to help brown the top of the salmon.

I think the next time I make this, for something different, I will add some fresh chopped parsley to the walnuts to add color and some flavor.  I also may change the nuts to pecans.

Warm Arugula Salad
This makes just enough for 2 people.
3 ounces of fresh arugula
3 strips of bacon, cut into small bite sized pieces
1 shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Place bacon into a skillet and cook over medium heat until just brown and crispy.  Add shallot and olive oil.  Cook until shallots are soft.  Add arugula, tossing to incorporate ingredients. Continue to cook until arugula is just wilted.  Add pine nuts and toss.  Serve warm.

Also served the meal with a rice medley.

I apologize for the horrible picture.  I could only get my hands on the one camera (which I don't like), since I wanted to quick sit down and eat. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Coconut Macaroons

I found this really great recipe for coconut macaroons online.  I wanted something that didn't have any type of sugar or eggs.  This recipe sounded great and she used freeze dried strawberries in it which made it more interesting.  The recipe came from a blog called The Urban Poser.

Vanilla Strawberry Coconut Macaroons
3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1-1/2 cups finely chopped unsweetened shredded coconut (use the really fine shredded coconut)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid (if you don't have liquid coconut oil, just melt some over a low heat on the stove)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, chopped but not crushed
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a bowl, combine almond flour and coconut.  In a separate bowl, mix together honey, coconut oil, vanilla and salt until well blended.   Add honey mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined (use you hands it works better).  Mix in strawberries.  Using a rounded measuring tablespoon (I used a large scoop).  Drag it on the side of the bowl gently pressing the macaroon dough into the scoop.  Turn the scoop upside down and tap it on side of the bowl letting the dough fall into your hand.  Gently place on a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.  Bake for about 50 minutes (mine took a little longer).  They should not brown.  Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before transferring them to a container.  The outside should be dried out slightly and the inside should be soft and chewy.   Makes about 20.

The next time I make this I am going to try coconut flour and see how they come out.  So that someone who is allergic to nuts can eat this.  I guess you can say it will be my next experiment.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grilled Bratwurst with Grilled Vegetables

Decided to cook all of our dinner on the grill tonight.  It makes it so nice for the clean up.  Really all you have it the cooking utensils and the plates.  So easy!

All items were cooked on a 400 degree Fahrenheit grill.  Each recipe will be specified for direct or indirect heat.

Grilled Bratwurst
1 package of bratwurst, from a local farm of course
Place bratwurst on grill, direct heat for 15 minutes, turning frequently.

Grilled Red Bell Peppers
1 red bell pepper, cut in half - seeds and top removed
Olive oil
Drizzle cut pepper with olive oil on both sides.  Place on the grill, direct heat for 15 minutes, turning several times.

Grilled Kale
1 large bunch of kale, washed, stems removed and cut into pieces
Place cut kale on a piece of foil.  Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of rice wine vinegar.  Place another piece of foil over top, fold edges over to create a pouch.  Place on grill in indirect heat for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
10 minutes on direct heat, turning once, and 10 minutes on indirect heat, turning once.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Grilled Marinated Chicken Salad

Okay I have a confession to make regarding tonight's dinner.  I didn't make it, my husband did.  The only thing I had a hand in is the marinade.  We wanted something very simple for tonight's dinner, so we thought a salad was as simple as it could be.

Grilled Marinated Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and grated (it came to about 1 tablespoon grated)
1/2 cup coconut aminos (very similar to soy sauce or tamari - just without the soy)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Mixed salad greens (arugula, red and green leaf lettuce, red cabbage)
Avocado (1 for each salad)
Asian Dressing
Place chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag.  Combine the ginger, coconut aminos, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed.  Add marinade to chicken in bag.  Place in refrigerator and marinate for about 30 minutes.  Remove chicken from bag and place on a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit grill.  Place chicken on direct heat for about 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Move chicken on grill so that it is now on indirect heat.  Cook for 5 minutes, flip, cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from grill and let rest for 5 minutes, covered.  Slice and place on salad greens.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Grilled Halibut Cheeks with Lemon Caper Sauce

I have come to really love halibut cheeks.  They are so tender and almost have the consistency of a crab or lobster meat.  I know you could certainly put them in place of a scallop anytime.  Tonight's dinner I made up on the fly as I was in the kitchen.

