Friday, August 31, 2012

Lemon-Lime Grilled Salmon and Cauliflower Au Gratin

This evening we kicked off Labor Day weekend with Lemon-Lime Marinated Grilled Salmon, Cauliflower Au Gratin and Green Beans w/ Almonds for dinner.  Hubby and I were both off today and we got a lot of errands run and also managed to sleep in for a was great!  I try to make salmon once a week, if possible, so we picked up a large wild salmon filet while out today.  I had a big head of cauliflower in the fridge that I wanted to use as well so I began searching the internet and blogs for recipe ideas.  I found what looked like a great recipe for Cauliflower Au Gratin on a blog called "Maria's Nutritious and Delicious Journal" and I made a few very minor tweaks and slightly revised the directions to make them easier to follow (based on my experience making it).  I halved the recipe since it was just hubby and I eating tonight.  I modified my lemon dill marinade for salmon and used 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime instead of just lemon -- you wouldn't think it would make much of a difference...but it really did.  The lime flavor was much more pronounced than the lemon flavor....we really enjoyed it.

I will share something with you that I would definitely do differently next time when making the Cauliflower Au Gratin (it was delicious, so I will definitely make it again).  Basically do as I say and not as I  The recipe was supposed to be cooked in an "Au Gratin" pan and since I didn't have one, I just substituted a small oval casserole dish.  What that did was make the cheesy sauce thinner as it cooked in the oven because the sides were too high and I only got browning/crust on the top rather than all around.  For those of you that don't know what an Au Gratin pan is a shallow casserole dish or pan, usually oval or round and only about 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep.  The idea is to allow the broiler to form a nice crust on your dish and your cheese sauce get bubbly, and because it's shallow, it keeps it drier.  Since my casserole dish was 3 inches deep, it browned and crusted nicely on top but the cheese sauce became thin from extra moisture at the bottom than it otherwise would have had it been cooked in a shallow pan.  Don't get me was absolutely delicious and I enjoyed it just the way it was...but next time I make it I will either buy an Au Gratin pan or simply use a large shallow tart/quiche type of pan.  Below are a few pics of our dinner as well as the recipe for Cauliflower Au Gratin and Lemon-Lime Grilled Salmon.  Enjoy!

Cauliflower Au Gratin


1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional, to taste)
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 cup veggie or chicken broth (to cook cauliflower in; reserve 1/2 cup of cooking broth)
2 ounces cream cheese
1 cups freshly grated fontina cheese (or gruyere)
1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on top)
3 Tbsp freshly grated cheddar cheese (to sprinkle on top)


Pour chicken broth into a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Place cauliflower in the broth, cover and boil for 5-10 minutes or until tender.  When done, remove cauliflower from pan with a slotted spoon and let drain in a colander, reserving the chicken broth to use in the cheese sauce.  Place the cooked cauliflower in a lightly greased or oiled au gratin pan (or use a shallow quiche or tart type pan).

In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter, whisking constantly until it starts to lightly brown, about 2 minutes.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of reserved chicken broth and cream cheese to the pan, whisking until well blended and smooth; add dry mustard and optional salt. Once completely combined, add the 1 cup of grated fontina (or gruyere), 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese and dry mustard; stir to combine until smooth and melted.

Pour cheese mixture over top of cauliflower and sprinkle 3 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of cheddar cheese on top; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and place in oven on middle rack. Turn broiler on low and cook until cheese sauce bubbles slightly and is lightly browned (watch it closely so it doesn't over brown or burn).  Remove from oven and serve immediately.  Serves 4.


Lemon Lime Marinade


4 wild salmon fillets (approximately 1 pound)
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or a little more)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dill (or a little more)
Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon, or to taste)
2 tablespoons low sodium Tamari (similar to soy sauce which can also be used)


In a small bowl, whisk ingredients together; pour in a large Ziploc bag and add salmon filets and seal bag, removing as much air as possible.  Marinate for 30-45 minutes, up to 1 hour.  Be careful not to marinate fish too long or the acid in the marinade begins cooking the fish.  Grill approximately 5-6 minutes on each side (depending on thickness of fillets). 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday's Eggplant Ricotta Bake

