Recipes

Italian Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

ACS_0048.jpg

I love recipes that are 1. delicious 2. easily customizable and 3. can withstand adding lots of extra veggies!. This stuffed pepper recipe fits all of these so well! Oh, and it also needs to make good leftovers. Yep, does that too. 

This summer I have been going to the local farmer’s market more often and I’ve discovered some of the best, high-quality meats from one of the farms, Pastimes Farm and Bakery out of Lincoln, Missouri.  If you’ve never thought about purchasing meat at your farmer’s market, I would encourage you to check it out. They often have grass-fed and pasture-raised meats at a competitive price. We have really been loving their Italian pork sausage, which is where I got the idea for the stuffed peppers. It is unbelievably flavorful and works perfectly in this recipe. We also love to use it for homemade pizza.

What to serve with stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers can really be a meal in itself. You have your protein with the meat or a meat substitute, fat from the meat and olive oil, carbs from the veggies and rice, and lots of veggies of different colors. Here are a few ideas for side dishes:

  • small side salad

  • roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes

  • fruit or fruit salad

Substitution Options

There are a lot of different things you can do with this recipe. You can change out proteins, veggies, starch or just eat the filling on its own. Customize to your hearts desire, friends. Here are some ideas:

  • Use ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork in place of the sausage. You will want to add some additional seasonings for flavor.

  • I think lentils or black beans would be really good here as a substitute for the meat. Or even half meat and half beans.

  • You can really mix up the veggies for your taste preferences, sensitivities or what you have available and need to use from your fridge. I like veggies that will hold up well and still have a little crunch like the broccoli slaw and zucchini. Some ideas that would work are chopped or shredded carrots, celery, eggplant, diced tomatoes, and mushrooms. 

  • You can use quinoa in place of rice. You could use all grains instead of cauliflower rice or all cauliflower rice instead of grains. Lots of options here. 

  • If you eat dairy, you could mix in feta or goat cheese or top with shredded cheese. 

  • There is always the option to eat the filling plain or in a wrap if you’re not a big fan of bell peppers. I serve the filling with a little additional rice for my son when we have this and he really likes it. It would also be really good over a baked sweet potato.

ACS_0044.JPG

Italian Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Gluten-free, dairy-free, option for grain-free

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 -6 bell peppers, any color (use fewer if serving some of the filling on its own)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli slaw
  • ½-¾ cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 ½ cup or 6-8oz riced cauliflower
  • ½ - 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1# ground Italian sausage or meat of choice
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
    3. Saute onion in olive oil until soft.
    4. Add ground sausage to onions and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Drain if needed.
    5. While meat is cooking, slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove tops and cores.
    6. Add broccoli slaw, zucchini, riced cauliflower and rice to meat mixture. Cook another 5 minutes until tender.
    7. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.
    8. Stir in Italian seasoning and sauce.
    9. Spoon meat mixture into peppers. Can cover with foil to prevent the meat mixture from getting overcooked.
    10. Bake until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
ACS_0046.JPG


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! If you try this recipe, please leave a comment! I love your feedback.

Cheers!

Lin

Almond Flour Banana Bread Muffins

ACS_0025.jpg

Muffins! Banana bread muffins that are gluten-free, made with almond flour, so perfectly moist and melt in your mouth! They are like little love muffins. I added a little candied pecan on top for some extra yum. I was originally working on a banana bread recipe (which you could totally do with this), but I love muffins and so here you have it.

Muffins are just so easy. You take one, break it in half, spread all the butter or peanut butter in the middle and you are set. Maybe grab one for breakfast on your way out the door or pack one in your lunch for a little sweet treat. Or, you eat them in one bite if you are like my husband.

I have been baking and cooking with almond flour for over a year now and I love all of the different things I can do with it. I have been looking for almond flour recipes and using it to create my own recipes because a lot of my clients can have almond flour. It is only 1 ingredient compared to a gluten-free 1:1 flour, which contains at least 5 ingredients. I have used it for cookies, muffins, breads, pizza crust and pot pie.

Almond flour is made of finely ground blanched almonds. It is lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour, coconut flour or other gluten-free flours and is a good option if you are grain-free. It is a good source of vitamin E, manganese, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

These almond flour banana bread muffins are lightly sweet with, of course, the bananas as well as a little applesauce and maple syrup. I love the cinnamon flavor in them and I think you will too.

ACS_0027.JPG

Recipe

Almond Flour Banana Bread Muffins

Gluten-free, grain-free and lightly sweetened.