I used a rose wine instead of a white wine for my sauce which turned it a pink color.  I didn't want to open a bottle of white, since I wouldn't be drinking any tonight, and I had a bottle of wine already open.  The color of the wine did not change the flavor I was going for at all.

I wanted to grill as much as we could.  Less dishes to clean up, easier clean up and it doesn't make your house warm.

Grilled Halibut Cheeks with Lemon Caper Sauce
8 halibut cheeks (from SeaBear)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon of capers
1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
White wine
Sprinkle the cheeks with a little bit of salt and pepper.  Spray a grill basket with olive oil.  Place the cheeks into a grill basket and place over direct heat at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook for about 15 minutes, turning about every five.

In a small saucepan add olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add shallot and cook until tender but not overly brown.  Add lemon juice and capers, stir letting the mixture reduce slightly.  Add a small amount of white wine.  The wine will help to cut the acidity and tartness of the lemon juice and capers. So taste it along the way and add wine as needed.  Reduce until you get a sauce that will coat the back of a spoon. Spoon sauce over cooked halibut cheeks.  Stir in basil at the very end.

Wilted Spinach
1 large package of spinach
Small amount of olive oil
In a large skillet over medium high heat add oil and spinach.  Turn spinach in pan over so that what is on top can cook.  Continue to cook until spinach is wilted.  Keep warm in a bowl until ready to serve.  Place some spinach on the plate and place halibut on top.

Grilled Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus, washed and snapped
Spray a flat cast iron skillet with olive oil, place skillet on the grill (direct heat) that is at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook, turning for 15 minutes.

Grilled Pineapple
1 fresh pineapple
First cut the pineapple.  I didn't know how to put cutting a pineapple into words, so I found a step by step here.   Instead of cutting the pineapple into circles.  I cut my pineapple in half lengthwise, and in half again, removed the core by cutting down the edge (which is now a partial triangle).  I then sliced the pineapple into strips on the longer side.  Place pineapple on direct heat on the grill, 400 degree Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes turing once.  Then remove pineapple to an indirect heat location and cook for another 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Breakfast Bars (gluten free)

I made these when I was doing the detox diet and they were a great thing to grab in the morning for breakfast or really anytime you want a high protein healthy snack.

Breakfast Bars
1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup raisinsIn a food processor combine almond flour and salt.  Pulse in coconut oil, honey, water and vanilla. Pulse in coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond slivers and raisins.  Press dough into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish, wetting your hands with water to pat dough down. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.  Make sure that you cool them completely before cutting otherwise it will make them crumbly. 

The next time I make these I plan on using other fruits like dried cranberries in place of raisins and maybe some other kind of nut or seed.  We will see!

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I had a real taste for spaghetti tonight and I didn't want to use any wheat free pasta.  I did however have this huge spaghetti squash sitting on the counter just begging to be cooked.  So I actually cooked the huge squash and made spaghetti with it.

Baked Spaghetti Squash
Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Place the halves onto a baking pan and place into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Since this was a huge squash I cooked it for a total of 1 hour.

Remove squash from oven and using a fork start at the narrow end (where the root would have been) and scrape the fork through the squash.  I will start to look like a bunch of spaghetti.  Place the spaghetti into a large bowl.  Keep warm.

Spaghetti Meat Sauce
1 pound of grass fed ground beef
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 14-1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 14-1/2 ounce can of tomato sauce (I happened to have a pizza sauce which is pretty much the same thing but it has all the spices and herbs that you would want)
1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
1 tablespoon of dried basil
In a skillet over medium high heat add ground beef and chop up to make into pieces.  I left mine on the larger side.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add garlic and cook. Turn heat to medium and add cans of diced tomato and sauce.  Stir mixing the meat and the sauce together.  Add spaghetti squash and incorporate into the sauce meat mixture.  I couldn't use all of my squash so I reserved the rest to eat later.

