Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Taco Chili - Gluten-Free

This darn Polar Vortex is brutal!  I mean, I've had more windchill days than snow days this year!  Actually, I've had more snow/windchill days this year than in my past 10 years of teaching!  As I sit here to type this, we're having our 6th windchill/snow day of the school year and it's only the end of January.  We still have to make it through February.  And I live in the Metro Detroit area, so the people North of me have used A LOT more snow/windchill days than us! 

Polar Vortex coldness calls for nice warm comfort food!  With the weather being this cold, we've been trying to use what we have in the house instead of rushing to the store for an ingredient or two.  I hate bundling the kids up and taking them in and out of the car when I don't have to.  So, this chili came from only things I had around the house.  I had actually bought about 2 1/2 lbs. of lean ground beef on sale a couple days before and I needed to use it up.  I cooked all 3 lbs. and cooked it.  I used only about 3/4 lb. for my chili (since I was going to use beans too) and seasoned the rest with my homemade taco seasoning, separated it into 2 freezer bags and froze it for nachos/tacos/taco salads.  Since I already had the taco seasoning out, I decided it would be the only seasoning I would use in my chili.  I mean, why not?  I know it's VERY LOW in sodium and VERY tasty.  The chili turned out PERFECTLY......way better than I thought it would be! 

My husband and kids ate this right up!  Actually, usually everyone complains about having to eat leftover the next day, but not this time.  Gavin (2.5 yo) told me "I need to hab dat chiwi momma."  That's what I like to hear.  He "needed" it.  LOL  It's a huge hit in my house and I know I'll be making it again soon!

Servings: 6-8

1 onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (you can use 1/2 cup raw kidney beans, but you have to soak overnight and boil....we only soaked and they were still crunchy.....and "gassy" LOL)
3/4 lb. lean ground beef or turkey, cooked
1 pkg. low sodium taco seasoning (or use my recipe for taco seasoning in this post, but halve it)
15 oz. tomato sauce
12 oz. tomato paste
2 - 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
3 cups water

In your crock, place the onion and ground beef.

Next, add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
 Add in the taco seasoning.....
 and the water and beans.  Give it a stir.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (8-10 if using dry beans), or on HIGH for 3-4 hours (4-6 if using dry beans)
Top with a little bit of shredded cheese and maybe even a dollop of non-fat plain greek yogurt for some extra goodness!
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Oven-Baked Turkey Meatballs - Gluten-Free

I honestly think these are the world's best meatballs.  Seriously.  They are DELICIOUS!  My husband says they're the best meatballs he's ever had....and if you know my husband, he doesn't say it unless he means it.  In fact, he likes them so much, it's taken my 5th batch in order to photograph them because they've been eaten so quickly!

I first made these for a family Christmas party.  I had to bring a dish to pass and I knew there would be nothing at the party my gluten-free self could eat (there was mac n' cheese, fried chicken, sweet and sour meatballs, mostaccioli and cheese and crackers....on the same tray.)  So, I made my incredibly delicious Italian Balsamic "Gravy" and put my meatballs in it.  I cooked it on LOW for a 6 hours and then put some shredded mozzarella cheese on top at the end.  I actually partially cooked them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and let them finish cooking in the sauce.  They were so good, everyone asked if the recipe was on my blog.  LOL  They've been patiently (or not) waiting for a month now!  

I've made these for 2 other occasions in the Italian Balsamic "Gravy," but have also made them twice just as plain old meatballs.  We actually store them in a freezer bag and defrost a few at a time.  They're incredible on a salad, as a meatball sandwich, or my husband loves them on nachos!  They're extremely versatile.  On they're own, they're just delicious and moist.  I'm sure they would be amazing served with any other type of sauce you can dream up!

Now go whip yourself up a batch of these!

Servings: Makes about 40 meatballs

3 lbs. ground turkey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. Tastefully Simple Onion Onion OR use 2 Tbsp. minced onion mixed with 1 tsp. garlic, 1 tps. sea salt, 1/2 tsp dried parsley and 1/2 tsp. dried chives
3/4 cup Gluten-Free pankow bread crumbs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, place all your ingredients.

