Epic dinner fail for the win!

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So it’s been a couple years since I last blogged. Well, I’m baaaack! Quite honestly I missed it. So you ask, why did I stop? I got caught up in the what if it’s not perfect? I don’t have time to make it perfect! No one reads them anyway, right?! This is what stops so many writers from living their dream (I know I’m not alone here).

I don’t necessarily want to be a writer but blogging brings me joy, food brings me joy, and sharing those things makes me happy. So here I am, doing what I makes me happy.
So, the title… I had planned on making Balsamic Chicken tonight, and making that my returning blog post. Well, guess who forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer? Guilty as charged! I don’t like defrosting chicken in the microwave; it’s a personal preference. And the warm water thing was taking too long.

So I needed an alternative….and a fast one as it was already 6:15 pm! I thought about the good ole standby, breakfast for dinner. Yeah, been there, done that. I needed something quick and filling as I have a hungry crew. ūüí° Frittata!! That’s it, I’m going to make a frittata! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve made one. ¬†Oh, but what to put in it?

Since it’s been so long I needed a little help. So, I found a basic recipe here.¬†For my veggies I decided on onion, baby bella’s and spinach. My son asked if there was going to be meat in it so I used a package of sausage I had in the freezer.

Here’s how I made it. I put about 3 Tbsp. olive oil in my skillet over med/high heat. After it began to warm I added the diced onion and bella’s.

While they were sautéing I cooked the sausage in the microwave (all 6 from the package) and then diced them in large pieces.  I also cracked 8 eggs, added salt and pepper and lightly beat them as per the recipe.

Once the onion/bella’s were soft I added the spinach; I just added a couple handfuls. ¬†After that had cooked down I added the sausage, dried parsley and garlic powder. I gave the group a quick stir so everyone got to know each other.
Next, I poured the egg in, and as per the recipe directions gave it a stir then waited for it to pull away from the sides of the pan. After that it was into my 350 * oven for 15 minutes. Then voil√° (sort of) dinner was ready!

Yes, I have to put the oven mitt on the hot handle or I forget that it’s hot. Yes, I learned this the hard way.

So that’s it! I hope you decide to make a frittata soon as it was a big hit here. If so, please share what ingredients you used.

One last note: the recipe calls for milk. Since I’m dairy free I just left it out. So, what’s for dinner at your house?

 

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Sometimes a dinner blog….isn’t

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Everyone loves dinner for breakfast every once in a while. So here’s a guest post from my sis on a really yummy Paleo pancake! Enjoy!
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Hi everyone! ¬†It’s Marissa, guest blogger and Penni’s sister.

My husband has been on a pancake and waffle spree, but I’m not much into either made with regular flour. ¬†Today I decided to go for a Paleo Pancake, and since I simply can never make a recipe exact, I’ll tell you what I was basing my recipe on, and what I did!

Here’s the original recipe and instructions, courtesy of Civilized Caveman Cooking:

http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/breakfast/perfect-paleo-pancakes/

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • ¬Ĺ cup nut butter, I prefer almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat a skillet to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Combine all of your ingredients in your blendtech, blender, or food processor and mix well until you have a batter
  3. Grease your skillet with coconut oil and pour your batter making 3-4 inch pancakes
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes per side and then flip for 2-3 minutes
  5. Serve topped with some grass fed butter or topping of your choice
  6. Enjoy

I’m currently doing The 21 Day Fix (more info below) so I wanted the recipe to work for my food needs for the day. ¬†Here’s what I did:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp almond butter
  • About ¬Ĺ teaspoon cinnamon, could‚Äôve used more

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I was thinking this would be for breakfast today and save the extras for another breakfast, and (FYI 21 Day Fixers) that it would be 1 red, 1 purple, 2 tsp.

I used my food processor to mix it, and a griddle on my stove top.

It ended up making 9 pancakes!!  I had 3 this morning, plain, nothing on them.  I have 2 sets for future breakfasts.

