Category Archives: Main Dishes

Quinoa, Mushroom and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

stuffed squash blog

Okay, I know that my previous post was a zucchini recipe, and here we are with yet another variation on summer squash. It’s kind of everywhere at the moment, and I couldn’t pass up these absolutely adorable little sunburst patty pan squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend.

I mean really, aren’t they the sweetest?

They’re remarkably delicious when stuffed as well. They make an awesome side dish, but could just as easily work as a meatless main course. Just prepare a few handy, fresh veggies in a skillet for a few minutes, add a grain, maybe some cheese, stuff and bake. It’s also a great way to use up bits of veggies that are in need of eating before they make a turn for the worse. That’s how this particular mix of veggies happened, anyway – and it was delicious!

Now typically, I would be showering you with all sorts of summer desserts. I’m sure I’ll manage a few here and there, but I’ve been directing my attention to something else entirely as of late. You see, I’m working on my very first ebook! In this book, I’m sharing some simple-but-delicious gum-free, gluten-free baked goods recipes. So if you’ve wanted an excellent go-to recipe for waffles, bread, muffins, or cake, I’m hoping this book will be your #1 reference!

I hope to have it out to you in August, so stay tuned for more information! I’ll be announcing details in my newsletter, so subscribe today if you haven’t already!

Okay, back to these adorable squash. Truthfully, you can use any vegetables in the stuffing mixture that your heart desires. Peas, green onion, red bell pepper, spinach – all would be great here. The key is to make sure they’re chopped finely and cooked beforehand (a few minutes in a skillet will do the trick). I loved the addition of cotija cheese in mine, but Parmesan or feta would be nice as well. It’s one of those “anything goes” recipes that I’m sure you’ll adore during the summer season.

Print Recipe

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

About 6 small patty pan squash

1 T olive oil (plus more for the insides of the squash)

2 T minced onion

2 oz crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used lacinato, but any variety will work)

1/3 c crumbled cotija cheese (omit for vegan)

2 T chopped fresh parsley

3/4 c cooked quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the squash to make a hat. Carefully score a circle inside the cut squash, and using a small spoon, scoop out the inside flesh. Leave about a half-inch inside. Rub the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add the garlic and kale and sauté for another minute or until the kale has wilted some and is bright green. Remove from heat and add the cheese, if using, parsley, and the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared squash, packing rather tightly. (You’ll likely have leftover stuffing; if so, it’s delicious on its own.) Place the “hat” back on top of each squash, and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish, 2 as a light meal.

Bison Albondigas Soup

albondigas blog

Spring in Texas is fun. One day, we have temps in the mid-90s. The next, it’s in the 60s, with lows in the upper 30s. It’s shorts one day, and the next, you’re dragging out a jacket again to keep off the morning chill. I suppose it could be worse – I know many of you received snow yet again this past week.

For those days when I have fresh vegetables in the garden already, and yet get a cold and rainy spell, this soup does the trick. It’s fresh and light, thanks to the herbs and green onion, but it’s also warming and filling. It’s a perfect bowl of spring, nourishing and healthy, and great for giving me much-needed energy to work in my garden. It’s also pretty kid-friendly. I mean, who doesn’t like meatballs?

Today is another day filled with rain, followed by a couple cooler days. While I’m sure it’ll be overly hot all too soon, I’m going to enjoy the cooler temps with a bowl of soup. Wouldn’t you?

Print Recipe

Bison Albondigas Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 lb ground bison or lean ground beef

1/3 c raw long-grain rice

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 T chopped green onion

1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 egg, beaten

1 t kosher salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 T ghee or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 1/2 c pureed tomato (can use fresh or canned)

3 c chicken stock (if you follow a gluten-free diet and purchase store-bought, be sure to read labels)

2 c peeled red potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice

1 c carrots, sliced about 1/2-inch thick

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, add the bison, rice, mint, green onion, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well with hands and form small meatballs, no larger than 1 inch. Place on a platter and stick in freezer for 10-15 minutes, just to firm up a bit.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the ghee or olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté again for another minute. Add the tomato and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Remove the meatballs from the freezer and add them, the potato, and the carrot and bring again to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with cilantro sprinkled over.

Serves 4.

