Tag Archives: gluten-free

Orange-cranberry chicken salad

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I came up with this recipe one day when I was craving curry chicken salad for lunch, but couldn’t find any recipes that didn’t call for chutney. How could I do a quick fake for chutney? I tried onions sauteed till soft, then combined them with orange marmalade. Pretty good!

An alternate and easier approach is to just use green onions, and skip the sauteing step. I’ve tried both, and it’s good both ways.

You can use the nuts of your choice. I prefer the contrast of salty cashews, but since they just disappear in the salad, I decided to use pecans for the photos. Again, both are tasty, and you can use your choice. Sliced or slivered almonds would work nicely, too.

To keep the carbs down, I use a sugar-free marmalade and make sure my mayo has a minimum of sugar and no corn syrup. (Homemade is so easy, and needs no sugar! Here’s my mayo recipe.)

 

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Recipe: Orange-cranberry chicken salad

2 c. cooked, cubed, cold chicken
1/3 c. yellow onion, diced fine (or 5-6 green onions, sliced thin)
1/3 c. mayonnaise (more if your chicken is dry)
2.5 T. sugar-free orange marmalade
1/2 t. hot curry powder
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
dried cranberries & nuts to taste (note: substitute dried currants to avoid added sugar)
hearts of romaine or whole grain crackers, optional

If using yellow onion, saute till translucent. If using green onion, reserve a bit of the green tops for garnish, if you like.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the onion (using the white parts of the green onion), mayo, marmalade and spices; stir till well combined. Add an extra tablespoon or two of mayo if your chicken is on the dry side. Stir in the chicken, and green onions, if using. Add dried cranberries to suit your taste. Don’t add the nuts until just before serving.

You may eat it right away, but the flavor improves if chilled it for an hour at least. It’s also a great dish to make a day ahead.

Just before serving, stir in the nuts. Garnish with green onion and extra cranberries, if desired. Serve with hearts of romaine or whole-grain crackers.

NOTE: To make this Paleo, replace the orange marmalade with 1 clementine or tangerine, cut into bite-size pieces. Use homemade mayo. If you like, replace the dried cranberries (which usually contain sugar) with dried currants or raisins.

Serves 2.

You might also like:
30-second Caesar salad

Zoodles with peanut sauce (Paleo-friendly options)

zucchini noodles with peanut sauce
The great thing about this Asian-inspired peanut sauce is that everything you need to make it is stuff you usually have in the pantry. And you can, of course, use it on your favorite pasta — either traditional wheat, or your favorite gluten-free brand.

(Did you know cooking wheat pasta ahead of time, cooling it in the fridge, then reheating it lowers the glycemic effect on your blood sugar?)

But for a more nutrient-dense and grain-free option, consider zucchini noodles.

I use zucchini and summer squash as a low-carb, real-food alternative to pasta any time I’m craving spaghetti, or want something noodle-y in my soup. (And as an alternative to pizza crust.)

Like most Americans, I’m accustomed to and usually prefer pasta that’s been cooked till it’s uniformly soft. But al dente means “to the tooth,” and requires pulling the pasta out when the outside is soft but the inside still has a bit of resistance when you bite into it. And if you throw the zucchini noodles in the pasta sauce to heat through for just the last two or three minutes, you get a texture very much like al dente pasta.

You can also make this sauce Paleo-friendly by using almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or another nut or seed butter in place of the peanut butter.

The original recipe is from Kitchen Confidante. Here’s my variation:

Asian-inspired peanut sauce

1 serving; scale up as necessary

 

a drizzle of coconut oil

1 T. finely diced onion

1/2 cup peanut butter OR other nut or seed butter

1 Tblsp soy sauce OR tamari sauce OR coconut aminos

3 Tblsp rice vinegar OR lime juice

2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp minced garlic (or more)

1/2 tsp honey

pinch of ground ginger

At least 1/4 cup chicken stock, add 1-2 more Tablespoons depending on texture

optional: Sriracha or red pepper flakes to taste

optional: 2 – 4 oz. cooked meat of your choice; chicken, pork, or shrimp

 

Heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan or frying pan. Saute the onions till translucent. Add all the other ingredients except for meat, using just the first 1/4 cup of stock. Stir till well combined and heated through. Add stock a tablespoon at a time till you get the desired consistency. Add the meat and cook till heated through.

Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in the noodles till heated through.

(This dish could easily be made vegetarian by using tofu or some type of pea or bean for the protein, and using vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.)

Try this soon: it’s quick, easy and delish!

Image by Kitchen Confidante

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 4: Low Carb

low carb and Paleo party food

And onto day five of our Super Bowl recipes round-up: Low Carb!

