I had this at a friends house a few weeks ago and have made it several times at home since. I am not usually a fan of cold pasta of any sort, but this one is amazing!! It is chocked full of veggies that are rich in vitamins & minerals. Plus, it requires no cooking, so it is great for the last of those hot summer nights when you don’t want to turn on the stove & heat up the house! This recipe makes 4 large servings and is great as left overs for lunch during the week. You can add chicken, shrimp, beef or tofu for protein or serve with a side of steamed edamame.
I think pizza night is one of the things I miss most since switching to a gluten free diet. The fiancé and I used to get a frozen pizza and salad about once a week; it was a quick, easy meal for the nights when we got home from class late and did not feel like cooking. Do not get me wrong, gluten free pizza options abound in my local grocery stores freezers and I have tried many of them … but they have all left something to be desired. Sometimes the crust is too soft or has that gluten free taste. Sometimes it is the toppings: I do not want soy cheese or loads of veggies – cheese is one of the few dairy products I still indulge in and I want LOTS of it on my pizza! Other times, the gluten free pizzas are lacking in the flavor department. Seriously, I have had a few that taste like straight tomato paste for the sauce; no flavor, just paste. Not to mention they are expensive (compared to gluten filled frozen pizzas), $8 for a mini pizza is just a tad too expensive for my graduate student budget. And yes, we have made our own pizzas before and those have been pretty delish, but I am talking about frozen convenience here …
Anyhow, enter: Conte’s Pasta Co. Margherita Pizza. I found this full-size pie at my local HEB for $8. A simple pizza, loaded with cheese (just the way I like it) and TONS of flavor. As you can see from the picture below, it does not quite come out looking like the one on the box, but it tastes great. The sauce has a perfect blend of Italian spices and the cheese is melty, stringy and oh so good! Though the crust does not crisp up the way I would like it to, it is not mushy and it gets the job done without any funky gluten free flavor. As for the texture, it sort of reminded me of the pizzas they used to serve in the school cafeteria (only this one tasted way better). Conte’s has definitely won me over and pizza night at our place shall return.
Conte’s offers a full range of gluten free Italian options, all made in a dedicated gluten free facility, so no worries about cross contamination! From pizza, to ravioli and gnocchi, Conte’s Pasta Co. has you covered. If you cannot find their products at your local grocery store, ask the store manager if they can start carrying them. Or, head on over to their website and have a few shipped directly to your door.
Have you tried any of the Conte’s Pasta Co. products? Have a favorite gluten free frozen pizza? I would love to hear about it, share it with me in the comments section!!
Last week, I felt like I was in a food rut — nothing sounded good, nothing tasted good and I most certainly did not feel like cooking. But a trip to the Farmers Market was all I needed; the colorful, fresh & local produce inspired me to get my bum back in the kitchen to whip up something delicious and nutritious! I think I bought more produce this week than I have in weeks past. Among the items I picked up were some green bell peppers begging to be stuffed, so that is precisely what I did!
Follows is my recipe:
- 4 bell peppers
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1lb stew meat
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
- 1/4 teaspoon each: chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and black pepper
- 4 slices of cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook rice according to package directions.
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add beef and increase heat to medium high. Cook until beef is only slightly pink on the inside. Add rice, tomatoes and seasonings to skillet and mix. Taste your mixture to make sure the spices are to your liking, add more if necessary.
Next, cut the tops of each bell pepper and remove seeds. Stuff each pepper with rice and meat mixture, then place in a casserole dish. Once all peppers are stuffed, add just enough water to cover the bottom of your baking dish — about 1/8″ (this will prevent the peppers from drying out).
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. If using cheese, place a slice on top of each pepper approximately 5 minutes before removing them from the oven.
Other stuffing options:
- Forgo the meat all together and use black (or brown beans) for your protein source. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, help the body maintain normal blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol.
- Looking to add more protein? Use quinoa instead of rice. One serving of this delicious grain contains 14g of protein, is an excellent source of Magnesium and is naturally gluten free!
- Want something different? Stuff your peppers with roasted potatoes and ground turkey meat instead. Did you know: one medium sized potato boasts 18% RDI of potassium!
What is your favorite combination of ingredients for stuffed bell peppers? Share it with me in the comments section!!
All that brisket is now gone. In addition to Brisket Sammiches, I used some of the meat to make BBQ sandwiches and this yummy tortilla soup that follows. This soup can be made with chicken or shrimp, but it is also a delish way to use up that leftover brisket.
Here is what you will need:
- 8oz leftover brisket, shredded
- 4 cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup cooked black beans (canned or homemade)
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, diced
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 purple onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- Tortilla chips
- 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
- sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
- Shredded cheese (optional)
As promised, a leftovers revamp of Tuesday night’s Oven Roasted Brisket.
Since the brisket had tons of flavorful cooking juices in the pan, my first thought on how to utilize the leftovers was roast beef sandwiches with au jus sauce.
I saved the cooking juices in a small container and refrigerated them until dinner last night. The fat had solidified at the top, so it was really easy to skim off — reducing some of the fat in this meal! Heat the cooking juices in a pan, if you did not have much left, you can always add a little chicken stock to the mix!
Toast the bread of your choice — I crisped up a hot dog bun from Gluten Free Houston, it was just perfect! I will definitely be using these hot dog buns as sandwich rolls again!!
Reheat your brisket (either in the oven or in the microwave), carefully shred it up and place atop your bread.
