Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I think my all-time favorite comfort food is a hearty soup.  That and potatoes prepared several ways.  The following are some dishes I like to make during those chilly days of winter.  The potato recipe is one I made for Thanksgiving and was such a success I was asked to make it for Christmas too!

Italian Turkey & Vegetable Soup

2 Tsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. Swiss chard, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) artichoke hearts, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil
6 c. gluten-free chicken broth

Directions:  Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, saute until onions are slightly translucent.  Add turkey and turn heat up to med-hi heat, cook until browned.  Add the seasonings, artichoke, diced tomatoes and Swiss chard.  Stir to combine.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
2 Potato Tart

1 Tb. olive oil
3 leeks, green parts trimmed off, washed and sliced thin
1/2 Tb. each fresh rosemary and thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 in. slices
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 in. slices

Directions:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a 9 1/2 inch, deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.  Line bottom with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Heat oil in large skillet over med-hi heat.  Add leeks and herbs, cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with 1/8 tsp. of the salt and pepper.  Arrange half the sweet potato slices, slightly overlapping, in the pie pan.  Season with a little of the remaining salt and pepper.  Spread one-third of the leeks over the top.  Arrange half the potato slices over the leeks and season.  Top with another one-third of the leeks.  Repeat with remaining sweet potatoes, leeks and potatoes in the same manner.  Cover the pan tightly with foil.  Bake on the lowest level oven rack for 45 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge to loosen it.  Invert onto a serving plate.  Remove foil and serve!

Daily Veggie Soup

1 Tb. vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 leek, dark green parts trimmed, wash and sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 small carrots, sliced
1 c. baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
6 c. gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock
1 c. cubed tofu
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste

Directions:  Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add garlic and leeks.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.  Add zucchini, carrots and celery.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and tofu, cook another 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, seasoning and chicken or vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, 45 min. to 1 hour.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Autumn is finally here!  My favorite time of the year.  Perfect for cooking those comfort foods that warm your tummy.  Here are two recipes in celebration of the season.....

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 Tb. chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
*Optional:  shredded cheese and sour cream

Directions:  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute onion, jalapeno, bell peppers and garlic until tender.  Stir in the turkey and cook until evenly browned.  Pour meat mixture into a slow cooker.  Mix in the tomatoes, pumpkin puree, and spices.  Cover and set on low, cook for 4 hours.  Scoop into individual bowls. *Optional:  top with cheese and sour cream.

Shepherd's Pie

1 1/2 c. baby carrots, cut in 1" pieces
1 onion, half diced and half cut in wedges
2 Tb. olive oil
Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, to taste
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 c. GF beef broth
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tb. GF soy sauce
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 c. frozen peas
3 c. mashed potatoes

Directions:  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place carrots and onion wedges in a baking dish, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, brown the ground beef, diced onion and garlic in a large skillet.  In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch, beef broth, soy sauce and spices.  Pour liquid over meat and simmer over medium heat until rich and bubbly.  Add peas and roasted vegetables to the meat mixture.  Pour into a casserole dish or large baking pan.  Top with prepared mashed potatoes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

TASTE-TESTING: Sausage, Soup and Pasta

I found several products recently that I hadn't tried before and was happy with all of them.  At Whole Foods there were some sausages that were tasty plus, they had no sugar.  One was Mulay's Sausages Original Hot Italian Sausage.  For more information go their website at mulayssausage.com.  The other was Wellshire All Natural Andouille Sausage.  For more information go to their website at wellshirefarms.com.

The last trip I made to Fresh & Easy I noticed they designated a whole section in one aisle for gluten-free products.  I selected several items to try and the following are the ones I liked the most.  First up is Gluten Free Cafe's Chicken Noodle Soup.  I was really excited about this one as it had the perfect balance of all ingredients and wasn't too salty like many canned soups can be.  This soup also had no sugar! I also tried their Cinnamon Sesame Bar.  They had a few different flavors but I liked this one the most.  It is even fortified with vitamins, minerals and prebiotics.  For more information on products by Gluten Free Cafe' go to myglutenfreecafe.com.

Next up is Schar's Gluten-Free Wheat-Free Fusilli pasta.  I liked the texture and color of this pasta and it tasted great with some marinara.  I think it would be great to use in a pasta salad as well.  Visit schar.com for information on additional products.  I hope you will try these out for yourself - happy eating!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pasta Sauce Taste-Test and Recipe

In keeping with a healthy lifestyle, I look for items that are not only gluten-free but low in sugar or sugar-free.  I'm not sure if there's such a thing as an allergy to refined sugar but it sure doesn't do my body any good.  I avoid anything that has refined sugar, corn syrup etc. and look for natural options like agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey and sugars derived from fruit juces.  In doing so I have eliminated "brain fog", afternoon fatigue, and reduced the number of migraines I get.  I was delighted to find a brand of pasta sauce that was not only gluten-free but had no added sugar and only natural sugars that come from the tomatoes themselves. The brand is Paesana Marinara and you can get more information and recipes at: www.paesana.com.  To go along with the sauce is my favorite pasta, Tinkyada brand brown rice pasta.  For more information on their products go to www.ricepasta.com or www.tinkyada.com. The following is a quick and easy recipe using both of these:

Easy Pasta 'n Sauce

1 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 c. baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jar (25 oz.) Paesana Marinara
1 pkg. Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta (I used the penne)

Directions:  Prepare the pasta according to the package.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for an additional 1 1/2 minutes.  Add sauce, stir, reduce heat to simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Pour the drained and rinsed pasta into the pan.  Toss with the sauce to coat.  Serve!

