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Healthy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

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My first healthy favorite for January are these Healthy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. I promised quick, healthy, weeknight recipes and although this takes about an hour to cook I think you’ll find that it’s still a great choice. Most of the time is hands off baking time while the sweet potatoes are in the oven. Set a timer, walk away, and do something else!

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Don’t be fooled by the cheese topping, these sweet potatoes are still healthy! Just a tablespoon of mozzarella per sweet potato is a great way to add another flavor and saltiness without becoming overly indulgent.

This recipe is adapted from Pinch of Yum. It is naturally gluten free, as written. I’ve increased the recipe size to make more servings and swapped out a few ingredients for healthier counterparts that I always have on hand.

My favorite part about this recipe is how filling it is! The sweet potatoes are so tasty, yet I’m usually stuffed after eating just two. The leftovers are so great warmed up in the toaster oven for a few minutes, too!

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Healthy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes vary greatly in size, so consider all the measurements in this recipe approximate. If you feel the ratio isn’t going to be quite right adjust as necessary. As long as you don’t change the baking times, you should end up with a good result!

This recipe is adapted from Pinch of Yum’s Healthy Sweet Potato Skins. Thanks for the great recipe inspiration!!! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced (you can also use 1 small onion)
  • 10 oz spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, divided

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke each potato several times with a fork. Bake the potatoes for about 1 hour, or until they are soft and tender.
  3. Towards the end of the baking time cut the shallots and spinach.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. When the oil is hot add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the shallots are fragrant and tender.
  6. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
  7. When the potatoes are done cut them in half. Scrape out the insides (put in a large bowl), leaving about a half inch around the skins to hold the shape of the potato.
  8. Mash the removed sweet potato, and add the greek yogurt. Stir in the shallot/spinach mixture and chickpeas.
  9. Fill each the empty potato skins with the sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the mozzarella onto each potato skin.
  10. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Grilled Margherita Pizza

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So, pizza. Grilled Pizza.

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As much as I enjoy eating healthy foods there seems to be a soft spot in my heart for pizza. Homemade pizza was a Sunday tradition when I was growing up. There’s still something about eating pizza on a Sunday that just feels so comforting!

To keep things homemade, I spent months and months of Sundays testing out gluten free pizza dough recipes until I found one I was happy with (you can find that recipe here). A bit more testing later, I was able to easily adapt this recipe for grilled pizza.

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Many people have heard of grilled pizza before, but if you haven’t tried it you are in for a treat! It is actually much quicker to grill pizza than to bake it in the oven, but your grilled pizza still has all the same elements of a good pizza:  crispy crust, melty cheese, and loads of your favorite toppings. Grilled pizzas tend to be more free form in shape, too. The cooking technique is obviously a bit different for making pizza on the grill versus in the oven. Since the whole cooking process happens so fast on the grill I’ve noticed that less complex pizzas with fewer toppings are easier to manage. With only a couple toppings, a margherita pizza is perfect for grilling, especially if you are new to the process.

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Even though we have been grilling pizzas for a while now, the simple toppings on a margherita pizza always hit the spot. Tomato sauce and cheese are nearly a requirement for any pizza (except white pizzas, but that will have to be another post for another day). The fresh basil steals the show here. I tend to add about 2 tablespoons per pizza, but if your garden is overflowing with basil like ours is than you may want to add even more. For an extra bit of flavor I season the pizza dough with garlic. Tomato, basil, garlic, mozzarella? So many delicious flavors in that short list!

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As far as actually grilling the pizza, the process is simple. The one and only important key to grilling pizza with this particular dough is to start with chilled dough. I like to shape my dough onto a silpat mat and then stick it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. The dough is naturally sticky, but it becomes much, much easier to work with when it is cold. Spray the chilled dough with olive oil spray (or other cooking spray) and lay it on the hot grill.

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Cover the grill and let the pizza sit undisturbed for a few minutes. Just a few. Then, check the underside of the dough to see if it is done. You want the dough to be crisp on the bottom, with grill lines, but not burnt (Unless you are one of those people, like my mom, who enjoys somewhat burnt food)! When the bottom is done, just flip the dough over.

Checking-Pizza-Doneness

Now is that part where you will need to work fast. Add the toppings. I like to do tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of cheese and then topped with fresh basil. As you can see from these photos, my husband choose to add his toppings in a very unique order.

Adding-Pizza-Toppings

Topping order, your choice. Like I said, the most important thing is to do this quickly. You don’t want to take so long adding your toppings that the bottom of the pizza burns before you’ve finished! Once the toppings are on cover the grill again, just for a moment. When the cheese has melted the pizza is ready to cut and serve!

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Gluten Free Grilled Margherita Pizza

This recipes will make one medium sized pizza that will serve two people. You can also split the pizza dough in half to make two personal sized pizzas.
 
