Amaranth Cereal

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1 c raw amaranth2 c water
1 c milk (you can use cow’s, soy, almond, whatever you like!)
1 c chopped strawberries
1 basket blueberries
1 c crushed or chopped pecans
2-3 tbsp maple syrup

Cook the amaranth per the directions on the package. It cooks up a lot like rice, so if it doesn’t say, just cook it like rice. Transfer the cooked amaranth to a bowl and gradually add in the milk until it’s the consistency of oatmeal or grits. You may have to use more or less milk for the right texture. Mix in the other ingredients and serve warm! You could also add chopped apples, cinnamon, honey, agave, bananas, basically however you like!

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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

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1 c canned pumpkin
1 c brown rice flour (or any other gluten-free flour, but I like brown rice best)
1/2 c coconut oil (or olive, Canola, etc. I think the coconut tastes great in this. Olive makes it taste much richer, and Canola’s just neutral, though apparently, we’re not supposed to use Canola oil? Oh, well, I still do, for my own kitchen.)
1/2 c agave (or honey, or brown sugar, or heck, regular sugar! Do whatever you want with this recipe; you’ve got options!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg

Just mix it all together! Fill greased muffin tins about half-full, then bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. These spoil within a few days, so eat ’em up, or keep ’em in the fridge!

Again, I normally don’t like gluten-free pastries and breads, but these are pretty good! When I first started making them, they were always gross and dry, but the addition of an egg and some more oil really helped make the nice and cakey. You can make these with mashed carrot, grated zucchini, applesauce, or probably any number of fruit or vegetable. You might want to add some golden raisins or nuts to this as well.

Marsala Carrots

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1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into even strips
3-4 shallots
2 tbsp oil or butter (I prefer butter, big surprise.)
1/2 c Marsala wine (or sherry, or cheap red wine, if you’re really in a bind and just HAVE to have these carrots NOW)
1 tbsp brown sugar

Boil the carrots for around 15 minutes to soften them up while you prepare the glaze. Slice the shallots into rounds, like little tiny onion rings. (And now I want shallot rings. Someone make them for me!) Cook them in the oil or butter until softened and lightly browned. Add the wine and sugar and mix well, cooking until the alcohol is gone. (You’ll stop smelling it in the steam.) Add in the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until the glaze has thickened and the carrots soak up the liquids. Goes wonderfully with roasted red meat!

Ginger Carrot Rice Pilaf

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2 c raw brown rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, shredded
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 c chicken stock
2 carrots, shredded
1 tsp salt

Throw the rice in a rice cooker, because you just can’t be bothered with cooking it on a stove anymore. (Note: this might be even tastier if you cook the rice in chicken or veggie broth instead of water.) In the meantime, saute the onion in the oil over medium heat until it starts to caramelize. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two, to take off the raw edge. Add the spices, stir for a few seconds, and add the chicken stock. Once the stock stops sizzling, add the carrots and salt, and cook until the carrots soften slightly. Mix the vegetables in with the rice using a slashing motion rather than stirring.

For something a little sweeter, omit the salt and add some golden raisins (maybe a 1/2 cup?). Sorry the picture’s kind of green! That was the only tupperware left.

Lemon Chicken

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1-2 lbs thin-sliced chicken breast
1 c flour
oil
lemons

Put the flour in a dish. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour. Heat an inch or two of oil over medium heat in a pan. Cook the chicken until golden brown, flipping occasionally and squeezing a lemon wedge over each piece. Make sure not to lose too many of those tasty browned bits. Cut up a lemon into thin slices for garnish. It’s just that easy!

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

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2-3 ripe bananas
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks (or two pots of unsweetened applesauce)
2 c gluten-free flour (I like brown rice for this, as it’s got a nice nuttiness that goes well with the bananas)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/3 c coconut oil (or any other sweet or neutral oil)
1 c agave

Put the bananas and apple in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. I mean, or you could pour the fruit into a bowl, and sift in the dry ingredients, mix the rest of the stuff in, but I’m too lazy to dirty another bowl, and it all fits in the food processor, so why not? Pour into a greased cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it in the middle.

I’m normally not into gluten-free sweets or pastries. They always turn out bland, dry, and crumbly. However, this recipe is actually quite moist and springy, like the real thing! I think it’s all the eggs. I’m sure if you made this recipe with wheat flour, sugar, and butter, it’d be delicious, too, but if you’re celiac or just trying to avoid foods with a high glycemic index, try this out! You could totally add walnuts or pecans, too, for extra flavor.

