Vegetarian Gluten-free Chicken Penne

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If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m all about quick, easy, but YUMMY dinners. No one likes to come home from a long, hot sweaty day at work and spend an hour+ slaving away in the kitchen. But I do know one thing… I come home with an enormous appetite. SO, I’ve learned to find a balance between saving time, making dinner easy, and making it yummy and filling!

Here’s one of my favorite dishes to make: Gluten-free penne with Gardein’s Chick’n Scallopini w/ spinach, tomato and vodka sauce.

For the pasta, I prefer Barilla gluten-free penne because it is the absolute best gluten-free pasta I’ve tried yet. The texture isn’t weird, it doesn’t cook weird, and it tastes just like the real gluten-filled yummy stuff!

Boiling Barilla GF pasta in a pot, add olive oil to a frying pan. Add the Chick’n Scallopini to the frying pan, add seasonings, and cover. The seasonings I used were thyme, Italian seasoning, oregano, black pepper and a pinch of salt.

When the Chick’n Scallopini is thawed through the middle, remove and slice into strips. Put back into the frying pan when sliced. Next, add a few handfuls of fresh, rinsed spinach and cook that down until the spinach is dark and shrunken. Finally, add freshly cut roma tomatoes and add more seasonings to taste.

Once I have all that in the frying pan, I like to crank up the heat to get a little sear on my Chick’n and tomatoes!

Add the cooked Chick’n, tomatoes and spinach to the drained, cooked pasta and add vodka sauce. Make sure to check that your vodka sauce is gluten-free! (I use Classico!) If you want to make this dish but VEGAN, choose a different sauce with no animal products. The vodka sauce has milk, but the Chick’n Scallopini is totally vegan!

AND NOW, enjoy with a glass of wine… Or two 😉

To find out where you can pick up some of Gardein’s amazing products, click HERE!

The Barilla GF pasta is at most of the grocery stores around me. Check your local grocery store for their products! If they don’t supply Barilla’s GF pasta, make sure to request it! 🙂

 

5-Day Juice Cleanse

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Happy Monday everyone!

I’ve been juicing on-and-off at home for a couple months . I bought a cheap juicer to see if, MAYBE, this could be something that works for me. Turns out, it’s the only thing that stuck in regards to living a healthier lifestyle. Since I started my juicing expedition, I’ve done a lot of research on juicers, vegetables and fruits that are best for juicing, what each vegetable and fruit has to offer for your health, and additives for your juices that can make drastic changes in your daily life.

Today I’m starting my very first actual “cleanse” and I’m aiming to make it last five days. That means no food til Saturday, just nutrient-rich juices! I’ve experimented with many recipes and I’ll be using the ones that I like the most (obviously) because it will be easier to stick to. If I can stick to it, I’ll be doing a blog at the end of the week detailing how I felt throughout the five days.

Right now, I’ll be sharing my 4 favorite recipes that I’ll be using each day, Monday through Friday. I will not include amounts for some of the ingredients because each juicer is different and uses different amounts of produce to make a glass of juice.

  1. Breakfast Greens (breakfast) – spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, 1 lemon, 1 orange, locally produced honey, chia seeds, turmeric.
  2. Skinny Jean (lunch) – 2 grapefruits, 2 lemons, 1″ fresh, peeled ginger root, locally produced honey, fresh-picked basil.
  3. Snack juice (snack) – Watermelon & 2 limes
  4. Tomato juice (dinner) – Roma tomatoes, peeled carrots, 1 fresh bell pepper (orange, yellow or red), 1 lemon, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin, thyme.

If I get hungry after dinner, I will be making a variation of the breakfast greens with pineapple for my splash of citrus rather than the orange and lemon.

A few notes on some of my chosen ingredients:

  • Locally produced honey is said to help with seasonal allergies because it contains the local pollens and allergens of your area. One spoonful a day may help your daily struggle! Check your local farmers markets or local farmstands to find some close to your home!
  • Chia seeds are packed with nutrients and are associated with multiple health benefits, including lower cholesterol, stabilized blood sugar levels, improved digestion, higher energy levels, reduced risk for diabetes, increased fiber intake, stronger teeth and bones, improved insulin response, and appetite regulation.
  • Turmeric! My dad calls this one the magic cure-all spice. It contains a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps reduce enzymes in the body responsible for pain and swelling of arthritis. My nifty juicing bible also cites studies that say turmeric may help prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer’s!
  • Ginger, while best-known for its anti-nausea properties, also helps stop the production of free radicals. It also is associated with decreased blood pressure, reduced cancer risk, and relief from arthritis pain.
  • Cayenne pepper is derived from a pepper that is known to contain high levels of Vitamin A. The pepper is also linked to pain reduction and congestion relief.
  • Cumin is a great source for your iron needs, which is essential for your immune system! It has also been linked to improve digestion and prevent cancer.
  • Thyme is a great source for Vitamin K, and has been historically used as a natural remedy for respiratory illness. My nifty book also states that it may also provide antioxidant and antibacterial benefits! Lacking calcium? Thyme is also a great source for it!
  • Basil: my awesome book cites a study where a tea made from basil leaves may have helped shrink tumors in mice. How cool! It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It may also help protect cells from free radical damage.

