Category Archives: main course

baked stuffed peppers

My mom used to make stuffed peppers all the time. I remember them fondly. I recall that her version was  always vegetarian – and they always tasted so good. I decided to change it up a little bit and use ground lamb. I rarely eat meat, but my husband and my daughter love it. This was so delicious, however, that I actually found myself slowly savoring each and every last bite. The tomatoes, red wine and lamb together are a great combination. If you are not a meat eater, I think aduki beans would work great here. They are an under-utilized red tapioca-sized bean adapted to a large range of recipes. Likewise, you could always substitute quinoa for the rice.

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper to taste
8 oz ground lamb
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes handful of fresh basil
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water or chicken broth
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup water
4 bell peppers
optional– 3 to 4 tblsp shredded cheese per pepper

For the peppers: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the tops off the peppers. Remove the seeds and white parts from the inside of the pepper. Wash thoroughly. 
  3. Place the peppers in an oven proof dish, season lightly with salt and bake for 20 minutes. Remove peppers and set aside.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

For the filling:

  1. Cook the rice according to instructions on the package. (I used Lundberg short grain brown rice cooked in 1 cup chicken broth 1 cup water). Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Open the can of tomatoes, and pulse with the handful of basil in a food processor fitted with an “S” blade 4-5 times. 
  3. Pour tomatoes into a strainer set over a bowl and let drain (using a spatula to aid in the process) so that no juice is remaining.  Discard the juice. Transfer tomatoes to the bowl with the rice.
  4. Place the onion in the saute pan with the olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and the salt & pepper. Cook another 3 minutes.
  6. Add the ground lamb and saute until there is barely any pink left – about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the rice/tomato mixture into the lamb mixture and stir well to combine. Pour in the wine and water and cover. Let simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Side note: If you are using cheese, mix it into the rice/tomato/lamb mixture now – before spooning into the peppers.  
  8. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the lamb mixture into the peppers. Bake for 25 minutes. 

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taco bar

Throughout summer and early fall, we have taco bar at our house a few times a month. Everyone loves it because the ingredients are put out,  and we all get to pick and choose our toppings. In the end, everyone is happy. It’s great for a Friday night dinner when it’s too much to prepare an elaborate spread. From a seasonal perspective, I think this may be one of the last taco bars of the year, because tomato, corn and pepper seasons are coming to a close. Besides being delicious, I love this dish for the main reason that every color of the nutritional rainbow is represented – so it’s a home run. You can make these tacos with chicken, ground beef, ground buffalo or ground turkey. If you don’t want meat as your filler, you can always make this a vegetarian meal with some rice and beans on the side.

For the meat: 

1 one pound package organic white meat ground turkey
1/2 white onion, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
pinch cayenne

For the (optional) toppings:

1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1 14 oz can Amy’s Traditional Refried Beans
1 tomato, diced or gluten free salsa of your choice
1 jalapeno, chopped finely
2 avocados, cubed
lettuce
corn chips
rice (Spanish or cilantro lime)
corn (cut from the cob)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. While oven is heating, slice the 3 peppers into strips. Toss in a baking dish or shallow pan with olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  3. While the peppers are roasting, measure out spices and set aside in a glass bowl. Set a skillet over medium heat and add the spice mixture. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the spices become fragrant. This is called “blooming” the spices. Remove spices from the skillet and set aside in a glass bowl. 
  4. Heat 2 tblsp olive oil in the skillet and add the onion. Saute for about 8 minutes. Add the meat. Stir occasionally to ensure all the pieces are broken up. 
  5. After about 5 minutes, sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat/onion mixture. Saute  for another 5 minutes.
  6. While the meat is simmering, prepare the toppings of your choice into small to medium size bowls in a “buffet style” set-up.

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potato and kale soup

Even though it is technically still summertime, the last few days have been chilly for September. As such, my body has been instinctively craving hearty soups. At the farmers market this morning, I just bought two things: kale and fingerling potatoes. I got started making the soup and the house was filled with the most amazing aroma. This was the first time I’ve made this particular soup despite the fact that it’s been on my “to try” list for quite some time. Trust me, this is so delicious, I will be going back to this soup again and again. This recipe is adapted from Alice Water’s outstanding tome The Art of Simple Food.

2 medium onions, small diced
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
1 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into small 1/4″ chunks
1 large bunch kale (you can use any type that you wish – I used Lacinato)
5 cups gluten free chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth here)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 15 oz can organic drained and rinsed white beans (cannellini or navy)

  1. Add olive oil to a soup pot. Dice onions and saute in oil until tender – just about 10-12 minutes. Add the minced garlic. And add in a good pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper. Stir and cook for no more than 3 minutes, being careful not the brown the garlic.
  2. Add chopped potatoes and kale. Stir and let cook down for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the stock. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Using a measuring cup, remove 1 1/2 cups of soup (broth AND ingredients) and place it in the blender. Add coconut milk and pulse for about 10 seconds. Return this pureed soup back to the pot. Stir to combine. Add the beans, stir, ladle into bowls and serve.