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/8 cup natural applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (1T for candied pecans and 1T for muffins)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 ½ tsp cinnamon (1t for candied pecans and 1 1/2t for muffins)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.
  3. For candied pecans(optional): toast pecans in pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 tsp cinnamon and stir to mix. Remove from heat. When cool, chop into smaller pieces.
  4. Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Add mashed bananas, applesauce, the other Tbsp maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  6. Fill muffin cups until almost full. Top with chopped candied pecans.
  7. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool before removing from muffin liners.
ACS_0026.jpg

There are a few possible substitutions that would work in this recipe. If you don’t have coconut flour, you can leave it out. I’ve made it without but it will be a little more “mushy”. You could use honey in place of maple syrup. You could leave the applesauce out if apples bother you. Don’t like cinnamon? Leave it out. Maybe add walnuts or chocolate chips before baking? I always like to give you some options.

However you decide to make them, I hope you enjoy these muffins! As always, let me know what you think when you make them. What is your favorite gluten-free flour to use when baking?


Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash Bowl

ACS_0022.JPG

Finally, I have another meal for you guys and this is a good one! It is easy to put together and is full of nutrients and big on flavor. The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the spaghetti squash. It’s like its own little arm workout in your kitchen. Then, you can get everything else ready while the spaghetti squash is cooking and you’ll be ready to roll when it’s done. Easy peasy, lime squeazy.

Please tell me you love Thai peanut flavor as much as I do. I’ve been using it with salads, on pizza and now with this Thai peanut spaghetti squash bowl. I love a good Thai peanut sauce and finally wrote it all down into a recipe for you. It may not be totally authentic, but it’s really good and doesn’t involve ingredients you will never use again. Like fish sauce. Have you ever smelled that stuff? Don’t do it. You’re welcome.

I tried spaghetti squash for the first time just a few years ago. To be honest, I’ve never been much of a squash eater…of any kind. It wasn’t something I had as a kid and definitely wasn’t something I was familiar with cooking. It’s a little intimidating, right? A big heavy, hard core squash with no cooking instructions. Nope, I’ll pass. But I’ve embraced the intimidation and now, gimme all the spaghetti squash recipes!

Spaghetti squash has become much more popular due to the increase in fad diets out there as well as people needing more gluten-free and grain-free meal options. It is versatile and contains a good amount of nutrients. It is a low-calorie veggie with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C as well as folate, niacin and pyridoxine (vit. B6). It is also lower in carbohydrates than pasta at 10 grams per cup compared to 42 grams.

We really enjoy using spaghetti squash as a gluten-free substitute for pasta. It’s so good with meatballs and marinara sauce or a cashew cream sauce. I especially love spaghetti squash with veggies, chicken and Thai peanut sauce! This dish is so flavorful and makes great leftovers. It is also easy to change up for diet or food preferences by switching up the veggies, using almond butter in place of peanut butter or changing out the chicken for a different protein. Options, so many options!

ACS_0023.JPG

Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Easy and flavorful gluten-free, grain-free meal.

Makes: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 small-medium spaghetti squash, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs chopped into small chunks
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1-2 cups carrots, shredded or sliced into matchsticks
  • handful chopped green onions
  • handful roughly chopped cilantro
  • chopped peanuts or cashews to garnish
  • Thai Peanut Sauce
  • 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • squeeze of lime juice or from ½ lime
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tsp sriracha, or more to taste
  • Instructions:
    1. Carefully slice spaghetti squash lengthwise. Place squash, cut side down, on foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on size of squash.
    2. Prepare sauce by whisking ingredients together in small bowl. If sauce is too thick, gradually add more coconut milk or water to thin. Set aside.
    3. Heat sesame oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add diced chicken and saute until cooked through. Set chicken aside in bowl.
    4. Add carrots and peppers to pan and cook to desired tenderness. Add chicken to pan with veggies to keep warm
    5. Spaghetti squash is done when fork tender. Allow to cool. Use fork to pull into spaghetti like strands.
    6. Assemble your bowl with spaghetti squash, chicken and veggies and desired toppings like cilantro, green onion and chopped peanuts. Drizzle with peanut sauce.
    7. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this healthy, flavorful Thai peanut spaghetti squash bowl and can use it as a guide to get creative with different vegetables, proteins and toppings. Or, make it like it is and you can’t go wrong.

