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Mediterranean Turkey Meatballs.

Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs With Quinoa, Herbs & Feta.

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These healthy meatballs are filled with delicious Mediterranean flavor. By replacing breadcrumbs with quinoa, they have a great texture and are naturally gluten-free. The feta adds a salty, decadent deliciousness.  These meatballs would be great over pasta, but I decided to keep things low-carb and served them with some roasted green beans.

Serves 4-5.

Ingredients:

  • 1 28-0z can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 16-oz ground lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat feta cheese (plus extra for topping)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • sea salt
  • ~2 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey with the eggs, quinoa, feta cheese, garlic, dill, basil, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and a dash of sea salt. Mix well and form the meat into small balls that fit in the palm of your hand. Put 1-2 tbsp of olive oil on a baking sheet (evenly dispersed) and then line the meatballs onto it. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, the flipping the meatballs to brown the other side, and then cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Heat the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste together in a large pot. Season with a dash of sea salt, dill and basil. When the meatballs come out of the oven, add them into the sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes or so. When serving the meatballs, top with a pinch of the feta cheese and serve on top of spaghetti or with the side of your choice.

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Magnificent Margarita Pizza.

Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Homemade Grape Tomato Sauce & Dill.

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Pizza is the best, isn’t it? This is my take on a margarita pizza that I made for a dinner part recently and it was super delish. This pizza is definitely still a “cheat meal” but it’s totally worth it. The grape tomato sauce adds a burst of tangy flavor that goes perfectly with the fresh dill and smooth mozzarella. I can’t wait to make (and eat) this again!

Serves ~8.

Ingredients:

Pizza~

  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 large handful fresh dill, chopped
  • fresh pizza dough (I purchased pre-made dough but you could also make your own of course)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of sea salt

Sauce~

  • 3 cups grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper

Begin by making the sauce. Heat the olive oil on medium heat and add in the chopped garlic and whole grape tomatoes. Cook on medium/low heat for about 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring often, until the tomatoes start to cook down and get softer. After they’re cooked, remove from the stove and put them in the food processor and blend for 20 seconds or so. Place the sauce back into the pot and season with salt and cayenne pepper.

Put some flour on a cutting board or the surface of your counter to help avoid the dough sticking and roll out the dough. My pizza was more of an oval, but you can shape the dough however you desire. Once rolled out, put the pizza dough onto a non-stick baking sheet. Rub about 3 tbsp of olive oil over the top of the dough so it’s coated evenly and season with a dash of sea salt. Before putting on the toppings, put the crust in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the dough is partially cooked. Remove from the oven and allow the dough to cool slightly. Top with a generous layer of the grape tomato sauce, the fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of fresh dill. Put the pizza back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so, or until the mozzarella is bubbly and lightly browned.

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Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala.

Chicken in a reduced-fat, creamy tomato sauce with aromatic spices.

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Gareth loves Indian food so I wanted to try my hand at cooking him a meal with some Indian flavors, but still keep it healthy. Chicken tikka masala is a chicken dish that’s typically marinated in yogurt and served in a rich and creamy tomato sauce with lots of aromatic spices. To make this a faster weekday meal, I skipped the marination and also cut out the cream to make it healthier. I served it up with some jasmine rice and it turned out really delicious. I had one happy husband!

Serves ~4.

Adapted from this recipe.

  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp light butter
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger

Heat a large pan on medium-high heat and melt the light butter. Once melted, add the chopped garlic, chicken and onion and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until chicken begins to cook and onions soften. Add in the curry paste, all dried seasonings, and chopped ginger. Continue cooking on medium heat for about 5 minutes or so and then stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes on low heat. Turn the heat off and mix in the sour cream to create a creamy sauce prior to serving. Serve with your choice of side.

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Pot Sticker Egg Rolls.

Egg Rolls With Beef, Pork, Green Onion & Cabbage.

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These egg rolls were inspired by a pot sticker recipe I got from family friends, Stefanie and Jason. Stephanie and Jason make their delicious pot stickers at every get together and holiday and Stefanie was kind enough to share the recipe with me. They make the pot stickers in a bamboo steaming basket (which I didn’t have) so I decided to change the recipe a bit to make egg rolls instead. The concept changed a little but the overall flavor was the same and so very good. I made these at a dinner party recently and everybody devoured them!

