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Chicken Sausage, Apple, and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

27 May

Stuffed-Acorn-Squash



Chicken Sausage, Apple, and Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

      • 1 acorn squash
      • half sweet onion, diced
      • 2 cloves garlic, diced
      • 3 links of chicken sausage (I used Sweet Apple from Al Fresco), casing removed & crumbled
      • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
      • 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
      • salt and pepper
      • turmeric, coriander, and smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.  Trim the intact end down so that you will be able to turn it over and it will sit level, then salt and pepper the flesh of the squash.  Spread a few tablespoons of oil on a sheet pan (I used coconut oil), then place the squash cut sides facing down onto the sheet pan.  Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes or until the squash becomes flexible.  Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your squash obviously!   While the squash is roasting, heat up about a tablespoon of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions and the garlic for a few minutes until they become translucent.  Remove from the pan and place in a small bowl.  Place crumbled chicken sausage into the pan and cook until browned.  Add the diced apple into the pan, then add the onion and garlic mixture back into the pan.  Stir to combine and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the quinoa and season to taste with turmeric, coriander, smoked paprika, and salt. Once the acorn squash is ready, turn them over and fill with the sausage mixture.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

These were pretty portable and were easy to take to lunch with me, but fair warning: your coworkers are going to track you down to find out where the delicious smelling food is coming from and ask you what you are eating.  And BONUS: you get to eat the bowl!

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Cheddar Quinoa Cakes

2 Sep

Last night, I ventured into the dark space that has become my kitchen.  With our schedule being so hectic lately, it hasn’t seen much use.  But last night, the reclamation began.

I started by dusting off this bag of quinoa in my pantry:

Quinoa

And ended with these amazing little cakes:

CheddarQuinoaCakes

Cheddar Quinoa Cakes with Pesto (Pin-spired by SpoonForkBacon)

  • 2 c. cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 T. corn flour
  • 1 T. pesto
  • 1/2 T. EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Heat up oil of your choice (I used canola oil because it’s what I had on hand) in a pan for about 5 minutes.  Then, form the mixture into patties and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes each side.  I flipped mine when they turned a nice golden brown color, but the timing will change depending on the oil you are using.  Since I had to cook these in 2 batches, I placed the finished ones on a cooking sheet lined with paper towels in a 200F oven.  They stayed warm and I was able to absorb the excess oil.  Super easy!

I garnished with a mix of pesto, olive oil, and a dab of mayo.

Southwest Stuffed Portobello Caps

24 Jul

Last night, I was in a little bit of a pickle.

I had planned to make Avocado Chicken Parmesan, but when I got home I realized that we were completely out of Panko.  And pasta sauce.  Oh yeah, and Parmesan.  I must’ve just had avocados on the brain all day because the bunch I bought the other day are perfectly ripe!  At that point, I’ve got chicken ready to go but we lacked anything to go with it.  After assessing the items left in my fridge (we are desperately in need of a grocery store run), I found some giant portobello mushroom caps.  Immediately I knew this was perfect, because you can sort of modge podge together a stuffing to go in them.  Its almost impossible to go wrong.

I remembered that I had grabbed these at the store, but had yet to try them:

ChickenSausage

I knew I had a can of black beans in the pantry along with some quinoa.  I have been a little late to the quinoa party.

Quinoa

I know its loaded with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, B2, and manganese.  I get it.  (PS – Check out the vintage print on my pantry shelf liners.  At one point, the walls were covered with the same pattern, too.)  I had been served quinoa a few times and I just wasn’t impressed.  I think you have to find your own seasoning formula for quinoa, otherwise its not that appealing.

Southwest Stuff Portobellos

SouthwestStuffedBellas

Ingredients:

  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 3 chicken sausage links (or protein of your choice), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 can of black beans
  • chicken broth
  • cooking spray/olive oil
  • Spices: chili powder, cumin, coriander, ancho chili powder, Lawry’s

1.  Prep: Preheat the oven to 450F and wipe the portobellos with a damp towel.  Prep a cooking sheet by spraying it with cooking spray.  Then, spray the mushrooms caps as well.  (You could use olive oil here, but I find that it makes mine too moist and they fall apart.)

**Steps 2-4 can be completed all at once to save time!**

2.  Since the chicken sausage was pre-cooked, I just sauteed it in a skillet to reheat it.  Then I cut it up and set it aside.

3.  I drained and rinsed the can of black beans, then mixed together a teaspoon of olive oil, cumin, coriander, and Lawry’s to taste.  I popped them in the microwave for about 3 minutes, until the beans were tender.  Then, I combined them with the chicken sausage.

4.  I cooked the quinoa in chicken broth to add instant flavor, then when it was finished cooking, I seasoned it with chili powder and ancho chili powder.  Then, I combined it in with the chicken mixture.

5.  Once all the ingredients are combined, top the mushrooms and add some cheese if you want to.  These would have been excellent with some queso blanco, but all I had was shredded cheddar.  They would have been just as good without cheese, though, too!

6.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.

I topped mine with avocado and a little bit of plain Greek yogurt.  Delicious, healthy, and accidentally gluten-free!

SouthwestStuffedBellas

♥ Doll’s Birthday ♥

12 Mar

Yesterday was a very important day: her♥ birthday.  There are 20 days a year where we are only 1 year apart in age and I like to remind her of that constantly, although she insists that she doesn’t feel as old as I do.  I’m obviously keeping her around so she keeps me young. 😉

Since our schedule has been so hectic lately, I tried to make her birthday as special as I could without taking time away from work.