Broccoli, Carrot and Lamb Stir-Fry

broccoli beef blog

Are you a big fan of the Chinese take-out staple Broccoli Beef? That simple, yet delicious mix of tender beef strips and broccoli, soaking up a subtly sweet-salty-umami sauce, served over steamed rice is a delicious and popular choice. Of course, if you must follow a gluten-free diet, Chinese take-out is no longer an option, as most of the recipes are made with regular soy sauce, which is made with wheat.

Did you know that it’s easy to make at home?

This version, as the title suggests, is made with lamb instead of beef, but beef could easily be substituted. (We had an abundance of lamb steaks in the freezer, and I was looking for unique ways to use them.) If you have venison steaks, I imagine they would be divine in a recipe such as this as well. I’m a fan of substitutions, in case you hadn’t guessed.

Anyway, back to Broccoli Beef. Or lamb. Whatever. Typically, Broccoli Beef has soy sauce, and possibly oyster sauce, both of which have wheat in the ingredient list. But what if you could make a sauce without gluten that’s just as simple, and just as delicious? You can! And the beauty of stir-fry is that it takes no time at all. After a quick chop of veggies, the actual cooking time is less than 5 minutes. How’s that for fast and easy?

My husband and I gobbled this up last night for dinner. And I happily took leftovers for lunch. (Although if I’m being honest, it was hard for either of us to leave any leftovers!) This is definitely going on the “keeper” list, not just because I have more lamb steaks to use, but most especially because it was so simple and delicious. In fact, I think I’ll add the other ingredients to the grocery list right now!

Print Recipe

Broccoli, Carrot and Lamb Stir-Fry (gluten-free, dairy-free)

For the marinade:

1 1/2 t gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J)

2 t tapioca starch

1/2 t sesame oil

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 lb thinly sliced lean lamb steak (or beef steak, such as skirt steak or sirloin)

Whisk together the soy sauce, tapioca starch, sesame oil, and ground black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the lamb steak and toss to coat well. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

 

For the stir-fry sauce:

2 T gluten-free fish sauce (almost all brands are gluten-free, but check the label. I like Thai Kitchen)

2 t rice wine

2 t balsamic vinegar

1 t gluten-free soy sauce

2 t agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup

Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
For the dish:

12 oz fresh broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 c thinly sliced carrots

1 T olive or coconut oil

1/2 t grated fresh ginger

2 T minced onion

1 T minced fresh garlic

In a large skillet or wok, add about an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and carrots, cover with a lid, and steam until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and set the vegetables aside.

Dry the skillet and return to the stove. Turn to medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 20-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the marinated lamb and spread out into a single layer and allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 30-45 seconds. Stir and cook another 30-45 seconds to brown well, and then add the stir-fry sauce. Bring the temperature down to low and toss the meat with the sauce, allowing it to simmer and thicken. (This should only take a minute.) Once the sauce is thick, add the carrots and broccoli and stir well to coat and warm the vegetables.

Serves 3.

 

 

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto”

veggie risotto blog

This past weekend was filled with a few more meals eaten out than usual. Meals of the slim-on-vegetables variety. While I enjoyed what I ate, I was ready for lighter fare. I opted to break out my brown rice, and load it up with all the fresh spring vegetables I could find. Which, after my Saturday trip to the farmer’s market, was quite a lot. I’m notorious for buying every pretty thing I see at the market, and then wondering how in the world I will manage to eat it all before it goes bad.

I don’t cook with brown rice all that often. I like it – especially short-grain – but frankly, I often feel like the 40-45 minute cook time is too long. Which is funny, because honestly, making dinner usually takes me at least that long, once you factor in the dishes I am doing beforehand (from our lunches taken to work) and all. If I simply throw the rice on the stove to cook first thing, then tend to the dishes and the rest of the prep for this dish, it honestly doesn’t take any “extra time” at all. Dinner still happened at “normal” time. It was well worth it.

I mean, check out that result. The brown rice is nutty and slightly chewy, and holds up perfectly to this “risotto” style dish. With a ton of vegetables, and just a splash of cream to tie it together, it’s light and flavorful, and fresh, and plenty filling enough to be considered a main dish if you choose. And while it does have some dairy, it’s easily made dairy-free and/or vegan with a few simple swaps.

So go ahead – go gangbusters at the farmer’s market! Throw caution to the wind! Grab all the fresh green veggies that catch your eye. Throw them all together in this risotto, and you’ll be sure they’ll be enjoyed, rather than ending up sad and forgotten in the crisper. You won’t be sorry.

