Saturday, January 19, 2019

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

As you might imagine, I follow lots of cooking/baking blogs.  I have their posts sent to my e-mail inbox which is a feature many blogs offer.  Last weekend, I got an e-mail from "Fit Foodie Finds" and the blog post was all about prepping and freezing ingredients to later thaw and cook in a slow cooker. Brilliant!  You can see the blog post HERE.

I decided to make one of the six recipes right away (as opposed to freezing the ingredients to prepare another day).  I really like the idea of prepping various recipes and freezing the ingredients for meals in the future. The blog post from Fit Food Finds is really great if you check it out; if you want to prepare all six recipes at once and freeze them, there is one big master shopping list for all ingredients needed to prepare the recipes. 

The recipe I tried was Slow Cooker Tikka Masala.  Here is the recipe LINK.

I enjoyed this recipe with basmati rice and Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower (you can find the cauliflower recipe HERE... it's one of my favorite recipes).

Friday, January 18, 2019

Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Toasted Walnuts and Raisins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Toasted Walnuts and Raisins

There are so many recipes out there these days using all sorts of flours. Almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour.  It's a little expensive to purchase some of these flours especially if you are not sure if you will like them or how you will use them.  I bought some chickpea flour several months ago after I saw a particular blogger posting tons of great looking recipes using the ingredient.  You can find many chickpea flour recipes on Camilla Saulsbury's blog "Power Hungry". 

Janet, a gal in my Tuesday knitting group, is sensitive to gluten so sometimes we chat about gluten-free cooking and baking.  I mentioned to here I was finding lots of coconut flour and almond flour recipes but I had not yet taken the plunge and purchased the flours.  She told me she was not a fan of coconut flour so she brought me what she had on hand so I could experiment with it. I think Janet said she found baking with coconut flour to be tricky or finicky.  I can't recall for sure.

This past week, I decided to try out a chickpea and coconut flour recipe. I was hoping they would turn out well so I could bring them to the Tuesday knitting group.  As I was whisking together the batter, it occurred to me that Janet had told me she would not make it to knitting this week!  Whoops! I brought the muffins to the knit shop and the gals liked them. I'll have to make them again for Janet!

Gluten-Free - Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Toasted Walnuts and Raisins

¾ cup chickpea flour 
¼ cup coconut flour 
¼ teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup oil (I used soybean oil) 
1 egg  
4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened soy milk, whole milk or almond milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (if desire, toast walnuts in a dry skillet until a few shades darker)
a few tablespoons of raisins


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place paper or foil muffin liners in 8 spaces of muffin pan.  Spray the muffin liners with non-stick spray such as "Pam".

First, combine chickpea flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, place oil, egg, applesauce, soy milk, almond extract, and maple syrup. Stir well with a whisk.  Next, add wet to dry ingredients, and stir or whisk until smooth. Because the batter is gluten-free, it's ok to whisk vigorously to get any lumps out. 
Fill the 8 muffin liners evenly with batter. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Remove muffins from the tin and cool.

This recipe is based on a recipe I found on line which can be found HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Spicy and Easy Black Bean Chili

Spicy & Easy Black Bean Chili

Mmmmm! Chili.

It's been so cold in Southern Colorado for a few weeks. We go for a walk every single morning because the dogs will drive us NUTS otherwise.  Some days it is down right miserable due to the cold temperatures.  Brrrrrr!

Sometimes we venture out in the afternoon for a second walk if it feels as if the temperature has warmed up a bit.  We went for a second walk the other day and we were WRONG. It was still so cool in the shade down by the river.  I got home from the walk and quickly defrosted a pound of ground turkey from the freezer so I could make chili.  The rest of the ingredients for this recipe were in my pantry.  This is similar to a chili I make all the time called "No Chop Chili (recipe link HERE)".  That recipe is supposed to be similar to chili from Wendy's restaurant but I've really tweaked the recipe over the years.  

The "No Chop Chili" calls for ground beef, pinto beans, and dark red kidney beans, and it is not very spicy. 

This new recipe calls for ground turkey and black beans, and it's SPICY.  The spice primarily comes from a can of El Pato brand "Hot Tomato Sauce". You can see it in the photo above.  It's a small yellow can with a duck on it.  "El Pato" is Spanish for "the duck".  I find this hot tomato sauce in the area with other canned tomatoes at the grocery store, but this is no ordinary "tomato sauce".  This can also contains chili, salt, onion, garlic, and other spices.  It really adds a lot to a pot of chili.  

