Archive for June, 2011

Halibut with Summer Saute

Since yesterday was quite busy, I was in a pinch for dinner last night and need something I could quickly pull together. I bought some beautiful halibut fillets that were on sale at Sprouts and couldn’t wait to cook them. I originally had a different, more time-consuming idea in mind but I changed my plans on a whim for a fast meal that was on the table in 20 minutes. I’m usually a big planner, so do I get extra points for being flexible?

Since I didn’t premeditate this dish, it was one of those evenings I wasn’t sure how everything was going to come together…but it turned out to be a delicious summer meal that was very easy and light…meaning I had room for another bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert :)

Although I used halibut, I think any mild fish such as mahi mahi or tilapia or even grilled chicken would be a good protein accompaniment to the simple “summer saute”.  You could grill the fish – if you refuse to turn on the oven this time of year – or if you choose to use a different fish or protein, just note that the baking time may vary. For example, tilapia fillets are not as thick and would cook in about 9-11 minutes.

Since we eat with our eyes first, I grabbed fresh veggies with a variety of color for a more appealing presentation but you could easily substitute your favorite summer vegetables (yellow squash, any color bell pepper, tomato, etc) for a different twist. I didn’t use too many seasonings to allow the fresh corn, fish and vegetables to really shine yet the hit of citrus from the lime brightens up the flavors, don’t skip this! This recipe made two good-size portions but the ingredients could be doubled or tripled if needed.

Halibut with Summer Saute

Ingredients

For Fish 

2 halibut fillets (about 1 inch thickness)
salt and pepper to taste (I was generous with the seasoning)
1 tsp melted butter or olive oil
Lime slices for serving

For Vegetable Saute

1 tsp butter or coconut oil or olive oil
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped (I used sweet onion)
1 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 mushrooms, chopped
1 ear of sweet corn, cut off the cob
salt and pepper to taste
couple shakes of smoked paprika (love the smoky taste!)
2 tsp fresh lime juice (lemon would probably work here too)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Tear off medium size parchment paper for each fillet. Place fillet in the center of the paper, drizzle with butter or oil and season with salt and pepper. Gather all 4 ends of the paper and fold over once to crimp to make a loose packet or a tent (next time I will take a photo!). In a small baking pan (I used 8×8), place two packets of fish and bake for 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily.
2. When the fish has about 10 minutes left to cook, preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add butter/coconut oil/olive oil and let melt. Add onions and garlic and saute 1 minute or until onion starts to become translucent. Add zucchini, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute for another 2 or 3 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir and saute another 2 minutes until corn is cooked but still crisp. Remove from heat and drizzle with lime juice for freshness.
3. When fish is cooked through, remove from oven and discard skin before serving. Serve fish over a bed of the summer saute, drizzle with extra lime juice and more salt and pepper to taste (if needed). Enjoy!

June 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm 3 comments

Dairy Free Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I had a very busy day today, but it was a great day! I was productive at work, baked for a friend I am meeting tomorrow for lunch and I woke up this morning without an alarm…but I guess you could say it really all started last night when I finally received my new Cuisinart Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt maker that I purchased online. I had been contemplating the purchase for a while and finally gave in with the rationale of combating the summer heat (good enough reason, right?).

Immediately after the ice cream maker was delivered, I washed out the bowl and stuck it in the freezer so I could make a new creation asap. The bowl needed to be in the freezer for at least 18 hours so when the clock struck noon today, I hit the kitchen for some ice cream makin’! I wanted something refreshing for my first attempt and I decided on mint chocolate chip — and this recipe only took me 3 minutes to whip up (no cooking or pre-cooling required) and was ready to eat in 20 minutes – now that’s my kind of ice cream! Since the sugar content is low, the ice cream will freeze hard. I had one serving immediately after it was done churning but saved the remaining in the freezer for later. You will need to set the ice cream out on the counter for 15 or 20 minutes for it to be scoopable…maybe while you are eating dinner…

I avoid artificial food coloring so I wanted to come up with my own way of tinting the base green to resemble the mint chocolate chip ice cream I remember growing up. I know it didn’t have to be green but I wanted to make it fun…and this way I could sneak in more nutrition. Why not included a veggie that is completely undistinguishable and added some extra nutrients on the side? I got the idea from watching an old episode of Chef vs City with Aaron Sanchez and Chris Cosentino when they went to Baltimore and had to decipher the various vegetable ingredients in an ice cream challenge!!! Can you guess what my secret green ingredient is?

