Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Summer Quinoa Salad

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This is the most flavor-packed summer salad that takes the least amount of time to make. It’s so fresh, so easy, and so healthy. The quinoa is full of fiber and protein and the veggies provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you nourished and energized. Enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 Cups Quinoa, cooked and chilled
1 1/2 Cups Cucumbers, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 Cup Feta Crumbles
3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup Bottled Italian Dressing*

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, combine 3/4 Cup quinoa with 1 1/2 Cups water. Cover with lid and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn heat off and leave pan on the burner for about 15 minutes until quinoa is fully cooked. Set aside and chill in fridge.

2. Chop cucumbers and bell peppers. (See chopping tip.)

3. Roast pine nuts in a non-stick pan for about 3 minutes. Stir often to promote even cooking and prevent burning.

4. Mix all salad ingredients together and refrigerate about 4 hours or until chilled through. The salad tastes best after a few hours of marinating.

Tip: If you need your salad ready in a jiffy, chill the quinoa in separate, uncovered containers in the freezer for about 10 minutes before combining all ingredients.

Makes 6-8 side servings.

*When choosing an Italian dressing, check the label for sugar content. If it contains more than 3 grams of sugar per 2 Tablespoon serving, try to find the original, full-fat version of the dressing. When manufacturers make a low-fat dressing, they substitute sugar for fat to make up the flavor. Unfortunately, refined sugar converts to fat faster than the oil from the dressing does when we digest it, so it’s better to go for the full-fat version.

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RecipesSalads

Classic Creamy Pasta Salad

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This is the easiest, kid-friendliest salad you will ever make. Because my children are not sandwich eaters, I have to get creative with picnic outings and school lunches for them. This salad frequents our picnic basket and lunch boxes. And (of course) I have tweaked a few ingredients to make it just a bit more hearty than the original recipe. Enjoy!

 

Classic Creamy Pasta Salad

8 oz. Bow Tie or Macaroni Pasta
2 Cups Frozen peas
3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cubed
2.5 oz. Canadian Bacon or Ham, diced

Dressing:
2/3 Cup Mayonnaise
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Green Onions, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

1. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cut the cheddar into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine them into a large bowl with the peas and ham.

3. Mix the dressing ingredients thoroughly and pour over the pea mixture. Stir to combine well.

4. Add cooked noodles and let them thaw the frozen peas as you stir to coat the pasta.

5. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or over night.

6. Serve cold and refrigerate left-overs in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Serves: 6-8 side dishes

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Cooking Tips & Tricks

Preserving Summer Squash

heartysmarty

It’s that wonderful time of year when my morning routine includes harvesting goods from the garden. Almost every day, a summer squash is in my harvest loot. I always plant way more plants than our family needs for the summer, because I like to preserve some for use in the winter months. Squash preservation is my favorite, because it takes very little time and equipment to do. Here’s how to do it:

Option 1: Shredded Squash for use in Baked Goods

1. Thoroughly wash the dirt from each squash and cut off the stem and bottom.

2. If the squash is rather large and has formed seeds, slice the squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the center.

3. Rub the squash along a hand-held cheese grater until your arm feels like it might fall off.

…………………………..or…………………………

4. Use the food processor attachment of your Bosch blender and let it do the grating for you.

5. Store the grated squash in 1 quart freezer bags and freeze them for later use in baked goods. (See my recipe for Zucchini Muffins.)

 

Option 2: Spiralized squash (Zoodles) for use in Pasta Dishes

1. Thoroughly wash the dirt from each squash and cut off the stem and bottom.

2. If the squash is rather large and has formed seeds in the center, slice the squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the center.

3. Use either a hand-held spiralizer or a spiralizer machine to cut and twist out beautiful spirals of squash.

4. Store the spirals (Zoodles) of squash in 1 gallon freezer bags and freeze for later use in pasta dishes. (See my recipe for Chicken Zoodle Alfredo.)

Why freeze?

In the process of freezing food, little to no nutrition is lost. However, other forms of preservation such as canning kills off many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (antioxidants) in fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce won’t last as long as canned produce, but you will receive much more nutrition from it. So, just remember to label your frozen foods and eat them up within three month’s time.

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Three Bean Salad

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This is one of my favorite salads to serve at summer barbecues because it is super easy to make, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and it can sit out for a long time without concern of microbial growth.  Three bean salad tastes best when you make it ahead of time and let it marinate over night. I’ve made a few changes to the classic recipe to make it less sugary and more flavor-packed. Happy Barbecuing!!!

