Archive for the ‘entrees’ Category

postheadericon Mexican Chicken and Black Beans

In our ongoing search for wonderful one-skillet meals, we decided to try a more Tex-Mex flavor rather than our usual Cajun red beans and rice variations. This got a big thumbs up from all of the taste-testers here, as well as some very intrigued onlookers as our taste-testers were eating their leftovers for lunch.This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Mexican Chicken and Black Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 TBS cooking oil (canola or olive) 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless chicken, diced (approximately). We like chicken thighs, but it works with chicken breasts, too.
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (basmati cooks quickly, but you can use any type)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28oz can black beans, or 2 14oz cans black beans
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt
  • a couple grinds of pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Method:Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until they begin to soften.Add chicken and spices to the onion and garlic, and cook stirring frequently until chicken is browned.Mix rice, beans, tomatoes, and water into the skillet. Mix well, and keep stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.Turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Let simmer for 20 minutes, test rice for doneness, and serve with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad. Yum!

postheadericon Sausage, Rice, and Black Bean stovetop casserole

This recipe is based on a similar oven-baked casserole. The original is wonderful. But if you are short on time, it is lovely to have a delicious, warm dinner ready in about 30 minutes!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and top 8 allergen free recipe.

Black Bean and Sausage stovetop casserole

Ingredients:

  • Splash canola or other cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced/pressed
  • 1 1/3 lb raw Italian sausages, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 can corn (omit if you cannot tolerate corn)
  • 2 15oz can(s) black beans (drained)
  • 2 cups water
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (or petite diced)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 2 pinches kosher or sea salt

Method
In a large soup pot, warm enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until they become tender.

Add sausage slices, and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Continue cooking until they become browned.

Pour rice into the pot, stirring so the rice absorbs some of the flavors from the sausages and onion/garlic.

Add all other ingredients, stirring. Turn heat up to a boil, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

When it boils, turn heat down to low, and cover. Set timer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while it is cooking.

Serve on plates or in bowls with some steamed veggies or a salad.

postheadericon Under $10 meals – Beef Stir fry

Stir Fry dinner

Sometimes money is tight for everyone, and if you are following a gluten-free or allergy-safe diet, food can get really expensive! This is especially true if you end up buying prepared foods, but it’s also true for others who cook every meal. I take joy in the canned products we can eat – beans, water chestnuts, tomatoes, etc. A few little shortcuts make meals a lot easier. This is my kick-off recipe in my “Under $10″ category. Yummy, quick, and not expensive. Enjoy!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and South Beach friendly recipe (without the rice).

This is one of my favorite “Under $10 for 5 people” meals. This is a big hit here, especially the rice. My youngest daughter calls the bean sprouts noodles!

Beef Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 lb beef. Don’t buy “Stir Fry Beef”, buy a lean, boneless cut (London Broil works well) and slice it yourself.
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1 knuckle sized piece of ginger, skin removed and minced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • splash canola (or other cooking oil)
  • 2 cans pre-sliced water-chestnuts
  • 1 large can bean sprouts
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • GF soy sauce (La Choy, Braggs Amino Acids, or Wheat-Free Tamari work well)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine or other rice

Method

Slice the beef into thin strips (1/8 – 1/4 inch) about 2 inches long. Set aside.

Start cooking the rice, according to package directions.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until tender.

Add beef, and stir quickly. OXO Good Grips Tongs are a great way to move the food around easily.

When the meat starts to brown, add the broccoli. Shake some soy sauce over the meat and veggies (just enough to add flavor, people can always add more at the table).

When the broccoli starts to turn dark green, add the drained water chestnuts and drained bean sprouts.

Quickly stir it all together, until it is all hot. Bring to the table with rice and extra soy sauce. Yum!

Follow the “Read More” for the money breakdown – Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Basic Marinara sauce with variations

I feel like I’ve been making marinara almost my whole life (my grandmother’s family is from Sicily). I’ve changed it a bit as I’ve grown older and changed myself. At this stage in my life I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible, while still retaining good flavor. I play somewhat fast and loose with seasonings, so be sure to taste test along the way! This amount makes enough to feed a family of 5 with some left over. It’s easy to half or double as needed.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, vegan, vegetarian, and South Beach safe recipe.

