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Tonight we had the burgers I prepared the night we had the Mediterranean Naan Pizza.  All that fresh spinach, feta, and black olives inspired me!  I bake my burgers, since I’m always cooking for a crowd.  It definitely beats standing over a hot stove.

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3 lb. ground chicken (makes 8 large burgers)

1 egg

1/2 can pitted black olives, chopped

1/3 c. crumbled feta

1/2 c. chopped fresh spinach

1/3 c. (or more, if it’s still too wet and sticky) Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.

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Approximately 45 minutes before you want to serve these, prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil and spraying it with coconut oil.  Preheat oven to 375F

Form meat mixture into patties.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn heat up to 450, and cook 5 minutes more to brown the burgers.

I’ve made a lot of burgers in my day, and these just might be my favorite!

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This breakfast/brunch casserole is one of the kids’ favorites.  I had some apple butter on hand, had a coupon for Swirl bread, and decided to give this a try using Tofutti cream cheese substitute.  No one could tell that it wasn’t real cream cheese.  I reduced the amount of sweetener, and it was still sweet enough from the apple butter to forego putting syrup or powdered sugar on it.

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2 loaves Swirl bread (I used whole wheat cinnamon raisin, but there are some great varieties now including  a new oatmeal bread – pumpkin spice, brown sugar, etc.!)

2 containers Tofutti

1/2 c. agave (or use sugar, honey, maple syrup or natural sweeteners)

12 eggs

2 C. milk (I used unsweetened coconut/almond blend)

1/2 c. apple butter

Coconut oil spray

WARNING!  This recipe makes 10 large portions.  Leftovers are fought over!

Soften “cream cheese” and combine with sweetener.

Spray two 13 x 9 baking dishes with coconut oil and lay out bread to fit into dishes.  I cut some pieces in half to make it work.

Lay top slices of bread to the side, and spread top of bottom pieces and bottom of top pieces with “cream cheese” mixture.

Top with apple butter.

Close up “sandwiches”.

Mix eggs and milk (I use the bowl I mixed the “cream cheese” in to keep clean up to a minimum.  Pour over “sandwiches”.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until golden brown.

YUMMY!

Pizza without tomatoes?  How about garlic naan bread topped with amazing Mediterranean ingredients?  These were delicious and easy to make.  I also mixed up a batch of Mediterranean burgers for another night!

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8 garlic naan bread

2 lb. ground chicken

1 container hummus (we like Boar’s Head)

1 can pitted black olives

1/2 seedless cucumber

1 bag baby spinach

1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese

Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Brown ground chicken in a large skillet and break up into small pieces.  Remove from heat, and stir in hummus.

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Prepare two large baking sheets by covering them with foil and spraying with coconut oil.

Lay out naan and bake 4-5 minutes to crisp it up.

Meanwhile, chop spinach and slice olives and cucumber.

Topped crisped naan with hummus mixture.

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Add toppings – olives and cucumbers first, then spinach, and finish off with feta.

Drizzle with olive oil and bake 15-20 minutes.

 

I’m still feeling great after giving up nightshades.  No pain at all and the psoriasis is clearing up after less than two weeks.

I sense that providing recipes on my blog that are nightshade free may fill a need.  I’ve been trolling the internet for recipes, and there aren’t a lot of resources out there.  One site,  tomatoesareevil.com did give me a good laugh.  My youngest son also needs to limit dairy, so he joked that we will soon be eating grass and drinking only water.  I’ll meet that challenge and work to make interesting, tasty nightshade, dairy free recipes that no one will guess are as healthy as they are.

Tonight’s dinner was nightshade free, gluten free and totally delicious.  I saw  Ina Garten make this – I adapted it to fit our needs.

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1 lb. cobia filet or other firm fish, cut into 2-3 oz. pieces.

1/4 lb. prosciutto, sliced extremely thin

1/4 c. Italian dressing

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. oil (I used an Avocado Olive Blend)

1 large sweet potato cubed

2 parsnips, cubed

16 baby carrots, cut into thirds

3 Tbsp. oil

Salt and pepper

Marinate the fish in dressing and lemon juice and oil at least 30 minutes (I did it overnight)

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare two baking sheets by covering with foil and spraying with coconut oil.