They were awesome!!

Next time I make them, when I’m not doing the 21 Day Fix, I will likely try the Civilized Caveman recipe and see how they compare. ¬†I’d love to try my recipe with more nut butter, too!

enjoy!!

FYI:  The 21 Day Fix is a health and fitness program, 21 Days, 30 minute workouts, portion controlled healthy eating.  For more info, please feel free to email me at marissaq@icloud.com.

My Favorite Tuna Melt of ALL TIME!

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tuna meltOK, so the title might be an exaggeration.¬† I do love tuna melts, always have.¬† So does my son, he asks for them at least once a week.¬† No, not my daughter, she wouldn’t eat a tuna melt if it was the last meal available!

He would ask for it more often if we could figure out a way to bring it to school for lunch; keeping it warm and intact, of course.  Sadly, I thought I would have to give up this fantastic taste combination when I went gluten and grain free.

This summer I found a way to enjoy them, and it includes one of summers best treats (at least here in PA and NJ)…. tomatoes!¬†It struck me, why can’t I put the tomato UNDER the tuna, instead of on top!¬† Genius! (OK, I know there’s someone out there that has probably already thought of this, but let me pretend to be a genius, at least for this blog post).

One day after my in-laws dropped off some tomatoes fresh from their garden, I tried it, and oh how yummy it was! Simply place your dollop of tuna on top of a tomato slice, then top with Swiss cheese.  I heat mine in the toaster oven set at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

If I ever had leftover bacon from breakfast I would put that under the cheese.¬† But, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, there is never any leftover bacon after breakfast!

I”m getting hungry just thinking about it! But sadly since tomato season is over, I will have to wait until next summer to enjoy.¬† If you are lucky enough to live in a climate that produces fresh tomatoes year round I am truly jealous.¬† Please eat one for me!

What’s for dinner (or lunch) at your house?

Meatloaf is my Friend

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I have never, and I mean never liked meatloaf (just ask my sister)! I’m sure it has something to do with the texture, or that it seems like a lump of meat on my plate.

I still remember my mother forcing me to eat it. And to make matters worse, she once covered a meatloaf with mashed potatoes ((shudder))! So I can honestly say, that for over 20 years, I did not eat meatloaf.

About a year ago I had an unfamiliar craving for meatloaf (no, I was not pregnant!). My curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to try and make a meatloaf I could eat.¬†¬†It had to be flavorful, make me forget I was eating a “lump of meat” and it had to be gluten and grain free.

I scoured over meat loaf recipes on the internet and was intrigued by mini-meat loaves cooked in a muffin tin. Naturally I did what any other food explorer would do, I made up my own recipe!

In hindsight I’m really lucky this worked out considering how long it had been since I had actually eaten meatloaf! Turns out I did good, as my son and husband (my hubby’s not to fond of meatloaf either) loved them and ate many!

So here’s my recipe.¬† I’ve included¬†some variations.¬† This way you won’t feel like¬†you’re eating the same meatloaf if you decide to make it 2 weeks in a row.

Mini-Meat Loaf (gluten and grain free)
2 lbs. ground beef (or meat of choice) (I only buy grass fed)
1/2 cup diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion (either yellow or red, not a sweet onion)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs
3 oz cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Oil to spray on your muffin tin (I use olive oil)

Preaheat oven to 375 degrees.¬† Spray your muffin tin with oil.¬† Place ground beef in a large bowl.¬† Add mushrooms, onion, salt, pepper, eggs, cheese and a little over 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.¬† Mix together well, it’s easiest to use your hands for this to ensure even distribution.¬† Fill muffin tin with meat, it’s ok if it’s a little high as they shrink a little during cooking.¬† Make a little indentation in the center of each meat loaf muffin.¬† Pour a little BBQ sauce in the indentation you’ve made.¬† raw mini meatloaf

Cook for about 15 minutes, these cook fast because they are small.  They do NOT taste good overcooked!  After they are cooked, carefully remove from muffin tin and place on serving plate (picture above).

