Sweet and Spicy Spinach Salad

19 Jun

This salad has it all, it’s slightly sweet, spicy crunchy and nutty.

Spinach is the base of this is salad, then I loaded it up with carrots, daikon, shredded red cabbage and red bell peppers.

The dressing has a citrus sweetness and a spicy kick that pairs perfectly with the crunchiness of the salad.

This salad is great to serve as a side salad or can stand alone as an entree salad.

Sweet and Spicy Spinach Salad

serves 4 side salads or 2 entree salads

Salad

5 cup baby spinach

1/2 cup daikon, julienned

1/2 cup carrot, julienned

1/2 cup jicama, julienned

1 cup red cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced

1/4 cup red onion, sliced

Sweet and Spicy Dressing

1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

1-2 teaspoon garlic chili paste, optional

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan cook orange juice over medium heat until it is reduced by half.
  2. Add orange juice, honey, tamari, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, red onion, and garlic chili paste into a blender or food processor. Pulse until dressing is smooth.
  3. Add all salad veggies together in a large bowl, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Toss until completely combined.
  4. Serve immediately or dressing can be kept separately in the fridge until ready to use.

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas

17 Jun

I live in Texas, there for I love Mexican food and Tex-Mex food. So when I went to make enchiladas I knew I had a high bar set before me. As I researched enchiladas recipes I found most used canned or jarred sauce. Now, I am not one to buy a sauce when I can make it, so I researched the spice mixture and I believe I came up with some mighty tasty enchiladas.

My sauce ended up being a mixture of chili powder, oregano, cocoa, tomato paste, brown rice flour and water. This sauce tastes very authentic.

For the filling on these enchiladas I used leftover rotisserie chicken, azuki beans and fresh Anaheim pepper picked from the garden. These were all things I had on hand. I feel the filling for enchiladas can be whatever you want, so experiment and have fun with it.

Assembly is probably the most fun and messiest part of enchiladas, but it is all worth it in the end. Lining the bottom of the baking dish will help seal the seams in place and make the enchiladas easier to remove from the pan.

I topped mine with shredded queso fresco, because it is more authentic and readily available in my area, but feel free to top with any cheese.

These are too good to miss!

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas

makes 12 enchiladas

Ingredients:

enchilada sauce

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cup of water

enchiladas

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked azuki beans or black beans
  • 1 Anaheim pepper or jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 12 5″ corn tortilla
  • 1 cup queso fresco or cheese of choice, shredded

Directions:

enchilada sauce

  1. Place all spices and flour in a small bowl, add just enough water to form a thick paste.
  2. Add spice paste and the remaining water to a medium saucepan, whisk until paste is dissolved in water. Continue to cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Whisk in tomato paste and cook until sauce is smooth, about 5 minutes.

enchiladas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  1. In a deep saute pan heat the olive oil, when the oil is hot add the pepper and cook until soft, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and beans to the pepper, add the chili powder, cumin, and onion powder. Cook until thoroughly heated and combined, about 6 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken mixture from pan into a bowl.
  4. In a 9 x 13 baking pan coat the bottom with a 1 cup of enchilada sauce.
  5. Heat the tortilla up slightly, either in a pan or in the microwave, just until they are soft enough to fold.
  6. Drag each tortilla in the enchilada sauce to coat one side completely.
  7. Take each tortilla and fill it with around 2 tablespoons of chicken and a tablespoon of cheese. Roll the tortilla up and place it in the pan seam side down. Continue with the remaining tortillas.
  8. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top of the enchiladas and then sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Put pan in oven and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
  10. Let the enchiladas rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Eggplant Roll-ups

15 Jun

I just picked the first eggplant of the season!!! With an abundance of basil and my freshly picked eggplant in hand I figured it was time to make some eggplant roll-ups.

I had a hard time getting a beautiful finished picture, but let me tell you this dish is delicious!

After lightly frying the eggplant, spread each slice of eggplant with this wonderfully creamy ricotta and fresh herb mix.

Roll it up and place it in a pan.

Top it off with fresh mozzarella slices and some grated Parmesan and pop it in the oven.

