What a fun experience the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, a.k.a fresh farm produce) has been, only week two, but it has been such an adventure! It reminds me of those “choose your own ending” books we read as kids. There are so many endless possibilities and we get to choose the delectable treats, or endings, for all the food. The first week we received the normal lettuce and spinach but also parsley, garlic florets, beans, rhubarb and even sauerkraut. This week we received beets, more spinach, leeks, beans and cilantro. What to do with all this fresh food – that is the question! So we started cooking up some new delights…here are just a few of my favorites from the first two weeks – time to choose YOUR own ending!
Green and White Delight – we made a fabulous pizza (using Chebe crust). We used an alfredo sauce (I am working on a healthier version of white sauce) and then piled the pizza high with an entire bag of fresh spinach from the CSA. (Spinach bakes down and dramatically reduces in size) We sprinkled the top of the spinach with Italian spices (oregano, basil, etc) and then topped with just a dash of parmesan cheese. The spinach baked down with the pizza and resulted in the BEST pizza I have ever eaten. Next time we are going to add some tomatoes and grilled chicken.
Sweet Tart delight – I found a recipe on the The Gracious Pantry for Strawberry Rhubarb Apple crisp with no added sugar. I made the filling from this recipe and omitted the recipe topping and instead used a cinnamon walnut crumble from Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Cupcake cookbook. The result was a delectable and tart treat that when topped with a dollop of ice cream was superb.
White Chicken Chili – we have an abundance of cilantro and it is so fragrant that we cooked up a batch of white chicken chili and froze it for days in the future that we need a quick meal or in the fall when the weather starts to turn crisp and cool.
Spinach balls – the CSA provides recipes each week using the fresh produce for that week. They posted a fabulous spaghetti and spinach balls recipe complete with a “spaghetti sauce” that is a white sauce and not a red sauce…great recipe and if you are thinking what I am thinking a great and much healthier white sauce to try with our Green and White Delight recipe above.
This is just the beginning to our food adventures – here’s to choosing your own path – a healthy path!
A childhood favorite – I remember loving chicken cordon bleu as a child and choosing it anytime I got to pick the menu. How do I take a childhood favorite and turn it into a healthy, gluten-free adult classic? Here’s the recipe:
- 4 chicken breasts (We prefer Red Bird as it is hormone free and if you watch the sales you can get buy 1 get on free at King Soopers/Kroger)
- 3 eggs
- 4 slices of ham – we prefer black forest ham
- 4 slices of Swiss cheese
- Parmesan cheese
Put the chicken, one breast at a time, into a large zip lock bag and seal. Use a mallet or cup to hammer the chicken breast flat. Repeat for each chicken breast. Crack the eggs into a bowl and mix with a fork breaking the yoke (as if you are making scrambled eggs). Lay each chicken breast in the bowl and coat with egg (you can add a bit of milk, we use unsweetened almond milk, to the eggs for easier dipping). Then lay the chicken breast flat and add a piece of ham and a piece of cheese onto the chicken breast and roll up placing in a baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over each. Bake at 350 for an hour or until golden brown and chicken is done. Eat and enjoy!
***Time and cost saving tip:
We love this recipe at our house. When chicken is on sale we purchase as much as possible and make an assembly line to put them together. We then freeze them in groups of two in glass Tupperware and take out for dinner in the future.
This is my family’s favorite meal, it’s simple, it’s gluten free and it’s a crowd pleaser. This is a recipe I created after being inspired by a family recipe.
- 1 bag brown rice pasta (Tinkyada is the brand we prefer and can be found at any of your major grocery store chains.)
- Grapeseed Oil
- 1 red onion (we prefer red because of the cancer fighting benefits)
- 1 bag frozen bell peppers (red, yellow and green mix) – you can use fresh if you prefer
- 1 bag frozen broccoli (again you can use fresh too)
- 2 cans of artichoke hearts
- 1 package of Aidells chicken apple sausage (this is a family favorite, precooked and found for a great price at Costco – no MSG, No nitrates, No hormones. Aidells has many different flavors but we love this one because it does not include any added sugar.
- Olive Oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Pesto – optional, but especially good if you have fresh made pesto from the garden
Vegetable Pasta Medley with Pesto
Start your water boiling for pasta – add a couple drops of oil to the water so the noodles don’t stick together. Heat a large sauce pan on low with a couple tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Chop your onion and add to the sauce pan. Sauté (sauté = to cook and make the onion softer) the onion for 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the frozen peppers and broccoli and cover to let simmer. Put your sausage in the oven on high broil for about 10-15 minutes since you are heating the already pre-cooked sausage (turning them at 5-7 minutes). Add your pasta to the boiling water, stir and set timer according to directions on back of package. Chop the artichoke hearts and add to the sauce pan. Remove the sausage from the oven and slice. Add to the sauce pan. Finish and drain pasta and dump into a large bowl. Make sure all ingredients in the sauce pan are cooked (thawed and hot), stir and then dump into the big bowl on top of the pasta. Add olive oil and parmesan cheese (pesto if you choose this option) to taste, toss, serve and enjoy! If you get adventurous try adding your favorite vegetable into the mix and let me know what you add and how it turns out!