(Optional:  sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Seasoned Tilapia with Carrot Infused Rice

Seasoned Tilapia with Carrot Infused Rice


4 tilapia filets, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 Tb. canola oil

1 cup jasmine rice, uncooked
1 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tb. olive oil
1 3/4 c. water
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. ground macadamia nuts

Directions:  Place tilapia filets on a large plate.  In a small bowl combine onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, black pepper and 1 Tb. canola oil.  Rub spice mixture on both sides of tilapia filets.  Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the remaining 1 Tb. canola oil to the pan.  Add tilapia filets and cook for 4 minutes.  Flip over and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  For rice, heat the olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat.  Add carrots, onion, garlic, ginger and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.  Add rice and water.  Cover with lid and heat until boiling.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in the macadamia nuts.  Serve with the cooked tilapia.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


On my last trip to Whole Foods I saw some new gluten-free crackers that I hadn't seen before.  They are called Edward & Sons' Exotic Rice Toast.  They come in a few different flavors.  I got the Jasmine Rice & Spring Onion, and the Purple Rice & Black Sesame.  I was quite pleased with the crisp texture and subtle seasoning.  These are a perfect base for fancy spreads and hors d'oeuvres.  I enjoyed them with hummus and a tomato and artichoke bruschetta spread.  For more information about this company and it's products, go to www.edwardandsons.com

Next up is a twist on the classic Tuna Melt.  Hope you like it!

Tuna Melt Tacos

1 can of tuna, drained
1/4 c. organic mayo
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 green onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. mustard seeds, crushed
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I used dairy free rice cheese)
4 thin slices of a Roma tomato
1/2 small avocado, sliced thin
2 (6") corn tortillas
Nonstick spray

Directions:  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine tuna, mayo, red wine vinegar, green onion, salt and pepper and mustard seed.  Set aside.  Place 2 tortillas on a cookie sheet and spray both sides with nonstick spray.  Place in broiler for 1 minute.  Remove and flip over tortillas.  Sprinkle a little cheese on each tortilla, reserving 1/8 c. for later.  Next, spread tuna mix evenly on each tortilla.  Top each with 2 tomato slices.  Sprinkle on the reserved cheese.  Return the cookie sheet to the broiler and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.  Place tortillas on a plate, divide the sliced avocado evenly between them and fold up into a taco shape.  Secure with a toothpick to retain shape.  Serve!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Summer is fast approaching and that means picnics in the park.  One staple of family picnics is the pasta salad.  Here is a gluten-free version of a pasta salad you may like to bring the next time you are invited to a party or picnic - Enjoy!

Picnic Pasta Salad

4 c. cooked GF pasta, Tinkyada brand
1 small organic green bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 small organic yellow squash, chopped
1 organic carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 of a roasted red pepper, chopped
1 Tb. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. Annie's Naturals Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Directions:  Place cooked pasta in a large bowl.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over med-hi heat.  When hot, add all the vegetables, tossing to coat with oil.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.  Pour into bowl with pasta.  Add salt and pepper.  Toss together.  Pour in vinaigrette and toss again gently.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I love scallops!  When I saw them on special at the grocery store I had to get some.  Here's a quick and easy recipe I whipped up today that has only 5 ingredients - Enjoy!

Scallops For Two

8 oz. jumbo sea scallops
8 oz. broccoli tenders, trimmed and cut in thirds
A large handful of grape tomatoes
3 slices uncured bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves

Directions:  Heat large skillet over med-hi heat.  Add bacon and saute until halfway cooked, about 3 minutes.  Add broccoli tenders, cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.  Add tomatoes and garlic.  Let cook another 3 minutes.  Push broccoli and tomato mixture to the sides and place scallops in the middle.  Cook for 2 minutes or until they are opaque halfway through.  Add 1-2 Tb. water to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Turn over scallops and cook for about 2-3 more minutes, until cooked through.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Lately I've been craving artichokes and have been creating recipes with them as the main ingredient.  I'm still perfecting the others but here is a great salad you can prepare for a large lunch or dinner crowd.  It's also perfect for an outdoor B-B-Q or picnic!  Enjoy!

Rice & Artichoke Salad

2 c. GF chicken or vegetable stock
2 c. water
2 c. uncooked white rice
18 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and 1/2 c. liquid reserved
1 1/4 c. organic mayo, I used Spectrum brand
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 c. parsley

Directions:  Combine stock and water in large pot and bring to a boil.  Add rice, reduced heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  In a bowl, mix together the mayo, reserved artichoke liquid, curry powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  In a very large bowl, combine the artichokes, onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley.  Mix in the cooked rice.  Drizzle in the dressing mixture and toss together gently.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Serve cold.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mmmm - That's Some Good Guacamole!