This evening I decided to make Eggplant Ricotta Bake for dinner. I picked up some beautiful eggplant in the grocery store this weekend and thought this would be a perfect way to use them. It is a fairly simple recipe that I found a while ago on another blog and it doesn't require a lot of ingredients.  It uses eggplant, ricotta, Romano, eggs, fresh basil and marinara. This time I decided to use Mario Batali's Arrabiata sauce which is pretty spicy. You can oven roast the eggplant or grill it. I prefer it grilled because of the extra flavor it gives, so hubby grilled the eggplant for me when he got home. I have lots of fresh basil in the backyard to use so I picked a bunch of it while hubby was grilling (I used about 15 large leaves in the cheese filling as well as extra to sprinkle on top after it came out of the oven). I baked the casserole in my 3-1/2 quart oval Le Creuset casserole dish that my daughter bought me several years ago while she was working summer at Williams Sonoma. If you wanted to feed more people, you could easily double the recipe and use a deep 9 x 13 baking dish instead. If you absolutely must have meat in your meals, you could add meat to the sauce...but I prefer it just the way it is. If you eat pasta, you could serve that on the side...but I actually prefer it just as it is by itself. It is sort of a cross between Greek Moussaka without the meat and Eggplant Parmesan without the "breading" or the "fried" part. I snapped a couple pics below as well as the recipe. Enjoy!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday's Chicken Burgers w/ Mushrooms, Roasted Asparagus & Carrots

This evening I originally planned to serve the chili leftover from last night's dinner...but instead, I decided to make my Asian Chicken Burgers with Mushrooms, Roasted Asparagus and Steamed Carrots.  I figured since today is literally the "calm before the storm" since the rain is supposed to move into our area from Tropical Storm Isaac tomorrow evening and will be here for the next umpteen days (ugh) that tomorrow sounded like a better day to have the leftover chili.  I snapped a couple pics of our dinner below. The recipe can be found here: Asian Chicken Burgers. Enjoy!


The link to the recipe for the chicken burgers is here:  Asian Chicken Burgers

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Low Carb "Chili Willy Chili" & Black Pepper Cheddar Biscuits (Wheat & Grain Free)

This evening I revised another one of my old recipes "Chili Willy Chili" and made a lower carb version.  I am trying to perfect it before "official chili season" begins.  With the cooler nights and mornings...I know it is just around the corner.  I decided to substitute diced squash and zucchini in place of the usual beans to add some volume, vegetables and fiber.  We usually like to have either corn muffins or biscuits to go with our I am going to take a stab at those too.  Obviously I am feeling a bit adventurous today!

One of my favorite biscuits to make are "Black Pepper Cheddar Biscuits" can find them on my blog (from back in my wild wheat eating days).  ;-)  Anyway, I am going to try and duplicate them using almond flour instead of any wheat/gluten/grain.  Rather than make a regular size batch of 8-10 biscuits, I am going to make half of a batch of 4-5 (just in case they don't turn out spectacular).  As any of you that use almond flour isn't cheap!!! Youngest son is having dinner with us tonight so I am hoping they turn out good...and there will be one more taste tester here as well (and he is brutally honest)!  I snapped a few photos below as well as the recipes for both the chili and the biscuits.  Enjoy!

Veggies are added and ready to cook until tender
All ingredients are added & ready to simmer for 1 hour
*Chuckle AlertNote that my biscuits (pictured above) are rather "flat". I flattened them out too much not realizing they wouldn't rise like regular biscuits do. When my son walked in the door he said..."Oh Mom, you made cookies!"  LOL  I had to break the news to him that no, I made biscuits!!!  So...don't do as I did, do as I say...whatever thickness you flatten your biscuits to prior to baking will be the thickness they are when they come out!

Low Carb "Chili Willy Chili"


1 pound ground sirloin or ground round
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (I used both red and orange peppers for color)
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely diced
1-1/2 cups yellow squash, diced
1-1/2 cups zucchini, diced
1 14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon "hot Mexican" chili powder
1 bay leaf
Few good shakes of cayenne pepper, to taste


In a large pot, brown meat, chopping it into small pieces as it browns; add onion and peppers after meat is lightly browned, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until peppers and onions begin to soften; add diced squash and zucchini, cover and cook approximately 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.  

Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Remove bay leaf.  Serves 3-4.

