Category Archives: veggie

Simple, Healthy Meals: Pizza

We all love pizza, right?  And generally with pizza, you’re taking on a load of calories, fats and the bloat to go with it all.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Many times (like recently), I’ve been very busy with work so when it comes to dinner time, I turn to some of my quick, healthy meals.  Last night?  It was gluten-free veggie pizza.

Because gluten free crust is hard to come by and takes forever to make from scratch, we’ve been using our high-fiber, gluten-free lavash as the basis for our pizzas for 5 or 6 years or longer.  (I’ve mentioned the lavash before in my quick morning go-to for my husband when he needs the energy to play 18 holes of golf in the searing heat.)

All you need to do is to decide on your sauce and toppings.  Your choices are limitless!

Pizza BasicsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees.

I start with the lavash and spread with my sauce du jour.

Sauces:

If you prefer a red pie which we do sometimes, and I have a homemade marinara on hand, I use that since it will be organic.  You can buy jarred organic pasta sauces but be warned – they’re generally loaded with sodium.

If you like a ‘white’ pie, I spread on a herbal butter/olive oil blend that I make.   For that, mix in a jar equal amounts melted organic butter and organic olive oil with a few cloves of garlic that have been pressed, and a tablespoon of mixed herbs (usually oregano and thyme). Warm slightly in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Shake or stir well.  Refrigerate and use for toppings for pizza, for garlic bread or for anything else you desire.  Tip:  Udi’s makes a nice baguette that can be brushed with this garlic/herb oil/butter mixture and baked in minutes.  Yum!

If you like a pesto base, a homemade pesto is simple!   In a small food processor, add fresh basil, pine nuts, a bit of citrus (lime or lemon) salt, pepper and olive oil.  All are available in organic.

Toppings:

Simple is always good so my choice for simple is the classic Pizza Margherita:  Add pieces of torn basil leaves and your favorite shredded Italian cheeses.

Veggie toppings, to name a few: mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, black olives, broccoli, zucchini, sliced tomatoes, green onions, eggplant, red, green or yellow peppers, broccolini, pepper flakes and grilled Portobello mushrooms.  Some like a Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham. The produce section offers many veggie treats for your creative pizzas!

Meats:  While pepperoni is preferred by many, it is high in sodium and fat, and has no vitamins, no fiber and very little else to offer.  Some alternatives include parma ham, grilled chicken, or crumbled, cooked chicken or turkey Italian sausage.  Grilled and sliced (or chopped) portobellos give a meaty flavor without the meat.

Cheese:  You MUST have cheese!   The standard Italian cheeses just can’t be beat. Parmesan, Romano, Asiago are hard cheeses that melt well. Pecorino is flavorful and a slightly different twist.  You can add Gorgonzola for a bit of a bite.  As you may remember, when it comes to cheeses, I prefer cheeses that are not made in the US (and thus guaranteed to beFresh Veggie Pizzacontaminated with GMO).  You can find, by the way, organic cheeses made in the US that will not have GMO’s.  Organic Valley has a small selection. When I can find true Italian Fontina, I use it.  This isn’t a hard cheese but it is a wonderful-gooey mess when it melts.  Experiment!

Finally, don’t be afraid to use pizza for other courses and other meals.

Dessert pizza:  Spread with cream cheese, top with fresh berries and bake just a few minutes. You can also add any fresh-fruit organic marmalade or jam.  Just be sure that you stay away from the chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup.

Breakfast pizza:  Whip your eggs as usual, carefully pour on the crust, add a bit of cheese, perhaps a bit of ham, veggies, bake and you’re good to go.

If you’ve forgotten how much I love cheese (the ONLY dairy we eat), please feel free to check out this August post:  Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost Dairy-Free Augratin Potatoes

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that we’re pretty much dairy-free EXCEPT for cheese.  So this recipe is essentially dairy free until you add the cheese.  This is a recipe that was born of my Mom’s potatoes augratin recipe, except I’ve eliminated glutens and most all dairy.  And it’s what I call a ‘warm fuzzy’ dish.  My husband loves this kind of thing. Potatoes Augratin Baked

While this isn’t my usual uber-healthy style of dish, it’s more healthy using coconut milk and olive oil instead of cow’s milk and butter.  The good thing about this is that this recipe does indeed give you some fiber.  I’m a huge fan of fiber!   Most people don’t get nearly enough every day.  Women should have 21 grams a day and men should have at least 32 grams a day.  Without fiber, your digestive system (and colon) simply don’t work properly.  Fiber also helps offset any damaging sugars that you might take in, and along with protein, gives you the energy to stay active all day.

