Chocolate Teff Brownies

My husband and I were invited to a cook-out recently. He knew the couple hosting the event; I didn’t know anyone. I volunteered to bring a dessert so that there would be something gluten-free available for my husband. A look through my pantry and through my favorite cookbook (as you likely know by now!), Nourishing Meals, and I settled on some Chocolate Chip Teff Brownies with an added dairy-free ganache. They were absolutely delicious and received rave reviews from the party goers.

Chocolate Teff Brownies

CHOCOLATE TEFF BROWNIES
(from Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten)
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Dry Ingredients
1 c. teff flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. dates, pitted
1/4 c. ground flaxseeds
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Mix-in
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 7 x 11 baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Place the dates and ground flaxseeds into a blender; pour the boiling water over them. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and quickly whisk together. Add the chocolate chips and continue to whisk until thoroughly combined.

Pour better into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

3 oz chocolate chips
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Place all ingredients into a small pan and heat over low. Stir continuously until melted and thickened, just about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Do not chill. Drizzle over brownies.

Or, if you would like a thick, creamy, spreadable frosting then let the ganache thicken at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Spinach Pesto Pasta

I love a good pesto during the summer. In the past I have not had particularly great success with making my own pesto. I just never felt like I got the flavor and texture correct. And now, since going dairy-free, I have to consider pesto without the Parmesan cheese. I decided to mesh a couple of recipes together to create this dairy-free pesto to go over a roasted tomato and white bean pasta dish. It was delicious! And the leftover pesto is great for topping homemade pizza or using for a pita bread dip.

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SPINACH PESTO
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2 1/2 c. baby spinach
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. walnut pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Add the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is broken down into small pieces. Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whirl until the pesto is smooth.

Whole-Grain Freezer Waffles

I recently started a full-time job. With an hour of commute time each day, I knew my meal prep time was going to be disappearing. So, the week before work began I spent time making some muffins, granola bars, pita breads, and waffles for the freezer. I intended to get a lot more frozen than that, but it was a start.

The waffles are delicious and work from freezer to toaster. And this week when I didn’t know what I was going to fix for supper, we enjoyed breakfast for dinner. These are gluten-free, whole-grain, and egg-free!

For the waffles, I used a recipe from my go-to cookbook, Nourishing Meals. First make a batch of dry mix (which keeps in the pantry for up to 4 months, so make as many batches you want!). Then make the waffles. I made a triple batch, which made 26 waffles in my rather small waffle maker.

Gluten-free Waffles

WHOLE-GRAIN FREEZER WAFFLES
(from Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten)
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DRY MIX
1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1 c. teff flour
1 c. millet flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. quinoa flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon (opt.)
1 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Using a wire whisk, mix well. Place into an airtight container. Makes 5 cups or 5 batches of waffles.

WAFFLES
2 Tbsp waffles
2 Tbsp very hot water
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 c. milk (I used almond milk)
1 c. Waffle mix

Place the ground flax seeds and hot water into a medium-sized mixing bowl; quickly whisk together until the flax forms a thick gel. Sometimes this doesn’t happen right away so keep whisking until the gel forms. Add the applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup, and milk and whisk together well. Then add the waffle mix. Whisk together until the batter is smooth.

Heat waffle maker and cook according to waffle make directions.

If you plan to freeze them, cool completely and then layer between pieces of waxed paper and place in freezer bags.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Here’s a delicious treat for your weekend! This is a recipe that I posted a long while back, but it is buried in a post with another recipe. And since it is quick and fairly healthy, I decided to re-post. Plus, it’s summer, so who doesn’t love some ice cream?!

I should note that the original recipe is  not mine; however, I do not remember where I found it. This time around I did add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, which was a nice twist.

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CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
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2-14 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
2/3 c. sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 c.  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract (feel free to replace 1/2 tsp of vanilla with 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 4.

Dairy-free Queso

I cannot in the least take credit for this recipe. When it comes to homemade, vegan cheese alternatives, I am still very much in the learning stage. But, as I explore the dairy-free world, I’m always happy to find a good recipe. And maybe before too long I’ll be adept enough to create my own dairy-free “cheese” recipes.

