Stuffed Peppers

This is another favorite in our house, and one that you can make with just about any kind of filling. I came up with the recipe below years ago, even before the days I was grain-free, AIP, or today’s diet. The nice thing about this recipe is that it pretty much fits into any dietary restrictions (with the exception of AIP). I modified today’s stuffed peppers by incorporating what I had in the fridge and pantry, so it really is versatile depending on what you have on hand. Ken prefers his stuffed peppers with rice as they have a tendency to be watery, so after I filled two peppers with the filling I added about a cup of instant Spanish-style rice to the remaining filling and made those for Ken.

My filling today consisted of:

  • 1 lb Isernio’s spicy chicken Italian sausage
  • 2 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 4 oz chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 oz tomato sauce

My tomato sauce had garlic, onion, and other seasoning so I did not salt and pepper the filling, but normally would.

Once the sausage and vegetables are cooked through, I gutted the green bell peppers and filled to the top with the seasoning, making sure I pack it down as I go.

I didn’t baste these with sauce during he baking process as I normally do, but I did drizzle with olive oil so they did not dry out.

Cauliflower

I’ve been patiently waiting for my supplements to kick in and boost my energy levels, but it’s time for my diet to also do its part so I made a couple dishes today in big batches which include cauliflower. Cauliflower can help promote energy levels and having lots of leftovers on hand is helpful for when I feel too tired to cook…which I feel has been more often than not. Ken’s been doing a lot of the cooking lately but on nights like this when he is working late I need to step up.

The first dish I made today was another cauliflower cheese recipe. It was so simple and perfect over riced broccoli, which is a great makeover of broccoli and cheese. I plan on throwing in some canned chicken for lunch tomorrow and have a super easy meal full of vitamins and protein.

http://hewontknowitspaleo.com/recipe-items/paleo-aip-queso-and-top-8-allergen-free/

The next dish I made was a makeover of an already lightened up version of jambalaya. You’ll see I have the nutritional information at the bottom of the page. I have no idea where I got this recipe but I’ve had it for at least 10 years. I made a full batch of the original recipe for Ken, and another for me which uses cauliflower instead of rice and I omitted the sausage. It seems like a lot of work to make two separate versions, but this recipe is so simple it was barely anymore work than doing one.

Ken’s batch, which is made to the specifications of this recipe.

Mine starts with browning the chicken…

Then removing the chicken and adding in vegetables…

Once the vegetables have cooked for a minute, add back in the chicken and the rest of the ingredients.

That’s it- just wait until the liquid has absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Christmas Time

I love the Christmas season and have been watching Hallmark movies on a daily basis! It’s so hard to wrap my brain around the fact it’s now December since it’s still 80 here, but Christmas movies are definitely helping. We finally got around to decorating this week and even got Gibbs a sweater that fits this year. It’s actually the same sweater he had last year, but we got a size too small and had to make some alterations that didn’t last past a couple of wears. Happy Holidays!

Here are some pictures from last year with Gibbs in his sweater.

Christmas Fettuccine

One of my favorite ways to start the weekend is lounging in bed watching The Food Network. I have spent many a Saturday subsequently making recipes from these shows…and also eating pasta for breakfast which is what happened this morning. Can you tell I’m Italian? One such Saturday was how I ended up making bacon sauce and meatballs. https://modestmousse.blog/2017/07/17/guest-post-sunday-sauce-day/

However this morning we were watching The Kitchen and they made a 30 minute bolognese sauce and it looked so delicious that I was quickly taking a mental inventory of our pantry and fridge to see if we could immediately make a similar dish…luckily we had enough ingredients to make our own version!! Perfect for a special holiday meal.

To start, we put together a mirepoix mixture the best we could with carrots, garlic and picked red onion. True mirepoix is a vegetable mixture usually compromised of celery, onion and carrots. We have fresh basil courtesy of my dad who just planted a bunch for me in a gorgeous huge teal planter. The sad looking parsley is left over from Thanksgiving.

Our sauce was made with diced tomatoes, wine, and tomato paste. I had just picked up a package of shirataki noodles from WholeFoods yesterday which we used for our pasta. These are tofu or soybean noodles which have a nice hearty texture I thought would work better than the spaghetti rice noodles in the pantry. I LOVE pasta, so I’m always looking for alternative noodles that I can tolerate that don’t contain, beans, wheat, or eggs.

The Kitchen recipe featured a meat sauce from beef and sausage, but we only had beef on hand so I made up a seasoning blend I see in sausage. The blend contained fennel seed, celery seed, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. We made the meat sauce by browning the beef, then drained the fat. Add olive oil and vegetables to caramelize them to quickly bring out some flavor since this sauce isn’t simmering away for hours as a traditional bolognese does (learned from The Kitchen). After the beef and vegetables had some nice brown color. We added wine and tomatoes and S&P, then let that all reduce down to a thicker sauce. Then I added the shirataki noodles into the pan and topped with fresh herbs.