Toss the vegetables with the oil and salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on one of the baking sheets.

Cook for 15 minutes while preparing the fish.

Wrap each piece of fish in prosciutto and place seam side down on the baking sheet.   Pour marinade over fish to moisten the prosciutto.

Place in oven and cook alongside fish for 15 minutes.

The prosciutto shrinks down and gets crispy on top.  Yum!

 

 

I am avoiding nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes) as part of a diet geared toward reducing inflammation and pain from my psoriatic arthritis.  I know that I should also limit dairy, gluten, and processed foods, but I’ve had such great results already, I know nightshades are the real enemy.  Besides, I love chicken apple sausage and thought I’d see if it has an impact.  It  has only been a little over a week, and already I know without a doubt that the nightshades are no longer for me.  My pain decreased almost immediately, even though the information on pain management websites indicated it could take a while.  I used to take ibuprofen every day and night to manage my pain.  Since starting this experiment a little over a week ago, I have only taken it twice.  Both times  I had “cheated” and had tomato.  Absolutely not worth it.  I’m sold on eliminating nightshades.  An added bonus is that my psoriasis outbreak is going away.  On top of that, I feel more energetic and younger!  Tonight’s dinner was delicious, albeit a bit sweet from the sausage.  Adding hot sauce, pepper flakes, or cheese would likely take it to another level, but the kids liked it sweet!

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3 packages al fresco chicken apple sausage

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 small zucchini, cubed

2 small yelow squash, cubed

3 Tbsp. oil

2 Tbsp. sherry

3 Tbsp. pesto sauce

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1/4 c. seasoned breadcrumbs

2 boxes orzo, cooked according to directions

  1. Cut up sausage and veggies.  Toss with oil and cook over medium low heat, stirring regularly in large skillet until vegetables are softened and beginning to caramelize.  Meanwhile, cook the orzo and drain.
  2. Add in sherry and pesto.  Simmer 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add in breadcrumbs to thicken sauce, if needed.  Simmer another 5 minutes.
  4.   Toss with orzo and serve immediately.  Top with a little parsley or basil for color, if desired.

The variations of this are endless.  Any vegetables or beans you like.  Different sausages.  Tofu or Tempeh in place of the sausage.  Cut up boneless chicken.  Yum.

 

I can’t remember the last time we had acorn squash.  It was on sale the other day, and I decided to give it a try.  I simply roasted it in the oven with a little oil, salt, and pepper (ceramic dishes are reportedly better than metal).  We loved it so much, the kids want to have some for Thanksgiving.  I will try mashing it with some garlic.  It’s so sweet, even though many of the recipes I found called for adding sugar, it doesn’t need it one bit!  I can’t wait to try it lots of different ways.  My new favorite squash!  It reminded us of sweet potatoes, but creamy and nutty.  Really yummy!

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10 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2 c. sesame ginger dressing (I used Olde Cape Cod – makes a wicked marinade alone)

1/2 c. kimchi (I used wildbrine – I love this stuff)

1 large acorn squash

Oil for tossing acorn squash (I used grapeseed sunflower blend)

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine dressing and kimchi, and marinade chicken thighs at least 30 minutes (mine marinated overnight)

Cut acorn squash into wedges or slices and toss with oil, salt and pepper.

Place chicken in 13 x 9 baking dish.

Place squash in 13 x 9 baking dish.

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes.

I made some Minute multi-grain medley on the stovetop while the chicken and squash cooked in the oven.

 

Although my pictures leave something to be desired, the tomato soup and grilled cheese dinner was a huge hit!  The soup cooks in the crockpot all day.  Once home from work, assemble and toss the grilled cheese in the oven.  Easy as can be!  Comfort food at its best.

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I make a double batch and freeze half for the next time!  This is the recipe for a double batch:

4 cans tomatoes (I use 3 petite diced no salt added and one with basil, onion and garlic)

1 container broth (I like Tuscany seasoned chicken broth, but often use vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)

1 onion, finely chopped

Place in crockpot on low all day.

When you get home, add in a block (8 oz) of cream cheese, cubed up and cook for about 30 more minutes until the cream cheese melts.  Use an immersion blender and whirr it up leaving some chunks of tomato and onion for texture.  Store half for next time.