Eggplant Roll-ups

serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants; 1- 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chiffonade cut
  • 2 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 2 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Directions:

preheat oven 350 degrees

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a heavy saute pan, when oil is hot add eggplant slices in single layer. Cook around 4 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel line plate. Repeat until all eggplant has been cooked.
  2. Using a medium size bowl combine ricotta cheese, herbs and egg, stir to combine.
  3. In a 9 x 13 baking pan thinly cover the bottom with tomato sauce and basil leaves.
  4. Take each eggplant slice and thinly spread with the ricotta mixture. Roll the eggplant up and place in the pan. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  5. Use the remaining tomato sauce to spoon over the eggplant rolls, place on piece of fresh mozzarella on each roll, and then cover all with the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Place pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Let eggplant rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

7 Jun

Do you crave those expensive store-bought fruit and nut energy bars? I did, but I discovered I can make my favorites at home with just a few ingredients and at a fraction of the price. My first experiment is with the Coconut Cream Pie Larabar. The Larabar website lists the ingredients as dates, coconut, almonds, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. I varied the recipe a little based on what I had on hand, so no cashews in this bar.

Chopping the nuts alone in the food processor ensures the nuts don’t become powdery. Remove the nuts and add the dates pulsing them into a sticky paste. Then combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand.

I like small bites. So I cut these bars into 2″ x 2″ squares, wrap them up individually and store them in the fridge.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

makes 18 2×2 bars

Ingredients:

  • 20 dates, pitted (medjool dates work best)
  • 1 cup almonds, raw
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Put almonds in the food processor and pulse until almonds are finely chopped but not powdery. Remove almonds to a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Place pitted dates into the food processor and turn on, scrape down sides as needed. Remove dates when they resemble a sticky paste. Then add to the almonds.
  3. Add coconut and coconut oil to the almonds and dates, mix by hand until completely incorporated. Wear gloves to help with stickiness.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper or foil. Press mixture into the pan creating an even thickness. You can make the bars as thick or thin as you would like.
  5. Place pan into the freezer for at least an hour. Remove and flip upside down onto a cutting board and remove backing.
  6. Cut bars into whatever size you would like and wrap each individually for storage or in an air tight container. I like to store mine in the fridge, but  the bars can be stored unrefrigerated as well.

Orange Sesame Kale Salad

5 Jun

This salad will knock your socks off, and maybe change your mind about raw kale. The inspiration for this salad came from a kale salad that I tried a few months ago. The original salad though was way too sweet and had a bit too much oil. So this is a healthier remake of a healthy salad.

I choose fresh squeezed orange juice for the base of the dressing. To that I added minced ginger, Tamari, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, garlic chili paste, and black sesame seeds.

The key to making this salad super tasty is to thoroughly coat the kale with the dressing. Top with roasted Pepitas, dried cranberries and raw blanched slivered almonds. Once combined the salad should sit for at least 30 minutes for the best taste.

Orange Sesame Kale Salad

makes 6 side salad servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Curly Kale
  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (toasted or white will work as well)
  • 3 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted Pepitas
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw, blanched slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Wash kale, remove the thick rib and tear into bite size pieces. Place kale into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl add orange juice, sesame oil, honey, tamari, rice wine vinegar, garlic chili paste, minced ginger, and olive oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour dressing over the kale and toss until all the kale is coated.
  4. Top the salad with the pepitas, cranberries, and almonds.
  5. Let salad sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Spicy Spinach Dahl

4 Jun

This dish combines my love for beans, Indian flavor and some heat. Dahl or dal is a generic name for a stew made from lentils, peas, or beans. It can be prepared in an almost infinite number of ways. I have been working on this recipe for some time now and think it is just about perfect.

This particular recipe calls for chili powder, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, cayenne, and salt to give it that warm and rich taste.

I used coconut oil instead of olive oil or butter, because it adds a richness to the flavor. After heating the oil up in the pan, I add the spices and let them cook until they are highly aromatic.

I love that this dish also has plenty of spinach! It not only adds color but also vitamins and flavor.

Spicy Spinach Dahl

(makes approximately 6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (olive oil or butter can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional
  • 12 ounces spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Soak the lentils in water for 20 minutes.
  2. In a deep saute pan or large saucepan, bring water, lentils, turmeric, salt, and chili powder to boil.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. In a separate saute pan, add oil, garam masala, mustard seed, and cumin, heat until the spices are bubbly and highly aromatic.
  5. Add onion to the spices and add a pinch of salt.
  6. Cook until the onion is soft and transparent.
  7. Add the spinach to the lentils and let cook for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add onion and coconut milk to the lentil and cook until heated through out.
  9. Serve with rice.

Strawberry Mint Sangria

3 Jun

It’s a lazy Sunday, the perfect time for some delicious sangria. I prefer white sangria over the traditional red, but I am willing to drink both.