Print Recipe

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto” (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

2 1/4 c stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 c short-grain brown rice

2 T butter or olive oil

4 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered (or cut into eighths if they are large)

1 green onion, minced

1 small head green garlic, minced (can use 2 cloves of regular garlic if you don’t have green garlic)

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/2 c white wine

8 oz asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

8 oz frozen peas, thawed

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used Red Russian, but you can use any variety)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T butter or olive oil

1 T cream (can use almond, soy, or coconut milk for vegan)

2-3 T shaved parmesan (omit for vegan)

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add butter/olive and allow to heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Add the green onion, garlic, and thyme leaves and sauté an additional minute or until fragrant. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated. Add the asparagus, peas, and kale and sauté for a minute or until the asparagus is bright green and heated through.

Add the rice and stir in, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the butter/olive oil and cream. Serve, topped with parmesan and fresh parsley.

Serves 4.

 

Oven-Baked Chicken Taquitos

baked chicken flautas

I’ve mentioned before that one of our go-to meals is a simple roasted chicken (spatchcocked) with a few simple vegetables on the side. Of course, it’s just the two of us most nights, and we generally have leftover chicken after this meal. Often I’ll throw it on top of a green salad for lunch or dinner the following day. Sometimes, however, a little creativity ekes out, and I come up with something different to make with my leftovers.

This time around, it was chicken taquitos.

Traditionally, taquitos are rolled corn tortillas filled with meat and/or cheese and deep-fried. While I do deep-fry on the rare occasion, it’s a bit of a mess and not something I’d like to tackle on a weeknight. These, however, are totally do-able, don’t make a huge mess, and are lighter to boot. You simply mix together shredded, cooked chicken, spices, and cheese (dairy-free if you prefer), and roll it up in tortillas. Place them on a baking sheet, spritz a little olive oil over, and bake. Whip up a big bowl of guacamole while they’re baking, and you’re set. (Guacamole totally counts as a vegetable, by the way, so it’s a well-balanced meal. Personally, I think I eat enough of it to count as two vegetable servings. Go me!)

They’re definitely kid-friendly to boot, as they’re a great finger food. You can even customize them to your liking. Have leftover beef or pork instead? Use it. Want more spice? Why not add more chili powder, or even a little cayenne? It’s totally up to you. I imagine even adding beans would be tasty. All I know is, this is a recipe we will use time and again. I hope you will too.

Print Recipe

Oven-Baked Chicken Taquitos (gluten-free, dairy-free option)

3-4 c shredded cooked chicken

1 t ground cumin

1 t ground chili powder

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t garlic powder

1/4 t onion powder

1 c shredded cheese (I prefer Monterey Jack or Cheddar) or non-dairy cheese (such as Daiya)

12-16 corn tortillas

Olive oil or cooking spray (I prefer using olive oil in my Misto)

Guacamole and salsa to serve

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, spices, and cheese.

Place the corn tortillas on a plate and cover with damp paper towels. Microwave for 30 seconds, and then rearrange the tortillas so that the bottom ones are on top, the top on bottom, the inside ones moved toward the outside of the stack, and so on. Heat again for 30 seconds, covered again with the damp paper towels. Continue this until they are warm but not hot. This will make the tortillas more pliable and less prone to cracking when you roll them.

Place 3-4 tablespoons of the chicken filling in the center of a tortilla and rill up tightly. Place seam-side-down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the tortillas with olive oil (or lightly brush on) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp.

Serve with guacamole and salsa.

Serves about 4.

 

 

Adventures in Curry-Making, or How to Make a Disaster of Your Kitchen

beef curry

So there I was, this past Monday night, with lofty goals of making a beef curry. I’d prepared the curry paste the day before to save time, and I grabbed my pressure cooker. The recipe I was using as a guideline (it’s rare that I actually follow a recipe – I tend to make a lot of changes along the way) suggested I would be braising my beef shanks for 2 1/2 hours. Since this was a weeknight, I figured a 45 minute stay in the pressure cooker would do the trick nicely.

