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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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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Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

Some of my favorite veggies- winter squash- are coming into season now, which means it’s time to starting featuring butternut squash in our meals again. A few days ago I tried out a new recipe with it. I rarely follow recipes exactly as they are, so I made a few changes. You can see the modified recipe below and view the original one with the link.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
half of one small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Diced Butternut Squash

Directions
1. Bring 1 quart stock plus 1 cup water to a simmer in a sauce pot then reduce heat to low.

2. Heat a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat with butter. Add the onions and garlic and soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and toast 2 to 3 minutes more.

Rice and Onions

3. Add the wine and cook it out completely, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Ladle the stock into the skillet in intervals, a couple of ladles at a time. Allow liquids to evaporate each time. Risotto will cook 18 minutes, total, from the first addition of liquid.

5. Stir in the squash in the last 10 minutes of cooking time, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in cheese. Serve.


Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
half of one small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Bring 1 quart stock plus 1 cup water to a simmer in a sauce pot then reduce heat to low.

2. Heat a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat with butter. Add the onions and garlic and soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and toast 2 to 3 minutes more.

3. Add wine and cook it out completely, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Ladle in stock in intervals, a couple of ladles at a time. Allow liquids to evaporate each time. Risotto will cook 18 minutes, total, from the first addition of liquid.

5. Stir in the squash in the last 10 minutes of cooking time, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in cheese. Serve.

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Salmon with Avocado and Green Beans

Salmon, avocado, and green beans

Today’s weeknight dinner comes from Real Simple. We tried this meal last week, and it was a hit with everyone. It was also very easy to prepare. I made a green salad to go along with the meal as well. The next day, I had the leftover salmon on a salad for lunch.

I wasn’t sure how the vinegar would taste with the avocado, but it gave everything a nice tang that I really liked. Salmon can be expensive, especially depending on where you live, but there are ways to save money when buying it. For example, you can check to see if your grocery store marks down fish that is approaching its sell-by date. I got last week’s salmon for 50% off because I bought it on the sell-by date. We cooked it that night, and it was delicious. I think the savings made it taste better. So here’s the recipe:

Salmon with Avocado and Green Beans

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
4 6-ounce pieces boneless, skinless salmon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 avocados, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Directions:

Heat broiler. Toss the beans, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Nestle the fish in the beans and season with the coriander and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Broil until the beans are crisp-tender and the fish is just opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the avocados, vinegar, dill, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

Serve the fish and beans topped with the avocado mixture. Serves 4.

Shrimp Fajitas

shrimp-fajitas-featured

I love fajitas, but I love shrimp fajitas even more. Yum. They’re always a hit in our house. Well, with my husband and me, anyway. The kids just eat the shrimp, but that’s okay. This recipe can be pretty flexible; feel free to add or omit ingredients as you like. I usually boil the shrimp; it’s a fast and easy way to cook them. Sometime I’d like to try sautéeing or grilling them before putting them in the fajitas. You can also use gluten free tortillas if you need or want to.

Shrimp Fajitas

Ingredients:

1/2 pound frozen shrimp
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. chili powder
8 torillas (we used flour tortillas the last time, but you can use gluten free if need or want to)
Toppings: salsa, grated cheese, avocado or guacamole, chopped fresh cilantro, or anything else that sounds good to you

Directions:
1. To thaw the shrimp, either put them in the refrigerator the night before, or hold them under ice cold running water until they are no longer frozen.

2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, and add the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally. Cook the onions for a couple minutes, then add the peppers.

3. When the peppers are beginning to get soft but are not fully cooked, add the mushrooms and chili powder.

4. While the vegetables are cooking, heat a pan of water until it is just boiling. Put the shrimp in the water (make sure they are completely covered), and cook until they turn pink (2-3 minutes). Drain the shrimp. Let them cool for a minute or two, then peel them.

5. Add the cooked shrimp to the vegetables, and stir.

6. To serve, spoon about half a cup of the veggies and shrimp onto each tortilla. Add your toppings, fold up the tortilla, and enjoy!

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