Restaurant Style Salsa

salsa

I love Restaurant Style Salsa. It’s so good! Especially with the warm chips… Mmmmmm! Too bad store bought salsa in a jar just doesn’t cut it. And I don’t want pico de gallo. I want salsa, like what they have at Chevy’s. So after searching for a recipe on Google and altering what I found, I finally came up with something that I really love! My husband likes it HOT and I like it medium. Tastes good with regular chips or my favorite, Trader Joe’s Quinoa and Black Bean-Infused Tortilla Chips. Perfect snack!

RECIPE

  • 1-28 oz. can of whole tomatoes with juice
  • 1-10 oz. can of Rotel brand diced tomatoes and green chilies or just a can of green chillies (mild, original or hot, whichever is your preference)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 whole jalapeño, quartered and thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 limes

In a food processor or blender, combine whole tomatoes, Rotel (or diced chillies), onion, jalapeno, garlic, salt, lime juice, and cilantro. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like. Taste and adjust as needed, if you need more salt or lime juice.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.

Pistachio-Crusted Cod

pistachio_cod

I love pistachios! And if it’s used to “crust” something, I’m game! It’s Lent for us Catholics and so Fish Fridays are here until Easter. The original recipe used halibut but I had cod on hand so the recipe is now called Pistachio-Crusted Cod. But you can use any kind of flaky fish such as tilapia or salmon.

Low-carb, light and gluten-free. It’s such an easy dish to make for lunch or dinner. It has dijon mustard so it’s got “bite” that goes straight up your nostrils like Mater did when he ate the “avocado ice cream” (or wasabi) in Disney’s Cars 2. Lol. :)

RECIPE

  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
  • Four 4-oz. raw cod fillets (or halibut, tilapia, salmon, etc.)
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. corn meal or almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Combine mustard, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel and lay in an over-safe baking dish.
  4. Spread mustard mixture evenly on the top side of each fillet. Set aside.
  5. Combine pistachios, corn/almond meal and parsley in a medium bowl.
  6. Press pistachio mixture evenly into top side of each fillet.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until halibut flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve with grilled vegetables and brown rice. Delicious!

Zucchini Brownies

zucchinibrownies

What?! Zucchini Brownies? It doesn’t sound appetizing but I can tell you that it is very good. It’s moist, rich, super dark, not too sweet, and yes, guilt-free (gluten-free, no refined sugar, no butter or oil, nut-free, and wheat-free). My 9-year old daughter loves them. My 4-year old son won’t try anything with the word “zucchini” it in no matter how chocolatey it is. If you’re lucky, it’s a great way to get veggies in your child or husband’s diet. :) Perfect for dessert or a snack.

The recipe is from cookingalamel.com but I made my own changes because I want it EXTRA DARK!

RECIPE

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup Peet’s unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain Fage Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t liquid stevia (or 1/2 cup more coconut sugar, added to the dry ingredients)
  • 2-3 zucchini squash, shredded
  • One (1) 3.5 oz. of 85% or higher dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or line an 8″x 8″ pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the almond meal, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and coconut sugar.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and liquid stevia together, until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold in the shredded zucchini, chocolate pieces, and nuts.
  6. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before cutting.

Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

eggplantBake

I love Italian food and I’m a sucker for anything eggplant. The other day, my Swiss cousin said she making millefiore. I asked, “What’s that?” She explained it to me and my mouth just watered. We happened to be texting at midnight (which was about the time she was waking up) so I went to bed hungry. The next day, I ran to the grocery store and bought my ingredients for this tasty dish. I wish I could have eaten this for breakfast, but I waited till dinner before serving. And leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

She doesn’t put the ricotta-spinach layer so I couldn’t really call this millefiore. Instead, the best thing to call this dish is Roasted Eggplant Lasagna. No pasta, no flours, no sugar. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegetarian, and cheesy good! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

RECIPE

  • 2 large eggplant, sliced thinly (about 1/4″)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach (or use fresh spinach, chop first)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 lb of ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2 c of grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
  • 1/2 grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce (I used half a jar of Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil spaghetti sauce.)
  1. Preheat oven at 350*.
  2. Slice eggplant. and lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Salt eggplant and roast in oven till they turn brown. (About 15-20 min.) Set aside.
  3. While you are roasting your eggplant, you can sauté spinach with olive oil, garlic, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Let it cool. Then mix the spinach in with ricotta cheese, parmesan/ricota cheese and egg(s).
  4. Grease the bottom of an 8×8 square.
  5. Layer like a lasagna (eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, etc.
  6. Top with more tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake covered in foil for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Bagels

Before I get to the bagel recipe, I’m so sorry that I haven’t been posting in a while. I’ve been bitten by the “workout bug” and have delved into the land of fitness. My life has been consumed by daily exercise so I haven’t been cooking as much or trying out new recipes but I am still eating clean and always refer to my recipes for weight maintenance.

