Dijon & Capers Sea Bass with Chickpea & Spinach Side

Sea bass and chickpeas

Both these recipes are super easy and quick to make. It’s a light, healthy dinner, yet very filling and satisfying.

The sea bass recipe is my own recipe. The fish is actually Barramundi which is an Asian sea bass, rather and Chilean. But you can use any white fish with this recipe. I used just a little bit of coconut manna on the fish, which can be used as a butter substitute. It has a light coconut scent but you can’t taste the coconut after its cooked. You can use regular butter if desired.

Coconut Manna

The chickpea and spinach side dish is a version of one served at Bonefish Grill. After eating at BG the last time, I loved it so much I immediately started searching online for the recipe. I looked and looked and came up short. I couldn’t find it so I gave up. Then, a couple of days ago, I stumbled upon it–at least I think it’s the same. I loved it anyways. The recipe is from lizdialto.com.

Fish Recipe

2 Sea Bass filets (or any white fish)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp Coconut Manna (or butter)
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp drained Capers
1 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup Dry White Wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease oven dish with olive oil. Season fish filets with salt and pepper on both sides and place them on baking dish.

Spread coconut manna on the top of each filet, then spread the Dijon mustard.

Sprinkle the capers over the filets. Pour the wine in the baking dish around and over the fish. Top fish with lemon slices to keep moisture in.

Cover dish with tin foil and bake for 8-9 minutes. Carefully pull the foil off and broil on low for about 2-3 minutes or bake an additional 5 minutes or until fish flakes off.

Chickpea Side

2 Cans Chickpeas
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Bag Fresh Spinach
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

In a large frying pan, sauté chopped onion in olive oil. When onion is translucent add in chickpeas and spices and stir until spices are mixed in thoroughly. Mix in spinach. Add diced tomatoes. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.

Chickpea and spinach 1

Chickpea and spinach 2

Dijon & Capers Sea Bass with Chickpeas & Spinach Side

Almond Crusted Zucchini and Squash

Almond Crusted Zucchini and Squash

This is one of those ridiculously simple but delicious recipes. Even my picky eater 7 year old said, “Mommy, this is pretty good!”

Almond Meal, also called Almond Flour is a staple in my kitchen. I always have at least 2 bags on hand. I use it A LOT for many different recipes. You’ll see. I prefer Trader Joe’s brand Just Almond, because well, it’s just almonds, absolutely nothing added.

1 large zucchini
1 large yellow squash
1-2 eggs
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375° F. With a vegetable slicer, or manually, slice each of the vegetables, about 1/4″ thick. Whisk eggs. Put almond meal in a shallow dish. Dip slices in egg then in the almond meal until both sides are covered. Place slices on lightly greased sheet pan. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts 2

Remember the Paleo Herbed Bread recipe I posted?

I took the bread and made tuna melts for a light, delicious, quick and easy lunch. Now, because the bread doesn’t rise much the slices are a bit small, so I made 4 sandwiches, good for 2 people. I use plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise for any tuna or chicken salad I make. I don’t like mayo anyways, so I’ve never been a fan of tuna salad and this is the only way I like it. If you’ve never had plain greek yogurt you may think it sounds odd or kind of gross but, trust me, its not. This plain yogurt is not sweet and it can take in any flavor, sweet or savory. So it makes a great, healthy alternative to mayonnaise.

8 1/2″ thick slices of Paleo Herbed Bread
2 5oz cans chunk light tuna in water
2-3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
2 slices of provolone cheese
1/2-1 cup of baby greens or any dark leaf, such as spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain tuna very well. In a bowl gently mix tuna and 2 tbsp yogurt until well blended, add another tbsp yogurt if necessary but don’t make it mushy. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Cut provolone cheese slices in half, placing each half on 4 of the bread slices. Evenly distribute tuna mix over the cheese and top with salad leaves. Place remaining bread slices on top and put each sandwich on a sandwich press, grill pan or regular pan for a few minutes until cheese is melted.

Quinoa Patties

I love quinoa. I discovered this little miracle a couple of years ago and was surprised at how good it is and what a great alternative to rice or pasta it is, even though it has a multitude of uses. Quinoa is a grain-like crop, mainly grown for its edible seeds. It’s kind of like a grain but not really, it is closely related to beets spinach and tumble weeds. It is very high in protein and fiber. There’s red quinoa and white quinoa, both with very similar nutritional value. In my opinion, the red quinoa is a bit more nutty.

Quinoa

I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest from Chefthisup.com, recipe by Jane Dulo. Her version is pretty healthy but I took it up a slight notch on the health factor by replacing the bread crumbs with almond meal (or almond flour, same thing, it’s just ground almonds), and the oil for grapeseed oil. I also used 3 eggs instead of 4.

This is a great side dish to any protein, we had it this week with marinated skirt steak and pumpkin purée with cinnamon and vanilla extract. We all love the crunchy outside of these patties, it doesn’t seem like we’re eating something healthy.

Quinoa

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature (I used white quinoa for this one)
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup almond meal (flour)
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Mixture should look something like this.

Quinoa patty mixture

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add patties and cook until bottoms are browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Cake with Faux Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Cakes with Caramel

I’ve always loved dessert but could take it or leave it. It was one of those things that I could easily give up for a while…up until my second pregnancy. During my first pregnancy I craved fruits and vegetables (and burgers during my second trimester only). This last pregnancy created the mother of all sweet tooth (teeth? tooth? Whatever). For the whole 9 months I had to have something sweet, specially late at night, and preferably something involving chocolate. I seriously thought I was going to get gestational diabetes, thankfully I didn’t. That little bad habit carried on for a couple of months after I had my baby. That’s when I decided it had to stop, and we as a family, needed to develop a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, those pesky late night cravings for something sweet still show up every once in a while, most times I ignore it, drink water and go to sleep. But other times I just have to have something–I just now have it earlier in the evening. So I started experimenting with a couple of cake-in-a-mug recipes that were Paleo friendly but they did not turn out so good, they were either too dry or not sweet enough and bitter, yuck!