On Sunday, her dad invited us over for some takeout from Bravo! Cucina Italiana.  I am not a humungo-fan of Italian food (which is odd because my parents are constantly cooking pasta dishes), so I opted for the Balsamico Cobb Salad.  I didn’t take a pic because her dad is a little weary of my phone being on me at all times.  Its nothing fancy, just a salad with egg, tomato, bacon, grilled balsamic chicken, Gorgonzola, and these little crunchy pasta pieces that reminded me of Chinese food.  I of course indulged in the creamy horseradish dressing because I am obsessed with horseradish anything.

On Monday, I basically spent the entire day in the kitchen.

I made us a larger-than-usual breakfast spread with eggs, bacon (extra-crispy), and toast.

BirthdayBreakfast

Lunch was coconut-crusted chicken tenders, Brussels sprouts, and sliced pineapple.  It didn’t even last long enough for a photo op.  Then, I immediately went home and strapped up!

Apron

She requested chocolate cake with vanilla whipped cream icing and voila…

An over-the-top, ginormous cake:

Picture 007

CakeTopDetail

Probably too much for two people, but luckily we have tons of family members we plan on pawning it off on today.  As opposed to cakes I’ve attempted in the past, this one was actually good.  I always try to get creative and use fondant, but guess what…fondant tastes like crap and as far as I’m concerned should only be used to make accents on a cake.  In your face baking shows.

She requested chicken fettuccine alfredo with broccoli for dinner, which I obliged.  We had tried this flax seed pasta by Hodgson Mills in the past, but always with red sauce.

Picture 012

(Yes, we are still under construction.  Miss Perfectionist refuses to primer until the mudding and sanding is impeccable.)

I still love the pasta, but I will never again make it with alfredo.  It just…wasn’t good.  Like the pasta absorbed the alfredo or something.  I actually can’t put my finger on exactly what happened, but just trust me on this.  Skip the alfredo with the flax seed pasta.  We basically just ate around it and had alfredo chicken and broccoli.  Oopsie!

Anyway, my doll♥ seemed to have a good birthday even though dinner was ruined because of my insistence on eating healthier.  Cheers to another orbit around the sun 🙂

Friday Things

8 Feb

There are so many things I want to say about Wednesday’s post, but I will have to save that for another day. 🙂

Today has been busy and its not even halfway through my day yet.  We’ve got some help at the house today and I’ve been told that the kitchen will be wired and dry-walled by the time I come home tonight.  YIPPEE!!!!!!  I made sure to take some before pictures late last night as I was emptying the kitchen of its contents.

This morning, I had to do diaper & laundry deliveries by myself.  Stressful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about doing deliveries by myself.  I always manage to get all turned around, even though I know exactly where I’m going.  I constantly find myself in the wrong or slow or turning lane.  And I do NOT deal well with detours.  After arriving at my first delivery several minutes before what would be considered “LATE” (<– my least favorite thing in the world), I decided to catch my breath and calm my nerves with coffee.

If you are from Pittsburgh, you know there are about a million coffee stops near Shadyside, but parking is always an obstacle for me.  I decided to swing by Coffee Tree Roasters in East Liberty for several reasons.  One, there is always access to parking.  Two, it was on the way to my next delivery.  Three, I love Bakery Square.

Bakery Square

The East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh is one of those in-between neighbors which is in the process of changing from a crime-riddled ghetto to one of Pittsburgh’s now re-gentrified destination spots.  It butts up against one of the most posh urban neighborhoods (Shadyside) and one with the worst reputation (Homewood).  Within a one mile radius, there is both an Anthropologie, a prestigious all-girls private school, and several low-income housing projects.  I think that its a neighborhood that is slowly assuming a new identity, but in a sustainable way.  The neighborhood needed some new life breathed into it, I just hope that as it grows it does so by welcoming people of all income levels.

The development at Bakery Square was a turning point for East Liberty, in my opinion.  The development of several blocks of vacant, run-down warehouses into luxury offices, storefronts and living space gave people a reason to give East Liberty another chance.  The fact that Google opened offices in the Bakery Square development surely didn’t hurt.

Nestled front and center is Coffee Tree Roasters:

CoffeeTreeRoasters2

Feeling crunched for time, I just ordered a large black coffee and grabbed one of these vegan energy bars at the register:

HeartThrive

I know the quality is a little bad, but that’s what you get for taking pictures while driving.  I should include the disclaimer here that I am not a vegan or gluten-free, nor do I have any real desire to be.  This was an impulse buy – kudos to whoever the genius was who realized product placement was a good idea.  These Heart Thrive bars by The Healthy Baking Company (also the makers of the California Suncake) were dense.  And dry.  It wasn’t bad though.  It was just different that what I’m used to.  They claimed to contain ingredients with a low glycemic index, which sustain energy over a longer period of time instead of causing energy spike and dip in one spurt.  I’d say that was accurate.  Normally, I spend mid-morning in an english muffin or bagel-induced carb coma and I wasn’t feeling sluggish at all after these two cakes.

HeartThrive2

Also, I chose Cranberry simply because the only other option left was Raisin Spice. After checking out their website, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for a Chocolate Chip one.  I would definitely try these again, but in a different flavor.  Cheers to trying new things!

CoffeeTreeRoasters

And to the little Transit that could.  She’s being quite a trooper while she waits for her bumper to come in (its on back-order until March).

transit

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