Serve the meal with a small side salad consisting of mixed greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Serve with a little bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese if you want!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pork Bratwurst with Vegetables

I love this time of year.  Winter is over (I hope), flowers are blossoming, trees are starting to get their leaves and the weather is just right.  No humidity in the upper 70s.  When the weather is like this I love to be outside.  Cooking dinner is no exception.  All of tonight's dinner was cooked on the grill.

I will work this so that the order I list each food that was cooked, this is the order that it goes onto the grill.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes
1 sweet potato (ours was very large so it only took one for us)
small amount of olive oil
Peel and cut sweet potato into bite sized pieces.  Place the cut sweet potato onto a large piece of foil.  Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.  Fold foil over the potatoes to create a pouch.  Seal pouch on all sides.  Place pouch onto grill that has been heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Remove pouch to upper rack for 10 minutes.  Remove foil pouch from grill by sliding it onto a serving plate.  Keep pouch shut until ready to serve.  They will continue to stay hot.

Grilled Vegetables
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced in quarters
Place a cast iron skillet onto the grill (ours is a griddle type).  Let it heat up, spray with a little but of olive oil.  Place vegetables on the griddle and cook, adjusting heat as necessary, until vegetables are soft.  Stir vegetables around so that they will cook evenly.  Remove from pan and serve.

Grilled Pork Bratwurst
1 package of pork bratwurst (from a local farm)
Place bratwurst onto a 400 degrees Fahrenheit grill and cook, turning as needed, for about 15 minutes.  Remove and serve.

Small Side Salad
Mix of lettuce
Grape tomatoes
Sliced cucumber
Mix of beans (salad mix)
Place all ingredients into a bowl and serve with a little bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Pancakes (Gluten Free)

You ever just have a taste for something and you won't be satisfied until you get it?  This morning it was like that for me.  I really really wanted pancakes.  We have eliminating wheat from our diet and I have to say that I feel good not eating it.  Since we aren't eating wheat I needed to find a good recipe for pancakes.  I already use my own mix of gluten flour for when I make my brownies but I didn't know if that would work as a straight out substitute in a regular white flour recipe.  So as to not re-create the wheel.  I opted to look for another food blog who had a recipe.  I came across Elana's Pantry Silver Dollar Pancakes.  I have to say there were delicious!  Oh, and if you are doing the Paleo diet, these fit that as well!

Gluten Free Pancakes
3 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
1-1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
a small amount of coconut oil for the pan
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, water, vanilla and honey.  Add almond flour, salt and baking soda.   Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Heat coconut oil in a skillet or flat pan over medium heat.  Add batter about 2 tablespoons onto skillet.  When bubbles form on pancakes, flip them, cook until done.  Regulate heat as necessary so that they won't burn.  Remove to a plate and serve with sliced bananas and maple syrup.  I also used a blueberry sauce that was imported from France.  The sauce is made from blueberries and grape juice.  No added sugars or other ingredients.

I also served this with some cooked breakfast sausage links that came from our local farm.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ground Bison Vegetable Mix Up

Seriously did not know what to call this post.  Really all I wanted to do was to cook the bison and add a bunch of vegetables to it.  Keep it healthy.

Ground Bison Vegetable Mix Up
2 pounds ground bison
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 package of button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 - 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (no salt kind)
1 small zucchini, sliced and then each slice sliced again
1 small can of sliced black olives
Small handful of brown rice pasta (gluten free), cooked
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Heat a coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook until slightly soft, add bell pepper and cook.  Add bison and chop up into small pieces as you incorporate it into the onion and pepper.  Cook until bison is no longer pink.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.  Stir to incorporate.  You may need to put the heat on high to help cook off some of the liquid, however be careful to not burn it.  Once the zucchini becomes soft, about 10 minutes, add black olives and pasta to incorporate.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Serve

Along with this dish we had a side salad packed with a mix of greens (swiss chard, spinach, arugula, and baby lettuce), tomatoes, cucumber and a few pieces of red pepper.  Add a little bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar for the dressing.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Tomato Feta Salsa

I will keep this post simple and sweet.  Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken with Tomato Feta Salsa
2 grilled chicken breasts
Garlic Powder
1/2 package of small grape tomatoes
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/8 cup cilantro, minced finely
Small amount of olive oil
For the chicken sprinkle each breast (both sides) with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place on a 450 degree Fahrenheit grill.  Cook for about 15 minutes, turning twice.
For the salsa.  Cut tomatoes in half, lengthwise and place into a small bowl.  Add feta cheese and cilantro, mix well to incorporate all ingredients.  Add a small amount of olive oil to add just a little bit more flavor.
Top each chicken breast with salsa and serve.

