Snow Days = Yummy Recipes!

I haven't done any straight-up food posts on here yet even though I LOVE reading other people's food blogs.  I guess that's not what I'm naturally drawn to write about.  BUT I do love to share good recipes when I find them, especially for people that are struggling with food restrictions/health issues like I am.  For those of you that have read or responded to my Repairvite diet posts, these recipes aren't Repairvite-friendly unfortunately.  :-(  But they are Paleo friendly and are gluten free, refined sugar free and for the most part, dairy free.

I admit, I had slumped back into making a lot of "convenience" foods lately.  Yes, they were "healthy" versions but still.  So it felt good to get back to preparing and cooking real food this week.  I think the snow outside somehow helped me to not feel guilty about spending more time in the kitchen and boy, was it worth it!  I've had three yummy main dishes and one yummy dessert so far so I thought I'd share.

All the main dish recipes are from Clean Eating magazine's "Winter's Best Dishes" issue, which somehow miraculously was delivered to me even though I didn't sign up for it (whoever got it for me... thank you!) and the brownie recipe is from one of my favorite blogs, Tasty Yummies.  I highly recommended subscribing to their magazine and following the blog.  For now though, here are my favorites from this week!

Roasted Chicken & Quinoa Cobb Salad


12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp grape seed oil, divided (I used olive oil)

2 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided

1 tsp sea salt, divided

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 tsp chopped fresh basil leaves, divided

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

8 cups romaine lettuce hearts

1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 hard boiled eggs, cut into quarters

2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  To a medium parchment-lined baking sheet, add chicken and drizzle with 1/4 tsp oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Rub seasoning into chicken to distribute.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, removing foil in the last 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan on medium, combine quinoa with 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is soft.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Prepare vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 tsp oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, garlic, 2 tsp basil, mustard and 1 tbsp water.

4.  On a large platter, spread out romaine.  Spread quinoa across middle section of romaine and drizzle with half of vinaigrette.  Garnish with remaining 1 tsp basil.  Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over lettuce.  Arrange chicken, avocado, tomatoes and eggs in sections across the lettuce.  Sprinkle cheese over top.

Quinoa-Stuffed Collard Green Rolls

4 tsp olive oil, divided

3 yellow onions, diced, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning, divded

2 cups boxed or jarred unsalted diced tomatoes

2 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water, divided

1 tbsp raw honey

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

18 large collard green leaves, stems removed and discarded

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 each red and green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 cup cooked or BPA-free canned navy beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

1.  In a medium saucepan on medium-high, heat 2 tsp oil.  Stir in one-third of onions and half of garlic.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until onions are softened.  Stir in 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until thickened.  Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup broth, honey, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a large bowl filled with ice and water.  Add 3 to 4 collard leaves to pot, immerse and blanch for about 1 minute, until tender.  Transfer to ice water to cool, then place onto a paper towel-lined tray and pat leaves dry with paper towel.  Repeat with remaining collard leaves.  Place 1 leaf onto a cutting board, thick protruding stem side of leaf facing up.  Holding a small knife parallel to cutting board, trim off thick part of stem.  Repeat with remaining collard leaves.  Set aside.

3.  Preheat oven to 350.  In a separate medium saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups broth and quinoa to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, uncover and let rest for 5 minutes.  Fluff quinoa with a fork.

4.  Meanwhile, in a large saute pan on medium-high, heat remaining 2 tsp oil.  Add remaining onions and garlic.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are softened.  Add remaining 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, mushrooms and bell peppers and cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Add quinoa, beans, dill, cayenne, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined.

5.  Assemble rolls:  Spread half of tomato sauce evenly into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish; set aside.  Place 1 collard leaf onto cutting board, trimmed side up and stem towards you.  Scoop about 1/4 to 1/3 cup quinoa filling onto leaf, about a third of the way from stem end.  Fold sides of leaf over filling, then roll stem end over filling and continue to roll into a cylinder shape.  Place into casserole dish, seam side down, and repeat assembly with remaining leaves and filling, placing rolls snugly into casserole dish.  Top with remaining tomato sauce.  Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until hot throughout and sauce is bubbling.

Mexican Mac n' Cheese


3 cups brown rice elbow macaroni

1 cup cooked or BPA-free canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 tsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp organic unsalted butter

1 red onion, finely diced

1 tbsp brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups 1% milk (I used coconut milk)

6 oz queso fresco, shredded

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I used coconut milk yogurt)

1.  Cook macaroni according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.  Stir in beans and cover to keep warm.

2.  In a small bowl, combine tomato, avocado, cilantro and lime juice; set aside.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on medium, melt butter.  Add onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute.  Gradually add milk, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add queso fresco, stirring until slightly melted with some curds remaining.  Add yogurt and stir to combine.  Add to pot with macaroni-bean mixture and stir until well combined.  Divide evenly among serving bowls and top with tomato mixture, dividing evenly.

Grain Free Tiramisu Double Chocolate Brownies (Gluten & Refined Sugar Free)


Brownie Base:

2 1/2 cups cashew flour (I used almond flour)

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used carob powder)

1 cup bitter sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup freshly brewed espresso (I used regular coffee)

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 cup raw virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

Tiramisu Cream:

8 oz mascarpone

8 oz cream cheese (I used dairy free cream cheese alternative)

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 egg yolks (it will taste good without egg yolks too)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking dish with parchment paper.  Add coconut oil to a small saucepan and melt over low heat.

2.  In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients for brownie base:  cashew flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

3.  Using a medium sized bowl, mix all wet ingredients for brownie base:  espresso, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, apple sauce and eggs.  Make sure the eggs are mixed in well and there are no strings.  If necessary, use a hand mixer.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix (by hand) until well incorporated.  The batter will be thick, that's ok!  Fill brownie batter into your baking dish and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.  Do the toothpick test - if you stick a toothpick down the middle and batter crumbs stick to it, you need to continue baking.  Allow brownie base to cool off.

5.  Mascarpone and cream cheese should be at room temperature.  Combine all Tiramisu Cream ingredients and mix with hand mixer until you have a smooth cream.  Spread on top of your now cold brownie base and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Brownie base by itself keeps for up to 5 days.  Tiramisu cream containing egg yolk should be consumed within 2 days.