*Notes: Ground chuck and lean ground beef work great in this recipe too.  If you don't like spicy chili, eliminate the jalapeno pepper...if you like it spicy, add more.  If you want to use other types of peppers (yellow, orange, green, etc.), substitute with your favorite.  I like to use the fire roasted tomatoes because they have more flavor...if you don't like anything "charred" in your food, use regular diced tomatoes instead.  You can add more or less salt to make it perfect for your palate.  The diced squash and zucchini are lower carb substitutes for the kidney beans.  If you eat beans, add about 1 can of beans in place of the squash and zucchini.  One of the main advantages of not using a "chili flavoring packet" is that you can fine tune the salt, chili powder, etc. to make it exactly the way you like it....not the way "McCormick" likes it.  This recipe is easily adaptable to your own tastes.  I hope you enjoy it!

Black Pepper Cheddar Biscuits (Wheat/Grain Free)


2-1/2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and diced into cubes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup half-n-half or cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk until blended. Add butter; using a pastry cutter or blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it is in pea size clumps and looks like wet sand.  Stir in the pepper, cheddar cheese, cream and water. The mixture should be slightly sticky, but not loose or runny. If it’s too wet, stir in a tablespoon of almond flour.

Using a tablespoon or scoop, put rounded balls of dough (about the size of a ping pong ball) on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (this recipe yields 10-12 biscuits).  Using your fingers, gently press the top of the dough mounds to slightly flatten. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.  Be careful not to burn.

*Note: These biscuits are more dense the regular biscuits as well as rich.


Sunday Morning Breakfast (and my Paleo Bread review)

Well, this morning it is another sunny, beautiful day and a perfect 72 degrees outside.  This morning I was anxious to try the Paleo Bread I picked up yesterday.  I decided to try the one made using coconut flour first.  I fixed myself a fried egg, turkey sausage link, "toast", and a fresh berry cup (blueberries, strawberries and raspberries).  I put a little butter on the 2 small slices of toast.

My review of this bread is as follows:  It did not have much to offer in the way of flavor and was a bit dense...think of a Thomas' English muffin without its nooks and crannies.  I only ended up eating one of the small slices.  However, with that said...I can see it being better for purposes of making a small sandwich with a tasty filling, or a panini...or even soaked in some egg, milk vanilla and cinnamon and making a decent French toast.  While it won't have you doing any cartwheels (which is probably a good thing) might also be something you could use to make a "stuffing/dressing" that you could prepare for Thanksgiving.  It would make a reasonable alternative you could use, albeit a bit pricey...I paid $9.99 for each of the small loaves (it is $7.99 on the website).  All in all, it isn't bad having it in the freezer for those times when you feel like you just really want some bread.  I will let you know what I think of the almond flour bread once I taste that one.  Since I love to cook and experiment, I would probably want to try making my own bread in the future...but honestly -- I never thought I would say this... but, I really and truly do not miss bread at all whatsoever.  Check out my breakfast pic below.  Enjoy!

Fried brown, organic, cage free egg, sprinkled w/ sharp cheddar, turkey sausage, Paleo "toast" and fresh berry medley

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Night...Pizza and a Movie

Well, today we ran a bunch of errands and when we got home, I made pizza for dinner.  I made the low carb pizza crust I've made before (Low Carb Pizza Crust), but this time I cut the recipe down and only made 1/3 of it and spread it out thinner too (I prefer thin crust on my pizza).  I picked up some new organic sausage at Whole Foods made by Applegate -- Fire Roasted Red Pepper Chicken & Turkey Sausage that I sliced up like pepperoni to put on my pizza along with red peppers, yellow pepper, mushrooms and Vidalia onions and fresh mozzarella cheese (I love fresh mozzarella).  Hubby has not decided to give up wheat yet so I made him a traditional pizza with his favorite toppings too (pepperoni, Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts). This evening we are watching the movie Act of Valor along with our pizza (we watched Safe House last night).  Check out a couple pics below.  Enjoy!   

Sausage, red peppers, yellow peppers, onions and mushrooms
Here is the sausage I used on my was really good!
I picked up one almond flour version and one coconut flour version (link is below)
(P.S. -- check out the last picture below -- I found Paleo Bread made by Julian Bakery today -- I picked up 2, one of the almond flour and one of the coconut flour version -- and there are no gluten free frankenfood starches in it either -- will let you know how it tastes tomorrow)!
Here is the link with nutritional info you can read easily----->  Paleo Bread by Julian Bakery

Saturday Morning Omelets...

