Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Salad

roasted red pepper dip


Red peppers are delicious any way you eat them, but when they are char roasted they are exceptional. My cousin Solange is visiting us from Marseilles, France. Knowing that I am both gluten free and a vegetarian, she asked if you could make a dish that she thought I would enjoy.

I took pictures while she prepared what she calls, " cooked salad".. Since that term conjures up a strange image in my mind, I renamed her recipe and called it, " Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Salad" . Although I still kept the word salad in the title, it's really more of a spread, dip , or topping for rice.

The fragrance of this aromatic recipe cooking is beyond words, and the taste of this recipe is divine. It's a middle Eastern favorite.. I will eat it over rice with Moroccan carrot salad and Turkish eggplant salad.

Ingredients:
3 large red bell peppers halved and seeded
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 8 ounce can of diced tomatoes or 4 tomatoes diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp hot paprika or hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

How to make the recipe:
Place halved red peppers on a cookie sheet ( hollow part down)
Grill or broil until the tops char
Remove from oven, cool and then peel off skin
Dice peppers and set aside.

In a medium skillet, sauté garlic on a very low flame in the olive oil ( do not burn) , add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes on low. Add sugar, salt, and pepper flakes and diced peeled red peppers. Continue to sauté on a very low flame for about 45 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
Turn off heat and allow to cool.

Eat as a spread with gluten free crackers or crudite, or serve over rice or quinoa.












Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Brown rice pasta is my  favorite. It's whole grain, easy to digest, and very tasty.
The other day I was invited to my cousin's house for lunch, and I wanted to bring something that I could make fast, simple and tasty. Of course,. I wanted to make something that I could eat too ( obviously) , and that others might enjoy as well. I made a large bowl brown rice pasta and lots of raw veggies.

I find that brown rice gluten free pasta ( I buy mine from Trader Joe's - $1.99) tastes as good, if not better than any pasta. Even those who are not gluten free seem to prefer it over regular pasta.

After cooking the pasta, I simply tossed it with chopped tomatoes, chick peas, red pepper and celery and dressed it with lemon, olive oil, and a few fresh herbs.

It was easy and simple and it was a big hit. A few people asked for the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 bag of brown rice penne pasta ( Trader Joe's) or any bag of GF pasta
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas ( if using canned, rinse first)
1/2 cup ( or more ) fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 whole lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:
Cook GF pasta according to directions and drain
Toss with remainder of ingredients




vegetables to toss with pasta
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

pictures for nonas zucchini quiche

These are some of the pictures for the previous post.. Couldn't seem to coordinate the posts.





Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nona's Gluten Free Zucchini Quiche

                     
It's zucchini season and like everyone else you are probably looking for recipes. Last week I received 6 large zucchinis from my CSA. I spiralized one of the squashes into zoodles ( zucchini noodles) using my Spiralizer . ( I use the  Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White) . This spiralizer is reasonable and easy to use .. It literally takes seconds to turn a zucchini into a bowl of vegetable spaghetti. It's fun to make and even a kid can do it .

                                spiralized zucchini noodles

Despite making my zucchini spaghetti, I still had a ton of squash left over and I wanted to make something fast that I could freeze.

This gluten free zucchini quiche is really easy and a real crowd pleaser . It's actually my mother in law's creation, so I  had to watch her make it to come up with the accurate recipe. Her recipe can  feed about ten good eaters,so she makes it in a large rectangular pyrex pan.

 It's full of delicious brunch ingredients: eggs, tasty cheeses, fresh garden herbs and zucchini. It can be assembled the night before and baked fresh in the morning,  or you can bake it and then freeze it.

I like it because its easy to make, naturally gluten free, and makes a nice presentation.

gluten free zucchini quiche

Ingredients:
8 medium zucchini, washed , dried, and sliced into coin width slices
6 eggs, beaten
16 oz of shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan
1/4 cup  coconut flour, or  any (GF Flour blend)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan cheese, seasoning, and rice flour . Mix well by hand and set aside.
In a large rectangular pyrex, layer half of the sliced zucchini and dot with butter. Cover with half of the egg and cheese  mixture. Add the next layer of zucchini and the remainder of the egg and cheese mixture. Cover with foil and place in preheated over for about 40 minutes or until done.











My notes:  This is an easy recipe to just assemble and bake. I also make a lasagna using zucchini as my noodles.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Vietnamese Spring Roll with Peanut Sauce


This is an interesting healthy vegan ( and gluten free) appetizer that they make at a Vietnamese restaurant that we frequent.  I liked it so much that I had to learn how to make it at home! Surprisingly, it was easier to make than I expected.

The spring roll is packed with tasty vegetables that are sauteed lightly so they are delicious and a little firm.The combination of cabbage, sprouts, broccoli slaw, ginger and lemon grass give it a fabulous flavor. I really favor Vietnamese cooking over Chinese and Japanese. I love the flavors, the vegetable phos and the lighter dishes,

I had never worked with spring roll wraps before, so I was a little intimidated.

I decided to watch a Youtube video that demonstrated how to work with these spring roll wraps. I quickly realized there was nothing to be intimidated about . It is very easy, and if you can wrap a present you can wrap a spring roll.

The Vietnamese spring roll wrappers were somewhat hard to find at first, None of the local supermarkets carried them or even knew what I was talking about. Then when I gave up looking, I spotted these simple and inexpensive spring roll wraps in Whole Foods.


                           


I bought them immediately and brought them home to attempt my new recipe.

The results: They came out great! My husband really liked them! They were a hit!