This recipe uses my own version of a bechamel sauce, detailed below.   You can use any type of potato you have on hand, but be aware your results might vary depending on the potato you choose. Today I used Russet potatoes simply because they were the only organic potatoes available here in the store today. Potatoes and Onions wholeThey aren’t the most preferred for this type of recipe.  Your potatoes will hold up better in the dish if you use red or white potatoes.

Some of the ingredients and instructions are approximations.   I go by how things are moving along and by how the sauce looks as I’m building it, so some of this will be up to you as to how much you use when it comes to oil (or butter), corn starch and the coconut milk.

Also, I pealed my potatoes, but to be honest, they’d be far healthier if you leave the skin on after scrubbing, to give you yet even more fiber. PLUS for me, the less time with a knife in my hand, the better.  I’m prone to cutting myself when cooking, and also to burning myself.  Recently, I cut my hand, then when removing something from the oven, I burned the exact place where the cut was!  No kidding!

So, here we go:

Almost Dairy-Free Potatoes Augratin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Augratin ingredientsIngredients:

  • 4 or 5 medium to large size organic potatoes, pealed & cut in 1/4″ slices or thinner
  • 1/2 cup organic onions, sliced
  • 5 TBS (+/-) organic olive oil (or you can use butter if you wish)
  • 5 TBS (+/-) organic corn starch
  • 4 cups (or less) unsweetened organic coconut milk
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 5 cups grated organic sharp cheddar cheese.

Place the sliced potatoes and sliced onions in a pan.  Fill pan about 3/4 full of water.  Potatoes and ONionsCook on medium heat approx 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and onions are transparent.   Drain.

Place the potatoes and onions in an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.   Add about 2 cups grated cheese and very gently stir into the hot potatoes to mix.

For the bechamel sauce, start with approx 5 TBS olive oil (or butter if you choose) in a sauce pan.  Allow to heat but not bubble.   Gradually stir in the corn starch until you have a thick roux.  Cook a minute or two until all is well incorporated.

Add coconut milk slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, allowing the milk to incorporate with the oil / butter and corn starch mix.   Continue to add until you have a good sauce consistency.    You may not need this much coconut milk or you might need more.  I play it by ear.

Add 1 cup grated cheese and stir into the sauce.   Add salt and pepper to taste.

When thickened, pour the sauce over the potatoes in the baking dish, and gently stir or ‘nudge’ it into the potatoes.   PotatoesAugratin Pre-bakeAdd the remaining cheese to the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or more.  If you want it a bit dryer and more browned on top, you can certainly cook longer.

 

ENJOY!

Recipe: Quick and Easy Crab Stuffed Avocado

My quick and easy crab stuffed avocado will fool family and friends into thinking you’ve worked long and hard over lunch.  Crab Avocado SaladFlorida avocados are plentiful now, and they are delicious, healthy, high-fiber and will give you a really good dose of ‘good fats’.

QUICK AND EASY CRAB-STUFFED AVOCADO

  • 1 medium to large Florida Avocado (You can use Haas if you can’t get the Florida version)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (scant)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery leaves/hearts
  • scant 1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Soy-free Veganaise (adjust to taste)
  • 2 TBS prepared Dijon mustard (adjust to taste)
  • 1 cup wild-caught lump crab meat, picked and cleaned

Mix onion, cilantro, lemon juice, mustard and Veganaise.  Add crab meat and mix well.

Cut avocado into quarters if it’s really large, peal and arrange on plate. If it’s a medium size avocado, half an avocado will serve one person. (Image above shows avocado half not pealed).  Fill with Crab Salad and garnish.

