Lasagna 100% Noodle-Free

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I absolutely LOVE lasagna, at least I used to…I have tried to “cheat” and eat the traditional dish, but I pay for it dearly!  I had to figure out a way to capture the flavors of this much beloved dish.  There are many variations of this meal out there but I think this recipe has me pointed in the right direction, and I am thrilled!!  Unfortunately, this was not the MOST photogenic meal, but just had to share!

What you will need:

  • 3-4 zucchini (depending on size) skin on, sliced thin (I used a mandolin)
  • Salt
  • 2 Lbs Ground Beef(I used 85/15, 100% grass fed)
  • 2 tbsp ground pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic crushed or chopped very fine
  • 2 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 1.5 c. tomato paste
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c red wine
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 15 oz of Ricotta cheese
  • 4-5 tbs fresh parsley
  • 16 oz of frozen (organic) Spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, I like them chopped fine
  • 16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 10 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cook Temp 350 degrees

How it’s done:

  1. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Slice zucchini (length wise) very thin with mandolin.  Sprinkle slices lightly with salt, set aside and let drain (this allows them to lose some of their water before cooking)
  3. Prepare meat sauce:  In a large pan cook beef and pepper for about 5 min.  Add in red pepper, garlic, and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink.  Stir in tomato paste, sauce, wine, basil and oregano.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for about 20 min.
  4. Preheat Oven now
  5. In a med bowl, mix together Ricotta, egg and parsley…combine well, and set aside.
  6. Slice mushrooms
  7. To assemble Lasagna:  Spread 1/2 of meat sauce on the bottom of baking pan.  Then layer 1/2 of the zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, ALL of the spinach and ALL of the mushrooms; Then 1/2 the mozzarella.  Repeat by layering the meat sauce, zucchini, ricotta, and mozzarella.  Spread parmesan evenly over the top and cover with more parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 45min to an hour (depending on thickness), then remove parchment paper cover and bake for an additional 15 min.  (I ended up turning on my broiler near the end of the 20 min to get desired color on cheese)
  9. Let stand for at least 5 min before serving

Roasted Kale, Broccolini and Chickpea Salad

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So I’ve been making this for the past few weeks….fine tuning the flavors each time.  Garbanzo/chickpeas are not a regular thing in my kitchen, but I absolutely love this salad/side dish and had to share!

What you will Need:

  • 1 bunch broccolini, or broccoli, cut into long florets
  • 1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, stemmed (if large) and torn
  • 1½ cups/240 g cooked chickpeas (see below) or canned, drained
  • 1 clove garlic,chrushed
  • ¼ cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus for drizzling
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Chili Powder
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • A few VERY thin slices of Black radish
    • OPTIONAL: fresh ricotta cheese

How it’s Done:

Preheat the broiler to high.

place the Chickpeas on a cooking sheet, sprinkle with Chili powder, roast them on their own for 5-8 min.

Toss the broccolini, kale, onions, and garlic with the olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt, pepper and add red pepper flakes to taste (I like a decent amount) and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Broil the sheet, tossing halfway through cooking, until the kale is crispy and the broccoli just tender and charred but still bright green, about 5 minutes.  Add bacon, radish slices, and squeeze the juice from two lemon wedges all over the top and toss together.

 Plate the salad and top each with a dollop of ricotta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Orginal idea from: http://edibleliving.blogspot.com

Salted Carmel Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

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Attention: All of my “Real Food” friends need to look away for this one! 

I spoke at a local High School recently and wanted to bring some sort of “sweet treat” that the kids could identify, but still be visually interesting for them to photograph.  This is what came out of my kitchen…and while I can’t really recommend making this again.  I can say that it was everything a rice krispie treat should be AND more!  

Recipe from: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2014/01/salted-caramel-chocolate-rice-krispie-treats.html

What you will need:

Salted Carmel

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • Coarse salt for topping

Rice Krispie Treats

  • 10 oz marshmallows
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 c Rice Krispies

Chocolate Ganache Topping

  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 2 c chocolate chips

 

How it’s done:

  • For Salted Caramel: In a medium sauce pan set to medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Do not stir. Watch carefully until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, cream and salt. Set aside.
  • For Rice Krispie Treats: In a large pot set to medium heat, melt marshmallows, butter and vanilla. Stir until smooth and add salted caramel. Stir in Rice Krispies until well combined. Pour mixture into a lined and greased 13×9 (or 8×8 for thicker treats) pan. Flatten using a buttered rubber spatula. Chill pan in refrigerator while you make the ganache.
  • For Chocolate Ganache Topping: In a small pot over medium heat, heat cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Let ganache cool for 10 minutes then pour over Rice Krispies, tilting the pan to distribute evenly. Let set for 5 minutes then sprinkle with coarse salt.
  • Refrigerate to set before cutting, at least 2 hours. Slice into squares and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Roasted Cumin-Lime Carrots

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What you will need:

  • 1 pound baby carrots with fresh green tops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice and fresh grated zest of 1 lime  (I used extra, but I LOVE lime)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

How it’s Done:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim the tops off the carrots. Toss them on a baking sheet with the olive oil, and zest, honey, salt and spices.
  3. Roast about 20 minutes, depending on size, until the carrots are just tender and beginning to deepen in color. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with the fresh Lime Juice and serve!

