Thursday, April 17, 2014

GF Meatball Subs

I actually made a very similar recipe about two years ago this exact same time of year. Sometimes you just need a repeat right? This time, however, I took some major short cuts.


Above is the original picture I took almost two years ago. At this point in my blogging career, I think my skills had sharpened significantly. 2012 was my breakthrough blogging year. I had been gluten-free for one year at that point. It is really hard to believe that I've been gluten-free for 3.2 years now. Time really flies!

I'm going to go ahead and suggest the original Slow Cooker Meatballs in Marinara recipe; however here are my suggested shortcuts for this go-around. For starters, I did not use my slow cooker this time. I used the microwave. Second, I used pre-made meatballs instead of making my own. I used chicken, but beef, turkey, or whatever will be fine. If you are gluten-free you already know you will want to read ingredients to make sure there is no gluten if you choose to go this route. I also did not make my own sauce this time either. I used stuff straight out of the jar. Ragu to be exact. Ragu recently took a liking to my blog this winter and has given me a little publicity, so I thought I'd give a shout out. Below you will find my shortcut version.

GF Meatball Subs 

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 package frozen meatballs
4 slices 2% provolone cheese
4 gluten-free submarine rolls (I use Shar brand. If you are not GF, any regular sub roll will do)

Preheat your oven to the low broiler setting. Place the spaghetti sauce and meatballs in a  large, microwavable safe dish. Cover and heat in the microwave for 5 minutes or until the meatballs are no longer frozen and are cooked through. Remove from the microwave. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. If you are using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the submarine rolls in half or split down the middle. Top the bread with the meatballs, sauce, and cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt and bubble. You will want to keep an eye on things when using the broiler as things can burn very quickly. Remove from the oven and serve.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chickpea & Rice Tomato Soup

While it was a bit chilly today in Kansas City, the afternoon was absolutely gorgeous. I said to one of my colleagues as we were heading to our cars after work that I have absolutely no excuse whatsoever not to get my biscuits out on a run. It's been a couple of weeks. I really haven't run since the Diva Dash, but I forced myself out and it was worth it! Worth every single beautiful mile. I started out feeling like I was dogging it a bit. The bountiful spring scenery kept me going and then I felt my stride get stronger and stronger. I managed to shave off five minutes from the last time I hit the trail. 

Now that I've got my run completed, my stomach is growling for some leftover soup. I cannot wait to dig into this again tonight.

 
This is not your average tomato soup friends. Not that I find tomato soup boring. I love tomato soup. I really liked straight up condensed Campbell's tomato soup out of the can. Unfortunately, after going gluten-free I discovered it is condensed with a ton of wheat in it. This is disappointing news for the average Midwesterner. Instead of being sad though, I've considered making my own tomato soup an adventure. I'm happy with my adventure. You can make this a simple culinary adventure too if you are looking for something a little healthier. Consider this your twist on traditional tomato soups. Consider it an exploration to try some new, unique spices that you've maybe not tried because you've "never heard of that." Trust me, you might find out you like it.

Here I've taken my traditional tomato soup base- diced onion, 1 clove minced garlic, carrot, and celery sauteed in a little extra virgin olive oil and cooked with chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes, and a can of tomato paste- and added a kick. Chickpeas and rice bulk this soup up to make it an entree. Ground cumin, coriander, and garam masala add the unique and spicy twist. Cumin adds a warm, smoky depth. Coriander adds light citrus notes. Garam masala adds more warmth without burning your mouth. I happened to by my garam masala blend at Super Target, but you could also try Whole Foods, Penzy's, or an Asian or Indian market. It is worth adding to your spice cabinet!

Chickpea and Rice Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup instant brown rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chickpeas. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to so you do not scorch the bottom of the pan. Add the rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until the rice is soft. This soup can be made ahead and reheated or served immediately with your favorite sides. We enjoyed ours with salad and garlic bread. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cranberry-Jalapeno Mayo

What a fantastic weekend! We did not really do anything too special. Saturday we woke up bright and early to head down to the Grass Pad. If you are looking for a good laugh, you can click on the link which will take you to their website. Here you can watch their commercials. They crack me up! Anyway, we bought some sod to take care of some areas that were hit pretty hard by ol' man winter. We also cleaned up around the yard. Later we spent time on our patio grilling and enjoying libations. It has just been nice to enjoy spring.

