Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Healthy Holiday Appetizer Solution: Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

Tis the season for eating!  This time of year, we’re all on the prowl for something festive and tasty to bring and serve at holiday celebrations and dinner parties.  But you shouldn’t always have to sacrifice good nutrition in order to please your friends and family members’ taste buds!

These Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties caught my eye (On Pinterest of course!) first because of the festive flavors like cranberry and sweet potato.  When I saw that they are protein-packed, gluten-free, and most importantly, simple to prepare, I was sold!

This dish can be made into bite-size appetizers, or formed into larger patties to serve over a salad or on their own.  The opportunities are endless!

I decided to try both the bite-sized and the larger patties.

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
1 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook quinoa and wild rice according to package instructions.  Set each aside to cool.
  • Steam sweet potato chunks for 20-25 minutes.  Puree with blender, mixer or food processor.  Set aside to cool.

Sweet potatoes can add holiday pizzazz to hum-drum recipes!

  • Combine sweet potatoes, cooked quinoa, cooked rice, green onions, cranberries and seasonings.

You’ll need to really get in there with your hands to make sure the dough ingredients are evenly combined, so wash up and don’t be afraid to get dirty.

  • Form the dough into patties (whatever size that suits your fancy!).
  • Arrange the patties on lightly greased parchment paper or stoneware and bake for 20 minutes, or until patties are lightly brown and crisp on the outside.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.  Or let them chill in the fridge and serve over salad.  The choice is yours!

Colorful and delicious!  Who knew holiday comfort food could be healthy?

Your kids might even like this dish, at least my 9 month old did!  This recipe renders a large quantity, so if you’re not serving it at a party, be prepared to eat some leftovers.  I checked, and they are just as good for lunch the next day!

I love recipes that you can switch up and do a little different every time.  Keep the sweet potatoes, rice and quinoa, and then feel free to mix up your other ingredients and seasonings.  Next time I might put a southwest spin on this dish and replace the cranberries and sage with cilantro and black beans and a side of salsa.  I also saw this slightly more complicated but very tasty looking recipe here.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you have a blessed, safe and healthy holiday season!

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Holiday Inspiration: Autumn Harvest Soup

It’s time to get ready for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!  You just can’t top a day that is solely dedicated to eating delicious food and counting your blessings.  Butternut squash is one of the must-haves for this time of year, and I was looking for a comforting soup that incorporated it as well as many other fall staples.  I found this recipe in Natural Health Magazine, one of my go-to inspiration sources.  It’s simple, gluten-free, vegan and perfect for serving at holiday gatherings.  It’s also low in fat, and high in fiber and protein.

Nothing says fall like butternut squash, apples and nutmeg together in one recipe!

Ingredients
1 tbsp oil
2 diced onions
5 cups vegetable broth
1 diced medium butternut squash
2 diced green apples
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp dried sage
1∕4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp honey
Garnish: toasted walnuts

Preparation Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the broth, squash, apples, ginger, sage and nutmeg.

Now all the fabulous fall flavors can start mingling!

  • Add salt to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the honey (Great for soothing coughs and scratchy throats this time of year)

When it looks like this, you’re ready to purée.

  • Purée in a VitaMix or food processor, serve and garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

Mmmm, the perfect comfort food for a chilly night!

This soup made the perfect warming meal on our first chilly weekend of the year.  My 8-month old couldn’t get enough of it, so I froze the leftovers in small containers for him to enjoy over the coming weeks.

Whether it’s for a big holiday crowd or just for your family, I know you’ll love this soup.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Comfort with a Kick: Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Now that Fall is in full swing, I’m craving everything pumpkin.  I’ve already enjoyed more than my share of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, and last weekend I made my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  You don’t have to look far to find recipes for decadent pumpkin desserts, but they can cause one to “fluff up” pretty quickly if you know what I mean!  I’ve been on the prowl for a lighter, nutrient-dense pumpkin recipe, and something a little unique to pass along to you.  I stumbled across this Pumpkin Tortilla Soup recipe on Pinterest, and I only needed to make a couple of tweaks to make it a bit more nutritious.  I’ve had my eye on it for a couple of weeks, and I was so excited to finally give it a try this weekend.  It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and packed with delicious fall flavor.

Ingredients (Serves 6):

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of finely chopped cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Depending how much of a kick you want!)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut oil for frying
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed

Preparation Instructions:

  • Cut 6 of the tortillas into 1/2-inch squares.

