Monday, June 11, 2018

Whole30 Pork Fried "Rice"

What have I done to myself!  I am currently on Round 1 Day 8 of Whole30.  Which is basically a whole foods, no sugar or substitutes, no dairy, no legumes, no grains diet.  I've heard very similar to Keto and Paleo (although Paleo allows honey and natural sugars).

After dabbling for years in Trim Healthy Mama (which is still a great plan - just got to the point where there was so much special stuff you had to buy to keep going, made it harder to progress for me.  Again, a GREAT plan, and I love the heart of the ladies, so I'm not dogging THM), Whole30 came up a lot in recipe searches, since there are SOME similar principles.  I realized, though, that the alternative sweeteners allowed on plan were messing with my allergic responses, and my fibromyalgia.  Enter Whole30.  Granted, there are STILL special ingredients to buy (have you EVER tried to look for a ketchup with no sugar?  Or a mayo with out canola oil??).

So far, my husband and my youngest daughter are joining me on this journey, and I can see at Day 8, that there will be things I will do regardless of whether or not I'm on a round.

Food prep is a KILLER, I'm NOT gonna lie.  Thankfully, I do love to cook, and have been used to a bulk prep day for a long time (thanks to THM).  And I've been enjoying trying new recipes and creating new ones, too.  That brings us to today.  Yesterday on the Whole30 Beginner's Facebook group there was a lengthly discussion about what you can order at a Chinese Restaurant (which is, basically, nothing...sorry).  Of course, this made me crave Chinese food.  I'd been marinating some pork chops in Coconut Aminos and Sesame Seed Oil over the weekend planning on making Egg Roll in a Bowl (a THM recipe that translate nicely to Whole30 with a few minor adjustments like cooking oil used and using Coconut Aminos vs. Soy or Tamari Sauce).  Having marinated over the weekend I HAD to use it today.  So I decided to try Pork Fried Rice.  I'm so glad I did.  I hope you try it and you like it.

Whole30 Pork Fried Rice

3/4 - 1 lb Boneless Pork Chops, cut into cubes
1 12 oz Bag Green Giant Riced Cauliflower & Sweet Potato (the one with no sauces added, defrosted)*
1 clove Garlic
3 Tbs plus 2 Tbs Coconut Aminos (some for marinade, some for cooking)
2 Tbs. Sesame Oil (I prefer Dark - again, some for marinade, some for cooking)
Avocado Oil OR Olive Oil for stir frying
1 egg, beaten well
1 diced scallion

Place pork cubes, 2 Tbs Coconut Aminos, and 1 Tbs Sesame Oil into a baggie big enough (I was able to use a quart sized freezer bag)** Let marinade at least 4 hours or overnight is even better.

After marinading, heat wok (or skillet) on medium high heat.  Add about 2 or 3 tbs of Avocado or Olive Oil and 1 Tbs Sesame Oil. Add garlic clove (whole, peeled) to oil while it is heating up and slightly fry the clove - flipping - be very careful not to burn, burned garlic is YUCKY!.  Remove the clove when it is lightly browned/fried on all sides.  Set aside, you will be adding this back later.

Add pork cubes and marinade to the hot pan and cook until just about done.  Add the defrosted Cauliflower Rice blend and continue to stir fry.  After about 5 minutes, add 3 Tbs. of the Coconut Aminos.  Stir around and create an empty spot on the pan to cook the egg...allow it to COOK before trying to scramble it and stir into the rice/pork mixture.  (otherwise you end up with a creamy like sauce and not pieces of egg).  Dice the garlic that has been set aside and stir in when you stir in the egg.

After everything is done cooking all together turn off the heat.  Sprinkle top with scallions and stir them in.  Feel free to top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you desire!



*You can use any of the riced cauliflower you'd like just make sure that it has no added sauces or flavorings that are non-compliant.

**You could very easily prep this ahead of time and place in the freezer, I plan on doing this next time I get a bunch of pork chops, just set aside some in the marinade before freezing so that it can marinade while defrosting and make prep even that much easier.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Flautas De Casa

Flautas.  Taquitos.  Whatever you want to call them, I’ve had a serious craving for them lately.  As you know, being gluten-free presents it’s fair share of challenges eating out.  Shared fryers being one of them.  There is an AMAZING, and very authentic, Mexican restaurant near us that makes the most incredible food.  I’ve eaten there often and rarely have a reaction.  Well, as long as I avoid the fried foods due to the shared fryer.  :(  Since I’m gluten sensitive and not Celiac, I had often thrown caution to the wind and had them anyway.  A while ago, I had such a significant reaction (likely the oil hadn’t been changed in a while, I guess) the It decided that I’d not eat fried foods there again. 

But, alas.  What to do about my flautas!  I love flautas.  Rolled, crispy tacos, fried to a deep golden crispy goodness, oozing with cheese and chicken and sauces and….uh oh, I just drooled on my keyboard.  Sorry…I need to clean that up before I continue.