Since grilling season is here, I thought I'd share a condiment recipe with you. Over spring break, I ate at Grameracy Tap in Des Moines. I enjoyed a very tasty chicken burger without the bun. Now, I've recreated the dish so I can enjoy it at home.


I used Weight Watchers Chicken Burgers as they are a nice convenience food for the price. Any burger- beef, turkey, or chicken would be just fine if you cannot find the Weight Watchers burgers at your grocery store. The chicken, however, pairs very well with the cranberry-jalapeno kick. If you are looking for a flavor packed condiment to spice up any burger without a ton of calories, I highly suggest this mayo!

Cranberry-Jalapeno Mayo
inspired by Grameracy Tap in Des Moines, IA

1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used Hellman's)
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon curry powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Serve as a condiment for burgers, sweet potato fries, or as a dip for tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Back at it Menu Post

I am so excited that my work schedule will be returning somewhat back to normal next week. When you teach in Kansas, spring means assessment season. These tests are grueling for kids and teachers. You just want them to do their best, but after two weeks their stamina and patience starts to dwindle. I know that if I've been coming home completely drained, this kids are over it too. I am looking forward to getting back to a regular schedule and teaching.

This week's menu is full of some new recipes I've been wanting to try or catch up on from previous menus. Sunday I will be finally giving you the recipe for the delicious cranberry-jalapeno mayo I made a few weeks ago from my spring break travels. Monday, the temps are supposed to dip back into the 40s so soup season is not over! I plan to make a uniquely spiced Chickpea, Rice, & Tomato soup with a side of chopped salad and garlic toast. Midweek, I will be getting some help from some already prepared chicken meatballs for some Meatball Subs. Finally, as the temperatures swing back into the 60s we will be out on the patio grilling up some steaks for some Steak Tacos. It will be a great week of eats. Here is the rundown:

Sun. 4/13 Chicken Burgers w/ Cranberry-Jalapeño Mayo & Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Mon. 4/14 Chickpea & Rice Tomato Soup w/ Garlic Bread & Chopped Salad

Tues. 4/15 Leftovers

Wed. 4/16 Chicken Meatball Subs w/ Zucchini Fries

Thurs. 4/17 Leftovers

Fri. 4/18 Steak Tacos w/ Salsa, Black Beans, & Cilantro Slaw

Here is what you will need to make this all happen:

2-4 lean cuts of steak
1 lb. ground chicken or already prepared chicken burgers (I discovered WW)
1 package chicken meatballs (I got mine at Costco, but if you cannot find any pre-made meatballs, you can purchase more ground chicken and make your own)
1 package center cut bacon
2 jalapeños
2-4 sweet potatoes (depending on size)
2-4 zucchini (depending on size)
2 limes
1 avocado
1 bunch green onions
Carrots
Celery
2 yellow or white onions
1 bulb garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1 head romaine lettuce
1 bag chopped salad mix
1 bag shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix
1 bag dried cranberries (such as Craisens)
1 container light mayo (I am loving Hellman's right now)
1 can tomato paste
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, salsa style
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
1 box chicken broth (about 6 cups worth)
1 box instant brown rice
1 package corn tortillas
1 container grated Parmesan cheese
1 package gluten-free ciabatta rolls
Eggs or liquid egg whites
1 quart lowfat buttermilk
1 container light or fat-free sour cream
1 container light butter (I am loving Land O Lakes right now)
1 package sliced 2% Swiss or provolone cheese

Pantry you will need include:
Nonstick cooking spray
Extra virgin olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Dijon mustard
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Graham masala
Taco seasoning
Salt
Pepper

Have a great weekend! I look forward to sharing throughout the week!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My New Smile

After four and a half years, I officially got my braces off today. I know I've been away from the blog for a while. I thought those of you who might wonder where I've been would be happy to hear a little something. April always seems to be the month I fall off the blogging bandwagon. Don't worry! I will be back to blogging soon. I also will hopefully be back to running again next week too. Spring always brings a whirlwind of activity that leaves me feeling exhausted; but, I plan to force myself back into a regular routine. As for those chicken burgers, you can expect that recipe to appear this coming Sunday:). Since I had to take the afternoon off, I am working on putting together a nice little menu. Until then, enjoy the lovely weather. I'll be enjoying my smile!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Instead of Ordering Chinese...