 

Concept Credit goes to: http://familystylefood.com/2011/03/roasted-cumin-lime-carrots/

Fried Mozzarella

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You know, sometimes, there comes a day when you just want to fry some cheese.  When those days come along, I say go for it!

What you will need:

  • Olive Oil or Coconut oil
  • 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella (dried with a paper towel) and cut into bite size pieces
  • Salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Coconut Flour or All purpose Flour
  • Gluten Free Breadcrumbs or Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Optional additions: Homemade Marinara, fresh basil, fried bell peppers.

How it’s done:

  1. Dredge the mozzarella in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs (I like them really crunchy, so I do this step twice) Set them aside.
  2. Heat oil on medium in a pan.  Once oil is hot add the mozzarella and lightly brown all sides.  Takes about 2 min. 
  3. Serve immediately

Chocolated Dipped Almond Butter Cookies with Pomegranate Salt

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These are REALLY GOOD almond butter cookies all on their own!!  The Pomegranate Salt & Dark chocolate add beautiful color to this simple presentation.  This recipe is from http://www.topwithcinnamon.com/2013/11/chocolate-dipped-peanut-butter-cookies-with-pomegranate-salt-gf.html  I modified my cookies to use almond butter & almond flour…but check out her blog it has absolutely gorgeous photography!

 Pomegranate Salt

  • I used Kosher BUT I think Maldon salt (or another flaky salt) would work better
  • Pomegranate juice
  1. Either get pomegranate juice from when you cut a pomegranate in half, from crushing some pomegranate arils (seeds), or store-bought pomegranate juice.
  2. Use a spoon or pastry brush to splatter a piece of parchment paper with a little pomegranate juice.
    1. Sprinkle a few table spoons of salt over parchment paper and use a fork to gently stir. Splash on a bit more pomegranate juice if needed.
    2.  Stir until all the salt is coated.
    3. Spread salt out carefully over the piece of parchment paper and leave to dry.
  3. Once dried, store in a small jar or bowl.

Chocolate Dipped Almond Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup Almond peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Pomegranate salt (see recipe above) or flaky salt, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the first 6 ingredients until smooth. Stir in the almond flour.
  3. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto the lined cookie sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden underneath and on the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Melt the chocolate. Dip one half of each cookie into the chocolate and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle with some pomegranate salt (or normal flaky salt) and leave to set.

Creamy Oven Roasted Tomato Soup with Mozzarella

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Another of my favorite “comfort meals” is Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese…but have you looked at the ingredients for your favorite canned soup recently?  SO i had to figure out how to make this myself!  In place of the grilled cheese I also made Grain Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits!!

What you will need:

  • 2 lbs of ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large white onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 16 oz of vegetable broth
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil

How it’s Done:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut each tomato into 8 equal parts and place them on the parchment paper, skin side down.
  • slice onion, half the garlic cloves  and add to cookie sheet
  • drizzle with olive oil
  • Roast for 40 min
  1. Transfer roasted vegetables with roasting juices to a large sauce pan and add vegetable broth, thyme & bay leaf.  Simmer for 20 min.
  2. Remove thyme and bay leaf…puree the soup.
  • I waited for the mixture to cool then pureed it in my Blendtec
  • Then added it back to the sauce pan  to re-heat
  • Season to taste
  1. While the soup warms, slice the mozzarella thin
  2. Serve the soup & add mozzarella on top…enjoy!

 

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (Grain-Free Red Lobster Biscuits)

What you will need:

  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 egg, cold
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened (I used salted)

**Finish with Salted butter & dried or fresh parsley

 How it’s done:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. Then add remaining ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well blended.  
  3. Use scoop to scoop out dough onto un-greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or not, see notes above).
  4. Space 2-3 inches a part.
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes for small biscuits and 20 minutes for medium biscuits.  
  6. Once out of oven, smear a bit of salted butter and sprinkle with a little parsley. Best served warm.

Recipe from: http://satisfyingeats.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/cheesy-cheese-garlic-biscuits/

Bacon Baked Avocado

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Honestly, I am not sure what I LOVE more…Bacon or Avocado!  With this recipe, you don’t have to choose and that makes it another favorite at my house.  This was derived from my baked potato cravings…since I limit my starches (potatoes)…I needed something to fill the void!  These work fantastic as a appetizer or as a side dish.

SUPER EASY!!