And so it began. I browned the beef, and placed it in the pressure cooker along with a generous helping of coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, lemongrass, and cilantro. Things were smelling good, and I was salivating at the idea of such a flavorful curry that would be gracing our plates in about an hour. I get really excited about curries of all kinds. There is just something so wonderful about an intense mix of spices and flavors that, when simmered for a bit, they really get to know one another and emerge as more than the sum of their parts. It’s comforting and soul-satisfying, and it’s why I have several recipes hanging around this blog, such as this Kerala-style Curry or this Shrimp Cauliflower Curry. A good curry sends me to my happy place.

Well, my (older generation, super-simple) pressure cooker began to heat and spit some steam, so I lowered the temperature a bit. I then set to chopping cauliflower for a side dish in my “prep area” towards the right of the stove. About 10 minutes had passed, and that’s when it happened.

Suddenly, the pressure cooker exploded with a loud “BOOM”, and shot off to my left, across the floor. I squealed. And then just stared, motionless, at the disaster in front of me. My husband (who was in our living room), moments later, asks me. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I mutter, dumbfounded. So he asks again, worry in his voice. “Baby, are you okay?”

“Yes. I’m fine.” I say, rather flatly, given the situation. I was in a bit of shock. “It exploded.”

The mess was horrendous. There was coconut milk on every surface to the left of where I’d been standing – on the cabinets, on the counter, on the stove (on the burner, smoking a bit and turning black, thanks to the sugar), on the floor, on the walls, and even on the cabinets and the books on top of the cabinets on the opposite side of the kitchen from the stove. The smell of fish sauce permeated the air. By some miracle, I had none on me at all. Later on, I would realize that I was rather lucky. That pressure cooker could have flown in my direction and bruised or burned me, or worse.

I quickly picked up the pressure cooker and set it back on the stove, with the beef and about half of the sauce still inside. My husband joined me, and we started cleaning. It was about then that I started to realize just how absurd the whole fiasco was. I laughed at it. Laughed at the coconut milk under the cabinets, laughed at how disgusting the floor was, giggled at the cilantro stuck to the wall inside my combination laundry room/pantry at the end of our kitchen (a good 12 feet away, at least), and joked about how we’d be finding this mess for months. Any other night, an event of this magnitude might have brought me to tears, but in that moment, it was pretty darn funny, and laughing was all I could do. It took us about an hour to get the kitchen back to some semblance of order. I mopped twice, and came back home the following day to mop again so I could get rid of the film left by the coconut milk.

Needless to say, we didn’t have curry that night.

However, I did manage to salvage that beef and remaining sauce. I stuck it in my smaller, 4-quart slow cooker and stuck it in the fridge. In spite of all that happened, I still wanted curry. Also, I detest throwing away food. So the following night, I asked my husband to take the slow cooker out of the fridge and turn it on high for a few hours when he got home. (He’s typically home an hour or two before I arrive.) I was going to resume this curry-making, for better or worse.

Thankfully, it was worth the trouble. Well, maybe not worth the trouble of the whole pressure-cooker-explosion thing, but it was worth salvaging the meat for another night. The slow cooker finished the braising job beautifully, and with a relatively quick finish in my skillet, we had a deliciously spicy, silky beef curry. There are a few things I’d do differently, if I was to make this again (and I’ll share those notes in the recipe below), but we were both more than satisfied, with happy, full bellies and that sense of calmness and peace that accompanies a good curry. It was a tad salty (even though I reduced the fish sauce), and of course, due to the explosion factor, the amount of liquids actually used in the cooking process are approximated. So this is definitely not a perfected recipe at this point, but I felt I had to share with you, if for the story alone! But all in all, it was worthy of seconds by my husband, so I declare it a winner.

Now, the next question is: Does anyone have a good (safe) pressure cooker recommendation? One requirement – it must not explode.

Print Recipe

Spicy Beef Curry, adapted from Bon Appetit - this is what I did, but I am giving you notes to adjust for better flavor next time.

Spice Mix:

3 whole cloves

1 1/2 t coriander seeds

1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

1 t cumin seeds

seeds from 2 green cardamom pods

1 t kosher salt (I would probably use 1/2 t next time)

1/4 t ground cayenne (I would reduce this to 1/8 teaspoon or omit, as the resulting curry was plenty spicy!)

Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Add cold water to cover, then drain. Place spices in large wok or skillet. Dry-roast over medium heat until dry and fragrant, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to spice grinder. Add salt and cayenne; grind to fine powder.