 

CrabAvocadoSaladIngredientsI buy the crab from Publix and find it to be rather good quality.  You can also buy Snow Crab Legs and remove from the shell.  This is a filling lunch or light dinner.

I made this last week with a larger avocado than shown and it made a very healthy, filling six (6) servings.

**WARNING**  Do not make this or any dish from the ‘crab stick’ or other fake lobster or seafood products.  What is it?  It’s the sweepings from the floor at a fish processing facility!  NASTY!!!!

Recipe: Pasta with fresh tomatoes

I found a recipe recently that looked amazing.  Of course, as usual, I changed it up a great deal.   But I thought I’d share it with you.

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes

Serves 2

  • 2 ripe organic tomatoes (I used one huge organic heirloom tomato)
  • 1/2 teaspoons medium Himalayan sea salt
  • organic spaghetti or any pasta you like (I used Ancient Harvest)
  • 1 clove of organic garlic, smashed then diced
  • 1/4 cup organic basil, cut into ribbons
  • 2 TBS organic butter, cut into three or four pieces
  • Organic Olive oil, as needed
  1. Season the tomatoes with the salt and toss them well.
  2. Put a big pot of water on to boil.
  3. Set garlic aside for a few minutes
  4. Cut the basil into ribbons or roughly chop it.
  5. Heat a teaspoon or two of the olive oil in a large saute’ pan over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook til just beginning to brown around the edges and soften. This takes a couple of minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook your pasta, drain it, put it back in the pot, and oil the pasta to keep it from sticking to itself
  7. Pour the tomatoes into a colander over the saute’ pan so that the tomato juice will drain into the pan below. Set the tomatoes in colander aside, in a bowl.
  8. Swirl the sauce to bring it to a simmer. Add the butter while continuing to swirl or stir the sauce. Keep the sauce moving until all the butter is melted. Add the basil, the pasta and toss to coat the pasta evenly. Divide the pasta two bowls and top with the tomatoes.

Other Ingredients Finished Dish

This recipe has a fresh taste that it impossible to beat!  It is light, it is vegetarian and gives you fiber and nutrients as well.

 

While I changed this up a bit, I do give credit where credit is due.  The original version came from Food52.com in the Genius Recipes section.

Delicious veggie pancakes

A healthy veggie breakfast!  You didn’t think it was possible?  It is.  We did it this morning! It’s all organic and has a healthy helping of fiber, vitamins and protein.

I found the recipe on a site that I enjoy, TheHeartySoul.com, except I made a few alterations so those are included in this version.

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Veggie Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic sweet potato with skin on, grated
  • 1 cup organic zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup organic yellow squash, grated
  • 1/8 cup grated organic onion
  • 3 eggs, thoroughly beaten until frothy
  • 4 heaping tablespoons organic gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Organic olive oil, for cooking
  • freshly grated organic Parmesan Cheese
  • Organic sour cream
    Directions:
  1. 1. In a large bowl, mix together the grated veggies, eggs, flour, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  2. Heat a thin layer of olive oil on a griddle at 300 degrees (or if you use a saute’ pan, be sure it’s medium heat.) You want the pancakes to cook all the way through the middle by the time they’re brown on the outside. When the oil is hot, drop pancake-size dollops of the veggie mixture into the pan, without overcrowding. Flatten a bit. Cook until the bottom starts to brown.
  3. Flip and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese
  4. Cook until browned on the second side, then repeat until the batter is gone.
  5. Transfer cooked pancakes to a paper towels.  Serve immediately. If you need to keep warm, you can tent with foil or place in the oven on the lowest setting on a plate.
  6. Serve warm with a topping of sour cream.

Serve with a side of fresh organic cantaloupe or for an extra helping of nutrients,  avocado chunks.

Notes:  The yellow squash and the zucchini once grated, tend to be a bit watery so I added extra flour.  These didn’t turn out fluffy and were a bit flat but were still delicious.  The sweet potato was difficult to grate so watch the knuckles.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grated my knuckle over the years! Grating the onion was simple, but it turned out very watery.  However, I think that it added to the dish.

We had three extra and I wrapped in paper towel, put in a zip lock and will warm and have them perhaps tomorrow AM.