If you’re thinking about getting into juicing, I highly recommend you snag the book linked above! It’s my go-to for everything juicing! It even breaks down the difference between types of juicers!

As a side note: obviously fruit juices taste better than vegetable juices. The problem with juicing too much fruit is that your juices will be very high in natural sugars and calories! Try to do vegetable juices, but counter the taste with a little citrus, as you’ll see in my juices above.

Comment with any questions you have about juicing!! I’d love to put this knowledge to use outside my own kitchen 😊

 

Gluten-free Cast Iron Deep Dish Heaven

I’m an Italian with Celiac Disease.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

I was so devastated when I finally figured out what was making me so sick, because that meant my normal diet of bread, pasta, and pizza was going to change drastically. No more Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish downtown, no more Olive Garden breadsticks (ouch, my heart)…

Even though my options of eating out at my favorite Italian places are still limited, I’ve come to view my kitchen as a magical land of endless gluten-free opportunity! AND THEN, Betty Crocker became my fairy godmother.

The Betty Crocker Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix is my favorite. It’s only like, $3.99 max, unlike the other overpriced GF alternatives (that don’t even taste good).

I decided to try and recreate my vision of the perfect Chicago deep dish with the Betty Crocker crust and a cast iron pan, and I was actually pretty successful! Here’s how I did it:

  • Prepare Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix according to direction. You’ll notice that the last step says to bake the crust for 13-18 minutes or until golden brown before you add your toppings. I skipped this step because I was cooking a deep dish in a cast iron pan.
  • Use olive oil to grease the cast iron pan and spread the dough in the pan, making sure to cover the inside of the pan’s sides with dough as well!
  • Use an entire package of sliced mozzarella cheese and layer on top of the dough.
  • Place any toppings you’d like on top of the cheese. I used sliced roma tomatoes, sliced red onions, and fresh spinach.
  • Cover with pizza sauce. Make sure you check that the sauce you’re using is GF! I used about 1 1/2 normal-sized cans.
  • Add spices on top to taste. I used thyme, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and fresh-picked basil from my basil plant.
  • I cooked mine for 30 minutes at 425 degrees and I loved how it turned out. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to Lou Malnati’s or Rosati’s since I realized I was Celiac!
  • ENJOY YOUR LITTLE SLICE OF HEAVEN!

I checked the Betty Crocker website to see if I could find stores that have this product, but I couldn’t find it in their list of GF products yet! By google search, I found it should be at Walmart and Hyvee. I found mine at my local Butera. You can always talk to your local grocery store and request products as well! This would definitely be one to request if you’re GF!

Sidenote: the wine we’re drinking is my new fav for affordable wine: Naked Grape Moscato!

 

 

 

 

Vegan GF Chicken Tacos

You know those days when you come home from work, completely drained, but need to make dinner? It’s SO easy (too easy) to grab Chipotle on the way home, but the money you can spend in just a week of being lazy can really add up! (Trust me..) Here is a super fast and easy vegan and Gluten-free meal that barely costs anything to make! Not to mention, it’s perfect for summer!

What I used:

  • Corn tortillas (GF!)
  • GF organic black beans
  • Gardein “Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini” (Vegan AND GF! Score!)
  • Fresh spinach
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • 1-2 Limes
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper, Thyme, Cayenne pepper

How I did it:

First, open 1-2 cans of black beans and cook on the stove for the recommended time.

In a frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place the frozen Gardein “Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini” in the frying pan and cover (Careful! The ice on the veggie chicken will cause some splatter when it comes into contact with the hot oil!). Squeeze 1 lime on the chicken and add spices to taste. Cayenne is very hot, so I just use a light sprinkle! Cook until there is a slight char to the skin of the veggie chicken.

Rinse and chop the spinach, tomatoes and cilantro.

Cook the shells in light olive oil in a frying pan until warm or lightly brown. Enjoy!

You can find Gardein’s “Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini” and other amazing products at Target, Jewel, Kroger, Whole Foods, Hyvee, etc. Dropping the link to their website HERE so you can find stores near you! -> https://gardein.com/#