Polenta with marinara and sausages

Ingredients:

  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes, or 1 crushed, one petite diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2+ tsp basil
  • 2+ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 shake red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches Kosher or Sea salt
  • a few grinds pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • splash white wine

Method:
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic, watching that the garlic doesn’t brown or burn. Sprinkle the spices over the onion and garlic, stirring them together. (Dried herbs will intensify their flavor if warmed like this)

Add a splash of wine, and after the wine has sizzled, add the 2 cans of tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and a bay leaf. (The wine is, of course, optional. However, flavors can be carried by fat (oil), water, acid (tomatoes), and alcohol. My best sauces are always the ones with a splash of wine.)

Turn the heat up to High, and stir occasionally, waiting for the sauce to come to a boil. When it boils, turn it down to low or medium-low, allowing it to simmer.

Let the sauce simmer for at least an hour to let the flavors develop.

Make some polenta or pasta (we like Tinkyada Spaghetti), and serve with a nice salad for a delicious dinner!

If you have leftover sauce, it freezes very well! I will sometimes make a double batch just to have some in the freezer for a quick and easy meal later.

Variations:

  • Pizza Sauce: Add about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes with the other spices. Let boil a few minutes longer to reduce (concentrate) the sauce. If you cook off some of the extra liquid, it won’t make the pizza crust. Another option is to use 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained, in addition to the 1 can crushed tomatoes – then there is less liquid in the sauce.
  • Vegetable Sauce (or, not-quite-rattatouille): peel and dice 1 small eggplant, slice a handful of mushrooms, and dice a summer squash and a zucchini. Add the vegetables after the onion and garlic have started to soften. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have started to soften. Return to the above directions, starting with adding the wine.
  • Meat Sauce: After the onions start to soften, add 1.5 lbs ground meat. Cook until meat is browned, then follow other steps.
  • Sauce with Sausages: Before you begin cooking, cut 1.5 lbs uncooked Italian sausages into circles. (Choose sweet or hot sausage as desired) Add sausages after onions begin to soften. Stir and cook until browned, then follow the other steps.

postheadericon Warming Italian Vegetable and Chick Pea Stew

This hearty soup was inspired by a few things – my husband bought about 3 times the amount of ground beef that I normally buy, I had some odd amounts of vegetables around, and I was very chilly and wanted a warm soup with a new flavor. This cooks reasonably quickly and is a full meal in a bowl – a lot of bang for your buck!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.

Soup's on!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 lbs ground meat
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots (or 8 baby carrots) cut into rounds
  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 TBS olive or canola oil to coat bottom of pan
  • 2+ tsp basil
  • 2+ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • pinch kosher or sea salt
  • couple grinds fresh pepper
  • 1 splash wine (optional)
  • 1 summer or zucchini squash, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, or about 5oz frozen spinach
  • 1 28oz can diced Tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can chick peas (about 2 cups)
  • 4-6 cups water or broth

Method:
Warm the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté until it becomes tender.

Add ground meat to the vegetables and stir intermittently until the meat is browned. While the meat and vegetables are cooking, add salt, pepper, and other spices.

When the meat is browned, drain off some of the fat and add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan. Add all the ingredients except the water, and stir.

Add 4 cups water, then 1 cup at a time until it looks soupy – the exact amount of water will vary. Bring to a boil.

Simmer for about 15 minutes, check seasoning, then serve.

My whole family loved this, and one of my girls asked for extra broth!

postheadericon Spinach, Sausage, and Spuds

Each week I make up a menu, and then a grocery list from it, and then cook from it, crossing things off as they are made. This works out great, unless I manage to lose the menu after shopping. I couldn’t remember what I had planned to cook, but the potatoes and sausage were calling to me, and this is what we ended up with. Very yummy, and reasonably easy. It took a little more than 30 minutes, but still qualifies as quick eats to me. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it, though – that’ll have to wait until next time!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and top 8 allergen free recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs uncooked sausage
  • 4 medium size white potatoes
  • 5 oz frozen chopped spinach (1/3 of a 16 oz bag – the blocks are impossible to work with, splurge on the bags!)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • splash cooking oil
  • 1 batch dairy-free White Sauce
  • a few shakes Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning

Method:
Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium-large skillet, heat oil to medium heat. Add onions. Cut sausage into about 1/2″ thick rounds, and add to the onions. Stir, and continue cooking until sausage is browned on all sides.

