Swiss Chard and Pasta with Feta

Swiss Chard and Pasta with Feta

I’ve been on a vegetarian kick recently. With so much fresh produce available this time of year, who needs meat? While pursuing the stalls at our local farmer’s market last week, I got inspired to make this dish. It had been a long time since I’d cooked it, so I was excited to make it again. Chard is one of my favorite vegetables, and this recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare it. The original recipe comes from an American Heart Association cookbook, though I’ve modified it quite a bit to better suit my tastes. The feta adds a bit of a creamy consistency, and I love the crunch that the walnuts (or pecans) provide.

Swiss Chard and Pasta with Feta

Ingredients:

2 quarts water

1 large bunch of Swiss chard, (stems included, if desired) cut into strips

6 ounces dry angel hair pasta or spaghetti

6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt


IMG_5878 IMG_5881

Pecans

Directions

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, and stir in the angel hair pasta or spaghetti. Cook 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the chard, and continue cooking until both the chard and the pasta are tender. Pour into a colander, and drain well.

3. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, and stir to blend well.

4. Return the chard and pasta mixture to the pot, and add the cheese mixture. Stir until the cheese starts to melt, and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Swiss Chard with Pasta and Feta

5. Ladle into bowls, and serve hot. Serves 4.

Swiss Chard and Pasta with Feta

Ingredients:

2 quarts water

1 large bunch of Swiss chard,  (stems included, if desired) cut into strips

6 ounces dry angel hair pasta or spaghetti

6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, and stir in the angel hair pasta or spaghetti. Cook 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the chard, and continue cooking until both the chard and the pasta are tender. Pour into a colander, and drain well.

3. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, and stir to blend well.

4. Return the chard and pasta mixture to the pot, and add the cheese mixture. Stir until the cheese starts to melt, and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

5. Ladle into bowls, and serve hot. Serves 4.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup

chicken-sausage-and-kale-soup

This soup is tasty, nutritious, and popular with all of the members of my family. And it’s so easy to make, too. After about 10 minutes of prep, the ingredients are ready to put into the slow cooker.


Slow Cooker Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. chicken sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and torn into small pieces
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 2 14.5 oz. can Cannellini beans, thoroughly rinses and drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 tsp. diced garlic
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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White Chicken Chili

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Easy Shrimp Gumbo

shrimp-gumbo

This simplified version of Shrimp Gumbo has become a family favorite recently. I’m not sure that our kids would ever eat plain okra (I’m not sure that I would either, to be honest), but they’ll eat it in gumbo. This recipe has quite a few steps, but they all go pretty quickly, making it a meal that’s easy to put together even on busy weeknights.

Shrimp Gumbo

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

2 cups water

1 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup chopped frozen okra

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes

1 lb. raw shrimp

Directions

1. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the rice according to the package directions.

2. While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add the onions, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the okra, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Onions and Okra

5. Add the garlic and thyme, and stir. Then add the tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (I’ve used both; it just depends on whether you want the gumbo to be a little smoother or chunkier).

6. Turn the heat to low, and let the vegetables continue to simmer.

7. Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to boil, and add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

8. Remove the shrimp from the heat, and strain them in a colander. Run cool water over them to prevent them from cooking any further.

Cooked Shrimp

9. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel and devein them. Cut the shrimp into smaller pieces (if desired); then add them to the vegetables.

10. Stir to mix the shrimp and vegetables, and serve over the rice immediately.


Shrimp Gumbo

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

2 cups water

1 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup chopped frozen okra

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes

1 lb. raw shrimp

Directions

1. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the rice according to the package directions.

2. While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add the onions, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the okra, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

5. Add the garlic and thyme, and stir. Then add the tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (I’ve used both; it just depends on whether you want the gumbo to be a little smoother or chunkier).

6. Turn the heat to low, and let the vegetables continue to simmer.

7. Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to boil, and add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

8. Remove the shrimp from the heat, and strain them in a colander. Run cool water over them to prevent them from cooking any further.

9. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel and devein them. Cut the shrimp into smaller pieces (if desired); then add them to the vegetables.

10. Stir to mix the shrimp and vegetables, and serve over the rice immediately.

10 Delicious Gluten Free Dinners

10 Delicious Gluten Free Dinners

I prepare a lot of gluten free dinners for our family. Several years ago I became more aware of the high amount of gluten present in the typical American diet. As I started to look more at what our family was eating, it became clear to me that we were consuming a lot of gluten, too. So I began to look at ways that we could reduce the amount of gluten in our diet. We don’t eat entirely gluten free, but I now strive for a low gluten diet.

