Polenta Pizza

Polenta pizza

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Polenta is a great alternative to pizza dough. It’s healthier, it’s gluten-free, and guess what? It is pretty tasty!

First things first. When purchasing polenta, please make sure it’s organic, non-gmo polenta. Polenta is made from corn, and the thing with corn is that non organic corn is genetically modified containing high levels of chlorides, formaldehyde and glyphosate, which drains important nutrients from the lab-made seeds. Staggering, huh? This goes for anything containing corn. Any box or package containing the word corn in their ingredient list, make sure it’s organic.

Ok back to the pizza…

As easy as this recipe is, you do have to make the crust ahead of time.

For the crust

You can use ready made polenta or in grain form. I used ready made. If you don’t use ready made just follow the instructions on the package then add the ingredients I will mention next.

If using ready made, open the plastic wrap and place the polenta in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Break it up as much as possible with a wooden fork or spoon.

Add low sodium chicken stock until it all blends together and polenta gets creamy. Add dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour polenta mix in a round baking pan or even pie dish, which is what I used because its the only round thing I have right now. Spread evenly and bake for about 30 minutes on 375°F.

Remove from oven and let cool. At this point you can store in the fridge for up to two days until ready to use, or use right after it has cooled.

Making the pizza

This is the easy part.

Heat oven to 375°F. Top with any toppings you like. I used what I had available which was canned peeled tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and dried oregano (I wanted to use fresh basil but my basil plant is not ready yet).

Take the canned peeled tomatoes and cut off the hard end and with fingers spread them out and place on crust. Top with thin rounds of fresh mozzarella and then with the oregano. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until polenta crust is heated and mozarrella is melted. Ta Da!! Super simple.

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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

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.

Paleo Herbed Bread

Paleo? What the heck is Paleo, you may ask. If you haven’t heard about the Paleo diet it is based upon eating contemporary foods from the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Paleolithic era, or Stone Age. You may be thinking ‘great! Another fad diet’, I don’t blame you, I thought the same thing. Then I looked more into it and realized it wasn’t so bad, in fact it’s helpful for what I wanted to achieve, which is cutting out processed foods as much as possible.

I don’t follow the Paleo diet to the letter, or any specific diet for that matter. But I do search for Paleo recipes quite a bit, some are ok, some not so ok, but for the most part most have been pretty delish.

I love bread, and all the bad bad carbs, but I made a decision to cut it out of my lifestyle as much as possible but not completely, I do indulge every once in a while. And upon perusing the holy grail that is Pinterest, I came across this Paleo friendly bread from Multiply Delicious. I did not revise this recipe, but I do want to share it because I will post later on how to use this deliciousness in other recipes.
This recipe is so ridiculously simple, and I had all the ingredients already on hand, so you may too.

Paleo Herbed Bread

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice (I used rosemary and thyme), chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
5 eggs
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a loaf pan. Set aside.
Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, herbs of choice, salt, baking soda in a food processor and pulse together to combine. Pulse in eggs, oil, and vinegar.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If the top is getting too brown place a piece of aluminum foil over the top to keep the top from over browning.

This bread is delicious by itself, I like to spread a little bit of coconut oil as my ‘butter’. YUM!

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

This is one of my new favorite go-to recipes. It is unlike the traditional Shepherd’s Pie, yet you still get the heartiness feeling of it. I replaced the mashed potato with mashed cauliflower, a staple in my kitchen. Well, most of the ingredients are replaced with the exception of sweet peas. I first saw a version of this recipe on the Dr. Oz website, but from looking at the ingredients for me, it just seemed like I needed to add more flavor to it, and voilá, this is my version.

Chicken Shepherd's Pie

3 poached chicken breasts, diced
2 small heads of cauliflower
2 tbsp coconut oil, divided (or grapeseed oil; EVOO as last option)
1 large yellow onion, chopped and divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
2 small bok choys, roughly chopped
1 cup frozen sweet peas, or more if desired
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400°F. As chicken poaches, steam cauliflower in steamer or in a microwave safe bowl with a little bit of water or low sodium chicken stock, microwave for 3 min, toss and add 3 more min. Dice the chicken into bite size pieces. Place cauliflower into a food processor, water or stock and all, add a pinch of salt and pepper and process until very smooth.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a sauté pan, add half of the chopped onion and one minced garlic clove. Sauté for a minute and add the chopped broccoli. Sauté until lightly brown and starting to soften a bit. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove and place in a bowl. Repeat the same steps with the bok choy and place in the same bowl as broccoli.

Mix about 1/3 of the mashed cauliflower, all of the chicken, broccoli and bok choy mixes and place in a 8×8 baking dish. Top with frozen peas, and then top it all with the rest of the cauliflower mash. Bake for 20 or until hot and bubbles. I like to brown the top a bit by broiling for the last couple of minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Shepherd's Pie 2