This soup can be prepped in under five minutes!

  • Heat oil (preferably a more stable fat like avocado or coconut oil) in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and chopped tortillas, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
  • Add the cumin and cayenne and sauté for another minute.
  • Add pumpkin, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer until you’re ready to serve.

Let the soup simmer awhile so that all the delicious flavors have time to combine!

  • While the soup is simmering, cut the remaining 6 tortillas into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat 1/2 inch of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips onto paper towels to drain.  Season with a little coarse sea salt if you wish.

The recipe I used called for frying in veggie oil, but I used coconut oil as it’s a much more stable fat and won’t lose all of its nutritional value when heated.

  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.

Colorful, Hearty, Spicy and Delicious!

If you want even more kick like I did, season your bowl with some habanero or Tobasco sauce.

I absolutely loved this twist on a typical tortilla soup, and I’ll definitely be making it again this Fall.  In fact, it’s now in my top ten list of recipes I’ve blogged about the last couple years!  Give it a try and make it your own by switching up the seasonings or adding some dried peppers or chopped jalapeno.  It can stand on its own, or you can serve it with a side salad and chips and salsa.  The options are endless.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

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Gourmet on the Go: Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Now that summer is officially drawing to a close and the kids are back in school and their various activities, many parents are already stressed out and over committed.  It’s pretty sad, but most people are burned out by Labor Day!  As a result, wholesome meals are often sacrificed for the sake of time and convenience.  Many of our patients at Longevity as well as my friends tell me they just don’t have time to cook healthy meals, so they rely on microwave meals and drive-thru dinners.  That just won’t do!

I’m always on the prowl for quick and simple meals that can feed an active family without skimping on good nutrition.  That’s what inspired this four-item dinner recipe.  Yes, you read that right, FOUR items!  Chicken, goat cheese, fresh spinach leaves and Trader Joe’s jarred bruschetta.  This dish is high in protein, gluten-free, and can be prepped in minutes.  That’s my kind of meal!

Ingredients (Serves 4):
4 chicken breasts
1 bag of baby spinach leaves
4 oz of goat cheese (I used the garlic and herb kind to add a little more flavor)
1 jar of TJ’s jarred bruschetta

This is a delicious TJ’s staple to keep in the house for meals and appetizers!

Preparation Instructions:

  • Cut a slit (Butterfly Cut) in the side of each chicken breast and lay them flat in a large casserole dish.
  • Open the breasts and spread 1 oz of goat cheese inside each one.
  • Lay about 5 spinach leaves on top of the cheese inside each breast.
  • Close the breasts back up.  Empty the jar of bruschetta on top and spread evenly.
  • Cook for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the chicken is at least 160 degrees and tender.  Serve and enjoy!

You may even be able to use this recipe to sneak some antioxidant-rich spinach into your unsuspecting kids!

I served the chicken with whole wheat couscous and salad.

There are several ways you could tweak this recipe.  You could switch out the spinach for fresh basil.  Or, you could switch out the goat cheese for pepper jack, feta or another cheese that tickles your fancy.  If you don’t have a TJ’s near you or can’t find a good bruschetta you like, you can use marinara sauce instead and serve the chicken over pasta for a more Italian spin.  You could also serve it with quinoa, brown rice, or just skip the starch all together and go with veggies.  Some of the different recipes I used for inspiration called for turkey bacon inside the breasts.  The options are endless!

So you see, a nutritious, family friendly dinner is possible despite your crazy schedule!  Do you have a go-to meal that helps your family get good nutrition on the run?  (Some of the “old faithfuls” in my repertoire include chicken lettuce wraps, white bean chicken chili and turkey and vegetable meatloaf.)  Please feel free to share your secrets with me and my readers!

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Yum on the Run: Honey Mustard Chicken and Rice

As I strive to balance a home, marriage and part-time job, as well as care for a 4-month old baby who is usually a little fussy around supper time, I’m always on the prowl for quick and easy nutritious dinner ideas.  Whenever I get in a dinner rut, I go prowling on Pinterest, natural health and cooking magazines and around the blogosphere to find something new, and this dish was my latest find.  I chose it because I always keep the ingredients on hand, and it’s gluten-free.  Plus, I’m always looking for a new spin on hum-drum grilled chicken (Check out these other chicken recipes: Chicken Marbella, Chicken Walnicot Delight, Cilantro Lime Chicken).