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 20-25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Assemble Time: 2 minutes per wrap

Ingredients for the filling
1 pkg. of broccoli slaw ( supermarket, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's)
1 pkg. sliced white mushrooms
1 pkg of sprouts of any kind
small nappa cabbage, shredded 
1/2 cup raw peanuts
2 stalks of lemon grass, sliced
4 cloves of garlic pressed
1/2 finger of fresh ginger grated
optional: 1/4 cup raw fresh cranberries, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 Pkg. of spring rolls
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
any other fresh herbs you want to add

How to make the fillingInstructions for filling: 
Saute garlic and ginger for a minute in 2 TBSP of sesame oil and some oil spray. Add 2 cups of broccoli slaw, 2 cups of shredded nappa cabbage, 1 pkg mushrooms, lemon grass, and peanuts, salt and pepper. Sautee quickly until the greens wilt and the mushrooms begin to soften just a little.( This mixture should not be overcooked) Remove the cooked mixture from skillet and place it  onto a plate, so it does not continue to cook. Mix with fresh herbs and set aside.

How to assemble the wrap 

Instructions for wraps: 
Roll the wraps one by one. 
1. Place a wrap in a flat plate of water until it becomes pliable,not sticky
2. Lay wrap on a plate and fill with 1/4 cup of filling. Bring up the two sides and then the ends. 
3. ladle some peanut sauce on the wrap and serve. 
4. we ate it with a fork and knife because mine were very full ( in the restaurant people picked it up and were able to eat it??)

How to Make the Peanut sauce: 
In a blender , blend  1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter ,  1/4 cup  peanuts, juice of one lime or lemon, juice of 1/2 orange, 1 T toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp of red pepper , 1 T of gluten free soy sauce or Braggs Amino  is what I used.


Ingredients for the filling
one spring roll wrapper

Dip the spring roll in water to soften 








My notes:
1. You can use bags of shredded cabbage and carrot instead of shredding your own to make them a little quicker and with less cleanup. 
2. Trader Joe's and some supermarkets sell a container of small cubes of frozen herbs like garlic, basil , ginger, etc.

Have you ever made these before? Eaten them before? Seen them before? I would love to know your opinion of this type of spring roll.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Detox Soup



I need to detox from too many parties and holiday eating
Last weekend,  we had 3 parties: 
Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday night. Need I say more?
I enjoyed the parties , but when I stepped on the scale on Monday, I wasn't happy.  
I've been enjoying the festive season, but festivities can be fattening.
I was complaining my woes to my good friend Anne. She said that when she needs to get off the junk , lose a few pounds and detox, she spends 4 days detoxing the easy way.

She makes a big pot of delicious vegan vegetable bean soup and eats it for lunch and dinner.
She read about this type of detox in one of her weight loss books. It's healthy, filling and cleansing .

The very next day after my complaining,  Anne presented me with a huge container of her soup,  enough for me for two days.That was four days ago, and since then I took off five pounds and never felt hungry or dissatisfied in the least. I even went to my book club pot luck dinner and guess what I brought ? I made a pot of that soup, and I ate it for dinner along with a salad that someone else brought.

It's easy and works for 4 simple reasons
  • It's short term - just four days
  • Convenience- once you make the soup in advance- it's always ready
  • No choices- that keeps me on track
  • Healthy,  filling and tasty- full of vegetables and beans
  • It helps stabilize your blood sugar to eliminate cravings
Also , Since I haven't been starving myself or eating restrictive foods, I'm able to maintain the weight loss once I go back to my regular healthy eating habits.

Can't do it for 4 days? Even 2 days can help you detox some of the bloat

The other good part is there is no steadfast recipe. You can substitute any non starchy vegetable or bean in your recipe. Don't like kidney beans? Add black beans. I added spinach to my 2nd pot of soup and my daughter in law Wendy added string beans to a soup she made.
* Do not add potatoes, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes if you want to lose weight.

Ingredients:
1/2 medium cabbage, chopped ( about 6 cups)
1 28 ounce can of organic only chopped tomatoes ( or 6 fresh chopped fresh tomatoes roasted)
1/2 cup organic tomato paste
1/2 bag of dry uncooked lentils, washed (1 and half cups uncooked)
2 cups of cooked kidney beans ( or 1 organic can )
4 large organic carrots , sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large organic red pepper, chopped
1 package of sliced mushrooms, or any dried mushrooms
1 onion chopped
4 -5 cloves garlic, pressed
 fresh cracked pepper to taste ( I also added 21 Salute salt free seasoning from Trader Joes which is a salt free seasoning like Mrs Dash with lots of herbs in it)
12-15 cups filtered water depending on the size of your pot
a few sprigs of fresh basil
a few shakes of ground hot pepper ( optional)

 Easy Directions:
Crock Pot Directions
Put everything into the slow cooker on high for 3 hours and then  change to low for another two hours if the lentils are not soft enough

Regular Pot Directions:
Use a few sprays of olive oil to a very large soup pot and add garlic and onions. Stir for a full minute and add then add cabbage and stir for another full minute. Add the carrots, celery, red pepper, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, and lentils , beans, seasoning and water. Bring to a boil and allow to cook on high for about 15-20 minutes uncovered. Add the raw mushrooms and turn down heat to simmer and cover the pot. Allow to cook for about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours until your lentils are nice and soft. I like to make mine in a pot- I like the taste better.

***Remember this is a low salt soup to help you detox! It will not be salty like regular soups. If you absolutely cannot palate soup without salt, then add one container of clear vegetable soup broth of your choice when it's done cooking.

If needed: eat a small salad with lemon juice with your lunch or dinner and or one hard boiled egg for breakfast and you will still be ok.


Remember, you can substitute the vegetables and beans to any beans or vegetables of your liking.. use any kind of non starchy vegetables and any kind of beans. You won't be hungry and the best part is that your meal is always ready and waiting for you
Don't have a crock pot/slow cooker? Just make the soup in a pot.. tastes even better

Want another great way to detox and lose weight? Try 
Drinking this- works great!

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