Happy Saturday!  It is a beautiful sunny and cool Saturday morning here in the Atlanta area.  It is in the 60s this morning and you can already feel Fall nipping at your heels...I love it!  As much as I would have liked to sleep in this morning, somehow I woke up before 7:00 a.m. -- go figure!  I decided that such a beautiful Saturday morning deserved just as beautiful a breakfast.  I made omelets filled with sauteed red peppers, Vidalia onions, turkey sausage and Dubliner cheese.  I served them with some gigantic fresh red raspberries and a cup of Parisian Nights extra bold coffee.  We are getting ready to go out and seize the day (in other errands).  ;-)  Check out my breakfast below.  Enjoy!

Whoever it was that said "eat your Wheaties"...obviously never had an omelet like this one!
P.S. -- I recently changed the background of my blog to make it easier to read after receiving several comments about the previous one (clusters of grapes) making it difficult to read.  Hope this helps!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Linguine w/ Spicy Sausage and Squash

This evening I put together a quick dinner that used up some of the odds and ends I had leftover in the fridge.  It turned out really delicious too.  I had two hot Italian turkey sausage links left from making lasagna Sunday night and several yellow squash left that I didn't use when making last night's squash casserole as well as a few extra zucchinis I didn't use for Sunday night's lasagna.  I also had 1/2 a jar of leftover Fireworks spicy spaghetti sauce.  I put it all together and "voila"...Linguine w/ Spicy Sausage and Squash was born!

I removed the sausage from the casings and browned it in a sauce pan while I diced up 2 yellow squash.  Once the sausage was browned well, I tossed in the diced squash, stirred then covered and cooked on low-medium for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until the squash was tender.  I poured the 1/2 jar of sauce over the mixture, covered and let simmer on low for about 15 minutes.  I used my Spirelli (which has 2 different widths) to make "zucchini linguine" using the slightly wider version that looks like linguine.  I sauteed my "linguine" in a little olive oil until "al dente" and then served it in big pasta bowls ladled with the spicy sausage and squash sauce.  I topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and some fresh basil...and "dinner was served".  Sometimes the best meals end up being the ones you just toss together as you go without any recipe.  I love cooking my meals at home because I ALWAYS get to "have it my way"...(sorry Burger King).  :-)  I snapped a pic of my quick and easy meal below.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole (wheat/gluten free)

This evening I was in the mood to have squash casserole with dinner.  The recipe I typically use has crushed Ritz crackers in I decided to see if I could modify it a bit and substitute almond flour for the cracker crumbs -- I made a few additional modifications as well.  It turned out absolutely delicious with a "souffle-like" texture.  For dinner we had grilled Lemon Dill Marinated Wild Salmon served with Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole and Green Beans w/ Almonds.  Below, you will find a few pics that I snapped as well as the recipe I concocted as I went along.  You'll find the recipe for the squash casserole below.  Enjoy!

Fresh out of the oven

Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole


5 - 6 cups yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper, optional
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup almond flour, divided
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs, beaten (I used 2 eggs plus 1/2 cup Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup milk or half-n-half
3 tablespoons sour cream, optional


In a large non-stick skillet, saute yellow squash and onion in 2-3 tablespoons of butter (do not add water).  Stir-fry until tender (cover for a bit, if necessary, to help cook it more quickly); transfer cooked squash and onions to a medium mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, beat eggs, milk, sour cream and add salt, pepper, cayenne to taste; set aside. 

In a small bowl, mix 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese with 1/2 cup almond flour; toss with fork until well mixed.  Add the almond flour/cheese mixture to the bowl of squash; toss and combine well.  Pour beaten egg and milk mixture into the squash mixture and combine well.  

In a separate small bowl, place remaining 1/2 cup of almond flour and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Cut butter into the almond flour (like you do when you make the topping for a fruit crisp).  Once butter is cut in and the mixture is crumbly, add remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and toss well.  Pour squash mixture into a lightly greased baking or casserole dish; top with the almond flour/butter/cheddar mixture and sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.   Bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until golden brown and done.

*Note:  You can add more cheese to the casserole if you like.  Most squash casseroles use 1 to 1-1/2  cups of milk along with the egg mixture.  I reduced the liquid to 1/4 cup of half-n-half since the almond flour doesn't absorb as much as the usual "52 Ritz crackers" that would be in the original recipe.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Grilled Zucchini Lasagna...Quick and Easy!

This evening both sons and oldest son's girlfriend came over for Sunday dinner.  I made Grilled Zucchini Lasagna for dinner (using zucchini as the lasagna noodles).  It was absolutely delicious and everyone liked it (and nobody missed the wheat noodles).  I made Easy Cheesy Bread for them to have with their meal as well as brownies for them for dessert.  I sent all the leftover brownies home with them.  I snapped a couple pics of the lasagna below.  Enjoy!