Honey Mustard Chicken and Rice

Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 cup brown rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1 large bunch (8 oz) of greens (I used spinach, but you could also use chopped kale or mustard greens)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preparation Instructions:

  • Prepare the brown rice according to the instructions on the packaging and set aside.
  • Saute chicken in a large nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Saute the onion, greens and red pepper until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the brown rice and cook until warmed, or another 2 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

Don’t hold back on the antioxidant-rich greens. They cook down quickly!

Adding veggies is a great way to dress up basic brown rice dishes.

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, mustard, vinegar, oil, garlic and 2 tablespoons of water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and whisk together.
  • Put the chicken back in the skillet and pour the honey mustard mixture over it.  Save a little of the mixture to go on your rice.  Saute for about 3 minutes, turning the chicken often to coat it with the sauce.

The combination of ingredients in the sauce adds a punch of flavor!

  • Serve the rice pilaf on a plate, then top with chicken.  Drizzle with remaining honey mustard, and sprinkle with parsley.  Enjoy!

This meal is great for a busy weeknight, and could even pass at a dinner party!

My husband and I both really enjoyed this dish.  It’s definitely one I will be adding to my quick and healthy dinner repertoire!

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A Splash of Summer: Fruit and Herb Salsa

We’ve had a beautiful spring in Georgia, and summer is now upon us.  Now is the time to load up on all the colorful produce you can get your hands on, and enjoy antioxidant-rich entrées, salads, smoothies and snacks.  Mexican food is my absolute favorite, and I was recently inspired to make my own salsa, but with a summer twist.  It’s packed with flavor from fresh cilantro and mint and sweet strawberries and mango, and the jalapeno and green onion give it a little kick.  Just throw all the ingredients together in a big bowl, serve with your favorite chips and enjoy.  (I’m loving Trader Joe’s Quinoa and Black Bean Tortilla Chips lately….they’re gluten free too.)

Look for creative ways to add antioxidants into your diet this summer.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 16 oz package of strawberries, diced
1 mango, diced
3/4 of a small purple onion, diced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (just the white and light green parts)
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1/2 an orange bell pepper, diced
juice of 2 limes
salt to taste

Next time I’m going to try this salsa as a topper for fish tacos!

This take on salsa is a combination of several different recipes I found online (Oh, how I love Pinterest!).  If you’re not a big mango fan, you could swap it for pineapple.  One recipe called for ground ginger and another for green chiles.  I might add a little corn next time.  Feel free to take this dish and make it your own!  It’s sure to be a hit at any summer gathering.

Make this your healthiest summer yet!

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The Ultimate Sinus Cleansing Recipe: Roasted Green Chile Chicken Soup

Hi Everyone!  Even though it’s hard to believe it now that we’re finally getting some winter temperatures, spring is right around the corner, and that means allergy and sinus season will be at its peak in just a few weeks.  During the spring months, the Longevity pharmacy gets countless calls from people struggling with headaches, runny noses, congestion and other sinus/allergy symptoms.  (Here are a few ideas for Spring cleaning your diet this year, and here are some nutritional/supplemental ideas for combating your allergies before they start!)

Speaking of allergy season, I came across this soup, full of sinus-cleansing ingredients, and just had to give it a try.  It was the perfect comforting dish for a chilly winter weekend.  (This recipe is gluten and dairy free, for all of you with these common food sensitivities.)

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
2 tsp organic coconut oil
1 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 full chicken breasts (6 individual), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 roasted poblano peppers, skinned, seeded and diced
1 roasted anaheim pepper, skinned, seeded and diced
4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, or 1/2 tsp cumin
8 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions:

  • To roast peppers, place in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to a sealed ziplock bag to steam for 15 minutes.  The skins should peel right off after this process so you can easily remove the seeds and dice the chilies.

    Get ready to add some sinus-clearing heat to your hum-drum soup recipe!

  • In a large pot heated to medium high, add the oils and sauté the onions until soft.  Add the garlic.  Remove this mixture and set aside.

This little concoction alone makes the whole house smell wonderful!

  • Sauté the chicken in the same pot until the pieces are firm and cooked through.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on high for at least 20 minutes.

The chilies and fresh cilantro pack so much flavor and health benefit.

  • Simmer until ready to serve.  Adjust and add seasonings to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

Your healthy, hearty dinner is ready!

This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.  Stay warm and enjoy!

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