While the sausage and onions are cooking, make the White Sauce.

Poke the potatoes a couple times with a fork, and then put them in the microwave for 4 minutes. This will give them a head start on cooking so that they need less time in the oven to cook through.

Cut the potatoes into chunks, and add to a 9×13 pan. Add sausages and onion. Mix together gently, and add in the frozen spinach. Pour white sauce over everything, and gently mix until everything is coated in sauce and the food is well distributed in the pan.

Sprinkle a little Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven and put some veggies in to roast at the same time.

Yum! There weren’t many leftovers here for my husband’s lunch!

postheadericon Creamy vegetable curry

My family loves my tomato-based curry, and I vastly prefer coconut milk-based curries. I tried to mix a few ingredients they love in the tomato curry, but using coconut milk. It seemed to work – everyone ate it happily! Any meal where people finish without an argument is one that is worth repeating a few times!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe. The recipe can served vegetarian and vegan, or with meat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS Patak’s curry paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, or 1 16oz bag frozen cauliflower
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 2 handfuls red or brown lentils
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 14oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1-2 lbs pork cutlets, pork loin, or just pork, cubed (optional)
  • Cooked rice or cooked lentils on the side

Method

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions soften.

Add the pork (if using) and brown, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the curry paste. Add lentils, coconut milk, and water.

Turn the heat up, and add vegetables. Break the cauliflower into florets directly into the pot, or pour bag of frozen cauliflower into pot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. If needed, add more liquid – the vegetables and meat should be somewhat submerged.

When the sauce begins to boil, cover loosely. Lower the heat slightly, and cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.

After 20 minutes, the sauce should be somewhat thickened, the pork tender, and the cauliflower will have broken into small pieces.

Serve this with lentils or brown rice beneath to absorb the sauce. Delicious!

postheadericon Shrimp alfredo – gluten and dairy free

When I was mostly vegetarian with the exception of some occasional shrimp/lobster/crawdads when we ate out, I loved to order shrimp alfredo or crawdad alfredo. Mmmmm…. Well, eating out is trickier now, so I figured out a way to make something that tasted a lot like what I loved in the restaurants. If you don’t want a bit of kick, leave out the Tony Chachere’s, but my favorite alfredos were always from the Cajun restaurants!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, and corn free recipe

Ingredients:

Method
Peel and de-tail the shrimp. If you buy de-veined large shrimp, it’s a reasonably quick process, just tedious. Remember the trick for frozen shrimp – to thaw them quickly, put them in a bowl with cool water running over them – should be cold, but ready to peel in about 30 minutes.

Prepare the pot for boiling water for the pasta (make sure to salt the water!), and put it on a back burner on high. When it boils, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Tinkyada pasta takes a while to cook (15 minutes), so keep your pastas cooking time in mind when you’re preparing the rest of the meal.

While the water is getting ready to boil, make the White Sauce.

Next, pour some oil in a large skillet, and bring it to medium heat. Sauté the garlic until it’s tender. When the pasta only has a few minutes left, add the shrimp, and sprinkle with the Tony Chachere’s. I use tongs to move the shrimp around the skillet quickly and easily. As soon as all of the shrimp are pink, add peas and take it off the heat. Add white sauce to the shrimp, and mix together.

Drain the pasta, and pour it into a pretty serving dish (or back into the pot), and then gently mix in the sauce, shrimp, and peas. Serve with a nice salad, and enjoy!

postheadericon Creamy vegan lasagna

This is a delicious, family-friendly gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian & vegan recipe. It could be OK for South Beach phase 1 by serving the filling as a side-dish. If you use whole-grain pasta, this should be OK as is for South Beach phase 2.