Variations: 
For an Italian twist:
2 lbs. ground beef (or meat of choice) (I only buy grass fed)
1/2 cup diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion (either yellow or red, not a sweet onion)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp each dried oregano and parsley (if you have fresh I would add that about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs
parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese
Your favorite tomato sauce¬†(“gravy”)
Oil to spray on your muffin tin (I use olive oil)

After putting a dollop of tomato sauce on top I would also top it with a little cheese……oh the deliciousness!

For a Greek twist:
2 lbs. ground beef or 1 lb. each of ground beef and lamb, or 2 lbs ground lamb
1/2 cup diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion (either yellow or red, not a sweet onion)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp  dried oregano (if you have fresh I would add that about 1 tbsp.)
2 eggs
feta cheese
Tzatziki sauce (optional)
Oil to spray on your muffin tin (I use olive oil)

Prepare using directions above.

I like to serve these with asparagus, but of course, any veggie will do.¬† What’s your favorite veggie to eat with meatloaf?¬† My kids would say peas please! So, what’s for dinner at your house?

What’s a Jew to do…?

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What’s a Jew to do when you’re gluten and grain free and you just CAN’T live without latkes for Chanukah? Traditionally you add flour to the mix, but I have discovered that they are just as tasty without.

I know what you’re thinking “They must not stay together!”

Well, I’m here to tell you they do and they have. I was so excited to have latkes I made them Tuesday night, the night before Chanukah started! So for those of you who thought your latke days were behind you, here’s my recipe:

Gluten free/Grain free Potato Latkes
4-5 medium potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned
1/2 red onion
1tsp salt
2 eggs
Oil for frying (I use olive oil)
Applesauce or sour cream

Grate potato and onion; either using a box grater or a food processor. Place a large handful of the potato/onion mixture in a tea towel and twist/squeeze the water out. Place In a large bowl. Continue until you have done this to all the potato/onion mixture.

Add salt and eggs. Stir to combine. Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. The oil must be hot to cook the latkes properly. Add a spoonful of potato mixture to the hot oil and press down to make a patty. Depending on the size of your pan (and patty’s) you can make 3 or 4 at a time.

When the underside is brown and crispy flip your latke. Cook until this side is brown and crisp. To keep them warm place them on a wire rack on a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven. Continue until all the potato mixture is gone. While cooking you will need to add more oil. Be sure it heats up before you add your next latke to avoid a greasy mess. Serve with applesauce or sour cream, or both!

I prefer my latkes with applesauce, my kids prefer sour cream. Surprisingly we actually had a couple leftover and they made an excellent breakfast (after heating them in a 350 degree oven).

And even with the leftovers I sadly have no photographic evidence due to my overwhelming joy over having a gluten free, grain free latke.

What’s for dinner at your house?

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more great recipes!

Dessert and A Guest Blogger!

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apple cakeHi everyone!¬† I’m Penni’s sister, Marissa, and am happy to contribute a recipe that we adapted to be gluten free/grain free.

Here’s the original recipe and instructions (which was recently being shared on FB):

One Bowl Apple Cake – This cake is so moist and rich and just perfect for this time of year. (and easy to make!)

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil 6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 350¬į. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and oil. Peel and slice the apples and add to mixture in bowl (coating as you go to keep apples from turning brown.) Mix together the baking soda and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl. Mix well (best with a fork) until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased one 9×13 or two 9‚Ä≥ round pans. Bake for approximately 55 minutes.