Chicken Meatballs with Pesto

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PESTO
1 lb ground chicken
1 egg
3/4 c breadcrumbs
1/2 c stock
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper

MEATBALLS
2 c fresh spinach
1/2 c fresh basil
1/2 c pine nuts
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c stock (maybe more, to thin out the sauce so you have enough to cover the meatballs)

Mix all the meatball ingredients together until well combined. Cover and refrigerate while you prep the pesto. Put all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Roll the meat mixture into 2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, making sure none of the balls are touching. (Trust me, this makes clean-up muuuuch easier. That pesto sticks!) Spoon the pesto over each meatball so that it’s completely covered. (You might want to save some or make another batch if you’re having these meatballs with pasta.) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until fully cooked. I’m sure there’s an internal temperature to go by, but if you cut one open, you’ll know if it’s still raw. Serve with pasta, rice, or on their own.

I thought these would just be a good way to sneak some spinach into my diet, but these are actually really amazing! They’re very soft, but the bottoms are so crispy, and the spinach pesto (as opposed to basil-based) is very mild but flavorful.

Raw-ish Apple Pie

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6 apples (I like Gala or Honeycrisp for this)
1 tbsp honey or agave
dashes of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg

1 c pecans (or almonds, walnuts, or any other nuts you would use in a sweet)
1 c dried cranberries

1/3 c dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Peel 3 of the apples. Core them and slice them thinly. Arrange them on a baking sheet and top with honey and spices. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until soft but not too browned. Allow to cool completely before handling.

Meanwhile, crush the nuts a bit. Blend in a food processor with the 1 c of cranberries until it forms a sticky ball. In a greased cake pan, press the mixture evenly over the bottom, like a cheesecake crust. Cut up the other 3 apples (no real need to peel them, unless you’re opposed to tiny bits of peel in your pie) and process them with the rest of the cranberries and the spices. Pour the applesauce over the crust, then artfully (so, so artfully!) arrange the cooked apple slices over the top. Refrigerate, or even freeze, before serving.

QUICKIE: Salmon over Quinoa

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Boneless, skinless salmon, cut into cubes
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 c uncooked quinoa

Wash the quinoa in a mesh strainer and try to find any little tiny rocks. (I always fail at finding the little rocks, which is why I don’t often eat quinoa: it’s always sandy for me.) Cook it like you would brown rice. Mix the soy sauce, lime, and sugar, and brush the salmon with it (or make more and marinate it). Heat up a 1/2 inch of high-heat oil. Cook the salmon over medium heat, constantly turning to get it nice and crispy. It’s done when the salmon flakes easily. Add more soy sauce when you serve it over the quinoa. Chase away your cats, as they will absolutely lose it while you’re eating this.

Ginger-Citrus Fish in Parchment with Spicy Oven Fries and Jalapeno Vinegarette

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3 lbs potatoes (I used Russet)
salt and Cayenne
oil

1.5 lbs salmon (.75 lbs for each person; you could use literally any other kind of fish, except maybe tuna. Tuna might be a bit meaty for this)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
zest from 1 lemon, plus just from that very same lemon
zest and juice from 1 orange
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Cayenne (maybe cut down on this? I like it spicy!

1 navel orange
1 blood orange (or just use 2 navel oranges and don’t impress your guest, whatever)
2 jalapenos
extra Cayenne (again, I’m a Cayenne freak, so maybe omit this)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

If you’re doing this whole meal, start with the potatoes. Slice the potatoes in half, then cut each half into thin wedges. Toss them in oil, salt, and Cayenne to your liking. Bake at 400 degrees for around 45 minutes, or until they’re as crispy as you like.

Meanwhile, prep your fish. Make sure there are as few bones as possible (I mean, this is a fancy recipe that you’re using to impress someone, right?) and rinse. Pat dry. Mix the ginger, zest, juice, and spices. Prep some parchment paper using Chef John’s method. Place the fish on the paper, then spoon over the relish. Fold using the ultra-fancy method in that same video I just linked to, put the packets on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.

While all that’s cooking, zest the oranges. Remove the peel and cut out a few wedges from half of each fruit, avoiding the white as much as possible. Juice the rest of the fruit. Slice the jalapenos very finely, then mix the zest, fruit wedges, juice, jalapeno, Cayenne, vinegar, and oil together. Serve the fish in the parchment (Let your guests cut open the packet.) with some fries and a small arugula salad dressed with the orange-jalapeno vinaigrette. Impress absolutely everyone that you feed this to.

Fun language fact: “vinegar” comes from the French words for “wine” and “sour.”