Lin

Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls

ACS_0018.JPG

I love when two things that are great on their own come together to make something even greater. Like peanut butter and chocolate, chips and salsa, champagne and orange juice. Am I right? And now, pumpkin spice and energy balls! Oh yes, a match made in heaven and just in time for the fall pumpkin season. These healthy pumpkin spice energy balls are quick, easy and make a great snack or sweet treat.

Pumpkin is the hot flavor right now, thanks to the #PSL trend and I’m getting right on that train. I can’t go anywhere without seeing a pumpkin flavored food or drink. And for good reason, really. All of the warm, delicious spices that come with pumpkin flavor like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. I think those spices elicit a warm cozy feeling reminiscent of cold nights by the fire and family feasts at holidays.

So, let’s talk more about pumpkin and the nutritional benefits because there are a few.

·      Beta carotene – an anti-oxidant that is a precursor to Vitamin A, which protects against inflammation and helps keep eyes and skin healthy

·      Vitamin C – fights free radicals and increases immune health

·      Fiber- regulates blood sugar, decreases LDL, helps with digestion and keeps you feeling full longer

·      Magnesium (very common nutritional deficiency)– essential for bone and heart health

·      Low in calories and carbohydrates – about 50 calories and 10g carbohydrates per ½ cup

I actually made these pumpkin spice energy balls by accident, which is probably how many great recipes are born. I was making the cinnamon energy balls, yet again, for another baseball tournament (for the boys between games when they have a double header) and saw some leftover pumpkin puree I used for a test recipe. It was going to be cold that night at the games and pumpkin sounded good so I made another batch, changed it up a bit and added the pumpkin. I didn’t have high hopes for them but they ended up being a big hit with the boys and the parents.

These pumpkin spice energy balls can be totally customizable. You can use a different nut, add nut butter, add oats or oat flour in place of almond flour, add collagen powder or use all cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice. I love when I’m able to customize a recipe to fit my dietary needs or taste preferences.


Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls - Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free

Healthy, quick and easy pumpkin spice energy balls make a great snack or sweet treat.

Makes: 12-15 balls

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 1/8 cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions:
  1. Add almonds, pepitas and dates to food processor. Pulse until you get small crumbles.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until well mixed.
  3. With wet hands, roll into balls. Place balls on parchment lined plate or baking sheet and refrigerate.
  4. Store in airtight container for 1 week.
image.jpg

Happy fall ya’ll! I hope you have a great fall season. I’m planning to enjoy the great weather we are having and get in all the essential activities like the pumpkin patch and apple orchard. And of course enjoy some pumpkin treats like these.

Cheers!

Lin

Fresh Strawberry Oat Crumble

IMG_0131.JPG

Berry picking season is finally here! Yay! Berry picking is an activity we discovered we could do in Kansas City just a few years ago and I look forward to it every spring and summer now. The strawberries come first and usually have a pretty short picking season. Then, we pick the blueberries. Sometimes multiple times. Blackberries are also an option but we have yet to pick those. I'm putting it on my list this summer because they are one of our favorite berries. 

I took my son last week to Benny's Berries, which is a little strawberry patch not far from where we live. When we got there we received a large box for picking and were given specific instructions on how to pick the strawberries to make them last longer and to get the best ones. The redder the better! Whenever I pick berries I always tell myself just a few more and we'll be done...and maybe just a few more on the way out. Anyone else? We ended up with  7 1/2 pounds of strawberries in a pretty short amount of time. 

Eating the berries fresh is our favorite but this crumble I made twice last week might be our new favorite. The first time I made it I ate about half the pan because I couldn't stop. It's so good and I think I have a thing for crumble topping! Good news if you do too because it is on the bottom and the top! It's a very easy dessert with just a small amount of added sugar and can be totally gluten-free. We added a little ice cream on it this last time and it was perfection. 

Fresh Strawberry Oat Crumble

Ingredients:

IMG_0132.JPG
  • 2 cups oats (gluten-free certified if needed)

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose or gluten-free flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in medium bowl.

2. Add coconut oil and mix until incorporated with dry ingredients.

3. Spray 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with coconut oil spray or grease with small amount of coconut oil.

4. Add half of the crumble mixture to pan and press down with spoon or fingers. 

5. Spread sliced strawberries out on top of crust. 

6. Top strawberries with remaining crumble mixture. 

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 

8. Enjoy!

If you picked strawberries this season and you are looking for a great recipe, give this one a try. It is light, slightly sweet and the perfect end to a great summer day.

Lin