If you’d like to see NEW Before & After Pics, click here.

Now on to the Bagel recipe…

bagels2

I love bagels! I practically salivate when I smell their delicious aroma when I pass by the bakery at Costco or when they’re toasting in the toaster! BUT… since I stay away from bagels because it’s full of carbs, I only eat them very rarely. And when I do, I will only eat half, and eat is ever-so-slowly so that I can enjoy it. Then I found this gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, lower-carb bagel recipe from Elana’s Pantry. Ok, so it doesn’t have the chewiness and texture of a bagel, but it LOOKS like a bagel, it has a hole in the middle, and I can eat it with cream cheese for breakfast. So, I’ll take that over nothing. :) You can also use this to make bagel sandwiches for lunch or dinner. Yum, yum!

I altered the instructions a bit since I don’t have a food processor. I used a mixer and the bagels came out fine.

bagels1

RECIPE

  • 1-1/2 cups of almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of flax meal
  • 1 T of coconut flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T of poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Preheat oven at 350˚F. Grease and dust a donut pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (except for the seeds).
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and vinegar on a medium setting using a mixer. Then slowly add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time mixing with a spatula until you form batter.
  4. Place the batter in a piping bag or a plastic bag, and snip off one corner and pipe the batter into the donut pan.
  5. Sprinkle the seeds over the bagels.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bagel comes out clean.
  7. Cool the bagels for an hour, then serve.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Toast to reheat.

Eggplant Pesto

eggplant_caviarI love eggplant! I especially love roasted eggplant… on pasta… with feta cheese! I don’t know why. I just love the smoky taste mixed with the zesty feta. This low-carb, gluten-free, vegan recipe for Eggplant Pesto is easy – as long as you have a grill ready to roast your eggplant. If not, then baking it in the oven will do.

RECIPE

  • 1 large globe eggplant or 2-3 long Asian eggplants
  • Finely chopped 1-2 shallots or 1/2 small red onion
  • 2-3 tbsp of balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, or whatever herbs you like.
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. GRILLING: Place eggplant directly on the grill. (Do not oil or salt and pepper). Rotate it occasionally until all the sides are charred and it softens. This takes about 25-30 minutes. OVEN: Preheat at 375˚ F. Pierce the eggplant with a fork in a couple of places then place eggplant on a cookie sheet (Do not oil or salt and pepper). Rotate after 10-15 minutes then cook for another 10-15 minutes until it’s soft and mushy. Let the outside char so that peeling will be easy. Remove from the grill and let cool completely before peeling. If the eggplant seem really watery — the larger ones tend to give off more liquid — let them drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, put the shallots/red onion and pour the vinegar over it and let it sit. Then add the chopped garlic.
  3. Peel the eggplant. Place it in a larger bowl and sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste. Mash it all together with a fork.
  4. Add half of the shallots/red onion and garlic to the eggplant.
  5. Mix in the herbs and a drizzle with olive oil. Mix and then taste.
  6. Serve over brown rice pasta and sprinkle feta cheese on top for lunch or dinner. Or you can also serve this as a dip with gluten-free crackers. Makes for a delicious guilt-free snack or appetizer.

Cheesy Quinoa Salad

cheesyquinoaA few months ago, I went to an upscale deli and had this beautiful quinoa salad that was so delicious and flavorful. I didn’t know how to reciprocate it since I didn’t know all the ingredients used. But I decided to get creative and try to achieve something close. I call it Cheesy Quinoa Salad because, well, there’s cheese in it. Maybe I should have come up with a different name but, hey, my kids will eat anything that starts with “cheesy.”

This makes for a great gluten-free, vegetarian side dish with dinner or you can eat it by itself for lunch. Filling and tasty!

RECIPE

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of grilled asparagus, zucchini, steamed spinach (or whatever cooked veggies you may have)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (Not the dry pre-grated that comes in a can but the one that comes fresh in a resealable bag or plastic tub. But you can really use any kind of cheese you prefer: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook your quinoa following the directions on the package. I cooked mine in my rice cooker using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.
  2. While that is cooking, grill or steam your vegetables, then rough chop them in to big bite size pieces. I like to see and bite into my veggies.
  3. After the quinoa is cooked, mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and salt & pepper. (You can add red pepper flakes if you want more heat!)
  4. Let the quinoa cool for about an hour, then add the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir.
  6. Add more olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper depending on your taste.
  7. Serve as a side dish at room temp or cold.