I simply can’t make a recipe exactly following directions anyway, so it was fun to convert this.¬† And I couldn’t imagine making this without using some brown sugar, so that was one of our changes.¬† Here’s our new gluten free/grain free recipe:

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup  sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil (we used olive oil)
6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples (we used some Honey Crisp, some ???)
2 cups all almond flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

We followed the rest of the directions (but added some small chunks of butter to the top), baking ours in a 9×13 pyrex pan.¬†¬† The ‘cake’ tasted great!! Definitely didn’t have a cake consistency though, maybe more of a wet crisp?¬† Perhaps next time we’ll use a thickener and maybe some more almond flour.¬† It was definitely worth making, and worth making again!¬† Hope you like it!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

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WW chix dinIf you’re like me you’re always looking for a new way to prepare chicken. Let’s face it, chicken is a great lean protein, but after a while it can get really boring to eat. As a matter of fact I went through a period of almost 5 years where I didn’t eat chicken at all! I was that sick and tired of eating it. So earlier this week I was trying to decide what to prepare for dinner. I had some chicken breast tenders in the fridge (Nature’s Promise tenders were on sale when we were shopping). I started looking through my cabinets and decided to concoct a one pan meal made with the chicken, artichoke hearts, sliced black olives and diced tomatoes.

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Well, it turned out delicious! Luckily there was some leftover and believe it or not I ate it for breakfast…..yum! I decided to go with a more Mexican flavor and used Adobo in place of typical Italian herbs. This is an easy, quick, one pan meal, here’s how I did it.

WW Chicken Dinner

1 lb. chicken tenders (or diced chicken)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 small can sliced jalapeno infused black olives, drained
2 cans of diced tomatoes (I prefer Hunt’s no salt added)
Adobo seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and sauté in a pan with coconut oil (or olive oil). Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and simmer until hot. Adjust seasoning to taste.

I ate this with a side of smashed cauliflower and it was delicious! Let me know if you like it. What’s for dinner at your house?

Not Just Another fish Tale

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I’ve mentioned that once a week we have fish for dinner. It’s always wild caught, never farm raised, and almost always cod, haddock or pollack. It really depends on what’s on sale at Giant the Sunday we’re grocery shopping. Yes, we grocery shop together as a family every Sunday, but that’s another blog post. So, last week it was cod. Recently I’ve been preparing it Portuguese style (see March 11th blog post titled “Fish is ….delicious!” for the recipe). So I decided to switch things up…..

A while back when we were having haddock for dinner I found a recipe for Baked Haddock with Mustard Tarragon Marinade on nikibone.com. I made it and we all liked it so I decided to make it for dinner last week since cod is very similar to haddock. Well, my son said he liked it better than the Portuguese style and proceeded to eat about a 1/2 pound of it! I think he was getting tired of the Portuguese style fish; I’ll have to revisit that in a few weeks. The original recipe is for 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of fish. I had almost 2 lbs so I used 1.5x what the measurements were. So, here’s the recipe with a few changes to minimize the amount of dirty dishes you will have to wash (you can thank me later):

‚Ė†2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
‚Ė†2 tbsp. olive oil
‚Ė†1 tbsp. dijon mustard
‚Ė†1/2 tsp dry tarragon or 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
‚Ė†1/8 tsp pepper
‚Ė†1 to 1 1/2 haddock, cod or pollack fillets
‚Ė†salt to taste

In a Pyrex baking dish (or similar) whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, tarragon and pepper. Rinse fish and pat dry. Add the fish to the marinade and turn them to coat completely; arrange them with thinner areas overlapping. Marinade for at least 15 minutes. I marinate for up to an hour, covered with foil or plastic wrap on the counter. Bake uncovered in a preheated 450 degree oven until the fish flakes in the thickest part when prodded with a fork and fish is opaque. About 10-15 minutes for fish that is 3/4 inch thick. When done salt to taste.

