Friday, October 13, 2017

Dishes for a Crowd~What's for Dinner Weekend Addition

Hello friends, and happy Friday!  It's a bit overcast at the moment here, and the temperatures have cooled off a bit.  I'll take it.

Today I thought I'd share two new to us recipes that will feed a hungry crowd.  And if not feeding a crowd, great for leftovers so you don't need to think about lunch the next day.

The first is a hearty fall soup made in the crockpot. Super simple.  While I say soup, it really is more like a chili in consistency.  Very filling.

Homemade Minestrone Soup (Slow Cooker)




Ingredients:

2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 TBS tomato paste
1/4 C sun-dried tomato pesto (we used Stonewall Kitchen brand-it does contain a small amount of dairy, so omit for those with true dairy allergy, ours are sensitivities)
1 parmesan rind (again, omit for dairy allergy, we did not include)
4 Cups vegetable stock (gluten free)
2 Cups water
1 C carrots, diced
1 1/4 C celery, diced
1 1/2 C white onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 sprig rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (15oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we omitted and just double the northern beans due to food sensitivities)
1 can (15oz) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups tubular pasta (we used gluten free elbow noodles we had on hand)
1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
2 1/2 cups baby spinach, chopped
Finely shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving (omit for dairy free, or use vegan)

Directions:

1. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato pesto, parmesan rind, vegetable stock, water, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves to a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook on low heat 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

2. Add in red kidney beans, great northern beans, zucchini, and pasta and cook on high for an additional 20-25 minutes until pasta is tender. Stir in the spinach and green beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes until heated through.  Serve warm topped with the parmesan cheese and garlic toast (optional).

The original recipe can be found here.

This next recipe is also a crowd pleaser, and kid friendly too.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake



Ingredients:

12 ounces Penne Ziti (or any pasta shape) *we used Tinkyada gluten free penne
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 chicken breasts) *we used a rotisserie chicken
1 (25 oz) jar Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce (brand of choice)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese *we used So Delicious brand dairy free
1/3 C freshly-grated Parmesan cheese *we used Go Veggie brand vegan
1/4 C packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of generously salted water, boiling according to package instructions. Drain and return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and tomato sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.

3. Pour half of the pasta into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup mozzarella cheese, half the Parmesan cheese and half of the basil.  Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and sprinkle immediately with the remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve warm.

Original recipe can be found here.

I get asked a lot about how I go about meal planning for the week.  I am working on putting together a post(s) where I will share how I find new recipes to try alongside some old favorites, rotating proteins, grocery shopping (creating a list) and stocking a pantry. I will also try to share some of our favorite gluten free and dairy free brands and products with you.

It's not something that magically happens over night.  It takes time, planning and a whole lot of trial and error. 

Have a Blessed Weekend Friends!!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Shrimp Pad Thai and a new cookbook, The Organic Heart~

Hello friends!

First, thank you again to all who have emailed, left sweet comments here or on my Insta feed regarding our sweet pup who recently had emergency surgery. I am happy to report he is on the mend and doing remarkably well.  Even his surgeon was a bit surprised by how well he is doing given the extent of the surgery. And, if you are in the Atlanta area or a bit further north (Gainesville area) and ever find yourself in need of someone in a pet emergency, please reach out to me.  Dr. Brown and his staff are excellent, but more importantly compassionate toward both the pet and the pet's owners. We are so grateful to the entire team.

I shared a picture of this recipe on Instagram over a week ago, and had promised to post it here prior to all that took place with our pup.  It is too good not to share, and it comes from a new to us cookbook that I know we will love and enjoy for many months to come.

The recipe comes from Breeana Pooler's new cookbook, The Organic Heart, a Gluten- Free, Dairy-Free, Clean Food Cookbook.  I love the story behind the creation of the cookbook. 



At age 26 (yes just 26), Breeana's husband Jason was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with severe heart failure.  Following his diagnosis, Breeana set out to regain his health. She succeeded in doing so by completely changing their diets.  Yes, their diets!  I know y'all have heard the old saying, "you are what you eat."  I personally think there is so much truth to it.  After a year, her precious husband not only did NOT need a heart transplant, but was healthier than he had ever been in his entire life.