Curry Paste:

10 small chiles de arbol, stemmed

about 25 cilantro stems

1 c chopped yellow onion

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 piece of ginger (about 1 1/2 inches long), thinly sliced

1 1/2 T grated lemongrass

Place chiles in small saucepan; add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Combine cilantro stems, onion, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in large skillet. Add 3/4 cup water. Cover skillet and cook until ginger is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Scrape vegetable mixture into a small food processor. Add drained red chiles. Blend, adding enough reserved chile soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls to form smooth paste. Stir in spice mix. If you are making this the day before, transfer to bowl, cover, and chill.

For the beef:

3 T coconut oil, divided

2 1/2 lbs cross-cut beef shanks (each about 1 1/2-2 inches thick)

2 cans coconut milk (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

2 cups beef or chicken stock (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

About 25 cilantro stems

3/4 c fish sauce (I would use 1/2 cup and increase the stock next time – or if using a slow cooker, I’d use 1/4 cup)

1/3 c coconut palm sugar (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

1 1/2 T grated lemongrass (if using a slow cooker, I’d reduce this by half)

1/4 c fresh orange juice

1/4 c chopped roasted cashews

1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large skillet (if transferring to slow cooker) or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the beef with salt and pepper. Brown the beef, searing until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer beef to plate. Add the coconut milk, cilantro, fish sauce, coconut palm sugar, and lemongrass into the slow cooker or Dutch oven. If using a slow cooker, add the beef and turn on high for about 3-3 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender and pulling away from the bone. If using a Dutch oven, bring the liquids to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add the beef. Cover and allow to simmer for about 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender and pulling away from the bone.

Transfer beef to a plate to cool. Strain braising liquid using a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl and set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in the Dutch oven or a large skillet over medium heat. Add the curry paste. Stir until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved braising liquid and bring to a boil. Add the orange juice and beef. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is silky and clinging to the beef. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve beef curry with steamed long-grain rice, such as Basmati, garnished with chopped cashews and cilantro.

Serves 6.

    Sriracha-Curry Hot Wings

    Sriracha curry hot wings

    Looking for a fun appetizer for the “Big Game” this coming weekend?

    Honestly, I’m not even sure how of the Superbowl much my hubby and I will be watching. It’ll be on, certainly, as we don’t mind watching the Broncos, but we will always be Dallas Cowboys fans first and foremost; even though they’ve pretty much stunk up the place for many years now. Also, we are old and require an early bedtime. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have good munchies.

    Even if you’re not a football fan, these wings will certainly be something to celebrate. They’re easy (no frying required), and they pack a punch of spicy flavor, thanks to Madras curry powder and Sriracha. While I may not have announced it often here, I have to confess: I am a huge fan of all things Sriracha. It’s a delicious, spicy-but-not-too-spicy condiment. When you have something that needs just a little oomph, Sriracha can be just that “thing.” I enjoy it especially on fried rice and eggs, but honestly, it’s excellent on just about anything. These wings are another such place where it compliments the curry flavor perfectly without overwhelming it. They’re complex in flavor, but easy to make and eat. Best of all, they’re finger food, and what better for a party than finger food?

    What do you like to serve at a Superbowl party?

    Print Recipe

    Sriracha-Curry Hot Wings (gluten-free, dairy-free)

    3 lbs chicken wings, drummettes and flats separated (save wing tips for chicken stock)

    2 t Madras curry powder

    2 t ground coriander

    1/4 t cayenne powder

    1 1/2 t kosher salt

    1/3 c canned full-fat coconut milk

    1 T Sriracha

    1/2 t honey

    1 t gluten-free soy sauce

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top of the foil.

    In a large bowl, add the wings. In a small bowl, mix together the curry powder, coriander, cayenne, and salt. Add to the wings and toss well, ensuring each wing is well-seasoned.

    Place wings in a single layer on top of the rack, ensuring none touch. Bake on center rack in oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, Sriracha, honey, and soy sauce. When wings are done baking, toss them in the sauce to coat.

    Serves 4-6.

     

     

     

    Fish Tacos with Southwestern Cabbage Slaw

    fish tacos

    I casually mentioned on Facebook the other day about a “foodie” related resolution I was making for this year – getting more comfortable with cooking seafood. You see, living in landlocked Dallas means seafood is often more expensive, meaning I have historically tended towards land animals for our protein sources. But not all of seafood is prohibitively expensive. There’s some reasonably-priced seafood around, especially the varieties local to the Gulf coast. There are also reasonably priced wild-caught options that are flash frozen. It’s not always optimal, but I can still make some good dishes with frozen seafood.