Add ins:

Frozen broccoli

Barilla “Ready Pasta” or leftover cooked pasta

Cannellini beans

I made grilled cheese using a delicious buttery cheese from Aldi called Butterkase, some Havarti, and a little muenster.  Yum.  I spread butter on the outside of the assembled sandwiches and bake between two baking sheets.  I love it because I can make so many at once without standing over a hot stove – never fun in Florida.

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I had some ground turkey and pork on hand for meatballs I am making for tomorrow nights meatball subs (a Donnie special request for his birthday month).  Due to a sale, I had more than I would need for the meatballs, and went to the local market on the way home from work in search of inspiration as to how to use the remaining ground meats.  It wasn’t long before low-sodium gravy mix caught my eye, and I realized it’s been a long time since we had shepherd’s pie.  I know that ideally, homemade gravy and mashed potatoes, as well as fresh veggies is best, but due to the time crunch, I opted for convenience ingredients.  It was still delicious!

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1/2 lb. ground pork

3/4 lb. ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 packets low-sodium gravy mix (I used one brown gravy and one chicken gravy)

2 c. water

2 cans no salt added mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed

1 package Ore Ida Steam and Mash Potatoes

2/3 c. sour cream

2 Tbsp. butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Shredded cheese to sprinkle on top (I used Mexican 4 cheese mix).

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 13 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Spray large skillet with coconut oil and cook onions and ground meats over medium heat until onions are softened and meat is cooked through.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in microwave.
  4. Sprinkle with gravy mix into meat mixture in skillet and toss until evenly distributed.
  5. Add water, and simmer until thickened.
  6. Add vegetables.
  7. Mash potatoes with butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper.
  8. If meat mixture is still too loose, add a little bread crumbs to thicken.
  9. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with mashed potatoes.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle with a little cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more at 400 to melt cheese.
  12. Enjoy!

You can easily substitute leftover meatloaf for the browned ground meat and onions.  Just chop it up and add in gravy.  As for the veggies, this is a great meal no matter what veggies you use.  Broccoli and Cauliflower work well.  So do summer squashes.  Some folks like to top this with mashed sweet potatoes, but I’ve got one who’s not a fan in the family, so I stay away from sweet potatoes.

 

Tonight’s dinner was a hit.  Easy as can be too.  Using the sauce the chicken was cooked in to flavor the rice noodles and spinach was yummy, and the addition of Kimchi gave it a nice kick!  I can’t wait to try variations on this – adding in green onions and other veggies.  This would be good with shrimp or tofu too.  There are as many possibilities as there are Asian sauces!  Topping it with a soft yolk egg would be good too!

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8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (marinated in Asian sauce – I used McCormick Sesame Chicken Skillet Stir Fry Sauce)

2 packs Thai Kitchen thin rice noodles – we love these and will buy them again!

1 bag fresh spinach

Kimchi for topping – we love Wild Brine brand!

Bake chicken at 350F for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make rice noodles according to package directions, adding in spinach with noodles.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and toss with cooked noodles and spinach.

Top with Kimchi.

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If you’ve never visited Chungah Rhee’s website Damndelicious.net, I highly recommend that you do!  She is creative and features photos that make you want to try each and every recipe.  With it being pumpkin season and all –  and considering everyone’s love of donuts – this one caught my eye and I had to share!

Baked-Pumpkin-Donuts-with-Maple-Glaze

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze
Yield: 12 donuts Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes
These are the best Fall pumpkin donuts ever. So soft, so crumbly and so perfectly smothered in a warm maple glaze!
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the maple glaze
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a donut pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until just combined. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture at low speed, beating just until incorporated.
Scoop the batter evenly into the donut pan. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until donuts are slightly browned and spring back when touched.
To make the glaze, heat maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Whisk in butter, vanilla and salt until the butter has melted. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
When the donuts are done, cool for 10 minutes and dip the tops into the glaze. Allow glaze to set before serving.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

This delicious recipe brought to you by Damn Delicious
http://damndelicious.net/2017/10/06/baked-pumpkin-donuts-with-maple-glaze/

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