A Favorite Quick Lunch – Zucchini Pizza Boats (gluten-free)

Pizza is a favorite to almost all kids.  Our family loves pizza night, but being a completely gluten-free family, homemade pizza is both expensive and a little time consuming (and pre-made gluten free pizza…well, many resemble cardboard). So one of our favorite variations are zucchini pizza boats.  These are quick, lighter than regular pizza and much more budget friendly.  There are a million combinations of ingredients you can use for the toppings, but this recipe is my kids favorite and a much quicker option because you are using pepperoni and not having to prep any other meats.

Our basic ones we make are literally 4 ingredients: zucchini or yellow squash, pizza sauce, uncured pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. These are a great option for kids lunches, they are quick and easy and a much healthier alternative to regular pizza.

The trick to bulking up the filling is to use the inside of the zucchini that you carve out.  I carve out my zucchini to less than an 1/4 inch thickness and then chop all the insides into small cubes, mix with pizza sauce and small diced pepperoni (or meat of choice) and then refill into the zucchini.

 

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A Favorite Quick Lunch - Zucchini Pizza Boats (gluten-free)
author: 
prep time: 
cook time: 
total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 medium zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1 can of organic pizza sauce (Muir Glen is our favorite)
  • 1 package of uncured pepperoni (Applegate farms is our favorite)
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Chop zucchini in half and trim of both ends.
  2. With a knife carve out the inside of the zucchini leaving less than about a ¼ inch thickness all the way around.
  3. Remove insides of each zucchini and dice into small cubes and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Chop pepperoni into small pieces and add into bowl of zucchini.
  5. Mix in can of pizza sauce.
  6. Spread each boat onto a cookie sheet and fill with mixed toppings and then top with mozzarella.
  7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes at 375 degrees until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  8. Enjoy!

 

black bean quinoa salad (hot or cold)

our family has cut back on the amount of gluten free grains & seeds that we eat dramatically, but in attempt to eat through our pantry (before we move) we have been consuming more quinoa and rice than typical.  i have been making a list of ingredients i have on hand and really trying to use them up instead of running to the store.  one complete pantry/freezer dumping dish is this black bean quinoa salad.  the nice thing about it, is that it can be eaten hot or cold, making it very versatile.

though i would like to say that i always “properly prepare” my grains/seeds by soaking and sprouting first…it doesn’t always happen {i really do believe in the practice of soaking and sprouting…and i’ll share more on why in another post}. one thing i have been pretty strict about is that if i am cooking a rice or quinoa for a meal, that i always cook it in homemade bone broth instead of water.  Not only for the amazing amount of nutrients/minerals found in bone broth, but also for the depth of flavor that it adds to a dish. you can use beef or chicken, but since i find that i use my homemade chicken broth so much faster, i typically opt for beef broth in this recipe.

every single item in this recipe, i had on had, making this a quick, flavorful, budget-friendly meal.

 

black bean quinoa salad (hot or cold)
author: 
recipe type: entree
 
black bean, corn & quinoa mexican style salad
Ingredients
  • 3 c. of homemade beef bone broth (chicken works also)
  • 1 ½ c. organic quinoa
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 pint jars of black beans (we can our own, but two 14.5 ounce cans would work)
  • 1 can of tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cups frozen organic corn
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • splash of cayenne
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. in a stockpot, bring 3 cups of broth to a boil and then stir in dry quinoa
  2. boil for 1 minute than reduce heat to low and cover until all liquid is absorbed (approx. 15-20 minutes)
  3. stirring occasionally
  4. while quinoa is cooking, finely chop onion and garlic and sauté in large skillet, over medium-low heat
  5. when onion is translucent, add in drained black beans, can of tomatoes with green chilies and frozen corn, stir in and heat through
  6. mix quinoa into skillet and add seasonings (cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt & pepper)
  7. measurements of seasonings are a rough estimate, as i always create this dish to taste and adjust accordingly
  8. can be served warm or eaten as left-overs cold

 

oh crap, what’s for dinner?

i love to cook, i love to try new recipes and create new dishes, but let’s be honest…i am a busy self-employed mom.  i don’t sit around all day and dream of the meal i am creating that evening.  more often than not, i will be busily working away editing photos or designing something (my kids afternoon naps are my main office time) and i will realize that it is approaching 4:30 and i don’t have a clue what we are having for dinner and that’s my daily “oh, crap” moment.  we have been facing this even more in the last 2 weeks (and can foresee it getting worse for a bit) as we just randomly sold our house (which we had taken off the market 6 month ago) and don’t have a clue at the moment where we are moving to.  three years ago, when we faced busy (or busier) waves in our lives, we would simply grab a pizza or fast food, so how do we avoid that now?  how do i keep healthy, wholesome meals in my kids when i don’t have time to spend in the kitchen?

my simple rule: don’t keep junk in the pantry or house or it is way to tempting when you are on the go.  instead, i make sure my freezer is stocked with grass-fed beef, free-range chickens and a supply of wild caught fish.  i always have a variety of organic frozen veggies and every weekend we stock up on fresh veggies/fruit for the week.

here is a typical last minute dinner in our house:

  • grass-fed burgers topped with tomatoes (we typically lettuce wrap them, but of course i was out of lettuce)
  • frozen organic broccoli (lightly steamed and topped with coconut oil and sea salt)
  • grilled zucchini spears (drizzled with olive or coconut oil, sea salt & pepper)
  • and dessert? well that was a jar of unsweetened applesauce that we canned last fall (we were a bit ambitious with our canning) and applesauce makes a frequent appearance at dinner

all of this was prepared in less than 15 minutes, (quicker than a drive-thru run) and easily for less than $10 for our entire family.  yes, it  is not a culinary masterpiece, or an amazing and unique combination of flavors, but it is simple, fast and still delicious.