So, last yesterday I made this lovely gluten-free gem...


If you enjoy Asian dishes, this looks pretty good right? And believe me you, it was pretty good and easy to throw together. I cooked the entire dish in my Crock Pot, with the exception of the kelp noodles as there was really no need to cook the kelp noodles. I only needed to rinse those low-cal friends. The Bear and I were very excited to eat this meal. Yes, even the Bear enjoys kelp noodles. The meal was tasty. It passed the taste test. The only problem, it tasted a lot like any other Asian dish I've made on with asparagus. Whether cooked in a slow cooker or stir-fried, I can't quite put my finger on it. A lot of my Asian recipes taste the same. I am no master of Asian cooking. I think I've got Thai food somewhat down. When I get to make a recipe repeat that is. For example my Grilled Chicken Thai Salad is always a hit. I've also not received any complaints on my Very Veggie Pad Thai or for those of you who might have joined the kelp noodle bandwagon my Speedy Chicken Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles. However, when it comes to Chinese food, things seem to taste a little too similar for my tastebuds. Since this recipe is all to familiar to my pallet, I will suggest some other recipes that might be a little more tantalizing to your tongue. For anything that calls for broccoli, you can sub and/or add asparagus. Here are some suggestions...


I hope you take some time and check out these recipes. They are some of my favorites! I am too afraid to post a crappy recipe, but want to stay in touch. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cheesy Bacon, Kale, & Artichoke Quesadillas

I'm not sure who designed this, but I absolutely love it! I could hardly watch ISU play yesterday afternoon. It was one of those games where the Bear and I were on the edge of our seats the entire game. We were both pretty nervous after Georges Niang suffered yet another injury this season during Friday night's game against North Carolina Central. Last week Niang suffered a blow to his eyebrow during the Big 12 tournament game against KU. He had to get five stitches. Hence the band aid on Cy. Now he's out for the remainder of the season with a broken foot. After breaking his foot however, he managed to continue playing for a little while and scored 5 more points. The Bear thought the team was doomed. Quite the opposite happened yesterday and they rallied on! We hope they can keep the magic going, Hilton magic that is;). Let's go Cyclones!!

I know not all of you are Iowa State fans, but maybe you are quesadilla fans. I truly missed quesadillas after going gluten free. I tried making them with corn tortillas, but it just wasn't the same. I am happy to say that after trying Udi's gluten-free tortillas, one of my favorite Mexican indulgences is back on the menu.


This recipe is packed with some amazing ingredients! Layered with a bacon, fat-free mozzarella cheese, and a garlicky sauteed kale and artichoke mixture, these quesadillas are deliciously sneaky way to add some super veggies into your meal. You could easily make this dish vegetarian by omitting the bacon. Not gluten free? No problem! You could also use whole wheat or regular flour tortillas. My belly just prefers I keep mine gluten free.

Cheesy Bacon, Kale, and Artichoke Quesadillas

Nonstick cooking spray
4 cups kale, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
8 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
4 plain tortillas (I used Udi's gluten-free tortillas)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the kale, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until the kale begins to wilt. Remove from heat. Place in a dish and set aside. When the skillet is cool enough to handle, rinse with warm water and wipe clean. Heat the skillet once again over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the skillet. On one half of the tortilla, layer 1/4 of the kale mixture, 1/4 of the crumbled bacon, and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold the half without any toppings over the topping side. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tortilla begins to turn lightly brown. Using a large spatula, flip the to the other side. Cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining tortillas. Cut into triangles before serving.