I made a batch of this cashew queso recipe, with two notable alterations: I did not add the miso because I didn’t have it on hand and I added a 1/2 tsp of chipotle chile powder for a smoky undertone. Additionally, I made sure to include the optional nutritional yeast. While the recipe is a little labor intensive, I felt like it was worth the effort. Plus the queso keeps and re-heats well. (Note: if you do use the miso, check to make sure it is gluten-free if you need that. As I understand it, not all miso is gluten-free.)

Cashew Queso Nachos

For a quick weeknight meal I made nachos (something we rarely eat, but certainly enjoy) by topping tortilla chips with a spiced pepper, onion, and bean mixture and some queso. I broiled it all for a couple of minutes and then added some guacamole (makes any Mexican dish tastier!) and green onions. It was delicious!

Gluten-Free Pita Bread

These pita pockets can be made in about 25 minutes. They are dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free, and gluten-free. And despite all that “free-ness” they are delicious. We enjoy them dipped in hummus, as mini pizza crusts, or as pockets to stuff with veggies for a sandwich.

I have found that these don’t create their own “pockets” very well, which just means I have to cut them open myself, not a big deal to me. I also love that these freeze well, so I often make a double batch and freeze half. I like to freeze some in pocket form and some just whole.

The original recipe calls for using just sorghum flour and sweet rice flour. I have successfully replaced up to a 1/4 cup of the sorghum flour with teff flour or brown rice flour. I also sometimes add some herbs or spices depending on what I plan to use the pitas for (ie adding Italian seasonings when I use them for pizza crusts).

Gluten-Free Pita Bread

GLUTEN-FREE PITA BREAD
(from Nourishing Meals)
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1 1/4 c. warm water
6 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 — 3/4 c. sweet rice flour (in the mountains here I always have to add the larger amount of flour, but start with the lesser amount first)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Herbs or spices, opt.

Preheat the oven to broil/550°F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven, not right underneath the broiler.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the warm water and ground flax seed. Let rest for about 5 minutes to thicken. Then whisk in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a fork to mix together. You should be able to form a ball of dough that is not too sticky or too dry. If the dough is sticky add in extra sweet rice flour (up to the additional 1/4 cup). If the dough is dry, add a little water.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces (I’ve done 6 smaller pitas or 4 larger pitas too, depending on what I’m using them for). Using wet hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten with your hands until they are 5-6 inch circles. Place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. If you’re using a large baking sheet, you should be able to fit all the pitas on there (they don’t spread much). Otherwise use two baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping each pita after 6 minutes. The pitas bubble slightly and get golden around the edges when done. After they are cooled, slice them in half and cut the bread to form a pocket.

If not using right away, layer these between waxed paper and store in a sealed container. Or freeze.

Baked Pasta Chee

This recipe hearkens back to my childhood. My mom used to make this and we all loved it. It’s a healthy, tasty, baked, non-dairy mac-n-cheese-type recipe. And it has become a staple dinner at our house. I make it every couple of weeks and we enjoy the leftovers for lunches.

The original recipe comes from an unusual cookbook called Ten Talents. To add extra healthful benefits I’ve altered the recipe to include veggies. Any chance I can get to add more veggies to a dish, I’ll take. I’ve listed the veggies I most often use, but feel free to substitute with your favorites, or what you have on hand.

One note, the sauce includes an uncommon ingredient, nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast flakes are often used to add a “cheesy” taste to non-dairy “cheese” recipes. It can be found at a health food store and there really isn’t any substitute for it. (Active dry yeast and brewer’s yeast are not anything like nutritional yeast.) I hope you might consider trying this dish despite the ingredient list, it’s worth the effort.

(Finally, I realize this is not the prettiest of pictures. But I promise it tastes delicious!)

Baked Pasta Chee

BAKED PASTA CHEE
(adapted from Ten Talents)
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1 lb pasta of choice (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
1 c. raw cashew pieces
1 c. water
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (opt.)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
4 mushrooms
1/2-1 bell pepper
1 big handful baby kale
1 c. diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a blender add cashews, water, lemon juice, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, and spices. Blend until smooth while slowly adding the olive oil through the top. Then add the veggies and canned tomatoes and blend again.

Mix the drained pasta and sauce together and pour into greased baking dish. If desired, top with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes to heat through.

Serve with a salad for a satisfying meal.