Let’s just say I am already dreaming up other versions in my heads…if you have special requests, please feel free to pass along!

Dairy Free Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk, chilled (not lite, you need the healthy fat for this recipe or it will be brick)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
Couple drops of peppermint extract (about 1/4 tsp – this is strong!)
3 Tbsp honey (or agave for vegan– you could probably sub stevia but will freeze harder, I will try stevia in another batch)
1/4 tsp guar gum (can eliminate if you don’t have or are allergic, but makes it creamier)
handful of fresh spinach (about a cup)
pinch of sea salt, optional
2 Tbsp finely chopped unsweetened chocolate or carob (can use sweetened if preferred)

Directions

1. In a blender, add all ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend for 1 minute or until fully combined (no clumps).
2. Pour blended mixture into your ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine churned for about 15 minutes and then I added the chopped chocolate and let churn another five minutes and it was done!
3. Top with extra chocolate, if desired, and enjoy!

June 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm 7 comments

Easy Wild Rice Pizza Crust or Flatbread

I’m convinced that pizza is one of the best foods around — depending on what your pizza looks like of course — but you can hit all of the food groups in one slice, how perfect is that? I’m not advocating the cheese-stuffed, ultra-thick crust with extra garlic butter sauce and the triple meat combo + hold the veggies…however, pizza is so versatile and you can easily make it your own that I can’t help but love this delish dish!

My all-time favorite combo is spinach, mushrooms, and onions with grilled chicken and extra tomato sauce – YUM! Trying to find a wholesome gluten-free crust that I can feel good about eating often can be tricky though. I’ll occasionally treat myself to a gluten free pizza at restaurants occasionally but they typically contain a ton of refined white flours (tapicoa, white rice flour, potato starch, etc) and are quite pricey — I ordered one from our local pizzeria the other night with 3 toppings for $32!!!

Therefore, a fall-back, homemade version is a must! I love experimenting with the crust, since the crust plays such a huge part in the whole pizza experience. I’ve made Charity Dasenbrock’s simple quinoa crust several times (and adore it),  variations on socca (chickpea) crusts and other brown rice flour crusts, but I wanted to use up leftover cooked wild rice and thought I’d give it a whirl. I added some flax seed meal but you could probably substitute your favorite flour if you prefer. This crust was crispy and crunchy on the outside with a soft inside, it worked out great!

You could even use this as a flatbread for your favorite dip (hummus or guac, anyone?) or cut it in half and make a hearty sandwich (or maybe even a panini). I’ve made this recipe on multiple occassions with both wild rice and long grain brown rice, and you can make different variations by switching up the spices depending on how you plan to devour eat it.

**Updated 7/1/2011 – For step by step photo instructions on how to make this crust, please click here.

Wild Rice Pizza Crust

Ingredients

1/2 tsp coconut oil, butter, ghee or oil or choice
1 cup cooked long grain wild rice (or brown rice)
2 tsp flax seed meal (you could probably replace with flour of your choice)
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white (omit or sub a flax egg for vegan version)
1/4 tsp honey or a dash of stevia, optional
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp water

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Place small iron cast non-stick skillet (or oven proof frying pan) in oven with coconut oil/butter until melted. Dont let it smoke and burn!
2. Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients to a blender or a food processor. Blend for 20-30 seconds. The rice mixture should have a thick batter consistency. If too thick, add a 1/2 tbsp of water at at time until consistency is reached.
3. Remove hot pan carefully from the oven (be careful not the burn yourself on hot handle!) and add rice batter to the pan and spread evenly. Bake in oven for 13-15 minutes, or until browned on the bottom and slightly crisp. Remove from oven again (using oven mitts with hot pan!) and flip over, then cook for another 13-15 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and add your favorite pizza toppings. Bake for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is melted (if using cheese) or toppings are heated and crust is crispy.
5. Using a spatula, slide crust out of pan, slice and enjoy!

