Zucchini-Potato Fritters

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2 zucchini
2 medium potatoes1/4 c bread crumbs
2 eggs, plus 1 egg white
1/4 c Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Shred the zucchini and peeled potatoes using a box grater or mandoline with a julienne plate. Squeeze the extra liquid out of the veggies, then add a teaspoon or two of salt, then set aside to let the salt pull out even more moisture. After 10 minutes or so, squeeze the extra moisture out, quickly rinse, then squeeze again. Set it on a paper towel to take out any remaining moisture that’s going to come out. I’ve done the fritters without draining them well, and 1: they pop all over the place in the pan, and 2. they taste watery to me, so it’s really worth draining them. Mix the veggies with the rest of the ingredients. Grease a skillet and heat over medium. Place a heaping tablespoonful of the mix on the pan, spreading it out a bit. Don’t overcrowd the pan! When one side is golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Serve hot.

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Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

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4 large portobello (portabella? I have no idea what the correct spelling is, and neither does Firefox) mushrooms
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 cups spinach (about half of a 5 oz pack)
1/3 c Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 c mozzarella cheese.
salt and black pepper to taste

Scrape the gills off of the mushrooms and cut off the stems, if there are any. Preheat the oven to 375, drizzle the mushrooms with oil, and bake them for 10 minutes while you prep the filling. Finely dice the onions and garlic and saute in a large wok-ish pan oil until translucent and aromatic. Add the spinach and reduce heat to low. Once the spinach wilts, add the bread crumbs, vinegar, salt, and pepper, then turn off the heat. Add the cheese and stir until just combined. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and spoon the mixture into the center of each mushroom. Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes.

 

 

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.

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.

Cranberry-Scallion Rice

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1.5 c uncooked rice (I used short-grain brown rice here)
3-4 scallions
1/2 to 2/3 c dried cranberries
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 c slivered almonds (optional)

Get that rice cookin! Once it’s done, slice the scallions, then mix all the ingredients together. When you’re mixing them, try to use slicing motions with a rice paddle. Rice gets sticky and mushy if you just stir it.

Spinach Quiche

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1 onion, diced finely
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained very, very well
1.5 TBSP French onion soup mix
2 TBSP flour
3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1 c shredded cheese (I like mozzarella, but any mild cheese would do)

1 whole wheat pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. You might want to use pie weights or poke some holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork so it doesn’t puff up. Saute the onion over medium heat with a little oil until translucent. Add the spinach (and seriously, make sure it’s pretty dry, or the whole deal will be watery) and soup mix, and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, add the flour, and mix well. Add the milk, then mix. Add the egg, then mix. (Don’t skip the mixing, or your hot filling will cook the eggs before they’re mixed in.) Add the cheese, then mix. Put the filling in the pie crust, then bake for 45 minutes. Let it cool at least 10 minutes before cutting in. Can be served, cold, room temperature, or hot.

Carrot and Squash “Pasta” and Meatballs

1 lb ground meat (I used a mix of beef, pork, and turkey)
1 egg
1/2 c breadcrumbs
spices and herbs (I used basil, thyme, oregano, garlic salt, Cayenne, and paprika, but use whatever you like or whatever goes with your sauce.)

1/2 lb carrots (thicker is better)
1/2 lb squash, zucchini, courgettes, etc.
1 cup Marinara sauce (or any kind of pasta sauce you like. Alfredo might be good with chicken meatballs.)

Mix the meat, egg, bread crumbs, and herbs with your hands (or in a food processor if you want to wash something extra and don’t like getting your hands covered in meat). Roll into bite-size or two-bite balls and let rest for 10 minutes or so. They hold together when frying that way. Heat half an inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, then cook the meatballs in batches. Don’t overcrowd or let the meatballs touch, or they’ll steam instead of fry. Cook for around 5 minutes, moving them around every so often so that all sides get browned. Let them cool on a rack covered with a paper towel.

Peel the veggies, then using a vegetable peeler, slice the veggies into thin strips. For the squash, stop when you get to the seeds, and for the carrots, keep going until it gets too thin to handle. Blanche/steam in a little bit of water until the carrots are soft and bendy like noodles. Add the pasta sauce, mix in the meatballs, and serve. Alternatively, just put the meatballs on top.
This is definitely a concept dish. I want to play around with what veggies I use. Squash kind of falls apart after too long. Carrots are a good choice, though. Onions sliced on a mandoline would probably be good, too. Either way, it’s got more substance and probably fewer carbs than pasta, so it’s a good way to sneak in healthy food.

Sautéed spinach and carrots with poached eggs

3-4 oz fresh spinach
1/2 c sliced carrots
balsamic vinegar and olive oil
2 fresh eggs*
salt, Cayenne to taste

Saute the carrots on medium heat with the oil and vinegar until they soften. Reduce heat to low, then add the spinach. Cover and let the veggies steam while you poach the eggs.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Feel free to add a little white vinegar, as it’s supposed to help the eggs stay together. I never do. Crack each egg into a small bowl. Once you’ve got a rolling boil, stir the water until it’s swirling like a whirlpool; this helps the egg stay together, too. Add each egg carefully and cook for 1:30 to 2 minutes, or until all the white is opaque. I like my poached eggs really soft and runny, so feel free to poach for longer, but not too much: the runny yolk on the veggies is crucial.

Put the veggies on a plate, then place the eggs on top. Top it all off with a sprinkle of salt and Cayenne. I love this, because it feels decadent, but it’s really pretty cheap and easy, if you can poach an egg, and you can. Don’t cheat and get one of those double boiler things like my mom used to have. They’re cute, and they make really nice soft-boiled eggs, but they don’t have the softness or richness of poached eggs.

*Fresh eggs hold together better than old eggs.

Chicken Fried Quinoa

1/2 c raw quinoa
1/2 red bell pepper, diced finely
2 green onions, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely, or a handful of shredded carrots
1 small chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized strips
soy sauce
salt, pepper, Cayenne

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove grit, leftover gross-tasting stuff*, etc. Add it and a cup of water to a pot, bring to a boil, give it a stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let it cook for around 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it stand until you’re ready to stir-fry. You can also cook it in a rice cooker on the white rice setting.

In the meantime, prep your veggies and chicken. Stir-fry the chicken in a little canola oil over med-hi heat. Once it’s cooked through, add the other veggies and cook until everything’s softened up a bit, about 5 minutes. Add in the quinoa, soy sauce, and spices. Keep stirring until everything’s incorporated and the quinoa has dried out a little bit. Serve immediately and pat yourself on the back for eating a superfood. This would probably be good with any stir-fryin’ veggies or proteins, and maybe some egg. Double or triple the recipe for a super-fast family meal.

*Quinoa has this stuff called saponin on it, which makes it taste bitter. Most of it gets washed off in processing, but just in case. Besides, it’s always a good idea to rinse grains, seeds, and beans, yeah?