    So therefore, I am making it my mission to learn to cook many more seafood varieties over the next year. I’ll be attempting to make something at least once a week. They might not always show up here, but I’ll definitely share if there are winners! One such winner? These super-easy fish tacos.

    I found some flash-frozen wild-caught cod on sale. While this kind of purchase isn’t usually excellent for a dish where the fillet needs to be beautiful, they’re perfect for tacos, where the shape and size of the fish isn’t all that important. And with a bit of seasoning, a quick visit in the cast iron skillet, and topped with a simple cabbage slaw, these tacos make for a healthy, easy dinner. The cod, pan-fried in coconut oil, has pleasing little crispy edges that compliment the crunchy, slightly spicy slaw. Corn tortillas make the perfect delivery vehicle, and are a simple, naturally gluten-free option. From start to finish, these tacos can be ready in 30 minutes or less. Best part? They definitely won the husband “seal of approval”. There were no leftovers.

    Also, I’ve made my first “how-to” video, just for you! In an attempt to hopefully give you more insight into the goings-on of my kitchen (and to demonstrate just how easy this recipe truly is), I’m sharing with you some instructions on how to make the slaw for these tacos. I hope you’ll agree that once you see just how little time it takes to whip up, you’ll be sure to add it to your menu. I hope to provide even more simple videos in the future. Stay tuned!

    Without further adieu, here’s the video.

    And the written recipe!

    Print Recipe

    Fish Tacos with Southwestern Cabbage Slaw (gluten-free, dairy-free)

    1 lb cod fillets

    1 t kosher salt

    1/2 t each chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder

    2-3 T coconut oil

    8 corn tortillas, warmed (I like to toast them in a dry skillet)

    Sour cream (dairy-free or regular) and/or avocados, if desired, for topping

    Southwestern Cabbage Slaw, recipe below

    Pat the cod fillets very dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the salt and spices. Season the cod fillets with the spice blend.

    In a cast iron skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the cod fillets, 2-3 minutes per side, until browned and crispy on the edges and cooked through. Remove and allow to sit on a paper towel-lined plate.

    To make tacos, break apart fillets into a few pieces and place pieces in each corn tortilla. Top with sour cream or avocado if desired. Top with cabbage slaw and serve.

    Serves 2-3.

    simple slaw

    Southwestern Cabbage Slaw (gluten-free, vegan)

    2 c shredded or thinly sliced cabbage

    1 large carrot, peeled and julienned (I like to use my julienne peeler for ease)

    5 green onions, sliced thinly

    3 T chopped fresh cilantro

    1 T finely chopped jalapeno

    1 T lemon juice

    1 T olive oil

    Salt and pepper to taste

    In a large bowl, add the cabbage, carrot, green onions, and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together the chopped jalapeno, lemon juice, olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour this dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve or use for fish tacos.

     

     

    Arroz Con Pollo

    arroz con pollo

    Somehow, it seems that I never managed to make arroz con pollo. It just never appeared on the “to do” list. Obviously, this was a terrible oversight on my part. Now that I’ve made it, I’m not quite sure how I got by without it all these years.

    I realized that I’d made this oversight this past week, (Okay, so I was watching Top Chef and one of the chefs made Spanish arroz con pollo. Top Chef is one of my guilty pleasures.) and started to research recipes. I looked at Spanish versions, Cuban versions, and all sorts of other variations. Some recipes called for a ton of peppers, some, none at all. Some called for long grain rice, others, short-grain. Some used saffron, some annatto, and some turmeric. A few versions called for olives, and I even came across a recipe that used beer. After my research, I then decided to compile snippets of each recipe and make my own. It leans towards Cuban, but I won’t attest to its authenticity, as I’m not Cuban and have not had the pleasure of enjoying any Cuban food other than what has come out of my own kitchen. (Someone should really help me rectify this…are there any good Cuban restaurants in Dallas? Can someone fly me somewhere where there are good Cuban restaurants, please?) But regardless of origin, it was a hit with my husband and me. We ate until our bellies were full, enamored by the flavorful, slightly sticky Valencia rice with its aroma of saffron and tomato. The chicken was tender and echoed the same flavors as the rice. The jarred roasted red peppers added a perfect piquant punch that complemented the creamy, sticky rice.