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kohlrabi and cucumber salad

I was at the farmers market over the weekend and saw kohlrabi. I had never used it before. What better time than the present?  I had heard kohlrabi are not meant to be eaten raw. Last night, however, I was devouring Rose Carrarini’s absolutely brilliant “Breakfast, Lunch, Tea” cookbook and sure enough she has a recipe in there for a raw kohlrabi salad. It’s 8 am, I just finished making the salad, and I took a taste. Then I made the bold decision to keep eating it – for breakfast. It’s wonderful. Kohlrabi is a part of the cabbage family. But, don’t let that stop you. This tasty antiviral vegetable is loaded with fiber, vitamin C and potassium. An added bonus is that it’s great for diabetics, as it stabilizes blood sugar. I didn’t have any mustard greens (which is what her recipe called for). All I had was some mache(which I LOVE) so I tossed that in instead.  As a testament to its delicious-ness, my toddlers were pushing aside their breakfasts for mine!  Here’s my adaptation….

2 kohlrabi, peeled
1 cucumber
2 tblsp gluten free white wine vinegar (I prefer Spectrum)
salt & pepper
pinch ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp honey
1 tbslp gluten free Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tblsp canola oil
1 1/2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
bunch of mache (lamb’s lettuce)

  1. Peel kohlrabi and slice in half lengthwise. With flat side down, cut lengthwise into as many thin strips as possible. Then cut on the perpendicular (the goal here is matchstick size pieces).
  2. Cut the ends off the cucumber and half-peel, meaning alternate peel and no peel all the way around. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. I used a mini melon baller to achieve this task. Then flat side down, cut the cucumber into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place kohlrabi and cucumber slices into a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl add vinegar, honey, salt & pepper, cumin, cayenne and mustard. Whisk to combine. Taste to make sure it’s seasoned to your liking. Then whisk in the oil. Pour dressing over the salad. Mix to combine. Then add in the lettuce. Stir again.

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pesto with buckwheat pasta

‘Tis the season for pesto. Along with tomatoes, I just can’t get enough of all the basil my garden is producing. This afternoon, I whipped up a batch of pesto, tossed it with some pasta and served alongside a salad it proved to be a satisfying and delicious dinner.  There seems to be a slight division in the pesto community: those who make it with pine nuts and those who prepare it with walnuts.  Personally, I tend to prefer the subtle sweetness of pine nuts.  They have a significant amount of protein (a whopping 14%) and contain both A and B vitamins. Basil is one of many herbs that aids digestion.

1 cup loosely packed basil
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts
salt & pepper
1/3 cup really good extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place basil, garlic, pine nuts and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade.
  2. While the motor is running, slowly add the olive oil through the feeder spout and process for about 10-15 seconds.  If you have a mortar and pestle, this works great too. I would macerate the pine nuts and garlic with the salt and pepper in the mortar. Then transfer to a food processor to add the basil leaves and olive oil.

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apricot mustard glaze

My husband loves sauces. Since we met, I have taken quite a liking to them as well. Sauces are one thing I have come to miss since my gluten free days began. So few of them are actually gluten, dairy and soy free. Alas, this past weekend I stumbled upon a great sauce recipe. I made it yesterday for dinner (we had some family in town). We were all fighting over it. I originally made it for the chicken. But, I found myself slathering it on my salmon. My mom was dipping her green beans and carrots in it. So, at this point, I feel it is safe to say that this sauce can be paired with anything savory you like (except fruit). In my opinion, it would not work as an (appetizer) dip – but rather something to accompany what’s on your lunch or dinner plate. This recipe is adapted from my all-time favorite cooking periodical – Cook’s Illustrated.

3/4 cups 100% fruit apricot jam (I really like Bionaturae – it’s very low sugar and nothing added)
1/4 whole grain gluten free mustard (I really like True Natural Taste)
3 tblsp gluten free dijon mustard
4 tblsp liquified (melted) coconut oil
2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tblsp filtered water

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until combined (about 20 seconds).
  2. If using for chicken or fish, you can glaze it just prior to putting on the grill (using half the mixture). Then serve the other half of the mixture at the table in a bowl. Take extra special care not to serve the glaze that has been in contact with the raw meat or fish. Please discard it.
  3. If you still have enough left so that it needs to be refrigerated, please bring the sauce back to room temperature before serving….

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Filed under brunch, dinner, fish, lunch, main course, vegetables

chicken salad

I picked up these amazing grapes the other day: champagne grapes. I have never seen organic ones. So, I was fired up to find these. For those of you who have never seen them, they are very, very small-miniature size grapes. And they are round instead of oval. Absolutely lovely. Of course, one of the first things that came to mind was chicken salad. My children love chicken salad with grapes in it. Who doesn’t? If you cannot find organic champagne grapes, you can substitute regular red seedless grapes (and half them). Just be sure they are organic. Grapes are one of the most heavily pesticided fruits.

2 organic boneless skinless chicken breasts, slow roasted, cooled and diced into small cubes
1/4 cup gluten free mayonnaise (I like Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise)
1/2 cup red champagne grapes/red grapes
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
salt & pepper

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Place chicken on top. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until done. Remove the pan from the oven. Let chicken cool.
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken breasts into 1/4 inch cubes. Place in a bowl. Add mayonnaise. Stir well to coat. Fold in grapes. Add optional walnuts.
  5. Serve on a bed of greens or with greens rolled up into a brown rice tortilla.

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Filed under dinner, lunch, main course, salads