We serve this with a side of Italian sausages, as there’s no meat in it. You could probably put ground turkey in with the vegetables, but I like it being Vegan, as then I can serve it to vegetarian friends. We all love this recipe, and it takes care of my need for something creamy and Italian without eating dairy.

Creamy Lasagne

Ingredients

  • 1 batch White sauce
  • 2-3+ cups marinara sauce (how much you use depends on how soupy you want it)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (10 oz) (or 1 lb of regular spinach that has been cleaned, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces)
  • 1 package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (7-10 oz)
  • 1 package GF lasagna noodles (we like Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagne)
  • olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F

Heat olive oil in skillet over low heat and let garlic simmer for a few minutes – watch to make sure it doesn’t brown.

Turn heat up to medium and add eggplant and mushrooms. Cover and cook until eggplant is very tender (almost mushy), stirring occasionally. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Make the white sauce while the eggplant & mushrooms are cooking.

Lasagne and Sausage

Add spinach to the skillet, stir and take off heat once spinach has just wilted. Add 1/2 of the white sauce to this mixture, and stir to combine.

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Lay 3 uncooked lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan. Spoon half the spinach/eggplant/mushroom mixture over the noodles. Ladle some marinara on top of the vegetables. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Repeat with another layer, and top with 3 more lasagna noodles.

You will have now used 9 lasagna noodles. Put the rest away for something else – sometimes we break them up for use in soup.

Pour white sauce on top of the final layer of noodles.

Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, and bake additional 10-15 minutes until everything is browned and bubbly (I sometimes turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes to brown the top).

This ends up tasting like it has cheese in it. YUM. No one ever even notices that there’s eggplant in it or that it is gluten & dairy-free. Serve with a side of some sort of protein (we like turkey Italian sausages), and you’re ready to eat!

postheadericon Baked Stuffed Shells

This is a delicious, family-friendly gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian & vegan recipe. It could be OK for South Beach phase 1 by serving the filling as a side-dish. If you use whole-grain pasta, this should be OK as is for South Beach phase 2.

We serve this with a side of italian sausages, as there’s no meat in it. You could probably put ground turkey in with the vegetables, but I like it being Vegan, as then I can serve it to vegetarian friends. We all love this recipe, and it fills my creamy, Italian goodness spot.

A tray of Baked Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

  • 1 batch White sauce (if you’re doing South Beach, you might want to use 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 broth (or just Lite coconut milk, which is simply watered down coconut milk)

  • 2-3+ cups marinara sauce (how much you use depends on how soupy you want it)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (10 oz) (or 1 lb of regular spinach that has been cleaned, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces)
  • 1 package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (7-10 oz)
  • 1 package GF pasta shells for stuffing (we like Tinkyada)
  • olive oil
Baked Stuffed Shells filling

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet over low heat and let garlic simmer for a few minutes – watch to make sure it doesn’t brown.

Turn heat up to medium and add eggplant and mushrooms. Cover and cook until eggplant is very tender (almost mushy), stirring occasionally. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Make the white sauce while the eggplant & mushrooms are cooking.

Add spinach to the skillet, stir and take off heat once spinach has just wilted. Add 1/2 of the white sauce to this mixture, and stir to combine.

Ready for the oven

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Take the uncooked pasta shells and stuff them with the veggie mixture. Sometimes this is easy when the shells are open, but sometimes it requires creatively poking filling through openings. You can boil the shells for a couple minutes to make this easier if you want, but then they are wiggly.

Fill each shell until overflowing until you run out of shells, placing them in a rows of 3 across. I piled some broken shells in the corner of baking dish and heaped the remainder of the filling on top. Cover with a scant layer of marinara sauce, then drizzle the second half of the white sauce on top – it will look remarkably like melted cheese!

Cover tightly and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, pour white sauce on top, and bake additional 10-15 minutes until everything is browned and bubbly (I sometimes turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes to brown the top).

Italian dinner

This ends up tasting like it has cheese in it. YUM. No one ever even notices that there’s eggplant in it or that it is gluten & dairy-free. Serve with a side of some sort of protein (we like turkey italian sausages), and you are ready to eat.

Being gluten & dairy free (and whatever else free) doesn’t have to be traumatic – look how good it can be!

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