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

S1

Preparation:

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

S2

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.

S3

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

S4

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

S5

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!

Din 1

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

2

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.

3

Add the onions and cook for a few minutes.

4

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

5

Add the garlic and mushrooms.

6

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

7

Add the green onions.

8

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

9

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

Here’s the finished product!

10

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!

Hearty Vegetable Stew

I made this stew during winter, before I had started the SCD, and my husband and I really enjoyed it! It’s thick and full of flavor! It’s also the first stew I ever made, so, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it turned out. I’ve come to realize that stews are pretty much foolproof. The best part about stews is that although they sometimes require a lot of ingredients, you mostly just throw everything in one big pot and let the flavors all come together.

This stew is perfect for those cold fall and winter nights when you want something that will really warm you up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 of a 15.5 oz can of garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1/2 of a 15.25 oz can of corn
  • 1/2 of a 4 oz can of green chiles, chopped
  • Handful of colorful mini bell peppers, chopped
  • Handful of baby carrots
  • 2 c. spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 c. tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

In a pot, saute the chopped red onions and garlic in olive oil. Add the green chilies and diced tomatoes, and continue sauteing. Remove everything from the pot and puree in a food processor; then, return to pot and add the chicken broth and water.

Add the garbanzo beans, kidney beans, corn, mini bell peppers, spinach, and baby carrots. Add the oregano, basil, rosemary, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on medium to low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally in between. Remove from heat and enjoy!

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