To this meal I cooked a whole grain rice from a company called Lundberg.  The rice is called Jubilee and it contains a mix of Sweet Brown Rice, Short Grain Brown Rice, Long Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wehani Rice, Whole Grain Japonica Rice.  I cooked it to the package directions which actually will feed a small army.  Plenty of rice to have with several more meals.  The next time I make this rice I plan on using a broth (either chicken or vegetable).  This rice has a nice nutty flavor.

Also served this with a small green salad with tomatoes and avocado.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Steamed Black Cod

This was actually dinner the other night.  I am behind on my posts due to so many things going on at once.

Steamed Black Cod
2 black cod filets (these came from SeaBear)
2 lemons, 1 lemon sliced in half and half of it sliced thinly the other lemon (juice)
2 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
1 small chunk of ginger peeled and cut into large chunks
1/8 cup coconut aminos
In a small bowl place juice of one lemon, coconut aminos, some of the finely minced ginger and green onion (reserve some of both for on top) mix together, set aside.

To steam the fish I use an electric wok with a bamboo steamer.  In the wok add some water, making sure that steamer will fit into the top of wok but not touch the water.  Add the large chunks of ginger, one half of a lemon, squeezing the juice into water, and some of the green onions.  Place lid on wok and heat water until it is steaming.  In a small pie plate, place in cod filets, pour over top with lemon-coconut amino mixture.  Add a few slices of lemon to each fillet, topping each with the remaining ginger and green onion.  Place pie plate into steamer, add steamer lid, place steamer onto wok.  Don't open the lid of the steamer to check on fish, you will lose all of your steam.  Cook for about 15 minutes (this is how long it took for the fish filets I had).  Serve.

Cooked Beets
5 beets that have been rinsed and cleaned of dirt
In a large pot add water and beets. Cook for about 45 minutes or until beets are tender.  Remove beets to a large bowl.  Using a silicone mitt (the beets will be extremely hot and you also want to protect your hands from turning red) hold the beets and slice off each end, now take the mitts and work around the beet holding it, the skin will just slip right off.  If you are having trouble take a paper towel and use it against the skin. Slice or chop beets how you want and serve.

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes
In a crock pot add sweet potatoes, turn on high and cook for about 5-6 hours or until potatoes are tender.  Serve with a little salt and pepper.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lamb Burgers with Feta Cheese and Mint

The weather for us comes in waves of one day it is warm, the next day it is cold, the next day it is windy.  This goes on all the time during the spring and this year is more unusual than most.  That being said it really isn't the perfect time to grill when it is really cold, however we decided to forget about the cold and grill out.

This is also the time when farmers markets are starting back up, so don't forget to buy local whenever possible.  The lamb and the feta cheese were from local sources.

You will probably notice first from the picture that there isn't any bun to eat this burger on.  We are trying to go without wheat or any type of gluten, so it is a bun-less burger.

Grilled Lamb Burgers with Feta Cheese and Mint
1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
Fresh ground pepper
Place lamb, feta cheese and mint into a bowl, using hands mix together all ingredients.  Separate meat into four equal sections and pat them into burgers.  Place on a heated grill over high heat and cook for 15 minutes.  Flipping once.  Add a little bit of fresh mint on top for a garnish.

Grilled Cauliflower
Place cut cauliflower into foil and create a pocket that you want to pinch closed on all sides.   Add a small amount of coconut oil to the packet.  Place packet onto grill and cook for 15 minutes.  Serve

Wilted Spinach
1 large package of fresh baby spinach
Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add spinach, tossing to cook.  Cook until the spinach just begins to wilt.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and serve.

Also served with this a little bit of the cabbage pineapple salad.