Beef & Spinach Pie

Have you ever wanted comfort food but without the guilt and extra calories?  When my mom made me what I call beef and spinach pie last year, it tasted just like that.  It’s a relatively simple dish—just beef, spinach, onion, and eggs, but looks like a lot more labor and love went into it.  It’s one of my favorite SCD meals to eat because it’s not only comforting but it’s a meal you can feel really good about eating, too.  For some reason, the cooked egg inside the pie takes on the flavor of cheese to me, which is a major plus, because who doesn’t love cheese?  I actually thought it was cheese the first time I tried it and couldn’t believe it when my mom told me I was tasting eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 red onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food process the onions or finely dice them.  Then, fry them in a nonstick pan over medium heat until browned.  Put the onions aside.

Fry the beef until browned.

Cook the spinach in a small pot with water for about 5-10 minutes until well cooked.  Drain the spinach and chop.

Add the onions and spinach to the beef.  Add water and place a lid on the pan for 5 minutes or until the beef is moist.

Remove the lid and continue cooking until the extra water has cooked down.

Season the beef mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the beef mixture to a small casserole dish (no oil is required).

Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix into the casserole dish with the beef mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes.

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I typically like eating mine with half of an avocado to get in my daily dose of healthy fats.

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Bon appétit!

Nutrition facts per serving (serves 9): 70 calories, 4.8 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 33.6 mg sodium, 6 g protein, 0.53 g carbs, 0.13 g fiber, 0 g sugar

SCD Nachos

Okay, guys, I think this is seriously the closest we’re going to come to getting nachos on SCD.  The other day when I posted my Mini Bell Pepper Chicken “Nachos” recipe, someone mentioned that I should try making the nachos with cheese crisps as the chips, which was truly genius, because that’s just what I did today and it almost felt like I was eating the real thing!  Nothing will ever be like eating real tortilla chips but this sure was close.

Ingredients:

  • Make the “chips” using my Cheese Crisps recipe
  • 3 oz of lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1 tbsp SCD yogurt

Preparation:

Cook your beef in a nonstick pan over medium heat until browned.  Add your seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder) and olive oil.

After baking the Cheese Crisps, arrange them on a plate.  Add your beef on top, along with the green onions, tomatoes, and avocado.

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Drizzle a spoonful of SCD yogurt on top.  Of course, you can use whatever toppings you like but these are the toppings I used.

These nachos had the perfect crunch that I had been missing for so long!  If you’re a nachos fan, like me, I hope you give this recipe a shot and let me know how you liked it.

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Nutrition facts: 528 calories, 40.5 g fat, 19.5 g saturated fat, 120.7 mg cholesterol, 505.4 mg sodium, 30.8 g protein, 9.3 g carbs, 3.6 g fiber, 3 g sugar

Mini Bell Pepper Chicken “Nachos”

The world has changed drastically since I posted my last recipe a month ago.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and working remotely, I’m now able to put more time, love, and energy into cooking.  I’m also able to eat fresh meals more often (like eggs in the morning, which wouldn’t taste good heated up at work, and green smoothies, which I adore).  Since this is such an unsettling time for everyone, I’m choosing to focus on the brighter side of things and commit more time to one of the things I enjoy doing the most: cooking.  I hope you are all safe, well, and healthy!

This afternoon, I decided to make these mini bell pepper chicken “nachos.”  They didn’t quite have the nacho crunch or taste that I was hoping for but they were still very tasty and bursting with flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used olive)
  • 3.5 oz chicken, chopped
  • 20 mini bell peppers, halved
  • 2 oz of block aged cheddar, shredded (I used Tillamook’s medium cheddar)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add oil to a nonstick pan over medium heat and add the chicken with the seasonings.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until browned and thoroughly cooked through.

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Cut the mini bell peppers in half, discard the stems, and fill them with the chopped chicken.  Shred the cheese and sprinkle it on top of the peppers.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add your peppers, cut side up.  Fill them with the chicken and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

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Bake for 5 minutes and broil for 1 minute.

Remove from oven and add your toppings of choice.  I added chopped tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro.  Other toppings could be avocados, jalapeños, and SCD yogurt.  The options are endless!

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Nutrition facts: 522 calories, 20.9 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 109.8 mg cholesterol, 653.8 mg sodium, 31.9 g protein, 38.6 g carbs, 7.8 g fiber, 22.1 g sugar

Deconstructed Burger Bowl

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Deconstructed burger bowls are a healthier and more unique way to enjoy the all-American staple that we all love: burgers. They’re easy to make, require little prep, and taste great as leftovers, too. Best of all, you can throw whatever ingredients in it that you want and have on hand, making it an easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz lean ground beef
  • Lettuce (2 cups, chopped)
  • 1 oz of block aged cheddar, shredded
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 oz sliced pickles or dill “chips” (I love these dill chips by Grillo’s)
  • 2 slices turkey bacon or no sugar added bacon, chopped (although there are no confirmed SCD legal turkey bacon brands, I use this one)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add your beef; cooked until browned. Drain the fat, if needed (this depends on what percentage lean your beef is; I’ve found that when I use 80-90% lean ground beef that draining isn’t always necessary).