I think more chips are sold SB weekend than any other week of the year. But it is possible to have delish, satisfying snacks on the table that don’t max out your carb allowance for the month, all in one sitting! Here are a few.

veggies n vases

Just about any dip you can find is low carb, it’s the crackers and chips they’re usually served with that makes them high carb. Use a crisp veggie instead, and it’s instant health food!  🙂 But skip the usual, boring carrots and celery on a plate; think jicama, bell pepper strips, ribs from hearts-of-romaine. And to make them even more appealing, place them in vertical glass containers, like the beautiful table shown here, from Sugar Plum Sisters.

 

Bacon-Avocado Sammies from non nom paleo. Don’t these look yummy?!

Zucchini/squash Pizza Bites, from yours truly. The “crust” couldn’t be simpler: it’s just slices of summer squash or zucchini, lightly baked before being topped with your favorite pizza stuff, and broiled. (Inspired by Kalyn’s Kitchen.) My recipe includes both pepperoni and vegetarian versions.

 

gluten-free pizza crust or flatbread

For real pizza, try this gluten-free pizza crust recipe!

 

Deviled Eggs. Did you know that deviled eggs from the grocery store sometimes contain sugar? Yuck! Much safer (and Paleo-friendly) to make your own. I like ’em simple and classic, like this take from SimplyRecipes.

 

garlic-herb cheese dip

Garlic-Herb Cheese Spread or Dip, also from this site. Tastes sort of like Allouette. Again, to keep it low carb, serve with veggie dippers.

 

avocado, cilantro, lime, pistachio dip, sauce, spread, dressing

5-Minute Magic Green Sauce! This stuff is amazing! Yes, it’s great on fish as shown above, but it also makes a fantastic dip for veggies or chips.

Not into dairy? Here’s my favorite Paleo dip…

Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

Dump Ranch” – I make it thicker than the salad dressing version, and use it as a dip and spread. I almost always have some of this in my fridge!

Parties don’t have to mean blowing your healthy eating habits completely! Come stocked with one or more of these, and you’ll have less recovery to do the next day!

Coffee Panna Cotta

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“Panna cotta” is Italian for “cooked cream,” and that’s exactly what it is. The result is a smooth, custard-like yumminess made without eggs or oven time. This Coffee Panna Cotta is easy enough to make every weekend, but elegant enough for a special occasion.

I use instant espresso powder because it’s easy to keep on hand, but if you have some brewed espresso on hand, you can certainly use that. Just be sure to chill it before adding the gelatin to it.

If you’re cutting down on sugar, it can be made with Splenda Blend. I don’t recommend making it with only Splenda. The consistency becomes very jello-like, and there’s something very, very wrong about opaque jello.

panna-cotta-coffee-etc

This is not all the ingredients; just the ones for the
coffee/gelatin mixture.

Coffee Panna Cotta

1/3 cup very cold water
1 t. instant espresso powder
1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar (for low carb: 2 to 3 T. Splenda Blend)
2 t. Kahlua (optional; does contain sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

Stir the espresso powder into the cold water until completely dissolved.  Stir in the gelatin powder.

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It may want to clump at first, but stir until it looks fairly homogenized. It will still look sort of grainy. Set this in the fridge.

In a saucepan (size at least 2 qt.), stir together the heavy cream and sugar or Splenda (and Kahlua, if you want), and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil (which may take up to 10 minutes), stirring frequently or constantly. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Boiling cream doesn’t look like boiling water: it mostly just has bumps moving just under the surface, with an occasional bubble breaking the surface.

cream-boiling

Retrieve the gelatin mixture from the fridge…

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It will look even more grainy now; that’s okay. Whisk it into the cream until completely dissolved. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Leave it off the heat for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Clean-up tip: fill the sauce pan and liquid measuring cup with cold water now, to soak off the remaining gelatin.

When the cream mixture has cooled to about room temperature, pour into individual dishes. Espresso cups, small ramekins or dipping bowls work great. Putting them all on one tray or baking sheet makes transporting them to fridge easier.

panna-cotta-in-cups

In my house, what comes next is my husband wandering into the kitchen. “What’s this?”

“Coffee panna cotta,” I answer.

“Can I have some?,” he asks.

“Well, it’s not nearly done, it needs to…”

Too late! He’s got dish and spoon in hand, enjoying coffee-cream soup for lunch.

Cover the remaining dishes with cling wrap, and move to the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

If you can.

6-10 servings, depending on what size dishes you use.

You might also like:
7 Special Occasion Cookies
Coffee Heath Bar Ice Cream
Chicken with Mushroom Sage Sauce (another special-occasion-worthy dish)

Pizza bites – gluten free, low carb, tasty!