Mix them up!

Form the meat into about 40-1" balls

Bake them in your preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Freeze them for later, put them into any kind of sauce of your choosing, or eat them as is!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Leftover Turkey And Veggie Tray Soup - Gluten-Free

After the holidays, I grow very tired of wasting food.  I mean, there's leftover cheese from the cheese tray, leftover veggies, leftover fruit, leftover turkey, stuffing, and the list goes on and on and on.  You can only freeze so much, eat so much, and send so much home with your guests.

A few weeks ago, I found my refrigerator overwhelmingly packed.  By overwhelmingly, I mean, you look inside, you see EVERYTHING and you have NO idea what you can possibly eat, or want to eat.  You also don't know how you would even begin to put anything else into your refrigerator because it would take great precision to get anything else in there; a balancing act if you will.

So, I grabbed the amble leftover veggies, the leftover turkey that was about to go to waste and a couple cans of beans from my pantry for some extra goodness.  Turns out, leftovers = success.  My husband loved it, the kids loved it and my neighbors loved it (I took the leftovers over there so it would get eaten up right away.....I didn't need anymore leftovers in my fridge!  LOL)

Servings: 8-10

2 cups chopped turkey
15.5 oz. can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
15.5 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 onions, chopped
4-5 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
3 cups turkey broth, unsalted
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash's Original Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder

Directions: (Use a 5 quart or larger slow cooker for this recipe)
In your crock, place the beans,
 tomatoes and 
 Next, add the turkey stock (mine was frozen, but it makes no difference,)
 water, Mrs. Dash seasoning, salt, onion powder and garlic powder.
 Give it a stir.

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 2.5-3 hours.
Serve and enjoy!
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Casserole - Gluten-Free

Sometimes I get really tired of the usual dinner food, which makes me go way outside of the box.  With a little help from my FitAddict pal, Andrea, I made a delicious and healthy Sweet Potato and Quinoa Casserole for dinner.  

I know what you're thinking.  Sweet potatoes as the main course for dinner?  Yup!  This casserole doesn't just contain sweet potatoes....there are lots more ingredients, (which couldn't all be listed in the title, or you'd think I was completely insane!) making is a complete meal!  Don't get me wrong.  This could totally be served as a side dish too.  In fact, I suggest bringing this to a party or to a work pot luck if you'd like something you can eat guilt-free and still get a complete meal.  Being gluten-free, I've found I usually starve at parties unless I bring something like this.  You can only eat so many fruits and veggies at one time.  Half the time the cheese and crackers are on the same platter, leaving that no longer an option either.  Cross contamination is a huge issue for us gluten-free folks.  If you bring this casserole, you'll be all set!

Andrea made a very similar version of this for her family during the holidays and they loved it.  We had mixed reviews here.  My husband wasn't a fan at all.  I loved it and my kids liked it, but didn't love it.  I won't even tell you what my husband added to his when he ate it.  It was disgusting.  LOL  I thought it was perfect as it was.  The only thing I would have changed is adding the pecans at the end instead of cooking them with everything.  They got soft and you couldn't really tell what they were.  They should still be crunchy.  This will be reflected below, so you can follow everything as typed below.

Servings: 6-10 (depending on whether you're serving this as a main dish or side dish)

4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed
3/4 cup quinoa
3/4 cup brown rice
1/2 cup craisins
2 Tbps. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. vegetable better than bouillon
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Directions: (Use a 3 quart to 5 quart slow cooker for this recipe)
In your crock, place your sweet potatoes and onions.
 (I had two of the cutest helpers in all the land!)

Next, add in the black beans,
 brown rice
 and quinoa.
 Add the craisins.
Add in the maple syrup, cinnamon, pepper, vegetable bouillon and water.
Give it a stir.
(I apparently forgot to take pictures of these steps!)
Cook on LOW for 5-6  hours and add the chopped pecans just before serving.

Serve and Enjoy!
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