Makes 21 egg rolls.

Ingredients:

Egg Rolls~

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage (you can do green, red or a mix)
  • 1/3 cup Tamari
  • 2 tbp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • dash of hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 package Nasoya egg roll wrappers (21 count)
  • ~3 tbsp olive oil

Dipping Sauce~

  • 1/3 cup Tamari
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • small handful chopped green onion
  • dash of red pepper flakes

In a mixing bowl, add ground meat, Tamari, sesame oil, green onion, chopped ginger/garlic and red pepper. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients.

To make the egg rolls, place a small handful of the shredded cabbage and a heaping tablespoon of the ground meat mixture on center of the egg roll wrapper. Fold the bottom corner over the ingredients and then fold in the sides. Roll the wrapper upwards and use a small amount of water to seal the top. Repeat this process with the rest of the egg roll wrappers. Brush the egg rolls on both sides with a small amount of olive oil.

Coat a baking sheet with 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. Line up the egg rolls on the baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Flip the egg rolls to the other side and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until each side is lightly browned.

For the dipping sauce, mix all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Serve with the egg rolls.

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Honey-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.

Honey-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts With Peanuts.

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This sweet and salty Brussels sprouts dish was thrown together from random ingredients I had in my cupboard and fridge. Somehow, the flavors really work together! The honey and balsamic balance out the bitterness of the sprouts and the peanuts add a nice, salty crunch. So good!

Serves ~6 as a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup crushed peanuts
  • salt/black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large pan and once heated, add in the Brussels sprouts. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring often, allowing the sprouts to cook through and get crispy on the outside. Once they have lightly browned, reduce the heat and add in the balsamic vinegar, honey and peanuts. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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Bananas for Chocolate Chip Banana Cake.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Vanilla-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

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I’ve started to experiment with baking a bit recently to try to enhance my skills, but they’re still definitely a work in progress! I made this cake for a dinner party recently and despite the enormous mess I created in the kitchen, it turned out really yummy. Not to mention, it’s actually fairly “healthy” as far as cakes go which is always a plus. It was a big hit at the party so I’ll definitely be making this again.

Serves 8-10.

Ingredients:

Cake~

  • 2 packages Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free vanilla cake mix
  • 4 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp canola oil

Frosting ~

  • 16 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light butter (I used Earth Balance spread)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (or rice milk/almond milk)

Begin by making the cake batter. In your mixer, add the sliced bananas and mix on medium speed to allow them to mush together. Then add the eggs, vanilla, water and canola oil. Once combined, slowly add in the dry cake mix. Then add the chocolate chops and cinnamon. Once all mixed together, put the batter into two greased identical sized round cake pans with equal amounts of batter in each pan. Bake on 325 for about 40 minutes or until the cake is firm and lightly browned.

While the cake is baking, add the whipped cream cheese in the mixer with the light butter, vanilla and skim milk.  Once mixed, slowly add in the powdered sugar and then add in the cinnamon.

When the cake is done baking allow it to cool. You will stack the two cakes, so you’ll want to take one of the cakes and cut off the top to create a flat top for the bottom layer. After you cut the top off, then you can frost the bottom layer. Frost generously on the top of the cake and then stack the other cake on top of it. Then you can frost the entire cake and top with some chocolate chips.

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Spicy Eggplant & Green Bean Stir Fry.

Gluten-Free Spicy Eggplant & Green Bean Stir Fry.

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The Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market is one of my favorite places I’ve found in Charlotte. They have the greatest selection of fresh (and inexpensive!) vegetables. I picked up some gorgeous Japanese eggplant there so wanted to make an Asian inspired stir fry with them. This creation has a lot of delicious flavor but is still a light and healthy dish. I served it with some rice noodles but you could also serve it with brown rice or top it off with some meat, too.

Serves ~4.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Japanese eggplant, halved and sliced
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/3 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Tamari
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • dash of hot red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the chopped garlic. Once heated, add in the green beans and eggplant and cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring often. Once the vegetables begin to soften, add in the Tamari and the sesame oil. If the vegetables start to stick to the pan at all, add a splash of water. Cook for about 7-10 more minutes and then add the ginger, Sriracha, green onion and red pepper flakes and stir well in the pan to combine. Serve with your choice of side.

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