Ken and I ended up with our pasta bowls in 20 minutes, which will be in our rotation for future quick dinners. In retrospect we both decided the sauce was too liquidy so to remedy that we would use crushed tomatoes instead of the diced tomatoes (all we had on hand), add extra garlic and use yellow onion instead of picked red onion (added a bit too much sweetness).

Thanksgiving Side Dish

We were at our favorite BBQ place, Bootleggers, over the weekend with my parents and I ordered their puréed cauliflower and it changed my life! I love Bootleggers since they have a lot of items that adhere to my food sensitivities and the puréed cauliflower was one of them. I’ve been dreaming about the puréed cauliflower ever since and decided to make it myself. I purchased a bag of pre-cut cauliflower florets which made this a snap to prepare. I steamed the florets in a cup of bone broth by bringing the cauliflower and broth to a boil on the stovetop, then covering and reduced the heat for 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon I transferred the cauliflower along with three tablespoons of the broth, three tablespoons olive oil and a teaspoon sea salt and puréed it in the food processor. And it’s done! Perfect for Thanksgiving instead of potatoes and versatile enough you can add any additions to your liking.

I served the puréed cauliflower with an old favorite I’m sure I’ve posted before- Olive Oregano Chicken.

There’s a story behind this chicken dish, which I’ll share even though it puts me in a bad light….

Once upon a time when Erin and I lived together I decided to make dinner and bring some over to Ken’s apartment. I wanted to leave dinner for Erin, too, since she was studying late and would probably appreciate a meal ready made when she got home. I left her portion in the pan on the stove and covered it. However, I DID NOT TURN OFF THE STOVE, and set off for Ken’s. Instead of coming straight home from school, Erin stopped by our parents house and when she finally came back to our apartment she was greeted by a smoked-filled apartment with the smoke detectors going off. In a panic she was able to find my cat Rascal (now her cat), get out of the apartment and call me. Ken and I rushed over and surveyed the damage and the cause: olive oregano chicken burnt to a crisp and a smoke stained apartment. Ken and I opened all the windows to air out the apartment and Ken was kind enough to let Rascal and I spend the night at his apartment despite his allergy to cats. Erin sought refuge at our parents and the next week was spent cleaning to get our apartment back to a livable state.

Quick Meal for Holiday Season

As we enter the holiday season, time seems to escape us, and ordering delivery is all too easy. Since I am back into avoiding my food sensitivities as yesterday my doctor said, “Elise, you know you can’t eat those things!!”, finding quick meals with minimal ingredients will carry me through this busy time without ordering take-out and jeopardizing my health. Here’s one of our favorite meals Ken and I started making in the early days of our relationship. I have found a way to make this diet-friendly for my current eating situation by substituting gluten free rice pasta for regular pasta, and omitting the cheese (under protest mind you!). Tip: you can cook rice pasta al dente too by reducing cooking time by a few minutes…seriously you won’t know the difference!

Fun tip: I majored in Italian in college and Orecchiette means “little ears”, so next time you eat orecchiette pasta, remember you’re eating little ears! My favorite word in Italian is farfalle, which is also a pasta type and means butterflies.

Again, this is one recipe that can be easily found online, but I refer back to my old school recipe book.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/orecchiette-sausage-and-cherry-tomatoes

Pictures courtesy of Ken as he did the cooking tonight 😀

Picture of Health?

I went to my naturopathic doctor yesterday and reviewed my latest blood labs. Nothing shocking but my adrenal levels, B and D vitamin levels were low so I have supplements to help with that as well as additional supplements and hibiscus tea to hopefully help wean me off of blood pressure medication. The number of supplements seems like a lot, but it’s a step in the right direction for getting myself 100% healthy and not just the Crohn’s aspect. Are all my other issues Crohn’s related? I can’t say but my disease probably isn’t doing any favors in keeping my vitamin levels in a normal range, which is why I get blood labs done every three months.

Since I have to take most of these supplements with food I prepared a breakfast of a savory oatmeal. I usually have my oatmeal with almond milk, cocoa powder and dried apricots, but today I wanted to change it up.

My oatmeal today was made with:

  • 1/4 c Bob’s Red Mill gluten free steel cut oats
  • 1/2 c Rao’s marinara sauce
  • 1/4 c Bone broth
  • 1 slice chopped bacon
  • 2 tbsp marinated mushrooms
  • Sprinkle of truffle sea salt
  • Freshly chopped parsley