red wine marinated fajitas {gluten free}

we do taco night a lot in our house. the simple beef type with tomatoes, green chilies and cumin. it is one of our “go to” meals if i am in a hurry.  i love tacos, my husband loves tacos and most importantly, my little boys love tacos.  we almost always have the ingredients we need on hand, especially since we have been canning our own pinto beans (yeah, i bought 50 lbs of organic dry pinto beans).  that turns out to be a lot of canned beans. mexican food is my “comfort food.”  my mother is mexican and i grew up in a family where homemade tortillas were a staple (one of the only gluten filled foods i miss). i promise i will share some of the recipes i learned from my grandma and how we have adapted them to be gluten free.

i had been planning on having tacos, but by accident pulled out a round steak to thaw.  sidenote: {i love, love having a huge supply of grass-fed beef in our freezer & we love farmer jack who we were introduced to by our friend lindsey, from the blog enjoying healthy foods.} anyway, as i was prepping for my day, i realized that i had the wrong cut of beef dethawed.  so i went hunting around my kitchen to see what i could switch dinner to and i eyed a half of a bottle of red wine and a yellow pepper…perfect for fajitas!  i make a similar type of marinade for kabobs, so i just swapped a few ingredients to be more “mexican” in flavor. i then served the fajita meat over slowly sautéed yellow peppers and onions and served with a blue corn refried bean taco topped with raw cheddar. we will be making this recipe again!

 

red wine marinated fajitas {gluten free}
author: 
recipe type: entree
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. of grass-fed flank or round steak
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  • ⅓ c. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. gluten free worcestershire sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
Instructions
  1. whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a glass dish
  2. submerge meat in marinade and let set for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator
  3. grill on high heat until medium (or desired doneness)
  4. let meat rest for 15 minute before cutting into thin slices
  5. serve over sautéed yellow peppers and onions

 

 

shared on: slightly indulgent tuesdays, allergy free wednesdays & real food wednesdays

citrus marinated tuna steaks – {gluten-free}

one of our goals as a family for 2012 is to eat fish twice a week. we are actually doing a better job at it than i had expected and one reason is that we have been buying the trader joe’s wild caught tuna. it is frozen, it is very cost effective & not too fishy.  this was the first time i had tried this style of marinade and i was very happy with the final results.  i haven’t worked much with tuna and marinades, so i read about 100 recipes online and then just merged ingredients by what i had on hand.  super easy prep, 30 minutes in the marinade and then a few minutes on each side on the grill and bam, dinner is done.

i served the tuna with green beans topped with bacon and the side carrot salad from one of my favorite bloggers {the nourishing gourmet} cookbooks.  the cookbook is called {fresh: nourishing salads for all seasons} and is full of fantastic salad recipes.  it was my first time making the carrot side salad and it was wonderful! check out her cookbook!

an added bonus – this entire meal for our family of 4 cost less than $12!

 

citrus marinated tuna steaks - {gluten-free}
author: 
 
fresh, crisp citrus tuna
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. wild caught tuna steaks
  • juice of one orange
  • juice of one lemon
  • ¼ c. gluten free tamari (soy sauce)
  • 3 Tbps olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. in a glass bowl, juice orange & lemon
  2. whisk in remaining ingredients
  3. submerge tuna and let marinate for 30-45 minutes
  4. remove tuna from marinade and place on a hot grill (high heat) for a few minutes on each side (or until desired doneness)

 

this post was shared on: simple lives thursday & pennywise platter

almond crusted honey mustard salmon

i have a slight obsession with cookbooks. oh… i have tried to like the cookbooks on my ipad, they are so easy, so instant, but they just don’t cut it like a good ‘ole paper book. trust me, you can tell which cookbooks contain my favorites by the splatters of ingredients on them.

well the other night i decided we needed something different for dinner.  i had a nice piece of frozen wild caught salmon just waiting to be cooked.  i love, love, love grilled salmon, but would rather get a fresh piece if i am going to simply grill it.  so on the hunt for a recipe, i pulled out a cookbook that i received for christmas this past year  {The Pure Kitchen: Clear the Clutter from Your Cooking with 100 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes} and quickly found a recipe for a honey mustard salmon. now, in true jennifer fashion, i did not plan ahead and was lacking the chives, the parsley & the caraway seeds that the original recipe called for and brian really wanted a “crusted” style salmon. so we altered the recipe some and came up with an almond crusted honey mustard salmon. this recipe will definitely be added to one of our regular favorites.  i served it over lemon herbed quinoa and with a side of green beans. check out the “the pure kitchen” cookbook for the actual quinoa recipe (i was missing some ingredients, so mine was just “okay”)

 

almond crusted honey mustard salmon
author: 
recipe type: entree
 
toasted almond crusted salmon, with a sweet mustardy sauce and just a pinch of heat!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. wild alaskan caught salmon (cut into 4 pieces)
  • ½ cup almond meal (toasted)
  • 3 Tbsp. organic dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried dill (1 Tbsp. fresh)
  • pinch of unrefined celtic sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne (to taste)
Instructions
  1. preheat oven to 450.
  2. in a skillet, toast almond meal over low heat until golden brown
  3. cut salmon in 4 pieces and pat dry with paper towels
  4. rub olive oil on salmon and place in glass cooking dish
  5. in a bowl mix together, mustard, honey, dill, sea salt, cayenne
  6. coat top of salmon with honey mustard mixture & then top with the toasted almond meal
  7. bake at 450 for 9-12 minutes* (salmon is done when it easily flakes)
  8. *we like our salmon medium so we cooked ours for just 9 minutes

 

 

shared on: pennywise platter & food renegade