You can follow Breeana on Instagram @the_organic_heart and her food blog.

Most of you know that while we have been gluten free for quite some time now, the dairy free came in to play a year ago. 

When we mention to people that we are gluten, dairy, soy and mostly nut free (among other food sensitivities that vary by family member), the usual response is, "What DO y'all eat".  Then when they start following along on either the blog or my Instagram account, I get "Would you come cook for me?" LOL  While we are eating healthier than ever before, we are also enjoying our food so much more.

Give this one a try!




Shrimp Pad Thai (Gluten Free and Dairy Free-2-3 servings)

Pad Thai Sauce:

1/4 C lime juice
1/4 C coconut aminos (replaces soy sauce in recipes)
2 TBS honey
1 TBS coconut oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

6 ounces brown rice pad-Thai noodles (we found them at Whole Foods)
10 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 TBS coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 C green onions, roughly chopped
2 eggs, whisked

Serve with:
1 C mung bean sprouts
1/2 C cilantro, roughly chopped
Crushed peanuts, as desired
Plenty of lime wedges
Chili sauce, as desired

Directions:
1. In a bowl, mix together all sauce ingredients and set aside.

2. Fill a large bowl with warm water and soak the pad Thai noodles 10-15 minutes, or as directed on the package.

3. In a large skillet or wok, sauté  the shrimp in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with the garlic, ginger, and green onions for a few minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Add the whisked eggs to the same skillet and sauté until cooked. Remove the eggs from the skillet and set aside.

4. Turn the heat up on the skillet and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Drain the soaked rice noodles (they should feel soft, not firm) and add the rice noodles to the hot skillet., frying them in the oil about 30 seconds.  Now add the shrimp mixture, eggs, and Pad Thai sauce to the skillet, and combine everything well.  Once the sauce is nearly absorbed, turn the heat off and transfer the noodles to a large plate.  Top the pad-Thai with the mung bean sprouts, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and drizzle the noodles with plenty of lime juice.  Serve with chili sauce for added heat.

***Notes:

Our daughter has a sensitivity to eggs, but can have them occasionally. I feel you can omit them all together if necessary (we make fried rice quite often without them).

We also served all the optional toppings on the side.

Breeana's cookbook is not only packed with easy to prepare delicious meals, it is chock full of information including how to stock a Gluten and Dairy Free Kitchen and Pantry. And, I just loved reading their story.

I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who is either embarking on a Gluten and Dairy Free journey or has been on one for awhile already.

***I am in no way being compensated for this post. All opinions are that of my own. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What's for Dinner Wednesday~Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

Happy Wednesday friends.  Been a busy and crazy week for us thus far. One of our sweet pups had to have emergency surgery Monday evening.  He decided to eat his bandage we had put on his front leg to keep a hot spot clean and dry last week and it got stuck. No fun!! He did great through the surgery and is recovering, but it will take time.  We are praying today is the last day at the vet, and he can come home to finish his recovery as we have been having to drive him between his ER doc and regular vet each day (one keeps him at night the other during the daytime hours).

I posted a pic of this recipe last night on Instagram.  I have to give our #2 credit for making it while we were making one of our many trips home from our pup's ER doc's office. She said it was really easy to put together.  So many requested the recipe after seeing it, so here ya go.



Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

(original recipe can be found here)

Ingredients:

1 LB ground beef (we use 90/10 grass fed)
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 (15 oz can) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/4 C ketchup
2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS yellow mustard
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (2 pound package) frozen tater tots (Ore Ida's are gluten free)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Using a large 12-13 inch oven safe skillet or sauté pan, brown the ground beef with the onions and the bell pepper over medium high heat until the meat is fully cooked and crumbly, about 10 minutes.  Add all of the remaining ingredients except the tater tots and stir well to combine.
3. Arrange the tater tots in a single layer on top of the sloppy joe mixture in the pan.  Cook uncovered in preheated oven until the tater tots are cooked through and golden brown, 25-30 minutes (she set the broiler for just a couple minutes in the end to get them crispy, be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn).
4. Serve hot and enjoy!



Y'all it was delicious. Another one pan meal that is great for those busy week nights.