This sandwich was supposed to be topped with a slice of melted mozzarella cheese, but unbeknownst to me, the fiancé had eaten the last of it. Sooo, we sprinkled them with a little bit of parmesan cheese which worked out great as well. If you choose to top it off with some cheese, place your sandwich back in the oven for a few minutes to melt it into perfection!
You may find it helpful to wrap your finished sandwich in foil to help hold it together as you eat it.
Serve with a pickle spear and chips, steamed veggies or a salad!
Briskets are a summer time staple at any Texas BBQ. I love one that has slowly been cooked on a grill all day long, but they can just as easily be made in your oven for a great dinner any night of the week!
There are two important things you want to remember when cooking a brisket 1) you want one with some fat on it, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ — it helps to seal in the moisture. 2) cook it slow, because brisket is a tough cut of meat you do not want to rush cooking it. Cooking it slowly ensures a moist and tender meat!
Because it is a fatty meat, I like to balance mine out with LOTS of veggies. Last night we opted for roasted corn, asparagus and mashed potatoes. The only thing that could have made this meal any better would have been a big, green salad!
This is what you will need:
- 1 small brisket (~2lbs)
- 1 large tomato, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
- 1/2 purple onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon dried onions
- 1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning (or combine equal parts parsley, oregano & basil)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine, dried onions, italian seasoning and cayenne pepper in a small bowl, set aside.
Place brisket in roasting pan. Using a fork, pierce brisket repeatedly to tenderize the meat, sprinkle with seasoning mix, flip and repeat on other side. Top with diced onions, tomatoes, garlic, salt & pepper. Add water to pan, cover with foil and bake for 6-8 hours.
Makes 8 servings.
Stay tuned to see how I revamp the leftovers in to tasty meals throughout the week!
Have a suggestion for leftover brisket? Share it with me in the comments section (:
Jambalaya has been one of my favorite meals since I was a teenager. In fact, it was the first meal I learned to make on my own. It’s super quick and easy to make, there is a some prep time involved — but definitely worth it! Follows is my recipe for a quick, delish, healthy & protein packed quinoa jambalaya (as healthy as a meal with sausage can be anyway).
What you will need:
- 2 sausage links, sliced (I prefer Aidells or Applegate Farms)
- 1/2lb extra lean ground chicken or 12 medium shrimp
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/2 purple onion, diced
- 1/2 large tomato, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1 cup chicken stock (can substitute water or veggie stock)
- 1/2 teaspoon of the following: garlic powder, dried onion, cayenne pepper, chili powder & red pepper flakes (you can use more or less of each depending on how spicy you want it to be)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Salt & Pepper
Using a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook your meats. Remove them from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and using the same skillet, combine EVOO, onion and garlic. Cook until onion is opaque. Add green bell pepper and tomato, cook 1 additional minute. Stir in quinoa and broth. Add bay leaves and spices. Cover and cook until quinoa is done (add additional water or chicken stock if necessary) — this will take about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add meat and heat through, 3-5 minutes.
This meal comes together in 30 to 45 minutes and makes 2 large servings (I actually had 1/2 serving for dinner and the other half for lunch).
Nutrition Facts: 552 calories, 23g fat, 42.2g carbs, 46.5g protein. PLUS 262.5mg potassium, 164% Vitamin C & 52.5% iron (when made using extra lean ground chicken & Applegate Farms chicken and apple sausage).
If you have kids or are just a picky eater yourself and want to sneak in more veggies (and a better nutritional content), you can add 2 finely diced carrots at the same time as the tomato & bell pepper!
I have developed quite a knack for what I call ‘surprise dishes’ … They are simple really and perhaps not all that unique, but nonetheless this is my dinner strategy some nights. I take stock of what I have on hand, based upon that list — pick a theme (Italian, Asian or Mexican), throw the ingredients together in some creative fashion … and then comes the taste test. One of three outcomes are possible 1) it is going to be bad because I added something that did not quite work out right flavor or technique wise 2) it is going to be ok, but not great because I was missing that one ingredient (ok, maybe two) that would have ‘made’ the dish or 3) SURPRISE, it is delish–thankfully, this has been my outcome more often than not.
Anyhow, I have recently fallen in love with DeBoles gluten free angel hair pasta, so I decided to try an Italian style surprise last night. It came out particularly tasty, so I thought I would share! Follows is how I made it with what I had on hand, but use the ingredients you have and be creative — use my recipe as a way to inspire your own!
The directions are for one serving simply because the fiancé does not eat my ‘special’ gluten free foods, so I make ours separate.
- 1 serving DeBoles angel hair pasta
- 1 chicken breast, baked
- ~2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 purple onion, small dice
- 1 cup fresh green beans (frozen will substitute fine)
- 1/8 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 large red tomato, medium slices
- Fresh or dried Italian seasonings of your choice
- Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roasted your tomato: place tomato slices on baking sheet lined with tin foil; drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon EVOO and balsamic vinegar; top with salt, pepper and garlic (fresh minced or powder), place in oven for approximately 20 minutes — until tomatoes begin to caramelize.
Cook pasta according to package directions, substituting chicken stock for water. Drain & set aside.
Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in 1/2 tablespoon EVOO, until onion is opaque. Add red bell pepper, green beans and a splash of chicken stock to pan. Cover and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes, until veggies are cooked to desired crispness. Remove lid, reduce heat to medium-low.
Add pasta, chicken (shredded or sliced into strips), remaining EVOO, parmesan cheese, seasonings, salt & pepper to pan — mix and heat through. Serve, topped with roasted tomatoes. Enjoy!
More suggestions for creating a tasty pasta dish after the jump …