Thursday, February 25, 2010

Warm and Hearty Beef Stew

This is one of my family's all-time favorite cold-weather meals.  Use your favorite red wine and give it ample stewing time to allow the flavors to develope.  Enjoy!

Braised Beef Stew

1 ½ - 2lbs. Stewing Beef

Brown Rice Flour

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

3-4 Potatoes – cut in quarters

3-4 Med. Sized Carrots – cut into ½ in. chunks

2 Celery Stalks – cut into ¼” slices

5-6 Stewing Onions – cut into quarters

2 Bay Leaves

2 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence

4 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

2 C. Red Wine – Merlot is our favorite - however your favorite red wine or even pure concord grape juice can be substituted.

4 C. Beef Broth

Dust beef with brown rice flour. Heat a large skillet or braising pan over Med. heat. Add oil. Brown beef on all sides – approx. 10 minutes – or until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add carrots, celery and onions to pan. Cook 5 min., stirring as needed. Add tomato paste, Herbs de Provence and Bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes. Add wine; reduce until syrupy – about 15 minutes. Add beef broth and potatoes.

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until beef and potatoes are fork tender. Discard bay leaves. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quick 20 minute Weeknight Dinner!

This traditional lentil side dish becomes a quick main meal when you add roasted chicken. Roast Chicken Dal has become one of my favorite dishes to make when I have very little time.  This meal takes 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook.  It doesn't get any better than that! You will need:

1 1/2 teaspoon oil
1 small minced onion
2 teaspoon curry powder (I prefer yellow)
1 15 ounce can lentils or 2 cups cooked lentils
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 lbs. precooked rotisserie breast chicken diced with bones and skin discarded
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 cup plain yogurt or coconut keifer to make it dairy-free

Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add curry powder and cook stirring, until combined with the onion and intensely aromatic, 20 to 30 seconds. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, chicken and salt and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in yogurt. Serve immediately.

This recipe makes 4 servings and has 36g of protein, 10g of fiber and 345 calories per serving. Enjoy this quick easy dinner with your family tonight!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another Side Dish I Love

I am having a lot of fun with side dishes lately so I decided to give you another one to try. I love beans but never knew how to cook them as their own dish. I always put them in other dishes...but a dish on their own? I gave this recipe a try and loved it. It is called Easy Black Beans. You will need the following:

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons ancho, chile or pasilla peppers (or you can simply add black pepper to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
30 ounces black beans
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add ground pepper, cumin, oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add beans, 1 cup of water and tomato paste; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through and the sauce is slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

This recipe makes 8 servings and has 10g of protein and 10g of fiber per serving! This recipe takes approximately 16 minutes to make. Try it, I know you'll love it as much as I do.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Warm and Delicious Side Dish

One of my favorite side dishes is Warm Apple-Cabbage Slaw. This dish takes no more than 10 minutes to make from prep to completion. Add it to any meat, fish or casserole dish in place of a salad for a unique and healthy alternative. This recipe makes 2 servings and is only 68 calories per serving. You will need:

1 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple juice, broth or water (I use good old water)
cider vinegar to taste

Place cabbage, apple and juice(broth or water) in a medium skillet, cover and cook until tender 5-8 minutes. Stir in cider vinegar and salt to taste.

That's it! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gluten-Free Options Packed With Nutrition

I know.  It's far easier to pick-up ready-made, gluten-free items at the grocery store than it is to go to the trouble of making it from scratch at home.  After all, who has time to learn which flour goes with what starch and what grains are no longer an option.  And nutrition - who's thinking about that?  Most of us would be happy just to sit down and eat an enjoyable something... something that's gluten-free.