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Earlier this week, I made myself Kalyn’s Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices for lunch. Yum! But I wanted to experiment with the broiler method she suggested, since not everyone can or wants to grill. Also, I thought it would be kinda cute to make bite-sized versions.

I went with summer squash rather than zucchini. They’re close cousins and nutritionally about the same, but I thought the yellow color might be more attractive to people who would be scared off by the green of zucchini. I want to set realistic expectations: no one is going to think they’re eating pizza crust; the texture is completely different. But all the flavors are there, and it’s a quite satisfying snack.

I made some with pizza sauce and pepperoni, and I made some with pesto and grape tomatoes. I slightly prefer the pepperoni version, because there’s a little more punch to the flavor, but they’re both really good. And if you or your guests are vegetarian or Paleo, the tomato option is a nice alternative.

I love how they came out! They are cute, but they’re also the perfect size to pop in your mouth whole. Which would also be perfect finger food, for say, super-bowl. I haven’t tested the method, but if you wanted to make a large quantity for a party, I bet you could make them ahead of time, up to and including the toppings, then cover and refrigerate them till serving time, and run them under the broiler for a minute or two.

Low-carb Gluten-free Pizza Bites

I’m not listing amounts, because this is one you can totally just wing.

summer squash
olive oil
shredded mozzarella
for the pepperoni version:
spaghetti sauce (preferably sugar-free)
pepperoni (turkey, if you like)
for the veggie version:
pesto
grape tomatoes

Preheat your oven to 450. Place the rack in the center.

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Slice the squash into 1/2″ slices. If using tomatoes, slice them about 1/4″ thick and set aside.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the squash and toss. You just want enough for all the pieces to have a thin coat of oil.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the squash slices out on it. You can place them closer together than what I’m showing here. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and inspect the underside of the squash. It should just be a bit brown in places. Return it to the oven for a minute or two if it’s not yet there.

Switch your oven setting to broil. Top the squash slices with your choice of toppings. I used the larger diameter slices for pepperoni, the smaller for tomato. I put the sauce or pesto on first, then the pepperoni or tomato, then sprinkled a small mound of cheese on top of each one.

Move the oven rack up so it’s about 4″ under the broiler. Return the pan to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and done to your preference of golden-brown-ness. This will probably be somewhere around 3 to 5 minutes, but watch it closely.

Let them cool somewhat before serving; that tomato sauce will be hot!

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DIY taco seasoning (sugar-free, gluten-free)

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Did you know that the packaged taco seasoning you buy may contain milk solids, sugar, maltodextrin, corn starch or potato starch? The labels pictured here are from a name-brand seasoning mix and the store brand of a major grocery chain. The latter has more salt in it than it does chili powder!


Whether you’re trying to avoid salt, sugar, or allergens, the great thing about making your own seasoning mixes is that you can control exactly what goes in it.

Here’s a taco seasoning mix I make and keep on hand. It works great in ground beef tacos and shredded chicken tacos. I also use it mixed in with the sour cream layer in my seven layer dip.

It does contain salt, but if that’s an issue in your house, you can leave it out or sub a lower-sodium alternative.

I’ve included two versions: The first will generously season 1 lb. of hamburger; the second gives you plenty to keep on hand.

Taco seasoning mix, single use

1 T. chili powder
1-1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. kosher salt    (if using table salt, use half this amount)
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
1/4 t. dried oregano

Taco seasoning mix, big batch

1/4 c. chili powder
2 Tb. ground cumin
4 t.  black pepper
2 t.  kosher salt    (if using table salt, use half this amount)
2 t.  paprika
1 t.  garlic powder
1 t.  onion powder
1 t.  crushed red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
1 t.  dried oregano

Garlic herb cheese spread or dip – low carb!

garlic-herb cheese dip
Garlic herb cheese spread

This is such a simple dip, I keep some in the fridge almost constantly. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a knock-off or copy, but it’s kinda like Alouette.

It’s tasty spread on just about any cracker, but for a low carb, gluten free snack, try it with celery or romaine dippers. These are simply the small end of a heart-of-romaine leaf. When I’m chopping romaine for a salad, I always leave the last 4 to 5″ and stash them in the fridge for just this purpose! They’ve got a perfect dipping shape, and I like them so much better than celery; no stringy stuff!

Garlic herb cheese spread or dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. sour cream OR Greek yogurt
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. granulated onion
1 heaping t. dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
1/4 t. salt (if serving with veggies)

Stir together the cream cheese and sour cream (or yogurt) until pretty evenly combined. Add the other ingredients and stir till well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Note: if you are serving this with crackers that are salted, you may leave out the salt.

Tomorrow: What to do with the rest of the romaine — Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad!

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