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!

Grilled Cuban Carne Asada

Happy New Year! As we advance into 2015, I know many of us have the goal to eat healthier and lose weight. The recipe I’m about to share with you today will help you on your weight loss journey and not impede your progress. I actually got it out of one of those Costco cookbooks they pass out for free in December during the holidays. I modified the recipe a bit (the original called for flank steak and I changed a few other ingredients here and there) and I have to say that the end result was amazing! Let’s get started.

Ingredients

Cuban Dry Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

Cilantro Chimichurri sauce:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or juice of one lemon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (I used one that had Pomegranate flavoring)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Carne asada:

  • 1 pound carne asada
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro sprigs
  • A few splashes of lemon juice or freshly squeezed lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cuban dry rub: in a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Set aside.

Cilantro chimichurri sauce: place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Carne asada: using the Cuban dry rub, rub the pieces of carne asada on both side. Place the carne asada in the refrigerator while prepping the onions. Brush the sliced onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the rubbed carne asada on the grill and cook to the desired internal temperature. I used a George Foreman grill and grilled mine until well done for 9 minutes.

Remove from grill and let rest, tented with foil. Add the sliced seasoned onions in the grill. When the onions are tender, place in a mixing bowl. Add a few splashes of lemon juice (or squeeze some fresh lemon on top) to the onions, season with salt and pepper, and add some sprigs of cilantro; toss gently and set aside.

To serve, arrange the carne asada on a platter, scatter the warm grilled onions on top, drizzle with the cilantro chimichurri sauce, and garnish with some cilantro sprigs. I served mine with green beans on the side that I sauteed in a dab of butter, garlic, and salt. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice

Last night I was craving something healthy (I never thought the day would come in my pregnancy when I would say that!), so I decided to spruce up an old classic. I took my original Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe, added some chicken to it, and tweaked some of the ingredients. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lbs. lean chicken breasts, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (omit for Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (omit for Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
  • Salt, to taste (I like using Himalayan Pink Salt that you can freshly grind yourself; I feel it tastes more mild than other salts)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preparation:

For this part, you can refer to my original post, as I pretty much prepared it in the same way, except this time, I sautéed the garlic last. So, after cooking your red onions, add your green onions, then add your garlic. Since garlic burns quickly, I felt it would be best to hold off on cooking it until the end.

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I also sautéed the chicken in a separate pan for about 15 minutes until it turned golden brown. Then, I added the chicken and eggs to the cauliflower fried rice last, after I had added the final two ingredients of soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Here is the finished product!

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The end result was a delicious, satisfying, and completely guiltless meal. The chicken was a nice touch, as the protein helped keep me full longer than usual. And, I have to add that even if you don’t like cauliflower, you will like this dish because once you sauté the cauliflower, there is no real cauliflower taste. The cauliflower  acts as a nice substitution for rice without the calories.

Bon appétit!

Cauliflower Tortillas

Bread is probably one of the top things I miss the most since starting the SCD. Luckily, there are a ton of SCD legal recipes online for pretty much anything I might be craving. A few weeks ago, I was in the mood for some soft tacos and so, I went on the hunt to find a good tortilla recipe. That’s when I came across this recipe for cauliflower tortillas. I also watched a separate YouTube video on it, which I found extremely helpful. For those of you who are more visual learners, the video will come in handy! Can we say genius?! I’ve experimented with cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower mash, and cauliflower crust pizza, all of which were a hit, and each time, I found it crazy how this vegetable can mirror the perfect substitute for bread and starchy carbs. So, when I found the recipe for cauliflower tortillas, I had no doubt the tortillas would taste fantastic.

One head of cauliflower made 5-6 tortillas. The only downside is that I felt it took quite a bit of time to prepare it all for so few tortillas. The plus side is that the tortillas tasted absolutely amazing, so amazing that no one would ever be able to know they were made out of cauliflower. They kind of tasted like corn tortillas but more flavorful. I should also mention that I spruced up the original recipe by adding oregano and thyme to it. You can feel free to add your favorite herbs to add as much flavor as you want. Also, word of advice: at the end when you’re browning your tortillas, make sure not to add any oil or cooking spray to the pan. The tortillas are already delicate, so I experienced adding any oil just made them more fragile. Just press them down lightly with a spatula to give them a nice golden color.

Here are how mine turned out:

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The ones topped with feta cheese are my husband’s. I garnished each taco with cilantro and some chopped green onions. My husband’s exact words were that I outdid myself and that this meal is now one of his new favorites.

Happy eating! Enjoy!