Spicy and Easy Black Bean Chili
1 pound ground turkey (I used Jennie-O brand 93 percent lean) 
2 15−ounce cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (7 3/4 ounce) El Pato brand "Hot Tomato Sauce"
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes (include liquid)
1 4−ounce can of diced green chilies (with liquid)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1  to 1 1/2 cups water (less if you desire thicker chili)

Optional garnishes: grated cheddar cheese, oyster or saltine crackers, sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt. 

1. Brown the turkey over medium heat, breaking into small pieces with the spatula.  While the turkey browns, drain and rinse the beans; set aside.  Measure the spices into a small bowl; set aside.
2.  Once the ground turkey is completely cooked (no pink remains), add the spices to the turkey; stir to coat the turkey with the spices.
3. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced green chilies, and water. Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Top with optional garnishes as desired.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Oven Roasted Spiced Yogurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Oven Roasted Spiced Yogurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

I saw a small package containing five chicken drumsticks at the grocery store the other day and I was astonished by the low price.  I want to say it was $2.39 or $2.63.  I pondered a few options and decided to marinate the chicken in yogurt.  I had tried this once before with chicken tenderloins and I grilled the chicken on the stove top in my grill pan.  It was good!

I decided to remove the skin from the drumsticks to make the dish a little lower in fat.  I paired it with my favorite Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower (recipe HERE) and steamed broccoli.

I can't eat a chicken drumstick without thinking of my son.  I remember when he was young, he called chicken legs "chicken on a stick".  So cute.  He'll be 22 years old in a few weeks but thinking about "chicken on a stick" still makes me chuckle.  

Adapted from "Once Upon a Chef"

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage brand plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon if you don't like heat)
  • finely grated lemon zest (from 1/2 of one lemon) 
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 of one lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 to 6 chicken drumsticks, skin removed if desired

Place all ingredients (EXCEPT for the chicken) in a gallon size plastic bag with a zip closure; zip the bag closed.  Mash ingredients around with your hands to combine.  Add in the chicken drumsticks, zip bag closed, and mash around ingredients until all the chicken pieces are coated in the spiced 
yogurt.  Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, longer if desired (I allowed mine to marinate overnight).

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place marinated drumsticks on the baking sheet (drumsticks should not be touching each other) and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning once half way the baking time. (Note: Cook until internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit).

This recipe is great for meal prep.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Easy Applesauce Granola (Gluten Free and Vegan)

I make (and EAT!) a lot of granola.  A LOT!  My favorite recipe calls for pumpkin puree.  I love the recipe for the flavors and textures, but also for the ease of preparation.  With the pumpkin granola, the directions specify you bake the granola in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the oven off.  Leave the granola in the oven all night long... no peeking.  By morning, you have perfectly toasted granola and you don't have to be bothered by stirring and monitoring the granola while baking to ensure the granola does not burn.  

The problem with the pumpkin granola is that it calls for only a small amount of pumpkin puree so I am often left with lots of canned pumpkin and I have to come up with a use for it.  I do love pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pancakes.... you get the idea. But I am not always needing or wanting to bake a gob of other goodies just because I opened up a can of pumpkin.  

The little gears started churning in my brain and I decided to make the pumpkin granola with applesauce instead.  It worked well. I switched up the ingredients based upon things I had on hand. I ordinarily have a drawer in my refrigerator which is pretty much dedicated to granola ingredients.  Flax meal, coconut, raw seeds, and raw nuts.  My drawer is nearly empty so this granola is very basic.  Feel free to swap ingredients as you like.  Use different nuts, leave out the chia or sesame seeds, add in unsweetened coconut.  What you have to keep in mind is that it is a ratio of dry good to wet ingredients.  You are basically giving the dry ingredients a slightly sweet coating and then roasting it all in the oven to dry it out. The recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice.  I've never purchased pumpkin pie spice but I have a container in my pantry where I've combined spices to make up pumpkin pie spice. If you do a Google search, you will find dozens of recipes to make up your own pumpkin pie spice.

Know that this granola is not a sweet granola and the granola is rather loose (it doesn't have clumps or clusters).  If you want your granola to be sweeter, I recommend you add a few tablespoons of brown sugar to the dry ingredients.


DRY ingredients:

4 1/2 cups old fashioned/rolled oats
2 cups finely sliced almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt

WET ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
4 ounce cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large cookie tray (17" x 11" x 1") with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (the first 6 ingredients: the oats through the salt).

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the coconut oil. It should take about 30 seconds on 100 percent (HIGH) power. Add in the applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla to the coconut oil.  Cook an additional 30 seconds in the microwave on 100 percent (HIGH) power. Stir well to combine.