Grilled Zucchini Lasagna -- Quick and Easy


10 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3/4 lb. ground sirloin
3/4 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage (removed from casings)
1-1/2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used DelGrosso's Fireworks sauce which is a little spicy)
1 lb. ricotta cheese
8 oz. shredded 6 Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano (or regular Paremsan)
Olive oil (to brush on sliced zucchini slices before grilling)
Salt & Pepper (to season zucchini)


Lightly brush zucchini slices with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for a few minutes on each side until tender (or you can bake in the oven).  Brown ground beef and sausage in a pan, chopping until well browned and cooked.  Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

In a lightly oiled baking dish (approximately 9 x 13), cover the bottom with a thin layer of meat sauce; add 1 layer of cooked zucchini slices; pour and spread about 1/2 the remaining meat sauce over the zucchini.  Dollop and spread all the ricotta cheese over the meat sauce and sprinkle 1/2 the shredded cheeses (Italian blend and Parmesan) over the ricotta.  Layer the 2nd and final layer of zucchini over the cheese.  Spread the remaining meat sauce over the zucchini and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 of the shredded cheeses on top.

Bake at 375 degrees (uncovered) for approximately 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.  If you want it more brown on top, run under the broiler for a few minutes.  Let stand at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving to allow cheeses to set so you will get nice slices.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chicken Lo Mein w/ a Kung Pao Twist (Low Carb & Gluten Free)

This evening I was in the mood for "Chinese".  I decided to combine several of my favorite dishes into one delicious meal.  It's a little bit "Chicken Lo Mein", "Chicken w/ Broccoli", and "Kung Pao Chicken" all rolled into one.  Since I am not eating wheat, I substituted "zucchini noodles" for the traditional Lo Mein "noodles".  I made them using my new Spirelli tool (I love it).  This meal was so delicious and fresh -- both hubby and I loved it.  I snapped a couple pics below as well as the recipe I threw together.  Enjoy!

You don't miss the traditional "wheat based noodles" at all
Chicken Lo Mein w/ a Kung Pao Twist


3 boneless chicken breast halves, diced
1-2 tablespoons oil (I used extra virgin coconut oil)
2 -3 cups fresh broccoli florets, steamed until tender-crisp
1 cup carrots, finely shredded or julienned
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2-3 Tablespoons Tamari, more or less to taste (I used low sodium)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons peanut butter (more or less depending on desired thickness of sauce)
Freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper (I used between 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon)
1/3 cup toasted peanuts
2 medium-large zucchinis, shredded into noodles


In a large non-stick skillet, add enough oil to barely coat pan and heat on medium-high.  When oil is hot add diced chicken breast and stir fry until white and no pink remains.  In a separate medium non-stick skilled, add a small amount of oil and lightly saute red bell pepper and shredded carrots; add mushrooms, if using.  

In the skillet with cooked chicken breast, turn heat to low-medium and push cooked chicken to the outer edges of skillet making a well in the center of the pan.  Add minced garlic and lightly cook; add Tamari, sesame oil and peanut butter to the center well area, stirring until the peanut butter melts and mixes in with the wet ingredients and juices from the chicken (you may need to add some water to thin sauce out a bit).  Mix chicken and sauce together and add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.  

Toss steamed broccoli florets and lightly cooked carrots, red peppers and mushrooms into the chicken mixture, tossing until everything is well coated.  If you need to thicken sauce, add and melt a little more peanut butter into the pan.  If you need to thin it a bit, add more water (I steam my broccoli in a glass covered Pyrex dish in about 2/3 cups of water for about 4 minutes on high and reserve that water to thin the sauce with).  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  In the pan used to cook the carrots and peppers, add a small amount of oil and lightly saute the shredded zucchini noodles until desired doneness (this only takes a few minutes).  Add noodles to each serving plate or bowl, top with chicken and veggie mixture and toss together, adding additional Tamari or seasoning, if needed.  Top with toasted dry roasted peanuts. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday's Lunch

I made myself another awesome lunch using the salmon we cooked for dinner a couple of nights ago.  We cooked the salmon once and had it for dinner that night, but I also got 2 more delicious salmon salad lunches from that piece of it!  Check it out below.  Enjoy and Happy Friday!

Happiness is a smiling puppy on his new little sofa...just for him!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's Thursday Night and I Don't Have to Cook...