This is probably my favorite gluten free, sugar free recipe. I love brownies….
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup peanut flour (if you don’t have peanut flour you can just double the brown rice flour)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1.5 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup maple syrup
- ½ cup grapeseed oil
- ½ cup agave
- ½ cup stong brewed coffee (we use a stovetop espresso, resist the urge to add more just because you made it – trust me, it makes it too liquid and will not bake)
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips – we use the Sunspire Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips
(malted barley, corn and brown rice sweeten these chocolate chips and they are quite amazing especially if you have given up normal chocolate due to the sugar – here is what Sunspire says on their webpage about their Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips, “Our proprietary grain-based sweetener is not only nutritionally sound, but also perfectly complements the rich flavor of our chocolate and confections. This complex carbohydrate is derived from a mixture of whole-grain barley and corn that is first boiled, then dried. No chemicals are used, and no nutrients are removed. This sweetener contains natural malt sugars and proteins.”
Heat oven to 350. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Whisk maple syrup, oil, agave, coffee, almond milk, and vanilla in another bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Pour half the batter into a greased 9’by11’ baking dish, top with half the chocolate chips then pour the remaining batter and top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes and let cool. Don’t over bake. There isn’t anything that needs to be cooked (like eggs) so not over baking will give you a little bit more gooey goodness in your brownies unless you want more cake like brownies, which are good too!
Variation 1: We have done it without the chocolate chips and added little drops of peanut butter on top – we will try to swirl it next time.
Variation 2: Add 1.5 Tbsp of cinnamon to the batter and mix. This is probably our favorite variation.
Sit, put your feet up, grab a glass of milk and a brownie….mmm goodness!
Recipe is a modified spin off of a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow.
This sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free cookie recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, the Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam. She has a myriad of other fabulous recipes on her website.
I took her recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cookies and made a dough that can either be rolled flat and cut into thin slices to mimic a Thin Mint or made thicker to taste more like a peppermint patty. Here’s the recipe with the secret ingredient at the end!
- 3 cups blanched almond flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup arrowroot powder
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup grapeseed oil
- ¾ cup agave
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 7 drops of natural peppermint oil (I use LorAnn Oils)
Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix the almond four, salt, baking soda, arrowroot powder and cocoa powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add 7 drops of peppermint oil and mix again. Scoop the dough (about a ¼ of a cup) onto baking sheet or roll out and use a cookie cutter or glass rim to cut thin circles in the dough and place on the cookie sheet.
Bake 10 – 15 minutes if you use scoops. Bake 9-11 minutes if you roll out the dough and use flat circles. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 30 minute – this also allows them to finish a last bit of cooking. You don’t have to worry about egg in this recipe being undercooked and that even means you can sample the dough!
We love ours with a glass of unsweetened almond milk. Enjoy!
When I went gluten free and sugar free about 7 years ago, I was determined to find a good pizza. What I found were gluten free crusts, but they all included some form of sugar. I made one out of almond flour that my husband kindly referred to as a thick, heavy almond mush…and that’s what it tasted like too. After looking for a couple of years I gave up the battle and resigned myself to never having pizza again. A sad day.
It was after we had a pizza party at our house, with the pizza smell wafting from the oven, that I knew my search was not over…I had to find a pizza dough that would work. One night on Facebook I stumbled across a posting from a company called Chebe. I was intrigued by their gluten free breads and started to look into their ingredients and see what other products they offered. I found a pizza dough mix as well as a breadstick mix that were not only gluten free but sugar free too! Now visions of childhood and eating breadsticks at Pizza Hut with my family danced in my head. I brought myself back to reality and remembered not to get excited until I had actually found the mix in the store and actually made it to see how it tasted.
The verdict is in…pizza and breadsticks are back in the game!
Not only are the Chebe breadsticks and pizza dough mix gluten and sugar free, they include an entire list of “free” items as follows:
- Gluten free
- Soy free
- Corn free
- Rice free
- Potato free
- Yeast free
- Peanut free
- Tree nut free
- Egg free (you add eggs to the dough but can use a substitute)
- Lactose/casein free (you add eggs to the dough but can use a substitute – we use unsweetened almond milk)
- Iodine free
- Sugar free
- Non GMO
Now for a couple of pictures and tricks to make your pizza and breadstick experience the best!
Pizza: We used the instructions on the back of the Chebe box, but also baked the crust first for 10 minutes before toppings to ensure a crispy crust. We made a pizza sauce from tomato sauce, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt and a bit of agave (to taste).
Breadsticks: We used the instructions on the back of the Chebe box. Then I mixed up some olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and parmesan cheese to spread over the top of the breadsticks before baking. Make a bit of extra pizza sauce above for dipping your breadsticks.