When the craving got too strong one day, and I had a ton of shredded chicken left (if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you really need to get one for dishes like this…makes cooking chicken so it shreds beautifully!).  I thought to myself “How hard can it really be???”.  Little did I know that that this would set in motion a month long quest of creating the perfect flauta.  I do confess that they are not as good as my local Mexican restaurant, but I’m also not a a 4’9” 67 year old Guatamalan/Peruvian grandmother who’s been making tortillas since she was able to walk, so, there’s that.

I’ve finally gotten a blend that’s close enough for me.  And you can adjust to your own liking and spice level with the ingredients.  Also, this recipe will make approximatetly 12 flautas.  You will double or triple if it’s not just for a snack.  (case and point, I made a dozen last night thinking I’d have leftovers for breakfast.  To my dismay, they all got eaten by wondering snackers!).

Another note about the recipe, it takes a few tries to get into the flow.  You need to warm up your tortillas before rolling the filling in and place it right into the hot oil.  I’ve gotten into a rhythm.  Give yourself a chance.  My microwave is right next to my stove, so it’s easy.  If yours isn’t close by the stove, you can heat up your tortillas first but cover them with a moist towel to keep warm and pliable.  

Flautas De Casa

1 1/2 cups shredded chicken (if you have grilled or baked chicken, shred in a food processor)*
1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 - 3/4 Cup Salsa (choose heat level that you like)
12 GF Corn Tortilla (please check labels, not all corn tortillas are truly GF)
Oil for frying

Heat 1/2” of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat until glossy and hot. 

In a medium bowl, mixed shredded chicken, cheese and 1/2 cup of salsa.  Mix well.  It needs to be wet enough to be “molded” so add the extra 1/4 cup salsa if it’s not.  Kind of like pie crust, if you squeeze it and it keeps it’s shape before crumbling at the edges, you’re good. 

Warm your tortilla (I do 10 seconds).  Lay the tortilla straight in front of you, and put a line of about 2 Tbs of filling close to the edge of the tortilla (about an inch from the edge).  Pat into a line and roll the tortilla starting at that closest edge.  Place the rolled tortilla into the oil SEAM SIDE DOWN.  

Continue with two more tortillas.  

Place in the oil immediately after rolling as they dry out and crack if you wait too long!  Alternately, if you roll them and keep them between two warm towels you cAN roll them all at once and fry them in batches of three.  I’ve tried this with some moderate success). 

Flip the tortillas after 3 or 4 minutes, once the seam side is golden brown and “sealed”.  Fry for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and salt them as soon as they come out of the oil.

These are perfect served with normal taco accoutrements: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, shredded lettuce, etc. 


*you could also use shredded carnitas or ground beef meat, just make sure it's cooled so it doesn't melt the cheese.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I'm baaaaaaaack!

Life is actually slowing down.  Oldest is off at school (well, Conservatory), and I'm only homeschooling two now.  My 11th grader will be dual-crediting at a local community college next fall and I will only have ONE that I'm responsible for!  WOW.

This, combined with kids changing preferences in activities has given me a little bit more free time to cook and experiment with new recipes.

I hope to at least post twice a week with some new recipes and even some new product reviews.

Gluten-free life is so much easier nowadays!  So many new products and they are GREAT products out there.

Stay TUNED!!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Zucchini Ravioli


It's been almost a year since I've posted a new recipe.  Really, a YEAR?!  I'd like to say that I've been having a lot of good fun, traveling the world, started a new job, whatever....but honestly, life happened.  School started.  My kids got busy, and therefore, I got busy, and so...not only did I not have time cook, but I really had very little time to do anything.

This year has had ups and downs. Laughs and tears. And here I am a year older, renewing my joy and heading back into the kitchen.

If you're on Facebook, you know all about the new food videos that float all over, every day I drool on my keyboard due to the culinary treasures that appear before my eyes. One has planted itself in my brain, and would not be gone until I made it for myself.  Zucchini Ravioli. You've seen the video.  You've drooled on YOUR keyboard, too. I know you have. Don't even bother lying to me.

As I began prepping meals to freeze for our vacation, I decided, I must try this concoction. I've made lasagna before, using zucchini as noodles, but never tried to use the zucchini as a wrapper. I investigated several different recipes and decided to make a conglomeration of them and make my own. This is what I came up with, I submit for your approval.

Zucchini Ravioli

2 large zucchini squash
1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta, or the equivalent of homemade ricotta
10 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1/2 Cup shredded parmesan, divided
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
28 oz of your favorite pasta sauce (I like to use Pepino!)

Using a mandoline, slice zucchini into very thin strips.  Lay in single layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, spinach, 1/4 Cup of parmesan, 1/2 Cup mozzarella, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Mix well.

Prepare a 13 X 9" casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray and pouring about half the jar of pasta sauce in the bottom, spread to coat.

Lay two strips of zucchini down, in a cross pattern (one section will be shorter than the other).  Place a scoop of the zucchini mixture where the two strips of zucchini overlap.  Fold in shortest ends, and roll the rest of the way to create a little "square" package.  Place in prepared pan in a single layer.

Continue to make bundles until the pan is full.  Pour the rest of the sauce overtop the "raviolis".  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese overtop.  Cover pan with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes - remove foil for the last five minutes.