Makes one pizza crust

*I topped this pie with easy homemade tomato sauce (tomato paste with a dash of stevia and a couple tablespoons water and italian seasoning), caramelized onions, wilted spinach, sauteed tomatoes and some mozzarella! Easy as pie : ) Ok, that was a little corny…

Recipe Notes: For a vegan version, omit the egg. I’ve accidentally left out the egg and it stilled turn out (image far bottom)

You can also make an easy flatbread and enjoy plain with a dip or spread (below) or slather with basil pesto and mozzarella cheese (far below).

Simple and plain...or ready for dipping!

This is the eggless version, a happy accident!

June 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm 29 comments

Banana Bread Quinoa Flake Bake

Are you tired of the same old breakfast? Maybe you are sick of oatmeal or scrambled eggs or just looking to branch out a little. Either way, I may have a quick and easy solution for you! This simple high-protein and high-fiber breakfast bake can be whipped up and served within five minutes using the microwave or you can bake in the oven for a different method!

I’ve been eyeing the quinoa bakes from the fabulous Leanne Vogel over at Healthful Pursuit for the past several weeks and I’ve made two already (banana bread and apple walnut)! If you aren’t familiar with Leanne, go check out her site and her quinoa bakes- she has wonderful gluten free and dairy free recipes I know you will love! The flavor combinations for these bakes are endless so if bananas don’t make you happy then feel free to change up the ingredients. This recipe is a riff on banana bread using hearty quinoa flakes and coconut. If you aren’t much of a quinoa fan, feel free to use gluten free oats instead of the quinoa but reduce the cooking time* (see notes below).

You could make this for breakfast if you are in a slump or a nutritious snack if you need an energy boost!

Banana Bread Quinoa Flake Bake (adapted from Leanne’s Mango Tropics Bake)

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa flakes (I used Ancient Harvest brand) – you could sub oats but cooking time will be less*
1/2 ripe banana, mashed (if you don’t like banana, use another pureed or mashed fruit equal to 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (other milk could be subbed or use applesauce or yogurt)
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut, optional
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey, optional for a sweeter variation

Coconut oil for greasing baking dish (butter or ghee would work here)

Topping Ideas (I used coconut butter and pecans)

Coconut butter (my homemade version is chunky and doesn’t melt as well as the Artisana brand but it’s still yummy!)
Chopped and lightly toasted pecans (or raw)
Other ideas: Raisins, cranberries, shredded coconut, nut butter, sliced bananas, other chopped nuts, chocolate or carob chips, maple syrup or honey

Directions
(Oven and Microwave Cooking Methods Included)

1. In a small bowl, add in all ingredients and stir until well combined.
2. Grease a 16 oz microwave safe ramekin or bowl with coconut oil then add quinoa mixture to prepared dish. Press mixture in the ramekin and use fingers, fork or spoon to smooth out create an even surface.

If baking in the oven
Preheat oven to 350F, then place dish in oven and bake for 22-27 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool slightly and then invert onto serving dish, garnish with toppings and enjoy!

If using quick microwave method
Place dish in the microwave and cook for 3 to 4 minutes (microwaves vary). The “bake” will slightly rise and will be more firm to touch and mixture will pull away from the sides of the baking dish. Be careful not to over cook or you will have a hard hockey puck that you will have to give to your dog. Let cool for one minute and then invert onto serving dish, garnish with toppings and enjoy!

*If substituting oats for the quinoa flakes, bake in oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted is clean OR cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook, different microwaves will vary!).

June 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm 21 comments

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