    Comfort food at its finest. We’ll be having this again, I promise!

    Print Recipe

    Arroz con Pollo (gluten-free, dairy-free)

    1 3-4 lb chicken, cut into 8 parts

    1 t dried oregano

    1 t ground cumin

    1/2 t black pepper

    3/4 t kosher salt

    1 T red wine vinegar

    2 T olive or coconut oil

    1 c finely chopped onion

    1/2 c red bell pepper, diced

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    1/2 c tomato puree

    1 c white wine

    3 c chicken stock

    1/4 t saffron threads

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    1 lb Valencia or other short-grain rice (Arborio is an acceptable substitute)

    1 c frozen green peas, thawed

    Jarred roasted red peppers, for garnish (optional)

    Blot the chicken dry with paper towels. Toss the chicken in a large bowl with the oregano, cumin, pepper, salt, and red wine vinegar. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

    Heat the oil to medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or other casserole dish. Brown chicken pieces all over, 2-3 minutes per side. (I did this in batches) Set chicken aside on a platter.

    Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the remaining oil in the Dutch oven, and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for another minute. Add back the chicken, wine, chicken stock, and saffron. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, place the rice in a fine-meshed strainer and rinse until water runs clear. Drain. When the chicken has simmered for 25 minutes, add the rice and stir in. Bring to a boil again and reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. (If you peek in on it and it seems too dry, you can add a bit of water and stir.) When it’s just about finished, stir in the peas.

    Garnish with roasted red peppers and serve.

    Serves 4-6.

     

    Review: Ronzoni Gluten-Free Pasta (Recipe for Southwestern Penne Pasta Salad)

    pasta salad

    This post is sponsored by Ronzoni and written by me. All opinions are 100% mine.

    How often do you purchase gluten-free pasta? I buy it every once in a while, but when Ronzoni contacted me about their gluten-free pasta, I’ll be honest: I was unaware that they offered it. However, I was keenly interested in learning more. After all, there are quite a few gluten-free pastas on the market that are incredibly finicky and often turn to mush at a moment’s notice. I’m always a fan of discovering a pasta that can cook up nicely, retain a good bite, and not turn to mush if I blink and leave it in the water for 10 seconds too long.

    If you’re familiar with Ronzoni, you’ll know they also make regular “gluten-full” pasta. I asked them about cross-contamination, and here’s what they had to say:

    “Ronzoni Gluten Free™ Pasta is also produced in a dedicated gluten free facility. When the ingredients arrive at the facility, they are verified to be gluten free and then each step in the manufacturing process is strongly controlled in order to protect the product from gluten contamination.”

    Good to hear, Ronzoni!

    So once the pasta arrived, I got to work preparing this lovely pasta salad recipe they shared with me. Cooking the pasta was a breeze – I just followed the instructions and it was the perfect texture. And while I’m not generally a pasta salad fan, I have to say, this pasta made a really nice salad. It was delicious at room temperature and served chilled. I brought it to my co-workers the following day and got several compliments on it! (The only person that knew it was gluten-free pasta was someone who has celiac disease.) It obviously passed the taste test of gluten-eaters, which is a good sign.

    I’m definitely a fan of Ronzoni. I’ll be checking for it the next time I’m at the store looking for pasta (this weekend, in fact!).

    Print Recipe

    Southwestern Penne Pasta Salad, recipe courtesy of Ronzoni (gluten-free, dairy-free)

    1 pkg Ronzoni Gluten Free Penne

    1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

    1 cup thawed frozen corn

    1 each large red and orange pepper, diced

    3 green onions, sliced

    1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

    1/3 cup canola oil (I used olive)

    1/4 cup lime juice

    1 tbsp honey

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 tsp each finely grated lime zest, ground cumin, and chili powder

    1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

    1 avocado, diced (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Cook Ronzoni Gluten Free Penne according to package directions. Rinse under cold running water until cool; drain.

    2. Toss penne with black beans, corn, red and orange pepper, green onions and coriander.

    3. Whisk canola oil with lime juice, honey, garlic, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper until combined. Toss with the penne mixture. Stir in the avocado (if using) just before serving.

    4. May be served warm or chilled. To serve chilled: refrigerate for 20 minutes.

    Want more information about Ronzoni’s gluten-free pastas and recipes? Visit http://www.ronzoniglutenfree.com/ for additional product information and recipes!