Once removed from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Philly Steak Stroganoff

Well, it's been a while.  It's been summer, what can I say?  Between trying to soak up as much time at the pool, and still managing all of our summer activities, it's been quite a flurry of crazy in our house. It's hard for me to believe that we've already completed our first week of school for the new year, and we are embarking on our second.  My kids are real troopers, though, and are working hard to get done each day early enough to still hit the pool and make it to our evening activities.

I'm trying to recommit to my Trim Healthy Mama ways.  It's a great plan, but I've been a BAAAD BAAAD girl all summer, and my waistline has shown me just how bad.  I weighed myself this morning and I was horrified!

Well...they say to begin with "S" days, or "Satisfying" Days.  Well, let me just tell you, my dinner was definitely SATISFYING!

Philly Steak Stroganoff
1 1/2 - 2 lbs THIN sliced sirloin beef (I used the steak slices in our meat section NOT STEAKUMM!), cut into thin strips
10 oz Cremini Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
Small Onion, diced
Small Green Pepper, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
2 Tsp Herb-Ox Beef Granules (not an on plan ingredient!  You can use beef broth, but changes consistency)
1/2 Cup dry red wine (not a sweet wine, I used a Shiraz/Malbec blend)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

In a large wok heat about a tbs of olive oil on medium heat, sauté onions and peppers, after 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Continue to cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have cooked down.  Add beef granules and red wine.  Cook until the wine is reduced down by at least half.  Place veggie mixture in a bowl, return pan to medium heat.

Once pan has reheated, add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add beef and sautè until no longer pink.  Add garlic.  Cook until the beef is cooked through and any liquid that formed has cooked off.

Add veggies (and the juice from sitting!) back into the pan with the beef and garlic.  Add heavy cream.  Stir around the pan and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes at a good simmer.

I served this over Zoodles (well, spiralized Zucchini noodles that I lightly sautéd in a hot pan with a scant tsp of olive oil).  Only cook them for a very short amount of time, you want them to be a bit soft but still have texture.

I'm very satisfied over here!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cappello's Gluten Free Pasta - A Review

I know, I know, where have I been, why haven't I been cooking?  I have been, just not much new, etc. Been doing a lot of Trim Healthy Mama recipes that are not my own.  Occasionally, I break from my diet and do something uncharacteristically decadent and naughty!  (For my THM friends, these should ONLY be used in an E setting, not an S setting at all!  LOL :) )

A while back, I read in a magazine about a new product line that specialized in fresh pasta.  Capello's.  There is Lasagna Sheets, Gnocchi and Fettuccini. Luckily, I live near a Wegman's and was able to purchase them fairly easily and not have to order them online.  They were very pricey, in store they were $8.99 - which to my amazement is cheaper than they are online!  And definitely not something I'm going to use on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis, maybe even not on a monthly basis.  An occasional treat, yep, sure will.

I made a lasagna for my husband and son, two of the pasta lovers in my house.  I believe my son eats some sort of pasta every day. I did the normal meat sauce/ricotta/mozzarella layering with the sheets and baked.  They were delicious, not gummy and wonderful.  I was able to make two regular lasagnas in bread pans.  I also had enough to make a vegetable lasagna in a bread pan.  This leads me to conclude that you'd be able to do a 9 X 13 pan fairly easily.  I also had a few small segments of sheets left that I used to make a few cannolini's out of with some left over vegetable filling.

All, very, very delicious.  I definitely recommend highly!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Black Bean Chili (THM E)

The weather in PA has been confusing to say the least.  Of course, this is rather normal around here.  One day it's hot, the next freezing.  And potholes are totally in bloom OUCH!  Our schedules are actually busier than normal and it's getting crazy.  Usually by Spring I'm ready to put away the crockpot and move on with fun spring menus.  This year, not so much.  Continuing to rely on the crockpot as I'm often out of the house during normal "dinner prep" hours...running kids to their evening activities.

Yesterday, I combined my recipe for black beans with some extra seasonings and some chicken and it turned out to be a very delicious black bean chili.  Will comment, I added ONE CUP of frozen organic non-gmo sweet corn.  I do corn is SERIOUS moderation, as in, 1 meal every couple of months as it's not purely on THM plan.  For the non-THMer, feel free to add more if you see fit.  Also, I love Tastefully Simple products, Onion Onion, Garlic Garlic and Seasoned Salt are my go-to products.  Worth every penny.  I'm listing in the recipe just as dried minced onion/garlic and seasoned salt, but do yourselves a favor and check into Tastefully Simple, you won't regret it!

Black Bean Chili (THM E)
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken breast*
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast - cubed*
2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Cup frozen corn
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 - 2 Tbs Ground Cumin (to your preference)
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (or to your heat preference)
Salt to taste

*you can use all ground chicken (increase to 2 lbs) or use 2 lbs of cubed boneless skinless chicken breast

Layer all ingredients into a 5 to 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours - adjust seasonings to your preference.

I liked served with 0% greek yogurt and a tiny sprinkling of 2% Cheese (small enough that you remain in an E setting).