Monday, April 14, 2014

Zucchini Spiralized Noodles ( WW)

                             

How did I make these sprialized zucchini  noodles? With an inexpensive tool called a sprializer!

Zucchini noodles are an amazing substitute for regular starchy pasta noodles. It's a very low calorie way of eating a pasta look a like dish . How do they taste? Fabulous!

There are many brands of spiralizers, but the one I bought on Amazon  is very reasonable, and I've been using mine for years  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

                                   
                                  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

Making vegetable noodles is fast and easy and something really different. Once you have a sprializer, you can go crazy making noodles from carrots  , beets into pasta noodles, and so much more. There is something about regular pasta that really sticks to the ribs, literally, but not this zucchini pasta. It's light and delicious and made from the raw vegetable using a simple tool that every kitchen should have called a "spiralizer". I made two different recipes: one with sauce and the other with mushrooms.

                          

Back to our zucchini pasta dishes- The whole family will love these simple delicious dishes, and if you are conscious of counting calories, it is much lower in calories and much more nutritious than regular or gluten free pasta. Vegetables are good for you and most of us need to eat more of them. Why not enjoy them when they taste like pasta!!

Here are some reasons to eat enjoy these fun and very easy to make zucchini noodles
  • If you are celebrating Passover-   these vegetable noodles are a grain free and make a fun meal!! 
  • If you are celebrating Easter, this nutritious recipe will make a light and fabulous side for any holiday meal.
  • If you are vegetarian- Makes a great entree
  • If you are vegan , leave out the cheese and make a marinara sauce
  • If you prefer raw- try my amazing raw zucchini recipe made with sundried tomatoes for the sauce
  • If you are weight conscious- You will LOVE these noodle alternatives- low in calories 
Recipe #1
Ingredients:
1 medium zucchini
1 cup of marinara sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil or butter

Directions:
Using a spiralizer ( very very easy) follow easy directions to make the noodles -takes about 1-  2 minutes to turn into noodles
In a skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil or butter and saute the noodles very quickly for about a minute and half ( don't over cook)
Place into a bowl, cover with sauce and cheese.
Eat and enjoy

Or if you prefer You can eat your zucchini pasta raw or cooked. So dig in and enjoy this nutritious and very tasty dish.


Used a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles
I ate this raw without sauteing the zucchini - delicious 
                       

Recipe #2 - Zucchini and Mushrooms
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
optional: Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Saute mushrooms in a little olive oil or butter
sprialize the zucchini into noodles
Add zucchini to mushrooms and sautee just 1 minute longer!
Toss with grated cheese if desired and enjoy
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zucchini made with a sprializer
zucchini just after spiralized
since zucchini is a non starchy vegetable it is zero points plus on WW.. so enjoy this healthy lunch.

sauteed zucchini tossed with Parmesan cheese
Zucchini sauteed a little and then tossed with a little Parmesan- Amazing

mushrooms sauteing in a skillet
sauteing mushrooms for zucchini 


sprialized zucchini noodles tossed with mushrooms
toss mushrooms and zucchini together


sprialized zucchini and mushrooms with a fried egg
I added an egg to eat it with.. It made a nice lunch

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You can check out the spiralizers on Amazon:  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White

may be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grain Free Flat Bread in 20 minutes



This delicious gluten free/grain free flat bread has to be one of the best and easiest I've ever made! Look, I'm not a baker, and making bread is usually a little intimidating for me. In fact, I usually just don't even attempt it at all.. However, this recipe is so easy and so fast and fool proof, I could make it every day ( and I might)

. Prep time 5-10 minutes, baking time 15 minutes, and the finished product freezes beautifully. It's made from Plantains, not flour!
These are plantains, not bananas- They are higher in starch and lower in sugar
when green you can cook with them, when yellow they become sweet like a banana
I've never used a plantain before either, but I picked up three greenish  plantains in my supermarket ( 59 cents each) , peeled two of them by scoring 4 sides and peeling it down, then I  followed the easy recipe directions. The results were amazingly surprising. The plantains make a delicious gluten free/grain free bread without the use of expensive gluten free flours .( the greener the plantain the less sweet the taste- if you buy them yellow they are sweet and not as suitable for bread unless you want a sweet bread)
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I first was introduced to this recipe by my dear friend Laura ( author of the following books: Disaster Blaster: A Kid's Guide to Being Home Alone, The Summerman Time Travel Matchmaking Agency - Book One: Open for Business, and  Food No Matter What! Recipes for Perfect Dining in an Imperfect World;) Laura  has been experimenting with this recipe for the past few months.  She not only excitedly shared the recipe, she physically guided me through the easy step by step process, and in less than 1/2 hour, we were enjoying a fresh batch of  this delightful bread. Laura makes the bread, cuts it in rectangular slices, and freezes it. The slices are then available whenever she needs a slice for a sandwich or toast.