Three Bean Salad

4 Cups Green Beans, steamed (or 2 cans)
2 15 oz. Cans Wax Beans
1 15 oz. Can Kidney Beans
1 15 oz. Can Garbanzo Beans
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 Red Bell Pepper, minced
1/2 Cup Red or Yellow Onion, minced

Dressing:
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper

Directions:
1. Drain canned beans. Rinse and drain Kidney and Garbanzo beans well. Pat dry.
2. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
3. In a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake all dressing ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved.
4. Pour dressing over the salad and stir to combine.
5. Cover the bowl and let chill 4 hours or over night.

Makes about 15 Cups of salad

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSmoothies

Tropical Strawberry Smoothie

heartysmarty

Summer time is in full swing at the Andersen household and the kids have been asking for popsicles non-stop! I don’t blame them–it’s hot out there! However, with all the artificial coloring and flavoring in most popsicles, I hesitate to pump the kids full of that stuff. I offered them this smoothie instead as a cool treat and they LOVED it. This is a winner for when you need something sweet and refreshing this summer. You can also pour this into ice pop molds for your own homemade popsicles. Enjoy!

 

Tropical Strawberry Smoothie

1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Ripe Mango, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 Cup Frozen Strawberries
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

Directions:
Add the ingredients in the order listed above to a blender. Blend on high until smooth.

Makes Approximately 3 Cups.

*Tip: You may use frozen mangoes instead of fresh, but you will need to add more Almond Milk or water to make the right consistency.

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RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Garden Pasta Alfredo

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This is the perfect meal to make for those hot, lazy days of summer. All these vegetables are ripe and in season, and this dish won’t over heat the kitchen. I use “Guiltless Alfredo Sauce” so you know it’s going to be delicious. Enjoy!

Garden Pasta Alfredo

2 Cups Carrots, julienned
1 Red Bell Pepper (1 1/2 Cups), chopped
1 Yellow Squash (1 1/2 Cups), chopped
2 Cups Snow Peas, chopped in half
1 1/2 Cups White Penne Pasta
2 Cups Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
1 Recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Lightly coat a large, non-stick skillet with Canola spray. Heat to medium high and cook the carrots for 5 minutes, covered with a lid.
2. Add bell peppers and squash and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the snow peas so they will be crisp-tender.
4. Meanwhile, in a large pot, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
5. Prepare 1 Recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce.
6. Combine vegetables and Alfredo sauce in the large pot of pasta. Stir to combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve immediately.

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CasserolesGluten-FreeRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Mexican Quinoa Bake

heartysmarty

Quinoa has all the essential amino acids to make a complete protein. What does that mean, you might ask? It means that this plant is as complete of a protein as meat. Also, in just 1/2 Cup of cooked quinoa there are FIVE grams of protein. That’s pretty awesome for a plant protein. Quinoa also contains lots of fiber and healthy fats which deems it as SUPER FOOD status. I get lots of people saying, “I know quinoa is good for me, but how do I use it in my cooking?” Well, here you go folks, another quinoa recipe just for you.

Mexican Quinoa Bake


1 1/2 Cups Quinoa, dry
2 Cups Zucchini, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Cup Corn
2 (15 oz.) Cans Black Beans, drained
1/2 Cup Green Onions, minced
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, minced
1 Recipe Enchilada Sauce
1 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Avocado, Mashed (optional)
1 Lime, sliced (optional)

Directions:
1. In a large pot, cook quinoa in 3 Cups water, according to directions.
2. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Prepare 1 Recipe Enchilada Sauce.
4. Once quinoa is finished cooking, add zucchini, bell pepper, corn, black beans, and green onions to the large pot.
5. Pour enchilada sauce over the vegetable quinoa mixture and stir well. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and top with cheese and cilantro. Cover with foil.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. For the last 5 to 10 minutes, remove the foil and increase the heat to 400 degrees to make the edges crispy and the cheese slightly browned.
7. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with avocado and juiced lime slices.

Serves 6 to 8.

For more quinoa recipes, try my Hearty Quinoa Salad, Smoky Sweet Potato Quinoa Skillet, Spinach and Feta Quinoa Cakes, and Broccoli Quinoa Bake.