Last night I tried again. I found this organic coconut palm sugar to replace sugar, I figured I’d give it a try. It says to replace sugar 1:1 but, turns out it doesn’t sweeten as much as I thought so I ended up adding a little bit of agave nectar, although the cake was more of a dark chocolate flavor and not as sweet as regular chocolate cake. Now, agave is still considered a sugar (just not as bad as refined sugar) so I am going to try this again without using the agave and maybe increasing the coconut palm sugar. But the faux caramel that I made out of dates was sweet enough and was the perfect complement to the cake, so it made up for it.

I used 4 6oz ramekins thinking it would rise more but you can use 2 ramekins or 4 oz ramekins.

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. Coconut oil
2 eggs
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Organic Coconut Palm Sugar (add 2 more if not using agave)
2 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 tsp Coconut Flour

Faux Caramel Sauce
Place 20 dates in a microwaveable bowl with 2 tbsp. water, place in microwave for 2 minutes until they are soft. Pour dates and water in a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Add 3/4 cups of coconut milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a tiny pinch of salt and pulse until well blended and creamy. Makes about a cup.

Method for cakes
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease ramekins with coconut oil.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, place cocoa powder and coconut oil and put in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or until coconut oil is melted. Stir until smooth and let cool.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, salt, coconut palm sugar and agave with a hand mixer until light and frothy, about five minutes (this can seem like an eternity, but hang in there because it’s worth it!).

Pour egg mixture over chocolate. Sift coconut flour over the top then gently fold all the ingredients together.

Pour batter into prepared ramekins (they should be filled to within ½” of the top). Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Chocolate Cakes

Remove from oven, drizzle faux caramel sauce over them and serve immediately. Enjoy! Refrigerate any remaining sauce.

Insanely Good Goat Cheese Pasta

Goat Cheese Pasta

I was inspired by my husband when entering the title of this recipe. That was his reaction, “this is insanely good!”, he says. I gave myself a little pat on the back.

This recipe is adapted from Gimmesomeoven.com. I saw it on Pinterest after a friend had pinned it and immediately thought, ‘Oh wow, that sounds delish!’.

So what I did was replace the regular pasta with Dreamfields Rotini Pasta. Dreamfields makes a low carb pasta made from enriched semolina with only 5 grams of digestible carbs. It tastes just like regular pasta so you are not compromising flavor or even texture at all. It is not gluten-free, however, but you can try a gluten-free option.

I also replaced the butter with coconut manna, which is similar to coconut butter. It can be used for a number of things, one of them being replacing regular butter in any recipe. I almost replaced the flour with coconut flour but ended up not needing it at all since the manna is thick enough, in fact I had to add pasta water to thin it out. And then kind of tweaked the recipe here and there.

image

So here’s my version…

2 cups (approx) pasta of choice
3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
10 asparagus spears, ends trimmed then cut diagonally in 1/2″ pieces
1 carton fresh button or baby bella mushrooms, halved
2 Tbsp. coconut manna
5 oz. goat cheese (I used herbed goat cheese)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Truffle oil

Prepare pasta al dente according to package instructions.

Season the chicken with salt and ground black pepper. In a sauté pan heat 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 5-7 minutes (flipping halfway through) until the outside is lightly golden and the center is no longer pink. Once done cut into bite size pieces and set aside on a plate or bowl. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil to the same pan, and once it has heated, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the asparagus and mushrooms. Continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the vegetables are cooking, heat the coconut manna in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add pasta water (little by little as needed), goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, and a generous pinch of salt and ground black pepper, and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute, then reduce heat to low until the pasta is ready. If the sauce is too thick, gradually add additional tablespoons of pasta water until you reach the desired consistency.

Add chicken and pasta to the skillet with the veggies, then toss in the goat cheese sauce, mix until well blended. I added a little truffle oil to finish it off and give it a special touch. It’s not necessary to add the truffle oil, the dish is still delicious without it.

Salmon with Sweet Potato and Asparagus

Salmon

This dish is a staple at our house. I make it on a weekly basis (no particular day of the week). My husband says he can’t order salmon at any restaurant anymore because they are just not as good as mine 🙂 how sweet.

Sweet Potato
I recently found these sweet potatoes at the grocery store that are microwaveable–whaaaaat?!?! I’m really not sure what makes them microwaveable because I tried microwaving regular ones and it did not work as well. They have a plastic shrink wrap and it says you are supposed to put them in with the plastic on, but I don’t, and they turn out just as well. I put them in 8 min for two at a time on a plate, turn them then add another 5-6 min. Once cooked, I make a slit and sprinkle it with Saigon cinnamon.

Asparagus
I cut about 1-2 inches off the bottoms and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle some Herbes de Provence and sea salt. Place them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 375°F.

Salmon
I get individually frozen salmon steaks, only because I hate when they have the skin and really hate cutting the skin out, but you can use fresh salmon. I place them on a lightly greased oven dish, drizzle them with olive oil and a seasoning mix that I make and keep in my pantry (see below for seasoning mix recipe). Place in the oven for exactly 20 minutes at 375°F. Salmon can overcook easily so make sure you take it out right away and and them out of the hot dish because they will continue to cook.

Voilá! Quick and simple….and healthy.

Seasoning Mix
1 part each of:
Salt
Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Paprika
Mustard Seed
Cumin

Use more on the salmon if you want it a little spicy and less if you want it mild.