Add the applesauce mixture to the oat mixture and stir well with a big spoon to coat the dry ingredients. Poor the coated oats into the lined cookie tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. DO NOT open the oven. Turn oven OFF and leave the granola in the warm oven over night to continue toasting all night long. 

Alternatively, you can do what I did today:  make the granola in the morning, bake for 10 minutes and then let it sit in the oven all day long. 

Store the granola in air tight containers or plastic zip closure bag. 

Granola makes a great gift!

How do you enjoy your granola?

Here is one of my favorites (I have this for breakfast several times of week, but I also enjoy this as a dessert or a snack).  1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, topped with granola.  Easy and yummy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Creamy Tuna Salad with Curry Spice

Eating lunch in my craft room (above).

Creamy Tuna Salad with Curry Spice

I've been doing come experimenting.  The other day, we went for an afternoon walk (my husband and I) and we were discussing what to have for dinner. We both decided that canned tuna sounded good but he made his tuna his way and I made my tuna my way.  My husband's tuna is pretty straight forward: light mayonnaise, some spicy Guldens mustard, and he mixes it together with shredded lettuce and he eats it on toasted rye bread.

I went a totally different direction. Curry spice, yogurt, raisins, carrots, apple.  It was good but needed some tweaking.  I've had it a few more times, tweaking here and there, and I've settled on a combination I really like.

Creamy Tuna Salad with Curry Spice

1 can tuna (5 ounce size), drained (I used Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore)
1/2 honey crisp apple, diced
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (2 percent fat)
a squeeze of Dijon mustard (about 3/4 teaspoon)
a squeeze of honey (about 3/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon of curry spice (I used Penzey's "The Now Curry")
a few pinches of salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons of raisins
a few tablespoons of celery, diced
a few tablespoons of onion, diced (sweet or red onion)… you can omit the onion if you prefer

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Dig in!
Or you could put in on bread or toast.
Now that romaine lettuce is "safe" again, you could eat this on lettuce leaves.
As for me, a spoon works just fine.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Easy Italian Turkey Meatballs (Gluten-Free)

I have made meatballs for years and they never quite come out the same way twice.  I just sort of throw in a little of this and a little of that and they usually turn out pretty good.  Most of the time, I make meatballs with Italian flavors and add them to marinara sauce for spaghetti and meatballs or zoodles and meatballs.  This summer, when I was teaching my college-aged son to cook, I wanted to show him how to make meatballs with pantry ingredients so the recipe was quick, easy, and approachable.  No mincing fresh garlic, no washing and chopping fresh parsley, etc.  We made some meatballs and he liked them, but we did not measure anything.  I've made up these meatballs a few more times since with good results and I've finally written down the ingredients/proportions.  I like to make two pounds of meatballs at a time; we eat some right away and freeze the rest for a later date. (Note: I do bake them before freezing them.  When I am ready to use them, I let them thaw in the refrigerator and then add them to the sauce).

This is a flexible recipe. Here I've used dried parsley and garlic powder, but I often use fresh garlic and fresh parsley.  Sometimes I add in about 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese; feel free to do so if you like.  If you do, you might opt to add a little less salt to your meatballs since cheese is rather salty.

In this recipe, you'll notice I use oatmeal in place of bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.  Not only does this make this recipe gluten-free, but I also look at this as an opportunity to add in some whole grains. Store bought bread crumbs are more processed and have a lot of additives.  I just looked at the Italian Style Bread Crumbs I have in my pantry.  Yowza! There are a lot of ingredients in there.  In the recipe I suggest using instant oats, but I don't always have them on hand. ***  If you don't have instant oats, measure out a 1/2 cup of old fashioned/rolled oats and put them in your blender or food processor. Pulse them awhile in the blender or food processor and they will break down a bit and will be perfect to add to your meatballs.  In the photo above, you can see the oats.  I got so carried away pulverizing them that they look like oat flour.  You don't need to go that far but the meatballs will turn out great regardless.

Easy Italian Turkey Meatballs
2 pounds turkey (93 percent lean)
1/2 cup instant oats (see note above ***) 
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt (I used kosher salt)
several grinds of black pepper (about 1/4 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 egg

Line a baking sheet with foil; spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.  Preheat oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir well with a fork or your hands.  Shape into 32 meatballs (somewhere between the size of a big walnut and a golf ball).  

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes.

If you make fewer/larger meatballs, cook longer.  For example, today I made only 20 meatballs instead of 32 meatballs and they were perfectly cooked at 20 minutes.

Wow, what a yummy lunch I had!  Zucchini noodles (Zoodles!) and meatballs with marinara sauce.  This is one of my all time favorite things to eat.