Pizza Dough Ingredients
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 c hot tap water
  • 1 Tbs dry active yeast
  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 1/4 c brown rice flour
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1/4 c potato starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Other Ingredients
  • cooking spray (I use olive oil spray)
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 c pizza sauce (the generic kind at my grocery store is GF, read the label to be sure yours is, too!)
  • 2/3 c to 3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
Directions
  1. Stir the sugar and yeast into the tap water. Let the mixture sit for 5 – 10 to proof. It will get bubbly and expand.
  2. While the yeast is proofing, combine all of the remaining dough ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Add in the yeast and mix until the dough forms a ball. If using a stand mixer, use medium speed.
  4. Put the pizza dough on a silpat, mat, piece of parchment paper, or wax paper, and use your hands to shape into a circle, about half an inch thick. If the dough is sticky run your hands under cold water and then go back to shaping it without drying your hands completely. Lay the shaped dough in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. While the dough is chilling, light the grill and let it get to a high heat level. Take some time to bring all of your toppings, and any plates or utensils you will be using out to the grill.
  6. Gently loosen the pizza dough off of the silpat/parchment paper/wax paper. It may be a bit sticky and not come off in exactly the shape you pressed it into, but will be close enough. Spray one side of the pizza dough with the cooking spray, and sprinkle on some garlic salt (I shake it on directly from the bottle). Spray the grilling surface with cooking spray, and lay the oiled side of the pizza onto the just oiled grilled. The un-oiled side should now be facing up on the grill. Give this a quick spray with the cooking spray, and another shake of garlic powder.
  7. Shut the grill lid. Check on the pizza every minute or so by gently lifting up a side to see if the bottom is cooked.
  8. When the bottom of the pizza is crisp and has brown grill lines flip the pizza using a spatula.
  9. Now add the toppings, somewhat quickly. Spread the pizza sauce evenly across the pizza. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top of that, followed the by the fresh basil. Shut the grill lid once you are done.
  10. Again, check the pizza every minute or so. The pizza is done once the cheese has melted and the bottom has dark grill lines.
  11. Cut into slices and serve hot.

 

 

 

 

PGF: Pesto Chicken & Lemon Kale Sandwiches

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Pesto Chicken & Lemon Kale sandwiches make a quick and healthy meal. These warm, toasted sandwiches can be made with GF or wheat bread. Perfect for a group of people who have differing dietary needs. The lemon and pesto combination is irresistable. Whether you are eating GF or not you will love this sandwich!

I really enjoy eating soup. There’s nothing else like a tomato soup and grilled cheese, and any time I feel sick with anything I make Avgolemono Soup. I have a whole pinterest board just for soups I want to try!

Soup is a cold weather food. The last thing you want to do on a hot day is eat a big bowl of steaming soup. Hot days are the majority here, so as summer approaches I’ve been trying to get my fill of soups.

A few weeks ago, when the temperature starting getting into the 70s, I kind of freaked out about all the soup recipes I wanted to try and hadn’t had the chance yet! There was one soup in particular that I was anxious to try so I planned to make it that very night. I needed something a little more substantial to go with the soup so I invented these sandwiches out of ingredients from my refrigerator.

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The soup, sadly, wasn’t that great but the sandwiches were awesome! The lemon flavored kale and pesto go together strikingly well. As someone who usually eats all of my foods separated I was honestly a little worried, but the sandwich was 100% enjoyable. The tastes and textures all blended together perfectly. Even the GF bread was perfect. It browned and crisped up so much better than the sandwiches I made on wheat bread for Steve.

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Before actually putting together these sandwiches you’ll need to cook some chicken and saute some kale. It sounds like a lot of work for a sandwich, I know. First, I will tell you that it’s worth it! I’ll do a little extra work for a healthy, delicious meal that everyone in the family likes! Second, these two steps take about 20 minutes total and can be done ahead of time. These sandwiches are a great use of leftovers if you happen to have some extra cooked chicken laying around!

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Pesto Chicken & Lemon Kale Sandwiches

Steps 1 – 3 can be done ahead of time. Store the cooked chicken and kale in the refrigerator until ready to use.
 
Ingredients
  • 8 slices of bread (GF, wheat, or combination of both)
  • 8 tsp pesto
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
Directions
  1. Fill a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and add the chicken breast. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. While the chicken in cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the kale and saute for about 5 minutes. The kale will turn to a brighter green color and then soften and wilt. Add the lemon juice to the pan and cook, continuing to stir, until there is no more liquid remaining on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
  3. When the chicken has finished cooking shred it using two fork (or cut into bite sized pieces).
  4. Heat a skillet (the same one you cooked the kale in is fine) over medium heat. Prepare the GF bread by spreading a tsp of pesto sauce on one side of each piece of bread. Spray the other side of the bread with cooking spray, and place that side of the bread down on the baking pan. Put about 1/4 of the chicken on one slice of bread, topped with 1 tbs of cheese. On the other slice, spread out some of the lemon kale and top with another tbs of mozzarella.
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid and let cook until the cheese is mostly melted. Remove the two bread slices from the skillet and carefully put them together. Press down on the top of the sandwiches with a spatula to help keep the sandwich together.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the reaming bread. Be sure to cook all of the GF sandwiches before cooking any sandwiches using wheat bread.
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