 

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSlow Cooker and Instant Pot

Chicken Tikka Masala

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I have fallen in love with this traditional Indian dish for so many reasons. First, all of my kids love it—that is enough of a triumph in and of itself! Second, its flavor is unlike any other dish I make. Third, even with all the spices it contains, it never gives me heartburn! I found a recipe for Tikka Masala on “The Iron You” when I was suffering from a head cold and craving  an anti-inflammatory meal that contained turmeric and ginger, both of which are great for opening up sinus congestion. I really didn’t expect the raving review from every member of my family and dinner guest which has had this dish at my kitchen table, but this has become a crowd favorite dinner. I hope you and your dinner guests love it too!

Chicken Tikka Masala

2 1/2 Lbs. boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
Cooking Spray
1 large Yellow Onion, chopped fine
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh Ginger, grated
30 oz. Tomato Sauce
1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (We don’t like ours too hot.)
2 Bay Leaves1 Cup Half n Half
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Recipe Coconut Jasmine Rice

Directions:


1. Gather all ingredients and measuring spoons. You will be glad you did, because look at all these spices! You won’t want to accidentally miss one!


2. Spray the inside of a 4-quart Crock Pot or a 3-inch deep 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

3. Lay chicken breasts on the bottom of the pan. In a separate mixing bowl combine the tomato sauce, onions, garlic, ginger, spices, and bay leaf. Mix well and pour over the chicken.

4. Bake in a Crock Pot on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours. If using the deep pan, cover it with tin foil and bake at 170 degrees for 4 hours. Increase heat to 350 degrees for the last 30 minutes of baking.

5. Before the last 30 minutes of baking, remove the lid and use kitchen shears to cut the chicken in 1 1/2 inch pieces.

6. In a separate mixing bowl or a jar with a lid, mix Half n Half with Corn Starch until no clumps remain. Add this mixture along with the lemon juice, and stir to incorporate well into the sauce. Return to cook for additional 30 minutes so sauce can thicken.

7. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving atop Coconut Jasmine Rice.

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RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Lemon Asparagus Alfredo

heartysmarty

This quick fix has become another favorite dinner at the Andersen household. It’s flavorful, filling, and chocked full of vegetables, so I consider that a win, win, win. I hope your family loves it too. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Asparagus Alfredo

1 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast (about 12 oz.)
8 oz. Whole Wheat Penne
8 oz. White Penne
1 Large Yellow Squash, cubed (about 1 1/2 Cups)
1/2 bundle Asparagus, cut into 2 inch sticks
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 Recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
Zest of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Directions:
1. Sprinkle chicken breast with salt and paper. Bake thawed chicken breast at 300 degrees for 35 minutes or until juices run clear. (I seasoned a frozen chicken breast and baked it at 275 degrees for 55 minutes.) Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the penne until al dente. Drain and return to large pot. Set aside.
3. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté yellow squash and asparagus until vegetables are crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
4. In a large saucepan, prepare Guiltless Alfredo Sauce. (You will also need a blender for this step.) When finished, zest the lemon into the Alfredo sauce
5. Once chicken is done baking, let it cool for 5 minutes. Cut it into 1/2 inch cubes and add it to the pot of drained pasta. Add vegetables to pasta and pour the Alfredo sauce over the pasta mixture.
6. Stir mixture to evenly coat the pasta and vegetables with sauce. Serve immediately. Season with salt to taste.

Serves 6 to 8.

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CasserolesRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Butternut Mac and Cheese

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I believe there is nothing wrong with sneaking a little extra nutrition into classic dishes. The butternut squash in this Mac and Cheese goes almost undetected. Best of all, it adds a good dose of vitamin A, carotene, fiber, folate and antioxidants to an otherwise not-so-nutritionally-dense food. Also, the bright orange squash provides a beautiful natural food coloring. Enjoy!

 

Butternut Mac and Cheese

2 1/4 Cups Dry Elbow Macaroni Noodles
1/2 Large Butternut Squash
1 Recipe Hearty Cheese Sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of PepperDirections:
1. Slice butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Roast in a shallow pan filled with water, cut side down, at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until the skin can be punctured easily with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni noodles until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Drain noodles and return to large pot.
3. Prepare 1 Recipe Hearty Cheese Sauce.
4. Once the squash is cooked, scoop the meat out of the skin and add to the pan of cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Using an immersion blender, puree the squash and cheese mixture until smooth and creamy. (You may also scoop the squash into a counter-top blender and puree it for about 2 minutes before adding it to the cheese sauce.)
6. Pour the butternut cheese sauce over the pot of macaroni and stir well to combine.
7. Serve immediately. Devour.Makes 6 servings.
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