The pictures above is what was left after my son and I attacked it. My poor husband barely got any; but he’s kind of used to that. Here’s the link to the original recipe http://www.nikibone.com/recipe/haddock.html. There are many other haddock recipes here so check them out. The original recipe doesn’t call for salt but I felt the fish needed it. Also, I’ve made this with haddock and cod, and for some reason I like it better with haddock; but that’s just my crazy opinion. Since it’s rare to find fresh tarragon in my house, each time I’ve prepared this I’ve made it with dried tarragon and it’s tasted just fine. Perhaps one day I’ll use fresh tarragon. I let my kids pick out the vegetable and they picked corn, so corn it was. I would have preferred brussel sprouts but I’m the only one who likes them. This is an easy and delicious recipe, try it and see. What’s for dinner at your house?

I need pizza!!!!!

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Ask anyone who’s gluten free, the one thing they really miss is pizza. It’s impossible to make a gluten free crust that tastes like a regular gluten crust. I’ve tried a few. The cauliflower crust is ok, but after a while not at all satisfying. My pizza eating family (that would be everyone minus my daughter) liked it. But, you have to eat it with a fork, and after a while I just want a piece of pizza I can pick up! I liked Pamela’s mix that comes in a bag, that was pretty good.

After recently discovering I need to limit my grains to almost zero (see last blog post), I thought my quest for a pizza I can pick up and enjoy had come to a screeching halt (insert car screeching noise here). Well, thanks to Brittany Angell’s http://www.realsustenance.com I have found an acceptable substitute. Really, I have! It’s grain free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free and egg free! You’re skeptical, I can see that….well, just try it! Here’s the link: http://realsustenance.com/best-ever-flaky-crispy-gluten-free-thin-crust-pizza-graineggdairysoy-free/

My son loved it and although it’s not the “real thing” it’s as darn close as you’re going to get. I topped my pizza with sauce, mozzeralla cheese and bacon. The one “mistake” (for lack of a better term) I made was not being able to roll out the dough thin enough. I need to buy bigger cookie sheets! I’m sorry I don’t have a picture for you but I forgot to take one when it came out of the oven, and now there’s none left! The next one I make will be her Buffalo Chicken pizza, I’ll let you know how it turns out! Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Grain free, you’ve got to be kidding me!

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Blueberry Lemon BarsOn my continuing quest to heal what ails me I have run into another food group that doesn’t agree with me. Two weeks ago was the 2nd or 3rd week in a row I realized my indigestion was bothering me again. I’ve been gluten free for over a year and a half and since then hadn’t had acid reflux or indigestion issues. But my nemesis was back. Each evening I had heartburn and kept burping (even took Pepto for the first time in forever!). So I started thinking about what I had been eating. Here’s what I discovered. Over the past year I had been adding gluten free grains back into my diet. Like rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, and items containing these ingredients. I seemed to be tolerating them fine; until my recent flare up. I realized I had started to have these grains 4-6 times a week instead of every once in a while. So, last Wednesday I had no grains, no tortilla chips, etc. I realized that evening I also had no indigestion issues. Coincidence, NO! This was further proof that I can’t eat any grains on a regular basis. Seriously, are you kidding me??? My food choices were dwindling before my eyes. Luckily, I had found a website (and facbook page) called Real Sustenance. She has tons of recipes that are gluten, grain, dairy, egg, sugar free.

Breakfast has been challenging and I’ve felt deprived of pastries. So I decided to try her recipe for Blueberry Lemon Breakfast
Bars (picture above). They are gluten, grain, sugar, egg and dairy free (or have options to make them that way). I used regular sugar and since I’ve been limiting my dairy intake I used coconut milk in place of regular milk. I can’t begin to tell you how delicious they are! Everyone in my entire family loves them. After tasting them, my husband was going to take a regular sized piece when I told him he wasn’t allowed. He could eat regular muffins and I couldn’t, they were for me. He immediately agreed and stepped away from my bars ūüôā The author of the website has asked not to re-post her recipe’s but allows links to them. So here’s the link to the recipe. http://realsustenance.com/blueberry-lemon-breakfast-bars-glutengrainsugareggdairy-free/

Try it and let me know what you think. I’ve tried another of her recipes and will post about it another day. So, what’s for breakfast in your house?