In addition, the recipe is also extremely versatile. It can be made vegetarian or vegan and can be seasoned with any kind of spice or seeds. It can be made savory  with spices or sweet with the addition of fruit puree, pumpkin puree, etc. So this one basic recipe can yield a variety of different tasting  breads. In addition, if you vary the amount of liquid, you can use the same recipe to make bread, crackers, chips, or even a cake like consistency.

What's more is that I realized the recipe meets kosher for Passover dietary guidelines- it contains no leaven so  I CAN MAKE IT and Eat it FOR PASSOVER !! Forget the 7.99 box of gluten free matzoh! This recipe is much tastier, much healthier, and much less expensive than packaged gluten free matzo ( if you can even find it). It doesn't taste like matzo , it tasted better.

It's hard for me to believe  that during the 4 years of writing a gluten free blog and 5 years of reading gluten free blogs and magazines, I had never come across this kind of bread recipe before.

Usually, the gluten free bread recipes are made with coconut, almond, or rice flours and other hard to find expensive ingredients ; this bread is made with PLANTAINS..am inexpensive vegetable/fruit ? , not a flour .

It's the fastest and easiest bread I have ever made and truthfully the tastiest. I don't  know what else to say, except that if you need to eat gluten or grain free, you must try it !!

Ingredients: 
2  organic green plantain, peeled and sliced ( cut off the ends, scored 4 sides, and peel) 
2 eggs ( or substitute 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 4 Tablespoon water for each egg) 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
optional: seasoning or seeds of your choice- sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, caraway seeds, 
spices of your choice- oregano, cumin. or make it plain

Directions: 
Put sliced plantains into the blender and whiz , add the 2 eggs and blend until creamy. (Works great in a Nutribullet! ) Using a spatula, pour the batter onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and spread. Top with seeds if desired I used sesame seeds and some caraway seeds. 
Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes of 350. Remove and place on a slotted rack. Flip the flatbread over to cool. Slice into rectangles. Enjoy it hot or allow to cool and place in a ziplock bag to freeze. 

score the plantain of 4 sides


Peel it  and then slice it
Put slices and eggs  and whiz everything in the blender or nutri bullet

Using a spatula , spread evenly onto a parchment covered cookie sheet


I put seeds on half and then baked it at 375 degrees 


You can toast it before eating if you like it crispy, but it's great just the way it is
When you want to eat it, you can toast until crispy or defrost and use the slices for a sandwich. 
There are ways to make this thicker, thinner to use as crackers etc. More to come in future posts
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Friday, April 4, 2014

13 Gluten Free Passover Recipes 2014

                               


Passover is a time of some dietary restrictions, but there is no need to turn to processed packaged Passover foods when there are so many wonderful recipes you can make that are easy, flavorful, healthy and perfect for Passover. 

I have rounded up some great ideas for Passover this year from a variety of blogs that I enjoy!  You can eat well and still keep the Passover eating rules.

And whether you celebrate Passover or not, these grain free ideas are also great for Easter or anytime of the year. Hope you like them.

1. Charoset Bar .

The first idea is fun and inspiring. It comes from a blog that I follow, " Couldn't Be Parve"..
Shoshana makes a Chorset Bar  out  of all kinds of fruits and nuts for the holiday
For those that are not familiar with Passover, Charoset is a fruit and nut recipe that is traditionally served at the Passover ritual Seder.

2. Grain Free Pecan Muffins 

Shoshana also makes these mini muffins that look devine!They are made from all wholesome nutritious ingredients! Just the way I like them!

3, Grain Free Butternut Squash "Souffle" Pie

This recipe comes from Elana's Pantry- another blog I subscribe to . You'll find many great traditional recipes made healthy on Elana's blog. Always something wonderful cooking in her pantry.

4. Pizza For Passover- Grain Free  

This wonderful pizza is actually one of my recipes! It's made with a vegetable crust that is fabulous. You'll love it at Passover or all year round. Feel free to add any toppings of your choice- sauteed mushrooms? caramelized onions? 

Traditional Askenazi Charoset for Passover or a great spread for the health conscious

5. Apple and Nut Charoset  


This is also one of my recipes handed down from my grandmother and a family favorite. Easy to make and traditionally eaten at the Passover Seder meal. But it's also makes a great dessert for kids to eat on celery sticks. My grandmother's chopped apple, walnuts, cinnamon, apricot Charoset makes a health conscious  chunky spread


6. Sweet Spaghetti Squash Kugel  -   

This recipe comes from a blog called Cara's Cravings. It's  a clever idea for a grain free, gluten free, Passover kugel! I can only imagine that with the raisins and apples it must be delicious.