Add garlic powder, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add your turkey bacon. Cook until desired crispiness. Remove from heat and chop.

Now, assemble your bowl. Start with a layer of lettuce. Add the beef, then scoop the rest of the ingredients next to each other (pickles, turkey bacon, green onions, shredded cheese, tomatoes). Finally, drizzle the BBQ sauce on top.

Nutrition facts: 438 calories, 22 g fat, 9.8 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 683 mg sodium, 35 g protein, 18.3 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 9 g sugar

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

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These mini eggplant “pizzas” may just be the best thing I’ve made, yet, on SCD. This recipe was inspired by Nutrition by Erin.  The tender, silky texture of the baked eggplant, mixed with the melted, gooey cheese and the zesty flavor of the marinara sauce is a match made in heaven!

When I first stumbled upon this recipe, I legit made it every day for weeks and didn’t tire of it. I’m positive this will become a favorite of yours and will satisfy your pizza craving. It’s also a great alternative for those who are sensitive to nut/coconut flours or cauliflower and can’t tolerate what most consider to be traditional grain-free pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup SCD legal marinara sauce (I use this one)
  • 1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 5.5 of block aged cheddar, shredded by hand (I use this one and really love the sharp, tangy flavor; I much prefer this aged white cheddar to the traditional orange cheddar because it has so much more flavor)
  • Italian seasoning to taste or chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Wash and cut eggplant into round slices about 1/2″ thin and place on parchment paper.

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Brush the tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

Spoon marinara sauce on each eggplant slice.

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Sprinkle with cheese (and any other toppings you wish) + Italian seasoning or fresh basil.

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Place back in oven and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

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Would you look at these beauties?! They are seriously so satisfying, relatively low in calories (Erin listed the calories in her post), and healthy. Who said eating on SCD meant that you had to be deprived of your favorite foods? With a little creativity, all your favorites can be recreated into healthier alternatives that taste just as good as their originals and make you feel good, too, without that icky, bloated feeling that most people get after eating a delicious but heavy and unhealthy meal.

I hope you enjoy these mini eggplant pizzas as much as I do!

Stacked Beef Enchiladas

I love enchiladas but the task itself can be a little tedious, especially with the rolling of the tortillas. So, when I came across this stacked chicken enchilada recipe, I fell in love! It’s like making enchiladas but in lasagna form because you just stack all the ingredients on top. Super easy and incredibly delicious! I followed this recipe almost to a T, except that I used beef, instead of chicken, and seasoned it with garlic salt, pepper, and cumin. I’ve made this dish with chicken before, too; it just depends on what meat I have available at the moment. I also used just 1 can of black beans and 1/2 can of corn.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, so feel free to switch it up! You don’t have to stick with beans and corn if you don’t like corn and beans. Add Spanish rice if you want. Be creative. Have fun with it! Part of the fun of cooking is just going with what feels right and not sticking so much by the book.

At the end, I topped mine with sour cream, avocado, green onions, and cilantro. This dish is definitely in my top 10 of favorites!

Gluten-Free Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

This recipe was inspired by two different sources, which you can find here and here. I fused the two recipes together to my liking and made a gluten-free version. This salad is tasty and tangy. It’s the perfect dish to prepare on a weeknight after work when you don’t want a lot of fuss but want a ton of flavor. It’s great to take to work the next day for lunch as leftovers, and it would probably be the first dish to be finished at a potluck because who doesn’t like pasta? So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz gluten-free pasta, which equated to 3 cups uncooked for me (I used this one and found it at Costco for half the price)
  • 2 handfuls of colorful mini bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 large cucumber or 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 can pitted black olives
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Feta cheese (to your liking), crumbled
  • Salt (I used this Himalayan Pink Salt from Costco)
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used pomegranate red wine vinegar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey

Preparation:

In a nonstick pan, heat olive oil and add the chicken over medium heat. Cook the chicken until browned. Add lemon pepper seasoning and salt.

While the chicken is cooking, boil salted water in a pot. Once the water comes to a boil, add your pasta. The back of my package indicated to boil the pasta for 6-8 minutes but I boiled mine closer to 13. When I tasted a piece after even 10 minutes, it was crunchy and not the least bit appetizing! I’ve found that you have to boil gluten-free pastas a bit longer than regular pastas.

Remove chicken from heat.

Remove the boiled pasta from heat. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.

Now comes the fun part! Chop and slice your vegetables. In a large bowl, mix the cooled pasta, chicken, mini bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, parsley, and feta cheese.

In a container, combine your ingredients for the dressing (extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, yellow mustard, salt, pepper, and honey. The honey here is crucial, as it will take away the bitterness and give the dressing a subtly sweet touch.)  Give it a few really good shakes until all the ingredients are combined nicely. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss gently.