It is Thursday evening and hubby and I are having leftover Eggplant Lasagna that I made Tuesday night.  I love making a meal and having leftovers to enjoy's like a night off!  I will say though, that this Eggplant Lasagna is even better the next day -- the flavors infuse and meld together.  Also, one good thing about getting a chance to eat it the next day is that it looks much prettier too.  Whenever I make lasagna of any kind (even the traditional noodle version), I am always too anxious to wait and let it cool down and set properly and then you don't get the pretty squares you like when you cut it.  Well, I snapped a picture of tonight's "leftover" Eggplant Lasagna so you can see what it looks like inside.  Enjoy!


If you want the recipe, here is the link to Tuesday's post:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Grilled Lemon Dill Marinated Wild Salmon

This evening we had a delicious dinner of Grilled Lemon Dill Marinated wild Salmon, roasted asparagus and fresh salads loaded with red and yellow tomatoes as well as diced avocado and drizzled with Greek dressing.

When I got home from work I put together a quick and easy lemon dill marinade and placed the salmon filets in it to marinate for about 45 minutes.  I trimmed and washed some beautiful pencil thin fresh asparagus and tossed it with olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt and set it aside.  I cut up a fresh head of romaine lettuce, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and fresh avocado.  I put together a quick and easy Greek dressing using olive oil, red wine vinegar and Greek seasoning (made by Penzey's Spices).  Below is a picture of our beautiful and fresh dinner as well as the Lemon Dill Marinade.  Enjoy!

Lemon Dill Marinade

4 wild salmon filets (approximately 1 pound)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or a little more)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dill (or a little more)
Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon, or to taste)
2 tablespoons low sodium Tamari (similar to soy sauce which can also be used)

In a small bowl, whisk ingredients together; pour in a large Ziploc bag and add salmon filets and seal bag, removing as much air as possible.  Marinate for 30-45 minutes, up to 1 hour.  Be careful not to marinate fish too long or the acid in the marinade begins cooking the fish.  Grill approximately 5-6 minutes on each side (depending on thickness of filets). 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eggplant Lasagna...Quick & Easy

This evening, I was in the mood for Eggplant Lasagna using slices of baked eggplant as the "noodles".  I didn't need to cook last night because we had the Zucchini Spaghetti leftover from Saturday night's dinner and we've been eating the leftover pizza from Sunday night 's dinner for lunch the last couple of days.  So...we are ready for a "new" dinner tonight!  I've posted a couple pics of the Eggplant Lasagna below as well as the easy peasy recipe.  Enjoy!

Eggplant Lasagna - Quick & Easy


2 medium-large eggplants, sliced lengthwise in 1/4" slices
1 pound ground beef (I used sirloin)
1 28-oz jar DelGrosso Vodka Sauce (or your favorite sauce)
1 lb. ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
4 oz provolone cheese, sliced or shredded
Olive oil for brushing eggplant slices
Salt & pepper, to taste


In a medium saucepan or stockpot, brown the ground beef until cooked through.  Pour jar of spaghettii sauce over beef and simmer 15-20 minutes, uncovered.  On a couple of large cookie sheets (I lined with non-stick Reynolds foil), lightly brush the pans with olive oil and placed eggplant slices, brushing lightly with olive oil; season with salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until tender), turning eggplant over 1/2 way through. 

Lightly brush the bottom of a baking dish or casserole dish with olive oil; spread 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of pan (more, if desired).  Layer 1/2 of the eggplant slices, overlapping until bottom is covered.  Spread about 1-1/2 cups of meat sauce over the eggplant base layer; spread ricotta or cottage cheese on top of the sauce layer; top with 1/2 the mozzarella and provolone.  Add 2nd layer of eggplant using the remainder.  Cover with more meat sauce; top with remaining mozzarella and provolone cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top.  

