Monthly Archives: February 2011

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

For Brian’s birthday a number of years back, I made a huge Mediterranean feast.  We both love Mediterranean food: salty feta, briny olives, creamy tzatziki, flavorful meats and fishes.  I created a whole menu based on our love for these foods which included my first attempt at stuffed peppers.  I got the original recipe from The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook which I received as a present from a co-worker a number of years ago during a holiday present swap.  These peppers were filled with the flavors of the Mediterranean: rice, olive oil, quality tomatoes, currants, parsley, pine nuts.  The flavors were a lovely balance of sweet and savory.  They came out beautifully and everyone seemed to love them.

Recently, we have been eating a lot less carbs during dinner and I wanted to make a stuffed pepper that reflected our eating changes.  I swapped out the rice for lean ground turkey and decreased the olive oil significantly from the original recipe.  What resulted was a sweet-savory protein packed dinner.  I served it with garlic broccoli.

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

2 large red bell peppers
2 ounces pine nuts
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-1.3 pounds lean ground turkey
1 cup strained tomato (or no salt added tomato puree)
3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
½ cup dried cherries or currants
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt to taste

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350

1. Toast pine nuts in a large sautee pan over medium heat.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.  Remove from pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan, still on medium heat, add the olive oil, chopped onion, and a pinch of salt. Sautee 5-10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.

3. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey.  As the turkey begins to cook, break it up and mix it in with the onions.  Cook turkey until no pink remains.

4. Add strained tomato, parsley, dried cherries, cinnamon, pine nuts and a pinch of salt.  Cook down together on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

5. While mixture is cooking, cut peppers lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and place the peppers in the dish.

6. Divide meat mixture equally among the 4 pepper halves.  The mixture will be slightly overflowing.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until peppers are tender.

8. Enjoy!

Serves 4

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Filed under dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, main dish

Vanilla Coconut Flour Pancakes

So, I wasn’t originally going to post this recipe but a few friends were insistent upon it!  That is why I only have one picture (and the picture was actually taken WAY after we ate the pancakes-I did a little re-staging).  I recently bought some different flours at the market: quinoa, coconut, and teff.  I have been reading a lot of blog posts recently about the use of coconut flour for people who are gluten free, low carb, and who follow the paleo or primal diet.  From my reading I discovered that coconut flour is a very dense and fiber filled flour.  I also learned, though my cooking, that the sweetness of the coconut really comes through and very little extra sweetner is needed.

For those who have not cooked with coconut flour before you can find it at markets like Whole Foods or you can order it from online purveyors.  For this recipe I used Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour that I bought at Whole Foods.

Just in time for breakfast…

Vanilla Coconut Flour Pancakes

adapted from Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes and Coconut Flour Pancakes

Ingredients

4 large eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon agave (or honey)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

About 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter) for the pan

Directions

1. In a medium bowl whisk eggs until frothy.

2. Whisk in almond milk, vanilla and agave until well combined.

3. Stir in coconut flour, baking soda and salt.

4. Let sit for 5 minutes or so while you heat up coconut oil in a large non-stick pan or griddle on medium heat.

5. Pour batter by 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) into frying pan or griddle. I found that a large Cookie Scoop worked well for this.

6. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip, cook for 2-3 more minutes, repeat with the rest of the batter.

7. Serve with maple syrup, butter, coconut oil, jam, or your favorite pancake topping!

Makes 10 small pancakes

Side note: While these are very small pancakes, they are VERY dense.  I ate 3 and Brian ate 4 and we were both satisfied.



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Filed under bread, breakfast, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian

Banana-Walnut Oat Muffins and Raspberry Honey Butter

Brunch is my favorite meal, especially when we eat great food and share the meal with fantastic friends!  I love going out for brunch, but sometimes it is much nicer to stay at home and entertain friends.  The food usually tastes better at home AND you can make things to your specifications and you get to show off your cute new napkins and napkin rings!  That being said, I am a big dork when it comes to planning meals when we have friends over.  As soon as we set a date, I start creating a menu.  Not just, “Oh I think I’ll make this and that,” but, a typed document on my computer with ideas and links to recipes.  I revisit it and revise it usually until a day or two before when I have to go shopping for ingredients.  I get this from my mom-she does the exact same thing!

For this brunch, I was originally going to make the Lemon Blueberry Muffins I posted about a week ago.  Alas, my newest shipment of almond flour from Honeyville had not yet arrived so I had to make other arrangements.  I starting searching for recipes using alternate flours and grains and I came upon a few interesting recipes for oat flour muffins and quinoa flour muffins.  I did a test batch of quinoa flour muffins and they came out well-but not good enough to serve to company or post about just yet.  I’ll be working on them for a future post-keep your eyes peeled!  So, I decided on oat flour muffins.  Most oats ARE NOT gluten free due to cross-contamination.  However, since I keep gluten free mainly for diabetes purposes, rather than because of an allergy, I was able to use regular oats.  If you are gluten free due to an allergy or intolerance, here are the safest Gluten Free Oats I have been able to find.*  These muffins are also dairy free for those avoiding dairy.  Regular  yogurt and milk could be substituted for the goat’s milk yogurt and almond milk if you are so inclined.  At some point I am going to try to do a version of these muffins with agave instead of brown sugar-I’ll let you all know how they turn out!

Alongside the muffins I served raspberry honey butter, Crustless Quiche with LeeksSkillet Smashed Potatoes, Trader Joe’s Apple Maple Chicken Sausage and coffee (of course!).  The whole menu was a hit!

Banana-Walnut Oat Muffins

1 ¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup plain goat’s milk yogurt
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups old-fashioned oats, ground down to oat flour in food processor (equals about 1 ½ cups oat flour)
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 large, over-ripe bananas mashed
1 egg
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix rolled oats, yogurt and milk together in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Combine oat flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.

Add oil, mashed bananas and egg to the wet rolled oat mixture and mix well.

Add dry oat flour mixture to wet oat mixture and mix together well. Stir in walnuts until well combined.

Fill muffin cups full. Bake for approximately 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Raspberry Honey Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup. low sugar raspberry preserves
2 Tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on low for 30 seconds.  Butter should be soft but not melted and honey should be runny.  Add preserves and salt to butter and honey and mix until well combined.  Put in a small dish and place in the refrigerator to re-harden.  Take out a bit before serving so butter can come up to room temperature. Serve with breads, muffins, waffles or pancakes.

*Please note, I am not a doctor or nutritionist, so if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance and are wondering if you can eat oats, please speak to your health care provider.

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Filed under bread, breakfast, gluten free, vegetarian