GF Pasta Salad

Enjoy!

Spoodles: Sweet Potato “Noodles”

A few years ago, I heard about the phenomenon of spiralizing vegetables to create noodle shapes. When I saw pictures of the spiralized creations, I was puzzled as to how they got to be in that shape. That’s when I found out there are actual devices that spiralize the vegetables to create the effect of spaghetti, and decided to buy this spiralizer from Amazon. You can spiralize zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots — the possibilities are endless!  The price is relatively inexpensive for the creative, fun dishes you can create.

Today’s recipe is sweet potato noodles (or “spoodles,” as I like to call them), sauteed in coconut oil, sprinkled with salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar, and melted in a dab of butter.  I added some chopped chicken breast on top, which added a nice sweet/savory combination of flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A dab of butter

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Preparation:

In a large nonstick pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add the spoodles to the pan.

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Cook them in coconut oil for 10 minutes or until the spoodles turn very soft. Add salt, cinnamon, coconut sugar, and butter. Toss to coat. Remove from heat.

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You can eat the spoodles alone or you can add chopped chicken on top like I did.

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I really enjoyed this dish, and hope you do, too!

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Coconut Flour Breaded Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is sinfully delicious. I can just picture the golden brown coconut exterior that’s been fried to perfection and the crunching sound it makes as you bite into it. It was this craving that came to mind one day that made me want to adapt a gluten-free version of it. The recipe I came up with is so easy but so good at the same time. With minimal ingredients, it’s my go-to meal when I’m in the mood for a lazy dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional, I’ve left this out before and it tasted just as great)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 24 small shrimp; thawed, raw, tail-on, and deveined
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for frying

Preparation:

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

While you wait for the pan to get hot, mix the coconut flour, shredded coconut, pepper, and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs.

Dip the shrimp in the eggs and then, press firmly in the dry coconut mixture, making sure to coat each shrimp completely.

Drop the shrimp into the hot pan and fry for about two minutes on each side or until golden brown. Let the shrimp cool on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. You can enjoy the shrimp as is or drizzle with some honey for extra flavor.

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Savory Beef & Vegetable Stir Fry

Valentine’s Day today was perfect. I feel like when you’re with the one you love, every day should be a day where you express your love and appreciation for one another. Sure, getting flowers, chocolates, and gifts are always nice, but now that I’m married, I find that every day is Valentine’s Day, and that I don’t necessarily need material things to make me happy. What makes me happy these days is my family and knowing that at the end of a long day, I can come home to the ones I love and count on them to cheer me up, no matter what may have gone awry. So, for Valentine’s Day today, my husband and I didn’t have anything extravagant or lavish planned. We randomly decided to have a fun day out, a family day so to speak, with each other and our son. We woke up together, shared a delicious breakfast, and decided to take our son to the park since the sun was shinning brightly in the bright blue California sky and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees.

Afterward, we grabbed a bite to eat, did some shopping since the President’s Day sales were so enticing, and came home to unwind. We were hungry by then, as lunch had worn off, and wanted to make something relatively simple. I looked in the fridge and saw we had the basics: beef for stir fry and a load of different vegetables that needed to be used before they spoiled. They say the more color you add to your diet, the better it is for your health and your waistline, so I was excited that we had so many vegetables that I could use. Tonight’s dish was a winner; the ingredients meshed beautifully together to create a savory stir fry that was packed full of flavor. The end result was a beautiful and colorful dinner that my husband couldn’t stop raving about and one that my son loved, too.

One thing I want to mention is that I didn’t measure how much olive oil I used. As a rule of thumb for this dish, use olive oil liberally any time the pan gets dry and you need a little more moisture to nicely sauté the vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef for stir fry (it should already come thinly sliced)
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups mini bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Chop all your vegetables and set aside. Look how gorgeous all the bright colors look next to each other!

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Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a nonstick pan and cook beef over medium heat until browned.

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Once browned, drain the fat in a bowl to discard later. Add a few splashes of olive oil, and season the beef with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika; stir.

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Add the onions and cook for a few minutes.

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Continue cooking the onions. Add the bell peppers. Feel free to add more olive oil, if needed.

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Add the garlic and mushrooms.

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Continue cooking until the onions get nice and soft and the bell peppers become tender.

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Add the green onions.

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Cook the green onions until they are slightly soft, but not mushy, and still a little crunchy. Then, add the cilantro.

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Mix all the ingredients around to combine and remove from heat.

Here’s the finished product!

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Nights like tonight, when I’m in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my loved ones, I’m reminded that you don’t need to go overboard on these commercialized holidays in order to feel the true essence of what the holiday should really be about. Yes, it’s nice to dress up, go out, and eat at a fancy restaurant, but equally so, a night in to celebrate can be just as lovely, if not lovelier, when you’re in your home with your loved ones and don’t have to worry about overpriced menus, hidden ingredients, long waiting times, and crowds.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!