When I first started preparing gluten free meals, I found it was very helpful to focus on the things that are naturally gluten free, rather than thinking about things that should be cut. When you start to think about it, there are many foods that fall into the first category: fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans, rice, quinoa, and oatmeal (if it is specifically labeled gluten free), to name some of them. It required a bit of a mental shift, but I began to plan dinner around these types of food, rather than thinking about how hard it would be to replace the pasta that was featured in so many of our meals. With a bit of practice, it became much easier to make gluten free meals.

I have compiled here some of our family’s favorite gluten free dinners. Some of these recipes are mine, while some were developed by others. Just about all of them are great with a green salad on the side, which is, of course, gluten free, too. I hope you will enjoy these recipes as much as our family does!

Green Salad

Vegetarian

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir-Fry

Butternut Squash Risotto

Fried Rice with Mixed Veggies

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Tomato Soup with Quinoa

Butternut Squash Risotto

Fish and Seafood

Salmon with Avocado and Green Beans

Shrimp Fajitas– be sure to use gluten free tortillas

Pork and Poultry

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Quinoa Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

What’s your favorite gluten free meal?

Fried Rice with Mixed Veggies

Fried Rice with Mixed Veggies

We are well into the holiday season now, and if you’re at all like me, you might be starting to feel the pace of life picking up. By mid-December, I often begin to feel like getting a healthy meal on the table for dinner seems nearly impossible. But eating nutritious food really doesn’t have to be complicated, so this year I’m trying to focus on keeping meals simple and easy to prepare. This Fried Rice is one such meal. This dish is so easy to fix, and the leftovers are great for lunch.

My mom sometimes made fried rice when I was a kid, and I always loved it. We’d eat it with a little bit of plain yogurt, which I know sounds odd. But it’s actually very tasty. Whenever I make it, I add whatever vegetables we have on hand. Yesterday we had a blend of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, plus some peas, so that’s what went into the fried rice. I also use coconut oil (to learn more about its benefits, check out this post). The rice needs to be already cooked and cold, so the next time you cook rice, make extra and save it for fried rice. Here’s my recipe for Fried Rice with Mixed Veggies. Measurements are approximate; I just use what we have on hand.

Fried Rice with Mixed Vegetables

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 egg
3 cups cooked rice, refrigerated for at least two hours
2-2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut aminos (a gluten free alternative to soy sauce)
2-3 cups mixed frozen vegetables, slightly thawed, or fresh vegetables
1 Tbsp. plain yogurt for each person

Directions:
Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, crack the egg on the skillet and drop it in the pan. It will cook quickly. Stir the egg continuously, then add in the rice as soon as the egg is cooked. Mix the egg into the rice. Add the coconut aminos, and continue stirring. After the aminos are all blended in, mix in the veggies. Turn the heat down to low, and cover the pan. Steam the veggies until they are soft. You can add a little bit of water or about 1 teaspoon more coconut oil if the rice starts to stick. Divide into bowls, and top with the yogurt. Viola! Dinner is served!

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Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Pork and Broccoli Stir-FryI try, as much as possible, not to waste food. We do our best to use fresh produce soon after we buy it and to get creative with the odds and ends that we have in the fridge. I actually really enjoy the challenge of finding ways to use up the odds and ends that inevitably wind up in our refrigerator. Recently we had some pork left over. We also had half a bag of frozen broccoli and some mushrooms. So I whipped up pork and broccoli stir-fry, which turned out to be very yummy. You could also add bell pepper slices; we just didn’t have any on hand at the time. Here’s the recipe. Measurements and cooking times are approximate. Like I said, I just used what we had.

Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups frozen broccoli
5 or 6 mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. cooked pork
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water

Directions:

1. Bring the water and rice to a boil, then turn the heat down, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, and rice is soft.

2. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil on low in a medium or large skillet. (I’ve seen conflicting information about whether or not sesame seed oil can be cooked at high heats, so I err on the side of caution and use low heat only.)

3. Add the onion and ginger, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Onions and Ginger4. Add the broccoli, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Broccoli and Onions5. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes more. Toss in the pork, and cook until it is warmed through. Serve over rice.


Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups frozen broccoli
5 or 6 mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. cooked pork
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water

Directions:

1. Bring the water and rice to a boil, then turn the heat down, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, and rice is soft.

2. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil on low in a medium or large skillet. (I’ve seen conflicting information about whether or not sesame seed oil can be cooked at high heats, so I err on the side of caution and use low heat only.)

3. Add the onion and ginger, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add the broccoli, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

5. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes more. Toss in the pork, and cook until it is warmed through. Serve over rice.

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Butternut Squash Risotto

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