*Note:  If you cut this lasagna too soon while it is still real hot (like I did), it won't cut into nice squares because all the cheese and sauce runs together.   I made the same mistake when I made the Zucchini Lasagna I made recently...but the next day it cut beautifully after setting up.  We just couldn't wait tonight so we rushed it a bit!  Also, I think ricotta cheese would be better than using cottage cheese since cottage cheese doesn't really melt the same way that ricotta does.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Night is Pizza Night...(Low Carb, of course)

This evening we were in the mood for pizza.  I used the delicious pizza recipe that makes the low carb crust (made with flax meal instead of flour) that I made recently.  This time, I made the same sized pizza in circumference but only made 2/3 of the original pizza crust recipe to make a thinner crust.  It was awesome!  I actually have always preferred a thinner crust.  It made a 14" round pizza.  I topped it with Rao's pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, sauteed red bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms.  The crust recipe is so quick to put together and you pre-bake it for 15 minutes before topping it and returning to the oven for a few minutes (I also run it under the broiler at the end to brown slightly).  The full crust recipe would probably actually cover most, if not all of, a cookie sheet.  It has been a month since I've had any wheat and I honestly have to say that so far, I don't miss it at all.  I feel so much better...and hey, I got to have both spaghetti and pizza for dinner this weekend and enjoyed every single bite!  The key is finding the right recipes to use so you don't feel deprived of the typical foods that use wheat.  I snapped a pic for you to see below as well as a link to the pizza crust recipe that was posted in a previous post.  Enjoy!

Check out the link below for the pizza crust recipe.  If you try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Sunday Morning Dubliner Omelet

This morning it is beautiful, sunny and pleasant outside and about 75 degrees at 11:00.  Before going to run our errands I decided to make us a "good breakfast" so we wouldn't be hungry and buy a bunch of extra stuff!  :-)  I made simple and tasty cheese omelets using finely diced Kerrygold's Dubliner Cheese and a little black and cayenne pepper to give it some zing along with a couple of Bob Evans Turkey Sausage Links on the side.  Along with our cup of Nantucket Blend hit the spot.  I snapped a pic below.  Now...on to the business of the day...SHOPPING.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cinnamon Blondies...

Since youngest son came for dinner this evening, I decided to make him a new dessert.  I came across a recipe on Pinterest for..."Cinnamon Blondies" that incorporated 2 of his favorite things...blondies and cinnamon.  They were quick and easy to make!  Youngest son has always had the biggest sweet tooth in the family...and the worst part of it is that he is so skinny that if he turns sideways you can't find him!  :-)  Since I am not eating wheat or sugar, I had to rely on son and hubby to tell me how they turned out.  They looked beautiful and both of them said they tasted really good.  Baking with cinnamon made the house smell really good too.  I've already packed all of them up for skinny-minny to take home with him tonight.  I snapped a few pics below as well as the easy recipe. I hope to recreate this recipe into a grain-free version in the future. Enjoy!


Cinnamon Blondies


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick, unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a square 8X8 or 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper and then grease the pan.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cinnamon together; set aside.

Melt the butter and brown sugar together.  Cook for 1 minute until it just starts to bubble around the edges- but don't let it come to a boil.  Pour into a large bowl and let it cool for about 10 minutes.  

Add the vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture and then the egg and egg yolk. Whisk together.  Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, just until combined.

Pour into your prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees 25-35 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack.  Cut into squares.

Spaghetti w/ Chicken & Summer Veggie Sauce (Wheat Free)

This evening I made "zucchini spaghetti noodles" using a new gadget I just bought called a Spirelli.  It is awesome and effortlessly made long beautiful "noodles".  I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce using DelGrosso's Fireworks Sauce, diced sauteed boneless chicken breast, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and sliced mushrooms.  I served the chicken and veggie sauce over the zucchini noodles (for me and my youngest son) topped with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano -- he really liked the zucchini noodles!  Hubby had his sauce over whole wheat linguine.  It was a delicious, healthy and colorful meal.  I snapped a few pics below.  Enjoy!

Zucchini noodles (before sauteing in olive oil)
This is the awesome Spirelli I used to make the noodles
Some of the veggies that went in the sauce (along with sliced mushrooms)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Almond Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Tonight I cooked again after finishing up all the leftovers.  I had enough Pesto Roasted Salmon leftover from a few nights ago to eat until tonight.  I really enjoyed eating the leftover salmon cold on a large bed of romaine and tomatoes.  This has been a very long, difficult and sad week as I lost someone that was very dear to me.  I hope that wherever she is tonight, her soul has finally found peace.

This evening I made Almond Parmesan Crusted Chicken, mashed cauliflower (commonly known as "faux potatoes") with green beans and almonds.  I really don't like the word "faux"...because it means fake....and there is nothing fake about mashed cauliflower mixed with a little cream cheese, butter, sour cream, parmesan and is good.  I snapped a couple pics of my meal below as well as the simple breading recipe I used for the chicken.  Enjoy!