7.Mascarpone & Caramelized Fig Blintzes (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)- 

you have to see this one to believe it.. Looks amazing and perfect for Passover ( just might need to substitute a kosher for Passover cheese ( Ricotta?) Cottage cheese blended? Cara has some amazing recipes on her site. 

8.Mini Potato Kugels  

These mini kugels are made from grated potatoes and are baked in muffin tins! The recipe is from Mayim Bialik star of the popular Big Bang TV Show.. Mayim's recipe was featured on a Jewish parenting blog called Kveller. The recipe makes a great individual kugel for each person and of course meets gluten free standards. Could you also make grated sweet potato  kugels? Not sure..

9.Vegetarian Soup ( chicken like soup) 

 I found this soup on Martha Stewart's website. She also included matzo balls which are not gluten free- However the soup is all natural, kosher for Passover, vegan, and looks delicious. Great if you are having vegetarian guests. 

10. No Bake Chocolate Macaroons-   

Angela at one of my favorite blogs, Oh She Glows,  offers a no bake healthy macaroon that is perfect for Passover. Healthy ingredients makes these macaroons a winner.

11. Spinach Potato Nests

 This recipe makes a beautiful presentation. It is naturally gluten free using potatoes as the base filled with a spinach mixture. A perfect side dish at the Passover Seder.  Looks like a small bird's nest. The portions are individual . I found this recipe on a blog called May I Have that Recipe? They are two sisters who share many traditional Sephardic Jewish recipes. Great Blog!

12. Roasted Mushroom Quinoa Risotto 

  

Quinoa is not a grain ; it is a seed ,so it is permissible to eat on Passover. What a fabulous looking risotto and a perfect recipe to eat during the week of Passover. It's posted on a wonderful blog called, The Shiksa. I always find wonderful traditional Jewish recipes on this blog.

Breakfast Banana 2 ingredient Pancakes

13. 2 Ingredient Banana Pancakes (grain free)- for breakfast 


This is another one of my recipes . It is a perfect quick and easy Passover breakfast that has only two ingredients , is made in the blender,  and then cooks up in a minute. Top with fresh berries.  Has no grain and is delicious and healthy at Passover or all year long. Everyone loves these.



Easy Sides: 
Baked Potatoes
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Add sliced avocado to salads 
Guacamole - just mash 2 avocados with lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley or cilantro, celery..
Crudites platter with guacamole dip, or other homemade dip
Fennel- just slice and eat like celery or chop and add to your salads
Cottage cheese, quartered tomatoes ,  sliced cucumber a litte EVOO

Real Food "Grab and Go " Ideas during Passover

  • Hard boiled egg
  • Cheese Stick
  • Yogurt 
  • Fruit
  • Nuts 
  • Smoothie- fruit or vegetable smoothies are great pick me ups during Passover or Easter. They continue to provide excellent nutrition during a time when we tend to over indulge in heavy foods
  • Cut up veggies - carrot sticks, celery sticks, cut up red pepper , cucumber sticks ( I use Persian small cucumbers) 


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just 4 Ingredient Bean Soup ( crock pot)




This simple soup is made in a crock pot ( my favorite way to cook) and has only 4 ingredients.  It's rich and creamy and delicious.It takes only 4 minutes of prep time, has only 4 ingredients, and makes 4 large bowls of soup.It's the perfect answer if you are busy , but still want quality homemade healthy soup.

The crock pot is a real time saver. Since this recipe has virtually no prep, you can turn on your crock pot, add the 4 simple ingredients, and walk away. Then go about your business, do whatever you have to do all day while your soup is cooking. As it cooks the beans soften, the flavors mingle, and the soup is created. It's that simple. Dinner is ready. Serve it with a salad or some gluten free crackers. Of course as with all of my recipes, this recipe is made using real food and meets gluten free and vegetarian standards.

This is a very basic soup, but feel free to add additional spices ( pepper, garlic, ) or even additional vegetables ( 1/2 cup chopped carrots and  1/2 cup chopped celery, chopped fresh parsley, ) but it isn't necessary. This simple soup tastes good just the way it is..

 So, get out your crock pot, dump the thoroughly washed dry beans into the crock pot along with the salt, oil, and water.  8-10 hours later, the crock pot seems to magically melt all of the beans into a delicious creamy soup.

Beans provide healthy fiber, protein, and nourishment. Beans are a good healthy choice.

 Could this recipe get any easier or more frugal?



4 Ingredients

1 16 ounce bag of dry Great Northern Beans ( washed and soaked overnight in water and drained) 
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
14 cups of water

Directions

1) Soaked and drained beans
2) Add uncooked beans, salt, oil and water to crock pot.
3) Turn crock pot on medium and cook for about  8-10 hours . 








                                shared on Super Sunday 
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