On the Side: Chicken-Apple Sausage

A few months ago I purchased a pound of ground chicken for the purpose of making homemade chicken sausage. But I couldn’t get it made in time, so I froze the meat until an opportune time. An opportune time arrived in the form of a long weekend with my husband and I dug out the recipe I’d planned to make. Served alongside some eggs and asparagus, these sausages were delicious. And since you’re making them yourself and know all the ingredients included, they are certainly healthier than your average sausage.

CHICKEN-APPLE SAUSAGE
(from The Simple Art of EatingWell)
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2 teaspoons oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium sweet apple, peeled and diced
1 pound ground chicken
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp dry)
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add apples and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Wipe out the pan.

Add chicken, sage, sugar, fennel (if using), salt and pepper to the bowl with the apples and onions. Gently mix to combine.

Generously coat the pan with cooking spray and heat over medium. Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop 4 portions into the pan, flattening each into a 3-inch patty. Cook until the patties are browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Coat the pan with cooking spray again and repeat with remaining sausage mixture.

Weekend Fare: Coconut Lime Chicken

I’ve recently been experimenting with using coconut milk in cooking and baking and I’m excited with the results! (I am referring to the coconut milk in the can, such as Thai Kitchen brand.) In honor of my recent experience with this versatile ingredient, I wanted to share with you two recipes: Coconut Lime Chicken and Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

The chicken is incredibly tender (although the photo shows a whole piece of chicken make sure to cube it because the result is much more tender!) and the almond butter dipping sauce adds a delicious twist. The ice cream is amazing and so simple! It’s unbelievably creamy. I adapted it slightly from a recipe I found online and promptly forgot where I found it. 🙂

Both of these recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free.

COCONUT LIME CHICKEN
(from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
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2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
coconut oil, for sauteing

Marinade:
2 Tablespoons coconut milk
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce)

Almond Lime Dipping Sauce:
6 Tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1-2 Tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Place the chicken breast pieces into a bowl and cover with the ingredients for the marinade. Stir together to coat evenly. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add about one Tablespoon of coconut oil. Then add chicken pieces. Saute, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Place the dipping sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until mixture is thickened and well combines. Alternatively, sauce can also be warmed on the stove in a small pot over low heat.

To serve, divide dipping sauce into four small bowls and serve alongside chicken. (Brown rice and stir-fried veggies make a great side!) Serves 4.

CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
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1-14 ounce can coconut milk (not light)
1/3 cup sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 2.

Simple Supper: Bacon-Wrapped Salmon

Salmon is a staple simple supper in our house. (If you have an Aldi close by, that’s the perfect place to buy salmon at $4 a pound in their frozen food section!) I usually just wing the seasoning, but occasionally I like to try out a “real” recipe. 🙂

This recipe is delicious and so simple. In just 20 minutes supper was on the table. The bacon keeps the salmon super moist. And seriously, who doesn’t love bacon-wrapped food?!

BACON-WRAPPED SALMON
(adapted from Epicurious.com)
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4 center-cut pieces skinless salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
4 bacon slices
Special equipment: 4  metal skewers (which I didn’t have, but would have made it all easier!)

Preheat broiler and place broiler pan about 4-6 inches from heat.

Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then spread curved sides with mustard. Lay 1 bacon slice lengthwise along top of each fillet, tucking ends of bacon under fillet (ends will not meet). Thread 1 skewer through length of each fillet, entering and exiting through bacon to secure it.

Arrange fish, bacon sides down, on preheated rack of broiler pan and broil 3 minutes, then turn over and broil until fish is just cooked through and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more.

(Cooks Note: If you are using frozen fillets, let them thaw slightly first so they cook evenly.)

As a bonus, I’m going to share a roasted asparagus “recipe” to cook and serve alongside the salmon.

LEMON PARMESAN ROASTED ASPARAGUS
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asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
salt
lemon-pepper
Parmesan cheese
fresh lemon juice

Break off woody ends from asparagus. Wash and pat dry. Lay asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper. (Use your discretion with quantities.)

While salmon is broiling, slide asparagus into oven. When you take out the salmon to flip it over, remove asparagus and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, continue to broil until salmon is cooked through. Just before serving, sprinkle asparagus with fresh lemon juice.

(Cooks Note: If you’re not making this alongside the salmon, preheat oven to 425°F instead of to broil. You’ll have to cook just a couple minutes longer.)