What you will need:

  • 2 ripe (but firm) Avocados
  • 6-8 strips of cooked Bacon (I prefer thick cut)
  • 1.5 c cheddar cheese
  • Greek yogurt

How it’s Done:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. Half and pit the Avocados
  3. Cook Bacon (note: I bake mine in the oven – see instructions at the bottom)
  4. Chop Bacon and fill each avocado half as full as possible
  5. Top bacon and avocado with cheese
  6. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly)
  7. Remove and top with Greek Yogurt and serve!

 

Baking Bacon

  • Line a rimmed** cookie sheet. with parchment paper, place strips of bacon on sheet.
  • Turn the oven to 400 degrees and place bacon in oven immediately (do not preheat)
  • Bake for 20-25 min, remove and let cool on paper towels to soak up extra grease

**A rimmed cookie sheet may seem to be common sense BUT you would be surprised!  I have heard of one too many grease fires, and I don’t recommend it!

Cauliflower Crust Pizzettes

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With parties and family gatherings on the horizon this is a great alternative (no grain) “finger food” or appetizer!! 

I’ve made the “cauliflower crust” in the past and I promise that THIS one works…the trick is making sure that the Cauliflower Rice is REALLY, REALLY dry.

What you will need:

Crust:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (cut into small floretts, you should have about 3 cups once processed)
  • 1/2 c of Mozzarella cheese shredded (I used fresh, it was tricky to “shred” but worth the trouble)
  • 1 egg  (I only use Pastured Eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Olive oil

Topping:

  • More shredded Mozzarella
  • Tomato slices (I used what I had, grape tomatoes, sliced thin)
  • Fresh basil

How it’s done:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F, line cookie sheet with parchment paper, and grease with Olive Oil
  2. Take the raw cauliflower and process it in your blender or food processor (until riced)
  3. Heat large sauce pan (to cook processed cauliflower) of water to boiling, add Cauliflower…let cook for 5-8 min…until tender.
  4. Place the cauliflower rice in a tea towel and twist it to squeeze out as much moisture as you can (I squeezed out more than 1 cup of liquid). This is very important. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry. Otherwise you’ll end up with a mushy dough, not a crusty one.
  5. Transfer Cauliflower to a large mixing bowl and let it cool slightly (you don’t want to cook your egg just yet) 
  6. Add egg, mozzarella, oregano, sea salt and pepper. Mix well.
  7. Scoop one tablespoon of cauliflower mixture and drop onto the baking sheet. Pat into a thin round circle about 2-inches wide. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  8. Cook for about 20 min, or until slightly golden.
  9. Remove from oven and top each pizzette with shredded cheese, tomato slices.

10. Broil until the cheese melts and the tomatos are slightly roasted (3-5 min)

11. Remove from oven, let them cool (5 min), top with fresh basil…and Serve!

Recipe inspiration from : www.theironyou.com

Polish Cabbage Rolls with Mushroom Sauce

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I will be completely honest…I have NO experience with Eastern European food I probably should considering my heritage…but this was my first go at it, and I was pleasantly surprised!!!  The ONLY downside to this recipe is that it takes about 2.5 hrs from start to finish.  Thankfully last night was weird…so we were ok with eating dinner at 8:30. 

I made very few modifications to the original recipe from “CrankingKitchen”  The biggest adjustment below is that I will be doubling the mushroom recipe since we couldn’t get enough of them!  

I got this recipe FROM: http://crankingkitchen.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/paleo-polish-cabbage-rolls/ 

-Cabbage Rolls-
What you will need:

  • 1 head of cabbage, cored
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

How it’s done:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the cabbage head and remove the leaves to a bowl or strainer as they come off the head, about a few minutes for each. Aim for about 12 leaves. When you get to the center and the leaves are small, just take the head out, let cool and chop. Lay in the bottom of a casserole pan.

2. As the cabbage is boiling, heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Add the beef, pork, and egg to the vegetables, along with salt and pepper, and mix well.

4. Lay each cabbage leaf out on a work surface (shake out any remaining water) and place about 1/3 cup of meat mixture (it’ll vary depending on the size of the leaf) at the base of the leaf. Roll up a little bit, then fold in the sides and continue to roll. Like a mini Polish burrito. Burrito-ski. Place each pigeon tightly in the baking dish, seam side down.

5. Place, uncovered, in the middle of the oven and bake for 2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 30 minutes.

-Mushroom Sauce-

What you will need:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds of cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tbsp of garlic powder (used instead of fresh garlic because I forgot to slice them)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or beef)
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (or wt. wine)
  • drippings from the cabbage rolls
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

How it’s done:

1. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. When the foaming has just died down, add the mushrooms. Stir frequently. First they will absorb the butter, then they’ll release their liquid, then soak it back up again.

2. Add the garlic, stir frequently for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, then turn the heat down to medium. Add the broth and drippings and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced. Season to taste.