I think I've mentioned before that avocados are one of my favorite foods.  Now that Spring has arrived, it puts me in the mood for those backyard parties and fun foods.  I enjoy making guacamole several different ways, but here is a basic recipe that has minimal ingredients with maximum taste.

Good Guacamole

2 large avocados
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 Tb. cilantro, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 green onion, sliced and chopped fine
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon or 1 lime

Directions:  Scoop the avocado from there shells and place in a bowl.  Add garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper.  Mash these ingredients together (mashing the garlic and cilantro with the avocado helps to bring out their natural, savory oils, adding more flavor).  Add the green onion, tomatoes and lemon/lime juice.  Mix to combine.  Serve with tortilla chips, spread on a sandwich or wrap, or eat with vegetable sticks.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I've never cooked black-eyed peas before and have heard they're tricky since you don't want to over-cooked them or they'll "explode" or turn to mush - and you don't want to undercook them and be too hard.  I got them just right the first time!  Here is a variation on a southern black-eyed peas recipe.

Black-Eyed Peas
with Ham & Artichoke

7 c. water
16 oz. (1 lb) dried black-eyed peas
14.1 oz. (1 can) artichoke hearts in brine, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. red pepper sauce
3 Tb. vegetable oil
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
3 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
8 oz. cooked smoked ham, chopped

Directions:  Heat water and peas to boiling in a large pot.  Boil uncovered for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer and add ham.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender.  Drain well and set aside.  Heat oil in same pot and add onion, artichoke, garlic, salt and red pepper sauce.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in cilantro, tomatoes and peas/ham mixture.  Cook until heated through - about 5 minutes.  Servings:  6-8

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Taquito Taste-Test Plus Tasty Soup Recipe

I was in a Mexican food mood and picked up some new frozen taquitos at Whole Foods to try.  The brand is Starlite Cuisine and the product is Crispy Soy Taquitos.  I tried the "Chicken Style" and the "Chorizo and Black Bean Style."  These taquitos do not contain gluten, dairy or meat.  I was pleasantly surprise at how good they were!  There were eight in a box and I ate four for dinner and they were plenty since they were nice size taquitos.  I highly recommend this brand of taquitos if you love Mexican food and want to find a healthier alternative.  For more information on what else Starlite Cuisine has to offer, visit their website at www.starlitecuisine.com.

I love making a big pot of soup now and then - especially if it's a hearty soup.  If you're a meat & potatoes kind of person, you'll enjoy this recipe!

Italian Sausage & Potato Soup

4 c. water
4 c. GF chicken broth
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled, cut in quarters lengthwise and sliced thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 lb. uncured bacon, chopped
2 c. chard, roughly chopped
1 c. almond milk or heavy cream

Directions:  In a large pot, break up the sausage and brown along with the bacon.  Remove and drain well, set aside.  In the same pot add the water, broth, potatoes, garlic and onion.  Boil over high heat for 15 minutes.  Add sausage and bacon, let simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in chard and almond milk or cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 5 minutes more.  Serve!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


On my latest trip to CostPlus World Market, I noticed some new gluten-free items I hadn't tried.  I love their variety of unique products.  First I tried Snap Dragon's Hong Kong Seafood rice noodle soup bowl.  Very tasty, especially if you love the flavor of seafood.  I also tried their Pad Thai Ginger which is a rice noodle and ginger pad thai sauce.  This one you had to add a meat, vegetable and egg to.  I didn't quite like it and prefer the traditional pad thai flavor.  Next up were two different flavors of tortilla chips by a company called Food Should Taste Good.  Their all natural chips came in a variety of flavors but I chose the one with lime juice and sea salt and the sweet potato flavor.  I loved them both!  They are so yummy I had a hard time not eating the whole bag.  They are light and crisp yet sturdy enough to use in any dip.  Finally, I tried Tiger Tiger's Indonesian Satay sauce in a stir-fry recipe.  It was really good and had a little bit sweeter flavor than the Thai satay sauces I've had.

Shrimp & Vegetables with Indonesian Satay Sauce


1/2 lb. large raw shrimp, shelled and halved
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 c. cooked rice noodle or mung bean threads
5 oz. (1/3 jar) Tiger Tiger Indonesian Satay
2 Tb. coconut oil

Directions:  Heat oil in large pan over med-high heat.  Add bell peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add shrimp, stir-fry another 2 minutes.  Add noodles and sauce.  Mix well to evenly incorporate.  Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.  Serve!

Saturday, January 15, 2011




Raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions:  For large shrimp use half a slice of bacon for each.  For smaller shrimp use one-third slice of bacon for each.  Wrap each shrimp and secure with toothpick.  Grill for 2 minutes per side.  Place on serving dish and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.