That said, nutrition is key to getting our health back - and keeping it!  So, here are some quick and easy food options that, when given the next opportunity, will help you to make healthier food choices.
  • Instead of... baked goods made with white rice flour  
  • Choose... baked goods made with brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, nut flours and ground chia seeds.
  • Insead of... corn starch  
  • Choose... tapioca and arrowroot starch.
  • Instead of... white rice 
  • Choose... brown rice, millet, amaranth, gluten-free oats, buckwheat groats, quinoa or a combination of them.
  • Instead of... cold cereal like corn flakes & rice crisps
  • Choose... eggs or tofu scramble or a breakfast bean burrito    
  • Instead of... gf pretzles 
  • Choose... trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, coconut, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
Choosing the healthier option often offers more vitamins and minerals, more healthy fats, less sodium, less processed sugars and overall good health.  Bon Appetite'!          

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So you have Celiac Disease/Gluten-Sensitivity...Now what!?

For those of us who are diagonsed with the inability to eat wheat or gluten containing grains, life can take a dramatic shift down an uncertain culinary path.  "What in the world can I eat?" are the words that I often hear when talking to a newly diagnosed patient.  "A whole lot!", is my response.  I know - long gone are familiar comfort foods that many of us know and love.  Foods like macaroni and cheese, pizza, pasta, muffins, doughnuts... need I go on?  But in spite of this culinary tragedy, there is a silver lining around the gluten-free cloud.  In a word - Creativity.

Our world is so often confined to the small, narrow box in our mind.  We're religious about using the same products, familiar brand-names with virtually no variations.  Many times in the kitchen, it's even worse.  Don't believe me?  Try to make a monthly menu and see how many different meals you can come up with.  Yes, this one is truly sobering.  What's a celiac to do?

I thought it might be worth mentioning here some of these interesting fun facts about food and maybe it will inspire you to expand your culinary horizons:

  • Did you know that there are over 500 different kinds of bananas?
  • Eating 20 tart cherries daily could reduce inflammation and headache pain.
  • There are at least 10,000 varieties of tomatoes, all of which contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant known to help a variety of ailments.
  • There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples in the world.  Each is filled with lots of fiber and makes a great snack for diabetics.
  • Broccoli has more Vit. C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk.  They even contain a good amound of protein!
  • The natural sugar in an apple is more potent than the caffeine in coffee and is better at keeping you awake.
  • 1/2 cup sweet red peppers contain twice as much Vit. C as green peppers
First, step out of the box that we (or someone else) created and step into a world of flavor and color.  Be willing to expand your knowledge and your taste buds.  Here are some ideas on how and where to begin:
  • Enroll in a nutrition/culinary class that focuses on introducing new recipes and ingredients to your specialty diet.
  • Visit sites like and and search gluten-free for delicious new recipe ideas.
  • Make a trip to your local book store and purchase one of the great gluten-free cookbooks available on the market.  Try one new recipe per week.
  • For the adventerous, buy a cookbook that focuses on foods you love.  Get creative and improvise to make it work.
  • Try one new fruit and vegetable per week. 
  • Join a celiac support group.
  • Follow gluten-free blogs like and others to gain valuable information on gf products and recipes.
Today is the first day of your new life - a full, healthy and satisfying life.   



Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Perfect Dinner that's gluten-free and dairy-free!

Tonight I am making Salsa Burgers with Roasted Veggies. This is a great dinner for the weekend when you have about an hour to cook. You will need the following:

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 - 1/2 jar of salsa
1 egg
2 slices of gluten-free bread (I use Le Garden Bakery bread)
2 cup of each: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots
2 tbls. olive oil
salt to taste

First combine your ground beef, egg and salsa in a large bowl. Take the bread slices and crumble them into the mixture. Use your hands to combine thoroughly. It should not be really moist but a firm consistancy. Heat your oil in a pan and make patties about the size of your palm and cook through.

Next chop your veggies and place them on a sheet pan lined with foil. Dizzle some oil on them and season with a little salt. Stir to insure that all of the veggies are coated with oil. Place in a preheated oven at 400 for 30 minutes.

Try this delicious and filling meal tonight in your house. It makes about 8-10 burgers and 2 servings of veggies. That's enough for leftovers! So have some fun in the kitchen tonight!