Almond Parmesan Crusted Chicken


1 package of 3 boneless chicken breasts (I used Perdue)
2 tablespoons oil (for cooking)

Almond Parmesan Coating
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk or half-n-half
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste


Please chicken breasts between plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag and beat with a meat mallet until flattened and uniform in thickness (about 1/4" to 1/2" thick).  In a shallow bowl or dish, combine all the Almond Parmesan Coating ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine all eggwash ingredients and beat well together.  Dip flattened chicken breasts in eggwash and then roll in coating mixture, coating all sides well.  In a large non-stick skillet, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil and heat until hot.  Add coated chicken to the hot pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through on both sides.  Place cooked chicken on a paper towel covered platter for a few minutes to absorb any excess oil. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday's Pesto Roasted Wild Salmon

This evening I made Pesto Roasted Wild Copper RiverSalmon for dinner.  It is so simple to make and it is a change from the typical flavors normally used for salmon.  While the salmon marinated (for 15 minutes) and roasted for 12 minutes, I made us fresh salads and served the meal with green beans w/ almonds for me and white corn on the cob for hubby.  It was a delicious, healthy meal.  Check out the pics below as well as the simple recipe that follows.  Enjoy!

Pesto Roasted Salmon


1-2 pounds of salmon fillets (depending on the number of people you are serving)
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt & pepper, to taste
Pesto, homemade or store bought (I use Mezzetta -- see below)


On a foil lined baking pan, lightly drizzle each salmon filet with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Spread each filet with a dollop (tablespoon or so) of pesto and set aside to "marinate" for about 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place salmon in oven and immediately reduce heat to 425 degrees and roast/bake for 12 minutes.  Remove salmon from oven and immediately cover tightly with foil for an additional 10-15 minutes to complete the cooking out of the oven under the foil cover.  Enjoy!

My favorite pesto!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Quick & Easy "Kung Pao Chicken"

This evening I was in the mood for "Chinese".  I decided to make one of our favorites, Kung Pao Chicken.  Since hubby hasn't gone "wheat free" (, I made it the same up to the point of adding "sauce ingredients".  After the chicken was stir-fried and the broccoli and carrots steamed, I separated our chicken and veggies into 2 different pans (I used a prepared stir-fry sauce that contained soy sauce for his meal and did not include his share of the ingredients in my recipe below; I actually used 3 chicken breasts and 3 cups of broccoli for his and mine together).  He ate his over white rice...I ate mine without rice.  I have enough leftover for me to eat again tomorrow.  It was absolutely delicious!  I snapped a pic below of my dinner as well as the simple "recipe" I used to make mine wheat/gluten free.  Enjoy!


Quick & Easy Kung Pao Chicken (Wheat/Gluten Free)


2 boneless chicken breasts, diced
2 cups (approximately) fresh broccoli, separated into florets
1 large carrot, sliced thin diagonally
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons Tamari (I used an organic low sodium version)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil (because it has the mildest flavor)
Cayenne pepper, few good shakes (to taste)
1-1/2 tablespoons peanut butter


In a large heated non-stick skillet, add the olive oil, shaking the pan to coat the hot pan with it.  Add the diced chicken, to quickly stir-fry on medium-high until white and cooked through (this only takes a few minutes depending on how small you dice the chicken).  While stir frying the chicken, place the broccoli and carrots in a covered glass or microwave safe dish with a little water in the bottom (about 1/2 cup or so) and cook on high about 5 minutes (it will steam the veggies).  Check the veggies after about 5 minutes to see if cooked to your preference (I like mine crisp-tender).  Add the sesame oil to the chicken and sprinkle in the cayenne pepper.  Toss in the drained broccoli and carrots; add the Tamari and stir until well combined.  Make a small well in the center of the pan, pushing the food towards the outer edges and add the peanut butter to the center, stirring it until it begins to melt.  Stir everything together until well coated.  I reserved the cooking water from my veggies and added a few tablespoons to the mixture until the sauce was the consistency I liked.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste.  Serve topped with peanuts.  Makes 2 servings.  Enjoy!

Note:  Serve over white or brown rice if desired.

Beautiful Salads for Lunch...Quick & Easy!

This morning we went out and ran our weekly errands.  When we got home, I made us beautiful salads for lunch that used some of the leftover breaded chicken cutlets from last night's dinner.  I tossed in some pretty red and yellow cherry tomatoes...and BOOM, lunch is served.  This is why I love leftovers...its the quick and easy lunches you get to make the next day!  Enjoy!