The fresh mint that I used came straight from my garden. It was so aromatic. It’s really what makes this sangria.

Strawberry Mint Sangria

makes approximately 4 Liters

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Liter White Wine (I choose a Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 Liter Italian Soda or Sparkling Mineral Water
  • 8 ounces pineapple juice
  • 4 ounces orange juice
  • 8 ounces orange liquor ( I choose Paula’s Texas Orange)
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 2 oranges, sliced thick

Directions:

  1. Combine all liquid ingredients, stir to combine.
  2. Add strawberries and mint. Let Sangria chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
  3. Place orange slices on a cookie sheet, and place in freezer.
  4. Pour Sangria into serving pitcher.
  5. When ready to serve glasses place a frozen orange slice and ice cubes in glass then pour Sangria to fill.

Root Slaw with Mint and Lime Dressing

1 Jun

So May was National Salad Month, but let’s forget all that and celebrate June as salad month!

This root slaw is packed with so much goodness I can hardly believe it. Beets, daikon, red cabbage, jicama, broccoli, and carrots. Topped off with fresh mint and lime dressing. This salad is too good to miss.

The inspiration for this salad came from my garden with it’s abundance of fresh veggies and herbs. Not all of these veggies were from the garden, but you can taste the freshness.

The combination of fresh mint and lime against the earthy flavor of the salad is incredibly delicious. This slaw is perfect for picnics or backyard barbeques.

Root Slaw with Mint and Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

Slaw

  • 1/2 cup daikon, shredded*
  • 1 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded*
  • 1/2 cup jicama, shredded*
  • 5 carrots, shredded*
  • 4 broccoli stalks, shredded*
  • 3 beets, shredded*

* Tip – Use a food processor to make easy work of shredding all these veggies.

Dressing

  • 5 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions:

Slaw

  1. Toss all shredded vegetables in a large bowl until well combined.

Dressing

  1. In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into a lidded jar. Dressing with keep up to 2 days in the fridge.
  3. Add dressing to slaw 15 minutes before serving.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

29 May

This Brussels Sprout salad is a game changer. I came across this recipe from Gluten Free Girl last fall, I tried it with some modifications and it was good but not fantastic. I recently revisited this recipe and modified it yet again and this current version is amazing!

Although I love Brussels Sprouts this salad is the first time I have eaten them raw and I have to say I love their crunchy kick. To make quick work of shredding the Brussels sprouts I used a mandolin. Just watch your fingers!

After you have shredded the Brussels Sprouts the rest of the salad comes together quite quickly. The addition of Shredded Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts creates the base for the salad.

My secret ingredient is a French Dijon mustard that packs quite a kick! I suggest you use a spicy Dijon, to give the salad a bite that will stand up against the Brussels sprouts. Making the vinaigrette in a jar makes easy work of emulsifying.

Toss the vinaigrette into the Brussels sprouts and try to share, if you can.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 teaspoons spicy Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Use a mandolin or food processor to shred Brussels Sprouts, place shredded Brussels sprout in a large serving bowl.
  2. Shred Parmesan cheese onto the sprouts and add the toasted walnuts.
  3. In a small jar with a lid add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Replace lid and shake until vinaigrette is completely combined.
  4. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine.
  5. Enjoy!

Healthy Brownie Bites

27 May

After a very long hiatus, I am back with lots of new healthy recipes to share. I have spent my time away traveling, gardening, and of course, cooking!

This new recipe came to me after experimenting with homemade Larabars. I wanted something healthy with no processed sugar but a great chocolate kick, these delicious Brownie Bites are what I came up with.

These no bake brownie bites are powered by the goodness of pecans, walnuts, dates, and coconut.

Process nuts, dates, and coconut until finely ground.

Once nuts are processed add in vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and water. Process these until the whole mixture becomes a well combined paste.

Form the brownie batter into small balls and roll in coconut until thoroughly coated.

These brownie bites are a quick and easy guilt free treat!

Healthy Brownie Bites

(makes approximately 24 1″ inch balls)

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup pitted Dates; roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder or all natural cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut; for garnishing.

Directions:

  1. Add dates, pecans, walnuts and coconut to food processor, pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add to nut mixture, vanilla bean paste, cocoa, and water; then, pulse until all ingredients form a dough. Add more water if the mixture still looks dry.
  3. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into 1” inch balls.
  4. Roll the balls in a bowl of shredded coconut to coat.
  5. Place coated balls in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
  6. Keep chilled balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, if they last that long. 🙂